Saturday, August 29, 2009

Last report from Fort Bragg

It is 58 degrees and foggy out on this August evening. Tomorrow is my last Sunday at St. Michael's. Bill (the rector) and his family return on Tuesday. After church, I'm cleaning the house (and recruiting some help to do it because I am shameless) and then skedaddling back to the Bay Area. As far as I'm concerned, my main success this summer is that I managed not to kill the fish.

Before I was allowed to take this assignment, I met with the Bishop who asked me (among other questions) if I liked beer. Because if I did, I needed to go to the North Coast Brewing Company while I was in town.

I have taken his advice--several times, actually, checking out the various microbrews on offer, almost always with their very good fish fry (alas! I love fish fry! It is a serious failing of mine).

I went tonight accompanied by St. Augustine's Homily 7 on the First Epistle of John, which, yes, I know is simply pathetic, but there you are. This particular sermon contains a famous quote from Augustine that I found yesterday among the many I saw: "Love, and do what you will." I thought this would be an apt message to give for my last sermon up here, accompanying Jesus' message: "[T]here is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile." Augustine puts this in the positive: "Let the root of love be within, of this root can nothing spring but what is good."

The hard thing, of course, is that one's motives are hardly ever completely pure. Love mingles with ambition or pride or self-righteousness or just plain money. What springs of these roots, I'm guessing, is a mix of good and bad. But I guess that's what grace and God's love and forgiveness are there for.

It's been a good summer. I've been blessed to have the opportunity to be here. Off to finish this sermon and try to stay warm.

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