Father Manny: Caring For Our Temples

After receiving yet another email from the downtown office of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago regarding health and well being, I finally called my primary physician and scheduled a full physical. We are blessed that our Church takes good care of its employees with a sound medical program. And certainly, I am not one to abuse such a gift, nor under-use its advantages and offerings.
Truth be told, I’ve been side tracked with other matters, those ministerial and those personal. Also, I had that nasty bout with strep throat, which was also a pretty good ‘kick in the pants’ to get into my doctor and get that full, yearly physical done!

So, that’s just what I did last Thursday. I had scheduled the appointment over a month ago and really could not cancel. Blood draw was at 7:30am…a blessing in reality as I didn’t have to fast all day. You see, the rest of the physical was not until 2:30 in the afternoon and I was preparing for several tests that were to be time consuming. It’s not that I enjoy blood tests…but if I have to have it done, better to have it all done early and enjoy a nice and filling breakfast afterward.

We all know how physicals go; poking and prodding, answering questions and that ice cold stethoscope on our chest and back. But, it’s all for the greater good, is it not?

You see my friends, taking care of this body of ours, the “temple’ which God has provided is as important as the prayers we offer, the songs we sing and the gathering as a community in the physical space we call St. Nicholas Church. The church structure at 1072 Ridge Avenue is where we celebrate our Christian faith, in our storied and historical Anglican tradition. But, our bodies are what God has designed, molded and shaped and it carries our mortal life. Without our life, we are memories and memories can not worship, can not fill a church, can not sing God’s praises. No. We have to be good to this temple we call our body and make sure it is rested when tired, fed when hungry, given water when thirsty, educated often, exercised often, cleaned and yes, even pampered. too. We do the same for our church structure, do we not? We clean it. We update those things that need updating and repairing. We protect the investment we have been given. And, we gather as a community of faith, a people of God, friends and neighbors with one another to worship and socialize.

So, in a round-about way — and not to sound like a public-service message — I ask us all to take good care of ourselves, please. Be good to the temple God has placed our life within so we can, for many, many years to come, gather and celebrate, worship and socialize at that lovely church on Ridge Avenue in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, okay? I think I’ll go for a healthy walk and say my prayers as I go. Anyone wish to join me? All are welcome!

manny@stnicholasepiscopal.org

Manny

Father Manny150

Vicar’s Corner: Share The Gift of Christ

“You may know what you want, but to get what you need, better see that you keep what you have.”

Now this is a tough, complicated one, isn’t it? But, it does give us pause to consider of what our relationship with Jesus consists.

Let’s see: we have this amazing gift of Jesus, who willingly and lovingly presents Himself to us. We have Him…He is ours. But, being human we need more and we want more. So, we search, we hunt and we explore just how we can gain more. And all the while Jesus is there…He is here…He is before us…He is within us.

Fortunately, Jesus is patient, He is gentle, kind and loving beyond all measure and all telling. While we pursue that which we believe will give us even greater joy and happiness, our true source for all that will make this life of ours on earth pleasing and satisfactory, and that which will afford us the gift of eternal life in Paradise itself is right here: Jesus our Holy Redeemer. It is not gained solely by believing in Jesus and placing our trust in Him alone. It is this, truly. However, salvation comes to all who live their life in a goodly and Godly manner…living life “as” Jesus did and not “like” Jesus did. There was and will only be one Jesus. But, we can all emulate how He lived His life as we embrace, love and accept all God’s people as true sisters and brothers to one another, all being children of the One, True God.

This equation is getting to be more and more simple, really. Let’s take it from the top, shall we? Jesus is what we want and desire. We have Him; He is ours and He willingly and loving gives Himself to us. We need Jesus even more; so we have to journey through this life in order to better gain His presence in a much fuller and greater degree in the Life to come. So, in order to get to that greater place, we focus on what we already have and make sure we keep, and — no need to remind ourselves but I’ll do it anyway — to “share” this Gift we are given. And all the while, in our efforts to better know Christ, to better understand Christ and to gain even more of His grace and blessings, all we need do is live according to what He asked of us; that is, to love and treat others as we would have others love and treat us. This is the way to Him and Jesus has laid it out for us quite plainly and clearly.

The Old Testament first mandated the need for forgiveness and healing. In the New Testament, Jesus fulfilled this law and brought it into a whole new Light…He being that source of illumination.

Let us be light to one another. Let us savor that which we already have; that which we desire more of, and share the gift of Christ our Lord with all we meet in the words we speak and in the actions of our hands and hearts.

manny@stnicholasepiscopal.org

Manny

Father Manny150

Vicar’s Corner: The Slotted Spoon In Lent

“A slotted spoon holds little soup, but a slotted spoon can hold a potato.”

Cuiller à trous 02

At first glance, one may ask what does this phrase have to do with anything remotely related to Lent? Well, ones’ questioning such a statement is warranted. It’s not what one would expect to hear in any church setting let alone use in the same breath as Lent and all that is spiritual or sacred.

Then again, let’s think about it, shall we?

When we approach our faith like a slotted spoon, we are certainly not going to “hold” or “retain” much. All that comes to us slips through and is lost. However, we are certainly capable and afforded the opportunity of retaining much if we embrace and hold tight to those “solid” elements of our faith:

That Jesus loves us unconditionally.
That Jesus forgives us our sins when we are truly and sincerely sorry for our offenses.
That we are at our best when we celebrate the gift of our faith as a community, a family of believers.
That there is nothing we can not bring to the Lord and receive His strength, His guidance and His support.
That Jesus truly sacrificed Himself for us so that we can gain Eternal Life in Paradise.

When we take these teachings; embrace them fully, and completely intertwine them as part of the very fiber of our being, we are connecting ourselves with our God in such a way that nothing can overcome or conquer our faith. Nothing is more powerful than the love God has for us and the love we have for God, Jesus the Son and the Spirit that is ever-Holy.

Slotted spoons have their place in a kitchen cupboard, but have no role when it comes to our relationship with God the Creator, God’s Son Jesus the Christ and the Paraclete — the Holy Spirit. We are not to let these most sacred and divine gifts slip through and be lost. Even at our best we are prone to fall and err. Fortunately and blessedly so, God understands and continues to be present, to be attainable and listens to our call and plea. And so, slotted spoon or not, God stays with us, Jesus remains ever close and the Holy Spirit continues to be firmly and lovingly within our heart and soul.

manny@stnicholasepiscopal.org

Manny

Father Manny150