Click here for Rev. Roger's Reflection on Mark 6:30-34, 53-56.
Click here for Rev. Roger's Reflection on Ephesians 1:3-14.
So much to say...hard to find the words!
I sit here, staring at a blank page...I'm at a loss for words
...and yet, there's so very much to say about Fr. Jack...about the man, his life, and his ministry!
I met Jack when he first came to St. John's, about 20 years ago now. From the start, he fit seamlessly into the generous, loving culture of the parish. He voluntarily took on a large portion of the pastoral support for our parish household and took true delight in assisting with the chapel portions of St. John's School...he loved each and every one of those kids!
As my vocational call clarified and I began the path to ordination, I found Jack to be the staunchest supporter, most helpful mentor, and always loving cheerleader any student could ever hope to have! He was always willing to engage in theological discussions, eager to read and offer opinions on papers...and just to be an ear or shoulder when the need arose.
It was at being that ear, that shoulder, that calm presence that Jack excelled. He is my model for pastoral care and ministry. He could certainly tell a good story, but it was always you in whom he was most interested. "How are you?" "What's new with you?" "Are you alright?" We have all experienced his concerned care for us...and about us.
When I returned to St. John's in 2017, it was such a joy to join him as a colleague on the ministry team! And, no surprise, he continued being the generous cheerleader he has always been for me.
As I returned to the parish with new eyes and more experience, I have been continuously struck by the kind, humble, generous, and loving nature of Jack's ministry to us all.
Many of you have heard me preach on saints with a small "s" and Saints with a capital "S"...Jack will always be a Saint with a capital "S" for me. He exemplified the "disciple's life" all Christians are called to by Jesus, as he cared for and ministered to all, especially to the most vulnerable in our midst.
Again...so much each of us could say...so much written in each of our hearts and spirits. In the spirit of his ministry, I ask us all to honor him by emulating the example of his ministry to others and by following the advice he so often gave, "be kind, especially to yourself."
Rev. Cathey Dowdle
Friends. "Be part of healing the world." That's what Maria Skobtsova did. This reflection by Shannon MacVean-Brown, the eleventh bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont, appeared in the July 21, 2020 issue of Forward Day by Day. It calls all of us to follow Maria's example by becoming involved in the issues of your community and the world.
Blessings, love, and hugs from a safe distance,
Romans 14: 7-8. We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves.
If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's.
Maria Skobtsova lived a full life in her fifty-three years. Part of the cultural elite in Saint Petersburg, Russia, she was a poet, theology student, mayor, social activist, immigrant, register of Nazis, and finally a nun who would only submit to a religious rule if she could live her life with an open door to the world. Mother Maria ministered to the poor and eventually to Jews seeking safety in Nazi-occupied France. She and a priest -one of her partners in ministry - were arrested for forging baptismal certificates for Jewish victims of the Nazis. She was sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp where she died in a gas chamber. Mother Maria, saint of the open door, insisted on being completely involved with the issues of her day. Her faith in Jesus arose from her fervent desire to be part of healing the world.
"Nothing compares to hanging out with Jesus."
That's what Marlene Legaspi-Munar writes in "Mornings with Jesus" on July 6, 2020.
Nothing compares with it. I thought you would enjoy her reflection as much as I did.
Blessings, love, and hugs from a safe distance,
Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in,
and we will share a meal together as friends.
"When I thought about it more, I realized that people have always struggled with feeling left out - long before social media ever existed or the term FOMO, Fear of Missing Out, was created. The Bible says it's not wise to compare ourselves to others (Galatians 6:4), but we do it anyway. We feel envious and want what others have, forgetting that God has created blessings just for us. We worry about missing out on important social activities.
We make wrong choices while others seem to succeed. But as I make time for Jesus and become more intimate with my Perfect Friend - He assures me I am not missing out. The more time I spend with Jesus, the more my heart knows there's no worldly thing that could ever compete with Him.
He reminds me not to worry (Matthew 6:34), to be grateful for what I have ( Philippians 4:12-13 ),
and to trust His plans for me (Jeremiah 29:11 ). Spending time with Jesus is one thing I wouldn't miss for the world - nothing compares to hanging out with Him."
"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless."
There certainly is a lot of shouting going on in the United States nowadays. Perry Mullins is the rector of Saint Peter's Church in McKinney, Texas.
He wrote a thoughtful article on shouting in the June 26, 2020 issue of "Forward Day by Day." I thought you would enjoy it.
Blessings and love to all, Fr. Jack.
Matthew 20:31. The crowd sternly ordered them to be quiet,
but they shouted even more loudly, "Have mercy on us, Lord, Son of David."
There is a lot of shouting in our world today. Some of it is good, but most isn't. Far too often, we shout at one another on social media or in the news, building soundbites but not community or cooperation. We have forgotten what things we should shout for, and we have begun to shout for anything. The result is noise. The sort of shouting exalted in scripture is the kind that begs for mercy, the kind that that praises God and proclaims justice and love in the face of oppression and hatred. Our shouts won't produce great soundbites, and they won't win arguments, but they will be heard on high. If we remain silent about those things that really ought to matter most, the stones will cry out.
MOVING FORWARD: Ask God to help quiet your anxiety and build you up to shout for the right things in this world.
Archive: originally published on March 24, 2019
As you know, I have kept Prayer Journals for a lot of years. I encourage you to do so, too. It's just a lined notebook in which I put quotations from scriptures and articles I like, and prayers people request. What is does for me is provide a wonderful compass of where I am at on my journey with Jesus, how much I have grown as I try to keep Jesus at the center of my life.
"The Lord is near to the broken hearted, and saves the crushed in spirit." (Psalm 34:18)
"I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears." (Psalm 34:4)
Episcopal Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, encourages all of us to adopt "The Way of Love." To consider ways we can keep Jesus at the center of our lives.
Adopt a practice he says that include turn, learn, pray, worship, bless, go, and rest. He gave me a lot to think about and do. Why don't you give it a try?
We have nothing to lose and everything to gain: Jesus.
Blessings and love, Fr. Jack.