A postcard from the 18th Sunday after Pentecost 09/26/21
The weather this weekend was amazing!
I spent the weekend at Camp McDowell leading a retreat for the students in the Alabama Integrative Ministry School (AIMS). I am the director AIMS which is a nonresidential formation program for people in the process of becoming deacons or bivocational priests. Because of the pandemic, this was the first time that I was able to meet with all the students in person at the same time. On Sunday we shared Holy Eucharist outside on the back porch of Stough Lodge underneath an umbrella magnolia tree.
Throughout our time together, I noticed a constant thread through our discussions—prayer is absolutely necessary to Christian ministry. So come Sunday, there was our final reading from the book of James that tells us to pray when we are suffering or happy or sick. [James 5:13-20] That prayer is powerful and effective. We are often quick to dismiss James as being too focused on works and not faith, but it is important to take note of how James begins and ends his letter.
Recency and primacy is a principle in persuasive speaking that says that you should put what is most important at the beginning or the end. This is based on studies that show that people remember what they hear first and last.
James challenges us to act according to our faith, to live like we really believe we are saved. But he begins and ends his letter with the essentials of life in God: all we have is a gift from God, the word of God has the power to save, and that power of prayer.
A sermon from the Alabama Integrative Ministry School Retreat at Camp McDowell:
The 10th chapter of Mark is a critical transition between the transfiguration of Jesus and the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. On the journey to Jerusalem, Jesus teaches about the nature of true discipleship.
The Upside-Down Kingdom . . .
- Oct. 3 – St. Barnabas, Roanoke / “…where the children are blessed”
- Oct. 10 – Messiah, Heflin / “…where the last are first”
- Oct. 17 – St. Simon Peter, Pell City / “…where the least are the greatest”
- Oct. 24 – St. Paul’s, Greensboro / “…where the blind can see”