Confirmation Sunday

This Sunday our Bishop, Susan Goff, will lead us in celebration of Holy Eucharist and Confirmation.

I ask your prayers for those who have decided to make their confirmation and for those who have decided not to make their confirmation.  I am persuaded that in every case it is a commitment to seeking the truth that motivates the decision.  

I also ask your prayers of thanksgiving for our J2A and Rite 13 mentors and parents, who are a little like active duty military.  They bear personally the responsibility that belongs to all of us.  And let’s remember, that responsibility is not to make good Christians of our young people.  It is to care for our young people as they explore the meaning and practice of Christian life.  It is work that belongs to all of us.

The Holy Spirit will come, but for now, watch and wait...

“I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2)      

In the verses just before the Gospel we will read this week, John highlights the connection between the Resurrection we have celebrated over the past few weeks and the Ascension, which the Western Church celebrates this coming Thursday, May 30th. Once Jesus has passed through death and into his glory with the Father, he beckons us to join him. Ascension Day is often quickly passed over between the events of Easter and the powerful coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, but we would to well to linger and wait for the Spirit Jesus will send to help us keep his word.

The Ascension. Hans Suss von Kulmbach, 1513. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, N.Y.

Knowing the Presence of God

For the past 15 years or so, I've been spending Sunday mornings with young children in a program called Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. You may have wondered what keeps me there, week after week, year after year. Well, let me tell you a story. 

When I was young, I remember seeing the difference between the world as it is and the world as we want it to be. I remember marching for peace in Central Park in 1982 when it seemed nuclear war was a real possibility. I remember being moved by Ben Kingsley's portrayal of Ghandi. I knew that I wanted to see that day when God will "wipe away every year from their eyes". But how will that come to pass? 

Perfection and Unconditional Love

Both of my daughters’ birthdays arrive early in the year and as a result spring is when it becomes difficult for me to avoid noticing their march toward adulthood and independence. This always prompts me to do a little soul-searching about how I am doing as a mother. Becoming a parent is an enormous leap of faith and I think we all wonder if we will be able to pull it off and do a decent job.  So this time of year I always end up giving myself a little mom performance review and, without fail, I mostly think about the ways that I have failed. 

God's Creation

This Sunday we read the wonderful story of Jesus calling Peter and other disciples as they fish. In a familiar pattern, they don’t recognize him until he performs a miracle.  As the others haul in their tremendous catch, Peter swims to meet Jesus from whom he receives a calling and a commissioning: Take care of God’s people. Feed my sheep.

Peter faced grave obstacles to the success of that mission–his self-doubt, his sinfulness, as well as cosmic, religious, cultural, and imperial forces lined against him like the forces of Thanos or the army of the Dead descending from the North.  He could never have dreamed how powerful the tiny seed planted in him and his friends would grow.  

 We also face grave uncertainties and obstacles as individuals, as a church, as a species.  

The Acts of the Spirit

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
         the holy catholic Church,
         the communion of saints,
         the forgiveness of sins,
         the resurrection of the body,
         and the life everlasting.[1]

 Many of us said these words at the Vigil of Easter, and many of us will say them again at the next Baptism or Confirmation in our parish. Many members of our parish said them every time they came to Morning Prayer when that was the principal Sunday morning service at St. Luke’s. These are important words. They are the foundation of the ongoing beliefs of Christians living after the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus.

AN EASTER MESSAGE from PRESIDING BISHOP CURRY

The Rt. Reverend Barbara Harris was the first woman ordained and consecrated a bishop in The Episcopal Church and in the Anglican Communion. In her memoir, entitled Hallelujah, Anyhow! [she] quotes an old Gospel hymn that says it this way:

Hallelujah anyhow
Never let your troubles get you down
When your troubles come your way
Hold your hands up high and say
Hallelujah anyhow!

When I get to Heaven, I want to meet one person, and her name is Mary Magdalene. Because if ever there was another Hallelujah, Anyhow sister, it was Mary Magdalene. And her life, and her example, tells us what it means to follow in the way of Jesus, in the Way of Love.

Bishop Goff's Holy Week Message

Jesus said, "The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you." John 12:35

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Holy Week is the longest walk of the year. We begin the walk on the outskirts of Jerusalem, near the Mount of Olives, where the disciples throw their cloaks over a colt and Jesus climbs on. It is a ludicrous sight - a grown man on a colt, his feet dangling to the ground. Everyone knows that real kings ride great stallions, not donkeys. But Jesus chooses to be a living parable, a parable of humility. Jesus chooses to embrace seeming foolishness to reveal God's wisdom, seeming weakness to show us real strength.

Weekly Message

Should the Bible be taken literally?

 On a recent episode of a slightly irreverent show I enjoy on HBO, “Crashing”, the main character is a man of faith trying to make his way in the world of stand-up comedy.

 This largely autobiographical program shows how Pete tries to navigate the comedy circuit without violating his faith.  Several episodes focus on his participation in the “Good Faith” tour around the country.  He is paid well and he travels with other performers of different types who all focus on “clean” acts that are intended not to offend the audiences who mostly gather at churches and other places of faith to see the tour.

The Gift of Love

This Sunday draws our attention toward the peculiar nature of Christian sacrifice as the “place” where true joy is to be found.

In particular we witness the sacrifice of Mary of Bethany who anoints Jesus with a large amount of very expensive ointment, drawing the scorn of Judas. (John 12:1-8). Jesus tells us that Mary’s sacrifice is directly related to his sacrifice.

How might Mary’s sacrifice help us understand Jesus’ sacrifice? Our inclination is to make cost the most critical factor in sacrifice. Thus Judas criticizes Mary’s sacrifice for its cost, because the money might have been better used to relieve the suffering of the poor. Jesus, however focuses on Mary’s attentiveness toward him. He focuses on her love.