Archives for May 2014

A glowing oven full of love, Trinity Sunday (A) – 2014

June 15, 2014

Genesis 1:1-2:4a; Psalm 8 or Canticle 2 or 13; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; Matthew 28:16-20

Well, friends, today is Trinity Sunday, the day in the church year when we ponder the mystery of the Triune God, how God is Three in One and One in Three.

It is also the day when, throughout the world, rectors usually decide that it is a good Sunday for their assistants to preach.

Ask your average assistant pastor, and he or she will probably tell you his or her files contain several Trinity Sunday sermons, along with several on Doubting Thomas, John the Baptist calling people a brood of vipers, and Jesus saying if you don’t hate your father and mother you cannot be his disciple. And this, ironically, is too bad for the rectors! They are missing out on a great opportunity.

Some of the most creative and important theology being done today is about the Trinity – about how the Trinity helps us to understand ourselves, our place in the world, and our relationship to God. Perhaps this doesn’t rise to the level of “a best-kept secret,” but it does sometimes surprise people to find out how much the Trinity influences Christian thought today.

Because this is an area of research that is rapidly expanding, we can only focus on one major insight today. There is a lot more to be said, but there will be other Trinity Sundays and a lot of assistant pastors scheduled to preach.

So the major point about the Trinity to lift up this morning is this: God is social, and so are we.

Martin Luther once said, “God is nothing but burning love and a glowing oven full of love.” And if God is love, then God cannot exist is isolation. Think about it. To love is to be in relationship, and to love perfectly is to be in eternal relationship. If God is perfect love, then God must be social.

God is not some simple, solitary, isolated, individual being. God is not some kind of Wizard of Oz hiding out behind the curtain of the stars. God is not personal in that sense. That’s anthropomorphic. Rather, God is personal in the sense that God is the love that creates, redeems and sustains everything that exists. The life of God is like a divine dance of persons in love from which sparks fly, the love that moves the sun and the other stars. At the heart of the universe is the divine dance of persons in love, and if God is the love that creates and reconciles and transforms all that exists, then God must be relational in God’s essence. So when we say that God is Trinity, it is a way of saying that God is love, nothing but burning love and a glowing oven full of love, a love that overflows into all of creation.

Now, if God is social, then we are social too. If we are created in the image and likeness of the Triune God, then we are also created to be in loving relationships. Now, this is actually quite a radical statement because it runs counter to the pervasive individualism of our culture. Whether or not we are still living in the Me Generation, many folks, philosophers and theologians, have noted that the rampant individualism of our society is one of the greatest problems facing us today.

In his book “God in Public,” Mark Toulouse writes:

“Personal success and consumption have become the primary ends of American life. Even religion has become a competitive item for sale. As Carlyle Marney used to say Americans are addicted to salvation by successing. This statement might today be altered to include salvation by consuming. The pursuit of private gain has become the great American sport in all walks of life.”

And this is bad. It is bad not only for society, but it is also bad for people themselves. The loneliness and isolation and despair that are so prevalent in our society stem from this view of people as isolated, individual selves.

But the doctrine of the Trinity tells a different story. It tells us that we are created for loving relationships. We are hard-wired for relationships of mutual fellowship and love.

Did you know that many scientists are also saying that we are hard-wired for social connections? In an article on trust in the Harvard Business Review in 2009, Roderick Kramer wrote:

“Within one hour of birth, a human infant will draw her head back to look into the eyes and face of the person gazing at her. Within a few more hours, the infant will orient her head in the direction of her mother’s voice. And, unbelievable as it may seem, it’s only a matter of hours before the infant can actually mimic a caretaker’s expressions. A baby’s mother, in turn, responds and mimics her child’s expressions and emotions within seconds. In short, we’re social beings from the get-go: We’re born to be engaged and to engage others.”

Now this is really amazing, but it really ought not to be all that surprising if God is love. The Triune God is nothing but burning love and a glowing oven full of love. That love has created us and redeemed us and sustains us. Our life, our breath, our very existence is a gift. When we enter into loving relationships, we not only find our truest and deepest selves, but we also find God, because we are created in the image of the Triune God.

God is social, and so are we. The divine life is a dance party. When we join the party, when we enter into loving relationships, then we participate in the very life of the Triune God, in whom we live and move and have our being. We are created to participate in God’s love, and we are created to share that love with others.

Here’s how Miroslav Volf puts it in his book “Free of Charge”:

“The flow of gifts is God’s arms opened to the world, enabling us to partake of the gift exchange that makes up eternal divine life and supreme bliss. … The purpose of the outbound flow of God’s gifts is for us to receive living water from God’s eternal source, and to thereby come to mirror among ourselves the loving gift exchange of [God].”

If God is love, then the purpose of human life is to participate in that love, and to share that love with others. That is why, when Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment, he said “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

This may be the key to the universe.

God is love. Participate in that love. Share that love.

So God is social, and so are we. God is nothing but burning love and a glowing oven full of love, and we are created to participate in that love and to share that love. These insights that come from thinking about the Trinity could really transform how we think about God and ourselves and our place in the world.

A theologian and priest recalls that when he was teaching, students would often say things to him along the lines of “I just can’t believe in a God who sits up there in heaven and allows all the terrible things that happen in the world.” And his usual response was to say, “Well, neither do I.” This surprised many students, who seemed to think that priests are somehow contractually obligated to defend God at all times. But their view of God as some kind of aloof Wizard of Oz hanging out alone behind the curtain of the stars is not worth defending. More importantly, it is not the God we know who poured himself out completely for us on the cross of Jesus Christ.

The Trinity is a way of saying, that costly love, that vulnerable love, that suffering love that we know in Christ, that love that continues in the new life given to us in the Spirit is who God most truly, most fully is. God is Emmanuel, “God with us” and for us, who suffers with us and for us, not hanging out in some far corner of the universe watching all the pain and sorrow of the world, but rather hanging on the cross for us and for our salvation.

The Trinity, at its heart, is a way of pointing to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the new life that comes from this, and saying that is what God is most truly like. The love that moves the sun and the other stars is the same love that poured itself out for in the self-giving love of Jesus. God is nothing but burning love and a glowing oven full of love. And if we are created in the image and likeness of God, then we are to find our true selves not in being aloof and alone and apart and above it all, but rather in giving of ourselves away in love, in our vulnerable and suffering hearts, and in all those ways we are with and for one another.

God is social, and so are we.

God is nothing but burning love and a glowing oven full of love.

We are created to participate in and share that love.

 

— The Rev. Dr. Joseph S. Pagano is the associate rector of St. Anne’s Parish in Annapolis, Md.

 

Click here to download a large-print PDF of this sermon.

 

 

Things like that don’t happen anymore, right?, Day of Pentecost (A) – 2014

June 8, 2014

Acts 2:1-21Psalm 104:25-351 Corinthians 12:3b-13John 20:19-23 or John 7:37-39

Picture it: The disciples are gathered for worship, as was their custom. They’ve brought with them some bread and some wine, and perhaps some olives or a few pieces of broiled fish. They arrive at the specified location, greet one another with the kiss of peace, and then begin their simple and intimate worship service. One of them reads from the Hebrew Scriptures, another offers a meditation and all of them share in the communal meal.

But all of a sudden, a violent rush of wind bursts into the room and flames descend upon the heads of the disciples! They try to communicate what is happening, only to discover that they are all speaking different language! The commotion in the house where the disciples are gathered is so loud that it quickly draws the attention of the people outside. As a crowd gathers and sees what is happening, many are amazed.

“What does this mean?” some wonder. Others approach the scene with a healthy dose of skepticism: “They are filled with new wine,” they scoffed. In other words, “They’re drunk.”

Just then, Peter jumps up and says something to the effect of, “Hey, we’re not drunk. It’s only 9 o’clock in the morning. What has happened to us isn’t because we’re full of wine, it’s because we’re full of the Spirit!” Peter continues, repeating the prophet Joel’s foretelling of the outpouring of the Spirit upon all flesh.

In the two millennia that have passed since the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on that first Day of Pentecost, Christians have associated this day with the beginning of Christianity as its own distinct religion – the experience of God doing a profoundly new thing.

Through the centuries, this day has become a celebration of that new thing – a celebration of something that happened a long, long time ago. After all, we’ve come here today to read ancient scripture about an ancient event, and aside from a few of the liturgical trappings, our worship surely doesn’t feel all that different.

But when Pentecost becomes just another nice, neat conclusion to a story that began thousands of years ago; or just another nice, neat liturgical celebration of something that happened a long, long time ago, it loses its ability to speak to us in the here-and-now. It loses its power.

Imagine a Sunday, not all that different from today. The weather is getting warmer, the flowers are blooming and final plans are being made for summer vacations. The faithful gather here at the church for the annual observance of Pentecost – or as our Anglican forebears call it, Whitsunday.

The service leaflets are proofed, folded and distributed with a caring smile; the baptismal font is adorned and prepared for the congregation to renew their baptismal vows; and the red paraments have been set out on the altar for the morning’s services.

The music begins to play, the people begin to sing, and the acolytes begin to make their way down the aisle when, all of a sudden, a violent rush of wind bursts into the nave and flames descend upon the heads of everyone who has gathered for worship! And just as the faithful attempt to put the experience into words, they realize that everyone is speaking a different language!

Of course, we can be assured of two things: If that happens here today, all of us will make the six o’ clock news and somebody is going to be having a lengthy chat with the bishop. Things like that just don’t happen anymore, right?

But what is still happening is that, just as they were 2,000 years ago, people are still crying out for salvation. Everywhere we look, people are imprisoned – physically, mentally and emotionally – behind walls of depression and loneliness and addiction, shackled with burdens that keep them from living into their identity as beloved children of God.

The cry for salvation is not a simple problem with a simple solution; it is a deep, guttural groaning for deliverance. It is a cry that the quick and easy formula of  “Say these six words and the rest of your life will turn out OK” can’t hush. It is a cry that a date on a calendar or a memorial of what happened a long time ago can’t soothe. And it is a cry that Christians who are content to let somebody else do the hard and dirty work can’t pacify. No, this cry can only be answered with a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit – a Pentecost right here in our midst!

But that’s impossible, right? Rushing winds and howling storms and spontaneously learning to speak different languages – the whole bit – that just doesn’t happen anymore, right?

Well maybe it doesn’t happen anymore. But that’s not the question Pentecost dares us to ask.

The question Pentecost dares us to ask is, Could it happen?

Could a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit happen?

Well, chances are that if we sit and wait for the Holy Spirit to send fire and wind and all of the trappings we’ve come to associate with the first Pentecost, we are going to be disappointed. But if we allow ourselves to imagine what a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit might look like, we may be surprised at what we find.

Maybe a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit causes us to approach a long-severed relationship with a loved one with new hope and fresh patience. Perhaps a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit nudges us to commit to a ministry – either here at the church or in the community. Or it could be that a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit draws us into a deeper, stronger, more life-giving relationship with God.

The Day of Pentecost calls us to keep watch – to imagine what a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit might look like in our own lives. Of course, if we sit and wait for the same old thing to happen, we’ll always get what we ask for. But if we allow ourselves to imagine something new, something fresh, something holy, then anything is possible.

God promises, not that the Holy Spirit was poured out a long, long time ago; not that the Holy Spirit might be poured out a little bit, here and there, on a chosen few; but that the Holy Spirit will be poured out upon all flesh and that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved!

Can you imagine that?

 

— The Rev. Marshall A. Jolly is priest-in-charge of Grace Episcopal Church in Florence, Ky., in the Diocese of Lexington. He earned a B.A. in American Studies from Transylvania University and a Master of Divinity and Certificate in Anglican Studies from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. 

 

Click here to download a large-print PDF of this sermon.

Jesus didn’t say, ‘Beam me up’, 7 Easter (A) – 2014

June 1, 2014

Acts 1:6-14; Psalm 68:1-10, 33-36; 1 Peter 4:12-14, 5:6-11; John 17:1-11

We are all familiar with depictions of people coming and going. Many will recall in the 1939 film, “The Wizard of Oz,” how Glinda, the good witch, descends upon Dorothy and the Munchkins in a bubble, and after delivering a message and explaining the mystery of the ruby slippers, departs in the same way. And no one who has watched even one “Star Trek” episode can have missed Captain Kirk or his crew being beamed up by a transporter beam.

So, that is just like the Ascension, right?

Wrong. The Ascension of Jesus is not a device to get him back into heaven from whence he came. The Ascension is an account of how Jesus, having finished his work on earth, blazes a trail over which we one day shall travel, a trail to eternal life that continues our relationship with the risen Jesus and God, our creator and redeemer.

While other religions have their divine ascension narratives, with other worthy ones ascending with them, Jesus departs alone, leaving his disciples behind, staring into empty space, as a cloud takes him out of their sight.

And why does that matter?

Because our work is not done on earth. We learn more about that work from Jesus’ prayer for his disciples – and us – in the gospel reading for today: “And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you.”

This farewell prayer is said, not just for the small band of family and followers, but also for each of us. The good news here is that Jesus prays openly for us, for our protection and our unity so that we might be one, as Jesus and the Father are one.

Jesus also tells us, shortly before his Ascension, what eternal life means for us: “that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”

The Ascension makes Jesus accessible to all people, not just his disciples in a particular historic moment. He prays for all people, and all may call upon him. There is no limit to accessing him, no request too small.

Recently a woman called her church office in distress because her husband had just received a bad diagnosis. She did not know what to do. As she talked with her pastor, her voice became calmer and she began to voice her fear about what might happen. Then she said, “Will the church pray for us?”

“Of course,” her pastor replied, “and I am praying for you both right now.”

“I know,” she said. “I can feel it.”

The risen and ascended Lord entered into her time of need with a calming presence through her plea for help and her pastor’s prayer. That is how a relationship with Jesus is supposed to work: immediately accessible, even when we cannot say the words because of our grief or distress.

People are constantly learning how the living Lord works on their behalf. Jesus’ Ascension paves the way for this work, and we are the beneficiaries of it.

In the Easter season, we are continually drawn to stories about Jesus’ pastoral care for us. He walks to Emmaus with the troubled disciples who had hoped he would redeem Israel, and then helps them see his risen life and the power it holds for them as they begin to share the Good News with others. He cooks breakfast for his friends on the shore of the lake, and they know through this simple act of hospitality how deeply he cares for them, and we know how deeply he cares for all of us.

When was the last time you asked God for something? When was the last time you knelt in a church or in your living room and asked Jesus for a specific need? When was the last time you prayed for yourself or a friend to be healed?

For whom will you pray today? For whom will you offer prayer this week? These prayers are dialogues with Jesus, and he wants us to speak to him. He wants to give us good things, the things we deeply desire and need to lead lives of hope. That is what he does for the disciples in today’s gospel reading, and that is what he will do for you.

Conversion and transformation are the steps the risen one takes with us. Few people have the dramatic experience recorded by the apostle Paul on the Damascus road, but many have moments when life and their place in it begin to come together. That is the conversion experience, when the pieces of the puzzle of life begin to fit together. The conversion leads to transformation, a new life centered in the risen, ascended Lord. It is no longer all about you or me.

Many of us have a favorite person whom we admire for their ability to go through a crisis or meet difficult challenges head on. One young man works for the Veteran’s Administration and sees vets from many different wars. He says the ones who teach him the most are the ones who can articulate their faith, the conviction that God loves them and cares for them, even with lost limbs, post-traumatic stress disorder and other illnesses. “They are,” he says, “the people who have found peace in the midst of strife. They know Jesus and see him as their friend.”

Jesus does not come and go on a transporter beam. His presence abides in the church and in a personal and unique relationship with each of us. That is what we celebrate in the Great Fifty Days of Easter.

Today, whether you are joyful about something or sad and grieving over what might have been, remember you are connected to the risen Christ, through the community of faith and directly with him. Pray for specific things you need. Ask for the things he wants to give you, and always remember it is his risen and ascended life that makes him accessible. He wants to walk with you. Will you take his hand?

 

— Ben Helmer is the vicar of St. James’ Episcopal Church in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. He resides in nearby Holiday Island.

Why do you stand looking into heaven?, Ascension Day (A) – 2014

May 29, 2014

Acts 1:1-11Psalm 47 or Psalm 93Ephesians 1:15-23Luke 24:44-53

“Why do you stand looking into heaven?” ask two men dressed in white robes to the disciples staring up into space.

Indeed, why do we stand looking into heaven? And where should we be looking?

Whenever a comet flies by, whenever there is a total or partial eclipse, people in record number are out looking into heaven. Combined with a resurgence of UFO mania, the popularity of “The X-Files,” the Star Wars movies, photos from the space probe Galileo giving us hints of something like frozen chunks of water in space, breathtaking photos from the Hubble telescope viewing the very origins of the universe, people are looking into heaven more and more.

Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix must have been expressing the hopes of millions as they sang, “There must be some way out of here.”

“Here” seems to be an increasingly difficult, hard and lonesome place to be.

Out there must be some other place, any other place, better than this, we think on our bad days.

So it must have seemed to the disciples. Their leader and savior had just taken off, seemingly skyward. The military and political authorities seemed stronger and more dangerous than ever.

As Jesus leaves them, they are pleading with him to restore the Kingdom to Israel.

“It’s not for you to knowwwww … but the Spirit will come to you …”

And then he is gone. And like us, they are standing there looking up, searching the sky, wishing to see a sign that the time would be now. Or soon. Or at least certain to come.

Like Daniel or John the Revelator, they wished to see a dream or a vision. Like us, they would like to know what the plan is.

And like everyone, they would like an end to the loneliness.

To lose someone close is just plain difficult to bear. We all know what that feels like. It seems as if life cannot possibly go on. At least not at all like it had before they left us.

Yet, here, with Jesus, a promise is made.

The promise is: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes. I send the promise of my father upon you until you are clothed with power from on high. Stay where you are. Stay in the city. Continually bless God in the temple. Be joyful.”

“Stay where you are. It will come to you. God will come to you. God’s Kingdom will come to you.” This is not the message we want to hear.

We are people who are used to being on the move. We go where we wish, hope and desire. We are urged to go for all the gusto we can get. We are schooled that all you have to do is want it and work for it, and it shall be yours.

But Jesus says: “Stay where you are. Abide. Stop looking up. It will come to you right where you are. Continually bless God in the temple. Be joyful.”

Does it help us to know that the concept of the Messiah and the Messianic Age or Kingdom was thought by Jesus and his contemporaries to take place right here – not somewhere else, not out there, not up in the sky, not some other time, not some future time, but now?

The Messianic Kingdom will come to us; to those of us who stay here in the city; to those of us who are joyful; to those of us who bless God; to those of us who know and love Jesus, his Kingdom is here and now.

We are not called to look for the Kingdom, to search the heavens for signs of its arrival, but to step into it here and now with all that we are, all that we have, all that we say and all that we do.

To those of us who stay here joyfully blessing God, it will come. Those who participate in this life with an attitude of Thanksgiving will receive its full promise.

 

— The Rev. Kirk Alan Kubicek has served as rector and assistant in a broad variety of parishes over the past 28 years. He is currently chaplain and teaches at St. Timothy’s School for girls, the Diocese of Maryland girls’ boarding school, where he teaches World Religions and American History. His sermons are archived at www.perechief.blogspot.com.

Paul: Appealing or appalling?, 6 Easter (A) – 2014

May 25, 2014

Acts 17:22-31; Psalm 66:7-18; 1 Peter 3:13-22; John 14:15-21

Many Christians have mixed feelings about the apostle Paul. Paul can be challenging to deal with; some New Testament writings attributed to him express negative views of women and other minorities, and his tone can be pugnacious and argumentative. But if we’re going to be followers of Jesus, we have to come to terms with Paul. For one thing, even though the gospels appear before Paul’s letters in the New Testament, Paul’s writings came first. It is indisputable that Paul is our first Christian witness.

To borrow a phrase from biblical scholar Marcus Borg, sometimes Paul is appealing, and sometimes he’s appalling. Whether Paul is appealing or appalling can depend on which Paul you mean: Biblical scholars recognize that not all the letters in the New Testament that bear Paul’s name were actually written by him. These scholars distinguish between Paul’s genuine letters and the so-called pseudonymous letters attributed to Paul. First and Second Timothy and Titus bear Paul’s name but were not written by him, and they contain most of the sexist things Paul supposedly said. In fact, in Paul’s genuine letters, he argues for a radical equality of all believers, male and female, based on our adoption into the body of Christ through baptism. For example, in the letter to the Galatians Paul writes that, in Christ, “there is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” This is a good example of the appealing Paul.

We also see the appealing side of Paul in our reading from the book of Acts today. In this reading, we encounter Paul preaching to the elite of Athens on the Areopagus, or Mars Hill, the center of Athenian government. Notice how Paul tailors his message to connect with the Athenians in a way that they can hear the Good News he is trying to share. He is preaching to an entirely pagan audience, so he doesn’t rely on his usual references to the Law of Moses or the Old Testament prophets – what do these people know about Moses? Instead, Paul quotes a couple of Athenian poet philosophers. Paul compliments how religious the Athenians are, with their many idols, noting how this indicates the natural desire within everyone to seek after God, hoping to find meaning in the world.

Paul is concerned, however, that all these idols will prevent the Athenians from making a connection to the Living God he is telling them about. Our culture is no less littered with idols than Athens was in the first century, and I wonder what Paul would make of 21st century America, if he came to preach to us? Our idols are less literal than the statues Paul found in Athens, but they serve the same purpose. They are markers of our search for meaning, but all of them, in some way or other, fall short of this goal. An idol, by its very nature, stands in the place of God, occupying a place of ultimate concern in our hearts and preventing us from connecting with the true and living God. What is the ultimate concern in your life? Many of us spend our time worried about money, or appearance, or power, and we allow these worries to become idols, taking up all the space in our hearts and not giving God any room to live inside us.

Paul says to the Athenians that they are looking for God in the wrong places. God is not contained in little golden statues, or indeed in anything that springs from the “art and imagination of mortals.” Paul would say the same thing to us. God is not to be found in anxious worries about money and appearance and power.

Where should we look for God then? Paul tells the Athenians that the Unknown God they have been searching for is within them. This unknown God is the source and supporter of all, “the one in whom we live and move and have our being.” God is radically present to each and every one of us, and we find God in the communities and relationships we build with others, each person a bearer of the image of God.

Most of all, God is revealed to us in the person of Jesus. Paul’s final testimony to the Athenians about his embodied vision of God is to tell them about Jesus. God has given us “assurance” of God’s embodied presence among us “by raising [Jesus] from the dead.” Not just spiritually – Paul’s claim is that God restored Jesus’ earthly body.

This was a sticking point for the Athenians, as it is for us. Greek philosophy held that the physical body was inferior, impure – all of Greek philosophy pointed in the direction of escaping this dirty physical existence into a world of pure spirit. It was absurd to imagine a God who entered into human flesh, to live and die as one of us. It’s not surprising that many of the Athenians listening to Paul’s message scoffed; they simply couldn’t imagine a God like this, a God who would succumb to the dirt and sweat and suffering of this life, just so we could know him better.

And yet, this is the God Jesus reveals to us: a God willing to walk with us even when the road gets rough. A God yearning to be with us in the simple, ordinary things of life, in bread broken and wine poured. A God embodied in community that spills forth into the world in abundance and love.

If you are looking for God today, look at one another. God’s image is revealed in every face you see here today, and everyone you encounter outside of these doors. Like Paul, we are called to go into the world and share God’s Good News with everyone we encounter – and in language they can understand. Just as Paul adjusted his message so the Athenians could encounter God, we are called to talk about God’s love in today’s vernacular so that everyone can hear it.

In the gospel passage today, Jesus tells his disciples that he is sending them another Advocate, the Spirit of truth. Jesus says that this Spirit will abide with us and live inside us. If we open our hearts and invite God’s Spirit in, no idols we make will be able to withstand the truth of God’s love. We think money will make us happy, but the Spirit of truth teaches us that happiness cannot be bought. We think that power and control are important, but the Spirit of truth teaches us that kindness and love are more important by far. And it is God’s Spirit living in us that inspires us to go into the world and share God’s love as widely as possible – even if it seems the world cannot or will not receive this message. The world may not know God’s Spirit of truth and love yet. But it will, if we allow God’s truth and love to live in us, and speak through us.

 

— The Rev. Jason Cox has served as associate rector for Youth Ministries at St. Columba’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., since 2011. Prior to working at St. Columba’s, he directed the Episcopal Urban Intern Program, a year-long service and discernment program for young adults, in the Diocese of Los Angeles. Before ordination, he served as an intern in the Episcopal Urban Intern Program, working with homeless clients in a transitional housing facility on L.A.’s skid row.