. . . that’s where I find myself at this turning point moment in my life and in the life of this diocese. Profoundly thankful to God. Profoundly thankful for all the blessings of this life which God has bestowed upon me, family, friends, a rich and fulfilling life and ministry which is still continuing to unfold, and the blessing of serving as the 12th Bishop of New Jersey with its wonderful array of gifted people who make up this diocese. Thank you, thank you, thank you to God and to each one of you.
Today’s is Veterans Day. It’s a day when we as a nation are called to honor those who have served in the Armed Forces of our nation in times of peace and in times of war. Too often this day passes with only superficial recognitions. Many veterans have paid a very high cost for serving this country. Some live with compromised health. Some have lost limbs and/or their mobility. Others experience PTSD and other serious mental health challenges. Many are homeless.
There are those who suggest that politics should be left out of faith. This is neither possible nor desirable. Politics is always about how people organize themselves in community—the word politics literally derived from “polis”—or city. This organizing has inherent ethical and moral dimension. We who are baptized members of the Church and followers of Jesus Christ are committed to a particular set of beliefs and way of living that also have inherent ethical and moral implications.
More and more organizations and agencies providing food assistance are taking extra steps to be sure that those who come to them are treated with dignity, including having choice and agency to receive food that is healthy, culturally appropriate, and food they actually want.
Housing is such a basic human need. Everyone deserves to have a decent home in a safe community where people of all ages can not merely survive, but thrive. Sadly, too often this isn’t the case. We are not powerless to do something about this however. Moreover, we are called by our baptismal promises to this. It is Christ’s work. It’s the work of Christ’s kingdom.
How deep is your knowledge of the Son of God? How mature are you in your faith? How close are you to the measure of the full stature of Christ? I wonder how we as a diocesan community are doing at these things. These are questions about Christian formation, spiritual growth, and maturity in Christ.
There are so many humanitarian challenges around the world: the immigration crisis in this country; the brutality of the war in Ukraine, war in South Sudan, Ethiopia, Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan (yes, the war continues there). It is tempting to succumb to “compassion fatigue.” As people of faith, we are challenged to resist this.
Hispanic Heritage Month affords us all an opportunity to explore the blessing God is unfolding in our midst and to truly witness the dynamic, ongoing work of the Holy Spirit stirring things up, making all things new.
Labor Day is upon us. It’s the unofficial end of summer. There will be last flings for many “down the shore.” Many will be purchasing school clothes and supplies this weekend, or cars, or other consumer items, talking advantage of the ubiquitous sales across the nation and the internet.
A-M-P stands for Annual Giving, Major Gifts and Planned Giving. Healthy congregations should be actively engaged in all three of these areas of financial stewardship. Faithful financial stewardship is a vital area of Christian discipleship. As summer draws to a close, it is an appropriate time to consider Annual Giving.
Frederick Buechner the man has died, but his words, insights, faithfulness and sage counsel live on through his books. Stop, look, and listen.