Work and Word
The author of the book of James says that we get good gifts from God. One of those for me was work. A summer job which I intensely disliked for the first week, later became a great gift to me. God gives good gifts.
Another gift is God's word, the written scripture that God had given us. In his letter, the apostle James says we should welcome the Word that God implants his word inside us.
A few years ago, Dr. Al Trevino, removed the lens in one of my eyes and replaced it with an implant. Suddenly, I could see with almost 20 / 20 vision without my glesses. For someone who had "coke bottle" lenses from the age of 9 on, it was a huge change. For over a year each morning I'd wake up and begin to reach for my glasses, and then realize I could see without them.
God's word can be implanted in us like that lens in my eye. When we read and study the bible, it does change how we see the world. It does become part of who we are.The Word gets implanted.
But old habits die hard. Just like I will still occasionally try to adjust my non existent glasses, we all still have old behaviors that God wants to change. James says it is not enough to know the Word, but we have to do the Word.
It is not enough to know what God wants, we have to begin to do it.
For months after my lens surgery I was clumsier. My depth perception was there, but it was different. Catching a ball, opening a door, reaching for some object, typing on a keyboard, were all slightly "off'. But as I kept doing things my brain and body adjusted.
The same thing happens to us when we start trying to do what God wants. We may get it wrong, we may be clumsy, but as we keep going we get better at it.
137 years of ministry in Laredo
Below is something I wrote in September 2006, twelve years ago, s sermon on the 125th Anniversary of Christ Church. I believe it then, and I still believe it to be true. We have done much in the last twelve years. But there is more for us to do. This fall we plan to once again focus on the work God is calling us to do as a parish. You will hear more about this renewal effort in the coming weeks.
"I believe God wants us to continue to work together to heal our own community. There is no lack of ministry opportunities. Drugs, and alcohol dominate many of our families. Poverty, in all its forms, educational, financial, emotional, and spiritual afflict many of our citizens. Each faith community in our city has particular gifts that God wants to use to bring healing, and freedom in Christ to many of these people. The violence across the river, and the issues surrounding immigration, are places where we must engage our community, and bring our very best skills to bring healing to both sides of our river.....
We live in a time of great global uncertainty. Fear and mistrust between people rage around the world like an angry virus. Yet this is the very world for which God gave his only begotten Son.
Jesus words at the end of Matthew’s Gospel are clear. Go into the whole world and make every single person a disciple......
...we must never forget, that Jesus Christ died for all, including those who are hostile to the cross of Christ. I address you as one who did not believe, and who ridiculed those who did, and yet I can now say with confidence: ”Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”. I have been redeemed, thanks be to God.
I believe that God is calling not just Christ Church, but all the church to have a renewed commitment to mission and evangelism, especially to people who have never heard about Christ, or have never heard the Gospel expressed in a way that was culturally clear and relevant....
Christ Church began with a missionary bishop coming to found a church here. May Christ Church during it’s next 125 years be part of the sending of missionaries and founding churches in other places....
We...share the promise that the gates of hell shall not triumph, but be overthrown. We are part of a blessed company who do not look back to a glorious past, but whose hope is a heavenly city. We celebrate the past, and give thanks for it, but let us make no mistake. Those who have gone on before us are now part of that great cloud of witnesses cheering us on, that we might do our part in showing forth the Risen Lord. God grant that we may run this race with faith, hope, and above all, charity.
The Rev. Paul A. Frey
Don't Forget. Bishop Jennifer Brooke-Davidson will be joining us next week on Sunday on Sept. 9th