Thursday, June 11, 2020

Old South Haven Church 11th Sunday in (not so) Ordinary Time

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Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 10, 2020

Dear Members and Friends of Old South Haven Presbyterian Church,
What a boring title….Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time. We are used to Happy Easter or Merry Christmas or Hosanna its Palm Sunday or Pentecost. What is this Ordinary Time? It is true the high Holy Days of the Christian year are behind us. Since the beginning of the Christian year we have had eleven Sundays that were not special Holy Days. Now, looking forward, we have a half year of ordinary time Sundays and weekdays to take the message of the Holy Days to the world in which we live. It's time to live the life of a Jesus' disciple and reach out in love and to provide support to our neighbors and beyond.
The lock down of the pandemic has had an effect on our nation that was for most people totally unexpected. In some ways it really had nothing to do with health….at least the physical health side. It had to do more with mental health. Being cooped up is not really enjoyable. And then a tragic event took place, namely the choking death of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis. Americans of all colors watching the videos of this death scene were shocked and demonstrations took place in the streets of cities and villages across the nation and eventually in other places around the world. Instead of worrying about their health and staying in quarantine, they joined protestors in the streets to demand justice and new ways of policing the police and providing assistance and opportunities to those who are of a non-white heritage.

I believe God is with us in this time of national distress. He not only protects us, but urges us on as disciples of Christ. Not just in beliefs, but in actions. There is that well remembered scripture phrase of James 2:26, "Faith without works is dead". It could be paraphrased to "A Church without Social Action is dead". Some may disagree with Social Action; and we can disagree on which Social Actions are appropriate, but we as a church can't live in a monastery with no ministry to the world around.
Given the protest marches, the memorial services, the calls for legislation, we are now in a moment of action that challenges us not only as individuals, but as communities of the faithful, to speak out and bring change to a world that needs new directions. As we discuss how we are going to open our communities, our restaurants, our stores, our hair dressers and yes our churches, we need to be aware that the role of Christianity in our nation has diminished considerably since the days of World War II. I am sure we are all aware of the sins of Christian lay and clergy. Consequently to get the Christian message out we have to work twice as hard as in yesteryear. This is both by our own labor and our contribution of funds for a wide variety of mission projects including our own local church. What can we do?
There are still food pantries that need food to distribute to the hungry. There are social service agencies that need volunteer counselors and board members and just plain support staff. There are scout troops that need scout masters and supporting family members. There are education agencies that need volunteer aides and professional teaching volunteers. The church needs musicians to sing in the choir, but the community also needs musicians to be a part of school and community programs. Drivers are needed for transporting folks who don't have access to cars and can't afford paid services. For those medically inclined there is the great need for EMTs. The list goes on and on. We the people of God need to be in the forefront of bringing help to those in need.
This can be a first step to bringing about lasting changes in our society.

This Sunday we will be discussing the many ways the church of Jesus Christ, and we as Presbyterians, are reaching out into the world. As a P.S., let me add that, I too, look forward to returning worship services to our historic church building. However, I pray that we will be able to keep transmitting, via zoom or by other means, the services to those who are shut ins or live outside of Suffolk County. Keep tuned for more information. And remember Ordinary Time doesn't need to be boring.

Peace, and please share your concerns and prayer requests with all of us, including the pastor.
Pastor Ralph
Rev. Ralph B. Wright, Jr.
516-606-7671 (cell); 631-289-5761 (home) or

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