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8/29/10 - Today I visited St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Destin, FL 

                                                                                       (Church Visit # 36 since 12/24/09)

                                                                                                           


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    I love Destin, FL. It's got a sort of carnival atmosphere, especially at nights when all the cafť, surf-shop and 'attraction' lights are ablaze!

Destin was my first home when I returned to Florida and settled in the Panhandle a few years ago. I contemplated my new life there from the balcony of a small apartment looking out to sea, dined at fabulous restaurants compliments of the Pharmaceutical Industry (PHARMA), reflected on the Katrina-Rita/FEMA events that had transitioned me to town ... and met my new wife there.

I had passed this delightful Destin church often -- probably hundreds of times -- and always wondered what the congregation and interior would be like.

Well, upon visiting the town again this last Friday night and dining at one of my favorite low-rent restaurants (Golden Corral; I don't mess with the "PHARMA" folks any more because they helped to give us Obama-Care) I decided it was time to finally visit St Andrew's Episcopal Church!

And I was not disappointed. The interior speaks for itself with all its lovely stained glass and paneling. (Of course, I caught myself doin' the AAA-men, "Non-denominational Thing" a few times; but quickly corrected that to proper "AH-men" etiquette!)

Every time I go to these Episcopal Churches I think I'm back in "St. Peter & Paul" R.C. Church of my childhood! Apart from the lack of a Latin Mass, everything seems as it was in my youth. Oftentimes, the Episcopal Churches have individual cushioned kneelers in the pews. This one was just contemporary enough to have a less "High Anglican" ambience including long kneelers in the pews (like my R.C. recollection). But Acolytes abounded, Vestments were worn by all, and a formal processional featuring a Crucifer (a person in the religious procession who carries a large processional cross) commenced and ended the service.

Organ music by J.S. Bach, the Nicene Creed and full communion in both species -- taken kneeling at the altar -- rounded out the proceedings before we enjoyed a very cordial pot-luck in the church hall. This was a great visit. Thank you one and all.

Actually, although the Sermon focused on the parable of the Wedding Banquet and the advisability of not sitting above one's station, I was almost even more affected by the first reading ~ Jeremiah 2:4-13 which ends: "... my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and dug out ... for themselves, cracked cisterns that can hold no water." I don't suppose that would bring to mind anything in particular, would it?

< ENTRY PROCESSIONAL      < MUSIC

< EXIT PROCESSIONAL

THE MESSAGE: " The Wedding Dinner."  (A summary, adapted & edited from the sermon given 8/29/2010 by The Rev. Maurice L. "Rusty" Goldsmith, D.D., at St. Andrew's Episcopal church, Destin, FL; referencing Luke 14:1, 7-14).  

At the outset Pastor Goldsmith reminisced that he had attended possibly 300 wedding rehearsal dinners, all predictably boring; but events he was expected to show up for, and pray at. For him, the main issue was with whom he was seated. Generally he found himself between "Aunt Agatha", freed for the occasion from the nursing home; and some youngster, forced to attend, but defiantly playing with his "Game Boy"!

These experiences, he said, enabled him to empathize with Jesus in The Gospel today; surrounded by Pharisees who as a group were obsessed about where and with whom they were seated. But Jesus had another agenda. He was there to destroy the status quo and promulgate the Fatherís teaching. The lesson today is: do not put yourself forward in the presence of The King! Because you may be embarrassed at having to step down.

Jesus Christ uses this situation as a parable. Everyone clings to their place of honor. But Jesus teaches a lesson of humility and explains how God values us: all are equally honored & humbled in The Kingdom of God. No-one is greater than anyone else. The honor here is the invitation to the banquet itself. Itís a family affair. All thatís required of you is to acknowledge Jesus Christ and your brothers and sisters, and enter the banquet. For Jesus Christ came to rescue all the sinful lost sheep.

Then Jesus goes on to a related topic: "True Hospitality." If you are holding a banquet, donít invite the acceptable people. All that gives you is enhanced social standing, invitations to more banquets and honor in the eyes of man.

Instead throw out the "A List" and invite the poor and the afflicted. Jesus Christ came to invite the afflicted to His banquet; those who knew they were sinners and needed help. And so it is that the least of us must join the banquet and humble himself so that God can exalt him.

We must acknowledge that we are sinners, need salvation and then we can hope to enter into the Banquet in the kingdom of God.

Understand that we are invited to a Messianic Banquet. Be humbled and accept that everything you have comes from God; that you are no better than the poor and the disenfranchised.

We must have humility.

At this point, returning to his wedding rehearsal companions ("Auntie" & "Game Boy"), Pastor Rusty mused that perhaps he had been the guest who was exalted above his station; and they the unlucky dinner companions burdened with his company. So be careful not to think too highly of yourself. Do not put yourself forward in the presence of The King! You may be embarrassed at having to step down. And remember, itís the invitation that matters; not your rank at the table.

Amen

                                                                                   

 


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CONTACT DATA
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265 Country Club Rd., Shalimar, FL 32579
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E-Mail: dr.Escoffery@SenateBill.US
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WILLIAM ESCOFFERY III,

Candidate, U.S. SENATE, FL 2010

(NOTE: I want to emphasize that, pursuant to the relevant campaign prohibitions, none of the churches, Pastors nor parishioners in their official church capacities ~ referenced or pictured herein ~ officially support my political candidacy).

 

 

 

. William Escoffery III

FL Primary 24 August 2010

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Pd. Pol. Adv., paid for and approved by Dr. Bill Escoffery,

Candidate for U.S. Senate from Florida.

Copyright © 2010 by William Escoffery III. All rights reserved.
Last modified: 09/13/10