Sometimes I am absolutely amazed at the amount of outreach work our small church does. One only needs to scan this email to see the variety of ministries which are happening because of our parishioners. Whether it is the witness made for marriage equality, our upcoming observance of World AIDS Day, our feeding of the hungry and homeless, our financial support to the people of the Philippines, or our formation of children and adults for ministry, we are seeking and serving our neighbors in diverse ways. And let us not forget our daily offering of worship at St. Mark's. Our doors are open every day for our neighborhood; prayers keep ascending. If our church was to disappear, many people would miss our presence within our neighborhood and beyond.
This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Sovereigns. (Last week's Evangel featured a brief history of King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma.) In 1908 St. Mark's was formed as a mission of St. Andrew's Cathedral in memory of Queen Emma. Her date of death is April 25, St. Mark's Day; hence why we are named for St. Mark. The result is that we enjoy a feast of title and a feast of patron. Near April 25th every year we celebrate St. Mark. Near November 28th every year we celebrate Queen Emma, and her husband, Kamehameha IV, with the rest of our diocese.
This Sunday we will use the Gospel from Matthew appointed for the feast of the Holy Sovereigns - Matthew 25: 31-40. It is a Gospel that also occurs every three years for the Feast of Christ the King. Here is a portion of Sunday's text:
". . . the king will say to those at his right hand, `Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.'"
This Gospel is one of the best for conveying what the actual kingship of Jesus is - power and dignity brought to all through our service to those who are in need. Everyone knows the stories about Queen Emma's concern for the neediest among our islands. Queen's Hospital continues this legacy today, as well as our diocese. Our own church is motivated by her example too, partly due to the energy of our Queen Emma Outreach Guild.
This Sunday take a moment to view the portrait of Queen Emma near our baptismal font. I am reminded every time we gather at the font, she is there pointing us to the waters of salvation. You might also notice the scene of Queen Emma in our stained glass window of the Lady Chapel. She wears a maile lei, and it is draped in the shape of a deacon's stole - extremely fitting considering her service to others.
During November we are reminded of the multitude of saints who have born witness to Christ - people like Emma who chose to follow our Lord wherever he might lead them. May we follow where Christ leads so that the needy of our own time will experience God's healing grace.
Father Paul Lillie+