St Alban’s Episcopal Church
Bolivar, Missouri

Saturday, February 19
“If it isn’t about love it isn’t about God.”

The Collect for Sunday

This image is a little bit quaint, and a whole lot true. It was intended as a Valentine, but it’s a pretty good visual for every day – and for Lent upcoming as well. All of what we call sin is summed up in this: the abandonment of love for anything else, especially the substitution of selfishness for love.

But love has to be taken out and looked at, occasionally, and sometimes “washed out” or “scrubbed off” to make sure a bunch of things other than love haven’t attached themselves to our love – like barnacles on the side of a ship.
That’s repentance. And it ought to be joyful. We really don’t want to cling to anything else – and we don’t anything else to cling to us, either, weighing us down.

It was freezing cold this morning at 8:30-literally. But the mood was warm, and many people honked or waved as they drove past us – I lost count after 21. That was love. But we also experienced love by those who believe we are wrong: The women of Southern Hills brought us bottles of water and hand warmers. And we did exactly what we wanted to do in that hour and a half – We smiled and waved and were friendly. We didn’t have a single negative poster, only words and colors of acceptance and welcome and recognition of belonging. And that, too, was love.

How strong is Love?
About the rise of Antisemitic incidents CBST Senior Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum says, “Our best response to antisemitism is to live more proudly as Jews, our best response to fear of being attacked in synagogues is to go MORE OFTEN to synagogue, our most powerful response to ugly hate is to be more and more full of love.”
About fear in Ukraine
And in Ukraine, people gathered in the snow to pray on a day of fasting and repentance for their country. To be more faithful under pressure – That is love.

And this morning the Diocese of Idaho elected Father Jos Tharakan to be the 4th bishop of Idaho on the first ballot. And that, too, was an exercise in love – and hope. Pray for him and Kimby, for the Diocese of Idaho, and for our St James, too. You can see the letter from Bishop Bruce about this on our facebook page, and hear Jos’ acceptance speech on the Diocese of Idaho youtube channel. Simply look for Diocese of Idaho electing Convention – then find his words at -22:22. (It’s easier to go backwards than to start at the beginning and go forward through the whole morning.)

To be this kind of community also requires love – the hard kind – not the sentimental sort.



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