|The Reverend Canon Victoria R. Sirota, Rector|
Now large crowds were traveling with Jesus; and he turned and said to them, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
What is Jesus asking us to do in this passage from our Sunday’s Gospel? One of the ten commandments is to honor our father and our mother. Why is he asking those who wish to follow him to hate their father and mother, spouse and children, brothers and sisters and even life itself?
There are crowds of people following Jesus. He has become the new “pop idol.” He tells great stories and heals people. What’s not to like?
But Jesus is revealing to those who wish to follow him—and to us—that his way of love, the way of the cross, will not be easy. We human beings have difficulty with our attachments to people and things. We idolize them, need them to be perfect and are heart-broken when we discover imperfections, proof that they have become actual idols. In order to follow Jesus, we have to let go and open our hearts and minds to the first and greatest commandment, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37-38) Only then will our relationships with people, things and ourselves be healthy and whole. In that place, we will be able to hear Christ’s voice and follow him.
Next Sunday, September 15, is our Homecoming Sunday, and our joyous celebration of the return from vacations to a new school year with renewed energy and hope. We will be blessing all of our volunteers and praying over them as well as our new members, so please be sure to join us!
Sunday September 22 at 4 p.m. is an historic occasion as Bishop Mary Glasspool institutes me as your Rector, the first female rector in our 326-year history! I am profoundly moved by all of this, and especially by all of the great musicians (including our son Jonah and daughter Nadia!) who will be joining us for the occasion. Thanks to Jason Slayden who is composing up a storm of special music! You won’t want to miss this. Bring your friends! Invitations will be sent out next week, and there will be plenty for you to hand out or give out as well.
Don’t forget to join us on Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. for our wonderful Farmers’ Market and Thrift Shop. Prayers for those who are trying to recover from Hurricane Dorian, and especially for those who have lost loved ones in addition to property and possessions. We pray also for all of our children who are returning to school. May God protect them and all of us in this fearful world, that we may learn and grow in grace and love.
Blessings and much love,
The Rev. Canon Victoria R. Sirota