Worship Schedule

Sunday 8:15 a.m. Holy Eucharist Rite I
in-person & online: Zoom
Sunday 10:45 a.m. Holy Eucharist Rite II
in-person & online: Facebook/website
Thursday 8:00 p.m. Compline
online: Zoom

Sunday mornings at Grace

Christian Formation

Grace focuses on the spiritual development and formation of adults, youth and children and offers several educational opportunities. Sunday morning classes are held between worship services at 9:30 a.m.

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The Grace Church nave is located at the corner of Washington Street and Boulevard in Gainesville, Georgia.

The parish office, open Monday through Thursday from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM, is located at 422 Brenau Avenue. Come to the red door that faces Brenau Avenue and ring the bell for access.

Mailing Address: 422 Brenau Avenue, Gainesville, GA 30501
Phone: 770-536-0126

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Sermons

Date Posted: July 20, 2021

Are We Being Recognized?

Opening Prayer:  Heavenly Creator, give us the strength to be your face, your voice, and your hands in the world. Amen

Are we being recognized? 

In today’s Gospel we heard two instances of recognition.  These questions could be interpreted in different ways.  Today, I want us to look at these two similar questions in a very humble way on this reflection. 

Being recognized means that a previous experience has occurred.  We recognized what we know.  When you see someone in the supermarket, we say, from where did I know that person?  It is an exercise of the mind. 

In the Gospel today, we have two moments of recognition Now, many saw them going and recognized them.  In this instance, the recognition is about a memory exercise.  They recognized the disciples because of their connection with Jesus.  They were there with Jesus; they know Him, and they can get us to Him.  The disciples cause curiosity about their master to those around them.  Seeking this recognition is about being an acquaintance with Jesus, being a friend of Jesus.  These should be the initial stages of our purpose as Christians.  People should recognize our faces because of our connection with Jesus. We should inspire curiosity about Jesus.  This is our first way of being recognized.    

We all make constant efforts to be recognized, sometimes not even in the holiest ways.  We try really hard to make ourselves known to others by what we do, where we work, the church we go, or the funds that we provide. However, this could be a superficial way in some occasions and we are all guilty of this in more than one way in our lives.  Our skills and gifts will be old news soon.  In the beginning, we will be the new face and the new person, but soon enough, if we are not in the constant transformation, we will be recognized as an acquaintance of Jesus and nothing more. 

Before we get to the second moment of recognition of the reading, I want to return to the point that Fr. Stuart ended the sermon last week.  He asked the question, what do we need to heal?  In what areas in our lives do we need to seek healing?  I know that for all of us, this was an unexpected and challenging task.  In the natural world, we identify areas of healing in our body by the wounds that we can see.  A paper cut reveals itself, and the need for healing is present to us.  But what about the scars inside and spiritual scratches that we are sometimes unaware of or have suppressed.  That is the natural and profound work that we need to do, and it is not easy.  I have not completed my homework yet, Fr. Stuart, but we will get there soon.  The reason for the delay is because we have ignored a spiritual wound, that open sore for many years, and we have become numbed to it.  My dear friends, it is a profound work and being sincere to us in many ways is not easy but it is necessary.

We need to experience this healing before we can be in the second stage of recognition.

The second moment of recognition is when the sacred author wrote people at once recognized him (Jesus).  No longer were the disciples the center of attraction or the necessary means to get to Jesus.  This time they recognized Him (Jesus).  It is a profound moment, it is the John the Baptizer moment (as I like to call it).  Pointing to Jesus is our mission.   

What recognition do we want to accomplish, our own recognition as acquittances of Jesus or that the people around us see Jesus in us?  …. Our job as Christians and followers of Jesus is to achieve both but excel on the latter.    

When the face of Jesus is what we as a community reflect through our community, that is when we have been thriving as disciples.  It is not about how wonderful we could be… and we are lovely.   But it is about the mission that we should accomplished.  We started last week with what we need to heal, and this week, I will add, Are we being recognized because I can show Jesus in my own life? Do people see Jesus in me?

Using our senses lets exercise our faith, I know we all believe, and we need to feel Jesus in a unique way…

I invite you today to exercise your touch of Jesus… the reading ended, And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who felt it were healed.

Today during communion, ask Jesus, when you touch Him, heal me from _______… you fill in the blank.  Jesus, allow me to become a mirror of you so that those around us, around Gainesville, around Grace Episcopal Church, see you, my Lord and my God in me.  AMEN!

The Rev. D. Edgar Otero
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56
July 18, 2021