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

The Vicar’s Corner: The Opportunity that Lent Offers

There is a rather endearing sentiment when it comes to a high school play.  I haven’t been to such a play, well, since my senior year and that was back in 1975-76.  Sadly, I can’t even remember the play and I was in it!  Honestly, I figured those were the sort of memories I’d never forget…and sadly, I’ve forgotten.

Nonetheless, recently Douglas and I decided to do something “out of the box.”  So, we chose to support the “local art scene,” brave the cold and dark of night and attend the Johnsburg High School presentation of “Into the Woods.”  We both love the play and Johnsburg is just up the road a piece.

The kids did a very nice job with a very difficult play.  Stephen Sondheim is a genius and this play is wonderful.  Sondheim takes several classic tales, blends and mixes them together with song and dance and weaves a delightful story.  If you have seen it…see it again.  If you’ve never seen it…make a point of renting the Broadway version (Bernadette Peters plays the Wicked Witch in this version) or catch a performance when it’s in the area.  I believe you can catch some or most of the play via Netflix.

At various points in the play, the characters, in turn, share with the audience particularly pointed and rather provocative statements, comments and little nuggets of wisdom.  This may well be my favorite part of the play…those little quips “hit home” and they continue to stay with me.

So, I wish to share with you today and for the next several weeks, which coincidentally coincides with the holy season of Lent, a few of those “one-liners.”  Granted, some of these one-liners are “play-specific” and wouldn’t make much sense outside the play itself.  However others have a keen connection with faith and life.  If we peel back the surface and look deep within, we may well indeed find some rather wonderful, pleasantly sacred and divinely-inspired material that fits so well with Lent.  Was this a deliberate ploy of Mr. Sondheim?  Who knows.  Regardless, we will take some “liberty” and assume “license” because with God, nothing trumps the Creator and all is fair with God and stage.

“Opportunity is not a lengthy visitor.”

Lent is ripe with opportunity.  However, Lent is “limited,” in that this holy and sacred season is only 6 weeks long; a mere 40 days.  Lent truly does not linger very long with us.  Opportunity knocks but not too often.  Lent comes and goes.  Lent’s visit is hardly lengthy.  We are gifted with this rather unique church season to better prepare ourselves to truly celebrate the great Paschal Feast of Easter.  In order to be at “our best,” we have 40 days to prepare ourselves; to cleanse our heart and soul, to refresh and revive the spirit.  Then, we are ready to celebrate, to rejoice and sing out in joy to the victorious Jesus who conquers sin and death, once for all.  Let’s make sure we seize opportunity and make good use of this visitor’s time with us.  Let us make sure, genuinely and sincerely we welcome this visitor, this Visiting Lent, and open ourselves to the experience and make good use of the gifts this seasonal visitor brings.

manny@stnicholasepiscopal.org

Manny

Father Manny150