St. Augustine

By , August 28, 2011

Today is the feast day of St. Augustine, who is arguably the most influential Christian thinker (next to Jesus and St. Paul).  Augustine was a brilliant teacher and writer long before he converted to Christianity in his early thirties.  As he famously put it, “My heart, O Lord, was restless, till it rested with you.” After he turned to Christ, he had keen sight into his own soul.

One of Augustine’s most penetrating thoughts on human nature comes from an episode in his life as a teenager:  “There was a pear tree close to our own vineyard, heavily laden with fruit, which was not tempting either for its color or for its flavor.  Late one night – having prolonged our games in the streets until then, as our bad habit was – a group of young scoundrels, and I among them, went to shake and rob this tree.  We carried off a huge load of pears, not to eat ourselves, but to dump out to the hogs, after barely tasting some of them ourselves.  Doing this pleased us all the more because it was forbidden.  Such was my heart, O God, such was my heart – which You pities even in that bottomless pit.  Behold, now let my heart confess what it was seeking there, when I was being gratuitously wanton, having no inducement to evil but the evil itself.  It was foul, and I loved it.  I loved my own undoing.  I loved my error – not that for which I erred, but the error itself.  A depraved soul, falling away from security in thee to destruction in itself, seeking nothing from the shameful deed but shame itself.”

Some have argued that August was being neurotic to chide himself so harshly for a boyhood prank.  But I believe that he has put his finger on the heart of the human condition.  Without God, not only do people do evil things, but also we desire those evil things for themselves. Augustine understood St. Paul’s bitter cry, “retched person that I am, who will save me from this body of death!” [Romans 8:24] But he also understood St. Paul’s victory cry:  “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” [Romans 8:25].  Today I am profoundly grateful for this St. Augustine, who shows us what a Savior we have in the depths that he stoops to save us!

Your brother,


The Rev. Jordan Easley


On the Mark August 28th

Fr. Jordan Easley - August 21st

By , August 21, 2011

Ripe for the Picking

Again, I’m thinking of being on my grandfather’s farm.  My sister and I would be “dropped off” and the fun would begin.  The fruit would be RIPE for the picking:  cherries, plums, pears, peaches, and especially apples (hundreds of thousands!)  One time a photo opportunity was arranged.  My sister and I stood in the middle of a lane surrounded by apple-laden trees that had as much red as green in the picture.  It made for a colorful magazine cover!

At the peak of the harvest my grandfather and uncle paid workers who would come and stay in barracks they had specially built.  The men would sing hymns while they picked the ripe fruit.  I heard heaven and earth singing to God for the harvest.

In John 4:35, Jesus says to his disciples “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields!  They are ripe for the harvest.” Many people were ready to come into the kingdom of heaven, even “hated” Samaritan villagers!  It was as though the disciples were not aware of it and they had to wake up to the fact that the fruit was ripe for the picking.

I believe we face a similar situation.  Look around.  Ask Jesus to help you see those who are ready for Him.  They are ripe for the picking!


The Rev. Christopher P. Leighton


On the Mark August 21st

Fr. Christopher Leighton - Numbers 10 - August 14th

Fr. Christopher Leighton - August 14th

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