St. James' Episcopal Church
Our 158th Year
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Sermon for September 23, 2007
Sermon for September 23, 2007
St. James' - Goshen, IN
We begin a new season; summer has ended and autumn has begun. A new moon so that we may sell the newly harvested grain. We hope and even trust that our measures are true and the money paid is sound. How would we know if the grain elevator has scales that weighed light? On our farms the grain goes from the combine by truck to the elevator; we trust that the driver of the truck goes to the right elevator, and we trust the elevator weighs the grain correctly. But it is all done in trust. We trust the elevator sends the check to the bank, and the check clears. Most of our business in done with a spoken agreement and trust in each vendor.
But in the past few weeks we have seen mortgage companies fail because they loaned money to folks that could not pay. Mortgage companies had escrowed funds from the borrower to pay property taxes, but the mortgage company failed to pay the taxes. So even people who had faithfully paid their monthly mortgage had to pay property tax with their own additional funds. Trust is the system failed.
Jesus commended the actions of the cheating steward for being wise in the ways of the world where cheating seems rampant. Football coaches spying on the signals of the opposing team. Hedge fund managers making unsecured investments. Former athletic great caught stealing or worse. Israel bombing something in Syria, and cutting off water, fuel and medical supplies to the poor suffering people of the Gaza. The US has private security forces who shoot innocent people in Iraq; these private forces are not under military rules or Iraq laws. Who can trust the actions of the world?
Amos heard the word of God spoken against such cheating, deceitful business… “ I will send a famine on the land; not a famine of bread nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.”
Paul commends us to make supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for all persons in high positions that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life, godly and respectful in every way. It is Paul’s desire that in every place all persons should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling.
Our Bishops are meeting in New Orleans. They have met with the Archbishop of Canterbury and other leaders of the Anglican Communion. In other parts of the Anglican Communion bishops can proclaim a policy in a hierarchical governing structure. It is difficult for those parts of the Anglican Communion to understand that our bishops can meet this week, but do not have any authority to proclaim any doctrinal or governance change in the Episcopal Church. Tomorrow the House of Bishops will attempt to agree on a statement from the House. But their statement will only be a statement that most of the bishops agree upon.
The General Convention is the deciding body of the Episcopal Church. Agreement must be concurrent with the House of Deputies, and the House of Bishops. The House of Deputies in one half laity and one half priests or deacons; in the House of Deputies there must be concurrent agreement between lay and ordained. Change comes slowly in the Episcopal church, and it is never top down.
So no matter if you agree with policies of our government or our church, we follow Paul’s teaching: making our supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings for all in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life, godly and respectful in everyway without anger or quarreling.
Thanks be to God.
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