After taking some time off from blogging and podcasting this summer, we're back with Season 2 of The Second Liturgy. Thaniel has moved to Waco, Texas, and Timm is still in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. With the wonders of technology, we'll still be working together to bring you podcasts, blogs, social media posts, and weekly inspirational emails.
This season, God willing, we'll be:
We would love to hear from you! What do you do to encounter Christ outside of the Church walls? Who is doing a great job of ministering to the Least of These, and what can we learn from them? What are the roadblocks hindering us from seeing and meeting Christ in those who are materially poor? What would you like us to explore and share? Please contact us!
Today I was thinking about the story of the sheep and the goats from Matthew 25.
Jesus says to the goats,
"Depart from Me, ... for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me. ... inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me." ... And these will go away into everlasting punishment...
When we have the opportunity to meet Christ in the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the unclothed, the imprisoned, and the sick, but turn away, we are departing from Him all by ourselves. We don't have to wait for a final judgment at the end of time to be sent into punishment. We have already chosen our path: to not be with Christ.
To the sheep, those who meet Christ in the poor and lonely, He says,
"...inherit the kingdom prepared for you."
The inheritance starts now, in this life. We don't have to wait for the judgment at the end of time to receive our reward. Caring for the "least of these" in all its unglamorousness is participation in the kingdom of God.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Today, Holy Thursday, we commemorate the Last Supper when Jesus instituted the Eucharist. The following quote from St. Maria of Paris expands on the prayer of oblation that we hear at the Divine Liturgy, "Thine own of thine own we offer unto Thee on behalf of all and for all."
"If...this sacrificial and self-giving love stands at the center of the Church's life, what then are its boundaries, its limits? In this sense one can speak of the whole of Christianity as of an eternal offering of a Divine Liturgy beyond church walls.... It means that we must offer the bloodless sacrifice, the sacrifice of self-offering love not only in a specific place, on the one altar of only one temple but that the whole world, in this sense, becomes the one altar of the one Temple--and that we must offer our hearts under the species of bread and wine, so that they may be transformed into Christ's love, that he may abide in them, that they may become hearts of Godmanhood, and that he would give these hearts of ours as food for the world, that he would commune the whole world with these sacrificed hearts of ours, in order that we would be one with him, that we not live but Christ would live in us, incarnate in our flesh."
Let us go forth in peace in the name of the Lord as we offer ourselves unto Him on behalf of all and for all.
We've been doing this Second Liturgy thing for half a year, with 24 podcast episodes and about 20 blog entries. We thought it’s time to take a step back, evaluate and reflect a bit, and ask for your feedback (no donuts) for the direction we take with the podcast.
Here’s what we said in the intro episode: "The purpose of this podcast/blog is to get us thinking about how to love our neighbors as ourselves, specifically those with material needs, and to not just talk about it, but to get involved. We’re two guys leading a discussion, asking questions on topics related to poverty that don’t get a lot of air time." So, how are we doing?
We did a couple book and movie reviews, we shared some excerpts from other podcasts, bantered back and forth on some of our thoughts on the topic, and did a whole bunch of interviews. Most of them were with folks from St. John the Compassionate Mission. One of the things we didn’t really address is Why is this Church unusual? Why isn’t welcoming the poor and addicts, and others on the fringes of society the norm? Perhaps we’ll get to that in a future episode.
One of the reasons we’ve featured so many interviews is because we’re not experts. We are looking for others who have made a priority of going beyond the first liturgy to the second liturgy, to learn from them and to share their experiences.
So, listeners, as we look ahead to the next 20+ blog entries and 25 podcast episodes, what would you like to read and hear more of?
We invite you to take a quick survey at TheSecondLiturgy.com. On Saturday, April 20, 2019, at 12 noon ET or shortly thereafter, we’ll do a drawing of all entries. The winner will receive two bags of coffee, one for him or her and one to share with someone who needs some excellent coffee. (Sidenote, if you’re listening to this after that date, we still want to hear from you!)
Of course, we’re hoping that everyone gives us helpful feedback, but we’re happy for anyone who just stops by to try to win the coffee. We thank our sponsor Lonely Monk Coffees for helping to power this podcast and we hope you like your coffee!
Have a blessed celebration of the Lord's resurrection!
It was Wednesday, late afternoon. We headed out the door, down the block and around the corner to our car (darn construction in our block), with a bag of tortilla chips and a container of hummus in hand for the potluck that would following the evening worship service. We weren't late, but with rush hour traffic, you never know how long it takes for the drive to church.
As I unlocked the car door, a boy, maybe 11 or 12, stopped on the sidewalk next to the car. "Sir...," he started. That took me off guard. I don't remember the last time a preteen addressed me so formally. I assumed that he was going to ask for directions or if I had seen his lost dog. Instead, he asked for a couple of dollars so he could buy a soda and a bag of chips.
That's not an uncommon request from strangers in our small city and usually I am prepared with one of my regular thought-out responses. This time, my mind froze. I reached for my wallet and mumbled something about not usually giving out cash as I handed him two dollars. He thanked me and continued down the sidewalk. We got in the car and drove off. As the encounter replayed in my mind, my mind mixed questions and a compilation of possible, more appropriate responses.
Some days, I specifically ask God to bring me people who need something that I can give (and to bring me people who have what I need, as I'm learning about the two-way street of generosity). Most days, I have opportunities to interact with multiple people.
The request from the boy reminded me that I need to be ready for the people who come my way. Ready, not in the sense of having prepackaged responses to dish out, but a readiness to see people and situations in an unrushed way. I need to learn to take time to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and respond appropriately. Just as Jesus interacted uniquely with each person He met (from smearing mud on a blind man's eyes to initially refusing to heal a foreigner's daughter), so may I stop, see, listen, and give to each person who God sends my way.
Maybe the couple of dollars was what the boy needed most on Wednesday afternoon. Maybe what I needed most was a polite preteen to remind me to be ready for the next person who asks me for something I can give.