Father Manny’s Hiking Adventure

It was a glorious, autumn afternoon.  I had accomplished all the computer work for church that I had determined would be completed for the day.  Granted, the work took me over 4 hours to complete.  Still, the work was done.  I symbolically clapped my hands as if I were wiping my hands free of dust.  The sun was just beginning to take it’s westward dip and the clouds were hanging low and full.  Still, I was determined that I would take care of ‘self,’ and go for a hike/walk/run through the nearby Hallows Reserve in Algonquin County.  First, a run to the grocery store for the weekly shopping trip.  Back home, unloaded and carefully placed all the purchased staples in their proper places.  Then, into my sweat pants, pulled on a tee-shirt that has been with me since probably my graduate school days and laundered, without exaggeration, well over a hundred times, clean, white socks and my shoes were donned and off I went.  Only decision I had was which trail I would take.  I choose the trail, as I describe it the one “less traveled.”  I call it this because it is far more overgrown with thick brush, complete with large stones, ruts and tree stumps that makes running quite treacherous and walking an adventure.  Still, it was my choice.  My two, surgically repaired knees can’t take much running which troubles me, not just because of the pain, but because I used to be such an avid runner.  But, “fast walking” (like how I walk when I’m at St. Nicholas) is okay and I’m fine with being blessed and able to do that.

About 15 minutes into the walk, the elastic on my sweatpants snapped.  I had my car keys and cell phone on me and both pockets of the sweatpants had holes in them.  It was hot and muggy, I was thirsty and now, I had to find a way to walk while holding up my pants and not lose my keys and cell phone.  As fate would have it, I ended up walking the same trail twice and was into my third “rotation” of the course when I finally realized what I had done and was yet doing again!  Looked to see where the sun was, listened to the distant sounds of traffic on Rt. 14 and I began walking quickly toward the noise.  Victory!  I could see the distant parking lot and my brilliant, blue car, all alone in that lot, waiting patiently for me.  Once inside my car I smiled, drank with abandon the two 16 ounce bottles of water and headed home.

“You can’t always get what you want,” is a classic, Rolling Stone’s song.  And ain’t it the truth. We plan and organize, prepare ourselves, fully anticipating a problem-free encounter or event.  Then again, it may be wiser to always plan for the unexpected just as we prepare for the expected.  Wisdom dictates that in running a church, it is wise and prudent we have sufficient reserves available just in case something completely unexpected occurs.

At St. Nicholas, we plan for both realities.  We budget and spend carefully and judicially, to ensure we have reserves on hand to pay our monthly bills (electricity, gas, water, etc.)  Likewise, we plan for the unexpected, the unplanned and unwelcomed realities of life such as roof repairs, sealing and securing faulty windows, etc.  These scenarios should sound familiar as these two unwelcomed realities are what we here at St. Nicholas are working at remedying and correcting.

We are blessed in many ways here at St. Nicholas.  A community of faith that truly cares for the health, well-being and security of one another as well as the growth, development, protection and future of our church and worshiping family.  Because of the generosity and willingness to share our finances, our gifts and abilities and our willingness to participate makes for a church that is alive, filled with the Spirit and the individual spirit and desires of each and every member for the common cause we so affectionately refer to as St. Nicholas Episcopal Church.

Thank you, my sisters and brothers, for the continued and immensely considerate sharing and caring of all our church family members.  We are only as strong as we are united and committed to this loving and vital entity in our lives.  Our church has a bright future because of the resilient, dedicated and loving present time.  Let’s all do our best to ensure and secure that bright future by doing all we can, as we can and as best we can for our church right now and always, first and foremost, for God’s greater glory.

Friday Night Movies – October 13 at 7pm: “Rope” by Alfred Hitchcock

Starting on Friday, October 13th, (how appropriate), we’ll gather in the Hall and take in a classic Alfred Hitchcock thriller.  We’ll start with “Rope,” followed by “North by Northwest,” on the 20th and and lastly “Rebecca” on the 27th.

Movie time is 7pm.  Bring your favorite snacks and pizza will be provided.

All are welcome.  Remember, we start on Friday, October 13th.

Living With A Vision of God’s Justice – guest article

We hope you’ll enjoy this piece by the Rev. Winnie Varghese of Trinity Wall Street.

08 OCTOBER 2017

Living with a vision of God’s Justice.

THE REV. WINNIE VARGHESE

 

“The kingdom of God will be taken away from you.”

– MATTHEW 21:43

When I hear these words about tenant farmers, stewards, scheming to get more than their fair, legal share, I can’t help but think of sharecroppers, serfs, peasants, landless laborers, migrants on every continent through the ages, wondering what it might take to create some security and stability in their lives. Surely the first people who heard this story were more likely to be like the tenants than a landowner.

Where is the kingdom of God in that? And what is this kingdom of God that we have already that can be taken from us?

In this reading from Matthew, and in all of the readings, it is clear that there is a law and also a parallel or critique, a law from the tradition, that is the way of the kingdom of God, the world as God intends it.

What does the Bible tell us are the attributes of a society living within a vision of God’s justice? In your context, does the law support you if you wish to live within that vision?

The virtues of the reign of God’s justice, the world as God intends it to be, are clear in the Hebrew Scripture: The love and awe of God are illustrated by a just society. A just society has God at the center. A just society is marked by law that enshrines fairness toward one another; compassion and generosity to those who cannot fend for themselves; and right stewardship of the earth.

These are clearly difficult values to apply in real living. In 2017, as in the time of the Hebrew prophets, we can feel like wackos at the gates of the palace as we try to proclaim these values.

As Christians, living as though the law of God is the law of our hearts is the work of our lives. We listen and bring the breadth of our experience to these texts, and we are convicted by them.

For Reflection:

*What does it mean that even in the time of Jesus the ways of the powerful seem arbitrary, and laborers resisted?

*Is there a difference between an owner and a creator/maker?

The Rev. Winnie Varghese is the Director of Community Outreach for Trinity Church, Wall Street. She has been a priest for 17 years in parishes and as a college chaplain. Before joining Trinity, Winnie served as rector of St. Mark’s-in-the-Bowery, a vibrant and diverse church in Manhattan that tripled in size under her leadership.