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Nov
01
2012

November 2012

Dear Parishioners:

With the election just around the corner, I thought we might reflect on Freedom. There are of course many kinds of freedom: political, economic, and religious freedoms. Freedom of speech, and freedom of choice, to name a few. But there is a freedom at the foot of all these that is more important than any of them. It is the freedom from sin. If our forefathers fought and died to give the freedoms of this life, the Son of God fought and died to give us that freedom which is eternal.

Freedom from sin is to all other freedoms, what wisdom is to all other knowledge, the power to use them well. Indeed, unless we are free of sin, we shall never be truly free.

Jesus began his ministry in a synagogue in his home town of Nazareth with these ringing words: “(The Spirit of the Lord) has sent me to proclaim release to the captives…to set at liberty those who are oppressed…” What a stupendous thing to hear those words, then and now. It is like hearing the bolt thrown open on the prison door or a man at the bottom of a pit hearing a ladder let down. The air sings with liberty. All we need do is rise and leave bondage to sin behind.

But there is the rub. Sin is not only our jailer. We make it our friend, our comforter, our box of delights, our fulfillment. How many time I have had people take great pains to tell me that something which used to be wrong, is wrong no longer. But the very fact of trying to convince me means they are not convinced themselves. It has the ring of the prisoner starring at the open door of the cell and trying to explain why they won’t get up and leave. The truth is we want to be slaves of sin, and we want it, ironically, in the name of freedom. We want to be free to do what we like. Let me do what I please, let me run free like wild horses.

Indeed, wild horses are a good example, almost a parable, of this illusion of freedom. Frederick Morris has noted in studying wild horses that their seeming freedom is bondage of the worst kind. Wild herds are dominated by terror. The slightest movement on the prairie, a rolling tumbleweed, a cloud’s shadow, can spook them into panic. When they make their way into the foothills for protection from storms or flood waters, they become easy prey for the marauders like wildcats. Rattlesnakes, chuck-holes that can snap a leg; there are torment of insects and diseases for which they know no cure — that is not freedom. They are captives without bars. Under those conditions they fail to achieve the level of life possible to them.

But in the care of someone who loves him, a wild horse can be literally transformed. He ceases to be terrified, develops a quick intelligence, and a character of strength, loyalty, pride of spirit and even sense of humor unknown in the wild.

That is what Christ offers us in exchange for our captivity, a loving companionship that liberates us and brings us to our true level of life. “if the son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).

He promises to make us free but not independent. We become free not like wild things but like children, under the watchful care of a loving father. That is true emancipation. In St. Paul’s words, it’s “the glorious liberty of the children of God.”

I hope you will exercise this important liberty on the great feast days of All Saints’ and the Feast of Christ the King but also join in the many activities that abound in November. For Worship: we have All Saints’ Day celebrated on November 1st at the 6:30am Eucharist in the Chapel; we will also commemorate this Feast Day on Sunday, November 4th at the regular Sunday Eucharists. We have on Friday, November 2nd All Soul’s Day with worship at noon and 6 pm. Don’t just turn your loved ones names in but come and be a part as we pray for them. We will anticipate Thanksgiving Day with a Eucharist on Wednesday, November 21st at 7 pm in the Church. Come give Almighty God thanks and praise for all the gifts he has given to us and our nation.

In outreach we have Operation Christmas Child. Shoeboxes are available in the entrance for you to fill with age appropriate gifts for a boy or a girl who would not have a Christmas without your love and care. As their brochure states: (Let them)” become Gospel opportunities that open doors to share the love of Jesus Christ with children and their families around the world.” Filled boxes should be returned no later than November 18th that they may be taken to the collection center and sent on their way.

On Sunday November 11th from 2 pm until 4 pm, we have the St. Alban’s Holiday Tabletop Tea sponsored by our own St. Alban’s Book- store. Not only is this a great time to socialize and introduce your friends and neighbors to St. Alban’s but the proceeds go to help support community ministries in Arlington and Tarrant County. Tickets are available every Sunday or from the Bookstore.

We also have the Advent Project. We ask you to please start bringing food or giving donations so that we may reach out to 10 families in Arlington and help them with meals for the holidays, and donations in order that funds may be available to help with a utility bill and/or their children may have a gift or two on Christmas Day. We will be wrapping the boxes for the food on Sunday November 25th at 9:15 am in the Parish Hall. There will be no Sunday School on the 25th so that you may have the freedom to join in this outreach project.

These are just a few of the things going on in addition to our regular scheduled ministries, education, and worship . Don’t forget to fall back an hour before you go to bed on Saturday night, November 3rd. Don’t forget that the Church Office will be closed on Thanksgiving Day and Friday. Don’t forget that Advent is just around the corner and we will have a fantastic Advent Lessons and Carols on December 2nd at 5:30 pm. Don’t forget the Bookstore already has Church Calendars for the New Year and Advent Candles for your Advent Wreath. Last of all, but yet first of all—exercise your freedom from the bondage of sin and our dependence upon our Lord, Savior, and King, Jesus Christ. And oh yes, don’t forget to vote.

In Christ,
Fr. K+

Permanent link to this article: http://www.saintalbans.org/2012/11/01/november-2012/

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