Monday, February 10, 2014

The Holy Spirit at Work!

Thank you to everyone for making Bishop Fisher’s visit such a special event!  The hospitality shown by the people of St. Augustine’s is legendary and it is a gift that we share with everyone.  There is no doubt that we have entertained angels without knowing it, and as the holy spirit would have it, that is exactly what today’s epistle reading is all about!
The Daily Prayer of the Church has as its appointed reading for today a passage from the Letter to the Hebrews:
Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured. Let marriage be held in honor by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled; for God will judge fornicators and adulterers. Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’ So we can say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?’
Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings; for it is well for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by regulations about food, which have not benefited those who observe them. We have an altar from which those who officiate in the tent have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also suffered outside the city gate in order to sanctify the people by his own blood. Let us then go to him outside the camp and bear the abuse he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.  (Heb. 13:1-16).
The Holy Spirit has been full of surprises for us at St. Augustine’s.  Bishop Fisher in his sermon preached about “this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” As we were gathering before the procession, Bishop Fisher told me that he was going to sing that during his sermon, but that he did not know that would be the sequence hymn.  The Holy Spirit was at work.  When I started to write the Daily Reflection, I wrote the thank you first, only to find that the Holy Spirit was already at work when I looked at the readings for today.
At St. Augustine’s we witness the Holy Spirit’s moving among us and using us as the Trinity’s instruments in showing hospitality to the stranger.  You have reached out beyond the doors to invite everyone to experience the love of Christ in reconciliation at St. Augustine’s from the Seaside Seniors, to the art programs throughout the year which include adults and children, to the Community Garden, to the BBQ, the World Wide Aids Day, to simply living out the Gospel’s call to love God, neighbor and self. I am continually humbled to witness God’s work at St. Augustine’s.  The Lord is indeed our helper!
Let us pray:  Holy God and Father you are the source of all graciousness.  We thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ, who gave his life so that we may all have life in You.  Continue to send the Holy Spirit to burn brightly in our hearts.  Amen.
The Seaside Seniors will celebrate St. Valentine’s Day on Thursday, 20 February starting at 11 A.M.  The children, under Lee Runion’s guidance (and maybe the help of some adults), are making the centerpieces.
Saturday, 22 February, 11 A.M. at St. James, 3129 Southmore, in Houston, will celebrate Absalom Jones Day with a Festive Eucharist and lunch to follow with a presentation.  Please make plans to join the Diocese as it gathers to celebrate the life and ministry of Absalom Jones.
Please remember everyone on our Prayer List, especially Patricia and Karen.
Your servant in Christ,
Fr. Chester J. Makowski+
St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church
Galveston, Texas 77550

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