On the night before he died, Jesus spoke to his disciples in the upper room and tried to prepare them for all that he would suffer. During the Last Supper, Jesus told them: “It is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7). They say that people don’t waste their breath with trivialities when they know death is imminent. Jesus urgently wanted his disciples to know that after his death, he would send the Advocate (the Holy Spirit) to them.
We all love parades, don’t we? We can’t get enough of the large floats, huge banners, loud music, dressed-up people, and outlandish characters all competing for our attention and hold it for as long as possible. Sometimes, we watch unmoved; other times we might be moved to join in the fun. That is why parades are always public.
In “Call It Grace,” author Serene Jones relates a pivotal point growing up when her grandmother, Idabel, had shown her a copy of John Calvin’s 1559 version of Institutes of the Christian Religion. So important was this book that Idabel would not allow Serene even to touch it. Idabel explained that Serene’s grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather had all turned to this book for comfort and clarity:
During the Thirty Years War, the deadly plague raged throughout Europe, until in 1633 it reached even the tiny Alpine village of Oberammergau. During the next six months, so many villagers died of the Black Death that the townspeople took a solemn Vow—if God would release them from the plague, they would perform once every 10 years the story of the Passion of Christ. From the moment the Vow was taken, no one else in the village succumbed to the plague and so the first Passion Play was performed in 1634.
Today’s readings feature the well-known story of the Prodigal Son, wherein a young man takes money from his father in order to lead a life of debauchery, but when the money runs out he returns home willing to take the lowest place in the household, only to find that he’s fêted and celebrated instead, much to the chagrin of the Other Brother.
Today’s Gospel concerns Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well. Jesus and his disciples were traveling through Samaria (an area not extremely friendly to Jews). Jesus stayed in the center of the town and sat down by a well mid-day because he was tired. While he waited a Samaritan woman approached the well. As she approached, Jesus asked her for a drink of water. This was very unusual.
Saint Clement stewardship stories have been reformatted to focus on the three Anchors that relate to stewardship: Pray, Serve, and Give—as embodied by Saint Clement parishioners. This new edition of Steward Stories will feature parishioners involved in one of the above Anchors three times a year.