Tuesday, October 12, 2021

We are stewards

Dear friends,

I once had a parishioner whose husband’s family had lived in the same big house for generations. He and his father had both grown up there, and perhaps his grandfather had, too. My parishioner moved in as a young bride and was in her 60s when I knew her. Every time she and her husband had to make a decision about household improvements or repairs, they did so with an eye to the future the home would have as the abode of loved ones when they themselves were no longer alive. My parishioner saw herself and her husband as stewards, caretakers of something precious that did not in the end belong to them.

I think about that parishioner every autumn during pledge season. She understood stewardship at a gut level because she and her husband lived it every day. The treasure they had received was not ultimately theirs; just as the husband’s family had done for generations, they cheerfully worked as caretakers for the benefit of those who would come after them.

You and I are stewards, too. All that we have comes to us as a gift from our loving God; and ultimately we will not be taking any of it with us. Our pledges to St. Andrew’s for the coming year are a way for us to invest in the future not only of our beloved building and grounds but also—and more importantly—in the future of the people who will worship here in years to come, and of the people beyond our doors whom we and they will serve in Christ’s name. 

I am grateful to be stewarding St. Andrew’s alongside each of you. Mindful of the many blessings in our lives and of the call to be good stewards, John and I will be increasing our pledge for the coming year. I hope you’ll consider doing the same.


Monday, October 4, 2021

Generosity of Spirit

This Sunday’s Gospel lesson is the familiar story of the young man who was owned by his possessions rather than the other way around. (I certainly can identify with that guy – and not with the young part…) Jesus has a near-impossible remedy; the disciples were most upset. Give even more away? Are you kidding?!

The older I get, the more I value a broader term: generosity of spirit. Think of people who are always ready with an encouraging word, always ready to help (sometimes before you know you need it), and, because they are generous in spirit, their life’s actions seem natural and easy.

Yes, when Jesus tells us to seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness, he means that ALL these things will be added unto us. In peace and serenity, we can sing, “Alleluia”.

Brad Norris
Minister of Music

Monday, September 13, 2021

A Remembrance

This month marked the twentieth anniversary of the terror attacks in New York, Washington, and over the skies of Pennsylvania. What I remember most is the initial report that a parishioner relayed to me before the gravity of what was happening was realized, an initial kind of nonchalance that a plane flew into a building. “A strange accident to have,” I thought. Then I recall the shock of a nation, the momentary non-partisan response of our legislators, and the horror of watching - over and over and over again - the planes impacting the buildings and the response at the Pentagon and the accounts of the passengers who defended the flight over Pennsylvania.

There is no adequate way to explain the abject hatred that infects peoples’ hearts, but we try anyway. In responding to that tragedy, I noted that being made in God’s likeness, we are like God in that we have the freedom to choose: among other things, the freedom to choose God or not-God. The terrorists chose not-God; chose to be evil. God was not there with the perpetrators. God was with those innocents who were massacred, in their fear and the anguish of family and friends. God was with those who so courageously responded and sacrificed. God is with those of us who remember and choose to respond to evil, not with fear or despair or returned hatred, but with the will to overcome these things with the power of God’s presence in community and in hearts and actions that render the effects of hatred impotent.

If you can say a good thing came of the attacks, I would say it was good that we had our illusions of safety shattered, for that is what they were: illusions. We thought we were safe, but we were not, are not, never have been, and never will be. It is good to not live in illusion but in truth. And the truth is, if evil exists (and it does), it is good that evil is brought into the light of God’s day so that we understand our inability to rely solely on ourselves, but in interdependence among one another and upon the One God who ultimately is the only true thing that exists anyway.


Monday, August 30, 2021

Labor Day

Remember the episode when Granny Clampett – “Doctor Granny” had a visit from a fancily dressed woman with a hazy conglomeration of maladies?  The doctor cut to the chase pretty quickly.  “Get down on your hands and knees and scrub the kitchen floor!”  The lady stopped by the next day, most exuberant -- she had followed orders and slept like a baby…

Doing things.  Our work, for ourselves and for others, can have healing, holy properties.  Jesus had a clear sense of his life’s work; let us follow Our Lord’s example by prayerfully discerning our calling.

From Hymn 541:
Come, labor on.
Who dares stand idle on the harvest plain,
while all around us waves the golden grain?
And to each servant does the Master say, “Go work today.”

Brad Norris
Minister of Music

Monday, August 9, 2021

Let your light shine!

I mentioned in a sermon a couple of months ago that I think we live in a world where darkness truly is growing. It is only in my lifetime that the proliferation of drugs and gun violence and terrorism (now including domestic) and any number of other social ills really are worse than they were before, at least in the collective. Part of my daily prayer includes a reminder from the first chapter of John's gospel: A light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it; to bear the (baptismal) light of Christ. To be completely honest with you, I'm finding that increasingly hard to do as the darkness grows. My answer lies in holding tight to the understanding that if I try to be a lone light shining in the darkness, the darkness surely will overcome that light. But if I find others who are also shining Christ's light and those lights are combined, then it becomes light that the darkness does not overcome. From one light-bearer to another...and another and another and another...let's shine and combine our collective light so bright that no darkness will ever overcome!