Grace and peace. The past month has been catastrophic for millions of people living in areas affected by natural disasters. We pray from the people in the Caribbean especially our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico, and those in Florida, Texas and Mexico. On Saturday, we will host a Service Saturday event at St. Patrick’s beginning at 10:30. We will be packaging super-sized manna bags for those in need in our neighborhood. People can take one or more to hand out for a suggested donation of $10. All of the money we receive for selling the bags will go to support our friends at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Beaumont, Texas. The Rector of that parish is our former seminarian, the Rev. Steven Balke. We will hear about their efforts on the ground in Beaumont, too. This is an activity for people of all ages, so please come and help.
There has been lots of talk about flags and anthems this week. You have probably taken a position on this issue. We have a duty to speak out on issues that are important to us. That duty is at the heart of the gospel. Too often, our speaking out is misinterpreted. There are some who point to the recent protests as being against men and women in uniform or against the flag or the national anthem. The original protest was about the system of racism that exists in this country. It has festered for hundreds of years and it continues to affect all of our lives today. We should be doing more than kneeling during the national anthem. We must become aware of the ways racism changes who we are and we must participate in ways to overcome it. At St. Patrick’s, I have and will continue to talk about racism (like I did in a sermon last month). At our baptism, we promise to “strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.” I encourage you to see the conversations about this issue in light of this promise.
On Sunday, we will have both a 9am and 10:30am service like usual, but the 9:00amservice will be held in the front courtyard and will include the annual Blessing of the Animals in honor of St. Francis. Please be there.