10:30 a.m. Charles Fillmore Chapel, Unity Temple on the Plaza, Kansas City
September 7: Bishop Janet Sunderland
September 14: Bishop Cliff Kroski
September 21: Bishop Janet Sunderland
September 28: Bishop Cliff Kroski
Welcome to September! My goodness, what happened to summer? It’s very interesting how the routines of life change from season to season, and how we’re surprised when the changes occur even though we have lived through many, many seasons.
Schools have started, the temperatures begin to change, the sunsets look different, college and professional football begins, and on and on. We know these changes well, but we’re still surprised.
Through all the changes though, the readings of Ordinary Time continues to challenge us on a daily basis.
September 7th presents us with a parable about reconciliation. Jesus says we should attempt to reconcile with another as best we can. We are encouraged to try a one on one approach, then to bring in others as witnesses, then to go “to the church.” But if our adversary does not listen to the church, treat them as a Gentile or tax collector; in other words, let it go. Jesus then says, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in their midst.” Whenever we gather as a community, no matter how many or few, the Christ is in our midst. May we find comfort in this promise, and release our grievances when we need to.
September 11th is a Day of Remembrance and Prayer on the 13th anniversary of 9/11. May we remember all who have died as a result of the events
of that day, not only those who perished on 9/11, but the hundreds of thousands who have died in the ongoing wars and turmoil in the Middle East. Even today, anger and fear still leads to “profiling” people of eastern descent, and many are judged and persecuted because of their race, culture, physical looks and religion. May we continue to hold love and forgiveness in our hearts.
In Matthew’s gospel of September 14th,
Jesus tells us to forgive our enemies “not 7 times, but seventy seven times,” meaning always. Jesus tells the story of a landowner who, when asked by his servant, forgave the servant’s debt. But the servant in turn demanded payment from a fellow servant who owed him money. The landowner, when hearing of the actions of this servant, had him tortured until his entire debt was re-paid. Let us remember to have compassion for others as we are shown compassion.
The September 21st Gospel presents us with the parable of the landowner who gave wages to his workers. In his generosity, the landowner gives the same wages to his workers, regardless of the number of hours worked. The workers who worked longer hours became resentful at the actions of the landowner. We are told, “The last will be first and the first will be last.” Do we at times feel entitled, or do we feel resentful when another is treated more fairly than we think they should be?
The last gospel of September has Jesus challenging the priests and elders of the people because of their refusal to believe. Jesus tells these leaders that those whom they despise will enter the kingdom before they enter. Again, we hear about the demands of the kingdom being based upon faith and not upon empty words or actions.
May our words, thoughts and actions embody the Christ Spirit in these challenging and changing times.
+ Cliff and + Janet