Friday, October 19, 2012

St. Mary’s Bridgeville, Proper B 21 Sept 30 2012

“Teacher, we saw a man using your name to expel demons and we stopped him because he wasn’t in our group.”Jesus wasn’t pleased.  “Don’t stop him.  No one can use my name to do something good and fulfilling, and at the next moment cut me down.” Mark 9:38

Well, that’s the first verse of the gospel reading for this morning, and it really stood out to me.  We’ll get on with it in just a moment.  First, let me say, I am very pleased to be here with you at St. Mary’s Church.  If you didn’t know, Father Peters and I were classmates at General Theological Seminary, and we graduated in 1955.  When he was Assistant Priest in White Plains New York, and I was Assistant Priest in Scarsdale New York, we shared an apartment.  We’ve been close friends for a very long time.  I first came here to St. Mary’s in the early 1990s when I moved to the DC area and was an Associate Priest – the difference between an Associate and an Assistant Priest is that Associates aren’t paid – at St. Paul’s Church K Street in DC.  I often came to visit my good friend whom I call “Albert” and everyone else calls “Pete” on my day off.  I even preached here a couple of times in the 1990s.  So it’s nice to be here now; but it is sad, that our mutual good friend cannot be here.

When I finally got around to writing this sermon– there were lots of other meetings this week – I remembered that this parish uses the “optional” set of Readings.  That means that the first reading has one or more choices, and the second reading sometimes has another choice.  The Gospel usually is the same, but sometimes it’s fixed up a bit –
for reasons that I often find obscure, but often improved!

In my daily life since I moved to Delaware in the year 2007, I have somehow become the Convener of a group of clergy who meet every Wednesday morning from 9:30 AM until 11:30 AM.  The meeting this Wednesday followed Tuesday – the Quarterly “Day with the Bishop.”  The discussion topic in both cases was pretty close to the same.  “In What Way does the Episcopal Church need to be Restructured?”

“Restructured” really means “jazzed up” so more people will come to supply more money to support the local parish, the local Diocese, and, of course, the National Church.

And, you may have noticed, when you look around at things that are not the Church, which means of course most everything else, you see that they are all saying the same thing.

“The economy is bad.”
“Too many people are out of work.”
“Proper jobs are being sent to foreign nations.”
“Inflation makes it difficult for older people to live with ease.”
“CEO’s make more and more millions of dollars.”
“The number of poor and homeless is rapidly increasing.”

And you can make the list longer, and longer, and longer.

So when the church talks about “Restructuring” and everyone’s mind turns to money, what you think is really going on?

And in the midst of all of this there are elections at all levels.  And the newspapers, and the radio/TV, are constantly talking about the billions of dollars that are being spent at all levels.  You don’t need a degree in mathematics to raise many questions.

It seems to me, and to many others, that the real issue is perfectly clear:  we have a new god.  Because this new god is a perversion of the God revealed in the Bible, this god is also Triune – a Trinity.  Money, Power, Ruthlessness– these are the persons of this Trinity.  And under one form or another, this is the fundamental belief of most of us, here.



MONEY will solve all problems.

You know, there’s a whole bunch of people who think this is something new.  This search for Money and Power by Ruthless means.  THIS has replaced the “True Religion” that the readings from James for the past month has tried to place before you.

What we all forget is that there is in fact only ONE GOD.  And, that ONE GOD is not interested in money; that ONE GOD is not interested in power; that ONE GOD is not in any way interested in ruthlessness.

That ONE GOD is primarily concerned with the beauty of the Creation that began with what we call the “Big Bang” and continues through the process that we call “Evolution.”  Evolution, however, is a process that involves every aspect of that Reality, which we call Creation.  Reality is constantly changing.  It is the nature of Reality to change.  Without change Reality does not exist.

And the most important thing about the Reality, the Evolution, the “Big Bang,” is that everything works together.


“Together” does not mean “not separate” nor does it mean “in return for” nor does it mean “for the benefit of a few.”

It means what we have learned to call “Love.”

When we read the opening chapters of the Book of Genesis, we tend to see a God whose primary aspect is “Power.”  And because of that mistake, we tend to imitate a false aspect of God.  But think for just a moment what God says in the first chapter of Genesis, the 26th verse, ‘“Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature, so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, and, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of the earth.”  God created human beings, he created them godlike, reflecting God’s nature.’

You see, my friends, what this really says: Wisdom, Personhood, are wrapped together in the Oneness of Energy.  And the highest form of that energy is what we have learned to call “Love.”  And Love can be experienced only by the inter-action of all aspects of the continually- evolving-creation.

We know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that this inter-action is experienced – another word for “Love” – in that very special human being we know by the name “Jesus.”

That was the message of Jesus.

“Teacher, we saw a man using your name to expel demons and we stopped him because he wasn’t in our group.”  Jesus wasn’t pleased.  “Don’t stop him.  No one can use my name to do something good and fulfilling, and at the next moment cut me down.”

That’s the heart of the gospel message.
That’s why we’re here.
We come here each week to encourage the evolution of Love.
That’s why we’re here.

Wherever the Oneness of Energy wraps Wisdom and Personhood together, there is peace, joy, justice, concern, indeed, there is God.   The evolution of Love is found in this nature of God.  That’s the way it is.

We are here to because we believe we reflect the very nature of this ONE GOD, the Creator who made everything that exists out of nothing at all– except the very essence of the same ONE GOD.  And we are here because we believe that Jesus shows us that it is Wisdom and Personhood wrapped in the Oneness of Energy that makes it possible for us to have a direct, positive part in the Evolution of the whole of Creation– throughout the entire Universe.

This is not done with military might; this is not done with legal force; this is not done with election campaigns; and it certainly is not done with money.

It is done as we do it here, week after week, week after week.  We come to learn who we are; we come take our part in the great Evolution of the ONE GOD’S Creation; we come here to LOVE.


With a simple meal.
With the bread.
With the wine.
With love.
With Jesus.

For you see,
here we are re-created;
here we are re-made;
here  we become the Reality that we really are:
here we become the presence of Jesus-
in this parish church called St. Mary’s;
placed as it is in this village called Bridgeville;
in this state called Delaware;
in this nation called the United States of America,
on this planet called Earth.

This is our task.