Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
3745 Kimball Avenue
Memphis, Tennessee 38111
901 743 6421
holytrinitymemphis@yahoo.com

SERMONS & NEWSLETTER ARTICLES

______________SERMONSA NEW/OLD NORMAL
A Sermon for the Third Sunday of Lent
Almighty God,
you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves:
Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls,
that we may be defended from all adversities
which may happen to the body,
and from all evil thoughts
which may assault and hurt the soul;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
AMEN.
~ The Collect for the Third Sunday of Lent
Soon after I began to serve as the rector of an historic downtown church in
another state, the husband of one of the parish matriarchs died. He was a retired
military officer, someone well-known in those parts. The Bishop, whom I had
met during my interview process just a few months earlier, was asked to preside
and preach at his funeral. My only job was to be a pastor to his widow.
As has often been my experience, she was a pastor to me. She had come to
grips fairly quickly with the untimely death of her husband. My sense was that
she was someone from whom I, still relatively new as a priest, might learn some
lessons. Before the funeral she told me she had been considering what life
without her husband might be like. She declared, “This is my new normal.”
On that day, a grieving wife gave me some wisdom for the ages. Since then,
I’ve often heard and used the phrase “new normal.” I don’t know about you, but
I’ve had several seasons in my life during which a new normal began. I’ve also
learned there’s something my new normal moments and seasons have in
common: for me, they always seem to have something to do with grief and loss.
We may be shocked at the arrival and presence of this novel Coronavirus
called COVID-19. We may be looking forward to things getting back to “normal,”
whatever that normal was or is for us. A local columnist recently came to a
different conclusion: “Just because we’re...using sanitizer and bumping elbows
doesn’t mean we won’t be affected in the Mid-South....This is the new normal for
now” (Bruce VanWyngarden, Memphis Flyer, 3/12/20).
Whatever this season of our common life becomes, I believe it is our new
normal, at least for now. It feels hard, if not impossible - borrowing words from
the Serenity Prayer - to accept this thing we cannot change. So many of our old
behaviors have been turned into new warnings (“Don’t touch your face! Keep
your distance!”). At least for now, we have lost the ways we’ve been used to, ways
in which we have lived, moved, and had our being in the world.
I believe that as a church, a nation, a world, we are in grief, and in the days
to come, we do not know what else we may need to grieve. We do know we don’t
have to go it alone. We can and we must care for one another in our grief. (I’ll
have more to say about grief in the April Tract newsletter.)
Throughout the New Testament, people misunderstand Jesus when they
first encounter him. The story of the woman at the well in John’s Gospel (4:5-42)
is not unlike the stories about the disciples when they met Jesus. His friends had
a certain belief, a theological understanding of who their Jewish Messiah would
be and what he would do. The Samaritan woman also thought she knew how this
strange, Jewish man would behave - until he says, “Give me a drink” (4:7).
She replies, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of
Samaria?” By the way, John says that “Jews do not share things in common with
Samaritans” (4:9). But Jesus is not your normal Jew. He explains that he can
give her a new kind of water, living water, that “will become...a spring...gushing
up into eternal life” (4:14). His water is also not “normal.”
The Samaritan woman asks Jesus for that living water, and he does give it to
her. But here’s the catch: First, he tells her everything she’s ever done - including
the fact that she has been married five times. And the fact that the man she’s
with currently is not her husband. No fake news here.
Now, she knows Jesus is a prophet, and yet, once again, Jesus is not offering
normal prophecy. He is also the Christ, the One who heals in God’s name.
Suddenly, the disciples appear, astonished to find him speaking to a woman. She
returns to the city, and exclaims, “Come and see a man who told me everything I
have ever done!” Then she asks, “He cannot be the Messiah, can he?”
Once the woman’s Samaritan friends hear her share this Good News, they
start catching what she caught. “Many Samaritans from that city believed in him
because of the woman’s testimony” (4:39). Jesus is not a virus. But Jesus is
definitely contagious. Fear is also contagious, but God’s highly contagious love
casts out fear. When we encounter Jesus, he invites us to let go of our losses, so
we can catch something liberating and life-giving: a new/old normal called love.
In these trying times, how does Jesus want to be caught now? How is he
inviting us to follow him into a new/old normal? What if this season of Lent is
about those old practices - prayer, fasting, and self-denial - done in a new way?
Poet and minister Lynn Ungar wrote a piece about COVID-19 last week.
Perhaps her words have some answers for us:
PANDEMIC
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love--
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
~ The Rev. Thomas A. Momberg
March 14, 2020

 

SERMON on March 14, 2021

The 4th Sunday in Lent

Bane and Blessing                                                                      

The Fourth Sunday in Lent

John 3:14-2                                                                                                            

March 14, 2021

 

 

               Sisters and brothers in Christ, it’s time to change. Maybe you needed to be reminded yesterday, as I always do. Last night, it was time to “Spring Forward.” Of course, we actually lost an hour, moving back into Daylight Savings Time. It’s time to change those clocks that don’t know how to change all by themselves.

 

               The good news about springing forward is...well, spring. Spring is definitely springing. Listen to the birds - they know! And this, the Fourth Sunday of Lent always hints at spring. The church calls today “Refreshment Sunday.” It’s just three weeks ‘till Easter! Today is also called “Rose Sunday,” which means church colors change a bit. We don’t see just Lenten purple. Some red has been added in the roses behind the altar.

 

           But wait: there’s more! This is also a day known throughout the English-speaking world as “Mothering Sunday,” when Christians have historically visited their mother church, the congregation in which they were baptized. If I were doing that today, I’d be at Christ Church Cathedral in Cincinnati, Ohio. That’s where my parents brought me and my siblings most every Sunday. That’s where I became a choirboy.

 

             I’m still something of a choirboy. And so, on this Mothering, this Rose, this Refreshment Sunday, I want to say a few words about the music that refreshes me; the hymn tunes from my childhood days, ones I learned at my mother’s knee and in church pews; the texts that, like a rose, can hold for me both beautiful buds and painful thorns.

 

               We just heard the first three stanzas or verses of a hymn that is so familiar, we may have been pleased - perhaps even relieved! - simply to read the words. Maybe it felt good to you not to sing along. Years ago, one dear soul, now a saint in heaven, said this to me about our Gospel hymn when we sat down to plan her funeral: “Tom, if you sing Amazing Grace at my funeral, it will be your funeral, also.”

 

               It was not sung that day, but it was a hymn my mother taught me, a hymn that flooded my mind on the day I finally heard God calling me to be a priest. Amazing Grace has almost always refreshed me and my faith, especially on the day President Barack Obama sang it at Mother Emmanuel Church. St. Paul reminds us in today’s Epistle that “by grace, we have been saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8).

 

               Ty Legge does a wonderful job choosing our Sunday hymns for us. How I wish we could actually sing them! During this now-year-long season of COVIDtide, singing hymns together with you is at the tip-top of this choirboy’s list of all the things I miss. I do believe - by grace, through faith - we will sing together again.

 

               For now, I invite you to join me in looking at the words, the texts of our hymns, to see what refreshment they might give you. We’ll close today with “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” another singers’ favorite. But there is a hymn that is not in your bulletin, a hymn whose words I want to lift up for reflection today. This hymn came to me while I was thinking about today’s lessons. Since we are not holding any hymnals in our hands, it’s been reprinted for you. The words of the first stanza are these:

 

In the cross of Christ I glory, towering o’er the wrecks of time;

all the light of sacred story / gathers round its head sublime.

~ Hymnal 1982, #441

 

               Ty, would you please play a stanza for us?

 

               As you can see on the reprint - or in the Hymnal 1982 - the text was written by John Bowring. Sir John was a distinguished 19th century Englishman of letters. Fluent in many languages, he was both politician and poet. His poetry included hymn texts.

 

               One day, while serving as Governor of Hong Kong, Bowring saw a magnificent cathedral destroyed by the ravages of the Opium War. Only its front remained. Atop it was a great metal cross, blackened and silhouetted against the sky. Taken by that image, inspired by the words in Galatians 6:14, Sir John began to write this hymn text.

 

               Now, take a look with me at the words in the fourth stanza:

 

Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure, by the cross are sanctified;

Peace is there that knows no measure, joys that through all time abide.

 

               “Bane” is a word we don’t use much. It means, among other things, a plague. The word we have been using, worldwide - another “p” word - is pandemic. COVID-19 is also a plague. Yet there are blessings amidst the bane, rosebuds among the thorns.

 

               This week we commemorate the time - a little more than a year ago - when the World Health Organization declared this novel coronavirus was in fact our 21st century plague, a bane to this, our global human family’s existence. Now, many of us elders, who are fully vaccinated, feel blessed, elated simply to be able to hug a grandchild. Now, there is joy, right in the middle of the suffering; blessing there, amidst the bane.

 

               Those who seek to follow Jesus, those who have tried to be his disciple, we know this paradox is what the Christian journey is all about. There is no glory, no true joy without some real suffering in life. There is no blessing without bane. And there is no crown without a cross. This is, as our Eucharistic prayer puts it, the mystery of faith.

 

             I think seeing the Cross of Christ as both bane and blessing is also a way for us to make more sense out of today’s Old Testament and Gospel lessons. Jesus references the story from Numbers (21:4-9) in the first verse of our lesson from John: “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life” (3:14). A confusing comparison, isn’t it? Here’s a helpful description of the Old Testament “backstory” to our Gospel lesson:

               The Israelites, having lost patience yet again with the hardships of life in the desert, speak out against God and Moses.  “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness?” they ask.  “For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food” (Numbers 21:5).

 

               Their complaint is the final one in a long line of murmurs”...Up until this point...God answers with compassionate, long-suffering care.  When the Israelites complain their drinking water is bitter, God instructs Moses to sweeten it.  When they grumble about their hunger, God provides them with manna When they cry out in thirst, God instructs Moses to strike a rock and produce abundant water.  When they despair for lack of meat, God causes flocks of quail to fly into their camp.

 

               This time, though, Gods response to their complaining is not so benign.  God answers their we-want-to-go-back-to-slavery”...by sending poisonous serpents into their midst.  The serpents bite them, and several of them die....

 

               Then, they repent of their sin, and beg Moses to pray on their behalf.  When Moses (prays), God says, Make a poisonous serpent...set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live” (24:8). As instructed, Moses makes a serpent of bronze, and sets it high on a pole.  When the people whove been bitten look up at the serpent, their snakebites are healed, and they live (D. Thomas, journeywithjesus.net).

 

               In the Gospel story, John records Jesus talking to a Pharisee named Nicodemus. When Nicodemus approaches Jesus at night to ask him about God, they get into a long and confusing dialogue about light, Spirit, birth, belief. At one point, Jesus refers to today’s ancient story from Numbers. As a religious leader, Nicodemus knows that story inside and out. But Jesus is not comparing himself to Moses.

 

         Is the loving, saving Messiah really like the bronze image of a poisonous snake? What an odd thing for Jesus to do. What might he mean? Maybe he means the bane of a snakebite can become an anti-venom blessing. The cross has been called medicina mundi, the medicine of the world. The Medicine Man named Jesus is the healer we need, because he, too, was wounded, broken, and human. Just like you. Just like me.

 

               Christian educator Debie Thomas says this about the paradox of bane and blessing: In the cross, we are forced to see...our refusal to love, our indifference to suffering, our craving for violence, our hatred to indifference, our addiction to judgment, our fear of the Other, and our resistance to change (my emphasis). [Sisters and brothers, it’s still time to change!] Debie Thomas goes on to say: When the Son of Man is lifted up, we see with chilling and desperate clarity our need for a God who will take our most horrific instruments of death and transform them, at great cost, for the purposes of resurrection....The cross of Christ...is a stunning paradox of sorrow and hope, despair and healing, brokenness and hope (ibid.).

 

           Or as Sir John Bowring put it, Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure, by the cross are sanctified; Peace is there that knows no measure, joys that through all time abide.







FEBRUARY/MARCH LENTENTIDE

OPPORTUNITIES & CHANGES

from the February TRINITARIAN Newsletter

The Spiritual State of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church: Part One

 

Like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house...

God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him

who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. ~ I Peter 2:5,9

 

         I have been your Vicar since June 1, 2019. For twenty months we have been partners in ministry. The first half of our time together we were “in person” at 3745 Kimball Avenue. During the second half of this time, we’ve been learning how to be a different kind of church, a different kind of spiritual house, a house of marvelous light.

 

             I believe the spiritual state of Holy Trinity is strong, because you are doing what you have always done: trying to love one another as Jesus loves. I believe we have been seeking and finding ways, both old and new, to stay spiritually connected with each other and God during these dark pandemic times. And I believe we, as a 2021 church, are still being called to proclaim God’s mighty acts in our own small, mighty way.

 

               Let me say more about that within three of our major areas of our ministry:

 

         Worship. Since Palm Sunday, 2020, we have been sharing and experiencing what I now call “the blooming of Zoom” worship. (I wrote about this in last month’s Trinitarian newsletter.) Now, as we begin Lent, 2021, our worship format will change.  

             Weather permitting, we will offer what the Episcopal Church has come to call “Ashes to Go” in the Holy Trinity parking lot on Ash Wednesday (February 17th), from 4:30 to 6:00 pm. Look for more details early next week.

 

           Beginning with the First Sunday of Lent (February 21st), we will resume in-person worship. It will be live-streamed on Facebook as well as recorded. This means you can either join us in the Nave on Sundays or watch services at your convenience. Look for more details early next week.

 

               Education and Formation. In addition to the booklets we mail out every three months (“Forward Day by Day”), this Lent we will be e-mailing you daily Lenten devotions from Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD).

                 Starting Sunday afternoon, February 21st, at 4 pm, we will also offer a virtual book study of our Presiding Bishop’s new book Love is the Way. Look for an invitation to join us in this newsletter!

 

                   Prayer and Care. Our need to pray for and care for one another and the world during this Lenten season may never be more important. Please help us help you by keeping our congregational Prayer List up to date! Do not hesitate to add (or remove, when the time comes) the names of anyone you know needing care or prayer.

~ Love, Tom+



 

 

~ The Rev. Thomas A. Momberg

Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

3745 Kimball Avenue

Memphis, TN 38111

holytrinityec.org

fathermom1949@gmail.com








FATHER MOMBERG'S ARTICLE FROM THE JANUARY 2021 THE TRINITARIAN (formerly THE TRACT)

             Winter clears the landscape, however brutally,

giving us a chance to see ourselves and each other more clearly,

to see the very ground of our being.

~ Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

 

 

             I don’t know exactly when it happened. I do know that, despite all the challenges and differences it brings, I love “doing” and being church via Zoom.

 

         Maybe it happened when Ruth began to join us for our 10 am Zoom worship on Sunday mornings. With help from Ann-Marie and Ruth’s daughter Angela, Ruth now CALLS IN on Sundays. We can’t see Ruth, but her voice always cheers us up. We continue to pray for her husband Chuck, in hospice, who, thankfully, is home with her.

 

             Maybe it was when Sam bought a new speaker for his computer so he and his mother Mary Beth - our oldest “couple” - could hear us better every Sunday morning for worship and every Wednesday noon for Bible study. Whether it’s via Zoom or in person, Sam and Mary Beth ALWAYS come to EVERYTHING Holy Trinity offers.

 

               Maybe it was when Jamie and Tim - our youngest couple - Zoomed in with us one Sunday morning, as they do. This time, we noticed something different: they were not in their home. They were joining us FROM THEIR BICYCLES, amidst sunshine and sunflowers. They wanted to be with us, no matter where they were.

 

             Or maybe it was when Ty, our organist and administrator, said he would be glad to help Tommy, our “senior” Zoom host, make Sunday mornings MORE MUSICAL. Ty finds music videos that Tommy can “screen share” with all of us. We can’t sing in ways we used to, but that version of “Joy to the World” sure did jazz up our Christmas Eve!

 

               Maybe you can tell how “jazzed” I am about all the ways we keep on staying connected, through this COVID Christmas season and into the New Year we long to see. 2021 will definitely be different from last year, but we do not yet know how. Some say good riddance to 2020. I hear and share that feeling. I am also feeling some gratitude.

 

               2020 was the year in which Holy Trinity proved, once again, that God is not finished with us yet. We are still, as the little introductory video we made for this year’s Diocesan Convention put it, “alive and KICKING!” While we prepare for Bishop Phoebe to make her annual visitation - this year, it’s online: January 24th - let’s keep kicking!

 

               The 2021 winter will “clear the landscape.” Meanwhile, we keep being given the opportunity to see ourselves and each other, albeit virtually, more and more clearly. May Parker Palmer’s wisdom be especially true for Holy Trinity in this brand, new year.

 

 

Love in Christ,

Tom+






SERMON - FEBRUARY 14

See What You Hear                                                      

The Last Sunday after the Epiphany

Mark 9:2-9                                                                               

  

         Have you ever had a mountaintop experience? Here’s how one man described his: I've been to the mountaintop....Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land.

      

         Those aren’t the words of Peter, James, or John. They are words spoken by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the day before he died in Memphis. For years he had heard God’s Word. He knew everything began with the Word of God. In the beginning, there was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1). Finally, Dr. King went up the mountain. He saw the promised land. He got a glimpse of God’s kingdom, God’s reign - here, on earth.

 

           What about Peter, James, and John, on their mountaintop? What did they see?Here’s a bit of context: Today, we are at the beginning of the ninth chapter of Mark’s Gospel account. Since the 1st chapter of Mark, Jesus has been preaching, teaching, and healing. Everything Jesus says or does begins with and comes from the Word of God.

 

               Mark, Chapter 1: The kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the Good News (1:15). Chapter 2: Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick... (2:17). Chapter 3: If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand (3:25).

 

               It doesn’t end with Chapter 3. Peter, James, John and the other disciples kept hearing the Word of God from the lips of Jesus, all the way up to and past today’s text in Chapter 9. They heard him, and they heard him, and they heard him. Often, what they heard was not easy to hear. Not easy for them or for us. Especially by the end of Chapter 8. Just before today’s Gospel text, Jesus began to teach: The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected...and be killed.

 

             Jesus did add, “and after three days rise again.” But Peter, his prime pupil, took Jesus aside and tried to teach Jesus a thing or two, to tell him he was all wrong. And Jesus turned to his disciples, corrected Peter, called out to the crowd all around them, and said: If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel will save it (8:31-35).

 

               This was the Word of God the three heard before that mountaintop experience.

 

               Let me give you a bit more context. The Rev. Dr. Mitzi Minor, professor of New Testament at Memphis Theological Seminary, says we need to remember that, in the time of the Gospel of Mark and of all the Gospels, there was no democracy. There was no middle class, no separation of church and state, and no diversity, equity, or inclusion. The Roman Empire ran the world in a “divide and conquer,” us-versus-them, hierarchy. It’s in this setting that Jesus declares the kingdom of God has come near.

 

               And it is in this, today’s setting, in the ninth chapter of the Gospel of Mark, that Jesus lives into, illuminates, and embodies that reign of God, that heavenly kingdom, as if it had come very near indeed. The bottom line of his teaching, the point of his parables and preaching, Dr. Minor says, is to help Jesus disciples’ see what he is saying. In other words, Jesus helps his disciples, then and now, to...See. What. You. Hear.

 

               See. What. You. Hear. Early on in the Black Lives Matter movement, the young women who were mobilizing things said to their white allies - especially us well-intentioned white clergymen - something like this: “Shut up; sit down; listen to what we are saying; and then, believe what you are hearing.” Hmm. Sounds like Jesus to me.

 

               Perhaps Dr. Minor is telling us that Jesus was saying, especially in Mark’s Gospel, that, unless and until we listen and hear the Word of God and believe what we are hearing, we will not see. For Peter, James, and John, the Transfiguration, seeing Jesus change from the inside out on that mountaintop, seeing God’s glory revealed, will depend on them hearing what God says to them: “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” (9:7). Only then, when they listen, can they see what they’ve been hearing.

 

               On my journey with Jesus, I have gone up and down the mountain, more than once. In a way, my work of becoming an anti-racist keeps me mountain-climbing. In recent years my sisters and brothers of color have helped me listen and learn how there is always more to hear - and then, more to see - on this journey we all share.

 

             February - Black History Month - is a good time to listen, to hear, and to see what God is saying and doing through the Word of God and the words of others in the life and work of women and men of color. Several moments in African American history have already been memorialized this month. Let me lift up three of them for us.

 

           February 1st, 1960. Four Black college freshmen, Joseph McNeil, Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair, Jr. and David Richmond, sat down at a "whites-only" Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, and politely asked for service. In a time when mob violence has reared its ugly head, the non-violent protests of the Greensboro Four and others are still a witness to the Word of God speaking peace to us.

 

                   February 4th would have been the 92nd birthday of Rosa Louise McCauley Parks. Ms. Parks’ memorialized moment on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus gets in the way of celebrating the full, rich life of service she offered our country. The United States Congress called her “the mother of the freedom movement.” We need to learn more about how God spoke and worked through Rosa Parks, so we can more clearly see her.

 

               Yesterday, February 13th, was a day on which we honor an official saint in our Episcopal Church calendar. While he was enslaved, this man taught himself to read the New Testament. Later, he saw his way clear to buy his own freedom. In 1802, Absalom Jones became the first African American to be ordained priest in the Episcopal Church. There is now a Center for Racial Healing in Atlanta named after him. The Union of Black Episcopalians will honor Absalom Jones again this year on February 27th.

 

               It has taken me years to listen to Jesus and to hear what I now need to learn about diversity, equity, and inclusion. There is so much more to learn, as I listen to the Word of God and to those teachers who speak in their own words. James Baldwin, Amanda Gorman, Ibram Kendi, Catherine Meeks, Howard Thurman, Isabel Wilkerson. When I hear them, I begin to get a glimpse of their vision of God’s kingdom on earth.

 

               We give ourselves over to the process of hearing-then-seeing imperfectly. We should never underestimate the challenges to see, even when we hear. Peter babbles about building three dwellings to his three heroes of the faith: Moses, Elijah, and Jesus. It’s so easy to want to build a shrine! “He did not know what to say,” Mark tells us, “for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them” (9:6-7). Following Jesus can feel like traveling in a cloud. Moments of clarity are rare indeed. Hearing and seeing Jesus may uproot us from everything we think we hear, see, or know.

 

               See. What. You. Hear. In 1985, Archbishop Desmond Tutu stepped away from his social justice work in South Africa and took a sabbatical at the seminary in New York City where I was a student. He exercised, rested, taught a class. He also visited and talked with the children, including my toddler son, in the day care center. We all heard and learned many things from him, including this: “We may be surprised at the people we find in heaven. God has a soft spot for sinners. His standards are quite low.”

 

               I’d guess Bishop Tutu still has a soft spot for children. All the children loved it when Bishop Tutu made his weekly visit to spend time with them. After he finished his sabbatical, Bishop Tutu went back to South Africa and continued his anti-apartheid work. Finally, apartheid ended, and in 1984, elections were held in South Africa. Those were the country’s first elections in which citizens of all races were allowed to take part. Talk about a mountaintop! Talk about Good News!

 

               A quarter-century ago, on the day Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela voted for the first time, the whole world was watching. My son, who was twelve, saw Tutu on TV, and he cried out, “Look! Bishop Tutu! I know that guy!” John and all of us who had ever been touched by the lifelong work of Tutu and Mandela and so many others were finally seeing what we had heard. The kingdom of God had come very near to us.

 

               See. What. You. Hear. May God give us the wisdom so to do. Amen.

 

 

~ The Rev. Thomas A. Momberg

Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

3745 Kimball Avenue

Memphis, TN 38111

fathermom1949@gmail.com