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
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
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
< EXIT PROCESSIONAL
" 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
THANK YOU FOR YOUR GRACIOUS
WILLIAM ESCOFFERY III,
- CONTACT DATA
- (850) 225-7228
- Postal address
- 265 Country Club Rd., Shalimar, FL 32579
- Electronic mail
- E-Mail: dr.Escoffery@SenateBill.US
- WEB-SITE: http://www.senateBill.us/
- Webmaster: dr.Escoffery@SenateBill.US
Candidate, U.S. SENATE, FL
(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).