Readings for Absalom Jones (Died February 13 1818 Philadelphia, Pa.)
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)
This Commandment of love from Jesus is different from the Commandment we get from Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels. In Matthew, Mark and Luke we get Jesus commanding us to love our neighbor as ourselves. The big assumption here is that we in fact love ourselves.
John does not let us off so easy. John records Jesus commanding us to love one another as he, Jesus, loved us. An he loved us all the way to the cross. Jesus literally loved us to death.
Absalom Jones loved his people too in just the same way. He also loved the Episcopal Church. He would not leave this Church to join Richard Allen in the Methodist Episcopal movement. Jones was a man of conviction. As a slave he bought the freedom of the woman he loved and married and then bought his own freedom.
I can’t talk about Absalom Jones without also lifting up Bishop William White. White was Bishop of Philadelphia and ordained Jones to the Deaconate and then to the Priesthood. And while this ordination was for Jones to be a priest for people of color, he was still ordained in God’s One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Bishop White listened to God and opened his heart and the Church to make a space of this important ministry.
Blacks were asked to leave a church and as a result Jones met with Bishop White and this brand new Episcopal Church made room for them. Bishop White listened to the voice of God for what to do about this Episcopal Church and former slaves. Being brought about in the midst of a revolution already, he further heard the call to be open to providing for displaced African descendents. Absalom Jones then decided to work with Bishop White and not leave, but rather, give of himself to this perhaps, unexpected opportunity. Praise Jesus.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through and to God’s people.
This is the forth point of my first star and it reminds us to Work Hard.
Repeating myself now from my Ponder #1, “I ponder and I work.” I believe all work takes place as a result of pondering. I also believe the old saying that anything worth doing, is worth doing right. Working hard means being attentive to details. It means not taking short cuts. The term Work Hard applies to all we do physically to develop skills such as playing the piano or to achieve material goals as in making a cabinet. The end can be to achieve a skill or have the desired construct. To work hard one must have both the dedication and discipline to be committed to the work itself. Some work can be more pleasurable than other work. But again, if it needs to be done, it should be done right. And it should get our serious attention. This journal blog and the concept of my stars came about in pondering. I believe all physical work was first pondered at its conception. I think God pondered creation before God started with the physical work.
“Ponder anew what the Almighty can do.” (From the 3rd verse of Praise to the Lord)