Grace Episcopal Church
26 June 2013
This commentary is being posted a day early, in response to the important rulings of the United States Supreme Court about the power of the federal government allow or deny benefits and rights on the basis of how marital status has been defined under state law, and that those who challenged a court decision invalidating a California election initiative to define marriage did not have the legal standing to appear before the court.
As the debate inevitably heats up about how to define what is and is not considered (in the law, not in faith) a marriage, we will hear a lot about the nature of human union. Is this “organic” or “emotional,” or, indeed “experiential”. Regardless of what personal views a person may have on the issues presented, underlying all disputes in modern debate is a fundamental disagreement over what human life is for, about how we define human flourishing.
People of faith and secularists can both agree that each human being possesses a profound, inherent and equal dignity and is an end in himself or herself. But is the locus of the authentic self of each person a desiring mind (a secularist view)? If it is, then each person has the right to use his or her own body to pursue his or her own ends. If, on the other hand, the self is a dynamic unity of mind, body and spirit (as is taught, for example, in the apostle Paul’s writings), then this integrated person cannot separate his or her mind (and fears, desires, and feelings) from his or her body and spirit.
We are surrounded by a culture that accepts that the person may defined with reference to a desiring mind. That is why we are surrounded by messages—on television and in other media, in schools and universities, musical lyrics and videos, laws and judicial decisions—that assume a secular orthodoxy in which we are objects (for example) of sexual desire and satisfaction rather than integrated persons. The so-called sexual revolution has made people into objects, in the name of liberation!
No person is an object. Each person is created in the image and likeness of God, and we are redeemed by and through the offering of God’s only-begotten Son. God invests infinite value in each person. Whenever we argue over what human flourishing is, let us ever keep in mind that we are concerned with people, each one considered infinitely valuable to God, and so let us engage on a personal level and not by objectifying the other. Whenever we are tempted to use a label, let’s use a name. Both within the Church and in society, however you react to the decision of the Supreme Court, remember that in reacting to another person, or about another person, you are dealing with a person, someone and not something.
Grace Abounds: Please thank Dale and Mary Massey for the wonderful coffee hour. Please thank Pat Ford Smith and Jane Hanson for providing office coverage during Dcn. Michele’s attendance at continuing education.
Faith Alive: Faith Alive is coming to Grace! On September 20-22 Grace will be hosting a Faith Alive event. For those of you who have not heard, Faith Alive is a spiritual retreat held in the comfort of our own church and city. It will include numerous activities developed to bring our church closer together and ourselves closer to God and understanding the unique relationship we share with Him. More information will be shared throughout the summer to prepare you and your family for this valuable journey to strengthen your faith and unify our church family.
Episcopal Youth Community: Hello, welcome, and grace and peace.
This week our bonfire on the beach was winded out, but we still had a lot of fun! We instead met together in St. Nicholas Hall and had a family game night. We were a little bummed about the fire, so we built one in the hall. The only difference is that we used a lot of streamers and a fan tipped upward. It was beautiful. I look forward to our next adventure! Stay tuned.
Music this week:
Prelude Cantabile Franck
Entrance Hymn 518 “Christ is made the sure foundation” Westminster Abbey
Offertory Hymn 359 “God of the prophets” Toulon
Communion Hymn 550 “Jesus calls us o’er the tumult” Restoration
Closing Hymn 551 “Rise up, ye saints of God” Festal Song
Postlude Sortie in F Franck
§ Dcn. Michele will be attending The Washington Island Forum: for continuing education all week June 24 -28. The office will be open 9:00 am -12:00 pm.
§ Christmas is coming! Christmas is coming! No, really, our Christmas in July Red Kettle Campaign is coming to a kettle stand near you. In order to assist families in our area this summer, we are pulling out the familiar symbols of The Salvation Army - our red kettles. For several weeks, our homeless shelter has housed several families and their children. As the summer goes on, we expect to see even more. Need truly doesn't have a season and this summer is no exception. We hope you will help us make a difference for these families in need. On Tuesday, July 23rd, Grace Church will be ringing bells at Pick & Save - South – Sheboygan from 10:00am to 6:00pm - and we need you! Bring the kids, invite the neighbors and enjoy the sun. Help us provide assistance to area families in need this summer. There is a sign-up sheet on the table in the Narthex. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Nancy Yurk at 453-9948.
§ Bishop’s Retirement Celebration: Everyone is invited to attend the Celebration for Bishop Russ and Jerrie Jacobus Sunday, August 18, 2013 from 3:30 – 9:00pm at Homestead Meadows, W7560 Spencer Rd. Appleton, WI 54914. This will be a casual event including Hayrides & games, dinner, a program, concluding with a dance with a DJ. Please register at diofdl.org/celebration . The cost to attend is $10 for adults, $5 for youth ages 12-18 and children under 12 free. Please do not let cost be a factor in attending, assistance is available for all.
§ Bishop Search: For all information concerning the search for the eighth Bishop of Fond du Lac please go to bishopsearch.info.
§ Song of Solomon: It’s known the Bible provides great wisdom for righteous living and spiritual growth. But it can guide us in our dating, courtship and marriage relationships as well! Pastor Andy Shanholtz will guide married and engaged couples in this informative, 8 week study of one of the earliest known books on relationship advice. Class will be Monday evenings at the Great Marriages office, beginning Sept 9th. *Please note the new date!* Call 920-783-3660 for more information and to register.
§ Love Thinks: This program is for adults who want to make smart choices in dating including: individuals who have experienced a divorce and are dating again, never married singles, and anyone who wants advice on how to find a mate who is compatible for a healthy relationship. This one day, free and informative program will be held Sat, Sept 28, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Great Marriages office. Please call 920-783-3660 for more information and to register.