In this our 50th episode of Pulpit To Pew, Rev. Beverly Gibson shares one of her memorable moments from her summer sabbatical and family trip to Europe. Rev. Gibson introduces us to the “Wonder Worker of Britain,” Saint Cuthbert, the Bishop of Lindisfarne and patron saint of Northern England. A visit to Cuthbert’s Shine is said to awaken our awareness of the Benedictine Monasticism that is a part of the Church of England heritage in the Episcopal Church. This Benedictine Monasticism core value – The Care of Persons – are in our Episcopal DNA. This Care of Persons is a guideline of how we are to treat all people:
- Harmony and unity
- Generosity to all
- Rejoicing in Christ in all things
- Putting on a garment of Christian righteousness
St. Paul describes this Care of Persons core value in the Epistle lesson this week with his letters to the Philippians (Phil. 4:1-9). This high ideal and value are essential to our Church mission of stewardship.
What is the lesson from the Gospel reading of The King’s Banquet? Rev. Gibson explains to Johny that our gift is not the invitation but the acceptance of the offer. But, there is a catch with this all-inclusive gift. To stay at the feast, we must adhere to the King’s rules (Matthew 22:1-14.) Christians must do more than show up. We must put on the garments of Christ, like the pious St. Cuthbert did oh so many centuries ago. We must start to start living like Christ, walk in his ways and always work to take care of others. Can we begin to see all people as Christ did? And lastly, what if we saw everyone as important as how the followers of Cuthbert preserved and cared for his famous coffin, remains and legacy?
Lastly, Rev. Gibson asks us to start seeing that we Episcopalians are more than just a Reformation Church. We have a long a deep history, revered Saints, legends, stories and family legacies that make up the DNA of our traditions, rituals, and faith. This awareness of the overall larger picture of God’s Kingdom and creation and connecting our spiritual past could be a common thread to strengthen us individually, our parish, diocese, and the whole Church.