People who study death have found that a simple truth reigns: when you come to your end, you will never think, “Boy, I wish I had spent more time in the office,” or, “Gee, I’m really happy that I gave up so many Saturdays with my family.” Instead, the needs are more basic. You need to say, “I love you,” to somebody, and also, “I forgive you,” and “I’m sorry.” At the end, you’ll be left only with your rapidly diminishing human self. Guard and care for that beautiful and individual human self that is you—and guard and care for the beautiful and individual human selves that are others.
Our Gospel reading for Sunday is the scariest part of the Gospel of Matthew, and the last reading in this lectionary cycle. In Matthew’s Gospel, and to us, Jesus’ last address is judgment: did you care for people? Did you feed them when they were hungry, clothe them when they were naked, visit them when they were locked up? Did you care for the people you didn’t even like, and did you look for people you couldn’t see? It’s insanely practical: see a need, fill the need. No grand theories, no treatises—see the need, fill the need. See the beautiful, individual person and help. Do we do this?
Thanksgiving, we hope, is a time, a brief time, when our basic human needs are filled. Hopefully you can sit with someone you love, eat enough food, and rest. Hopefully you’ll be able to laugh and cry and remember the goodness of God. My family is going to put up some paper on the wall and we’re going to write down things we love, things that are good and true, and things want to thank God for. We need to do it, and we’ll probably end up saying to each other, “I love you, I’m sorry, forgive me, I forgive you.” And Lucy will probably just want more pie. So will I, for that matter. I better make extra.
A couple of announcements:
Fall Ball: Thank you to everyone who volunteered, performed, set up, took down, and simply came to have fun. Rough numbers look like we grossed about $12,000. I’m not sure what expenses need to be deducted, but it looks like this was our most successful Fall Ball yet.
Advent Fair: We are doing something different with the Christmas Tree Sale this year—we wanted instead of a craft market to do a community event that really is about Advent and the coming of Christ. We’ll still sell the Christmas trees, since that’s actually a ministry and people have come to rely on us so they can get their tree, but we won’t have vendors. Instead, we’ll have St. Martin’s Cafe and activities: caroling at 11 am and 1 pm, cookie baking, a photo booth where you can take a holiday photograph with your family, crafts, and an Advocacy Table, where you call and write your members of congress to work on behalf of the poor and the outcast. We hope it will be a break from the relentless commercialism of the season, and a way to recenter yourself in Christ. It’ll be 10am-3pm on December 9th.