Aug 222020

Unbinding hate with love

I have recently started spending time on the social media app called Tiktok. Despite the news that has been spread about its evils, I have found it to be a place of great ministry. Many progressive clergy spend time on Tiktok reaching out to the younger generation.

I have also found it to be full of people who have been hurt, damaged and forsaken by the church. People who have been told they cannot be Christians and be LGBTQI+. And they are in need of our love and support. I would say that for every hateful “Christian” I encounter on Tiktok, I find 20 other people who are loving and in need of support.

The scriptures this weekend speak to our job as clergy to bind and loose peoples bondages. For many people this has been equated to binding and loosing their sins from them. However, the scripture does not say that it applies to sins only. It is my belief that this authority has been given to us to even loose the bonds that bind people emotionally, mentally and physically.

That is why I preach love instead of hate. I feel that by doing so I can loose the bonds that have bound people for so long. All the hateful rhetoric that makes them physically sick, emotionally damaged, and mentally hurting can be healed with love. And by showing them real love and support, we can free them from a lifetime of hateful bondage.

That is why I choose to continue to preach that Hate Has No Home in the church, in my life, or in the world around us. We must work together to spread the love of God to all we meet. Regardless of their faith practice, nationality, race, gender expression/identity, sexual orientation/identity, social status, or financial status.

You will see me standing with Black Lives Matters protestors, LGBTQI+ individuals, the homeless, the unwed mothers and fathers, those protesting the death penalty, and those fighting for healthcare and living wage. Not because I am trying to be political. But because I am trying to live the Gospel.

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'” (Matthew 25:40. NIV)

You are loved!

Father Greg.

Apr 292020

Reaching out during our dark night of the soul

reaching out

I was reminded of a simple yet difficult fact of life last night. And it came in a way that left a great impact on me. It will come as no shock to those who know me well, but I have been really struggling lately. I try to hide it, but I have been very depressed and in a very dark place. And reaching out to others when I depressed is not my strong suit.

Last night, my brave and in-control facade fell for a few minutes and I had to have a very candid talk with my family about my struggles. My future daughter-in-law looked at me and said, “Dad, how can we support you if we don’t know you are struggling? We can’t read your mind.” She was right.

I have lived with the feeling that is not right to share my struggle with those under me. Right or wrong, it has always felt wrong to reach out to them for help. And many of my fellow clergy feel the same way. Sadly, this is the thought process that leads to clergy killing themselves instead of asking for support.

I am not going to be part of that crowd anymore. To suffer alone is wrong. Especially when I have people around me who really do care about me. And to you, clergy and laity alike, I echo that message. There are people all around you who love you and want to support you. All you have to do is ask. Reaching out for support is not a bad thing.

Because we cannot read your mind either.

During this pandemic it is easy to loose sight of the support network that is all around you. We are asked to “social distance” from everyone. This is a terrible term and gives the impression, whether we are conscience of it or not, that we should not even talk to each other. However, we are really only asked to physically distance from one another. We can be as social with each other as we want!

Today I am reaching out to ask you for your help. I need people to talk to. Even if it is only for a few minutes a couple of times a week. I need people who are willing to just sit with me when I am hurting, without judgement and without trying to “fix” me.

I promise that I will also be here for you when you need to talk. And I will not judge you, nor will I try to fix you. Instead, I will be here to walk with you along this journey through all the darkness into the blessed light that will come.

Because no pandemic last forever.

And in your dark moments, I want you to know: God loves you and so do I!

One last thing before I end this rambling blog. Can you please send us photos of you and/or your family? We would really like to tape them to our pews so that when we are celebrating Mass we can look out and see your smiling faces. You do not have to be a regular member of our parish to participate. If you follow us on Facebook, watch our Masses online, or just stumbled across us today, we would still like to include you in our Virtual Congregation. You can send your photos to fathergreg@oursaintfrancis.org.

God bless you all!

Father Greg

Jan 032020

Hope is not gone

hope

So many things are happening in our world today. It is so easy to loose hope and to despair. Hate, bigotry and division seem to be a common way of life. War, death and despair spread like a plague. However, I have hope. Hope is not gone or dead.

This Sunday we celebrate the wise men that traveled from afar to visit the Christ Child. We know the stories and the misconceptions that surround this event. The reality is that they arrived almost 2 years after the birth in Bethlehem. They came to the young child’s home and brought gives with various symbolic meanings.

The Wise Men left behind their lives and likely their families to travel to an unknown situation because the alignment of the stars told them to. They had hope in something they could not quantify beyond their faith. So they stepped out in faith and traveled to see a King.

That same King is the one I have faith in today. And that King reminds us that despite all the horrible things going on, we can have hope that everything will be as God wants it to be. Ultimately, as people of faith, we have to put everything in God’s hands. Once we are willing to do that, all the fear and uncertainty starts to fade away. We can have hope and trust that God will bring us through.

It is my prayer that Saint Francis Parish will continue to be that beacon of hope to the world around us. We will continue to welcome everyone into our parish family. And we will work to provide them with the hope, light and love that can only come from God.

I pray that this Sunday you will come and visit with us. Now is the time to experience the hope that the Sacraments can bring.

Come experience a radically welcoming and inclusive parish in Augusta, GA!

Bishop Greg