Luke 23: 33-43
When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they cast lots to divide his clothing. And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!’ The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, ‘If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!’ There was also an inscription over him, ‘This is the King of the Jews.’ One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, ‘Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ He replied, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’
Luke 21: 5-18
When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.” They asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?” And he said, “Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is near!’ Do not go after them. “When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.” 1Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven. “But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will give you an opportunity to testify. So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish.
More than anything else in my life, the thing that I most want to learn and live, --deep down in my bones, in my core, is to trust God. To know that I am loved unconditionally, to believe that I’m not in the universe alone.
And I’ve had just enough of a glimpse of that -- a sweet, precious taste of it -- to know that when I do live in this trust, those moments of my life are radically different. To trust ever more deeply would change my life. I’d live in less fear and more love.
In the second year of King Darius, in the seventh month, on the twenty-first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by the prophet Haggai, saying: Speak now to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people, and say, Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Is it not in your sight as nothing? Yet now take courage, O Zerubbabel, says the Lord; take courage, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; take courage, all you people of the land, says the Lord; work, for I am with you, says the Lord of hosts, according to the promise that I made you when you came out of Egypt. My spirit abides among you; do not fear. For thus says the Lord of hosts: Once again, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land; and I will shake all the nations, so that the treasure of all nations shall come, and I will fill this house with splendor, says the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord of hosts. The latter splendor of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts; and in this place I will give prosperity, says the Lord of hosts.
Rebuilding a Temple
In January, I first met with the Vestry and Parish Council of King’s Chapel, to discern together whether I might be called to serve as the new minister here. Sometime during those conversations, I referred to members of King’s Chapel as the “holy remnant.”
Holy Remnant! Some eyebrows raised, some eyes widened. Holy remnant? What did that mean?
Because a remnant could sound like the leftovers, the dribs and drabs. For those who sew, remnants are the small pieces of fabric left on a bolt when most of the yardage has been sold, pieces of cloth that cannot be easily used for most sewing projects, cannot be made into a full dress or be sewn into a full length drape.
But that was not the image I had in mind when I called you a “holy remnant.”
Luke 19: 1-10
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because Jesus was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.” Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.”
Zaccheaus and the Red Sox on All Saints’ Day
Yesterday was an extraordinary day to be a Bostonian. The day broke warm and sunny, nearing 65 by mid-morning. The tall trees of Boston Common and the Public Garden were flushed red, yellow and orange, still donned in fall’s finery. Slowly the streets around our parish house on Beacon Street and the church here on Tremont began to fill with families and college students, young working people and seniors, people of all shades and sizes, from every neighborhood, from all around New England. I stood with a man from Colorado who flew in just for the day.
Most in the crowd wore Red Sox garb of one kind or another – hats, shirts, jackets, or fake beards. The young man next to me had on an army helmet and goggles, to mimic Sox player Jonny Gomes. By 11 AM, near the Boston Common on Boylston Street where I stood, the crowd was thirty-deep on one side, ten deep on the other. I couldn’t initially find my husband Bob and his friends, but they saw me and hailed me over.
Here near the church, those who were lost looked for one another, too, and pressed up against our gate. All of us, whatever our location, were anticipating the ones we were waiting for. Everyone craned heads and necks, stood on tip toe, leaned right or left among the crowd, to catch a glimpse of the 2013 World Series Champions, our Boston Red Sox, riding Duck Boats on parade.
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