St. James' Episcopal Church
Goshen, Indiana

Our 158th Year


Thursday, October 23, 2008

 

Sermon for October 26th, 2008



Sermon for Sunday October 26, 2008
St. James’ Goshen IN
Arthur Hadley

St. Paul traveled from Jerusalem to cities in what is now Egypt, Turkey, Greece and even to Rome. Wherever he was, he sent letters back to the cities where he had been. Some of the letters were thank you letters, some were admonitions, some were requests for assistance. Some of these letter were saved and passed on from congregation to congregation, from generation to generation. So often in Paul’s letters he give thanks for the kindness shown to him and his traveling companions.

I make no comparison of teaching or writing as Paul, but I do want and need to give thanks to you as a faithful congregation letting me share summers with you for the past three years. Like Paul, I give thanks to God in my prayers for you and your works of faith, labors of love and your steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. You have received the Gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit. I will leave you, and my prayers for you will continue. You will have a different pastor, Sunday celebrant, but we all share the same one faith, one baptism, and one Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Jesus was asked which is the greatest commandment. And he answered the great summary of the Law:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first commandment and the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

This summary of the Law is the essence of the teachings of Jesus. Love of God and neighbor. In our society materialism has become the new religion: love of money, forget God, and forget neighbors. My Money is all that counted. We are seeing the collapse of the credit/ debt economy and the diminishing stock market values, housing market, job market, commodity market. A new reality: you cannot borrow your way into prosperity; you cannot endlessly spend what you have not earned. We are going to experience some tough times; Paul called that The Wrath to come. It may be a long cold winter. People may well not have enough money to heat their homes, buy food and medicines.
We are a people who Love God with all our heart, soul and mind. And we love our neighbors as ourselves. Money and materialism is not our God. Money will pass away - a lot of it already has passed away. God does not pass away. Bidden or not bidden God is present.

Jesus taught and demonstrated that Neighbor was not only family, friends and the people that live next door. The Samaritan, long standing enemies, were neighbors; the outcasts, even the lepers were neighbors. All of God’s creation are neighbors.

In the tough times to come this winter, you will have to make some tough decisions. Are you going to spend money heating this very big building? Churches were not heated for the first two millennium, but now we expect to heat and cool this holy space. The endowment fund is not as large as you are used to. The money is gone. God is not gone; the money is gone.

People, neighbors are going to be cold and hungry this winter. Love God and Love your neighbor. What are you going to do? Not heat the church and parish hall. Use the saved money to assist the poor. Heat the building for your own comfort. Heat the building for your own comfort and open a food kitchen and place to be safe and warm for the cold and hungry neighbors? I leave you with those unanswered questions.

I give thanks to God in my prayers for you and your works of faith, labors of love and your steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. You have received the Gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Thanks be to God.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

 

Sermon for October 19th, 2008


Sermon for October 19, 2008
St. James’ Goshen IN
Arthur Hadley


Is it Lawful to pay taxes? Well it isn’t pleasant. We have been dealing with the property taxes in several counties in Indiana and they each seem to have their own interpretations of the new State of Indiana Law. Is our home a homestead or just a house. Well you all have seen these tax bills go up and then they get adjusted to some other stratosphere. The question asked of Jesus was even more perplexing. Should you pay tax to an occupying Roman Empire, or try to not support the oppression.

The Jewish Temple authorities did not allow payments to the Temple be paid with money from the Roman Empire because that money showed the emperor as a god. Using that tainted money would be blasphemy. So there were money changers at the temple who made a big profit changing Roman currency for temple currency. So those same temple authorities asked Jesus was it lawful to pay taxes. If Jesus said paying taxes was legal then they would say Jesus was willing to support the oppressors, but if he said that paying taxes was not legal then Jesus would be accused of treason, punishable by death. Jesus understood the impossible question with no good yes or no answer. Jesus got out of the no win question with a simple response, “Show me the money that you use to pay taxes.” And they showed him Roman currency, well then pay unto Caesar that which be longs to Caesar, and give to God that which belongs to God.

We do pay our taxes to the state, paying Caesar. We may not like all the tax forms, but we pay the tax. But how well do we pay to God that which is God’s. Do you tithe? That is the minimum. What about Thank Offerings? Thank offerings for family, friends, health, good fortune?

Oh you pay those not with National currency? Hummmmm.
Many years ago during the great Depression there was a wise and honorable man in Memphis, who was trying to raise funds for a church related college. A local well known bootlegger offered to give a great deal of money. Some other church folks learned of the offered gift and were outraged that their church and college would receive a gift of “tainted money.” The man who was receiving the gift said there is only one trouble with “Tainted Money”, is that it ain’t enough. The source of money is not the real question. Money is simply stored power. The question is how is the power of money used? We have been hearing a about huge sums of money being used by governments of the world. $700 Billion to be used quickly by the U. S. Treasury to restore confidence in the banking system and the stock market. Germany almost matched the amount, and Great Brittan, France, and lots of other nations are chipping in huge amounts of money. Will it do good?

The use of money, of any power, must always be looked at with the balance of Justice and Mercy. Just dumping money into the economy is not enough. Is the use of this huge wash of cash, unleashed power, balanced with Justice and Mercy. Will the rich just become even richer, or will those who have little gain some too. Will those people who were enticed to agree to a mortgage too large for them to pay have some mercy. Should we just say you made a bad deal and now you pay the consequences? That is Justice, but not Mercy. How do we work out a balance of Power, Justice and Mercy?

Jesus always reached out to the poor, powerless, sick and weary. Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give drink to the thirsty, care for the sick, imprisoned, homeless widows and orphans. Those are the admonitions of Jesus. What’s the problem with Tainted Money, it taint enough. The use of the money must be balanced with Justice and Mercy.

Thanks be to God

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

 

Holiday Auction - Mark Your Calendar!


St. James’ Parish
Annual

HOLIDAY AUCTION
“Incredible Edibles”

Monday, Nov. 17, 2008

Refreshments/Browsing
5:45 to 6:15 p.m.

Auction starts at 6:30 p.m.

St. James’ Parish Hall
Corner of 6th St. & Lincoln Ave.
Goshen, Indiana

Need more information?
Call the parish office: 574-533-4984


 

Cheeseballs Available Now!



St. James’ Famous Cheeseballs

Are available now!

Price is still just $6.00 each!

To place your order call the church office:
(574) 533-4984
These sell out quickly so place your order soon!

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