Pastor's Corner 012013

posted Jan 17, 2013, 7:04 AM by Music Director

There is a convergence of occasions that demand our attention this week.  This past Friday marked the beginning of our annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.  Today is Inauguration Day, when President Obama will be sworn into his second term of office.  Monday we celebrate the birth of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King; and on Tuesday we observe a Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children on the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion in our country. 

    That Christians are divided among ourselves is nothing less than shameful.  Jesus prayed that His followers would always and forever be one so the world would know that He had really been sent.  (See John 17:20) Yet, there has been competition within the Church almost since the outset (see Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 15), even as St. Paul argued vehemently against it (see Romans 16:17-20; 1 Corinthians 1:10-17).  Jesus Himself reminds us that “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”  (See Mark 3:25; Luke 11:17)  Perhaps that’s why there is still so much turmoil in the world.  We who have been sent to preach the Gospel of life, love, peace and justice, are not at peace with each other.

    This is changing, however.  Many Christians have come to realize that there is more that unites us than divides us.  We’re learning to work together for the common good, forming cooperative agencies such as the Interfaith Hospitality Network to care for the needs of the homeless.  Such efforts begin with prayer. That’s why the Church sets aside this week, concluding on the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul (January 25) in recognition of his efforts to bring unity among the Church’s various factions.

    Another of the many efforts in which Christians can work together is to end racism and other forms of discrimination, bigotry and injustice.  Dr. King, an ordained Baptist minister, spent his life working for justice and equality for all human beings, and leaders from across the religious spectrum joined him in that great crusade.  It was his Christian faith that motivated him, which is why his inspiring oratory was always sprinkled with verses from the Bible and appeals to Almighty God for blessing, strength and support.  This is also why he consistently resisted and condemned the use of violence in achieving such a noble purpose. 

    And so it is only right that we honor this great servant of the Gospel; and it is in his honor that we celebrate our multi-cultural heritage each year on the Saturday of the MLK holiday weekend.  We welcome Deacon Bill Johnson as our guest homilist and the Diocesan Gospel Choir to lead us in singing God’s praises, followed by a pot-luck, multi-cultural supper.  That an African-American has been reelected to the highest political office in our land, and arguably the world, demonstrates that in many respects Dr. King’s dream has become a reality.  But there is still more to be accomplished before all Americans are truly equal.    

    Another effort where Christians can unite is overturning the horrendous mistake of January 22, 1973.  All Christians understand how sacred human life is, and how it must be safeguarded, particularly at its most innocent and defenseless stages.  If a person can be convicted for killing an unborn child in a car accident or the murder of the child’s mother, then legalized abortion is, to say the least, hypocritical and virtually defenseless.  This, too, is an issue of justice and equality, the very virtues Dr. King gave his life to defend and uphold.  We must speak for those who cannot speak for themselves and put an end to this holocaust.  Our own Declaration of Independence states it so well:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident:  that all men are created equal; that they are endowed with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

    Please be sure to set aside some time this week to pray for the unity of Christians and justice for all human beings, regardless of race, creed, gender, age, orientation, nationality…and stage of development; from womb to tomb!

 

In His Love,

Fr. Mike

 

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