Rev. Shirley D. Heermance
"YOUR VOTE IS YOUR VOICE"
DID YOU USE IT?
Election Day now in the past, I hope you exercised your right to vote. We know that there is still a lot to be determined. As some of the US governing body have been elected, let us wait patiently for the total results. Thank you for taking the time, however you voted, to letting your voice be heard through this election series. Let us pray that whoever will ultimately be seated, across the country, will be a people who earnestly love this great country and who will, without discrimination, seek to serve in the capacity to which they are elected.
I pray that God will continue to bless America, that He will help us to find our way to unity and to civility, one with the other, regardless of race, color, gender, or creed. And I pray that His peace will bring us freedom from civil disturbances, from prejudices and hate, so that harmony will prevail across our lands.
No matter the outcome, if you voted, you used your voice, and I want simply to say "thank you" for not keeping silent in such a time as this.
YOUR VOICE YOUR VOTE USE IT!
Across America people are gearing up to vote! There are many crucial issues waiting to be decided, not by a selected few, but by every eligible American of voting age. Don't allow yourself to be convinced that your vote doesn't count, it is one of the most valuable things that you possess. For sure if you don't cast it, you will have wasted it. So, no matter your party affiliation, race, age, gender, social status, religion, and all ... just remember your vote is your voice ... and the nation needs to hear from you too!
If I might take just this moment to ask you to please pray, it seems there are so many things to pray for. All across America and the world there are devastating things impacting the world's populace. In various places destruction moves across the land, seas, and the sky. It is hard to tell if the earth has declared war upon humanity, even as people continue to war one with the other. These are some amazing times, please ... I say ... please, won't you pray?
Annual Conference Season
PRAY FOR THE 15TH SESSION
MIDWEST ANNUAL CONFERENCE
On Wednesday September 14th the Fifteenth session of the Midwest Annual Conference will convene with the Women's Missionary Society and Women In Ministry annual meetings. Members of the Conference will travel across the states of Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska to meet on Thursday with The Rt. Rev. Clement W. Fugh, Presiding Prelate of the 5th Episcopal District, so to give account for the 2021-2022 conference year. Please pray for those who will travel across the various states for God's travel mercies, asking God that none will meet accident or tragedy. Aks that our God will allow for the Conference to be a time of enlightenment, that will inspire clergy and lay alike to press forward in our local and connectional ministries. Please pray for our Presiding Prelate and Supervisor, as they lead us throughout this week, asking that God will strengthen them and continue to empower them as our Episcopal leadership. Pray that God will keep us safe from harm, that as we gather in person, we will choose to safeguard one another, that we will strive to ensure that all that we do will be pleasing in the sight of God. Remember those who will not be able to travel, thankful for 5IT, ask God to allow for our virtual spaces to transmit and receive properly. Remember our sick and shut-ins and ask God for His divine favor concerning those who will yearn to be at the upcoming Conference but will not be able to attend because of their health. And as you pray, offer your petition in the precious name of our Redeeming Savior, Jesus our Christ.
I WANT TO GO TO HEAVEN
I'M NOT IN A RUSH TO GET THERE!
Have you ever heard someone use the expression above? Perhaps it was a member of your church, a family member, a Christian friend, or perhaps even you. I think it a very interesting concept, in that, as Christians, we all know that every human being is appointed to die one day. We don't really have any control over the when or the how, just that one day, something is going to happen, and our physical hearts will stop, our souls will leave our bodies, and mortal life will end.
This year has been one of many unexpected departures, of loved ones and friends, into the realm of Heaven. We have talked about death a lot, at various times this year, and I've heard this expression made several times. Every time I heard it, I had the one response, if you want to go, don't be so concerned about when, just be ready when it's your times.
When I think the value we place on mortality, even at its worst, I try to envision how wonderful immortality will be. Sometimes when I think through the promises made concerning Heaven, I also wonder if the sentiment of not wanting to rush to get there is a bit concerning in itself, especially as a Christian. Why wouldn't we be anxious to get to Heaven, with everything we believe about it?
Well, this is the conclusion of that thought, I do so very much want to go to Heaven, and today I'm also not in a rush to get there ... I'm more concerned about being ready to stay when I arrive. I know in order to be ready; I must then let every day that I have to live on this side of life count for glory. For only then will I be able to dash into the beauty of life everlasting! I know that each new day is a new opportunity to get my mortal life fitted for immortality. So, I'm just going to take the time (long or short) God is giving to me to get there.
IS FREEDOM SCREAMING TO BE FREED?
Now that America has celebrated both Juneteenth and Independence Day I wonder if there is a sense of real freedom ringing from sea to shining sea, or is true freedom yet to be achieved? Though it may feel like it has for some, I contend, with every passing day freedom continues to evade us in so many ways. Wars are looming and pending across the globe. Hatred and bigotry, nationalism, racism, xenophobia's of all kinds are seeming to be the rule of the day once again.
The great civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer noted that "nobody's free until everybody's free." and the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. put it this way: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality." That means both slave and the slave owner, the oppressed and the oppressor are all mutually bound to the same chain, and unless both are free neither are.
Is Freedom screaming to be freed from the ills of human trafficking, child abuse, spousal abuse, or from gender bashing? Is Freedom screaming to be freed from poverty imposed upon the many, while the few works to keep it all? Is Freedom screaming to be freed from the evils that have crept into the lives of many devout people who seem more devoted to money, or politics, or personal gain, than to the God of all creation? Is freedom screaming to be freed from the tyranny and cruelty of autocrats, by the subjugations and burdens imposed by the elite, by governing bodies, by courts, by institutions (secular and religious), by traditions, and customs that were and are established to keep people from being truly free?
Now that the 2022 freedom parades, concerts, firework displays, and etc. are all behind us, what do you think, is America the "Land of the free", or is freedom being prohibited across America and our world from the ability to ring?
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
So many things have transpired, in such a short time, throughout the United States of America and around the world. There is so much that disrupts the opportunity for humanity to peacefully exist one with the other, until life seems to be no more than an act of trying to survive from one day to the next. We oft times get caught up in the tornadic spins of human beings hating one another, of human greed and deceptions that impact the lives of the unexpecting and those unable to protect themselves from the predatory behavior that is forced upon them, by the viciousness of greedy and deceptive people. Too often our lives are fractured by the boisterous winds that blow in the dictates of single persons, or massive groups of people whose personal desires, inflicted upon others, have caused untold violence to blow out of control around the world. Unprovoked wars, unsuccessful coup attempts, the lust for power to lord over others continues to grow around the world. So much human energy seems to be spent on keeping our species at odds with one another, you might wonder if we are capable of living peacefully with ourselves. Even nature seems to be rising up globally in unpredicted and devastating ways. Firestorms, floods, hurricanes. earthquakes, turbulent winds, tsunamis, and other disasters caused by nature, have left whole communities like ravaged war zones.
Over and over, we protest over one thing or another, as our basic human rights. Some argue, for example, the right to carry guns, while others the right not to be killed by guns. Some protest for gay rights, and civil rights, and the right to life, and no matter what side of the coin they protest from some seem not to be as focused on the quality of all human life as they are their cause for protest. The fight between Church and State continues to wage, and still with all our religious beliefs and governmental legislation nothing seems to affect the kind of change that will cause the human race to move toward peace with itself.
Now I ask you, what do you think it's going to take to change this human condition that we are caught up in?
DREAM THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM
Isaiah 54:1-10 MSG
St. Luke 12:29-32