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June 2016

[Frankfurt, Germany] So, here I am again for my annual visitation at Christ the King. We have our young friend and two people here down in front, all looking at me rather fearfully! Today, we are going to baptize and receive these three people into the church, which is always a wonderful celebration for new members. They are making a commitment to join the congregation – to join the fellowship of this communion. In today's Gospel, Jesus speaks about commitment. It is a line only found in Luke. Jesus puts this in very absolute terms, echoing the story of Elijah and Elisha, where Elisha is chosen to replace Elijah, the wonder working prophet. Elijah comes to give him mantle as prophet, and Elisha says, “Wait, I have some business to do.” And so he kills the oxen and cooks them on the wood of his plow. That is commitment. He made a choice. “No one who puts his hand to the plow and turns back is fit for the kingdom of God “

It is a great pleasure to be back here in Wiesbaden at St Augustine of Canterbury. Today is a new chapter in the life of this congregation with the inauguration of the rectorship of the Rev. Christopher Easthill. Christopher has received my letter of institution, and he is charged with seeing that the Word is preached, the Sacraments are faithfully celebrated, the Faith is taught and that you are cared for in the name of Jesus Christ. Today’s Gospel is a very famous gospel with the gathering swine running off of the cliff and drowning in the water. I believe in Britain there is an expression that if you say something is gathering, it is a blind rush. This is a very peculiar gospel story. It is about an exorcism. The church has a rite of exorcism. It is found in the book of occasional services, which contains among other things the blessing of a home, the consecration of an altar . . .

Ring, ring. Sorry to disturb you presiding bishop, but I am calling from All Saints’ Church Waterloo, Belgium. Today we had a visit from Bishop Pierre. Something very strange happened that we felt that we had to report to you. A woman came running into the church. She fell at his feet. She began kissing his feet while she wept, and after she got his feet good and wet, she wiped them off with her hair. Then, she got out some perfume! Well. . .what would you think if such a thing had actually happened at today's service? In today's reading, Luke 7: 36 - 8: 3, we find one of those incredibly dramatic moments found in the gospel, and it’s full of things that ordinarily we don’t quite understand. There is this town -- it is not really named, and then there is this fellow named Simon -- there are nine Simons in the New Testament -- who invites Jesus to his home. There, Jesus encounters this woman. . .

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