John Randolph Parten

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Psalm 27:1-6 and 17-18


And now as we contemplate the advent, the coming of one of our two most holy days of the year, let us look at our scripture and at ourselves.  One question bothers me.  If Jesus is to return soon as many people who call themselves Christians think, what will their reaction be to Him?  Will they follow Him or will they try to kill Him?  If he comes back in an Escalade with golf clubs in the back to found the New Jerusalem, most would follow.  But what if he comes back poor?  With long hair?  Barefoot? Suppose he tells the most pious that they have replaced his teachings with greed?  Suppose he is not white? I think there would be trouble.  Many of us Christians do not practice what we hear preached.

Almighty God, lead us, your children, in your ways.  In place of lust give us chastity.  Replace our gluttony with temperance. Transform our greed into charity. Turn our sloth into diligence. Take our wrath and give us patience. We need no envy.  We need kindness.  And in place of pride give us humility. Only with Your help can we restore the ways You have taught us, and only by restoring Your ways can we truly follow the path our Savior Christ has taught us.  Amen

John Randolph Parten
Senior Warden, Holy Innocents Episcopal Church, Madisonville, Texas
Committee Chair, Bishop John E. Hines Chair in Preaching