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June 2014

The Third Sunday After Pentecost

Obedience to God. “Thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness." Paul writes to this community, which he had yet to meet, to remind them of their new life in Christ. Inherent in this new life in Christ is the death to their old life, in Paul’s words their obedience to Sin. Their new life in Christ requires them to be obedient to God, as they cannot be obedient to both sin and God. Is anyone else struck by the word obedient?

The Gospel According to Mark. It is only in the 20th Century that the church really began to pay attention to this gospel. it used to be thought that Matthew was the first gospel, and then Mark, which was a sort of a précis - a summary of the first gospel. It was then followed by the great Gospel of Luke, and then the mystical Gospel of St. John. But it became very clear, that as people did more research, that Mark was written first, sometime in the year 65-70 AD...right after the emperor Nero began to persecute Christians. Notice how it begins, the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You notice that it starts with John the Baptist.

When we preach on Trinity Sunday, of course, for the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity...we have to clear some things away. We have the four relations, the three persons, the two processions, the One God. What does that mean? We look in the catechism, it does not provide much help. "What is the Holy Trinity? The Trinity is One God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit." And we continue to look for meaning in various other places. For instance, in the historical documents (pg. 864 BCP) there is an excerpt of a creed we used to use all of the time -- the creed of Athanasius. It is normally called the Quicunque Vult.

In the reading from Corinthians we heard, Paul sums up life in holy community as restoring order and living in peace – do this, he says, and you will find the holy one in your midst. The Diné call that ho’zho’, walking in beauty – the holy balance of right and fitting relationship, being at one with all of creation. The feast of Trinity we mark this weekend is about divine ho’zho’, the unity of God and the relational reality of God’s own being. For human beings, ho’zho’ is becoming part of that divine and creative balance. Throughout human history, communities have designated some of their members to encourage others to live in ways of peace, order, harmony, truth, and beauty.

Giving Power to Strangers

[TEDxLSE] Writer and pilgrim Adam Weymouth reflects on the remarkable hospitality he encountered during an eight month walk taken from his home in Wiltshire, England to Istanbul. In the Bible, he says, 'the word often translated as "hospitality" is the Greek philoxenia, a love of strangers. And this goes both ways, for in a hospitable relationship each is a stranger unto the other – it is about recognising both the other within oneself, and oneself in the other.' 'We can never know where the act of hospitality will lead us. We would do well to open our doors more often.'

Yesterday I went for an afternoon run. Not only is the exercise good for my body and mind, but it is also a chance to connect to the unique features of the city. My “go-to” run usually involves a jog down Via Nazionale which then puts me at the edge of the architectural relics of Rome. Trajan’s column gives way to Piazza Venezia, and its dominating Vittoriano monument. A quick stair sprint up the steps of the Campidoglio has me thinking of Marcus Aurelius and Michelangelo...

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