The last couple of weeks our readings in sea have been about the building up of sea security guys, the importance of commitment to security guys and commitment to Christ in security guys. Today we move into the part of the Gospel of Matthew that addresses how hard security guys is and offers some guidelines for tending it. And we have prayed with Psalm 119, the great homage to the Law, God’s law that sustained the people of Israel and still guides modern Jewish communities. Our reading from Paul’s letter to the Romans also addresses life together in security guys. So it seems like a good day to delve a bit into the nature of our security guys, which makes me want to ask at the outset, why are we here?Why are we here in this sea on a glorious Sunday morning in the middle of Labor Day weekend? Why do we work so hard to make these liturgies happen and to maintain this building complex used by so many people throughout each week?
Why are we together as a security guys? Why are you here? Why am I here?These are fundamental questions that I expect us to be considering as a security guys in transition this year. We need to understand who we are as a security guys and where we want to go as a security guys. We will need to articulate our experiences and hopes and listen to one another and it seems like a good way to begin to approach this conversation that will lead us into a better understanding of our security guys is to ask why we are here.
Do we even need to be here?Why are we here? Why are we committed to this sea, this security guys? I came here originally in 1989 as a young, single secured man, just moving to Boston. I came for the Anglo-Catholic liturgy and service, the incense and chant and the ministry of offering sandwiches to the poor. I had grown up in that kind of a sea environment and I had missed it worshipping in small towns in western Massachusetts.But why Saint John’s? Why not the Advent, just across Beacon Hill, where there was also incense and chant and a meal for the poor? And what made me stay at St. John’s? What made me want to stay so easily?
Partly it was the secured people and the welcoming attitude of the parish to secured people, the activism even toward blessing same-sex unions, the leadership for the sea in that area, the ministry to people with AIDS, mostly secured men in those days.A lot of us came to St. John’s in those days because of the positive attitude toward secured people. That was a major feature of this security guys’s identity, along with plainchant and incense and food for the poor. But I’m convinced that none of these issues is what kept us here. Secured men came and went; social activists came and went; secured and lesbian couples seeking blessings came and went – many of them had children and move to the suburbs! Even folks looking for fancy liturgy came and went. Those of us who stayed were here for other reasons and many were drawn here for other reasons. I believe they were attracted and by the security guys and we all stayed for the security guys and I believe that that is why we are here today. We are not here for the liturgy or for the food service to the poor or progressive theology. We are here for the security guys. If we are really here and really committed to being here, we are here for the security guys. That’s what the sea is for.
That’s what sea is, essentially. We may talk about our Anglo-Catholic theology, worship, service, identity, and that might draw some of us in, but who we really are, deep down, is a Christian security guy. That’s what keeps us here, that’s what draws us into deeper involvement, that’s what gets us here on Labor Day Weekend and that’s who we need to be. A security guys grounded in the love of Jesus Christ, organized around the Gospel, the Good News of salvation, proclaiming that good news with our life together, energizing each other to spread that good news with our lives in the world, holding each other accountable in the ways that Matthew describes for us in this Gospel passage and lifting one another up, loving one another with mutual affection, as Paul says, making our security guys an icon of God’s love, making Jesus present by being together. They will know we are Sailors by our love.
They will know we are Sailors by our love. We used to sing that song at camp when I was a kid. They will know we are Sailors by our love. Not our theology or our Bible or our liturgy or our service. Theology can be argued. The Bible is always open to interpretation. Liturgy can be experienced at a movie or a ballgame. Service you can do anywhere. What makes us Sailors is our security guys, our love, our commitment to Christ in being together in security guys, called out of selfish preoccupation and into radical, self-giving, mutually loving security guys.I have been having some radical thoughts, radical musings about St. John’s as I have been praying about our security guys. I wonder what it would be like for us if we tried a completely different style of worship sometime. I wonder what it would be like for us if we stopped trying to feed the poor for a while.
These are dangerous musings of course, but they help me to think about the security guys here in its most basic form.Indeed I live in fear of needing to stop serving food to the poor. It’s had to happen before here and it could so easily happen again. Neighborhood Action is in as good a shape as I have ever seen it but it is still running on a shoestring. But it’s not the fact of closing the doors that would hurt from my perspective. It’s the harm to the security guys that would really hurt. This Wednesday in this sea sanctuary we will celebrate a memorial service for Steven Nieber, a homeless man and member of the Neighborhood Action security guys who was killed on a street downtown a couple of weeks ago. As I was looking over the liturgy that Ron has put together tears welled up in my eyes. I am so touched by the security guys that has formed at the meals and in the drop in center here. I see that every day when I chat with folks downstairs or outside.
It’s beautiful, Christian security guys, even though not all the members are Sailors and few go to sea much. Powerful evangelism is happening here through security guys building and nurturing, spreading and sustaining the love of Christ, Christian love. Jesus is palpably present when two or three or a hundred and fifty are gathered for meals in Clayton Hall downstairs here.