The Rev. Jay Lawlor “The Least of These” sermon for Christ the King 2017 – St. John’s Episcopal Church, Speedway, IN

The Rev. Jay Lawlor preached on Christ the King Sunday 2017 at Saint John's Episcopal Church in Speedway, IN.

The concept of reconciliation is primarily relational and its being relational is rooted in conversion, forgiveness and making whole that which is broken.”

— The Rev. Jay Lawlor

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, US, February 28, 2018 /EINPresswire.com/ — The Rev. Jay Lawlor delivered a sermon titled “The Least of These” for Christ the King, November 26, 2017 at St. John’s Episcopal Church – Speedway, IN. The Gospel reading for the day was Matthew 25:31-46.

How most of consume our news has changed dramatically over the years. But my parents still have the Boston Globe newspaper delivered to their house every day. In fact, they are one of the only houses in their neighborhood still receiving daily delivery of the Globe. While it is a leading newspaper with a long history, my dad will tell you that the primary reason my parents still receive the Globe in printed form is for the comics.

My dad loves the funny pages. He always has. One of my enduring memories of growing up was my dad sitting at the kitchen table, eating breakfast, and reading the comics page in the newspaper before leaving for work. In fact, no matter where you were in the house, you knew when my dad was reading the comics – his laughter would filter throughout the house.

But beyond the comics was the news of the day. And that news often reported what’s wrong with the world. Reporting which often reflects the worst aspects of human nature. You don’t need to look very far to find stories of injustice.

Today we have numerous ways to have our news delivered to us. Print media from newspapers and news magazines, the digital, online versions of those news organizations, network television, cable news channels, and even social media. We live in a world with a 24/7 news cycle. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming.

The news is important. A free press is crucial to an informed citizenry and democracy. We need to be informed of what is going on in our world. We need to know of injustice to inform our responses as people of faith called to proclaim and work for God’s justice in the world. One such area of injustice is persistent inequality both here and around the world.

The exact type of injustice Jesus calls us to transform with God’s justice. This is important because it matters what people of faith say. It matters even more what people of faith DO…to be reconciled to God and each other. And reconciliation requires a change of attitude in relationship with God and others. The concept of reconciliation is primarily relational and its being relational is rooted in conversion, forgiveness and making whole that which is broken. […]

The full transcript of the Rev. Jay Lawlor's sermon is available at https://www.therevjaylawlor.com/least-sermon-rev-jay-lawlor-christ-king-sunday-nov-26-2017/

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The Rev. Jay Lawlor “Love Came Down at Christmas” Message for 1 Christmas, December 31, 2017 St. John’s Episcopal Church

Nativity scene. Image: Creative Commons License.

The Rev. Jay Lawlor was at St. John's Episcopal Church, Speedway for the First Sunday After Christmas 2017 to conclude his time as guest priest in the parish.

From the very beginning of Jesus’ life, God sets the example by which compassion becomes Incarnate.”

— The Rev. Jay Lawlor

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, US, February 28, 2018 /EINPresswire.com/ — The Rev. Jay Lawlor preached “Love Came Down at Christmas” on December 31,2017 as his final sermon as visiting priest at Saint John's Episcopal Church in Speedway, IN.

There are many famous popular Christmas songs and well known Christmas hymns. I’m not going to sing any of them for you, but I invite you to listen the the words from the following hymn:

“Love came down at Christmas, love all lovely, love divine; love was born at Christmas: star and angels gave the sign. Worship we the Godhead, love incarnate, love divine; worship we our Jesus, but where with for the sacred sign? Love shall be our token; love be yours and love be mine, love to God and neighbor, love for plea and gift and sign.”

These words are from the hymn “Love came down at Christmas,” by Christina Rossetti. While this hymn is not as well known as others, such as Silent Night, O Little Town of Bethlehem, or Away in a Manager, I find the lyrics to be a powerful and eloquent reminder of the tremendous miracle of this season.

Just stop and ponder for a moment, God loving the world so much that God chose to come and dwell among us in human flesh: love all lovely, love divine. In Jesus was made manifest the perfect love of God so that the world would know and share in God’s love. This is what the Incarnation is all about: LOVE. Lennon and McCartney were right when they penned “All you need is love.”

Without God’s love for us, there would be no need for Jesus’ birth. It is out of unconditional love for the human condition which God takes on human flesh. Love be yours and love be mine, love to God and neighbor, love for plea and gift and sign. Through our baptisms we enter into the miracle of the Incarnation as witnesses to God’s love for the world.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love “Jingle Bells” and Santa Claus as much as the next person – even if Santa is somewhat removed from the original story of St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra – a sermon for another time. But Christmas still offers Christians an opportunity to accept the invitation to receive God’s love, to experience the miracle of Jesus’ birth, and then share the outpouring of God’s compassion for God’s people and creation. Jesus is the Light of the World.

God being born in Jesus – to free us – is the most perfect act of self-giving love and sacrifice that the world will ever know. It is God’s heart so overflowing with love for God’s creation that it is love that cannot be contained – even, or especially, in face of a creation that has been trapped in rebellion against God and in conflict with itself. And God chooses to express this outpouring of love in a most peculiar way.

Jesus – God Incarnate – enters the world not in power, wealth and prestige; and without pomp, circumstance and fanfare; but in complete and utter vulnerability, humility and poverty. There is no one more vulnerable than a newborn infant who is birthed homeless, to a peasant couple in a remote town where they are refugees. The best that Mary and Joseph can do is to place Jesus in the animals’ feeding trough in the midst the filth and stench of a stable. Jesus’ entry into the world was rough . . . even by first-century standards.

From the very beginning of Jesus’ life, God sets the example by which compassion becomes Incarnate. God’s love is for ALL, no exceptions, and, nonetheless, it is to the lost and the least that Jesus most closely associates – and for whom God’s compassion is most clearly revealed. We only need to look to Jesus’ humble birth for clear evidence of this.

And who among us, at one time or another, has not been lost or felt least? And who among us has not encountered another soul that is lost or that has been beaten down by the tempests of life? And who among us has not seen, if we allow our gaze to pass their way, those suffering in poverty in a world of plenty? It is in humility that God comes in Jesus and it is to the humble that God first reveals the good news of Jesus’ birth. […]

The full transcript of the Rev. Jay Lawlor's sermon is available at https://www.therevjaylawlor.com/love-came-christmas-sermon-rev-jay-lawlor-1-christmas-year-b-dec-31-2017/

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The Rev. Jay Lawlor “Look to Jesus” Sermon for 3 Advent 2017 St. John’s Episcopal Church – Speedway, IN

The Rev. Jay Lawlor continued as visiting priest for the Season of Advent 2017 at St. John's Episcopal Church in Speedway, IN.

People shouldn’t listen to us because we, ourselves, have anything to say. Our role, like that of the John the Baptist, is to point the way toward Jesus.”

— The Rev. Jay Lawlor

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, US, February 28, 2018 /EINPresswire.com/ — The Rev. Jay Lawlor preached a sermon titled “Look to Jesus” for the 3rd Sunday of Advent, December 17, 2017 as visiting priest at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Speedway, IN. The Gospel for the day was John 1:6-8,19-28.

We have again this week a story of John the Baptist. This time as recounted in the Gospel According to John. The gospel’s authorship not to be confused with the Baptizer. The Gospel According to John was written in the late first or early second century in the Eastern Mediterranean by a group of Jewish Christians who had some connection to the Apostle John. At the time of writing the gospel, it is twenty to thirty years following the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and approximately six to seven decades after the death and resurrection of Christ. They are far enough removed from those events as to realize they are living in a new age – an age where the light of the world is already shining.

And in the Gospel According to John they tell of John the Baptist and his purpose: "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light." (John 1:1-6)

It is almost as if it were a trial and John is the main witness – whose testimony is key. In a way it was. In the Honor-Shame society of First-Century Palestine, John the Baptist came to honor Jesus. John the Baptist had a large following and people were coming to him to be baptized – to be initiated into John’s group. Questions arose as to who John was, and if he could be the Messiah. He wanted to set the record straight – to be clear about who was, and was not, in relation to Jesus. As recorded in the Gospel According to John:

This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” (John 1:19-20)

John the Baptist is perfectly clear that he is not the Messiah. He understood that his mission was to point the way toward the light of the world. A natural follow-up question would be who, then, is the Messiah? What did it mean for John the Baptist to be testifying as a witness to the light of the world?

New Testament scholar and Anglican Bishop, N.T. Wright suggests in his book The Challenge of Jesus that:
"It meant, according to [the Gospel of ] John, that Jesus would be lifted up to draw all people to himself. On the cross Jesus would reveal the true God in action as the lover and savior of the world. […] and because Jesus’ story reached it’s climax on Calvary and with the empty tomb, that we can say: here is the light of the world. The Creator has done what [the Creator] promised. From now on we are living in the new age, the already-begun new world. The light is now shining in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." (N.T. Wright, The Challenge of Jesus, pp. 177-178)

So John the Baptist was pointing the world toward Jesus. He was making ready the world to receive Jesus who is the light shining in the darkness. John the Baptist was telling those who questioned him that he is not the one they should be looking at. They were to look to Jesus. It is Jesus who is the Messiah.

We should hear John the Baptist speaking those same words to us as Christians today. It isn’t about us. People shouldn’t listen to us because we, ourselves, have anything to say. Our role, like that of the John the Baptist, is to point the way toward Jesus. […]

A complete transcript of the Rev. Jay Lawlor's sermon is available at https://www.therevjaylawlor.com/look-jesus-sermon-rev-jay-lawlor-3-advent-dec-17-2017/

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The Rev. Jay Lawlor “Awaken to God” sermon for the 23rd Sunday After Pentecost St. John’s, Speedway, IN

The Rev. Jay Lawlor continued as visiting priest at St. John's Episcopal Church in Speedway, IN on Nov. 12, 2017.

The common thread throughout all of Jesus’ teachings is that he has come to offer life to all according to God’s vision for the world.”

— The Rev. Jay Lawlor

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, US, February 28, 2018 /EINPresswire.com/ — The Rev. Jay Lawlor preached a sermon on the parable of the bridesmaids from Matthew's Gospel (Matthew 25:1-13) as an invitation to "Awaken to God" to "to lead us into right relationship with God and our neighbor."

Gospel parables can be tricky. There can be a tendency to read them as doctrine or allegories in which we assign certain roles. Who are the wise bridesmaids? And who are the fools? But can that cause us to get bogged down? Is it possible we could miss the point Jesus is trying to make?

The parables are instructive to us as Christians because Jesus is offering us teachings on how to live as disciples. Our brains are wired for stories/narrative and visuals. So Jesus told stories. He presented narratives, and created visuals for people to picture in their minds.

In today’s parable from Matthew, Jesus paints a picture of ten bridesmaids with their lamps. Five who brought extra oil with them to keep the lamps burning, five who did not. Even if we had never read this passage before, we can see where this is going. At some point, the lamp oil is going to become a factor. We just know it. And it does.

The five bridesmaids who brought extra oil are ready to go with the bridegroom when he arrives. They were prepared. They were ready when awakened. And what does Jesus say to the five bridesmaids who did not have enough oil – who had to go a buy more? “Keep awake!” Keep awake.

This parable is less about who were wise and who were foolish, and more about how we are all to live as disciples of Jesus. It isn’t particularly instructive to tease out who might be wise and who might be foolish. For such effort distracts us from Jesus’ concluding message: Keep awake. Jesus wants us all to awaken to God.

Throughout scripture God calls God’s people into relationship with God and others to live according to God’s principles; to work for God’s justice, peace, and righteousness. The common thread throughout all of Jesus’ teachings is that he has come to offer life to all according to God’s vision for the world. As followers of Jesus we are to awaken to God’s presence in our lives. As followers of Jesus we are to awaken to God’s mission for us. […]

The full transcript of the Rev. Jay Lawlor's sermon is available at https://www.therevjaylawlor.com/awaken-god-sermon-rev-jay-lawlor-23-pentecost-year-nov-12-2017/

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The Rev. Jay Lawlor “How Do We Hear the Parable of the Talents?” St. John’s Episcopal Church, Speedway, IN

The Rev. Jay Lawlor discussed the parable of the talents in sermon at St. John's Episcopal Church in Speedway, IN on Nov. 19,2017.

It is a parable about the way things often were in Jesus’ day, rather than the way things ought to be.”

— The Rev. Jay Lawlor

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, US, February 28, 2018 /EINPresswire.com/ — The Rev. Jay Lawlor discussed the context of the understanding of Rich and Poor in Jesus' day and how that may help us better understand the Parable of the Talents from Matthew 25:14-30.

The talents in the parable from Matthew are often used in our modern English language context and preached as a sermon on stewardship – it is that time of year in many congregations. It is also, if I’m being honest, the easier place to go for the preacher. There is less risk in talking about talents as our gifts from God and how we are to faithfully give back a portion in service to God.

While we are to give back a portion of our gifts to God – there are plenty of other examples of this in scripture. Today, I would like to invite us to consider this parable as it was most likely heard by its first hearers in Jesus’ day. We tend to read scripture – especially Jesus’ parables – through our current cultural context and norms rather than first understanding them in the context of the first century Roman Palestine of Jesus’ day. The context in which Jesus told the story.

But we miss some very big – and important – points Jesus is making if we rush to the place of our modern context. Our conversation needs to take a different direction if we are to be honest with the parable in both its original context, and application for Christians today.

The first thing to notice is that Jesus makes no mention of the scene he describes as being an allegory about the kingdom of God, like so many of his other parables. Absent is the “Kingdom of God is like…” which Jesus uses when he wants to tell us how his disciples are to be in the world. What we have is a story about a man going on a journey and leaving his property in the care of his slaves.

The property here are five talents, two talents, and one talent. A talent in the parable was the largest unit of currency in Jesus’ day, a single talent estimated to be worth about fifteen years’ wages for a day laborer. Needless to say, the man in the story is rich. Very rich.

The first two slaves go off and double the money that had been given to them. The third slave buries the one talent for safekeeping, so as not to risk losing it. Our modern contextual, capitalist, lens often interprets this parable as the first two slaves being faithful to what had been entrusted to them, and the third slave as lazy for not having produced a return on investment. The rich master in the parable certainly sees it this way – rewarding the first two slaves, and punishing the third slave as “wicked and lazy.” He then takes the one talent from him and gives it to the first slave and instructs that the third slave be tossed out as worthless: “As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” (Matthew 25:30 NRSV)

But is this how Jesus sees it? Is this how Jesus told the story? Remember, […]Jesus is not presenting the parable as like the Kingdom of God. It is a parable about the way things often were in Jesus’ day, rather than the way things ought to be.

The complete transcript of the Rev. Jay Lawlor's sermon, along with commentary notes, available at https://www.therevjaylawlor.com/hear-parable-talents-sermon-rev-jay-lawlor-24-pentecost-year-nov-19-2017/

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Maryrose Petrizzo to be Featured on CUTV News Radio

WILMINGTON, DELAWARE, UNITED STATES, February 28, 2018 /EINPresswire.com/ — Maryrose is a seasoned quality assurance professional and owner of Clinical Quality Assured a consulting business that provides good clinical practice expertise for the conduct of clinical trials within the pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, and medical device industries since 2015.

“Its focus is basically the subject safety and data integrity of experimental drugs investigated in humans,” says Maryrose. “There are numerous regulations and as an expert in these regulations it should be noted there is not just one method to comply which gives a lot of flexibility to companies and I assist them in recognizing the balance between complying with the spirit of the regulation versus the letter of the law, while maintaining business needs.”

Working as a chemist, Maryrose started her career in the environmental compliance area before transitioning into pharmaceutical compliance and when she began auditing clinical trials she thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and how every new drug and study is different and distinctive.

“It takes a minimum of ten years to get a new drug approved and there’s millions of dollars invested to conduct these studies,” says Maryrose. “However, its critical to conduct these clinical trials since we urgently need pharmaceuticals or devices to aid us with the maintenance of our health.”

Regulations have evolved tremendously in the 22 years Maryrose have been in the pharmaceutical industry with an ever increasing emphasis on safety.

“Don’t be afraid of clinical trials because of the exemplary way they are designed and regulated,” says Maryrose. “Clinical trials is one of the best tools for managing diseases because, you are monitored so very closely. and the quality of the health care and safety of the patients is generally exceptional, so I highly recommend anyone to get involved in a clinical trial so we can continue producing high quality drugs.”

Aside from her well regarded work conducting clinical trials Maryrose is also an ordained Roman Catholic Woman Priest.

“There are approximately three hundred ordained women throughout the world and although we are not recognized by the Vatican because they don’t believe women should be ordained,” explains Mary Rose. “But we have been called to serve by the community and unlike male priest we have no hierarchy when we get ordained we don’t take vows of obedience to the bishop like the men do. Consequently our communities are all equal with the priest being just one member of the community mainly present for spiritual leadership and everyone in the parish having a responsibility and accountability within the community.”

Maryrose was innately drawn to ministry since she was a teenager becoming active in the church and felt so thoroughly fulfilled from her work she later obtained her Masters in Pastoral care and counseling that was completely life changing.

“I must support myself, so I am a working priest unlike the institutional church, the male priests are given salary, health care benefits, and homes to live in but I pay all that myself,” says Maryrose. “I am so fortunate and extremely blessed to have a career that that affords me the opportunity to serve others in ministry.”

CUTV news will feature Maryrose Petrizzo in an interview with Jim Masters March 2nd at 10 a.m. EST.

Listen to the show on BlogTalkRadio.

If you have any questions for our guest please call (347) 996-3389.

Author: Beatrice Maria Centeno

Lou Ceparano
CUTV News
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Source: EIN Presswire

The Rev. Jay Lawlor Delivers Message “Love is Our Hope" for 21st Sunday After Pentecost

The Rev. Jay Lawlor preaching at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Richmond, IN

The Rev. Jay Lawlor returned as guest priest to St. Paul's in Richmond on Oct. 29, 2017

If what you have is love of God and love of neighbor, then those crowd out hate.”

— The Rev. Jay Lawlor

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, US, February 27, 2018 /EINPresswire.com/ — The Rev. Jay Lawlor delivered a sermon titled “Love is Our Hope for the 21st Sunday After Pentecost on Otober 29, 2017 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, Indiana. The Gospel reading was Matthew 22:34-46.

Again, this week, we have Jesus being challenged and tested by the Pharisees. One of them asks him about Torah-based moral principles guiding one’s life. They are challenging Jesus as to his knowledge of the Torah and living according to its teachings.

The Pharisee asks:“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:34-40 NRSV)

Jesus does not hesitate in his answer. It is love of God and love of neighbor which matter most of all. Everything else depends these two commandments.

Such a transforming answer. For Jesus, and for us. To love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself, changes us. It reorients our way of thinking, our way of doing, our way of being. If what you have is love of God and love of neighbor, then those crowd out hate.

So what Jesus needs most of all are ordinary people who are willing to love. It is, after all, ordinary people who do extraordinary things when living boldly into the love of God and love of neighbor. Jesus knows if you want something done, find a group of people who are willing to embrace the love of God and their neighbor – they will work to make that love known to the world. Don’t worry about the others who think they know better. Don’t worry about those who say it is foolish to put love first.

It is not foolish to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. It is the only hope we have. It is why Jesus started a movement of God’s unconditional love.

In April, the day after Bishop Jennifer’s consecration, the Presiding Bishop preached at St. David’s, Bean Blossom. Bishop Curry is one of my favorite people in the Church. Not because he is Presiding Bishop. Not even because he was my bishop when I served in the Diocese of North Carolina when he was still diocesan bishop there. Bishop Curry is one of my favorite people in the Church because he loves Jesus and is not afraid to tell the world that it is God’s love that matter. He is not afraid to tell the world that it is loving our neighbor as ourselves that matters. And as he told those worshiping at St. David’s during his sermon in April, “In the end love wins.”

Bishop Curry also pointed out that “[…] we have a world that is trying to tear itself apart. We have to love it back together.” Those trying to tear this world apart are missing the crucial understanding that God loves. But we are not to despair. Bishop Curry doesn’t despair. He doesn’t despair because he knows a fundamental truth about God and those who take up Jesus’ message to love as God loves. As Bishop Curry reminded them – and the whole Church, “When we love, God shows up.”

The full transcript of the Rev. Jay Lawlor's sermon is available at https://www.therevjaylawlor.com/love-hope-sermon-rev-jay-lawlor-21-pentecost-year-oct-29-2017/

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The Rev. Jay Lawlor encouraged “Be Good News” at St. John's Episcopal Church, Speedway for 22nd Sunday After Pentecost

The Rev. Jay Lawlor began two months as visiting priest at St. John's Episcopal Church in Speedway, IN on Nov. 5, 2017.

Jesus wants his followers to focus on God and serving others to lift burdens, not add to them.”

— The Rev. Jay Lawlor

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, US, February 27, 2018 /EINPresswire.com/ — The Rev. Jay Lawlor preached his first sermon as visiting priest at Saint John's Episcopal Church in Speedway, Indiana on November 5, 2017. The Rev. Lawlor's message was "Be Good News" to the world.

Perhaps we have heard the phrase “Do as I say, and not as I do.” Perhaps, especially if a parent, we have used the phrase ourselves a time or two. It’s in keeping with “Because I said so.” Admittedly, not the best positions to find ourselves in. They are phrases of last resort when we don’t have anything else better to say; when we find ourselves at a loss as to how to respond.

But such phrases, if we are honest, bear a burden. They bear a burden on those receiving the words by placing expectations on someone else that the speaker of the words do not hold themselves to. But it also points to burdens for the speaker – whether they realize it or not. Burdened by their own behavior which contradicts their own words, or teachings.

This is the situation which Jesus addresses in today’s Gospel lesson from Matthew.

Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. (Matthew 23:1-4 NRSV)

The Scribes and Pharisees – Jewish religious leaders, teachers; with pastoral responsibilities to the Jewish people – are not doing as they teach; they are not practicing what they preach. And Jesus warns the crowds and his disciples to listen to what the Scribes and Pharisees say when it comes to their teachings about the Torah, but do not do as they do because that is not in keeping with the Torah.

It is a strong condemnation of the behavior of the Scribes and Pharisees by Jesus, and a warning to his followers to not be like them. For the Scribes and Pharisees “They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. (Matthew 23:4 NRSV) The Scribes and Pharisees are creating burdens for others – those trying to survive by laboring to earn meager livings, already oppressed by the Roman government.

Rather than serving the Jewish people, the Scribes and Pharisees make their lives harder – all while wanting it to be easy for themselves. And wanting to be honored and praised. As Jesus tells the crowds and his disciples:

“They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi.” (Matthew 23:5-7 NRSV)

Phylacteries are small black leather boxes containing passages from Scripture, including the Shema from Deuteronomy – Hear, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One. (Deuteronomy 6:4 NRSV), the Great Commandment to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and the Ten Commandments. The Phylacteries are strapped to the forehead and left forearm for Jewish morning prayer. The fringes are like tassels on Jewish prayer robes. Jesus comments that the Scribes and Pharisees make the phylacteries larger than they need to be and the fringes longer than they need to be. The Scribes and Pharisees want to be noticed – to be “showy.”

So there is a distinction between liturgical garments and seating to conduct worship, and the reason for such things, which Jesus is making. His point is that the Scribes and Pharisees want to be honored and respected in a way that places the emphasis and focus on them, not God. They teach of God’s word from the Torah, but do not live according to those teachings themselves.

They teach the words found in Deuteronomy – words placed in the Phylacteries they wear for prayer: Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. (Deuteronomy 6:4-6 NRSV). Words from Scripture which contain the Great Commandment, words which God commands for them to keep in their hearts, and, yet, the Scribes and Pharisees do not.

So Jesus tells the crowds and his disciples to listen to the words, and obey the words, but do not live as the Scribes and Pharisees do because they do not live according to the words they teach. Rather they want the focus and honor to be on them, and they burden the people while they want life to be easy for them.

Jesus wants his followers to focus on God and serving others to lift burdens, not add to them. We all, at one point or another, bear burdens in our lives. Illness, care-giving for a family member, addictions, struggles with learning, financial distress, and the list can go on. And we have our collective societal burdens with natural disasters, violence, injustice, oppression, and toxic politics. […]

The full transcript of the Rev. Jay Lawlor's sermon is available at https://www.therevjaylawlor.com/good-news-sermon-rev-jay-lawlor-22-pentecost-year-nov-5-2017/

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Shamanic Practitioner Amanda Foulger to be Featured on CUTV News Radio

TOPANGA, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, February 27, 2018 /EINPresswire.com/ — There has been a renewed interest in shamanism in our culture, particularly in recent years. Shamanism is an ancient system for healing, well-being, guidance and growth using human abilities of body, mind and spirit. Shamanism is the oldest form of spiritual practice we have on earth and has been practiced in many traditional cultures.

In a traditional culture, a shaman is a person who knows how to enter non-ordinary reality in an altered state of consciousness to deliver spiritual help and healing for others. Cross-culturally, shamans learn how to connect with wise and compassionate resources there to bring information, healing, guidance and growth – to help people to move forward.

Amanda Foulger is a practitioner and teacher of core shamanism, a senior faculty member of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies. She provides private shamanic healing and counseling to address the spiritual aspect of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual conditions. In traditional cultures, shamans have been said to heal with the eyes and hands of the heart.

“We humans have the capacity to access non-ordinary reality,” says Amanda. “The work I do is a very practical way to address some of the common problems and issues of human life. Shamanism is useful in that it enables us to recognize that we are not just having a physical life and that we are not alone.”

Amanda says people visit her for different reasons. Some simply want to have a shamanic experience or to confirm the reality of such personal experiences. But most have an issue – physical, mental, emotional or spiritual that they need help with. Some have a sense of calling, and need support and training.

“Early in life I had some experiences and perceptions beyond this reality.” Amanda first became interested in shamanism following an early spiritual emergence experience. Gradually she realized “I wanted to do something with it to help people.” She studied in various spiritual traditions – Hinduism, Buddhism and Sufism. But it wasn’t until she was introduced to the work of Michael Harner, founder of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, author of the influential book "The Way of the Shaman,” that she dedicated herself to the practice.

“Michael introduced contemporary shamanism to the West,” says Amanda. “Initially he had experiences as an anthropologist living in shamanic cultures in South America over several years. Subsequently he visited shamanic cultures in different parts of the world and did extensive ethnographic research. He determined these peoples had knowledge that was valuable and needed to be reintroduced in our modern world.

“We need to learn ways to reconnect to the creative power of the universe to be embodied within ourselves and to live in harmony with all beings. Shamanism enables us to find a place of spiritual freedom and independence,” says Amanda. “The word ‘inspiration’ means to be inspirited. It's not being a victim, it's being an active participant in your life. I think these experiences are deeply moving and inspiring. They can be game-changers for people.”

CUTV News Radio will feature Amanda Foulger in an interview with Jim Masters on March 1st at 1pm EST.

Listen to the show on BlogTalkRadio. If you have a question for our guest, call (347) 996-3389.

For more information on Amanda Foulger, visit www.amandafoulger.com.

Lou Ceparano
CUTV News
(631) 850-3314
email us here


Source: EIN Presswire

The Rev. Jay Lawlor “We Belong to God” Sermon for the 20th Sunday After Pentecost, October 22, 2017

The Rev. Jay Lawlor preached and presided at Grace Episcopal Church, Muncie, IN.

Jesus sees right through their scheme. He knows it is a trap. And Jesus’s next move is brilliant.”

— The Rev. Jay Lawlor

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, US, February 27, 2018 /EINPresswire.com/ — The Rev. Jay Lawlor preached the sermon titled “We Belong to God” for the 20th Sunday After Pentecost, Year A on October 22, 2017 while visiting Grace Episcopal Church in Muncie, Indiana. The readings for the Lectionary were Isaiah 45:1-7; Psalm 96:1-9; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10; and Matthew 22:15-22.

The Pharisees went and plotted to entrap Jesus in what he said. So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians […] (Matthew 22:15-16a NRSV) From the very beginning of today’s passage from Matthew, we know that the Pharisees are trying to set a trap for Jesus. They even try to create a perfect trap by including the Herodians. A temporary alliance of adversaries. Both opponents of Jesus, but the two groups did not like each other.

Pharisees were religious purists. The Torah was very important to them. They opposed paying taxes to the pagan Roman regime, especially because Caesar claimed divine lineage. The Herodians supported Herod, Israel’s ruler, who served at the pleasure of Rome. But Jesus was a threat to both groups, so they conspire to entrap him with a question about paying taxes to Caesar.

There were strong feelings about paying taxes to Rome, and differing opinions depending upon the group one was associated with. So the debate about paying taxes to the emperor – the question posed to Jesus, was not theoretical. And the answer could have dire consequences.

This was a seemingly genius plot to entrap Jesus. No matter how Jesus answered, he would be in trouble with either Rome or the Pharisees. If Jesus objected to paying the tax, Rome could arrest him. If Jesus consented to paying the tax, the Pharisees could charge he was breaking the Torah. This was especially tricky because the coin contained the image of Caesar – which could be seen as idolatry according to Jewish Law, and the inscription on the coin read: “Tiberius Caesar, Augustus, Son of divine Augustus.” More than a little problematic to be complicit in such a pagan claim by using the coin to pay the tax.

The Pharisees and Herodians had devised the perfect trap – or so they thought. They begin by offering false praise to Jesus, thinking they will more easily lure him into the trap: “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality.” (Matthew 22:16b NRSV)

Then they ask the question that they believe Jesus can offer no good answer: “Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” (Matthew 22:17 NRSV) In asking ‘is it lawful?’, there are two things going on. Hence, why it seems such a clever trap. The Pharisees are asking if paying the tax to the emperor is in keeping with the Torah. A tax they argue is not in keeping with the Torah. The Herodians would be asking if one should obey the Roman law to pay taxes to the emperor. The Herodians, likely with assistance from Roman soldiers, at the ready to arrest Jesus if he advocates for not paying the tax to Caesar.

Jesus sees right through their scheme. He knows it is a trap. And Jesus’s next move is brilliant. He asks to see the coin used to pay the tax. His response after seeing the coin is a clever avoidance of the trap. Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:20-21 NRSV)

The full transcript of the Rev. Jay Lawlor's sermon is available at https://www.therevjaylawlor.com/we-belong-to-god-sermon-by-the-rev-jay-lawlor-20-pentecost-year-a-oct-22-2017/

The Rev. Jay Lawlor
The Rev. Jay Lawlor
317-296-3852
email us here


Source: EIN Presswire