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THE RECTOR'S DESK - The Rev. William D. Oldland
||Revenge or ...
I have recently noticed a number of news stories concerning attacks on people who appear to be of Middle Eastern descent who live in the United States. These stories include some young men dragging a man into the street and beating him, an old man using a car to attempt to run over a woman in Arab dress crossing the street, and some college students spitting on and shouting obscenities at other students on campus. I have no doubt the aggressors believe they are simply "getting even" for the tragic events of September 11th. I would even bet some of them are quoting scripture verses like "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." They might even say the Bible supports them in seeking revenge for the actions of the terrorists.
However, they are not seeking vengeance in the Biblical sense. They are seeking revenge from a worldly point of view. The world's view of revenge is to get even or get back. The commandment might be written, "Do unto others before they do unto you." This form of revenge is often fueled by hate and fear. Some people get angry and they do not know how to deal with their anger. As a result they shove the anger deep down inside them. Deep down inside the anger grows like a cancer into hate. An event triggers that hate and causes it to come forth, causing hurt and pain. Almost always the person or people hurt did not cause the initial anger.
While some people hurt due to hate, others hurt from fear. People are afraid something else will happen. People are afraid for the lives of others and for their own lives. Media coverage has not helped allay these fears. In some cases they have only made it worse. Fear and hate have resulted in many people being hurt who have no connection with the death and pain felt across this country. Many of these people are innocent. They are as innocent as the people in the World Trade Center and in the Pentagon.
In the Old Testament scriptures we see a great deal about vengeance. Vengeance was not seen as revenge. Vengeance was an appropriate response to an event where someone was wronged. In essence vengeance was to apply to the person who committed the wrong and not to the hurting or killing of innocents. In addition, we read stories where God does not allow revenge by human hands. God claims the right and only right of vengeance. God will take care of a just and right response for the wrongs of others.
Jesus takes it one step further. We are told in Matthew 5:38-48 to love our enemies. We are reminded that we are not to take revenge on our enemies. Instead we are to pray for our enemies, Does this mean people who commit comes against others should not be caught and punished? By no means. What it does mean is that we are not entitled to revenge. We are not given the right to exact a toll on innocent people because we are angry or fearful.
Today we might take the opportunity to ask God to help us with our anger and our fear. We may ask God to help us with an appropriate response to aid us in dealing with these emotions. We might give blood. We might help with a service project. We might aid someone who needs assistance. Helping those in need is a good way to cope with our fears. We might even ask God to help us pray for our enemies, even though it may be difficult. Finally, we might take the opportunity to pray for the protection of those people who will attempt to bring the planners of the attack to justice.
May God continue to bless us and bless our country as we search for answers and for appropriate ways to respond.
|Income: May 2001||Expense: May 2001|
Please try to keep your pledge payments caught up. Thank you.
*A complete financial statement is displayed on the bulletin board next to the Vestry Meeting room.
HEALING SERVICE with Anointing and the Laying on of Hands and the Holy Communion, every Wednesday at noon in the chapel.
On Wednesdays beginning September 12 at 6:30 p.m. in the Church, an additional service will be added.
Everyone is welcome!
Thoughts on Stewardship
. This past month has been a difficult one for the members of St. Thomas parish. On Saturday, September 1, we heard the shocking news of Bill Reilly's death. For those of us who knew Bill and spoke with him as he cooked hamburgers and hotdogs for our opening day of Sunday School, it is a loss that is not easy to comprehend. Then, with the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, we literally had the feeling that our world had been turned upside down.
There have been many questions and, I am sure, some angry debates with God as to how any of this could have taken place. As awful as we feel about what has happened, as Christians we know that God is working through our brokeness and sorrow. This is how our faith carries us. Our congregation mourns the death of one of its finest but has drawn strength and hope from the love and affection Bill had for our church and for everyone of us who are its members.
Our nation has been shaken, but because of the courage of many brave hearts, we are infused with a strength and resolve that we have not experienced in quite some time. The examples of the firemen, policemen, medical technicians and volunteers who persevered and, in some incidences, died to save others have greatly moved us.
I do not believe, as do some of our so-called 'religious leaders," that God made all of this happen because of our sinful nature. If that were the case, we would have been gone long before now. Instead, God is present in all hearts that are open and allow him to enter. As believers, our faith tells us that God will be by our side no matter what happens. It is up to us to choose whether or not we will live our lives in that faith.
The events that transpired on September 11 will change many aspects of our day-to-day existence. However, we now have been given the opportunity, and really the grace, to decide what will be different about our way of life. Hopefully, we will choose to love more, to be more giving, to be more thankful and to reorder our priorities. Jesus'words about "storing up treasures in heaven" now begin to take on even more significance.
October 10 Marian Safriet
Meeting @ Dot Ferneyhough's home
November 14 Jeanne Horsley & Mavis Simon
St. Mary & St. Teresa of Avila
The Vestry meets on Monday October 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the Vestry Room.
October 2 Dell Hodges
Jo Mitch Martin
October 3 Mitchelene Martin October 4 Katherine Fraser October 6 David Zoernig October 9 Hugh Fraser October 10 David Gentle
October 11 Bobbie Martin
October 13 Heather Gentle
October 14 Kathy Gentle October 15 Melody Moore October 16 Parker Graham October 21 Jay Donecker October 22 Matthew Trent October 23 Ethan Alexander Carlson
Jimmy Trotter, Jr.
Leslie D. Phipps
John M. Yeago, Jr.
October 24 Adam Wilson
October 25 Betty Whitsett
Burton Rankin Balsley
October 28 Deborah Davies October 31 John W. Yeago
Food Donations for the Reidsville Outreach Center
Fourth Sunday Each Month! - October 28 - Canned Vegetables
"Sunday School planning is in full swing!
Tiny Saints will be meeting every Sunday of each month in the Parish House. Children ages 2-6 are invited to participate in this 45 minute session on Episcopalian traditions. The children sing songs, have a child's version of the day's lesson and a litany. There is also craft time and a snack. The children are returned to their families during the Peace for communion. Questions? Call Leslie Phipps.
Dear St. Thomas,
Dear Friends at St. Thomas,
Dear St. Thomas,
Dear St. Thomas Pastoral Care,
Thank You Very Much
Beginning in September, newsletter articles need to be in our office by the 20th of each month. Thanking you in advance for your cooperation.
|Everything is going well with the Day School. The Preschool is full with 15 students and the Kindergarten has seven. We have just completed our first fundraiser. Fall plant sale, which was a huge success. Thanks to all who worked so hard.|
|Our preschool class began 9/4 -
we are full to the brim (11 boys and 4 girls!) and off running I We've begun the year
learning more about ourselves. We've weighed and measured (only the kids, though!!), made
"me" dolls, learned all kinds of things about our school, and had friendship
day. We are now working our way through our five senses.
I thank God for each of these precious boys and girls and continually ask Him to give us the best of years as they are in our care. May He make each moment so special for them and may all these moments add up to a strong foundation for their spiritual, mental, physical, and social growth!
Wish list: if, per chance, anyone has either of these items at home in a closet collecting dust, we could use them there at school. We would be happy to write you a receipt for your donation (for tax purposes).
35mm camera w/flash (one that I could actually load and operate!)
tape recorder (for use in recording the children)
|After what happened on Tuesday, September 11th , we all should reflect on God's Goodness and count our blessings. The Bible says in Psalms 34:8 "Taste and see that the Lord is Good." The Lord has been so good to each one of us in so many ways. Have we been good in return? The Bible also says in II Chronicles 7:14 "If my people which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their son, and will heal their land." After examining this verse, we are left with one question. If we would have been in one of the planes, or in one of the demolished buildings, would we have been ready to meet our Heavenly Father face to face?|
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