Daily Office Readings for Monday of Proper 14: Year 1
“Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son.” (Acts 20: 28)
Paul is giving a farewell speech to those that he does not expect to see again. I am not a big fan of Paul but I do recognize that from time to time, from letter to letter, a divine message slips through that God managed to get to us through Paul.
I do believe that if a Church is open and receptive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit will lead that Church in godly ways. Just as we must examine all the Paul says, so too we must be attentive to what parish and church leaders say. Maybe all that they say and do is godly, maybe not. The people in the pews are not relieved of their God-given sense of reason. God’s messages are always messages of love and inclusion. It does not matter what label we put on a Christian Church, be it Baptist, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran or Episcopalian, or any denominational name we use.
Through the cup of Christ, at Holy Communion, the Christian Church is joined to Christ as adopted children of God. For me, this is an adoption into servanthood to, and for, all people be they Christian or not; and also servants and stewards of this fragile earth our island home.
These calls to servanthood, and to stewardship, are the overseeing guidance that I sense from the Leadership of the Holy Spirit of God. Perhaps not all are called to be servants and stewards. Following our Lord Jesus is not easy, at least, not at first. Servanthood requires one to deny one’s self as a way to discern what a neighbor needs. Stewardship of the planet requires us to monitor our own use of resources and the potential damage we might cause to the environment through waste, negligence or excess. As environmental “overseers” empowered by the Holy Spirit, we the Church, have the individual and collective responsibility to care for our home. This earth is where our part of creation lives and moves and has its being.
This earth, our neighbors, and our time here on earth together, are all gifts from God who loves us dearly. The cup of Christ, the very blood of the Son of God, is given to us in the Church making us all related in kindred love regardless of language, nationality, how we look, or where we live on this planet. We are all God’s possession and God loves us and wants the best for us now and forever!
Let us live to love, rather than just live to live, listening to what the Spirit is saying to, and through the saints of God, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John