Happy Labour Day to you! (Upcoming events are at the bottom of the post – different from the usual so I thought I’d better tell you).
Here is a prayer for you today: Almighty God, your Son Jesus Christ dignified our labour by sharing our toil. Be with your people where they work; make those who carry on the industries and commerce of this land responsive to your purpose; and to all of us, give pride in what we do and a just return for our labour. Keep us mindful that our common good depends on each other’s toil; and in our rest grant that we may so use our leisure to rebuild our bodies and renew our minds, that our spirits may be opened to the goodness of your creation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Politics and Religion Don’t Mix? In his book, Materiality as Resistance, Walter Brueggemann writes, “In the early Church, Christian congregations and their bishops paid generous and deliberate attention to the plight of the poor and managed to give relief. In the sixth century…there was a rather abrupt turn away from this attentiveness, as the church became private about wealth and otherworldy in its hope…The wealthy population became dominant in the church and did not want its wealth subject to the needs of the poor in the church…
“In effect the church gave up its preoccupation with material matters and became busy with spiritual matters of ‘soul-making’ for the next world. That turn away from the material has continued in wealthy churches to this day, as is evidenced by the gentle admonition often made to pastors, ‘Don’t become political.’ This familiar mantra of course is not against being ‘political,’ but only against the type of ‘political’ that disturbs the comfort zone of the parishioner…The matter is very different in the churches of the poor that do not hesitate to address matters of materiality….
“It is my [Brueggemann’s] thought that in the contemporary wealthy church (most of the Western church!), by happenstance or by intention many members remain ‘infant’ in faith about matters of materiality. They prefer the ‘milk’ and pabulum of a convenient, private, otherworldy gospel about ‘souls’ rather than the solid food of informed critical thought about the materiality of our faith. As a consequence, much of the church is resistant to engagement in real-life material issues of faith and is quite content to settle for ‘innocent religion.’ And in much of this the pastors of the church collude because it is often too hard and too risky to do otherwise. The result is a church that is weak or lacking in moral passion about the great issues of the day” (Brueggemann, pp.1-3).
Jesus was political and it got him killed. We often equate “political” with “partisan” and our saying, “Religion and politics don’t mix” comes from a misunderstanding of the separation of Church and State that came out of the Enlightenment period. The intent of this separation was that neither entity would control the other. It didn’t mean that either entity should have nothing to do with the other. Praying for peace in Ukraine…that’s political. Praying for an end to oppression…that’s political. Praying for an end to poverty…that’s political.
Churches who are thriving are living the marks of Jesus’ life. They are living the gospel he proclaimed: The kingdom is arriving. Choose to live the way of life in God’s kingdom. Being “political” in the way of Jesus means carrying his cross. It doesn’t mean choosing sides in any upcoming election, it means fighting against all that is broken in our world.
For Your Devotions:
Thursday, September 8th is the memorial of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Although information like this is not in our Scriptures, there is a writing dating from about 150 AD which says that Mary’s mother, Anna, was barren until visited by an angel after which, Mary was conceived. You may have noticed that our calendar celebrations are marked on the day of the death of the person being acknowledged but Mary is one of just three people whose birthday is celebrated. To find out why, follow this link: https://www.thoughtco.com/nativity-of-the-blessed-virgin-mary-542466
Saturday, September 10th is the memorial of Edmund James Peck, a priest and missionary to the Inuit who died in 1924. His life in England got off to a rough start…When he was just 10 years old, his mother died and so he left school to work in a printing plant. His father died three years later. Peck joined the navy and eventually became a missionary headed for the Canadian North. He stayed among the Inuit from 1876-1884 then again in 1885-1892. His three children were born during this second stay. Peck is remembered not only for his evangelism but also for the Gospel texts he distributed in the native language of the Inuit. He notably chose many shamans to become the first Inuit ministers. For more info: http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/peck_edmund_james_15E.html
Saturday, September 10th – Trunk Sale at Emmaus. 10am until 2pm (1643 Wellington Street East, SSM)
Friday, September 23rd, 5:30 PM – Christ Church, SSM, Fundraising Dinner. Our Stuffed Roast Pork dinner is by reservation/ticket only and there are a limited number of seats available. Cost of a reservation/ticket is $25.00 and can be purchased from bonnie Lyons or Laura Avery. Contact info: Bonnie: email@example.com or phone 705-779-2858 OR Laura: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 705-254-2477.
Friday, September 30th – Diocesan Gathering for the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. 7pm at Emmaus in SSM or by Zoom (link in attached document)
Saturday, October 1st – Annual Church Leader and Lay Reader Conference – 9am until about 4:30pm at Emmaus in SSM or by Zoom (link in attached document). Let me know by September 16 if you’re attending in person.
In the joy of Christ,