Thursday, November 29, 2018
Message from Kelly
Although Advent begins this Sunday, December 2, thanks to the planning and preparation that your church leaders do, I already feel immersed in the “already and not yet” of this first season of the new church year. Advent is about getting ready: for the coming of the Christ Child at Christmas, for the Second Coming of Christ, and for the daily welcoming of Christ into our hearts and lives, no matter what the liturgical season.
“Getting ready” as a church community takes A LOT of getting ready, the leaders’ work I mentioned a moment ago. Efforts by the altar guild to prepare our worship spaces for the new season; music and liturgy planning by organist Ash Morgan and Deacon Maryan and myself; planning and leading the faith formation programs (what we use to call “Christian Education”) which Jean Murphy (for our kids) and Joan Bowers (for adults) have been guiding; even the extra Xeroxing that our administrator Heidi Schlenz takes on. I’m so very grateful that we have such able and generous folks helping us get ready to “get ready.”
And now, as Advent arrives this year, I invite you to make use of the many resources that your church is offering you to help you and your household “get ready” in a holy, peaceful way. We’ll be sharing 2 different day-by-day advent calendars: one rooted in the 7 practices of the “Way of Love” rule of life, and “Slow down. Quiet. It’s Advent” (from Forward Movement).
For the digitally inclined, “Advent Word” is a daily email meditation with words and images that has an international reach. Explore that program and sign up here:
Fair warning: All this may sound like temptations to be “busy” about Advent. That’s exactly not the point! (For example, chose one calendar… don’t try to do all three.) Day by day, the small moments (5 or 10 minutes) proposed by these Advent calendars will infuse peace and faithfulness into your “getting ready” for the coming of Christ.
Monday, November 19, 2018
Message from Kelly
As our country gets ready to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, let us all remember to root our gratitude in our faith:
"All things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee."
Blessings on your time with family and friends, and may your travels (and the travel of anyone headed your way) be safe and trouble-free.
Thursday, November 15, 2018
Message from Kelly
On Wednesday evening, we wrapped up our fall book group, which considered Presiding Bishop Curry’s Crazy Christians. It was nearly dark by 5 p.m. as we gathered at Holderness School, and quite cold. That felt like a real measure of how much time had passed since we began our discussions on a warm early fall afternoon, in a group that included several of our summer visitors.
Thank you to each one of you who took part in this season of formation, whether you attended one session or many, or simply read along at home. Your willingness to explore and discuss your faith with others enriches us all.
During the Sundays of Advent, which begin on December 2, we’ll invest some time in exploring “The Way of Love,” (click here to learn more) a set of practices which can inspire us to walk as disciples, people who are learning—always learning—how to better follow Jesus.
Thursday, November 8, 2018
Message from Kelly+
In the section of Crazy Christians that we discussed last night at Holderness, Presiding Bishop Curry quoted lines from the Renaissance poet (and Anglican priest, Dean of London’s St Paul’s Cathedral, no less) John Donne.
This part may sound familiar: “No [person] is an island, entire of itself…. Any [human’s] death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
Those words and thoughts found their way of out of a 17th century pulpit, as far as 20th century America and beyond, to title a Hemingway novel, and even to be argued with by Paul Simon, who insisted “I am a rock, I am an island.”
While the part of Donne’s quote that’s been picked up in popular culture focuses on death, Bishop Curry’s wider lens reminds us that there is even more to the story. In Crazy Christians, he starts quoting Donne a few lines earlier.
“The church is catholic, universal, so are all her actions. When she baptizes a child, that action concerns me; for that child is therby connected to the body wherof I am a member” (John Donne, Meditation XVII, quoted in Curry, p 100.)
Last Sunday’s celebration of All Saints—which included 2 baptisms—found me under the weather and nearly voiceless. I’m beyond grateful to Deacon Maryan for leading worship at 8 am, and for letting me save what voice I had for the sacramental parts of the 9:30 service that needed a priest.
As you’ll read elsewhere in this newsletter, this Sunday, which is the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended the first World War, we plan to ring St. Mark’s bell in the manner that Armistice was first marked: eleven rings at 11 am on the 11th day of the 11th month.
As we do so, be ready feel the complexity of that action: The “war to end all wars” did no such thing. Violence still surrounds us: even as I write this message, news of another mass shooting is coming out of California. And we all know the pain that accompanies loss. And yet: “Even at the grave, we make our song Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.” We are called to be peacemakers and reconcilers, even in the face of forces that would divide us.
It’s a paradox: We ring bells to mourn, and we ring bells to celebrate. The church rings its bells to announce that worship is about to begin….“Never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
We rejoice with all those baptized throughout the whole Church at the Feast of All Saints. And as the Feasts of All Saints and of All Souls remind us, even the “diminishment” Donne writes of is only in a very limited sense: we remain, through the love of God, perpetually connected to each other here and now, and to “those we love but see no longer.” The fact is: We are all in this together, in sorrow and in joy, as the Body of Christ and the Communion of Saints.
Thursday, November 1, 2018
Message from Kelly+
Today, which is the Feast of All Saints, I invite you to think and pray about the “more-ness” of All Saints. (And I’m not talking about the sort of more-ness that comes from leftover Halloween candy…)
All Saints reminds us that we, as the church of today, are part of something much more than the folks gathered in any one particular place and time. We are part of a Communion of Saints that connects us all—past, present, and future.
The scripture readings set for Daily Prayers today send us to the 12thchapter of Hebrews, which begins, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses.”
Let us give thanks for that, today: the abiding presence and witness of the faithful ones who have gone before us; the ones whose faith shines a way forward for you, now. Ask and give thanks:
Who is in that “great cloud of witnesses” for you?
Who said to you, Let me tell you about—or, let me show you— this faith that leads me onwards?
Who taught you to pray?
Who set your feet on the path of following Jesus in the Way of Love?
Thanks be to God for those faithful saints. Blessings, Kelly+