The Collect of the Day

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost / Proper 13

Let your continual mercy, O Lord, cleanse and defend your Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without your help, protect and govern it always by your goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Vicar's Voice

People were bringing babies to Jesus so that he would bless them. When the disciples saw this, they scolded them. Then Jesus called them to him and said, “Allow the children to come to me. Don’t forbid them, because God’s kingdom belongs to people like these children. I assure you that whoever doesn’t welcome God’s kingdom like a child will never enter it.”

Luke 18:15-17

"Camp! It's what you do in the summer!" This was the mantra of my friend, Roberta Stoughton, who was the director of the STAR Summer Theatre camp, where I spent several July's in the 1990's, helping young people to celebrate their love of design and performance. Later, during my time as associate priest at the Cathedral of St. Paul, I was fortunate to be on the staff of our diocesan church camp, inspiring faith and love of God in young people.

In each situation I was blessed to be able to spend time with young people. As our collect for children and young people reminds us, they are growing up in a confusing world. They see the hypocrisy of the faithful: our professions of faith in a God who loves us, but our inability to love one another; our insistence that we care for our neighbors, but the harsh language that we often hurl at one another, particularly at those who are different from themselves.

Our Rocky Railway VBS invited us first to trust in the power of Jesus to support us during times of doubt or struggle, reminded us to see God's work in and around us, to trust in God's love and presence, and to know that we are on a journey together to the realm of God where all things are made possible through generosity of Christ. These young people are new to faith. They want to be nurtured in the knowledge and love of God. They can be inspired to be instruments of God's peace and reconciliation to the next generations. 

The recent election of Julia Ayala Harris as the Episcopal Church's House of Deputies is an exciting affirmation of the future strength of leadership in the denomination. Harris' passion, especially for young people and their welcome and nurturing in the love of God, is not only infectious and inspiring, but it is also challenging. Harris invites us to remember that we must remember that "new wine must be poured into new wine skins," that our young people need a fresh understanding and religious grounding in our church.

Those of us from St. John's and Grace who were blessed to share this week with our young people were reminded of both their inquiring hearts and minds, but also of the power of God in Jesus Christ and shared in the Holy Spirit is a power that satisfies our needs. May we all continue to love the next generations enough to share the Gospel of the Love of God with them.

In the Risen Christ,

Fr. Shawn