Thursday, February 14, 2013

Ash Wednesday

Readings are here.

The reading from Paul's 2nd Letter to the Corinthians excerpts a longer passage about our ministry as reconcilers. As Christ has reconciled the world to God in his life, death and resurrection - so we are to be about the ministry of reconciliation. In the catechism (BCP p. 855) we are asked what is the ministry of the laity (the baptized)?
The ministry of lay persons is to represent Christ and his Church; to bear witness to him wherever they may be; and, according to the gifts given them, to carry on Christ's work of reconciliation in the world; and to take
their place in the life, worship, and governance of the Church.

But what is reconciliation? The Latin word implies bringing (back) into a circle, the Greek katalasso (as used by Paul) speaks of being changed/changing -- specifically changed from being opponents, adversaries, enemies to being friends,compañeros, sisters and brothers in one body. According to Paul, in Christ, God has been reconciling the world to God. And now this is the ministry of all who have been reconciled. (thanks to Paula Jackson)

We are called to enlarge the circle so all know they are within the arms of God - beloved sons and daughters, and to include all of creation. The ashes symbolize the fact that we all come from the same matter -- dust or stardust as I prefer - all of creation is one. In a circle there is no power differential - all are equal, no up/down, near/far, in/out. The circle gets broken with wars, abuse, poverty, prejudice but we are called to be menders and repairers of the fabric of life. The Greek word drives this point even further. How can we live into a world where adversaries, opponents, and enemies become friends, sisters and brothers? We start with those around us. We, as attributed to Gandhi - we become the change we want to see. Not becoming doormats - that is not what is required, but by understanding our own beloved worthiness -- and standing for that - not with violence but with love.

So receive the ashes and remember....

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Last Sunday after the Epiphany

Notes towards a Last Epiphany sermon:

Lessons are here.


Jesus and disciples – off to pray as usual after being very busy, Peter, James and John see the same old Jesus – then everything changes. They see him as he really is - the fullness of his glory.

Seeing things that were always there.

1. Walking with children as we did this past week with our 4 y/o and 6 y/o - seeing things through their eyes.
Lent is a time to learn to see again for the first time

2. I know someone who is a SCUBA diver, he says: one of the simplest things I learned when I was a diver was that the things you can know about the ocean from the surface are only a fraction of what there is to know about the ocean.

During Lent we will have opportunities to learn how we might see more about God and our community.

Valentine’s Day on Thursday following Ash Wednesday. Lent can be a time to see those whom we love again for the first time? Deepen relationship. Remember we are beloved as well.

Seeing with with new eyes – what do we have to let go of? Take on?

Paul to Corinthians - about how we lose heart – and how we might gain new hearts for God and one another – living our faith openly. Allowing the fog to lift and seeing the sun/Son?

On Ash Wednesday we will remember that life is short and to rejoice in one another and being here today.
Remember you are stardust and to stardust you will return.

What’s happening for Lent at Grace?
This week Ash Wednesday – open all day! 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. services
Other Wednesdays – Soup, Sustenance, Taizé

We will also take time to tell our stories of being a part of Grace. We will be sending out an exercise for everyone this Lent in preparation for the arrival of the new rector – what are our core values?

And during this season I would encourage you to:

Fast from judgment, Feast on compassion
Fast from greed, Feast on sharing
Fast from scarcity, Feast on abundance
Fast from fear, Feast on peace
Fast from lies, Feast on truth
Fast from gossip, Feast on praise
Fast from anxiety, Feast on patience
Fast from evil, Feast on kindness
Fast from apathy, Feast on engagement
Fast from discontent, Feast on gratitude
Fast from noise, Feast on silence
Fast from discouragement, Feast on hope
Fast from hatred, Feast on love
What will be your fast? What will be your feast?

based on and explanded from PB Arthur Lichtenberg.

The exercise - Finding our Strengths

Astoria OR
Finding our strengths

Name: ____________________________ Date joined Grace:__________

I. Tell about a time at Grace when you thought to yourself “yes, this is why I love being a part of this church.” Describe the event. (date:_____________)

II. Besides you who was there?

III. What did each one do to make it happen?

IV. What else made this possible (building, special circumstances, etc)

V. What did you bring to this event? What did you do to make it possible?

VI. What Core values of Grace are reflected in this event, in your opinion?

VII. If money and facilities were no problem – what is your dream for Grace?