I suppose this should be a split post; today is Labor Day, and there is an optional Eucharistic proper for it, althoigh it isn't observed in the Office. But of course yesterday, a Feast of Our Lord, is not optional, and we observed it as we always do at St. Thomas's. In Scripture we heard the story of Moses and the burning bush and God introducing himself with his own name "I AM WHO I AM" and from St. Paul's letter to the Romans, a description of Christians acting atg their best in community, something we can and should all aspire to. In Matthew's Gospel we heard just rebuek Peter after Peter says Jesus can't possibly go to Jerusalem, and then Jesus taching his disciples and us about what taking up one's cross means.
I pointed out in my sermon that to take up anything, one must first put down whatever it is you're already carrying. The paradox of the Cross is that, when we put down our old lives, that is, whatever is keeping us from accepting and living into God's amazing love for each of us, when wer take up the Cross we actually gain our lives back again, this time as God wants us to live it and not as society or others say we have to live it.
I also noted that quite clearly that carrying one's Cross is voluntary. I used the example of the monks at St. Gregory's, who choose to take on the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience as their way of growing into God' love for them. They aren't forced to, and in fact, God nevers forces anyone to do anything. So those people who believe that, for example, living in an abusive situation "because it's their cross to bear" are wrong. Violece and degrdation and abuse are noever part of God's plan for us, and if you are in such a situation, here are some resources in Sussex County you can contact if you need to. Also, you can always call me directly and I will help any way I can.
Almighty God, you have so linked our lives one with another that all we do affects, for good or ill, all other lives: So guide us in the work we do, that we may do it not for self alone, but for the common good; and, as we seek a proper return for our own labor, make us mindful of the rightful aspirations of other workers, and arouse our concern for those who are out of work; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.