Sunday, December 6, 2009
Luke 3:5-6 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth;and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'"
This morning, as part of the Second Sunday of Advent, I get to dress up in Bishop's vestments and talk about St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra. I have always had a special place in my heart for this man who found ways to use what he had for the good of others. He was a defender of the faith and even more a defender of the defenseless. He used his office for good, not for power or fame. And so, his legacy is that he is more famous than almost any other bishop or pope throughout history. Because of his willingness to love the poor, do good for the whole community and his constancy and love, we all have inherited a spirit of generosity and giving that no amount of commercialization can destry.
One of my favorite and least heard stories about Nicholas is his participation in the Council of Nicaea. He was known as a very faith Christian leader and after months of ceaseless arguing, he finally lost it and slapped the most difficult bishop in the whole gathering. Whether or not it changed the course of the meeting or history is hard to determine. But knowing that powerful love and faith can be spoken in a slap is comforting news for someone like me. I am often frustrated by the pettiness of bishops and other church leaders when there is so much need and suffering in the world.
Today, I pray that I can spend my day caring for those around me. I pray that my focus is always on the most vulnerable and needy in our community. And I pray that we can all model ourselves after great bishops like St. Nicholas who considered the care of others to be elemental to his relationship with God.