SATURDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2014

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Psalm 30, 32; Isaiah 8: 1-15; Luke 22: 31-38

Jesus knew that Peter was going to deny him, yet Jesus did not pray that the denial would not happen; he prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail him, that he would return again to the way that Jesus had shown him, and in the process that he might strengthen his brothers.

The Christian faith is not a faith that says we must not fail; the Christian faith is a faith that says we must keep trying and we must continue to believe in God’s ability to love us. Peter had a choice after he denied Jesus, not just once, but three times. We face the same choice in our lives today; when we fall short, when we deny Jesus, we are then faced with a choice. It is a choice between allowing ourselves to be forgiven and allowing ourselves to live in fear and regret.

The way that Jesus lived, the way to which Peter returned, and the way that lies before us is the way of forgiveness and love. Our way is the way of people who make mistakes and return again. Forgiveness is the path to reconciliation and reconciliation with the world is exactly what God was doing in Christ Jesus.

God loves each and every one of us.

God desires to be in relationship with us.

God forgives us; we must allow ourselves to accept it.

 

Loving God, grant your servants to know
your forgiveness and love; so that we may walk
the Way unburdened by guilt. Amen.

 

The Rev. T. J. Freeman, ’14
Calvary Episcopal Church
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

 

 

 

 

 

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The Rev. T.J. Freeman is Calvary Episcopal Church’s Curate. He was born in Oxford, Indiana, where he lived until attending college at Hanover College in Madison, Indiana. He graduated in 2003 with a B.A. in History. He met his wife, Annie, at Hanover.  After college, T.J. was a counselor for the Ulster Project, an international peace project geared towards ending "The Troubles” that have been plaguing Northern Ireland for decades. It was during this summer that he first recognized that God was calling him to the priesthood.

In response to this call he spent the next five and a half years in the United States Army as a Cavalry Scout. T.J. spent 25 months in combat; he was a Reconnaissance Team Leader in Baghdad, Iraq and served as the Operations Sergeant for his unit in the mountains of Afghanistan. During his time in the military, T.J.’s sense of call to the priesthood continued to grow. In September of 2009, he began the ordination process through the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis. He was ordained a Deacon March 8, 2014, graduated from Seminary of the Southwest with his Masters in Divinity on May 13th, and will be ordained a priest on the 29th of August.

During the summer of 2013, T.J. made the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. He began in Saint Jean Pied-de-Port, France and arrived in Santiago de Compostela thirty days later. From Santiago he continued to the coastal cities of Finisterre and Muxía before walking back to Santiago.

T.J. has been active in the national church as a member of the Standing Commission on Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations.

T.J. and Annie have one daughter, Ellie, and a cat named Hermione. They are enjoying getting to know Pittsburgh and her various neighborhoods. In his free time Father Freeman can be found watching soccer (football), especially Manchester United, or basketball. He also enjoys the outdoors, particularly backpacking and day hiking.