|The Rev. David Lynch; Rector; Episcopal Church of the Resurrection; Blue Springs, MO
|From the Rector . . . August 12, 2016
Message from Fr. David
On Thursday, Friday and Saturday of this week I have been attending a training conference for Police Chaplains. Serving as a chaplain for our local Fire and Law Enforcement departments is an important consideration for me as I grow into our Blue Springs community. I am not yet a chaplain and will not likely apply to serve as a chaplain that takes calls until my growth with our parish has gained some greater tenure and when Debbie and I finally secure a residence within our community. The training however is an important step for my preparation and consideration for the future.
To serve as a chaplain will provide benefits not only to our parish, but also as an outreach to our community. The association with our community law enforcement and fire/medical first responders can and will reflect positively on Resurrection Church. I have been asked by the present chaplains to consider this opportunity and to help the Blue Springs community, as there is a need for more clergy to participate. I responded by saying that I will engage in the formal training and will work toward serving only after I have grown into our parish life and the community. I shared in discussion with our Vestry and have their support to pursue this community service with the caveat that I get more settled as your rector.
The training session have proven to be valuable to me already, especially to get a better perspective of just how needed it is that there is a spiritual outlet available to the officers and other first responders. The chaplain role is that of listening and providing emotional, spiritual and personal support of officers, firefighters and medical personnel in the line of duty. It is not a role to proselytize or to preach to them. The chaplain's role is a support role of presence and guidance when there is a need. Chaplains are primarily there for the police and first responders as they deal with difficult situations where a chaplain may be more trained and prepared to help the community (and the first responder family). Such examples include: public death notifications, critical stress debriefing, line of duty death [LODD] counseling, and to be a resource and liaison to the public when needed.
This is a troubling time for first responders and especially our law enforcement agencies as they struggle to be better received by the communities they serve. Chaplains can be a needed resource to help bring the public and our police officers together. Any involvement by me will be voluntary, unpaid and in an ancillary role. I am not looking for more work to be busier than I already am, but I do feel a calling to serve those who have been called and are committed to serve all of us in are most difficult times in crisis.
I ask for your prayers as I further discern how God may be calling me to this service and to reflect on how this is an outreach from our Resurrection parish.
The Feast of the Virgin Mary
On Monday August 15th, we will pay honor to Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus Christ our Lord and God, which goes back to the
earliest days of the Church
. Indeed, it goes back further, for even before the birth of her Son, Mary prophesied, "From this time forth, all generations shall call me blessed."
The New Testament
records several incidents from the life of th
e Virgin: Her betrothal to
that she was to bear the
the mother of
John the Baptist;
the Nativity of our Lord; the visits of the shepherds and the magi; the Presentation of the infant Jesus in the
at the age of forty days; the flight into
visit to the Temple when Jesus was twelve;
the wedding at
and the performance of her Son's first miracle at her intercession;
the occasions when observers said, "How can this man be special? We know his family!";
an occasion when she came with others to see him while he was preaching;
her presence at the foot of the Cross, where Jesus commends her to the care of the Beloved Disciple;
and her presence with the
in the upper room after
, waiting for the promised Spirit
She is thus seen to be present at most of the chief events of her Son's life.
Besides Jesus himself, only two humans are mentioned by name in the
. One is
from 26 to 36 AD. That Jesus was crucified by order of Pontius Pilate pins down the date of his death within a few years, and certifies that we are not talking, like the worshipers of
, about a personification or symbol of the annual death and resurrection of the crops. His death is an event in history, something that really happened. The other name is that of Mary. The Creeds say that
was "born of the virgin Mary." That is to say, they assert on the one hand that he was truly and fully human, born of a woman and not descended from the skies like an
On the other hand, by telling us that his mother was a virgin they exclude the theory that he was simply an ordinary man who was so virtuous that he eventually, at his baptism, became filled with the Spirit of God. His virgin birth attests to the fact that he was always more than merely human, always one whose presence among us was in itself a miracle, from the first moment of his earthly existence. In Mary, Virgin and Mother, God gives us a sign that Jesus is both truly God and truly Man.
The genuineness of these appearances is not official
doctrine. It is perfectly possible to reject all such appearances as delusions.
Little is known of the life of the Virgin Mary except insofar as it intersects with the life of her Son, and there is an appropriateness in this. The Scriptures record her words to the angel Gabriel, to her kinswoman Elizabeth, to her Son on two occasions. But the only recorded saying of hers to what may be called ordinary, run-of-the-mill hearers is her instruction to the servants at the wedding feast, to whom she says simply, indicating her Son, "Whatever he says to you, do it."
This we may take to be the summation of her message to the world. If we listen to her, she will tell us, "Listen to Him. Listen to my Son. Do what He tells you." When we see her, we see her pointing to her Son.
If our regard for the Blessed Virgin does not have the immediate effect of turning our attention from her to the One whom she carried in her womb for nine months and suckled at her breast, to the Incarnate God, the Word made flesh, then we may be sure that it is not the kind of regard that she seeks.
A right regard for her will always direct us to Him Who found in her His first earthly dwelling-place.
ritten by James Kiefer.
O God, you have taken to yourself the blessed Virgin Mary, mother of your incarnate Son: Grant that we, who have been redeemed by his blood, may share with her the glory of your eternal kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.