The Church recognizes for its clergy that there are also times when it is good for them to take an extended time of rest, to separate from the parish community for a time, and return refreshed and re-energized. Therefore, as I did seven years ago, I will enter a time of sabbatical on July 4th and return to Saint Margaret’s on October 4th.
I wonder how many of us give the same
consideration to the choices we make that
affect our spiritual well-being. Do we
consider the implications of what we
ingest with our eyes, our ears, or our
speech, and recognize the profound affects
that these choices can have on our
spiritual health? Whether it be the news,
political discussions, social media, or the
TV shows that we watch, do we
adequately consider what we are taking
into our body, and the profound affect that
these mediums can have on our spiritual
Join us in the StM Cafe’ every Sunday in April, between the 2 worship services.
All parishioners are invited to the StM Café in the Connector Hallway (just past the
restrooms). Please join us to socialize and reconnect with other parishioners, staff,
vestry and clergy. Plus, you get free coffee & snacks!
The season of Lent is a time offered to us by the Church to intentionally reconnect with Jesus and one another. And so let us do our prayers, spend time in worship, and do those things that help us intertwine our lives with Jesus. And perhaps we might also take some deliberate time and sit down with those who are dear to us, put down the phones, gather over a cup of coffee, and meet face to face.
We are grateful for the amazing support we received for our refugee welcome baskets! In just over 2 weeks, our parishioners donated $3,195 to help us pay for 30 welcome baskets for Afghan refugees moving into our area. And with the $2,000 match that St. Margaret’s contributed, we covered the cost of the supplies with funds to spare. We used the leftover money to provide other needed supplies such asvacuum cleaners, cooking oil, detergent, colored pencils, construction paper and other small toys for the children.
We have all been called, beloved, to seek to please God and follow Him wherever He made lead us, regardless of the
circumstances that we find ourselves in. Where we are, and the world around us, is our mission field. COVID or not, we are called to lives of faithfulness and discipleship. God is calling us to follow His Son, wherever He might lead us. He is asking that we put our faith and trust in Him. God is calling. We will follow?
All this serves as a reminder that no matter the circumstance we find ourselves in, the story of Jesus continues to unfold in our world. No disease, no obstacle, no personal situation can thwart the spreading of the love of God through Jesus Christ that began on that day in Bethlehem. God came to be with us, and He has never left. That is why I am so thankful that this year the church will be open, the community of faith will gather, and we will gaze together upon this wonderful act that God has done.
I believe in the Communion of Saints. I profess so every time I recite the Apostles’ Creed, and so do you. While this creed is not contained within the Sunday liturgy every week, it is a part of Daily Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer, and we do pray this creed corporately within our liturgies for Baptism and the Burial Rite.
I was driving along recently, minding my own business, when I noticed two drivers close to me acting a bit perturbed with one another. I don’t know what started this clash, but as we all sat at a red light, the tensions between the two grew greater. Honks turned into yelling, and it was getting quite uncomfortable for those of us in cars witnessing this confrontation.
Let’s be honest, it’s been rough lately for a lot of us. I cannot remember a time in my life when so many difficult circumstances were present in our society. Racial divisions, political turmoil, national unrest, war, poverty, disease.
One of the wonderful reminders that the current pandemic has afforded me is how privileged I am to be allowed to serve as your priest at the Lord’s altar. In our liturgy, and in that sacred space, our Lord becomes truly present to us, and offers Himself to us in order that we might be transformed and receive His grace.
The act of praying should be a daily discipline for all followers of Jesus. Our Lord faithfully set aside time to find a quiet spot and to connect with His Father so that He might discern God’s will, align Himself with that Divine Will, and gain strength from the presence of the Almighty.
In his powerful letter to the Church in Corinth, Saint Paul addresses a community that found itself deeply divided. The fractures within this burgeoning movement of Christ manifested themselves in a myriad of ways: some members believed they possessed greater spiritual gifts, some thought that their relationship with Peter positioned them for a place of greater honor, and still some believed they were closer to Christ Himself.
To be a community of people who follow Jesus is to be a people who gather for Mass. Our corporate worship of the Risen Lord provides us strength, encouragement, instruction, and the very presence of our Lord in the Eucharist, so that we might be nourished by His grace and be strengthened for the ministry entrusted to us.
What would you say if I told you that the early Christians didn’t spend a lot of their time talking about eternal life? Would that surprise you? Now to be clear, the early disciples absolutely knew that Jesus had been raised from the dead and firmly believed that through faith in the Risen Lord they too would have eternal life. They just did not spend much of their time talking about it. No one needed convincing; it was simply what they knew to be true by the teachings of the apostles and the beliefs of the early Christian communities.
When I was very young, I used to be the unofficial tracker of time and distance when my family went on vacation. Now to be clear, no one asked me to do this, but I was always so excited to get to our destination, I took it upon myself to notice every mile marker, every exit sign, and would routinely ask my father and my mother, “How much farther?”
In case you haven’t heard yet, we have an election coming up on November 3rd. This election will decide the ultimate fate of our nation; or so I’ve heard. If you vote for Donald Trump our country will end. If you vote for Joe Biden, civilization will cease to exist. If you just vote for the correct candidate we are told, everything will be fine.
As I trust that most of you have heard by now, and after a long hiatus from worship in our beautiful space, Saint Margaret’s and its people will return this weekend to in-person, inside worship! It has been almost seven months since we gathered inside to worship together, and I cannot tell you how excited I am to be with you again inside of our beautiful nave worshipping the Risen Lord. What Good News this truly is!
It is the month of September, and at Saint Margaret’s, we find ourselves saying goodbye to our dear friends and members of the clergy, Fr. Lito+ and Fr. Eric+. While I never expected these departures to occur so close together, they are a result of God’s call for each one of them. For Fr. Lito+, a call to the retired life after 47 years of faithful ministry. For Fr. Eric+, the exciting call to lead a congregation as its next rector.
This past week, a video was posted on YouTube entitled, Dancing Priest does Hamilton. In this three plus minute parody of the musical, an Episcopal priest, donned in full vestments, sings and dances while telling us each that “You’ll be back; back to church, back to passing the peace, back to the Eucharist.”
I know that this sequester has affected me. I trust that these changes will only last for a short time, but it has influenced me, and I do not like what it has done to me. I’m more irritable, less focused, and I’m not sleeping as well as I usually do. I’m tired of ministry via email, text message, and a computer screen. Don’t get me wrong; I am thankful that I have these tools by which I can stay connected to everyone, but I still do not like it.
Coronavirus. George Floyd. Protests, riots, and continued racial divisions in our communities. Heck, I even just learned about the invasion of Murder Hornets! I don’t know about you, but 2020 is not the year I expected, but unfortunately, it is the year that we have. As I am writing this to you on June 2nd, we in this country have had some of the most tumultuous months in our recent history, and my sense is that there is still more to come
I am ready to see all of you. It has been too long since we gathered together, and my heart longs for the moment where we can return to our lovely church and worship together, pray together, and most importantly share together the Sacraments of the Church. These past two months have been an extraordinary time in the life of our parish and in the world.
I thought that I had figured out my spiritual disciplines for Lent this year. The Church calls us to honor the season of Lent by…selfexamination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word. So along with deeper study and more prayer, I decided that I would abstain from coffee again this year as my discipline of self-denial.
The season of Lent is almost upon us. February 26th is Ash Wednesday, and it is on this day that the church offers us again the imposition of ashes, in which each of us is reminded of our mortality; of our finiteness. The liturgy for this day calls us to a Holy Lent, specifically by instructing us to mark this season…
It has long been the practice of the Church to remember those saints who have gone before us; those whose lives serve as a testament to the power of living a life following Jesus Christ. Given that every Sunday is dedicated as a feast day of our Lord, we seldom get to honor individual saints or hear of their stories during our weekend liturgies.