Paul, on the other hand, though he endured the same persecution as John and Jesus, is able to assure us that faith in the resurrected Christ will help us struggle through the fear and choose a new way of being: “In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14). The reality of Christ’s victory over death means that our fear no longer has to guide us. Marked with the seal of the Spirit, we can choose to become builders, instead of destroyers, of our own liberation.
The last sermon that I preached was on May 24, doing supply ministry at a local congregation while a collegue of mine took off her birthday. (I will preach again at that same parish on July 12 -- Proper 10B.) That May Sunday I preached that God always provides us with what we need to do God's work. I said that as an unemployed Episcopal priest, looking forward to a flight out to another state to interview with a church. I was positive that my days as an unemployed Episcopal priest where coming to an end, that I was finally going to be behind an altar every Sunday once again, spreading God's love and doing God's will. Apparently that is not God's will for me, at least not in that place at this time.
Since that sermon, not only have I suffered the disappointment of that rejection, but my housemate died after I found her barely alive, I lost my temp job, and I got evacuated from the room I am renting in someone else's house after we discovered that the water heater had been slowly leaking into my room (and growing mold) probably for weeks. June was a difficult month.
Even though I believe that somehow it was for the best, I am still angry and saddened that I was rejected by that out of state church. I have not had my own apartment for over 2.5 years. Not exactly how I thought I'd be living at age 47. I am ready to settle down again in my "own" place with all my things out of storage, getting a living wage for a ministry that will last more than a few months.
Despite what many people will tell you, Jesus never promised an easy life to those who follow him. That is one of the lessons from the Gospel for today. John the Baptist spoke out in truth and was killed for it. Jesus stood up for and spoke the truth and was crucified. Jesus's first followers suffered similar fates. And yet, even knowing the risks, there were and are so many who speak out anyhow.
Like so many people, my life is not what I would wish it to be, but I do know that God is with me. God is guiding me and loving me though this difficult time. As is written above, faith in the resurrected Christ will help us struggle through the fear and choose a new way of being. I don't know what the future holds. I don't know if I will ever again be paid to be an ordained priest, but I do know that God is with me and God loves me. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who don't know that.
reposted from revbrenda2.wordpress.com