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Published by christchurchepiscopalhudson, 2017-02-20 00:29:53

Description: OurLentenJourneyOnline

Keywords: Lent, BibleStudy,Bible,Episcopal,Reflections,Easter,AshWednesday


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~ Our Lenten Journey Reflections written by Members and Friends of our Parish Family

Invitation to a Holy Lent Book of Common Prayer 265 “I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent,by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy word.”

February 26, 2017Dear Friends,The holy season of Lent begins on March 1. Lent is a season ofpreparation for the great feast of Easter so that our hearts, minds,and bodies are ready to greet the Risen Christ on that day. Thisbooklet of Lenten devotions is designed to be a companion for usduring this journey, reminding us that we journey with God and eachother during the 40 days of Lent.I invite you to savor the devotion for each day during Lent. Myprayer is that these devotions will draw us closer to God, closer toeach other as we read and pray the reflections of our fellow pilgrimson this journey, and draw us even closer as a congregation as we walkthrough Lent together.My thanks to Sue King, who initiated this project, to Heather Swiftwho created the booklet from our many submissions, to KathyGarber who supervised the production of the booklets, to everyonewho wrote or created artistic reflections, and to all of you who willtake this Lenten journey together.A blessed Lent to each of you!Charlotte+

March 1, 2017 ~ Ash WednesdayAlmighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive thesins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, thatwe, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtainof you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through JesusChrist our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. 1st Reading: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 or Isaiah 58:1-12 2nd Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10 Psalm 51:1-17 / Gospel: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21In Matthew, Jesus said, “Beware of practicing your piety beforeothers in order to be seen by them; for then you have no rewardfrom your Father in Heaven.” Immediately, I think of the impositionof ashes. I never know when I should wash off the ashen cross frommy forehead, but I gather from this passage that it is not there toshow others but to remind me of my mortality. “Ashes to ashes, dustto dust,” as it is said at our end. I am reassured by this passage thatwhen I wipe away the cross, God will still see it as in our Baptismwhen the priest says while anointing us with a cross of oil, “You aremarked as Christ’s own forever.”Further in the Gospel, the verse about alms giving brings to mind theanonymous giver who does not expect recognition. He or she givesbecause it feels good to do so. God sees those unsung heroes and Iwill strive to be more like them.The lessons and psalm for the day focus on sin and forgiveness. Taketime today to think about your sins in the past year and throughoutLent repent (turn way from) them. During your readings, look forwords or phrases that impact you and think about what God iscalling you to do with your time left on earth. During Lent, I feelcalled to do something to help others rather than to “give up”something. Heather Swift

March 2, 2017 ~ Thursday after Ash WednesdayDirect us, O Lord, in all our doings with your most gracious favor, and further uswith your continual help; that in all our works begun, continued, and ended inyou, we may glorify your holy Name, and finally, by your mercy, obtain everlastinglife; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the HolySpirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 1st Reading: Jonah 3:1-10; 2nd Reading: Romans 1:1-7 Psalm 51 / The Gospel: Luke 9:18–25 Jane Harrison

March 3, 2017 ~ Friday after Ash WednesdaySupport us, O Lord, with your gracious favor through the fast we have begun;that as we observe it by bodily self-denial, so we may fulfill it with inner sincerityof heart; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and theHoly Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 1st Reading: Jonah 4:1-11 2nd Reading: Romans 1:8-17 Psalm 51 / Gospel: Matthew 9:10–17The publicans, sinners and Jesus were the guests at a feast inMatthew’s house. Present were all of the lowly, the social outcasts ofthe city. The Pharisees were feeling they were better than those Jesuswas associating with, and they thought Jesus should be spending timewith them. So Jesus puts them in their place with a proverb. He saidthat he is the physician, and he is treating his patients. If thePharisees think they are better, they have no need of him.Then the disciples of John pushed farther and questioned why theywere not fasting and following all the prescribed rituals. Jesusexplains that there will be time (when he is gone) to grieve. In themeantime, their whole life in His companionship was like a continualwedding-feast, with nothing but joy and happiness.He is trying to get all to understand that the old ways are restrictingand limited. An old garment will provide little comfort and will wearout soon. A used wine skin will soon split and spill the wine. One willnever understand or experience the full grace of God if they do notopen themselves up to it and make a change. Cindy Hartman

March 4, 2017 ~ Saturday after Ash WednesdayAlmighty and everlasting God, mercifully look upon our infirmities, and in allour dangers and necessities stretch forth your right hand to help and defend us;through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the HolySpirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 1st Reading: Isaiah 58:1-12 2nd Reading: Matthew 18:1-7 Psalm 51 / The Gospel: Luke 5:27–32It’s safe to say, nobody greets the “tax man” in Jesus’ day or ourswith real enthusiasm. Now, he or she is an official to be endured. InJesus day it was even worse for “tax collectors” were known to becorrupt. Why one such man, Levi, was so struck by Jesus that, “… heleft everything got up and followed him.” we are not told nor why heinvited Jesus to his home for a great banquet with other tax collectorfriends and Jesus went. The religious establishment was scandalizedby such behavior and complained at this apparent departure from“right living”. Jesus responded, “…; I have come not to call therighteous but sinners to repentance.” In what ways do we respondwhen we meet those who offend, like the Pharisees, our core beliefs;our understanding of right and wrong living? Are our hearts andminds open; courageous enough to befriend these people where theyare like Jesus, or do we judge them and turn away so as not to beassociated with their company?I recently read this quote from C.S. Lewis, “…The smallest good acttoday captures a strategic point which could lead to undreamed-ofvictories.” Gretchen Green

March 5, 2017 ~ First Sunday in LentAlmighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan:Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as youknow the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; throughJesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the HolySpirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. 1st Reading: Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7 2nd Reading: Romans 5:12-19 Psalm 32 / Gospel: Matthew 4:1-111) It is a real experiment to attempt to determine all of the variousways in which we are tempted in today’s world. Even young childrenare tempted by various advertisements and television programs whichprompt them to ask their relatives, families, parents, and guardiansfor the next big thing. We are told that they can’t live without it, thatthey need it, that if they didn’t get this new thing that they wouldn’tbe whole. But what does it mean to be whole? How many of usmight hear the words in our own heads which state that if we were toonly do A, B, and C we would have it all. But don’t we already have itall? We have God’s love, without having to do anything we have itfrom our birth. We have opportunity in our lives through friendships,relationships, experiences, and career options. One lives by God,One does not need test God, One worships God alone. Throughthese three things we ourselves are whole. We need nothing else. Allie Heeter

March 6, 2017 ~ Monday in 1st week of LentAlmighty and everlasting God, mercifully increase in us your gifts of holydiscipline, in almsgiving, prayer, and fasting; that our lives may be directed to thefulfilling of your most gracious will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives andreigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 1st Reading: 1 Kings 19:1-8 2nd Reading: Hebrews 2:10-18 Psalm 32 / The Gospel: Matthew 25:31–46Have you ever received an allowance from your parents? When I wasa child, mine gave me a quarter every week. I made my bed, kept myroom clean and tidy (most of the time) and gave my offering in myown envelope at church on Sunday. My parents insisted that mychores were part of the responsibility of belonging to a family, habitsto be formed for good living. The allowance was just a gift.Our collect and gospel reading for the day remind me that practicingholy habits - almsgiving, prayer and fasting, giving to “the least ofthese” - is much like the household chores of my childhood. Theseare good ways to live. How does that connect to Matthew’s story ofthe Great Judgment, with the sheep and goats separated for rewardor punishment? While I don’t believe that we earn our way intoheaven through good works, I do believe that when we help those inneed, “the least of these”, we are showing that God’s love is real andpresent. Providing a meal, clothing, welcome, visiting the sick orimprisoned are habits of God’s family members. Any reward, as inthe case of my weekly allowance, is pure gift. Janet Daniels

March 7, 2017 ~ Tuesday in 1st week of LentGrant to your people, Lord, grace to withstand the temptations of the world, theflesh, and the devil, and with pure hearts and minds to follow you, the only trueGod; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you andthe Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 1st Reading: Genesis 4:1-16 2nd Reading: Hebrews 4:14-5:10 Psalm 32 / Gospel: Matthew 6:7–15For most church-goers, The Lord’s Prayer is our most familiarprayer. Its comfort is like a warm blanket that we automatically reachfor whenever we feel the urge to pray. It’s there for us when we can’tfind our own words to express the cry of our hearts. It is more thancomfort when we recognize that it also calls us to be actively engagedin a reciprocal relationship. I sometimes like to pick out a single wordor phrase and let it speak to me. For instance, “Our Father” remindsme that we are united in one family. “Forgive us as we forgiveothers” is a call to engage in the work of reconciliation. Forgivenessof others is for our own good. Imagine yourself yelling at a politicianon TV who holds an unwelcome perspective. Is the politician hurt orchanged by your anger? No, only you, yourself. Perhaps this is thegist of the uncomfortable last verse “but if you do not forgive others,neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” I think there is adistinction here between us and our trespasses. We are as Godcreated us. We are not our trespasses. We are called to live into thefullness of our true Self. With pure hearts and minds we are called tofollow God as Jesus teaches. Linda Irving

March 8, 2017 ~ Wednesday in 1st week of LentBless us, O God, in this holy season, in which our hearts seek your help andhealing; and so purify us by your discipline that we may grow in grace and in theknowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with youand the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 1st Reading: Exodus 34:1-9, 27-28 2nd Reading: Matthew 18:10-14 Psalm 32 / The Gospel: Luke 11:29–32There has always been thought that the generation which precedesthe current is correct, better, and will always be the best when itcomes to what it provides. Biblical stories are nothing less. WhenJesus speaks here on what his experiences of the next generation are,it’s no different than what we hear today from generation looking atgeneration. We continue to hear that those who follow each areworse for the good of the people. Yet we also see that when wesupport and strengthen one another, all are better off. When we thinkof what might happen if the queen of judgement were to rise today,what would happen? Would we cast blame, or could we standtogether as brothers and sisters? What might we do to support oneanother and bring us to a beneficial world? Allie Heeter

March 9, 2017 ~ Thursday in 1st week of LentStrengthen us, O Lord, by your grace, that in your might we may overcome allspiritual enemies, and with pure hearts serve you; through Jesus Christ our Lord,who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.Amen. 1st Reading: Isaiah 51:1-3 2nd Reading: 2 Timothy 1:3-7 Psalm 121 / Gospel: Matthew 7:7–12In The Message, the contemporary language version of the Bible, thelast part of this verse reads, “Here is a simple rule of thumb guide forbehavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you…”Somewhere, lodged deep in my brain, from an early age, I hear thewords of someone older and wiser saying to me, “How would youlike it if they did that to you?” Believe me, those words didn’t alwaysstay hooked in my brain as those growing up years went by. I wishthey had, and I wish they would now. Now I most often can callthem to mind.Experience is a great teacher, too. But here they are, right inScripture, instructing us how to treat others. I am the DAR GoodCitizen chairman for my chapter and have the privilege of reading theapplications, essays, and letters of recommendations for the school’schoice of their Good Citizen. One candidate said she tried everydayto do some service for another. That is dazzling. I am sure someoneolder and wiser said to her one time, “How would you like it if theydid that to you?” She has learned at an early age to apply thosewords. Of course, it is never too late for any of us. Sue King

March 10, 2017 ~ Friday in 1st week of LentLord Christ, our eternal Redeemer, grant us such fellowship in your sufferings,that, filled with your Holy Spirit, we may subdue the flesh to the spirit, and thespirit to you, and at the last attain to the glory of your resurrection; who lives andreign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 1st Reading: Micah 7:18-20 2nd Reading: Romans 3:21-31 Psalm 121 / The Gospel: Matthew 5:20–26This passage is part of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount and follows TheBeatitudes where Jesus seems to turn the world upside down for hislisteners. The Scribes and Pharisees believed and taught that the mostexact observance of the Law would bring one closer to God. Jesuschallenges that understanding and asks us to transform our innerselves, our hearts and minds, to bring us closer to God. Right actions(or avoiding evil ones) are not enough to live as God truly hopes forus. To be a part of God's kingdom requires more than outwardappearances. God wants us to live loving our neighbor,understanding and forgiving our enemy. What is in our hearts andminds is just as important as our outward actions.Paul's letter to the Christians in Rome may help us further. Paulasserts that true obedience to God's will comes with a life that is lived\"according to the Spirit,\" with the actual presence of God in ourhearts, which is \"life and peace.\" (8:3-7) Paul continues by saying thatwe are to genuinely love one another, live in harmony, accept ourdifferences and \"live peaceably with all.\" (12: 9-18) Julie Micheletti

March 11, 2017 ~ Saturday in 1st week of LentO God, by your Word you marvelously carry out the work of reconciliation:Grant that in our Lenten fast we may be devoted to you with all our hearts, andunited with one another in prayer and holy love; through Jesus Christ our Lord,who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.Amen. 1st Reading: Isaiah 51:4-8 2nd Reading: Luke 7:1-10 Psalm 121 / Gospel: Matthew 5:43–48In this internet age, it is easy to have our personal perspective onsocial and political issues reinforced rather than challenged. Weidentify with like-minded people and “others” are ignored or vilified.We might even consider them the “enemy.” How do we do as Jesuscommands and love our enemies? We might seek to understand andknow them rather than judge them. I find it helpful to remind myself,not only that I shouldn’t judge others, but that I can’t. Only God canknow all the intricacies of our human experience. We are all childrenof God. The sun rises and the rain falls on us all. When we focus onremembering that God created us in His image, we have a glimpse ofwhat perfection can be. Like the sun and the rain, does our love shineforth on everyone? Linda Irving

March 12, 2017 ~ Second Sunday in LentO God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have goneastray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfastfaith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christyour Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for everand ever. Amen. 1st Reading: Genesis 12:1-4a 2nd Reading: Romans 4:1-5, 13-17 Psalm 121 / The Gospel: John 3:1-17I grew up in a Southern Baptist church in Arkansas. So naturally Imemorized the King James Version of John 3:16 and becameproficient at “sword drills.” These were contests, with us childrenlined up facing the teacher, Bibles at our sides. We drew our“swords” and raced to find whatever Bible verse she named.Later as an Episcopalian I learned John 3:17. Jesus did not come tocondemn the world. I had been taught those biblical warnings aboutGod coming to judge the world. But I discovered they often did notrefer to my or our condemnation. They were about finally having ajudge who is just, rather than prejudiced and oppressive, as were theemperors who took the ancient Hebrews captive.I also learned John 3:15. Jesus reminded his disciples about the timeGod told Moses in the wilderness to make a bronze serpent, tomount it on a pole and lift it up. Israelites who had been bitten bypoisonous snakes looked at it and were healed.Every Lent we wait for that terrible day when the Son of God ishimself mounted on a pole and lifted up. Looking upon him, we arehealed. Don Collins Reed

March 13, 2017 ~ Monday in 2nd week of LentLet your Spirit, O Lord, come into the midst of us to wash us with the pure waterof repentance, and prepare us to be always a living sacrifice to you; through JesusChrist our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. 1st Reading: Numbers 21:4-9; 2nd Reading: Hebrews 3:1-6 Psalm 128 / Gospel: Luke 6:27-38When I was growing up, I remember the adults in my familysaying,\"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you\". At thetime, I didn't really understand what they meant. Those words beganto make sense as I watched them partake in countless activities,whichallowed them to share/give to persons known , unknown, enemy orfriend . They were joyful givers, from donating time to planfundraisers, giving to charities, sharing our table with those in need,giving rides, and babysitting others' children.. They loved beinghelpful and kind. The need to instill in us the value of being gratefulfor the Lord's blessings was extremely important. They would say,\"You will be measured by what yougive back\". We were expected toput money in church from ourallowance, to helping out in a soupkitchen at some point during theholidays. I was even a CandyStriper,, volunteering at the onlyhospital in town. And yes, we saidour prayers daily thanking God forhis grace.Although, most of the elders in my family have past, their teachingsare very much a part of who we are as a family., leaving us with abetter understanding of God's purpose for our lives. Roxanne Grattan

March 14, 2017 ~ Tuesday in 2nd week of LentO God, you willed to redeem us from all iniquity by your Son: Deliver us whenwe are tempted to regard sin without abhorrence, and let the virtue of his passioncome between us and our mortal enemy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who livesand reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 1st Reading: Isaiah 65:17-25 2nd Reading: Romans 4:6-13 Psalm 128 / The Gospel: Matthew 23:1–12Gene was a kook, in so many ways. But he comes to mind when Iread this passage. He was a colleague and math teacher at FallsChurch High School, a favorite of staff and students. He was a realexample of the Christian servant in action. Two times he got a teamof us together to do some service, so that students would know whatservice was. Gene had planned the re-hab of a house in one day,checked out ahead of time what was needed, bought the materials,ordered the dumpsters and then worked until late in the night withthe team to finish the job. Of course he bought food and drinks, too,We painted the inside of the house, raised a fallen grape arbor, put ina new kitchen and sent three dumpsters to the dump Hiscontribution in time and money and skill was major, and yet whenthe accolades came out, it was to the rest of us he pointed; he coulddeflect praise and attention so quickly you were dazzled. I can neverforget his style or the example of gospel living he taught that day. Itwas never about him, only about helping others, and teaching us allabout being servants. Sue Addison King

March 15, 2017 ~ Wednesday in 2nd week of LentO God, you so loved the world that you gave your only- begotten Son to reconcileearth with heaven: Grant that we, loving you above all things, may love ourfriends in you, and our enemies for your sake; through Jesus Christ our Lord, wholives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 1st Reading: Ezekiel 36:22-32 2nd Reading: John 7:53-8:11 Psalm 128 / Gospel: Matthew 20:17–28In the Gospel reading I was amazed at seeing such a clear statementof Christ’s belief in the Father raising Him from the dead. It causedme to ask: “Do I have such faith?” When faced with such challengesand difficulties in my own life, can I keep my eyes on the Father andlook to Him for strength and guidance.Then we have the realism, again in the gospel reading, of mominterceding for her sons to get them favorable consideration. I canonly imagine Christ sort of grinning and turning His head a little andasking with all the compassion and love He has: “Do you really knowwhat you are asking?” So he chooses to use the question to point theway—for ages to come—for those who would take up their crossdaily and follow Him: be a servant and give your life to others.And how does that manifest itself to us in this modern—God-denying—culture? Like it always has for us in church: usher, sing, dothe flowers, do repairs, teach Sunday school, visit the sick, care for anailing family member or friend, fill in your blank___________. So asthe reading in Jeremiah tells me, be open to God’s shaping and opento doing the little (Servant) things that matter. Larry King

March 16, 2017 ~ Thursday in 2nd week of LentO Lord, strong and mighty, Lord of hosts and King of glory: Cleanse our heartsfrom sin, keep our hands pure, and turn our minds from what is passing away; sothat at the last we may stand in your holy place and receive your blessing; throughJesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, oneGod, for ever and ever. Amen. 1st Reading: Exodus 16:1-8 2nd Reading: Colossians 1:15-23 Psalm 95 / The Gospel: Luke 16:19–31Today we listen as Jesus tells the story of two men, one rich and onepoor, who live opposite lives before and after their deaths. The poorman, Lazarus, is carried away by angels to join Abraham while therich man finds himself in Hades, tormented and afraid.We are reminded that life is not about money, possessions, ortreasures! It is about the way in which we live our lives, how we treatothers, and the good that we can bring to those around us. Weshould strive to be rich, but not in the traditional meaning of theword. When it comes to our faith, our actions must be rich towardGod.At the end of this story, the rich man asks Abraham to send Lazarusto warn his five brothers so they will not also come into this place oftorment (Luke 16:28), to which Abraham replies that they shouldlisten to Moses and the prophets. Like the rich man’s brothers, wehave been given all the warning we need: we must repent before thegreat chasm divides us.So go – live each day putting your “riches” toward God. Seek Hiskingdom, because the real treasure is in Heaven. Ben Hodges

March 17, 2017 ~ Friday in 2nd week of LentGrant, O Lord, that as your Son Jesus Christ prayed for his enemies on the cross,so we may have grace to forgive those who wrongfully or scornfully use us, that weourselves may be able to receive your forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord,who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.Amen. 1st Reading: Exodus 16:9-21 2nd Reading: Ephesians 2:11-22 Psalm 95 / Gospel: Matthew 21:33–43My experience has been that God gives us the gift of the Kingdomevery day, everywhere we go, and in everything we do. The conceptof eternal life tells me that what God has created is eternal, -- “as itwas in the beginning, is now and will be forever\": – I simply need tohave the eyes and heart to see it, feel it and love it – and live it, forthat matter.The ever-present reality of what we’ve been given by God (withoutearning it – just a free gift!) exists for us to enjoy, appreciate, and putto good use. The world is a better place when we share our blessingswith others, even if only by being a model of calm thankfulness forthe simple pleasures of living. This attitude of abundance, as in “mycup runneth over”, is how we produce the fruits of the kingdommentioned in today’s lesson. Whatever God has given us is all weneed.Today’s parable tells me that the kingdom of God will be taken awayfrom us, or not experienced by us, when we get greedy, constantlyfocusing on not having enough, and wanting more.Peace to all of you Reed Stith

March 18, 2017 ~ Saturday in 2nd week of LentGrant, most merciful Lord, to your faithful people pardon and peace, that theymay be cleansed from all their sins, and serve you with a quiet mind; throughJesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, oneGod, for ever and ever. Amen. 1st Reading: Exodus 16:27-35 2nd Reading: John 4:1-6 Psalm 95 / The Gospel: Luke 15:11–32The prodigal son story is one of Jesus's most familiar parables. Forcenturies, it has provided comfort for those who have \"hit bottom\"and want to resurrect a misspent life. The deep remorse, the returnhome, the over-the-top welcome for the son who has hit bottom...allthese elements of the story demonstrate Christ's love for sinners andfor those shunned by society.But what about the elder son? He becomes angry and reproaches hisfather with harsh words. \"Listen! For all these years I have beenworking like a slave for you.\" The story ends as the father replies,\"Son, you are always with me...But we had to celebrate because thisbrother of yours..... was lost and has been found.\"At Christ Church, we can empathize with the elder son who \"hasnever disobeyed your commands.\" In our hearts, do we join withChrist in welcoming the starving and dirty penitent? Do we reach outto those who want a second chance, in a new job, a new town, a newcountry? The Gospel does not have an ending describing the elderson's response. What is ours? Eileen Gaston

March 19, 2017 ~ Third Sunday in LentAlmighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves:Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may bedefended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evilthoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord,who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.Amen. 1st Reading: Exodus 17:1-7 2nd Reading: Romans 5:1-11 Psalm 95 / Gospel: John 4:5-42When the disciples returned from picking up lunch in Sychar to Jesusat the well, they must have thought, What’s wrong with this picture?They saw Jesus talking with a woman, which was bad enough. Norespectable woman came to draw water at midday. And she was aSamaritan, regarded by Jews as mixed breed, impure. To top it off,after they offered Jesus food, he claimed he wasn’t hungry, saying, “Ihave food to eat that you do not know about.” They remain in thearea, however, and people are converted through the woman’stestimony and Jesus’ own words.For us, Lent may be a time of wondering what is wrong with thepicture. We have ashes imposed, as if the bleakness of winter isn’tenough to remind us of our coming death. Our church building andour worship are both more somber. We may experience personaldifficulties or loss that fit with the season. We need to remember,though, that Jesus is always up to something, always working for ourgood. We may not understand; we may not see immediate results ofour Lenten fast, but we too are changed by our encounter with Jesus. Judy A. Johnson

March 20, 2017 ~ Monday in 3rd week of LentO God, who from the family of your servant David raised up Joseph to be theguardian of your incarnate Son and the spouse of his virgin mother: Give us graceto imitate his uprightness of life and his obedience to your commands; throughJesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, oneGod, for ever and ever. Amen. 1st Reading: Genesis 24:1-27 2nd Reading: 2 John 1-13 Psalm 81 / The Gospel: Luke 2:41-52Today’s Gospel lesson is the only story we have from Jesus’boyhood. We know from the all the Gospel writers that Jesus knewthe scriptures intimately, and taught from them with authority. Fromtoday’s scripture we find out that even as a boy of twelve, “all whoheard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.” Asone reads this scripture, it seems apparent that Jesus was a prodigynot unlike Mozart in music, or Tiger Woods in golf. What makes onea prodigy?Experts say that it begins with genetics – basic cognitive abilities anddispositions that are passed on from, and nurtured by parents.Prodigies also exhibit a commitment that developmental psychologistEllen Winner calls a “rage to master”. She says that, “often onecannot tear these children away from activities in their area ofgiftedness.” Indeed, Jesus’ response to Mary and Joseph when theyfinally discover him in the temple sitting among the teachers is, “Didyou not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”Twenty years later during Passover Jesus would cleanse the temple,and the disciples would remember that it was written, “Zeal for thyhouse will consume me.” And the Jews would ask him for a sign thatshowed he had the authority to do it. Len Harrison

March 21, 2017 ~ Tuesday in 3rd week of LentO Lord, we beseech you mercifully to hear us; and grant that we, to whom youhave given a fervent desire to pray, may, by your mighty aid, be defended andcomforted in all dangers and adversities; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who livesand reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 1st Reading: Genesis 29:1-14 2nd Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 Psalm 81 / Gospel: Matthew 18:21–35I believe that forgiveness, while one of the most important pillars ofChristianity, is also one of the hardest religious actions to carry out.Imagine a time in your live when you’ve been beaten down orbetrayed by a person you thought you could count on. And I’m thefirst thought that came into certainly wasn’t “you know, I reallyshould just forgive them and move on.” In the aftermath of thedisaster, it’s especially easy to do exactly the opposite of what Jesusasks of you: be bitter, scowl at everyone, and think lots about howyou’re never, ever going to forgive that person for what they did.But I believe that God did not intend for forgiveness to bestraightforward and painless, and I also believe that he has every rightto ask so much of us. Jesus’s death and resurrection was all for us.God loved every single one of us so much that he sent his own sonto Earth to die at our hands. And with his amazing grace, he forgaveus. So, at first, we might sit and fester and build up our anger. Thenwe hear Jesus say “seventy-seven times.” Then we think again. Kate Greer

March 22, 2017 ~ Wednesday in 3rd week of LentGive ear to our prayers, O Lord, and direct the way of your servants in safetyunder your protection, that, amid all the changes of our earthly pilgrimage, we maybe guarded by your mighty aid; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives andreigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 1st Reading: Jeremiah 2:4-13 2nd Reading: John 7:14-31, 37-39 Psalm 81 / The Gospel: Matthew 5:17–19I challenge myself from time to time, to recall all TenCommandments. Can you? I keep a bookmark in my Bible of theTen Commandments and review them regularly. I know they are thestandard for our behavior, but it gets serious when Jesus says, “ bywords and actions, I must not teach others not to obey.” So, whenmight I do that? For example I try not to break, the thirdcommandment anymore And, that is in using the Lord’s name invain. It is so easy to say, “Oh, my God (OMG)” Or, “Oh for God’ssake…”or just “Oh, God!” For me, these are just exclamations. notprayers. Therefore, if I use them, I am teaching, or modeling for mygrandchildren to use them also and then they break thiscommandment, too. And, that third commandment comes with thewarning,”he will not hold him guiltless that that taketh his name invain.” Now, that is serious!And Jesus follows by saying “to be called great in the kingdom, Imust teach others to obey.” How might I do that? I can teach andmodel for my grandchildren to use gosh or something of the sort.Each commandment has lots of nuances, and I pray to know when Iam on point and when I am not. Sue Addison King

March 23, 2017 ~ Thursday in 3rd week of LentKeep watch over your Church, O Lord, with your unfailing love; and, since it isgrounded in human weakness and cannot maintain itself without your aid, protectit from all danger, and keep it in the way of salvation; through Jesus Christ yourSon our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. 1st Reading: 1 Samuel 15:10-21 2nd Reading: Ephesians 4:25-32 Psalm 23 / Gospel: Luke 11:14–23Luke 11: 14-23“Whoever is not with me is against me.” Well, duh. Our lives are fullof “with me/against me,” aren’t they? Rude neighbors. Difficultcoworkers. Sanctimonious parishioners. People whose politicalbeliefs are different from ours.So of course those who aren’t with Jesus are against him. Doesn’tthat seem obvious?But think about it. Say it out loud—slowly. “Whoever is not with meis against me.” What does being “with” Jesus mean? Does it meanthinking he’s a good role model? Of course. Does it mean agreeingwith what he says? Sure. But keep going. At its deepest level, being“with” Jesus means following him completely, absolutely, no matterwhat. It means what our baptismal covenant requires: Proclaiming byword and example the Good News of God in Christ. Seeking andserving Christ in all persons, loving our neighbors as ourselves.Striving for justice and peace among all people. And respecting thedignity of every human being.Are you with Jesus, or against him? Joyce Harrison

March 24, 2017 ~ Friday in 3rd week of LentGrant us, O Lord our Strength, a true love of your holy Name; so that, trustingin your grace, we may fear no earthly evil, nor fix our hearts on earthly goods, butmay rejoice in your full salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives andreigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 1st Reading: 1 Samuel 15:22-31 2nd Reading: Ephesians 5:1-9 Psalm 23 / The Gospel: Mark 12:28–34The scripture reading for today comes from Mark 12:28-34 and iscalled The First Commandment. This lesson can also be found inMatthew 22:34-40 and Luke 10:25-28. The Luke version is similar toMark but expands on that concept. The lawyer talking to Jesus asksHim “Who is my neighbor?” and Jesus replies speaking the Parableof the Good Samaritan.This is a powerful mandate. Strictly speaking, if we follow thatcommandment to the letter of the law, then everything else we holdon to in our lives is not important. I would guess that we all try tomaintain a healthy balance between our earthly possessions andrelationships and our commitment to our God. Loving the Lord yourGod is easy when everything in our life is good. I often wonder if wechoose to love Him when it is convenient; whereas, in times when weare struggling, does our allegiance wane. Loving the Lord our Godencompasses the good times as well as the bad times. The samewould apply to your neighbor. I have made attempts this past year toreconcile and renew a loving friendship I had with two people. Intotally different situations, circumstances put us in serious conflictwith each other. One issue was gloriously resolved, but the other oneis beyond mending. I know the latter relationship is lost, but for me Ican faithfully pray for my own healing and move forward. All thingsare possible when we love the Lord our God. Ann Kirk

March 25, 2017 ~ Saturday in 4th week of LentPour your grace into our hearts, O Lord, that we who have known theincarnation of your Son Jesus Christ, announced by an angel to the Virgin Mary,may by his cross and passion be brought to the glory of his resurrection; who livesand reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.Amen. 1st Reading: Isaiah 7:10-14; 2nd Reading: Hebrews 10:4-10 Psalm 40:5-10 / Gospel: Luke 1:26-38The girl, Mary, was thirteen or fourteen years old, living with herparents in a small village in the hill country of Galilee. She wasalready promised in marriage. The man, Joseph, was a carpenter.The angel Gabriel appeared to the girl. He told Mary she would havea son who would be called the Son of the Most High.Mary asked how that could be, since she had never been with a man.Gabriel told her that it would happen by the power of God.A human virgin birth doesn’t make sense biologically—but a storysomething like this is required by one of our two most basic Christianunderstandings of God: the doctrine of the Incarnation. Jesus wasand is fully human and fully divine, both mortal and immortal.This is not only impossible biologically; it is a logical contradiction.The human mind, no matter how learned, cannot grasp such a thing.It is beyond us. We believe nonetheless.The model for our faith is a girl who did not understand but stillbelieved—and then lived it. “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let itbe with me according to your word.” Don Collins Reed

March 26, 2017 ~ Fourth Sunday in LentGracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to bethe true bread which gives life to the world: Evermore give us this bread, that hemay live in us, and we in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,one God, now and for ever. Amen. 1st Reading: 1 Samuel 16:1-13 2nd Reading: Ephesians 5:8-14 Psalm 23 / The Gospel: John 9:1-41I’ve had poor eyesight all my life; by nineteen, I was in bifocals,which I kept until my mid-twenties. A doctor in my thirties diagnosedpre-glaucoma and wrote a prescription for eye drops. By the time Igot home from that visit, I had mentally arranged my closet so Icould dress without sight and had chosen and named a breed ofseeing-eye dog.The blind people I’ve known have all been cheerful people, withother senses more finely tuned to compensate for their lack of sight.But the man born blind seems to have given up on life. He is passive,asking Jesus for nothing; Jesus takes the initiative to bring sight tothis man who has never had it.This strikes me as grace very like what I experience at times. I’mcontent to bumble along in my own lack of (in)sight, thinking there’snothing wrong with the way I see the world or my life. Managingvery well, here, Jesus, thanks. But the Light of the world, who createdsun, moon and stars, wants me to see with new, “rinsed eyes.” I amnot left in my darkness, however comfortable it may be. Judy A. Johnson

March 27, 2017 ~ Monday in 4th week of LentO Lord our God, in your holy Sacraments you have given us a foretaste of thegood things of your kingdom: Direct us, we pray, in the way that leads to eternallife, that we may come to appear before you in that place of light where you dwellfor ever with your saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns withyou and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 1st Reading: Isaiah 59:9-19 2nd Reading: Acts 9:1-20 Psalm 146 / Gospel: John 4:43–54As much as I hate to admit it, I too often catch myself judgingevents, people and objects based on quick reaction to the superficial“reality” that appears to be “true” – and I know, perhaps not in themoment but later, that the real truth about the moment in question isso much more that what meets the eye.Then there are those magical, spirit-filled moments where I’mwalking through an airport or grocery store or anywhere, when Isense the inner beauty and goodness of everything and everyonearound me. The most trivial encounter brings a smile, basic eyecontact gives mutual energy, and the simple fact something exists isenough to cause me wonder and gratitude.I find it fascinating that even Jesus received no respect from thosewho knew him from his home town. And his observation that weonly believe when we see “signs and wonders” – these comments areall addressing our inability to see the presence of God in our midst.When I hear that Jesus gave sight to the blind, I think of the blindersI too often wear, and how the teachings and life of Jesus continuallyshow me a new way of seeing. Reed Stith

March 28, 2017 ~ Tuesday in 4th week of LentO God, with you is the well of life, and in your light we see light: Quench ourthirst with living water, and flood our darkened minds with heavenly light;through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the HolySpirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 1st Reading: Isaiah 42:14-21; 2nd Reading: Colossians 1:9-14 Psalm 146 / The Gospel: John 5:1-18This is my image of the Pool of Beth Zeta (Bethesda). John 5:2-9describes the pool near the Sheep Gate in the wall surroundingJerusalem—the site where Jesus heals the paralytic. Tradition saysthat an angel occasionally stirs up the water in the Bethesda pool,giving it healing powers. The first person who can get in the waterwhen it is stirred up will be healed. The paralytic explains to Jesusthat his crippled body cannot move fast enough to get in the poolfirst. So, instead of using the Bethesda waters, Jesus heals him andtells him to pick up his mat and walk. Carol Donley

March 29, 2017 ~ Wednesday in 4th week of LentO Lord our God, you sustained your ancient people in the wilderness with breadfrom heaven: Feed now your pilgrim flock with the food that endures to everlastinglife; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you andthe Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 1st Reading: Isaiah 60:17-22 2nd Reading: Matthew 9:27-34 Psalm 146 / Gospel: John 5:19-29Today’s passage is the reaction of Jesus to his accusers, who pointedout that he performed a miracle on the Sabbath day. At the time, hisresponse most likely angered those who were listening even more!Not only did he disregard the holiness of the Sabbath, but hedefended his actions by claiming to be the son of God. Imagine ifyou were a God-fearing Jew at the time—his claim would beincredulous!This story captures humanity’s natural resistance to the idea that Godsent his son to revolutionize the way that we are saved: by simplybelieving that Jesus is the son of God. The God of the OldTestament was often perceived to be a God of anger, sacrifice, andregulations. Jesus breaks that model. In verse 24, Jesus says that toBELIEVE in him is to find eternal life. But humans cling tightly toour routines; we tend to resist change. This is why Christianity is hardfor many people to wrap their brains around. Can it be true? Is God’slove really that simple? It is true. And all it takes is FAITH.So today, remember the wonderful simplicity of Christianity: faithsets you free. Annie Greer

March 30, 2017 ~ Thursday in 4th week of LentAlmighty and most merciful God, drive from us all weakness of body, mind, andspirit; that, being restored to wholeness, we may with free hearts become what youintend us to be and accomplish what you want us to do; through Jesus Christ ourLord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever andever. Amen. 1st Reading: Ezekiel 1:1-3, 2:8-3:3 2nd Reading: Revelation 10:1-11 Psalm 130 / The Gospel: John 5:30–47When our children were little, I used to tell them that the only way Iknew how they would behave away from home was by the way thatthey behaved at home. I wonder if Jesus is saying essentially the samething to us in the gospel reading for this day (John 5:30-47). “Thevery works that I am doing testify on my behalf that the Father hassent me.” Jesus works are the proof that God has sent him into theworld. As Jesus’ followers, our works tell the world that Jesus hassent us and tell the world of Jesus’ love for them. Our work in theworld matters to God, because that is how the world knows God.But our work together matters to God as well, in part because weknow the love of God through each other and in part because theway God knows how we will behave in the world is by the way wetreat each other. The church is the place where we practice treatingeach other with the love and grace of God so that we are able to treatthe world as we treat each other.   The Rev. Charlotte Collins Reed

March 31, 2017 ~ Friday in 4th week of LentO God, you have given us the Good News of your abounding love in your SonJesus Christ: So fill our hearts with thankfulness that we may rejoice to proclaimthe good tidings we have received; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives andreigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 1st Reading: Ezekiel 33:10-16 2nd Reading: Revelation 11:15-19 Psalm 130 / Gospel: John 7:1–2,10,25–30These Scriptures in St. John help me to reflect on the stages of ourrelationship in Christ from being a child, then to an adult.I remember growing up as a child and learning about the Christtaught in Sunday school with coloring pictures and stories ofmiracles, gentleness, and protection. And always hearing to never beafraid, or to worry about struggles that we encountered in our younglives. But we are to always pray and understand Jesus has everythingunder control and does protect us. This was my “good news”childlike gospel that made me secure. We see in these Scriptures,John 7:1 & 7:30 the proof that God is over all. They sought anopportunity to kill him & tried to arrest him. But no one laid handson him.As I grew into an adult I was faced with the same decision as thepeople of Jerusalem. Either we know Jesus as the Messiah or wedon’t. Jesus makes this point clear (John 7:28, 29). Making thatdecision required a mental and moral conversion. God is pure Truthin its most perfect form.I love you Lord. Brandon Parker

April 1, 2017 ~ Saturday in 4th week of LentMercifully hear our prayers, O Lord, and spare all those who confess their sins toyou; that those whose consciences are accused by sin may by your merciful pardonbe absolved; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns withyou and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 1st Reading: Ezekiel 36:8-15 2nd Reading: Luke 24:44-53 Psalm 130 / The Gospel: John 7:37–52In reading the Psalm and Old Testament readings for today it struckme that David calls on the Lord to deal with his enemies. AndJeremiah also calls on God who judges righteously to wreak vengenceupon the evil ones. But contrast this with Jesus who is practicallybegging His hearers to come to Him and believe and they will besaved. And Jesus knows that His enemies oppose Him, but does notfollow in the footsteps of David and Jeremiah and call down God’swrath on those who oppose Him. But He could have.This would appear to be another time when Jesus could have calledon His Father and brought the kingdom of God to earth right then.He doesn’t, but he could have.He is completely obedient to and responsive to the Father’s will.What incredible discipline. He could go the way of man by using Hispowers to bring fire and brimstone down on those who opposedHim. He doesn’t, but he could have.It strikes me that the Gospel reading lesson for me is not to look forways to avoid Christ as so many in the crowd were doing. It is so easyto find any number of reasons—every day—to avoid the touch orthe call or the “nudge” of Christ. He never forces me to do anything;but he could. Larry King

April 2, 2017 ~ Fifth Sunday in LentAlmighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners:Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, amongthe swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joysare to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the HolySpirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. 1st Reading: Ezekiel 37:1-14; 2nd Reading: Romans 8:6-11 Psalm 130 / Gospel: John 11:1-45I love the way John tells this story. I don’t mean the raising of a deadperson, already in the tomb rotting for four days. We’re meant to bedisgusted. It helps us see Jesus’ power, which is part of John’s point.And according to John’s telling, it is almost like Jesus planned to letLazarus die. He’d heard of Lazarus’ illness and deliberately waited togo, in order to be able to raise him. It seems pretty cold andcalculating.When Martha met Jesus on the outskirts of Bethany, Jesus appearedto test her. Does she believe he is the Son of God?However, Mary came out to talk with Jesus as well. She knelt at hisfeet and said the same thing Martha had said (the same in John’sGreek, not just in our translations), “Lord, if you had been here, mybrother would not have died.”When Jesus saw Mary’s weeping, he was “greatly disturbed” and“deeply moved.” And Jesus himself wept there with Mary, beforegoing to the tomb.This is what I love about John’s story. John combined a display ofJesus’ power with a demonstration of how Jesus weeps with us whenwe weep. Don Collins Reed

April 3, 2017 ~ Monday in 5th week of LentBe gracious to your people, we entreat you, O Lord, that they, repenting day byday of the things that displease you, may be more and more filled with love of youand of your commandments; and, being supported by your grace in this life, maycome to the full enjoyment of eternal life in your everlasting kingdom; throughJesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, oneGod, for ever and ever. Amen. 1st Reading: 1 Kings 17:17-24; 2nd Reading: Acts 20:7-12 Psalm 143 / The Gospel: John 8:12–20Woe to you Pharisees and your endless challenges and questions!“Why are you eating that food? And with those people?” “Why areyou talking to her?” “Why are you healing on the Sabbath?” “Whydon’t your friends wash their hands before meals?” And the ultimatequestion, the one that leads to the cross, “Just who do you think youare?”In each case, Jesus answers these questions in ways that attempt tobend the Pharisee’s self-righteousness toward God, toward love. Iwould like to think that I have learned a thing or two from Jesus, butall too often I find myself in the position of the Pharisees. When Iquestion the actions of others without understanding their lives andexperiences, I am acting like a Pharisee. When I rush in to solvesomeone’s problem without first listening to their story of pain orsuffering, I am acting like a Pharisee. I am acting like a person whoknows all the answers to all the questions.How can I learn to substitute love for prejudice, compassion forlegalism? By the grace of God, through worship and prayer, and withthe support of all of you, my companions on the journey. This will bemy Lenten discipline. Pam Zuhl

April 4, 2017 ~ Tuesday in 5th week of LentAlmighty God, through the incarnate Word you have caused us to be born anewof an imperishable and eternal seed: Look with compassion upon those who arebeing prepared for Holy Baptism, and grant that they may be built as livingstones into a spiritual temple acceptable to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord,who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.Amen. 1st Reading: 2 Kings 4:18-37 2nd Reading: Ephesians 2:1-10 Psalm 143 / Gospel: John 8:21–30“When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realize that Iam he…and the one who sent me is with me; he has not left mealone” (from John 8:21-30). On the cross, Jesus’ true identity isrevealed. Whether in John’s gospel, where Jesus speaks tenderly tohis mother and the beloved disciple from the cross then gives us hisspirit, or in Matthew and Mark where Jesus cries “My God, my God,why have you forsaken me,” or in Luke where Jesus forgives thosewho crucify him and then says “Father, into your hands I commendmy spirit,” the cross is the place where the violence and sin of thisworld meet the love of God in Jesus. When the centurion in Mark’sgospel sees that Jesus has breathed his last, he says “Truly this manwas God’s Son!” Before we can believe that life will triumph overdeath, we are shown that love triumphs over hate. How can our livesshow the triumph of love over hate so that the world can believe thegood news that life triumphs over death? The Rev. Charlotte Collins Reed

April 5, 2017 ~ Wednesday in 5th week of LentAlmighty God our heavenly Father, renew in us the gifts of your mercy; increaseour faith, strengthen our hope, enlighten our understanding, widen our charity,and make us ready to serve you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives andreigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 1st Reading: Jeremiah 32:1-9, 36-41 2nd Reading: Matthew 22:23-33 Psalm 143 / The Gospel: John 8:31–42I especially enjoy reading about Jesus, his travels, the parables, hismiracles, and all the people he encountered. I feel for him and theJews in this reading. Jesus seems frustrated and the people areconfused. Trying to wrap my mind around a totally new concept is astruggle for me so I can empathize. Instead of just believing Jesus’word as truth - about God’s kingdom - the loving grace right hereand now, they are wrapped up in their law and technicalities. When Itry to be a careful listener I can still end up only hearing from myown point of view too.From my window I watch the rain from the Pacific storms sheetingacross the redwood trees on Mount Tamalpais. When we moved inhere I had to clean the window, inside and out, in order to see theview more clearly. Wouldn't it be great to wake up every morning andremember to see, hear and feel the true liberating freedom of God’sloving grace, and then live it? We can do that. “Hallelujah, grace likerain falling down on me.” As Jesus said, …and the truth will set youfree!Quote: Grace Like Rain, song by Todd Agnew. Karen Petterson

April 6, 2017 ~ Thursday in 5th week of LentO God, you have called us to be your children, and have promised that those whosuffer with Christ will be heirs with him of your glory: Arm us with such trust inhim that we may ask no rest from his demands and have no fear in his service;through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the HolySpirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 1st Reading: 1 Samuel 16:11-13; 2nd Reading: Philippians 1:1-11 Psalm 31, 9-16 / Gospel: John 8:51–59April 6 was my Grandma’s birthday. I am named for both of mygrandmothers, Margaret & Elizabeth, and while both women wereimportant to me, Margaret, my mom’s mother, is a strong and centralpresence in my earliest memories. We saw her nearly every day,occasionally even spending the night at her house on weekends so mom& dad could have a ‘date’. Grandma was a pretty devout Catholic; shenever missed Mass, played Bingo at least once a week(!), and taught me topick lilacs and may-apples for our ‘May Altar’ to honor Mary every spring.The first time I remember praying with my own words and ideas – i.e.something other than ‘Hail Mary’, ‘Our Father’, ‘Now I Lay Me’, or ‘BlessUs O Lord’, was on Grandma’s behalf. Though I don’t remember all thedetails, I know she had gone into the hospital and there was a strongchance she wouldn’t make it. I have a vivid recollection of staying on myknees well past normal, dressed in my brownie uniform while introducingmyself to God on behalf of Grandma to ask God to make her better.When Grandma got better I was absolutely convinced that it was becauseGod paid attention to me. Me! Think of it – God answered my prayerand Grandma got better!While my notions about what it means to ‘never see death’ are perhapsmore sophisticated – or at least more complicated – now, that absoluteconviction that God listens is still with me. Like Abraham for hisdescendants, Grandma left me feeling God’s blessing. Midge Karam

April 7, 2017 ~ Friday in 5th week of LentO Lord, you relieve our necessity out of the abundance of your great riches: Grantthat we may accept with joy the salvation you bestow, and manifest it to all theworld by the quality of our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives andreigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. 1st Reading: Job 13:13-19 2nd Reading: Philippians 1:21-30 Psalm 31, 9-16 / The Gospel: John 10:31–42“I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which ofthese are you going to stone me” (from John 10:31-42)? Jesus is indanger of having rocks hurled at him because he claims to be God’sson. The people do not want to hear that Jesus, who proclaims agospel of love, of radical care for people on the margins of society,and speaks of his sheep that are not of this fold, is the voice of God.How often do I not want to hear what Jesus has to say or asks me todo? As we move more deeply into Lent and begin the plunge intoHoly Week, I think Jesus wonders for which of his good works weare willing to stone him. Which of the times that he stopped to listen,to heal, to free, or to teach would we rather not see or hear becausethey challenge our notion of who we want Jesus to be for us and howwe want to follow Jesus? As we walk with Jesus through Holy Week,Jesus calls us follow Jesus where he leads, which may not be wherewe want to go. The Rev. Charlotte Collins Reed

April 8, 2017 ~ Saturday in 5th week of LentO Lord, in your goodness you bestow abundant graces on your elect: Look withfavor, we entreat you, upon those who in these Lenten days are being prepared forHoly Baptism, and grant them the help of your protection; through Jesus Christyour Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,for ever and ever. Amen. 1st Reading: Lamentations 3:55-66 2nd Reading: Mark 10:32-34 Psalm 31, 9-16 / Gospel: John 11:45–53At that time the Jewish Pharisees feared the increasing spread of theRoman Empire. It interfered with their business and economicpractices and would endanger the solidity of their nation. The Romangovernor even claimed that money held in the Jewish temples was forthe Empire, claiming it was for taxes.As word spread of Jesus's miracles and teachings, more and moreJews started to believe in him and follow him. This was anotherthreat to the Pharisees who, should they lead a revolt against theRomans, would need all the manpower available to carry this out.Thus Caiaphas's decision to do away with this new Christian leaderwas his way of maintaining Jewish political strength.Of course the outcome of Jesus crucifixion did not eliminatefollowers of his teachings; it increased the number of people whowould believe in him for many years to come. Lucy Kistler

April 9, 2017 ~ Palm SundayAlmighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race you sentyour Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to sufferdeath upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grantthat we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection;through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the HolySpirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 1st Reading: 2nd Reading: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 / The Gospel: Matthew 21:1-11 Anna Barger

April 10, 2017 ~ Monday in Holy WeekAlmighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain,and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we,walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life andpeace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you andthe Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 1st Reading: Isaiah 42:1-9 2nd Reading: Hebrews 9:11-15 Psalm 36:5-11 / Gospel: John 12:1-11This reading has so much going on that I was a bit overwhelmed by itso I took the approach that we use in Bibles and Biscuits and selectedone part that stood out to me.Mary’s act of using the very expensive perfume to anoint Jesus’ feetusing her own hair definitely stood out to me. It’s easy to agree that itseems wasteful, it’s also an awkward scene to picture. In doing otherreading about the passage I also learned that Jewish woman of thetime rarely let their hair down in public and those that did werethought to be of ‘loose character’.Mary’s love for, and devotion to Jesus prevents her from beingconcerned about the cost of the perfume, the cost to her reputation,or for the criticism she might get. Mary did what she did out ofdevotion, not duty, love not pragmatism. That is an example I wouldlike to strive for. David Petterson

April 11, 2017 ~ Tuesday in Holy WeekO God, by the passion of your blessed Son you made an instrument of shamefuldeath to be for us the means of life: Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ,that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of your Son our SaviorJesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for everand ever. Amen. 1st Reading: Isaiah 49:1-7 2nd Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 Psalm 71:1-14 / The Gospel: John 12:20-36“Sir, we wish to see Jesus,” say the Greeks to Philip in the gospelreading for today (John 12:20-36). One of my favorite hymns is “Iwant to walk as a child of the light.” We sang that hymn recently atChrist Church as the recessional and the gusto with which the hymnwas sung tells me that it is one of your favorites, too. Both the hymnand the first part of this reading speak to our longing to see, to knowand be known by Jesus. But how do we know Jesus? Jesus says in thissame passage “Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am,there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father willhonor.” I believe that one of the ways we know Jesus is by servingothers, particularly the people Jesus served. I have met Jesus infriends and neighbors, but also in people I have met at a FoodPantry, and at a foot washing for homeless people in a downtownchurch. In our baptismal covenant, we promise to seek and serveChrist in all people. The answer to “We wish to see Jesus” is “Look!” The Rev. Charlotte Collins Reed

April 12, 2017 ~ Wednesday in Holy WeekLord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his body to be whipped and his faceto be spit upon: Give us grace to accept joyfully the sufferings of the present time,confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ your Son ourLord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever andever. Amen. 1st Reading: Isaiah 50:4-9a; 2nd Reading: Hebrews 12:1-3 Psalm 70 / Gospel: John 13:21-32“At supper with his friends, Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared,‘Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.’Da Vinci’s painting, “The Last Supper”, captures this very moment. Inthe painting, none of the disciples looks toward Judas. The sharedreaction seems to be surprise, shock, horror, incredulity. After all, Jesushad chosen each of them. And they had all stayed with him when hiswords became hard, and his other disciples had left. And they hadwitnessed together his healings of lame, crippled, blind, demon-possessed, and the raising of Lazarus. And they themselves hadreceived the power to heal and cast out demons. And they had heardJesus prophesy his coming death and resurrection in Jerusalem. And yetthey had followed him there that, in the words of Thomas “they mightdie with him.” And as they had entered Jerusalem together they hadheard him proclaimed “Son of David”, and the “King who comes inthe name of the Lord.”How could one of these disciples who had given up everything tofollow Jesus betray him to those who would put him to death? Jesus’words to Simon Peter (Lk 22:31) may provide an answer, and a cautionto all of us who seek to follow the Lord, “Satan has demanded to sift allof you like wheat.”Lord, as you taught us to pray, “do not bring us to the time of trial, butrescue us from the evil one.” Len Harrison

April 13, 2017 ~ Maundy ThursdayAlmighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted theSacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive itthankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteriesgives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and theHoly Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 1st Reading: Exodus 12:1-4, (5-10), 11-14 2nd Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19 / The Gospel: John 13:1-17, 31b-35At the last supper Jesus says \"I give you a new commandment thatyou love one another, just as I have loved you. By this , everyone willknow you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.\"In today's world, loving one another unfortunately is still a novelconcept much as it was 2000 years ago.The headlines in the recent past deny that we should practice civility,let alone love one another. We hear conflicting advice from a lot ofsources. Our guiding principle should be the commandment fromJesus in the gospel of John, love one another and then all will knowwe are the disciples of Christ. George Van Buren

April 14, 2017 ~ Good FridayAlmighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom ourLord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners,and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and theHoly Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 1st Reading: Isaiah 52:13-53:12 2nd Reading: Hebrews 10:16-25 or Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9 Psalm 22 / Gospel: John 19:17-30The lowest point of the liturgical year for me is the evening ofMaundy Thursday. After sunset, it’s technically already Good Friday.In many churches, a cantor or choir chants this verse as the refrain ofPsalm 22, as the Altar Guild strips the altar and clears the sanctuary:My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? *and are so far from my cryand from the words of my distress? (Psalm 22:1)People sit in silence in the spreading darkness. At the end only barewood and stone remain.Jesus drinks the cup the Father has given him.The perpetual light is snuffed between moistened fingers. A thread ofsmoke vanishes.And darkness overcomes the light. Don Collins Reed

April 15, 2017 ~ Holy SaturdayO God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of yourdear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may awaitwith him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; whonow lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.Amen. 1st Reading: Job 14:1-14 or Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-24 2nd Reading: 1 Peter 4:1-8 Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16 or Psalm 130 / The Gospel: Matthew 27:57-66Jesus is dead and buried. The tomb is secure. The disciples assumedthis to be the end of the story, the end of their journey with Jesus.They had such hope for the future just last Sunday as Jesus rode intoJerusalem. Today we sit with the disciples. We may know what we arewaiting for, but the disciples did not. They were likely trying to figureout how to get on with life, not knowing how their lives wouldchange in just a few short hours. If they were preparing for anything,they were preparing to deal with Jesus’ body. Where do we find hopewhen the bottom has dropped out of our world? Through out thescriptures, faithful people have always waited for God to act in someway or another when life takes an unexpected, difficult turn. Thepsalm for today (130) says “I wait for the Lord; my soul waits forhim; in his word is my hope.” Today, we wait in hope for God to act. The Rev. Charlotte Collins Reed

April 16, 2017 ~ Easter SundayO God, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of thecross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy:Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy ofhis resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reignswith you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. 1st Reading: Acts 10:34-43 or Jeremiah 31:1-6 2nd Reading: Colossians 3:1-4 or Acts 10:34-43 Psalm 118:1-2,14-24 / Gospel: Matthew 28:1-10 Titch Foster

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