Today's eMo is really two different meditations on texts that will be heard in many churches this Sunday. The first is the usual sermon preparation eMo. The second, intended for preachers who wish to focus their congregations' attention on the Church's ministry to those who suffer, explores some aspect of the work of Episcopal Relief and Development. As with all the eMos, preachers and teachers are welcome to borrow, with the usual attribution. No further permission is necessary.
Get Behind Me!
Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things, but on human things.
Well, that's a bit strong. All Peter was trying to do was save his friend's life. Who among us would not have given someone we loved the same advice? Jerusalem?!? Now?!? Are you crazy?!?
Sometimes the people you love do foolish things for no good reason, and you will move heaven and earth to try and stop them. In the end, you may not be able to stop them, and you will have to watch them reap what they have sown. In the end, the best you can hope for may be that the whole experience has been an unforgettable lesson
And sometimes, someone you love takes a terrible risk for something very important, fully aware of what might happen. Again, perhaps, you move heaven and earth, and again you may not be able to stop it. And so you must watch as actions you have warned against yield to their consequences.
This time, though, the watching is very different. This time, the one doing most of the learning is probably you. You learn how brave he is, something you may not have known before. And you learn -- again -- that even the most potent love does not empower you to control the actions of another, that the really important things in life are far too important to entrust to another's decision. Even yours.
You want life with your beloved to go on forever, but it will not. If you try to protect your world as it is, to the exclusion of all else, you will lose all the joy of it while you are doing so. And, in the end, you will lose your world anyway.
We cannot cling to safety. We cannot make our whole life about being safe. We cannot clutch it to our chests -- if we do, we will not have our arms free to embrace the world for the little time we have to live in it and love its life. It will be over. And we will have missed it.
Psalm 26 or 26:1-8
And here is the ERD eMo:
Waters That Fail
Truly, you are to me like a deceitful brook, like waters that fail.
School is starting! For our kids, that means new shoes and clothes, exciting purchases of clean paper and new pens, rulers, virginal erasers. Ready for a change, the kids drape themselves over the living room furniture and talk about which teachers they will have this fall, who will be in their classes, what they will wear on the first day. We listen to their excitement from the kitchen, and feel a bit of it ourselves: we, too, are ready for a change.
There is a primary school in the village of Choka in Tanzania, and the parents of the village are like us: committed to an education for their children. Prayerful: She will have the education I did not receive, she will have an easier life than I have, she will have more choices than I had. But the excitement of the start of school in Choka has always been mixed with frustration: the children miss too many days of school. They fall ill with dysentery and other communicable diseases children get when sanitation is poor. And sanitation has been poor in Choka: the water source is two kilometers away. The women and girls of Choka have had to walk that distance and carry the heavy jugs of water back home: no school that day. You don't waste water you've carried that far on your head, and so careful handwashing has often felt like a waste of water.
But this year will be different. There's an immense new rainwater storage tank in Choka, built by the Anglican Diocese of Kondoa in partnership with Episcopal Relief and Development. It's right next to the school. All you have to do is turn the faucet.
It won't be hard to get your kids into the bathtub the night before the first day of school: they'll be too excited to resist. And their little counterparts in Tanzania have reason to be excited, too: going to school will be a more dependable part of their lives this year. They won't be sick as much. And the girls won't be carrying water for miles and miles each week: they'll be in class.
Want to see the children of Choka in their school uniforms? They are standing by the new water tank.
To learn more about ERD, to make a donation or to volunteer, visit www.er-d.org or telephone 1-800-334-7626, ext 5129.