Sermon Summary for 4/24
Submitted by Brenda Worley
On this Fifth Sunday of Easter, we were blessed to hear the Reverend Bruce Torrey as our guest preacher and celebrant. Father Bruce works with Food For The Poor to serve the destitute in the Caribbean and Latin America. Though he spent 31 years in parish ministry in the dioceses of Long Island NY, Rochester NY, and Connecticut, he now dedicates his life to serving the Third World.
After opening with “Now the green blade riseth”, sung by him as he played the banjo, Father Bruce remarked about all of the emotions that accompanied the time surrounding our Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. The disciples’ range of emotions went from despair and sadness at the crucifixion to fear for their own lives as they hid in the upper room. Then came the news of His resurrection, which they met with disbelief and skepticism. Upon sighting Him, they were elated and felt the courage needed to begin their ministries. He drew a parallel between this ancient story and our spiritual life and called upon us to live in the joy that we can claim when Christ’s resurrection is the center of our lives.
Father Bruce then shared a story in which he experienced many emotions. Upon visiting a landfill in Honduras, he met many families whose “job” was to search the garbage for items to recycle and items to eat. One of those families lived at the landfill under a tarp which they had furnished with a sofa found at the landfill. The mother was named Carmen. She was 31 years old and 8 months pregnant with her fourth child. This situation really touched him since his daughter back in Connecticut was also 8 months pregnant. The contrasts between the lives of Carmen and his daughter affected a wide range of emotions in him. Though he was filled with despair for this family, they were hopeful and filled with faith.
Since his encounter with Carmen and her family, Food For The Poor has been able to provide a fully furnished home, food for several years, and education for their children. Food For The Poor works in 17 countries in the Caribbean and Latin America, feeding over a million and providing housing, clean water and orphanages. He gave some examples of how we could help. He suggested that we, as a parish, may want to contribute the $3200 needed to build a home for a family. Personally, he challenged us to donate $285 to provide a water pump for a village or $43.50 to feed a hungry child for a year.
As I thought about this call to charity throughout the remainder of the service, the words in the Eucharistic Prayer, “He stretched out his arms upon the cross, and offered himself, in obedience to your will, a perfect sacrifice for the whole world” really struck me. Christ did not just die for people who look like us. He died for the WHOLE WORLD. He left us with the command to love one another as he has loved us. If he can die for us, surely we can part with a little of our resources to show our love for others, for it is by this love that we are shown to be his disciples.