Pray and Act — Homily on the Persistent Widow

“Pray and Act” Homily by Rev. Joseph McBrayer at Emory University Worship at Cannon Chapel on Sunday October 16, 2016 with Emory Office of Spiritual and Religious Life. // My humble thanks to the many women who contributed to the content and direction of this sermon with your responses and online engagement.

Here is the audio of my sermon: “Pray and Act” on the Persistent Widow in Luke 18:1-8 from Emory Office of Spiritual and Religious Life‘s University Worship service today. (as a note, some of the stories I share contain references to sexual assault, harassment, and other incidents which some may find triggering or difficult to hear).

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Thanksgiving Thoughts 2015

“It all begins with a table–or a TV tray, or a lap–but either way, meals in our apartments or homes with other people or by ourselves are an occasion to remember and be thankful.

The practice of “saying grace” or “asking the blessing” or “giving thanks” for the food–whether it is a meager bowl of soup or a filled table of a thanksgiving feast–is to acknowledge that we and our bodies rely upon something outside of ourselves to sustain us. We give thanks for the people whom we don’t see or often acknowledge the people who plow, plant, and pick, the people who grow, harvest, and process, and the people who bring it to our markets, our doors, and our tables.

We also say thanks for the people who are around the table and remember those who have no table to gather round nor loved ones with whom to gather. We take a moment to PAUSE and acknowledge our need for the sustaining physical and spiritual nourishment which we receive from God our Creator–asking that God would bless our food that we might truly be a blessing to others.

So, when you gather with friends, family, and loved ones this Thanksgiving, remember–and be thankful.”

Happy Thanksgiving,
– Rev. Joseph McBrayer, the staff, & students of Emory Wesley

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Long Walk to Freedom: Jesus, Mandela, & Lent

Long Walk to Freedom: Jesus, Mandela, & Lent
 For MONDAY NIGHT WORSHIP at Emory Wesley (Methodist Campus Ministry at Emory) during LENT (40 Days from Ash Wednesday to Easter), we’re going to be focusing on Jesus’s walk towards Jerusalem where he will face persecution, trial, death, and, eventually, the Resurrection at Easter. SO, the Emory Wesley Worship Planning Team has decided to partner Jesus’s journey with Nelson Mandela’s journey towards freedom for ALL South African people, chronicled in his book “Long Walk to Freedom.” If you’re an Emory student,  feel free to join in Monday Nights 8pm at Cannon Chapel at Emory University.

Here’s the first homily in the series from Monday Night Worship at Cannon Chapel on 03.17.2014:

“Wilderness” // Long Walk to Freedom: Jesus, Mandela, and Lent week 1 from Emory Wesley on Vimeo.

Making➔ Space

Emory Wesley LogoWhen we offer hospitality to strangers, we welcome them into a place to which we are somehow connected–a space that has meaning and value to us.

Christine D. Pohl in Making Room: Recovering Hospitality
as a Christian Tradition

One of the most classic  and exhilarating college experiences is having a roommate. Sometimes this goes along smoothly, but other times it does not. However good or bad, there is something challenging and formative about sharing space with people who are different from you –it is experiences like this that help shape you into the person you will be when you finish college.

Two of the greatest challenges in life are finding space to belong to and making room for others. We all need a space to belong, a community to take part in, a group where we can be ourselves. People were created by God to be in community–to be in relationship–with God, with each other, and all of creation. It is perhaps easier to have our own space, but it is not as rich, not as diverse, or as beautiful as sharing our lives with others.

This is why it is vital that students have a place to come together in Christian community–a place where they can form and be formed into the people they are becoming in Jesus Christ. Jesus was all about making space. In the story wesley outlineof Levi, the tax collector, and Jesus in Mark chpt 2, we can see that Jesus made room in his community for tax collectors and sinners–those who society and religion of the day had excluded. Our job and calling is to make room for those society and even religion may exclude–those who are marginalized, labeled, and dis-connected.

Making room for others is difficult because it means we have to share the space that we have found. The students of the Emory Wesley Fellowship have found their space and are sharing it. They have defined themselves as “a community of disciples growing together in love of God and love of neighbor” and are seek to live it out. The Emory Wesley is a place where students come together as strangers and leave as part of a community having shared in a space that has meaning and value for their lives and their journey with God.

This past Sunday we had our first dinner and worship service and had a group of around 25 students. Our group is small, but a welcoming and growing group. We ate good food, shared in fellowship, song, prayer, and the Lord’s supper together. The student leadership of Emory Wesley is a talented, dynamic group of leaders and I am blessed to work with them. May God continue to bless and guide the Kingdom efforts made by the Emory Wesley Fellowship.

Grace and peace,loving god and neighbor

Joseph McBrayer
Emory Wesley Fellowship, Director
emorywesley.org