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Author: Dana Kramer-Rolls

Nicodemus

“One commentator said that at this point Nicodemus disappears from the narrative. Hardly. He is listening, finally. And when you listen you become quiet. You let what you hear seep deeply into you. Oh, Nicodemus is there, all right. And Jesus tells him the whole story. That the Son of God came to bring eternal life, a light, one which will guide those who are not evil, who know his name, who believe in him.”

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Are We Sleeping in the Garden?

“2020 is only half over. COVID cases are on the rise. People are edgy. Many are out of work. The schools and churches aren’t safe. And the great sin of systemic racism has hardly been touched. We have a lot that can put us to sleep out of fear and exhaustion. Or drive us to self-willed quick fixes. The only fix that will work is through Jesus in the Garden, submitting to his Father to bring the possibility of the Kingdom of God here on earth. And for that we have to stay awake, pray, and listen to the voice of God in our hearts.”

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The Sword of Peace?

“Most of the prophets were rewarded with death. Nobody likes to be told things they don’t want to hear, especially kings. But prophets are called by God, and serve God as faithful servants, and do not count the cost. So their reward comes from a place where no perishable thing exists, but in eternity. Still, as suggested elsewhere, no servant is above his master. Jesus is spat on, pelted with rocks, insulted, killed. Expect the same. And since all actions by any disciple reflect the actions, in honor or shame, of the entire family, whomever does even a little thing, offering water to the vulnerable, is doing it in the name of the Jesus family. Water. The water of life. The water with which you will never again thirst. The water of baptism. And from there Jesus and his own fanned out to preach the Gospel. We are also charged to do the same.”

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Humility, Service, and Change

“Right now, in the United States we are wrestling with systemic inequality, focused on systemic racism of the Black people who were enslaved in the U.S., and whose descendants can’t hide or pass, as others have (Jews, Irish, Italian), because of their skin color. We are marching, writing, gathering in study groups, reading, and looking inward in new ways. We are hearing angry voices. Cries to deconstruct the historical artifacts which extolled those who perpetrated this enslavement. Those whose ancestors lost the Civil War are angry. And Black people, whose ancestors were survivors of that war, and who are still being subjugated by law and practice, are angry. And here we are.”

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Peter and Paul: Two Lives Blessed by Penance

“The message is simple. Round up, care for, teach, and feed my sheep. We see it in the reading from Ezekiel where shepherd, sheep, and instructions for the care of them, are repeated 18 times (Ezek 34:11-16). A shepherd leads a hard life. Cold nights. Hot days. Little food. The pay is poor, the work is dangerous. Predators, poachers, bandits. You are always on watch. And you must especially care for the weak, the ewes, the lambs. It is not your flock, but your Master’s.”

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The Price of Freedom

Paul sums it up in the Epistle, Romans 3:21-31, righteousness through the Law and circumcision and the righteousness through faith of the uncircumcised, when he writes, “since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith.”

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Faith: What do we Believe?

“And that is hard. We study Scripture, pray, fast, receive the gift of the Sacrament, day in and day out, and serve, and we don’t see results. It is like taking an exam day after day and the grade is never posted.”

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Wrestling with Endurance in Time of War

“Jesus’ disciples, his chosen, his friends, were bullying her. Chasing her away. She was a Canaanite. Probably had the wrong gods. Unclean. Looked wrong. Sounded wrong. Smelt wrong. Couldn’t let her defile their Master. Annoying woman, and we know what female dogs are called. Is that why she quoted the folk saying about dogs under the table? Jesus lets it go on a little.”

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The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

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