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June 8, 2004
Today's eMo is a pair of meditations on texts for this Sunday's Sermon. The second one provides a focus on the Church's ministry to the suffering through the work of Episcopal Relief and Development.

Preach It

I have something to say to you.....

Luke 7:39

Graduations, followed by ordinations: a new crop of preachers hits the church at this time of year. Welcome! There are just a few rules:

Don’t preach more than one sermon at a time. You’ll get another chance.

Don’t use Greek or Hebrew words gratuitously in sermons. If you need people to know you went to school, hang your diplomas on the wall of your office. Use foreign words only if they enlarge your meaning.

Don’t allude to people currently in the parish, or to members from the recent past. Not even in a complimentary manner. Unless, of course, you’re preaching at their funeral. Such things can come back and bite you in ways you can’t imagine and don't ever want to find out.

Don’t preach on topics you can't discuss without crying, Everyone mists up now and then, but you can’t break down crying in front of a paying audience. Until you can talk about it with composure, don't preach about it.

Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself, but never use yourself as an example of good behavior. You’re of much more use to people as a sinner than you ever would be as a paragon of virtue.

Don’t quote too much. You’re the one in the pulpit – give them your ideas, not someone else's.

And don't worry. Preaching is scary at first, but God doesn't bring all those people together on a Sunday morning so you can put them to sleep. Ask God to use you as a channel of the divine grace and then trust that this will happen. It’s God's will that they hear and grow as a result of what they hear. Do your best to prepare and then trust God for the rest. Never fails.


And here is the ERD meditation:

A Second Chance to Be a Child

It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.

Galatians 2:20

Twelve percent of primary school children in West Kenya are HIV positive. The overall populations infection rate is 33% --one-third. Neglect has proved as deadly a killer as the virus, leaving young people without reliable information about how to prevent infection, without essential training for the roles they must play as very young heads of households, leaving families without labor necessary to raise the food they need, teachers without resources to lead their students and their families in forming the community networks of support Kenya will need to overcome the epidemic.

Episcopal Relief and Development partners with the Inter-Diocesan Christian Community Service to counter the sin of neglect with programs of AIDS awareness and education for all members of the community, with an emphasis on young people and community leaders, as well as programs to support those who must care for infected family members.

AIDS in Africa is more than a medical problem; it infects every aspect of society, from farming to schools to local government. It shoves children prematurely into adult roles and robs them of the mentors they need. What devastated families can no longer do for children is graciously provided by Inter-Diocesan Christian Community Services, with the help of ERD.

We are blessed to be able to guide our children into adulthood. But those faraway sisters and brothers who have died before their children are grown silently remind us that we have the power to help their children get what they will need in order to grow up. It is not true that there's nothing I can do about something so far away, or nothing I should do about the results of a sin I did not commit. As terrible as it is, and as distant, through ERD I can reach around the world as the Church we are called to be.
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