Monday, April 6, 2009

Fellow San Joaquin Travellers: Compare and Contrast

John David Mercer Schofield, in his most recent "Letter from the Bishop's desk"  has this to say:

"There are an ever growing number of mature Christians who believe the time for God’sgentle way of  opening us to transformation and life in His Spirit is coming to an end.  The  Jeremiahs  among us are crying out against the astonishing  greed and dishonesty of  financial and political leaders that have brought us to a place of pain and fear unknown to this generation.  They warn us that the consequences we have seen so far  may only be the beginning of an era  none could have imagined even a few months ago  and could easily prove to be harbingers of worse to come.   What’s at stake is not the next ten years until the  “present crisis”  is behind us or there is an upswing of the stock market.  What’s at stake is eternity.   It is Jesus who asks, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?”  Has Judgment on our nation begun?  If it has, it comes from the hand of God who at every turn, in every challenge, will be there beside us, with us, and –most especially– for us.  His purpose is never vengeful.  Rather, it is to free us from dead idols that we may have the life He paid so dearly to give us in His Son."

Or how about this from Bishop Jerry Lamb:

I write to you to invite you into conversations with me regarding your relationship with the Episcopal Church in view of the January 5, 2009 California Supreme Court decision on property. I am, of course, not an attorney, but the decision is clear that all property and assets of a parish are held in trust for the wider Episcopal Church, and upon any attempted disaffiliation from the Episcopal Church, such property be returned to the Episcopal Church and its Diocese. 
There has been enough pain and suffering on all sides of the issue of separation from the Episcopal Church. It is time for us to speak to one another face to face about returning to the fold of the Episcopal Church or setting forth a plan for gracious leave taking. 
I remain ready to speak to clergy, the laity, those in leadership, or congregations. 
Please be in touch with me.

As you read the two please do not try to compare content because it is not the same. I do not offer this for content.  What I ask you to compare is styles, tone and tenor if you will. Think about who you are and where you would like to be. Think about the gospel from last week when Jesus told the adulterous woman, "I see no one here who will condemn you.  Niether will I.  Go your way and sin no more." 

We are all subject to the law and the prophets but remember this: 

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, andw with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thy self.  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."

And how about this one: 
Hear the word of God that all who truly turn to him.

Come unto me all ye that travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you.

This is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be received, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.

If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the perfect offering for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world.   

It is time to come home.