The newly forming St. Patrick’s Men’s Group will begin meeting this coming Tuesday, April 19, from 6:45 to 7:45 a.m. at the church. There will be coffee and light breakfast. We’ll pray, reflect on the readings for the day, discuss how things are going, and work on plans for making this get-together a recurring activity.
This Sunday we’ll hear a conversation among present and former St. Patrick’s parishioners who have spent a half hour a week helping a first-grader at an exceptional school in Dublin: Daniel Wright Elementary. You’ve seen the notices in the Sunday News and Breastplate. Now come and hear what actually happens once you’re inside the school, sitting with a first-grader!
This Sunday is the second in a series on Resurrection. Last week we talked about the way our culture looks at resurrection and at the stories of the empty tomb – none of these stories were compelling evidence that led the disciples to experience resurrection. That experience came in relation to the other set of stories in the gospels – the appearance narratives. This Sunday we will look closely at a few of those.
A discussion on how our culture views the idea of resurrection and how the authors of the gospels present the story of the empty tomb. Skepticism is one of the common themes that connect both the doubts of our present time and the gospels of the church. Bring your questions.
The Rev. Stephen Smith, St. Patrick’s, Dublin, Ohio
To borrow a phrase, I have a dream. I have a dream that this nation will live up to the truest meaning of its creed; that the differences of opinions we have, in the midst of the balance of powers in our government which our constitution has created, were not meant to divide us into factions but rather to assist us to work together that we might form a more perfect union.
I have a dream that all people will be treated with dignity and respect; that we will not need political correctness or even conceal carry permits because we will learn that violence, in any form, whether verbal or physical has no place in human interaction. All people will respect one another, treat one another with dignity, and value one another as children of God.
I have a dream that all children will be raised by people who love them and they will be taught by schools and raised in communities that long for each and every young person to live into the fullest of his or her potential.
I have a dream that businesses will be allowed and encouraged to created jobs; and that we will begin to see work as the holy transformation of our world into a better place. I dream these jobs will pay enough to hold body and soul together, so that those who serve us our food do not have to face the irony of applying for food stamps, and those who empty our bed pans do not find themselves on Medicaid, and those who do the most basic construction jobs aren’t forced on to a waiting lists for section 8 housing.
I have a dream that war and terrorism will be seen as outmoded and useless ways of conducting foreign policy; and that people and nations will strive for mutual self determination and peace.
I have a dream that this fragile earth, our island home, will be seen as a precious gift that we have an obligation to preserve for future generations.
I have a dream that the religions of the world, rather than killing each other over disagreements of doctrine or belief, will search out what they have in common, will work together for the betterment of humanity, and will help all people reach for and discover a connection with that infinite majesty we call God.
To borrow another phrase, you may think I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. In fact, these dreams I have just shared I would dare say are the dream of God. That’s what I see when I read the Old Testament prophets and what I hear when Jesus tells the parables of the kingdom. They dream about a better day when all these conditions I just described become a reality. It is what the theologian Verna Dozier called the dream of God.
And it is into this dream that Jesus has entered. In the resurrection he woke from the slumber of death and into the reality of God’s dream. Theologians NT Wright and Marcus Borg (one a conservative scholar and one a liberal) used to do a series of lectures together on the meaning of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. They could never agree on what actually happened at the time of the resurrection (what actually took place in the tomb), but they did agree on what ultimately happened to Jesus, that he entered a new kind existence from which he calls us to newness of life. He calls us to wake from our nightmare and dare to dream the dream of God.
But we’re afraid. What if the dream doesn’t come true? And, after all, we’re so far from it now. The world is a mess, with crazy people claiming the name of God in their violence, with everyone in this country angry about our political process. Maybe it’s better to settle for what exists rather than dare dream for what might never be.
Charles M. Blow in a recent column from the New York Times hinted at this when he lamented “the End of American Idealism.” Pointing out that we have given up so much of our hopes for a better world and at our best we have settled for mere expediency, and at our worst we have given ourselves over to conflicted extremism.
Whether it’s expediency or extremism does not matter because both are empty tombs; where death dealing ideas about humanity, economics and politics think they have the final word. In response, Christian idealism says, no, not now, not ever. For we who worship the risen Christ have seen in his resurrection a glimpse of a better world. We have been given hope. We have been given strength and power. And we have glimpsed the dream of God in the risen Christ. That’s what we mean when we say Alleluia, Christ is Risen! We mean that we can see a better world, and if we can see it and dare to dream it we just might make some of it happen. Alleluia! Christ is Risen!
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