Wing-ed white whispers of fluffy dandelion airies were drafting as feathery angels through the breezy late summer-like air as I wrote today, in flurries as if on a winter’s morn, yet warm and bright in the sun: Creation and Re-Creation at work.
Yet also as I wrote, Puerto Rico has suffered catastrophic damage from Hurricane Fiona after nearly three feet of torrential rain and now a further level of destruction of their infrastructure that was not completely restored after Hurricane Maria in 2017.
Mexico suffered five earthquakes in 24 hours this week, and the war in Ukraine rages on. The raging fires in our western states, devastating water shortages and breakdowns in water supply, intense and historic heat in this country, and all across Europe and Asia where most do not have air conditioning.
Creation is in conflict, indeed. Even our blissful dandelions floating from their downy parachutes will not all succeed in their mission. (See the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:1-9.) And there’s more to the conflict in old Creation as well as new.
A month of Sundays ago, Fr. Jim gave us a fascinating observation in his sermon as he mentioned the Apostles Andrew and Matthew, those for whom our Parish is named. His focus that Sunday was on the Commissioning of the New Rector Search Committee and the “unity in spirit and purpose” grounded in the differences represented by those in our Parish name.”
As for the differences of our patron saints, Andrew, we know, was a fisherman working hard for the money (you had to be there that day! If not, watch on our YouTube Channel, the Episcopal Church of Saints Andrew and Matthew broadcast that aired on 8/21/22 and yes, you can fast forward to the sermon but don’t tell anyone I said that!). In contrast, Matthew sat behind a desk collecting taxes from hard workers like Andrew, and helping himself to some of the proceeds. Tax collectors were very unpopular as they had the power to set the tax rate above what Rome required and therefore the top was skimmed for personal gain. Think Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10). Suddenly (see Matthew 9:9), Andrew and Matthew are together as disciples of Jesus. Now that’s some serious potential conflict. We usually hear only about Peter’s temper, but take a moment to stop here and imagine the atmosphere when Matthew appears in the group.
Members of St. Andrew’s and St. Matthew’s consolidated as a new parish 26 years ago. Now as then, we strive together in unity in spirit and purpose. The Search Committee, the Vestry, and the Parish as a whole are prayerfully united as we seek the individual to lead us forward in our faith. We are in Creation mode and there will be differences, discussions, perhaps even conflict, and then more prayer, and reflection. But as Jesus brought together the various personalities of the Disciples, He brings us together also, grounded in Him through the Holy Spirit and God our Creator.
Meanwhile, keep our Parish Family in prayer, especially for those who have been struck by COVID just recently. Keep aware of the numbers that may be increasing. Even as SsAM’s mask restrictions are loosened, I’ll be wearing mine. Please get vaccinated and boosted for COVID and the annual flu vaccine, shingles if you are of a certain age, and the pneumonia vaccines. Keep yourself well in order to keep others well. That’s my personal message only, from my health to yours. Be of good faith as we walk this new journey together, with Jesus as our Guide and Inspiration.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Every week, Christina Brennan Lee writes the Prayers of the People we use in our worship services on Sundays. She also leads weekday prayer services and serves on the SsAM Vestry. Click here to see her People’s Prayers website.
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