21st Sunday After Pentecost – 21st October 2012

This week’s Gospel reading in which the disciples vie for the best seat at the table with Jesus is really appropriate given that, at a recent gathering of some clergy colleagues, part of the discussion revolved around the question “How do we measure the success of our ministry?” Surely this is also a part of what is at the heart of the disciple’s question.

One person noted that in a particular parish (I’m not sure it was Anglican) even being confirmed or admitted as a member of the congregation depended on proving your faith/worth by bringing at least one other person to faith! While it is my belief that at the heart of parish life there is a deep desire to share our faith and draw others into the Christian fold I am not convinced that we always see the fruit of our labors, so …  is success (of individuals or a parish) measured by the number of members of the congregation, the amount of money raised and/or given to charity, the size of the church building or the number of members on the paid staff?

The human reality is that we all want to succeed at whatever we set out to do and we also want to receive a “pat on the back” or recognition for a job well done. And honestly, if Jesus physically came and stood within the midst of one of our congregations, wouldn’t we all want to get close? Or sit at His right and left hand, at a shared meal, in order to ask the questions that continue to burn within us?

On Wednesday evening we spoke about our heroes, those of the nation, our individual heroes and heroes of the faith. It’s interesting to note that few of the heroes we named were famous but, for the most part, they were “unsung” heroes who are unrecognized in their lifetimes and who may never have known the impact they had on those around them. All these heroes had something in common … compassionate care and service.  

In Mark 10 Jesus said 43whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Success is in the eyes of our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ who, in life received few accolades and only fragile support. The crowds and his closest friends melted away in the face of opposition … Can we drink from the same cup?

Love and Blessings

Reverend Shan

 

14th October 2012/ 20th Sunday After Pentecost B

Dear friends, this week a wonderful priest and friend (The Reverend Doctor Ann McElligott) said her farewells, placed her hand in Jesus hand and stepped into eternity. She knew that it was time… and she, together with her son (Agen) included us in her final walk. Another friend shared her farewell message in the words of the following poem. I wanted to share it with you all, as I believe that the words can speak to each of us.

Entering Death

I pray that you will have the blessing

Of being consoled and sure about your death.

May you know in your soul

There is no need to be afraid.

When your time comes, may you have

Every blessing and strength you

May there be a beautiful welcome for you

In the home you are going to.

You are not going somewhere strange,

Merely back to the home you have never left.

May you live with compassion

And transfigure everything

Negative within and about you.

When you come to die,

May it be after a long life.

May you be tranquil

Among those who care for you.

May your going be sheltered

And your welcome assured.

May your soul smile

In embrace

Of your Anam Cara –  (John O’Donohue)

In the irish language “The anam cara is a person to whom you can reveal the hidden intimacies of your life. This friendship results in a sense of recognition and belonging.”

This I pray for you all!

Love and blessings

Reverend Shan

 

20th Sunday After Pentecost – 14th October 2012

Dear friends, this week a wonderful priest and friend (The Reverend Doctor Ann McElligott) said her farewells, placed her hand in Jesus hand and stepped into eternity. She knew that it was time… and she, together with her son (Agen) included us in her final walk. Another friend shared her farewell message in the words of the following poem. I wanted to share it with you all, as I believe that the words can speak to us all.

Entering Death

I pray that you will have the blessing

Of being consoled and sure about your death.

 

May you know in your soul

There is no need to be afraid.

 

When your time comes, may you have

Every blessing and strength you need.

 

May there be a beautiful welcome for you

In the home you are going to.

 

You are not going somewhere strange,

Merely back to the home you have never left.

 

May you live with compassion

And transfigure everything

Negative within and about you.

 

When you come to die,

May it be after a long life.

 

May you be tranquil

Among those who care for you.

 

May your going be sheltered

And your welcome assured.

 

May your soul smile

In embrace

Of your Anam Cara.                                           John O’Donohue

In the Irish language “The anam cara is a person to whom you can reveal the hidden intimacies of your life. This friendship results in a sense of recognition and belonging.”

Love and blessings

Reverend Shan