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At St. Paul’s: “Our primary mission is to relate to, and minister to people who are living on the edge, who seek God’s will for their lives, struggling to find direction and purpose in a society that can be violent, insensitive and money-grabbing.”  

Weekly Bulletin

July 24 Bulletin

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Memorial Day

So today is Memorial Day. We cherish the memories of loved ones. We visit

grave sites and honor those souls who have passed on before us. Most people 

take a day off. How about you? We may go to visit the memorial site for my 

brother, and then find a quiet place in nature and picnic and grill some veggie-
burgers. Taking some time away is good for the soul. The spirit says: nurture your 


What does it mean, “your soul?” Your soul is the place God is dwelling in . . . the 

place where I know I am loved by God. And I believe everyone in the world has 

a soul. That is why Jesus said: Love God. Love others. Love yourselves. Jesus 

said: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." The commandments 

that mattered most to Jesus were those two about loving God and loving 

our neighbor. And, we might add, he expanded our understanding of those 

commandments to include things like forgiveness, praying for our enemies, caring 

about the poor and the marginalized, and ordering our lives according to God’s 

plan, including our use of money. On the bulletin today I have left a blank space 

for you to draw a picture of a good neighbor; in action. What are things a good 

neighbor would do? Who do you think is a good neighbor? Draw that.

All this talk about love . . . and its unfortunate, but there are some people who 

don’t feel loved. I think about the homeless, the criminals behind bars, and also 

out on the run, waiting to be caught. And I also think about Orphans, or those 

who grew up in difficult situations, where love was not really expressed in a good 

way. And even if you grew up in a functional home, I know sometimes we forget 

that as children of God we are loved, and we all feel alone sometime. Sometimes 

in our lives we have that feeling of being so far away from any type of comfort or 

security; the family unit, the parent/child image to describe the feeling of security 

that children long for when they're left alone. Kids want to be reassured that 

someone greater, stronger, smarter is not only present but in charge. And they 

want to be reassured that this someone loves them.

 It's obvious that if you love your children, you're going to take good care of them. 

Perhaps Jesus' statement is in that same spirit. That since we are all children of 

God, we all desire that same kind of treatment.

Jesus in this passage, and Paul, in the passage we read before the Gospel, is 

speaking to a group and not to an individual, and preparing them for what is to 

come. Things are going to change, and change fast, and the disciples will have to 

learn quickly to walk the talk and "live what Jesus has taught and demonstrated in 

his own life, and they will find themselves once again in his love."

If we live and love as Jesus did, "we will live with clear consciences, with peace 

of mind, gentleness and reverence. The love that comes to us through the Spirit 

will overflow into the lives of others. We will be agents of God's love in the 

world....Our lives will be evidence of the presence of the Spirit in our midst." 

In this way, we become family. Not easy, but a necessary choice in this world, in 

this time and place. Actually, this may be quite difficult: we live in a world that 

is materialistic, competitive, and self-centered. The people around us often are 

full of empty promises, but we, as disciples, are called to be "agents of God's love 

in the world." We are called to be active in our faith and inspiring by our actions 

for everyday life. We are called to be good neighbors, so that other people will 

know we are Christians by our love. So maybe in that picture you are drawing you 

should draw yourself.

Because neighbors never leave neighbors alone. And we are not left alone; 

we are not orphans; we are "Easter people." This is the place where searching 

souls can find comfort, encouragement, and strength. The presence of God is 

felt here, and the spirit is active in our midst, inspiring and sustaining the life we 

share together, nourished for ministry in the world God loves. If we want to know 

whether we are loving Jesus, perhaps we can hold up our love for each other as 

the love that Jesus gave to us. 

St. Paul’s has become a family for many people who have no other family. People 

who never really fit in any place else, or never had a good loving family growing 

up; this church community becomes their family. Eric Jones was a person who 

found a family here at St. Paul’s. He had a family, but he when he came here, he 

was running away from the troubles in his past. He had burned some bridges and 

didn’t know how to reconnect. We just memorialized Eric yesterday. 40 people 

came here for a service and paid tribute to a faithful servant, a member of the 

family, and good neighbor.

Maybe you are not aware that we have a couple of other outreach programs 

that invite and encourage people to join us. Bellfaire Homeless Youth Outreach 

program is one such program. They recently put 30 mannequins dressed like 

teenagers out in the mall and Tower City. Very life-like; if you look at one of these 

mannequins, you wonder if it is a real person or not. And these tell the quick 

story of an unloved kid who has run away and can’t seem to find his or her way to 

a home that is filled with the loved they desire.

We also have a larger food program now. Jonathan Gray picks up food at places 

like the Food Bank and churches and delivers it to places that pass it out to those 

who are needy and in transition. It is an outreach program that focuses on food 

distribution. Its tentacles reach far and wide across the city.

So we become family. To me, this is what is meant by being a good neighbor. 

On the front of the bulletin is a space. I want you to draw a picture of a good 

neighbor. And we will put them together into a cover for next week. Because 

this theme of loving our neighbors as ourselves is going to continue, it seems 

important to me that we learn from each other how to do this. To be good 

neighbors. After all, it is a command directly from Jesus: “You must love one 

another as I have loved you.”