Saturday, June 30, 2007

Listening to the Bible

In his book And God Spoke: The Authority of the Bible for the Church Today author Christopher Bryan has this to say in Chapter Ten, "Listening to the Bible":

What then should we do? What will the church look like, when it takes the authority of scripture seriously? First, the church will attend to the voice of scripture in the same way that we attend to any voice whose concerns and opinions we take seriously: which is to say, the church will listen to it. The church that truly acknowledges the authority of scripture is not the church that shouts loudest about the subject or makes the loftiest declarations.

It is the church that reads and listens to scripture, bathing in it and absorbing it, at the daily office and at the eucharist, in public prayer and in private, in Bible classes and study groups, lay and ordained, day by day, week by week. This can hardly be said too clearly.

Of course we believe that there are other sources of divine revalaton than the Bible: "the heavens declare the glory." Yet it remains that this is the text we privilege above all others, and therefore to its voice we pay special attention.

For three years at The University of the South School of Theology, I had the privilege of studying New Testament with Christopher Bryan. He taught us that the Bible invites us into a relationship with God which is not for the faint of heart. I highly recommend his very readable book.

In peace,


The Rev. Linda McCloud
The Episcopal Church of our Savior at Honey Creek

Friday, June 29, 2007

Saints Peter and Paul

Today is the Feast Day of Saints Peter and Paul. They each had their own groove on how to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the faith of the Church. They did not always see eye to eye. Peter saw himself as being an apostle to his Jewish kin. Paul was an apostle to everyone else.

We commemorate them today because of the Church's tradition that Peter and Paul both died in Rome in 64 A.D. as martyrs under the persecution of the Emperor Nero.

Almighty God, whose blessed apostles Peter and Paul glorified you by their martyrdom: Grant that your Church, instructed by their teaching and example, and knit together in unity by your Spirit, may ever stand firm upon the one foundation, which is Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

In peace,

The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Standing Against Heresies

You might call him a "spiritual grandson" of St. John, the disciple and apostle of Jesus Christ. Irenaeus, whose name means "the peaceable one" learned Christianity as a student of the venerable Polycarp, bishop and martyr of Smyrna. Polycarp had known John the Evangelist.

John's Gospel makes it very clear that Jesus was both human and divine. John talks about Jesus as "that which our hands have handled, of the Word of Life." John was probably wording his Gospel in such a way as to stand against heresies that were already taking shape. Among the heresies that he would have dealt with would have Gnosticism, which denies that Jesus came in the flesh. Irenaeus had to deal with the same heretical thinking in his own day.

It is believed that Irenaeus was a teenager when he took the Gospel to Lyons in southern France. He stayed there and accepted his role in the formation of the Christian community. He became a major spokesperson for keeping the church on track with the Gospel as handed down to him by Polycarp and by John before him. Irenaeus' most famous writing is The Refutation and Overthrow of Gnosis, Falsely So-Called , commonly known as Against Heresies.

It is believed that Irenaeus suffered a martyr's death in approximately 202 A.D.

Almighty God, you upheld your servant Irenaeus with strength to maintain the truth against every blast of vain doctrine: Keep us, we pray, steadfast in your true religion, that in constancy and peace we may walk in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

In peace,

The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Ox-cart and the Supersonic

And you shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your father know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but that man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord. Your clothing did not wear out upon you, and your feet did not swell, these forty years (Deuteronomy 8:2-4).

God wandered "these forty years" with his people to know what was in their hearts and to teach them that one "does not live by bread alone. . . ." What an inefficient investment in order to teach this much of the truth of God!

No matter how important the truth is, wasn't there a more efficient way? God is the almighty Lord of history. Why didn't and couldn't God act far more majestically and with amazing efficiency? Would it not enhance God's glory before all the people? Why didn't God short-circuit history and liberate Godself from all the troubles, inconveniences, and inefficiencies of "walking history" with the people?

"The people stood and stared while their rulers contined to scoff, saying, 'He saved other people, let's see him save himself, if he is really God's Christ -- his chosen!'" (Luke 23:35) Jesus did not come down from the cross. He refused to free himself from the cross, and by doing so he refused to disengage himself from sinful human history. In this way, he forcefully demonstrated that he was "God's chosen!"

God does not cut Godself off from human history. Because God is love, God became a nomad "for these forty years." God demonstrates faithfulness by protecting even "your cloth" and "your foot." (What a nuisance! What a chore!) God's care extends to all people who are journeying in the desert. God refuses to give up, no matter how "inefficient" the divine work becomes.

The Lordship of God has a historical substance. God speaks to both the "ox-cart" and the "supersonic" people, because he speaks to the innermost need of people.

----- Kosuke Koyama, Water Buffalo Theology,Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition

In peace,

Linda +
The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Prayers for Peace

Statue of St. Francis of Assisi
Christ Church Cemetery, St. Simons Island
Photo by Linda McCloud+

With wars raging in many parts of the world, it is time once again to focus on praying for peace. On Monday evenings at Evening Prayer, this is the prayer for peace that I pray:

Most holy God,
the source of all good desires,
all right judgments, and all just works:
Give to us, your servants,
that peace which the world cannot give,
so that our minds may be fixed
on the doing of your will, and that we,
being delivered form the fear of all enemies,
may live in peace and quietness;
through the mercies of Christ Jesus our Savior. Amen.

And of course we think of the Prayer attributed to St. Francis:

Lord, make us instruments of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is discord, union;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that we may not so much
seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that
we are born to eternal life. Amen.

In peace,


The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Birth of John the Baptist

Today, six months before Christmas, is the feast day of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist. It is hard to imagine that this preacher in the wilderness who survived on locusts and wild honey ever drank mother's milk. But like all of us he had a tender beginning. John was born to parents who were thought to be too old to have a child.

He was a miracle baby. Of course he was received with amazement just as all babies should be. But he left behind all those stages of infancy and childhood as he grew into God's call on his life. John was "the great forerunner of the morn" who pointed everyone to his cousin Jesus. May we go and do likewise.

In peace,

The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Raging Storm

Jesus had just crossed the Sea of Galilee with his disciples. A sudden storm had come up and tossed boat while Jesus was asleep. The boat was filling with water. The disciples panicked and woke Jesus. He stilled the wind and the waves and there was a calm.

When they arrived at the shores of Genessaret the village madman, screaming and naked, met them. There was a storm raging in this man's life, because he had a "legion of demons." Jesus cast out the demons and when the townspeople came out to see what had happened, they found the man in a state of great calm. He was behaving as a disciple. He was "sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind."

This "Gadarene Demoniac" as he is known, was such a quick study as a disciple that Jesus commissioned him as a missionary right then and there. "So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus has done for him." (Luke 8:39b) He had a tough job, because these people knew him as a madman. Now they would get to know him as one who went about telling all the good things that Jesus had done for him. He offered living proof of God's grace. In our Gospel reading for today (Luke 8:26-39), we celebrate with the former madman the grace that God has for all of us.

In peace,

The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Value of Worship

One of the core "values" at The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek is worship. Intentional attendance at worship, in particular weekly participation in Holy Communion, will be the center of our life together as a church. From this shared experience with God and with each other we receive the strength to live out our Christian faith in our everyday lives.

This week at Honey Creek I have experienced a different aspect of worship. That has been the daily singing at Camp Saint Gregory, at which young children are taught that they can sing. Every night at 9:00 p.m. we have worshipped together by singing at Evening Prayer. Last night we had a candle light service and the chapel was aglow with candles in amazing configurations.

Even the singing rehearsals have been worshipful experiences for me because "those who sing pray twice."

In peace,


The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Feast of St. Alban

Today is the feast day of St. Alban, the First Martyr of Britain, who is believed to have died in approximately 304 A.D., although that date is in dispute among scholars.

History records that Alban was a Roman soldier stationed about twenty miles northeast of London. The city (Verulamium) is now known as St. Alban's. Alban sheltered a Christian priest who was fleeing persecution, and the priest converted Alban to Christianity. When the authorities came to his house to arrest the priest, Alban switched clothes with him and submitted to the arrest. He was subsequently put to death for his faith.

Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr Alban triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death: Grant us, who now remember him in thanksgiving, to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world, that we may receive with him the crown of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, for ever and ever. Amen.

In peace,


The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Taste and See

In Morning Prayer today we have Psalm 34, the 8th verse of which tells us to taste and see that the Lord is good. Usually we think that we can look and see, but in Holy Communion we can taste and see that the Lord is good. So I offer this part of Psalm 34 for your consideration:

I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall ever be in my mouth.

I will glory in the Lord;
let the humble hear and rejoice.

Proclaim with me the greatness of the Lord
let us exalt his Name together.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me out of all my terror

Look upon him and be radiant,
and let not your faces be ashamed.

I called in my affliction and the Lord heard me
and saved me from all my troubles.

The angel of the Lord encompasses those who fear him,
and he will deliver them.

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
happy are they who trust in him!

In peace,

The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Advice to Priests

Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch in Syria, who lived from approximately 35 A.D. to 107 A.D., gave this advice to priests as he was on his way to Rome where he was thrown to the lions because of his Christian faith:

The Presbyters also should be compassionate,
merciful to all,
turning back those who have gone astray,
caring for all who are sick,
not neglecting the widow,
the orphan, or the poor,
but always taking thought
for what is good before both God and others,
abstaining from all anger, prejudice,
and unfair judgment,
avoiding all love of money,
not quick to believe a rumor against anyone,
not severe in judgment,
knowing that we are all in debt because of sin.

And so if we ask the Lord to forgive us,
we ourselves also ought to forgive;
for we are before the eyes of the Lord and of God,
and everyone must appear
before the Judgment seat of Christ,
each rendering an account of himself.
And so we should serve as his slaves,
with reverential fear and all respect,
just as he commanded,
as did the apostles
who proclaimed the gospel to us
and the prophets who preached,
in advance, the coming of our Lord.
We should be zealous for what is good,
avoiding stumbling blocks,
false brothers,
and those wo carry
the name of the Lord in hypocrisy,
leading the empty-minded astray.

That is really good Biblical advice from someone who gave his life for the cause.

In peace,


The Rev. Linda McCoud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Prayer for Wisdom

Reflection of sun with seaweed
beach at St. Simons Island
photo by Linda McCloud+

In The Imitation of Christ, written in approximately 1441 by Thomas a` Kempis, we have this prayer which still speaks to those who seek God:

Strengthen me, O God,
by the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Make my inner self strong,
and empty my heart of all
useless anxiety and distress.
May I not be drawn away by conflicting desires,
be they worthless or prized,
but may I consider them all
as passing things and
I too as passing with them.
Nothing under the sun is lasting here
where all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
Oh, how wise is the person who thinks this way!

Give me, O Lord,
heavenly wisdom that
more than anything else
I may learn to seek and to find you,
to taste and to love you above all things,
and to understand all other things as they are,
as your wisdom has ordained them to be.
Give me discretion to avoid
those who puff me up with flattery
and the patience to bear with
those who work against me.
It is great wisdom not to be tossed
thither and yon by windy words
nor to give ear to the falsely flattering serpent.
May we each go confidently
along the path he has started! Amen.

In peace,

The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

Monday, June 18, 2007

Camp St. Gregory

Jack Noble White

This week at Honey Creek Camp and Conference Center I am privileged to be working with Camp St. Gregory. This is a music camp for children ages 8-10, which for many years has been led by Author and Composer Jack Noble White. Mr. White does not teach children to sing. He teaches them that they can sing.

This will be the third time I have worked with this annual camp, and it is always amazing to me to watch the transformation in these children. Mr. White starts on Sunday evening with raw recruits, and by graduation the next Saturday, he has them singing on pitch and clapping in rhythm.

Welcome back, Jack.

In peace,

The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Tear Bottles

You have noted my lamentation;
put my tears into your bottle;
are they not recorded in your book?
Psalm 56:8

Our Gospel reading for today is about the woman who crashed a dinner party to get to see Jesus. The story (Luke 7:36-50) tells of Simon, who had invited Jesus to dinner. Contrary to custom, Simon had not offered Jesus any water with which to wash his feet. The woman "stood behind Jesus and washed his feet with her tears, and dried them with her hair."

Simon was quick to point out that this woman was a sinner, and Jesus was quick to point out that Simon was not a very good host. I would like to point out that it would have taken a lot of crying right there on the spot to produce enough tears to wash Jesus' feet. I wonder if she had extra tears from previous bouts of weeping stored up in one of those "tear bottles" like those pictured above.

Beyond the lavish treatment of Jesus in washing his feet, the woman (whose name we do not have) broke open an alabaster jar of ointment and anointed Jesus' feet. It must have felt good to Jesus to have ointment on all the cracks and fissures in his feet from walking the dusty roads. Amazingly, Jesus allowed this public display of affection as the woman "continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment."

This just got on Simon's nerves. Jesus told Simon a parable: A certain man had two debtors. One owed him five hundred denarii (about eighteen months' wages) and the other owed him fifty (less than two months' wages). When they both could not pay, the creditor forgave them both. "Which one", asked Jesus, "will love the creditor more"? Simon had to concede that it was the one who had been forgiven more.

And Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace."

By the way, did you know that you can still purchase tear bottles?

In peace,


The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Holy Communion

What follows is a portion of "The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles" which is believed to date from the second century:

Celebrate the eucharist (Holy Communion) as follows: Say over the cup: "We give you thanks, Father for the holy vine of David, your servant, which you made known to us through Jesus your servant. To you be glory for ever."

Over the broken bread say: "We give you thanks, Father, for the life and the knowledge which you have revealed to us through Jesus your servant. To you be glory for ever. As this broken bread scattered on the mountains was gathered and became one, so too, may your Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into your kingdom. For glory and power are yours through Jesus Christ for ever."

When you finish the meal, offer thanks in this manner: "We thank you, Holy Father, for your name which you enshrined in our hearts. We thank you for the knowledge and faith and immortality which you revealed to us through your servant Jesus. To you be glory for ever.

"Almighty ruler, you created all things for the sake of your name; you gave us food and drink to enjoy so that we might give you thanks. Now you have favored us through Jesus your servant with spiritual food and drink as well as with eternal life. Above all we thank you because you are mighty. To you be glory for ever."

Our celebration of the Holy Eucharist on Sundays and at other times is as old as the Church itself. I look forward to August when we can begin to gather here at Honey Creek. In the meantime, I am serving at King of Peace on Laurel Island Parkway in Kingsland, GA until the end of this month. Please call 912-510-8158 or see for times and directions.

In peace,

The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Right Place

Here is an apt description of the Episcopal Church which comes to us from Dennis R. Maynard in his book Those Episcopols:

If you're looking for a church that has
Morality but not moralism,
The Bible but not bibliolatry,
Law but not legalism,
Emotion but not emotionalism.
Piety but not pietism,
Tradition but not sentimentalism,
Then you're probably in the right place.

If you're looking for a church where diversity is
celebrated and not condemned,
Where thinking is stimulated and not discouraged,
where righteous living is of greater value
than right talking,
where being loving is more important than being right,
you're in the right place.

If you're looking for a church where Jesus is central,
a church that is not afraid to ask difficult questions
of Him and of itself,
then you are in the right place.

But one word of caution.
In such a church open to the ongoing
revelations of God,
people will constantly be required
to look at old things in new ways.

If any of this rings a bell with you, then perhaps you are one of "Those Episcopols" or on your way to becoming one.

In peace,

The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Basil the Great

According to historical records, Basil was born in approximately 329 into a Christian family in Caesarea of Cappadocia. Inspired by his sister Macrina, who founded a monastic order for women, Basil made a journey to Egypt to find out more about monks. In 358 he returned home and founded a monastery for men.

He was ordained priest in 364 and later elected Bishop. He died at age fifty in 379. His concern for the poor led him to leave enough money in his Will to build a complete new town in Caesarea. This was built on his estate with housing, a hospital and staff, a church for the poor, and a hospice for travelers.

Basil's famous treatise "On the Holy Spirit" written about 375, has influenced the church for centuries. Here is a paragraph from that treatise:

The Originator of all things is One. He creates through the Son and perfects through the Spirit. The Father's work is in no way imperfect, since He accomplishes all in all, nor is the Son's work deficient if it is not completed by the Spirit. The Father creates through His will alone and does not "need" the Son, yet chooses to work through the Son. Likewise the Son works as the Father's likeness, and needs no other cooperation, but He chooses to have His work completed through the Spirit. 'By the Word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their host by the Spirit of His mouth.'

We still find Basil's fingerprints on Christian theology.

In peace,

The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

Summer Reading (and some are not)

Have you gathered up some books to read this summer? In his little book, Thoughts in Solitude, here is what Thomas Merton has to say about reading:

Reading ought to be an act of homage to the God of all truth. We open our hearts to words that reflect the reality He has created or the greater Reality which He is. It is also an act of humility and reverence towards other men [sic] who are the instruments by which God communicated His truth to us.

Reading gives God more glory when we get more out of it, when it is a more deeply vital act not only of our intelligence but of our whole personality, absorbed and refreshed in thought, meditation, prayer, or even in the contemplation of God.

Books can speak to us like God, like men or like the noise of the city we live in. They speak to us like God when they bring us light and peace and fill us with silence. They speak to us like God when we desire never to leave them. They speak to us like men when we desire to hear them again. The speak to us like the noise of the city when they hold us captive by a weariness that tells us nothing, gives us no peace, and no support, nothing to remember, and yet will not let us escape.

Books that speak like God speak with to much authority to entertain us. Those that speak like good men hold us by their human charm; we grow by finding ourselves in them. They teach us to know ourselves better by recognizing ourselves in another.

Books that speak like the noise of multitudes reduce us to despair by the sheer weight of their emptiness. They entertain us like the lights of the city streets at night, by hopes they cannot fulfil.

Great though books may be, friends though they may be to us, they are no substitute for persons, they are only means of contact with great persons, with men [sic] who had more than their ow share of humanity, men who were persons for the whole world and not for themselves alone.

Ideas and words are not the food of the intelligence, but truth. And not an abstract truth that feeds the mind alone. The Truth that a spiritual man [sic] seeks is the whole Truth, reality, existence and essence together, something that can be embraced and loved, something that can sustain the homage and the service of our actions: more than a thing persons, or a Person. Him above all Whose essence is to exist. God.

Christ, the Incarnate Word, is the Book of Life in Whom we read God.

Happy reading !

In peace,

Linda +
The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Requiescit in Pace

James A. Kelsey, Bishop
Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan

From Episcopal News Service:

Jim Kelsey was born and baptized in 1952 in Baltimore, Maryland. He grew up in New York City, spent summers in Vermont, and moved there for Junior High School and Senior High. He graduated from Ithaca College in 1974, then attended General Theological Seminary in New York City, where he met and married Mary Cruse from West Des Moines, Iowa.

Jim graduated from seminary in 1977, and he and Mary moved to Vermont where they served for eight years. All three of their children, Nathan, Lydia, and Amos, were born there. In 1985, the Kelseys moved to Oklahoma, where Jim served for our years as Canon Missioner for Cluster Ministries. In 1989, he was called to the Diocese of Northern Michigan, where he served for ten years as Ministry Development Coordinator before being elected bishop in 1999.

Kelsey, 54, was killed in a road accident June 3, while returning to Marquette from a parish visitation. The accident, which remains under investigation by the Michigan State Police, occurred along what is known as the Seney Stretch in Alger County, about two miles east of Shingleton, Michigan on Highway M-28.

Rest in peace, Bishop Kelsey.

The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

Monday, June 11, 2007

Knowing God and Knowing Ourselves

Inscription on grave marker of author
Eugenia Price
Christ Church, Frederica
Photo by Linda McCloud+

Today over at The Rev. Frank Logue asks, "Who Am I?" and goes on to talk about the identity crisis that many people experience.

Here is what Henri J.M. Nouwen, priest and spiritual writer, had to say on that subject in his Letters to Marc about Jesus:

The mystery of the spiritual life is that Jesus desires to meet us in the seclusion of our own heart, to make his love known to us there, to free us from our fears, and to make our own deepest self known to us. In the privacy of our heart, therefore, we can learn not only to know Jesus, but through Jesus to know ourselves as well.

If you reflect on this a bit more you will see an interaction between God's love revealing itself to you and a constant growth in self-knowledge. Each time you let the love of God penetrate deeper into your heart, you lose a bit of your anxiety; and every time you shed a bit of your anxiety, you learn to know yourself better and long all the more to be known by your loving God.

Thus the more you learn to love God, the more you learn to know and to cherish yourself. Self-knowledge and self-love are the fruit of knowing and loving God. You can better know what is intended by the great commandment to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself.

Laying our hearts totally open to God leads to a love of ourselves that enables us to give whole-hearted love to our fellow human beings. In the seclusion of our hearts we learn to know the hidden presence of God; and with that spirtual knowledge we can lead a loving life.

In Peace,

Pastor Linda
The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Widows and Orphans

Then he came forward and touched the bier,
and the bearers stood still.
And he said, "Young man, I say to you, rise!"
The dead man sat up and began to speak,
and Jesus gave him to his mother.
Luke 7:14-15

The Lord loves the righteous
the Lord cares for the stranger;
he sustains the orphan and widow,
but frustrates the way of the wicked.
Psalm 146:8

Our Gospel reading for today is Luke 7:11-17, which tells the story of Jesus raising to life the only son of the Widow of Nain, a town in north-central Israel. This act of compassion gave Jesus immediate fame as a prophet, but if we look deeper into the story, we see that it tells us Jesus is divine. It is God who sustains the orphan and widow, and Jesus had particular sympathy for this one. Perhaps she reminded him of Mary, his own dear mother, whom he would entrust to his beloved disciple John.

In peace,
The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Do you need glasses?

It seems that only humans need glasses of any kind.

In peace,


The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

Friday, June 8, 2007

Education for Ministry

Chapel of the Apostles
Sewanee, Tennessee

I went to the seminary that keeps on giving. "Sewanee" is the seminary that gives the world Education for Ministry ("EFM") which offers a four-year program that you can attend locally. The program consists of extension classes from The University of the South School of Theology.

These classes in Old Testament, New Testament, Church History and Theology help us to think about the wider world and how we can be ministers in it. For more information, see

This week I am enrolled in a refresher class that will allow me to offer these classes at The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek. This will be another way that we can say, "The Episcopal Church welcomes you."

In peace,
The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Shadows on the Sands of Time

Shadow of myself
taking a picture of my shadow
on the beach at St. Simons
Memorial Day, 2007
Photo by Linda McCloud+

What sorts of shadows are we casting on the sands of time?

In peace,

Linda +
The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Tonight at King of Peace

For three weeks while Fr. Frank, Victoria and Griffin Logue are away on a much-deserved vacation, I am filling in the pastoral duties at King of Peace Episcopal Church in Kingsland, Georgia. This means that I get to preach, teach, celebrate Holy Eucharist, baptize, and otherwise serve in the priestly role until the Logues' return.

Tonight I will begin a four-week teaching series called "St. Benedict's Toolbox" based on that book by Jane Tomaine. We will look at disciplines which will aid in our living as Christians.

St. Benedict's "Rule" which was drawn up almost fifteen hundred years ago, is designed not only to help us to take time to pray, read scripture and worship. The "Rule" is designed to help us to see God in our work, in our play, and in every aspect of our lives. This will help us to keep from compartmentalizing our lives into "Sunday" and "every other day."

I hope you will be able to join us for worship at 6:15 this evening, and then for "St. Benedict's Toolbox" at 7:00 p.m. For directions to King of Peace, see

In peace,

The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Think Globally, Act Locally

Plaque at Fort Frederica
Saint Simons Island, Georgia
Photo by Linda McCloud+

John and Charles Wesley were the fifteenth and eighteenth children, respectively, born to The Rev. Samuel and Susannah Wesley. John's years were 1703 to 1791. Charles lived from 1708 to 1788. John was ordained Anglican Priest in 1728; Charles' ordination followed in 1735. Both attended Oxford University and were co-founders of the "Holy Club." They lived very disciplined lives and were derisively called "Methodists."

In 1735 John and Charles came to Georgia with General Oglethorpe as missionaries for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. Charles returned to England in 1736. John stayed in Georgia for two years, but having alienated some of the colonists with his preaching against slavery and gin, he returned to England.

On May 21, 1738, Charles had an experience of conversion, and three days later on May 24, John also had a conversion experience. This was the famous meeting at Aldersgate Street where his heart was "strangely warmed."

John and Charles Wesley died priests of the Church of England, but John's followers separated and formed the "Wesleyan Methodists." During their lifetimes, they had itinerant ministries and preached in places other than churches.

Charles eventually settled in London and wrote more than 5,500 hymns. Twenty of those hymns are in The Hymnal 1982. Some of my favorites are "Christ, whose glory fills the skies"; "Lo! He comes, with clouds descending"; "Come, thou long expected Jesus"; "Hark! the herald angels sing"; "Jesus Christ is risen today"; "Hail the day that sees him rise"; "O for a thousand tongues"; and "Love divine, all loves excelling."

I find the sheer volume of their work astonishing. Maybe there is something about disciplined living that lends itself to productivity. When we do the best we can with what we have where we are, the world finds out about it.

In peace,

The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

Monday, June 4, 2007

June 4

Tiananmen Square, Beijing
May/June, 1989

June 4 is a date that snags my attention with each passing year. I remember where I was on June 4, 1989. I was sitting in front of a television crying my heart out. The students in Tiananmen Square were being massacred.

They were young and zealous for freedom. They wanted to be able to actually live with the person they married, instead of being sent to separate cities to work. They wanted to learn English so they could be citizens of the world. They were smart. They were China's finest hope for the future. And they were being shot by their own soldiers.

This would have been heartbreaking on any level, but it was intensified for me because just two weeks before that date I had returned from a three-week trip to mainland China, Hong Kong and Japan. I traveled with a group in China that was allowed to look for sites where Christian missionaries had worked before the cultural revolution. When our group arrived in Beijing our itinerary was changed because of the Tiananmen Square protests. The streets were jammed and we could not get to the ballet and the opera as planned. We spent more time at the Great Wall.

On our third day in Beijing we could see Tiananmen Square from the fifth floor of the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant. We spontaneously talked our interpreters into taking us into Tiananmen Square. That would have been on or about May 15, 1989. CNN had been barred from the Square. There were soldiers in green uniforms guarding the boulevard that led to the People's Congress Hall. Their formation stretched clear across the boulevard about twenty rows deep. We did not see any guns that day. We were not allowed to take our cameras for fear of setting off a disturbance.

One of our interpreters was a college professor in Beijing. He took off his blue windbreaker and handed me a sleeve. He took the other sleeve and the body of the jacket flowed between us in the breeze. I dropped the sleeve and said, "Nick, this is dangerous. It looks as if we are marching in protest." He said, "On the outside I'm walking, but on the inside I'm marching."

I still pray for the Christians in China. From what I know, there is a strong underground church. There is also a visible church. We visited one in Shanghai and the singing was amazing. I complimented the music leader about this and he said something like "In China we know how to sing together. Those of you in developing countries are still working on it."

If Christians were under persecution in this country, would we sing better together?

In peace,
The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Go Figure

On this Trinity Sunday we are still trying to figure out how God can be One in three and three in One when most everything God created is more than the sum of its parts. Here is a new way of looking at an old adage about how to give more than 100%. It comes to me from my sister-in-law, Joyce McCloud.

From a strictly Mathematical Viewpoint:

What Equals 100%? What does it mean to give MORE than 100%? Ever wonder about those people who say they are giving more than 100%? We have all been in situations where someone wants you to give over 100%. How about achieving 101%? What equals 100% in life?

Here's a little mathematical formula that might help you answer these questions:

If: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Is represented as:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 1 9 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.


H-A-R-D-W-O-R- K
8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%

11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96%


1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%

AND, look how far the love of God will take you...

L- O- V- E-O-F-G-O-D
12+15+22+5+15+6+7+15+4 = 101%

Therefore, one can conclude with mathematical certainty that: While Hard work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there, it's the Love of God that will put you over the top!

Good thinking, Joyce.

In peace,

Linda +

The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Trinity Sunday

Icon of the Holy Trinity,
painted by Andrew Rublev in 1425

Our Gospel selected for tomorrow is John 16:12-15, which reads (NRSV):

[Jesus said] "I still have many things to say to you,
but you cannot bear them now.
When the Spirit of truth comes,
he will guide you into all the truth;
for he will not speak on his own,
but will speak whatever he hears,
and he will declare to you
the things that are to come.
He will glorify me,
because he will take what is mine
and declare it to you.
All that the Father has is mine.
For this reason I said
that he will take what is mine
and declare it to you."

This scripture is a snapshot of the Holy Trinity -- God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The icon above is an artist's conception of the Holy Trinity. Andrew Rublev painted this icon in memory of the Russian saint, Sergius (1313-1392).

In his book "Behold the Beauty of the Lord: Praying with Icons", Henri Nouwen said this:

"Saint Sergius, in whose honor and memory Rublev painted the Trinity icon, wanted to bring all of Russia together around the Name of God so that its people would conquer 'the devouring hatred of the world by the contemplation of the Holy Trinity.' Fear and hatred have become no less destructive since the 14th century, and Rublev's icon has become no less creative in calling us to the place of love, where fear and hatred no longer can destroy us." (p.28)

Does this sound like something the Holy Spirit might whisper in our ears, whenever we are able to hear it?

In peace,

The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

Friday, June 1, 2007

The Billy Graham Library

L-R: Billy Graham, former presidents
George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton

I'm glad he has lived to see his library dedicated to the greater glory of God although it is very sad that Ruth Bell Graham was unable to attend yesterday's ceremonies due to health reasons.

Some years ago when I lived in Louisville, Kentucky, I saw Billy Graham when he spoke at a large gathering. It was not a crusade, but instead was a singular event. I remember well the princely way in which he carried his tall frame. He had fire in his bones and a tinge of John the Baptist in his demeanor as he asked us what we expected to see. He pondered aloud about why we were focused on him. We should be focused on Jesus, he said, and proceeded to preach the Gospel as though we had never heard it before.

Here is a portion of the news release from his evangelistic association:

Mr. Graham has preached the Gospel to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history—over 210 million people in more than 185 countries and territories—through various meetings, including Mission World and Global Mission. Hundreds of millions more have been reached through television, video, film, and webcasts.Billy Graham concluded his remarks by pointing the audience to the same message that has been his focus throughout his life's work."This building behind me is just a building," he said. "It's and instrument, it's a tool for the Gospel. The primary thing is the Gospel of Christ."It is estimated that 200,000 visitors will tour the Billy Graham Library each year. The Library is expected to open to the public June 5. Admission will be free. For more information, visit the Library Web site.

For the full text of this article, see You will find there that the "free book of the month" is Mr. Graham's classic: "Peace with God." I read this book when I was fourteen because it was a gift from the pastor who baptized me. He kept a carton of these books to give to new Christians. I don't remember everything about this book, but I do remember that it seemed to have been written with a particular passion for the topic. I read it straight through. I feel sure that if you visit his library, you could do the same.

In peace,


The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek