Thursday, October 24, 2019

From Mother Vicki

Collect for the Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost

Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain what you promise, make us love what you command; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Last Sunday I quoted a poem that Elijah Cummings recited as his first speech to Congress on April 25, 1996.  The poem is by Dr. Benjamin Mays.  Dr. Mays, who gave the eulogy at Martin Luther King’s Funeral, was a pioneering civil rights leader and the President of Morehouse College.

“I only have a minute
Sixty seconds in it;
Forced upon me, I did not choose it.
But I know that I must use it.
Give account if I abuse it.
Suffer, if I lose it.
Only a tiny little minute,
But eternity is in it.”

Elijah Cummings, the son of a preacher, understood his life as one of service.  He lived that out to the end, always aware that our time on earth is precious, and that we need to use well the time we have been given.  He said to Michael Cohen at the end of his testimony in February, “This is a part of your destiny.  When we’re dancing with the angels, the question will be asked, in 2019 what did we do to make sure we kept our democracy intact? Did we stand on the sidelines and say nothing?”

Bob and I were blessed to be able to vote for Elijah Cummings when we lived in Baltimore.  He was a powerful figure and could be counted on to be truthful and just. I had no idea that he had difficulty walking in the last few years of his life, as well as other physical problems.  He did not use them as an excuse to avoid his prophetic role in Congress.

It is easy to think that we will live forever.  Yet we are reminded every day of our mortality, that our physical life on earth is relatively short.  What are we being called to do with our brief time on earth?  How does God want to use us? Our collect for Sunday asks God to “…increase in us the gifts of faith, hope and charity.”  Help us, Lord, to increase our faith so that we may help to bring hope and love into this weary world.

If you would like the names of those who have died in the last year especially included in our celebration on All Saints Sunday, November 3, please be sure to submit names by Wednesday, October 30.   You can also drop donation envelopes in the offering plate on this Sunday, Oct. 27.
May Elijah Cummings rest in God’s peace.  And may we not waste our precious time on earth!

Blessings and love,

The Rev. Canon Victoria R. Sirota

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