What's Happening at Calvary

Rogation Sunday

posted Apr 29, 2015, 7:01 AM by CalvaryEpiscopal Church   [ updated May 4, 2015, 4:56 PM ]


What are the Rogation Days?

Rogation Days are an old religious custom which is now seldom observed in the Catholic Church, and many Catholics haven't even heard of them. Episcopal parishes sometimes still observe them, and many people have them on a personal liturgical calendar.

Ok - so what are they?

The word "rogation" come from the Latin rogare, which means "to ask," and the Rogation Days are four days set apart to bless the fields, and ask for God's mercy on all of creation. April 25 (coincidentally the Feast of St. Mark) is called the Major Rogation; the three days preceding Ascension Thursday are called the Minor Rogations. On these days, the congregation used to march the boundaries of the parish, blessing every tree and stone, while chanting or reciting a Litany of Mercy, usually a Litany of the Saints. A few still do.

The Rogation Days were first instituted in the 5th Century by Mamertus, bishop of Vienne in France from 461 to 475. During his episcopate, France was in an almost continuous state of near-disaster. The Goths invaded Gaul. There was an enormous amount of disease; there were fires; there were earthquakes; there were attacks of wild animals. As a result, Mamertus spent a great deal of time in prayer, beseeching God to help the stricken community.

One night, when the village was overwhelmed with a fire, he conceived the idea of instituting an annual procession and litany in which the entire community would pray for God's blessing and protection. He is reported to have said: "We shall pray to God that He will turn away the plagues from us, and preserve us from all ill, from hail and drought, fire and pestilence, and from the fury of our enemies; to give us favorable seasons, that our land may be fertile, good weather and good health, and that we may have peace and tranquility, and obtain pardon for our sins."

Thus the custom of processing around the entire length of the parish while invoking a Litany of the Saints began. Over the centuries, it became the custom to also use the procession to "beat the bounds" - to mark and establish the boundaries of the parish - while also blessing the trees, stones and fields. In modern times, the actual purpose of "beating the bounds" - to impress the boundaries of the village on everyone's mind - has ceased to be necessary due to modern surveying techniques, and the practice is largely ceremonial.

The standard practice in the Episcopal Church is to pray for fruitful seasons on Monday, commerce and industry on Tuesday, and stewardship of creation on Wednesday. When currently observed, the practice frequently has an environmental bent.

- Carl Fortunato   http://www.liturgies.net/Rogation/RogationDays.htm



Source: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/library/glossary/rogation-days

Traditionally, these are the three days before Ascension Day on which the litany is sung (or recited) in procession as an act of intercession. They originated in Vienne, France, in the fifth century when Bishop Mamertus introduced days of fasting and prayer to ward off a threatened disaster. In England they were associated with the blessing of the fields at planting. The vicar "beat the bounds" of the parish, processing around the fields reciting psalms and the litany. In the United States they have been associated with rural life and with agriculture and fishing. The propers in the BCP (pp. 207-208, 258-259, 930) have widened their scope to include commerce and industry and the stewardship of creation. The BCP also permits their celebration at other times to accommodate different regional growing seasons. The BOS contains material for a Rogation procession, including petitions to be added to the Great Litany and the prayers of the people. The term is from the Latin rogatio, "asking."


Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogation_days

Rogation days are days of prayer and fasting in Western Christianity. They are observed with processions and the Litany of the Saints. The so-called major rogation is held on 25 April; the minor rogations are held on Monday to Wednesday on the dates preceding Ascension Thursday.[1] The word rogation comes from the Latin verb rogare, meaning "to ask", which reflects the beseeching of God for the appeasement of his anger and for protection from calamities.[2][3]

The beginnings of the major rogation can be traced to the Roman holiday of Robigalia, at which a dog was sacrificed to propitiate Robigus, the god of agricultural disease.[4][2] The practitioners asked the god for protection of their crops from wheat rust.[2]


Christian beginnings

The minor rogation days were introduced around AD 470 by Mamertus, bishop of Vienne, and eventually adopted elsewhere. Their observance was ordered by the Council of Orleans in 511, and though the practice was spreading in Gaul during the 7th century, it wasn't officially adopted into the Roman rite until the reign of Pope Leo III.[5]

The faithful typically observed the rogation days by fasting and abstinence in preparation to celebrate the Ascension, and farmers often had their crops blessed by a priest at this time.[6] Violet vestments are worn at the rogation litany and its associated Mass, regardless of what colour was worn at the ordinary liturgies of the day.[2]

A common feature of Rogation days in former times was the ceremony of beating the bounds, in which a procession of parishioners, led by the minister, churchwarden, and choirboys, would proceed around the boundary of their parish and pray for its protection in the forthcoming year. This was also known as 'Gang-day', after the old British name for going or walking.[7] This was also a feature of the original Roman festival, when revellers would walk to a grove five miles from the city to perform their rites.[4]

The reform of the Liturgical Calendar for Latin Roman Catholics in 1969 delegated the establishment of Rogation Days, along with Ember Days, to the episcopal conferences.[8] Their observance in the Latin Church subsequently declined, but the observance has revived somewhat since 1988 (when Pope John Paul II issued his decree Ecclesia Dei Adflicta) and especially since 2007 (when Pope Benedict XVI issued his motu proprio called Summorum Pontificum) when the use of older rites was encouraged.[9]

In Montier-en-Der, Rogation Day processions were said to be events where miracles occurred. Miracle books reported a blind woman being healed and the lame being able to walk.[10] In Germany it was traditional for the local schoolmaster, rather than priest, to lead the procession.[11]


Bible Study from the Episcopal Digital Network: Sixth Sunday of Easter

posted Apr 13, 2015, 2:47 PM by CalvaryEpiscopal Church   [ updated May 4, 2015, 5:00 PM ]

Spiritual Growth

Source:  http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/spiritual-growth

"Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love"
(Book of Common Prayer, p. 833). 

The promises we make in our Baptismal Covenant are reminders that we are not yet perfect, that we are called to move deeper in our faith and make a difference in our world. We do so together as the church, always professing that we will indeed live into our baptismal vows as followers of Christ, but always “with God’s help.”  

Bible Study



Lessons from the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) Weekly Bible Study link

Bible Study: 6 Easter (B) - 6th Sunday of Easter

By Jason Poling | Leave a Comment |

May 10, 2015

Jason Poling, General Theological Seminary

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12).

The Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) readings:
Acts 10:44-48; Psalm 98; 1 John 5:1-6; John 15:9-17

Acts 10:44-48

Our 1979 Book of Common Prayer includes all kinds of changes to the liturgy for baptism, but the most significant one doesn’t have to do with the language in our prayers. Have you noticed that our baptismal rites aren’t found right before Confirmation, as in older prayer books, but instead fall between Easter Vigil and the Eucharist?

There’s a reason for that: The Book of Common Prayer tells us right at the outset that “Holy Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body the Church” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 298). Baptism is the necessary precursor to the Eucharist, as our Canons clearly state: “No unbaptized person shall be eligible to receive Holy Communion in this Church” (I.18.7). As the Easter Vigil is traditionally the time when the church would welcome new members, it is fitting that our prayer book follows the Vigil with the service for Holy Baptism. Only after baptism do we get to the Eucharist.

Some see this as exclusionary – but it isn’t. We don’t discriminate on ethnicity or any other invidious dividing line. Our table excludes nobody who wants to be at it; with Peter, we say to anyone who wants to share with us in our Lord’s Supper, “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people?”

How do you understand the relationship between baptism and Eucharist? Where does Confirmation fit in?

Psalm 98

One of the most ancient poems of our English language is “Cædmon’s Hymn.” Dating from the late 7th century, this poem – which St. Bede attributes to a cowherd under angelic inspiration – is a short but powerful nine-line celebration of God’s might and glory as revealed in creation.

This psalm is in much the same vein (better, “Cædmon’s Hymn” is in the same vein as this psalm) in that it celebrates God’s might and glory. Here, though, the psalmist celebrates God’s might and glory as revealed in his vindication, his victory, his triumph – all of which requires a defeated enemy. The “nations” to which the psalmist refers are the hostile enemies of God’s people, who would indeed have been their victims had God not rescued his people by a demonstration of overpowering force.

Not long after Cædmon wrote his poem, his monastery fell prey to a Viking attack. Psalms like this one have a special resonance to those who know what it is to fear the violence of an irresistible, predatory foe. Most likely, as you read this you are not facing that kind of existential threat from your neighbors. So in times like these, we may follow the advice of our fellow Anglican C.S. Lewis and pray this psalm on their behalf.

Have you ever prayed a psalm for somebody else? For somebody you don’t know?

Have you ever prayed a psalm for yourself?

1 John 5:1-6

“Take my yoke upon you,” Jesus said, “for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30). “His commandments are not burdensome,” John says here in our passage. Likewise, in Torah we read that Moses told God’s people, “Surely, this commandment that I am commanding you today is not too hard for you, nor is it too far away” (Deuteronomy 30:11).

None of this should give us the idea that we can earn God’s favor, or even that we have it in ourselves to please him. One shameful element of our Anglican heritage is that our native Pelagius (ca. 354-418 CE) is one of the heretics whose false teachings keep coming back like dandelions in the spring. The upside for the church is that Pelagius’ notion that we could merit God’s favor by our own works stimulated his contemporary, St. Augustine, to produce some of his most inspired works of theology.

But we can’t miss the message – taught consistently throughout scripture – that God gives us his commandments to give us joy, not to kill it. It is sin that kills joy, that uses fleeting pleasures to keep us from knowing the fullness of joy that comes with a life lived as God made us to live it.

Think about the last time you confessed sin. How much pleasure did that sin bring you? How much joy? How much joy did it kill?

John 15:9-17

If all we knew was that God’s commandments bring joy, that alone would be Good News – since those commandments are available to us, and we can see the lives of people who follow them. But what Jesus makes clear in this passage is that obedience to God is not simply a matter of adhering to rules; rather, it’s an intimate relationship with the eternal Lover who made us. He has told us how we can live well, yes, but he has also made it possible for us to live not just for ourselves but in him. We abide in Jesus’ love as we keep his commandments; we keep his commandments as we abide in his love. And the more we “get” this, the more complete is his joy in us.

Think about the first time you were taught to do some sort of manual task, like cutting a piece of wood. Did somebody point at the saw and the wood and tell you to cut straight? Or did she guide your hands into place, demonstrate how much pressure to apply and how fast to go, even guide your hands with her own? The command to cut straight really would be burdensome, and would produce anxiety rather than joy, if we didn’t have any help. Thankfully, our master Carpenter is a better teacher than that. Indeed, as he told the disciples later on in this same conversation, he promised to send them his Spirit to teach, guide and comfort them. We receive that same Spirit in our baptism.

How do you think about the relationship between following Jesus’ commandments and abiding in his love? Do you sometimes feel as if you have to do one or the other?

Can you think of a time when you were especially aware of the Holy Spirit’s guidance as you followed God’s commandments?


Bible Study: 5 Easter (B) - Fifth Sunday of Easter

By Michael Toy | Leave a Comment |

May 3, 2015

Michael Toy, Princeton Theological Seminary

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower.” (John 15:1)

The Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) readings:
Acts 8:26-40; Psalm 22:24-30; 1 John 4:7-21; John 15:1-8

Acts 8:26-40

This story from Luke/Acts stars Philip, one of the seven deacons chosen earlier, in Acts 6:5. Philip has just come from Samaria, where he preached the gospel with joyous reception. Now we find Philip on a road in the wilderness where he teaches the Ethiopian eunuch about Jesus. In Acts 1:8, Jesus tells his disciples, “And you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Through Philip, the gospel message is being spread to all people, not just to Jews or even the surrounding nations.

The gospel message is the proclamation of God’s kingdom here on earth. In this story, the gospel is being spread to the physical nations of the globe. This story about the global spread of the gospel offers an opportunity for introspection as well. What corners of your own life need the proclamation of the gospel? Is the Good News about Jesus evident in your finances, work-life balance, attitude and health?

The Ethiopian eunuch humbly and poignantly asks Philip how he can understand the scriptures unless someone explains it. Whom do you seek when you find something in scripture that you do not understand?

In this passage, the Spirit instructs Philip to join the Ethiopian; how does God lead you to proclaim the message of Jesus today?

Psalm 22:24-30

Psalm 22 is an individual lament psalm beginning with the heart-wrenching cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” But like all lament psalms, the ending glorifies God, acknowledges God’s omnipotence, sovereignty over the earth, and the universality of the worship of God. God’s far-reaching glory extends from the great assembly to the poor to all the ends of the earth. Verse 28 makes the claim that even those who have died will bow down and worship God. The glory of God also extends into eternity; those who are not born yet shall hear of God’s saving deeds.

The worship of God in this passage is corporate and communal. The worship takes place in the assembly, in families and with all of humanity.

Remember that this psalm began with an individual lament. How does this move from an individual lament to corporate worship serve as a pattern of worship? When have you had individual struggles and found that your worshipping community was a consolation? Conversely, how can the worshipping community be sensitive to the grief and laments of individual members?

1 John 4:7-21

The author of 1 John, in this passage, beautifully describes the relationship between God and God’s beloved. Within this description is a carefully constructed argument that ends with the exhortation for those who love God to love their sisters and brothers. Certainly, it feels good to know that the God of the universe, the omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient God loves each of us. But equally important in this passage is the imperative to share this love that we have received. For this author, to be God’s beloved means that one shares that love. On one hand, unconditional love expects nothing in return. How then can the author make the claim that knowing the love of God means we ought to love one another? While abiding in God’s love sounds wonderful on paper, life happens and God’s love is the farthest thing from our hearts and minds. What does it mean to truly abide in the love of God? How can you remind yourself of this throughout the toils and busy-ness of life?

While this passage denounces fear, when we love and care for one another, we often worry and fear for a beloved’s well being. How is the fear that has to do with punishment different from the fear that has to do with caring for another person?

John 15:1-8

This is a difficult passage to swallow, for on a first reading, the message is one of warning and judgment. All those who fail to abide in Jesus will be thrown away, gathered and burned. On one hand, the rhetoric of judgment is a great reminder of the importance to abide in Christ. But on the other hand, the judgment and burning does not seem concordant with many conceptions of a God of love.

At the end of the passage, in verse 8, Jesus teaches, “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.” In this passage there is no mention of God being glorified by the burning of withered branches. On the contrary, God is glorified when people bear much fruit. And in these lectionary readings, we see that the gospel of love and its fruit is spread throughout the world, through all time and to all souls.

1 John tells us that sharing love starts with our brothers and sisters, those immediately surrounding us. In the story from Acts, Philip has left Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and is now bearing witness to Christ to all the ends of the earth. Finally, the psalm claims that God extends outside the boundaries of the assembly, beyond economic boundaries, past national borders, and even breaks down the barrier of death. “All who go down to the dust fall before him” (Psalm 22:26). What are the implications of this claim that the love of God is extended even to the dead?

All will worship God. Triumph belongs to the loving God, the one who leaves no boundary uncrossed and no person unreached. What hope does this bring to us as we contemplate God’s victory?

One of the perennial questions Christians must confront is this: If God is all powerful and God’s will is always accomplished, what then does it matter if I proclaim God’s kingdom? In the wake of the Easter celebration, the gospel reading compels each Christian to ask herself and himself: In what ways do I currently bear fruit of the resurrected Christ?


Bible Study: 4 Easter (B) - Fourth Sunday of Easter

By David Marker | Leave a Comment |

April 26, 2015

David MarkerBishop Kemper School for Ministry

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)

The Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) readings:
Acts 4:5-12; Psalm 23; 1 John 3:16-24; John 10:11-18

Acts 4:5-12

“The stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone” (verse 11).

As is often the case, the context of this passage is set in the portion of the text that is not included in the reading. Here, the situation is that Peter and John were preaching and rejoicing in the glory of the resurrected Christ. They had been healing the sick and doing “good deeds.” This really annoyed the priest of the temple (and, as we are told, the Sadducees). So, they were arrested. The next day all the good ol’ boys got together and asked, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” The question belies the fact that they already know the power and the name. What they wanted to know is if Peter and John made the same messianic claim. Peter and John replied that the deeds had been done in the name of Jesus Christ – the stone the Jews had rejected. A sort of “in your face!” to the Jewish establishment.

Often we read this passage focusing on the passage about the rejected stone cited above. But I would like for us to focus for a moment on our sources of power.

How often in our own lives do we appeal to an outside authority for an excuse to explain what we are not capable of doing ourselves?

While Peter and John had the name of the resurrected Christ to support them, how much do we delight in invoking the name of someone else in order to fill our own needs to be appreciated?

When do we call on the power of the resurrected Lord to fill us with the joy and glee of the Holy Spirit?

Psalm 23

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want” (verse 1).

I cannot think of a better-known psalm, one that is recounted by heart. In the Book of Common Prayer we have the opportunity to recite this psalm in the Daily Devotion (p. 143), at Maundy Thursday (p. 274), on Good Friday (p. 276), at Holy Baptism (p. 313), at the Thanksgiving for a Child (p. 443), in our Ministration to the Sick (p. 454), and perhaps the best known, at Burial (pp. 476, 490).

This psalm calms the spirit and revives the soul with the assurance that the Lord our God walks with us in all our daily life; through joy and travails.

With all of the quiet confidence afforded by this psalm, are we comfortable reciting it not thinking about our eventual walk with God? Is there greater meaning to be found in this psalm beyond considering the end of our lives?

1 John 3:16-24

“We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us – and we ought to lay down our lives for one another” (verse 16).

First John was written to a community apparently besieged by antichrists; but the overall message of this epistle is one of love and that God is love. In the first part of this chapter, we are reminded that we are children of God and that even though we sin, we are loved and redeemed. The passage for today is directly linked to the gospel reading. It declares that Jesus laid down his life for us, and we should be willing to do the same for each other.

Love, belief, and sacrifice are the themes. How prepared are we to believe without seeing; to love without knowing; and to sacrifice without losing?

John 10:11-18

Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (verse 11).

The passage leading into this text speaks of the difference between the shepherd who enters by the gate and the thief who enters the sheepfold by another route. Here he reiterates that the shepherd knows his sheep and the sheep know their shepherd. In the text for today, Jesus juxtaposes the “good shepherd” against the “hired hand.” The difference is not in their capacity to take care of sheep – although that may be an important issue. The difference is in ownership. The good shepherd owns the sheep; they are his and he is theirs. The hired hand is self-interested. As long as the interests of the sheep are aligned with the interests of the hired hand, everything is great. When interests diverge, however, it is clear: The hired hand looks out for his own wellbeing while the good shepherd takes care of his sheep. Jesus reminds us that he came to lay down his life for us, that we are his and he is ours. Again, a central theme running through this text is the love of God expressed through the gift of the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

When are we able to feel the comfort of knowing the one who enters by the gate to the sheepfold?

How do we know we are loved? By our friends and family? By our God?

Are you able to accept that God knows you and loves you – that we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand?

Bible Study: 3 Easter (B) - Third Sunday of Easter

April 19, 2015

By Elizabeth Hadaway, Virginia Theological Seminary  -
By Elizabeth Hadaway | Leave a Comment |

Source:  http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/stw/2015/04/?cat=10

“They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’” (Luke 24:37-39)

The Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) readings:
Acts 3:12-19; Psalm 4; 1 John 3:1-7; Luke 24:36b-48

Acts 3:12-19

At this point in the church year we read from the New Testament’s Book of Acts rather than the usual Old Testament source, yet this passage of Acts shows deep connections to the Old Testament. It reminds us that our salvation history includes the family history of Genesis and the prophecy of Isaiah. History and prophecy come to a point in a Greek word, paida, that can be translated in two ways. The New Revised Standard Version translates it as “servant” (verse 13); it can also be translated as “child.” Jesus is both: God the Son, the fully divine person of the Holy Trinity, who for our sake becomes the suffering servant prophesied in Isaiah 52:13-53:12.

Peter’s speech catches us and keeps us from falling into the cruel and divisive heresy of Marcionism. Marcionism rejects the God of the Old Testament, claiming that the God of the New Testament is not the God of Abraham. Christianity, however, is clear that we worship the God of Abraham: the same God who became human for us in the person of Jesus Christ.

Peter wants the crowd to know that what he does is not based on his own power or righteousness; it is a reflection of the work Jesus completed on the cross. How can your own life be a reflection of this?

Psalm 4

Psalm 4 is a delightful paradox, a public prayer about private prayer. It abounds in contrasts. By contrasts, like stepping stones, the psalmist moves from distress to confidence in God. It begins with a cry for help, which God answers by another contrast: the contrast between true and false. True worship combines the interior life of private prayer and examination of one’s own heart “in silence on your bed” (verse 4) and the exterior life of offering “the appointed sacrifices” (verse 5) with the community of faith.

Faithful prayer in a worshipping community reminds us that we are never alone in our distress. The psalm moves from speaking for an individual to speaking for the many suffering people who are looking for the face of the Lord. This is a reminder that we have companions. We have faithful witnesses of God’s love for us in liturgy and scripture. The reward of persistence in prayer is confidence in the Lord; not the confidence that is limited to a “wish list” of consumable items, but the spiritual confidence that comes from a loving relationship. What a privilege it is to enjoy pillow talk with God!

This is one of the psalms appointed for Compline (Book of Common Prayer, p. 127). Have you tried using Compline as a nightly prayer at home?

How can misdirected sacrifice lead to worship of false gods?

1 John 3:1-7

Like Psalm 4, 1 John is about a relationship of security in God’s love. Love is the reason God the Father calls us children. Love is the reason God the Son provides himself to take away our sins and the sins of those who wrong us. We need to remember these things because the materialistic world often rejects God and may also reject us for belonging to God’s family.

This passage calls us to humility and gentleness with ourselves and others: “Beloved, we are God’s children now, what we will be has not yet been revealed” (verse 2a). We are works in progress, growing in faith rather than fully grown. We are bound to make mistakes, yet we have hope because of Christ’s love for us. To abide in Christ is to continue to return to that love as our home, over and over again.

How is a Christian’s being “unknown” by the world like other forms of alienation from the world?

How is it different?

Luke 24: 36b-48

Despite what they have heard from other witnesses, the disciples gathered in Jerusalem are frightened at their first sight of Jesus after his resurrection. Jesus eases their fear into joy with words of peace and comfort, inviting them to touch him as proof of his reality. As further proof that he is himself, in the flesh, he asks for food and eats a piece of broiled fish. We say in the Apostles’ Creed that we believe in the resurrection of the body. We say in the Nicene Creed that we look for the resurrection of the dead. This is one of the passages at the core of our belief. The resurrection into which Jesus leads us is not merely “living on in memories.” Human memories fade and fail. The resurrection is more than memory. It is the fulfillment of the Word made flesh.

How can we be about the mission Jesus gives the disciples?

How does the hope of the resurrection empower us?

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Bible Study: 2 Easter (B) - Second Sunday of Easter

By Broderick Greer | 1 Comment |

April 12, 2015

Broderick Greer, Virginia Theological Seminary

“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’” (John 20:21-23)

The Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) readings:
Acts 4:32-35; Psalm 133; 1 John 1:1-2:2; John 20:19-31

Acts 4:32-35

For the author of the Acts of the Apostles, Holy Week and the Triduum (the three days between Maundy Thursday and Easter Day) are not isolated events. For him, Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection and ascension have cosmic implications for the baptized community the Lord leaves behind. A community that rejects private ownership practices (verse 32), testifies to the resurrection of Jesus (verse 33) and eliminates impoverishment in their midst (verses 34-35).

The actions of this early community of Jesus says it had a vested interest in embodying the divine realities that have recently played themselves out in and around Jerusalem. “With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus” (verse 33) was not something the first disciples did in word only. In deed, they recalled that the resurrection of Jesus ushers in a new society; one in which mutuality and generosity, not selfishness and greed, are normative.

Reading this passage might ignite visions of failed Utopian projects. But instead of allowing ourselves to be fooled into exalting human ingenuity, this passage invites us to focus on the ingenuity of the Holy Spirit, the driving agent of chaos, conversion and community. Nothing in the cosmos could convene such a disparate band of people than God the Holy Spirit. Nothing but the Holy Spirit could have the capacity to hold people of varying languages, ethnicities, cultural traditions and myth-worlds in one body: the body of Christ. Which brings contemporary Christians into conversation with a God who is deeply interested in cultivating cultures centered in the restorative life of Christ.

In what ways does your worshiping community embody the spirit of the Acts 4 church?

Psalm 133

It is difficult to believe that the Acts 4 church could have voiced this psalm without thinking of its own unity; how the various images depicted are joyful glimpses of the sensation of camaraderie felt in the midst of a praying assembly. “It is like fine oil upon the head that runs down upon the beard, upon the beard of Aaron, and runs down upon the collar of his robe” (verses 2-3). And while that imagery certainly resonated with first-century people of Jewish heritage, it is worth the modern reader’s time to construct contemporary equivalents of that psalmist’s soothing tropes. Unity is like a hot shower after a long day of labor in the garden. Unity is like a substantive conversation with a familiar friend. Unity is like watching a toddler eat her first helping of mint chocolate-chip ice cream.

This psalm challenges the church in our own time to make unity – not uniformity – a serious priority. This means giving ourselves over to practicing honesty and hospitality as we relate to our neighbors. It means weighing which hot-button religious and political issues are worth tabling in the heat of the moment. It means valuing our relationships over our objective rightness. In this sense, unity is like a deep breath after being held under water by forces greater than ourselves. And that breath, that gasping for air, for unity of lung and untamed wind is the glory of the Christian life.

What metaphors would you use in regards to unity? What does it feel like? What doesn’t it feel like?

1 John 1:1-2:2

“We declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us” (verse 3a). Integral to the Christian story is that God, in the person of Jesus Christ, took on human flesh. In the Incarnation, Jesus opens up new ways of relating to God, namely in materiality (what later theologians would come to call “sacraments”).

The writer of this epistle is reminding his original audience of the compelling nature of their faith: that they can enjoy fellowship – or radical sharing – and that God has become human in Christ. Fellowship is not warm feelings among acquaintances. Rather, it is the tangible reality of communion in Jesus. It is the flesh and blood relationships that are formed in the transformative waters of baptism and the oil of anointing shared at the bedsides of the ill and dying.

In our flesh-and-blood encounters, God seeks to heal and restore God’s image within us. This process is a sort of casting out of the darkness by light (verses 6-8). A part of this casting out of darkness is confessing our sins, those ways – privately or publicly – in which we have obscured the image of God in ourselves, our neighbors or in creation. Christ, in his power as the Incarnate God, mends the fragmented pieces of this delicate ecosystem of redemption through his life-giving blood on the cross (verses 9-10). And when the violent shards of sin become the shattered glass of our lives, we recall that, ultimately, God is not our opponent, receiving pleasure from our clumsiness and shame; but that in Christ, God is our advocate, seeking to make us one with one another and all of creation (verses 2:1-2).

What is the “word of life” (verse 1:1)?

John 20:19-31

It would be easy to read this passage and condemn St. Thomas for a “lack of faith.” But a closer reading of this text paints the incredulous apostle as a giant in faithfulness. Even though he missed Jesus’ first appearance to the disciples (verse 24), this does not stifle his desire to encounter the risen Christ in sight and touch (and smell, since scent is a powerful gateway to memory recovery). His demand to “see the mark of the nails in [Jesus’] hands” and to feel “the mark of the nails and my hand in his side” (verse 25) are telling components to the visceral nature of Jesus’ resurrection. In upending the potency of death, Jesus also upends every expectation of control, manipulation and power. His resurrection leaves his disciples – us included – in vulnerable places, asking for encounters we don’t actually think are possible. And yet, the risen Christ comes to us, not on our terms, but on his, delivering us from dead-end narratives and defeat.

Like St. Thomas, Jesus appears in our locked rooms, announcing peace, inviting us to “see with our eyes” and “touch with our hands” (1 John 1:1). And as we experience Jesus’ risen life, a community of surprised disciples forms, experiencing a unity that only metaphors can describe (Psalm 133:1-3), a unity that compels us to eliminate poverty in our midst (Acts 4:34). In one gesture of healthy doubt, St. Thomas embodies the courage to forge a new way forward, a way forward not based on certitude and facts, but on the reality that a new day has dawned because of the puzzling emptiness of a borrowed garden tomb. And yet, Jesus commends us as the courageous ones, for we trust in him, even without seeing, touching or smelling him.

Why did Christ retain the scars of his crucifixion, post-resurrection?


-----------------------------

Bible Study: Easter Day (B)

By Jessie Gutgsell | 3 Comments |

April 5, 2015

Jessie Gutgsell, Berkeley Divinity School at Yale

“Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher).” (John 20:15-16)

The Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) readings:
Acts 10:34-43; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; John 20:1-18

Acts 10:34-43

This passage from Acts is situated at a crucial point in the story of the Acts of the Apostles. The first account of Paul’s conversion comes in Chapter 9, and then Paul’s three missionary journeys are detailed in the chapters after our selection for this week. One might expect that the beginning of the gentile mission would begin with Paul’s leadership, but surprisingly, Peter is the one to preach this sermon and begin the gentile mission here in Chapter 10.

Paul begins his message with a phrase that will appear familiar to those who know the Old Testament: “God shows no partiality.” As “The Harper Collins Study Bible”(HarperCollins, 2006) tells us, that phrase typically referred to God not favoring the rich or the poor. (See Leviticus 19:15 and Deuteronomy 10:17-18, for example.) But here in Acts 10:34, the phrase takes on a radical new meaning. Peter uses it in connection with the gentile mission. There are no social barriers between rich and poor, or gentiles and Jews.

Peter goes on in the sermon to summarize the gospel as he believes it. His interpretive emphasis is on the fact that God has appointed the apostles (and gentiles) to be witnesses to Christ. (See verse 41.)

The last verse of this passage, 10:43, summarizes key Lukan themes (it’s commonly believed that Luke wrote Acts) that “The Harper Collins Study Bible” helps to elaborate. Some of those themes include the witness of the apostles as mentioned above, but also the death and resurrection of Jesus, Jesus’ post resurrection appearances to the apostles, prophetic witness, the Spirit’s presence in Jesus, and the forgiveness of sins.

Verse 34 includes the phrase “God shows no partiality.” Peter reinterpreted this phrase to apply to the relationship between the Jews and gentiles. Is there a group of people you need to apply this same passage to? Consider praying with this verse, knowing that God truly shows no partiality.

In verse 39, Paul makes the claim that “we are witnesses to all that he did, both in Judea and in Jerusalem.” How are you a witness to Christ? Do you live your life believing that you are a witness? If not, why not? If so, how?

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

This psalm comes alive when considering its original context as a processional song of victory that begins as an individual praising God and continues with a collective praising of God. This context of victory becomes all the more powerful when considering the victory that Christ has won over death in His resurrection.

The context of a procession is particularly evident in verses 19 and 21. As “The Harper Collins Study Bible” tells us, the previous verses in the psalm can be read as an individual processing to the gates of the temple. In verse 19, the individual asks for entry. In verse 20, we learn the qualification for entry, and finally, in verse 21, we see that the person has been welcomed into the sanctuary.

The last quoted verses of the psalm selected for today reflect the voices of many people in the temple praising God and expressing their victory. Of particular note is verse 22, which is found in all the gospels and in Acts (See Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11.)

This psalm is a call to praise, both from the vantage point of an individual and a community. Consider taking this invitation and joining with the voices of the generations in a song of praise yourself. For what do you have to give thanks? What has God helped you to win victory over in your life?

Verses 15 and 16 likely quote an ancient victory song. Read these verses again and imagine what it might feel like to repeat words that people have been saying for centuries to proclaim victory in a battle.

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians is a pastoral letter written by Paul to the people of the cosmopolitan port city of Corinth. This letter includes the oft-quoted “Love is patient, love is kind,” but it also introduces a key metaphor of the church as the Body of Christ. The overall message of the letter is calling for unity and the building up of the church.

Chapter 15 is the second-to-last chapter of this letter, exhorting the Corinthians to unity and order. In this chapter, Paul turns to address his last major topic: resurrection. The very fact that Paul has to include this chapter leads the reader to understand that there was some doubt among the Corinthians about whether the Resurrection was to be believed. This context helps to understand why Paul opens the chapter the ways he does, reminding people of their faith, challenging them by saying, “unless you have come to believe in vain.” From that verse on, he explains how the truth of the resurrection is central to his whole belief structure, and it’s not an invention of his own. (See verse 3.)

In verse 8, Paul turns to address his own apostolic authority, explaining that his authority comes from having seen Christ when he reappeared after his death. In this defense of his authority, he alludes to his former life before his conversion, when he himself persecuted the church (verse 9). Paul ends the passage by saying that it doesn’t matter who the Corinthians hear the truth of the gospel and resurrection from, “Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe” (15:11).

Turn to verse 10 to read this beautiful statement by Paul: “By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace has not been in vain.” Consider saying this verse to yourself, particularly if you feeling like you need to be gentler with yourself. God has made you how you are, and it was not a mistake!

If you are like me and so many other Christians, you, too, have struggled to understand the truth and gospel of the Resurrection. Perhaps try reading Paul’s passage as if it were addressed to you as a doubter. Does that make you doubt more or less? What was your experience?

John 20:1-18

All four gospels have an account of the Resurrection (although of varying lengths). John’s account, detailed here, is unique in its emphasis on individual and personal relationship and intimacy with Christ. Another unique aspect is the prominence of Mary Magdalene in this resurrection account. Mary Magdalene is the first to discover the empty tomb (verse 1) and she is the one who stays at the tomb and see Jesus (mistaking him for a gardener). Mary Magdalene was also with Jesus at his crucifixion the chapter prior. Her role is not to be diminished!

But there is also another unique character in John’s account of this story. The “Beloved Disciple,” or “The disciple whom Jesus loved,” plays a crucial role in the first part of this story (verses 2-10). No one knows exactly who the Beloved Disciple was or what his exact relationship to Christ was, although there’s been much written about his identity. (See Raymond Brown’s “Introduction to the New Testament,” Yale University Press, 1997, for a good summary.) In this story, the Beloved Disciple is the first believer in Jesus’ resurrection when he outruns Simon Peter to see the linen shrouds that Jesus had worn (verse 8).

The second part of this passage (verses 11-18) explain Mary’s encounter with Jesus when she stayed weeping at the tomb after the disciples returned home. She saw two angels in the tomb and then saw Jesus himself, although she did not recognize him (verse 15). After Mary thinks Jesus is a gardener, Jesus evokes the good shepherd motif of John 10:3-4, calling her by name. The account ends with Jesus telling Mary to go carry the message to the disciples (verses 17-18).

What are some of your reactions to the role of the Beloved Disciple? One theory people have is that the Beloved Disciple is there to get the reader to engage more deeply in the text. Can you read yourself into that role? Why or why not?

Consider the prominent role of Mary Magdalene in this account. Consider her faith and loyalty in staying at the tomb to weep. Do you think you could take on this mourning and faithful role with Christ this Easter season?

Have you ever felt that Christ has called you by name as he called Mary? What would such recognition feel like? Where in your life and communities are you most thoroughly known?

The Season of Easter ...

posted Mar 31, 2015, 1:31 PM by CalvaryEpiscopal Church   [ updated May 4, 2015, 5:12 PM ]

Easter
Easter, the oldest celebration of the Christian year, is not a single day but an entire season: Easter lasts fifty days, from Easter Day (the Sunday of the Resurrection) through the Day of Pentecost. The season also includes the feast of the Ascension, when the resurrected Jesus ascended to heaven and was seen on earth no longer. Throughout the year every Sunday — even during Lent — is considered a little Easter, a mini feast of the resurrection on what Christians have called the first day of the week. The primary theme of Easter is the resurrection: on this day Jesus was raised from the dead, overcoming the power of death and the grave. We celebrate that we, too, are raised to everlasting life with him in our baptism.

At Pentecost we celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the ongoing life of the Holy Spirit in the church today. It is the Holy Spirit who breathes life into the Body of Christ, the church; it is the Holy Spirit who provides the gifts and guidance needed to sustain our life. At every Eucharist we pray that the Holy Spirit will sanctify the bread and wine of communion to be “the Body and Blood of your Son, the holy food and drink of new and unending life in him.” We also pray that the Spirit will “sanctify us also” so that we may receive the Eucharist with faith and serve God “in unity, constancy, and peace.” It is the Holy Spirit who makes God present and alive in our hearts.



Easter info - from Saint Matthews Anglican Church

WHEN: 40 days after Ash Wednesday (not including Sundays)

Easter immediately follows Lent, and like Christmas is more than a single day. The Easter season (Eastertide) last fifty days and concludes with the Day of Pentecost.

MEANING: Christ’s Resurrection

The bodily coming to life again of Jesus stands at the centre of the gospel. All four gospels speak of it. And the creeds affirm it. This is a period of much joy emphasising the teachings of Jesus during his post-resurrection appearances. This is a time of feasting and celebration. The long fast of Lent is over. Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

ORIGIN

The development of the Easter season was gradual in Church history. Various branches of the early church celebrated on different days. In time agreement moved in the direction of a common day. The council of Nicaea (325) set the celebration on the Sunday after the spring equinox (one of two times per year, the other being the autumn equinox, when there is a location on the earth’s equator where the centre of the sun can be seen to be vertically overhead). However, to this day, Easter falls on different days in the Eastern Orthodox as compared to the Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Anglican churches owing to the use of different calendars. What is common, is the faithful affirmation that Christ is Risen!

Source:  http://www.saintmatthewsanglicanchurch.com/worship-teaching/seasons-holy-days/easter/

Special days in Easter season include:



ASCENSION OF OUR LORD

The Feast of the Ascension observes Christ’s ascension to the Father 40 days after his resurrection. Thus Ascension Day falls 40 days after Easter Sunday, on the 6th Thursday of Easter season. The celebration of this day is often transferred to the next Sunday.

PENTECOST

Pentecost is the 50th and final day of the Easter Season. It remembers the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles in the book of Acts, thus giving birth to the Church.









More about Easter from Wikipedia  ...

Eastertide (or the Easter Season, Paschal Time, Paschal Tide or Paschaltide) is a festal season in the liturgical year of Christianity that begins on Easter Sunday.[1]

Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastertide

Eastertide is the period of fifty days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday.[2]

It is celebrated as a single joyful feast, indeed as the "great Lord's Day".[3] Each Sunday of the season is treated as a Sunday of Easter, and, after the Sunday of the Resurrection, they are named Second Sunday of Easter, Third Sunday of Easter, etc. up to the Seventh Sunday of Easter, while the whole fifty-day period concludes with Pentecost Sunday.[4]

Easter Sunday and Pentecost correspond to pre-existing Jewish feasts: The first day of Pesach (פסח) and the holiday of Shavu'ot (שבועות). In the Jewish tradition, the 49 days between these holidays are known as Counting of the Omer (ספירת העומר)‎.[5]

The first eight days constitute the Octave of Easter and are celebrated as solemnities of the Lord.[6]

Since 2000 the Second Sunday of Easter is also called Divine Mercy Sunday. The name "Low Sunday" for this Sunday, once common in English, is now rarely used.

The solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord is celebrated on the fortieth day of Eastertide (a Thursday), except in countries where it is not a Holy Day of Obligation. In such countries it is celebrated on the following Sunday (the forty-third day of Eastertide).[7] The nine days from that feast until the Saturday before Pentecost (inclusive) are days of preparation for the Holy Spirit the Paraclete,[8] which inspired the form of prayer called a novena.

Before the 1969 revision of the calendar, the Sundays were called First Sunday after Easter, Second Sunday after Easter, etc. The Sunday preceding the feast of the Ascension of the Lord was sometimes, though not officially, called Rogation Sunday, and when the Ascension had an octave, the following Sunday was called Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension,[9] but when this octave was abolished in 1955, it was called Sunday after the Ascension.[10] Pentecost was followed by an octave, which some reckoned as part of Eastertide.

When the Anglican and Lutheran churches implemented their own calendar and lectionary reforms in 1976, they adopted the same shortened definition of the Easter season as the Roman Catholic Church had promulgated six years earlier. In the Church of England, the Easter season begins with the Easter Vigil and ends after Evening Prayer (or Night Prayer) on the Day of Pentecost. Some Anglican provinces continue to label the Sundays between Easter and the Ascension "Sundays After Easter" rather than "Sundays of Easter"; others, such as the Church of England and ECUSA, use the term "Sundays of Easter".

Follow the Celebrating Easter 2015 Series - Week 5: Easter Week ...

posted Feb 24, 2015, 9:08 AM by joan bonaparte   [ updated May 4, 2015, 5:17 PM by CalvaryEpiscopal Church ]



Jesus Is Alive!


An Easter Blessing

Finding Hope in the Easter Season

Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled

Letting Myself Be Reborn

The Servant Girl At Emmaus

Our Hope for Everlasting Life

Easter Joy in Everyday Life

The Servant Girl At Emmaus

Don't Work for Food that Perishes





SundayMONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY


Fifth Week of Easter
May 3 - 9, 2015

Fourth Week of Easter

The wonderful story of the early church continues this week in Acts of the Apostles. We read of Paul and Barnabas preaching the good news to Gentiles. A major shift occurs after much discussion among the apostles and they pray for guidance: should Gentiles become Jews before becoming Christians? Peter declared that Jews and Gentiles are both "saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus."

The weekday gospels continue with John's nuanced words reminding us again not to be troubled or afraid, but to remain in the love of Jesus. It is that message that we pray with this week as we continue our Easter celebration, filled with the joy of hearing Jesus tell us, “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you."


Our Hope for Everlasting Life

At Easter time we are prepared to address some of the imaginative questions which usually only come to us at funerals.

What is the gift of everlasting life? How can we imagine it?

We only have a few images from Jesus about heaven. He tells us it is like a wedding banquet. He says that he goes to prepare a place for us - a place in his Father's house, which has many rooms.

One of the nicest things about going out of town for a wedding, or going on vacation and staying with friends or family, is to hear them say that they have a room ready for us. And, part of the fun is to look forward to the visit and the hospitality they prepared for us. Sometimes, it is wonderful to find a flower in a simple vase. Sometimes, there are special "guest towels" and a new bar of soup, and if the weather is cold, there is an extra blanket. When we see our room, we are likely to thank our host and to say, "You thought of everything. I feel so at home here."

Of course, at family and friends' weddings, there is great anticipation at seeing our loved ones and friends whom we hadn't seen in a while. It's the best part of the party. The bonds and connections that are renewed fill us with such joy. Often we have a sense that "We just picked up right where we left off." We discover how the relationships are still there. And, at the best weddings, we have such great fun telling stories and laughing and dancing. We can look across the room and the difficulties, anxieties and the troubles of our everyday life seem very far away.

Whatever we might imagine the Easter promise of eternal life, it seems that we can use images like these, of true human hospitality and joy, raised to the level of divine life. Because we can't know now what divine life is like, and we can't even get close to imagining a "place" or a "time" without space and time - in eternity - we use human images to comfort ourselves and to help us anticipate what is "more than we can ask or imagine." (Ephesians 3:20)

If the purpose of the funeral rites is to help us enter into a new relationship with those we have lost, then part of the purpose of the Easter season is to help us anticipate, even to long for, the realization of the promise of eternal life. We can reflect on all our efforts to get closer to our Lord in this life, but it is wonderous to imagine complete communion with Jesus. We can remember the best of times which we had with friends and loved ones, but it is a deep and powerful experience to let ourselves anticipate the joys of a renewal of the bonds and affection - without the barriers of divisions, worries, sin or death.

This week, let us give ourselves to the real joy of the promise, and to imagining its fulfillment, forever.


Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled

In his farewell to his disciples, his consoling words to them and to us are beautiful:

Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.
If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself,
so that where I am you also may be.
[John 14:1]

SadIt is beautiful that Jesus anticipates that what we will face in this life, as his believers, will likely be troubling. Each and every one of us can name a lot of things that are weighing on our hearts these days. Small things and really big things tend to pile up and deeply affect us and the choices we make. These troubling challenges can disturb our relationships. Since all grief is connected, they can shake loose other griefs and sadnesses in our lives - some of which had been buried for a long time.

Often these troubling feelings challenge our faith as well. At the very least, our sadness can make it difficult for us to hear the Good News Jesus' resurrection brings us.

Jesus invites us to have faith in God and in him. He doesn't say that lightly. He knows. He understands what we are facing. Because he knows and understands, he knows that we need what he has won for us. I might be tempted to fight it off or to resist it in some way. My sadness can become my home, and, at times, it can become my identity. We can even diminish our ability to perceive the gift by saying, "He's offering me nothing in this world; only future happiness. I'm overwhelmed now!"

Jesus is offering us a peace nothing else can offer us. One of the Lent prayers says that God's graces allow us to live in this passing world with our hearts set on the world that will never end.

How does eternal life offer us a peace and strength now? It offers us a vision of the rest of the story - the whole story. When we believe that death - in all its forms - is just a scarecrow, then we grow in courage. We are offered the courage, not only to face huge challenges and tremendous losses in this life, but we can embrace a courage which offers us the ability to love boldly, to give our lives away in service for and with others. We can, as Pope Francis urged the youth at World Youth day, "row against the current" of our culture. We can be unafraid to be advocates for those who are not very popular in our world. Our world becomes bigger, our concerns move much more outside of ourselves. We appreciate the meaning of Jesus' promise: "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." [Matthew 16:25] The joy of finding our life, finding who we are, finding out clearly what the outcome is, and where we are going, is tremendously freeing.

Our problems don't go away. The pain of those we love is still there. The discouraging reality we must face is still a reality. What changes is the meaning it all has. It can all be touched by the healing transformation that comes from his death and resurrection. And the picture, the context of it all, becomes so much bigger. We have hope. Death can be redeemed. All deaths. All losses. All disappointments. All sin.

Jesus has prepared a place for us to celebrate together for all eternity. We can ask for the grace these days to let our hearts be open to the Good News, to be transformed by its joy, and to share this faith with the world. At that point, we can begin to feel and look like resurrection people, who know the meaning and the outcome of our life in Jesus. Alleluia!



Don't work for food that perishes

When Jesus was revealing to his disciples that he is the Bread that gives us life, he said this profound thing:

Do not work for food that perishes
but for the food that endures for eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give you.
[John 6:27]

It is a great Easter reflection to ask ourselves, in what ways do I work for food that perishes? We can ask about this phrase in many ways. We can simply ask, What am I working for? Does it result in any kind of lasting food for me? Do I find myself working hard for elusive and unattainable goals? Am I trying buy or attain happiness with consumption which can never really satisfy me? Am I addicted to patterns and a way of life that is taking away my happiness? Is what I have really very satisfying? Do I want even more in hopes that more will make me happy?

Jesus wants us to know that he is the Bread that gives life. When some of his listeners walked away, saying that this bread he was offering them was "hard to swallow," they returned to their former way of life and no longer followed him. Jesus asked his disciples if they were going to walk away, too. Peter answered, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” [John 6:68-69]

Jesus tells us that if we come to him, we'll never hunger or thirst again. He urges us to "feed" on him. The image is that of sheep who graze on a pasture. He is inviting us to allow him to be what nourishes and sustains us.

Too often we can try to have it both ways. We want to be connected with Jesus and we also want a steady diet of the things of this world. Jesus is the only food which will really satisfy us. He knows that we can live in this world, have a job in this world, support our families in this world, and do all the many non-sinful things we do in this world, as long as those things don't become what we really work for and look to sustain our hearts and souls. Jesus alone can be a life giving and sustaining source of our identity and our nourishment. He offers us the "food that endures for eternal life."

Let's ask for this renewed hunger to be nourish by Jesus, to be in communion with him. From that grace will come the deep and lasting desire to gratefully share what we have received. The one who is bread broken and given for us will help us be bread which is broken and given for others who need us.


The Servant-Girl at Emmaus (A Painting by Valázquez)

A Poem by Denise Levertov

"Kitchen Maid with Supper at Emmaus" by Diego Valasquez

“The Kitchen Maid with the Supper at Emmaus” by Diego Valázquez  c.1620

The poet Denise Levertov was inspired by this painting to tell the story of the Servant Girl at Emmaus.

She listens, listens, holding her breath.
Surely that voice
is his—the one
who had looked at her, once,
across the crowd, as no one ever had looked?
Had seen her?
Had spoken as if to her?
Surely those hands were his,
taking the platter of bread from hers just now?
Hands he’d laid on the dying and made them well?
Surely that face—?
The man they’d crucified for sedition and blasphemy.
The man whose body disappeared from its tomb.
The man it was rumored now some women had seen this morning,
alive?
Those who had brought this stranger home to their table
don’t recognize yet with whom they sit.
But she in the kitchen,
absently touching the wine jug she’s to take in,
a young Black servant intently listening,
swings round and sees
the light around him
and is sure.


-Denise Levertov


Letting Myself be Reborn

Easter is a wonderful time to reflect upon the new life we receive through our relationship with Jesus. However, celebrating Easter is not just thinking about new life, but it is about experiencing new life. There are two questions:
1) where am I not feeling "alive" or not fully alive? and 2) what would it mean for me to let myself become fully alive, in Jesus?

Tulip BudWhen Jesus talked with Nicodemus about being born again, Nicodemus misunderstood him. Jesus clarified the phrase, explaining what he meant. We must be born "from above." [John 3:3]

What is this distinction Jesus is making between being born "again" and being born "from above." Jesus is talking about where life comes from. It's from him. The "new life" is a gift and it is from God.

When we are feeling tired, discouraged, and full of deadly, or self-defeating, desires and actions, we know we aren't happy, even if it is difficult to admit it. But, the desire for healing, relief, refreshment - new life - is the first step to being open to receive the gift. And, this is not a "once and for all" realization. Various deadly things go on in our lives all the time. We need to stay attentive to what's happening in us all the time. It's like when a blood clot blocks blood flow to our heart or our brain, something dies. When something blocks the flow of life to any part of our spiritual reality, something dies in us. Jesus is telling us that there is relief and new life - from above. We just need to be attentive to what is happening in us.

Tulips bloomingWhen we let his life course through us, we come to life again. It is all about the connection, the communion, the way we make our home in him and allow him to make his home in us. When we become branches connected to the Vine of life, then we can live again and can bear much fruit.

When he restores life to parts of us that were not very vital, the new life often means change. We feel different, and when we begin to act differently, it can feel not only "new" but "strange" or "akward." It means that old habits and patterns need to be let go of and new ones need to be practiced. This is how we are opened up to grace - open to his giving his life to us. Then we can be opened to a new way of acting and loving. This new way is characterized by greater freedom, greater mercy and greater generosity.

As it appears in us, it is a beautiful thing to behold. All of a sudden, we really like what it feels like. We like who we are becoming. It starts to feel like we are reborn, renewed, coming to life in a new way.

tulips blooming everywhereWhen we experience new life, two things are very clear.
1) It is rarely, if ever, a solitary experience. We need the support of others to grow and we grow best in a community of others who are also growing. Celebrating Easter is always best done in community. 2) An Easter community is on fire with growth. The Holy Spirit comes to us and gives growth with renewed vitality and splendor.

So, let's let our longing for new life fill this Easter Season. Let's look for what needs a new vitality in us. Let's talk with the Lord about how we can stay better connected, better rooted in him. Let's let him heal what is painful or sore or deeply wounded. Let's let him show us his love and his grace. Let's ask for the graces of a new beginning, a fresh start which will bring us to life in a new way - for our own happiness - and for our vitality for others.




Our Hope for Everlasting Life

At Easter time we are prepared to address some of the imaginative questions which usually only come to us at funerals.

What is the gift of everlasting life? How can we imagine it?

We only have a few images from Jesus about heaven. He tells us it is like a wedding banquet. He says that he goes to prepare a place for us - a place in his Father's house, which has many rooms.

One of the nicest things about going out of town for a wedding, or going on vacation and staying with friends or family, is to hear them say that they have a room ready for us. And, part of the fun is to look forward to the visit and the hospitality they prepared for us. Sometimes, it is wonderful to find a flower in a simple vase. Sometimes, there are special "guest towels" and a new bar of soup, and if the weather is cold, there is an extra blanket. When we see our room, we are likely to thank our host and to say, "You thought of everything. I feel so at home here."

Of course, at family and friends' weddings, there is great anticipation at seeing our loved ones and friends whom we hadn't seen in a while. It's the best part of the party. The bonds and connections that are renewed fill us with such joy. Often we have a sense that "We just picked up right where we left off." We discover how the relationships are still there. And, at the best weddings, we have such great fun telling stories and laughing and dancing. We can look across the room and the difficulties, anxieties and the troubles of our everyday life seem very far away.

Whatever we might imagine the Easter promise of eternal life, it seems that we can use images like these, of true human hospitality and joy, raised to the level of divine life. Because we can't know now what divine life is like, and we can't even get close to imagining a "place" or a "time" without space and time - in eternity - we use human images to comfort ourselves and to help us anticipate what is "more than we can ask or imagine." (Ephesians 3:20)

If the purpose of the funeral rites is to help us enter into a new relationship with those we have lost, then part of the purpose of the Easter season is to help us anticipate, even to long for, the realization of the promise of eternal life. We can reflect on all our efforts to get closer to our Lord in this life, but it is wonderous to imagine complete communion with Jesus. We can remember the best of times which we had with friends and loved ones, but it is a deep and powerful experience to let ourselves anticipate the joys of a renewal of the bonds and affection - without the barriers of divisions, worries, sin or death.

This week, let us give ourselves to the real joy of the promise, and to imagining its fulfillment, forever.


Easter Joy for Everyday Life

More than just a day, the Church gives us a seven-week Easter season to celebrate.  Yet sometimes our everyday lives feel so heavy that celebration is not a part of them.  Critical illness in the family, loss of a job, disappointment in a relationship and the burdens of everyday life can make it a challenge to feel particularly joyful – even in the Easter season.

But the joy we are being invited into this season is beyond what we see in our everyday lives.  It's true that Jesus says “Come to me and bring me your burdens” but we usually can’t believe it.  Maybe we don’t want to believe it.  If I really allow Jesus to come into my heart the way he wants to, will he ask me to change my life in ways that are too hard? How do I share the chaos of my life with Jesus?  If I keep him at arm’s length, my life might be difficult, but at least my problems are familiar.  What would it cost me to let go and change my life?

We know our own faults and failings so well.  Too well.  We begin to believe that Jesus loves the way we love – with all of our human limits.  How could Jesus love us and accept us the way we are right now?  Maybe when we fix a few things about our lives, love our spouse a little better, stop being so critical of family members, stop drinking, stop nagging, love a little more… when we are perfect, then Jesus will love us.

If we can overcome our fears, the real power of letting Jesus into our hearts is how free our hearts will become.  Suddenly, we are not afraid, not burdened and simply ready to serve with Jesus.

Jesus loves us - right now.  At this moment, Jesus holds each one of us in his warm and loving gaze and loves us so freely at a depth that our human minds can’t take in.  Whether we comprehend this or not, Jesus loves us endlessly and waits for us with his arms open, ready to hold and support us. 

As we receive his embrace and feel the peace and joy of Easter wash over us, we can look over his shoulder, and see beyond to those in need who now wait for us.  That’s when we realize that the real joy in our lives is putting aside our own faults, challenges and difficulties for a while and entering into the lives of others.

Pope Francis said at Easter, we leave ourselves behind and encounter others by “being close to those crushed by life’s troubles, sharing with the needy, standing at the side of the sick, elderly and the outcast.”

We are being missioned as Easter People.  We find peace in Jesus’ love for us and now we share it with others.  We find ourselves standing side by side with Jesus, looking together at those we are being sent to love.   

That is where the real joy of Easter waits for us.



The Way of the Cross (Stations of the Cross)

posted Jan 27, 2015, 8:55 AM by CalvaryEpiscopal Church   [ updated Apr 2, 2015, 1:27 PM ]

Way of the Cross (Stations of the Cross)

A devotion to the Passion of Christ which recalls a series of events at the end of Jesus' life from his condemnation to his burial. The Way of the Cross imitates the practice of visiting the places of Jesus' Passion in the Holy Land by early Christian pilgrims. The first stations outside Palestine were built in Bologna in the fifth century. This devotion was encouraged by the Franciscans, and it became common in the fifteenth century. The number of stations for prayer and meditation in the Way of the Cross has varied, but it typically includes fourteen stations. Each station may have a cross and an artistic representation of the scene. The stations may be erected inside a church or outdoors. The BOS includes the following stations in the Way of the Cross: 1) Jesus is condemned to death; 2) Jesus takes up his cross; 3) Jesus falls the first time; 4) Jesus meets his afflicted mother; 5) the cross is laid on Simon of Cyrene; 6) a woman wipes the face of Jesus; 7) Jesus falls a second time; 8) Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem; 9) Jesus falls a third time; 10) Jesus is stripped of his garments; 11) Jesus is nailed to the cross; 12) Jesus dies on the cross; 13) the body of Jesus is placed in the arms of his mother; 14) Jesus is laid in the tomb. The BOS notes that eight of the stations are based on events that are recorded in the gospels. The remaining six (stations 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 13) are based on inferences from the gospels or pious legends. The BOS allows these six stations to be omitted from the Way of the Cross. The BOS provides opening devotions and the Lord's Prayer. There is a versicle and response, a reading, a prayer, and a collect for each of the fourteen stations. Concluding prayers before the altar follow the fourteenth station in the BOS service. The hymn Stabat Mater has been associated with the Way of the Cross. Verses of this hymn traditionally have been sung between each of the stations when the devotion is done by a congregation. The Stabat Mater appears as "At the cross her vigil keeping," Hymn 159 in The Hymnal 1982. The BOS suggests that verses of this hymn be sung as the ministers enter for the Way of the Cross and as they approach the first station. The BOS also suggests that the Trisagion be chanted as the procession goes from station to station. The Way of the Cross is a popular devotion that is often done on Fridays during Lent. However, it should not displace the Proper Liturgy for Good Friday. Some have questioned its disassociation of Jesus' death from his resurrection.

Source:  http://www.episcopalchurch.org/library/glossary/way-cross-stations-cross


Why do the Stations?

Source:  http://onlineministries.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/stations-prn.html

The most important reason for reviving the practice of making the Stations of the Cross is that it is a powerful way to contemplate, and enter into, the mystery of Jesus' gift of himself to us.  It takes the reflection on the passion out of my head, and makes it an imaginative exercise.  It involves my senses, my experience and my emotions.  To the extent I come to experience the love of Jesus for me, to that extent the gratitude I feel will be deep.  Deep gratitude leads to real generosity and a desire to love as I have been loved.  First, just a note about the history of the stations:

The History:

From the earliest of days, followers of Jesus told the story of his passion, death and resurrection.  When pilgrims came to see Jerusalem, they were anxious to see the sites where Jesus was.  These sites become important holy connections with Jesus.  Eventually, following in the footsteps of the Lord, along the way of the cross, became a part of the pilgrimage visit.  The stations, as we know them today, came about when it was no longer easy or even possible to visit the holy sites.  In the 1500's, villages all over Europe started creating "replicas" of the way of the cross, with small shrines commemorating the places along the route in Jerusalem.  Eventually, these shrines became the set of 14 stations we now know and were placed in almost every Catholic Church in the world.


How to do the Stations?

Making the stations is easy.  And, we tried to make this online experience of them an easy adaptation of what one would do, if doing them in a church before real stations.

The Context:

The first point to note is that this is prayer.  It isn't an intellectual exercise.  It is in the context of my relationship with God.  I could read through the text of each of the stations, and look at the pictures, but that wouldn't necessarily be prayer.  This is an invitation to enter into a gifted faith experience of who Jesus is for me.  It becomes prayer when I open my heart to be touched, and it leads me to express my response in prayer.

The second thing to remember is that this is an imaginative exercise.  Its purpose is not a historical examination of "what really happened" on that day in history.  It's about something far more profound.  This is an opportunity to use this long standing Christian prayer to let Jesus touch my heart deeply by showing me the depth of his love for me.  The context is the historical fact that he was made to carry the instrument of his death, from the place where he was condemned to die, to Calvary where he died, and that he was taken down and laid in a tomb.  The religious context is that today Jesus wants to use any means available to move my heart to know his love for me.  These exercises can allow me to imaginatively visualize the "meaning" of his passion and death.

The point of this exercise is to lead us to gratitude.  It will also lead us into a sense of solidarity with all our brothers and sisters.  In our busy, high tech lives we can easily get out of touch with the terrible suffering of real people in our world.  Journeying with Jesus in the Stations, allows us to imagine his entry into the experience of those who are tortured, unjustly accused or victimized, sitting on death row, carrying impossible burdens, facing terminal illnesses, or simply fatigued with life.

How to:
Just go from one station to another.  When "arriving" at a station, begin by looking carefully at the image itself.  Click on the image there to enlarge the photo.  See who is in the scene.  Look at how they are arranged and what the artist who created this image is trying to tell us about the drama there.

This online version is divided into four parts:

  • The first part is a simple description of the scene.  It helps us be conscious of what the "meaning" of this station is for us.
  • The second part is the traditional prayer at each station.  Its words become more and more meaningful as we repeat them throughout the journey.
  • The third part is the contemplation of the scene.  This is a guided reflection on the power of the scene for me, to enter it more deeply and to lead to some experience of it personally.
  • The fourth part is my response.  This is expressed in my own words.  It is the place where the sorrow and gratitude flow from my heart.
When to do them:
The beauty of the online version is that I can do the stations whenever I like.  The only guide we'd offer is to not rush through them.  Just reading through them is not making them, any more than walking around a church to look at them is making them.  It could be a wonderful prayer experience to do them as only one or two stations a day for one or two weeks.  It can also be powerful to do all 14, very prayerfully, over the course of 40 minutes to an hour, in a single evening, or to do seven one night and seven the following night.  Finally, it can be wonderful to return to the experience several weeks or months later, and discover that because of some struggle or difficulty I am experiencing, the stations become a different experience and a fresh experience of consolation.


The First Station:  Jesus is condemned to die.
Jesus stands in the most human of places.  He has already experienced profound solidarity with so many on this earth, by being beaten and tortured.  Now he is wrongfully condemned to punishment by death.  His commitment to entering our lives completely begins its final steps.  He has said "yes" to God and placed his life in God's hands.  We follow him in this final surrender, and contemplate with reverence each place along the way, as he is broken and given for us.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

As I view the scene, I become moved by both outrage and gratitude.
I look at Jesus.  His face.  The crown of thorns.  The blood.  His clothes stuck to the wounds on his back. 
Pilate washes his hands of the whole affair.  Jesus' hands are tied behind his back.

This is for me.  That I might be free.  That I might have eternal life. 
As the journey begins I ask to be with Jesus.  To follow his journey. I express my love and thanks.



The Second Station:  Jesus Carries His Cross.
Jesus is made to carry the cross on which he will die.  It represents the weight of all our crosses.  What he must have felt as he first took it upon his shoulders!  With each step he enters more deeply into our human experience.  He walks in the path of human misery and suffering, and experiences its crushing weight.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

I contemplate the wood of that cross.  I imagine how heavy it is.  I reflect upon all it means that Jesus is carrying it.
I look into his eyes.  It's all there.

This is for me.  So I place myself with him in this journey.  In its anguish.  In his freedom and surrender.  In the love that must fill his heart.

With sorrow and gratitude, I continue the journey.  Moved by the power of his love, I am drawn to him and express my love in the words that come to me.



The Third Station:  Jesus Falls the First Time.
The weight is unbearable.  Jesus falls under it.  How could he enter our lives completely without surrendering to the crushing weight of the life of so many on this earth!  He lays on the ground and knows the experience of weakness beneath unfair burdens.  He feels the powerlessness of wondering if he will ever be able to continue.  He is pulled up and made to continue.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

I stare at the weakness in his eyes.  I can look at his whole body and see the exhaustion.
As I behold him there on the ground, being roughly pulled up, I know forever how profoundly he understands my fatigue and my defeats.

This is for me.  In grief and gratitude I want to let him remain there.  As I watch him stand again and gain an inner strength, I accept his love and express my thanks.



The Fourth Station:  Jesus Meets His Mother.
Jesus' path takes him to a powerful source of his strength to continue.  All his life, his mother had taught him the meaning of the words, "Behold, the handmaid of the Lord."  Now they look into each other's eyes.  How pierced-through her heart must be!  How pained he must be to see her tears!  Now, her grace-filled smile blesses his mission and stirs his heart to its depth.  Love and trust in God bind them together.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

As I watch them in this place along the way, I contemplate the mystery of love's power to give strength.
She knows the sorrow in every mother's heart, who has lost a child to tragedy or violence.
I look at the two of them very carefully, and long for such love and such peace.

This is for me.  Such incredible freedom.  The availability of a servant.  I find the words to express what is in my heart.



The Fifth Station:  Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross.
Jesus even experiences our struggle to receive help.  He is made to experience the poverty of not being able to carry his burden alone.  He enters into the experience of all who must depend upon others to survive.  He is deprived of the satisfaction of carrying this burden on his own.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

I look into his face and contemplate his struggle.  His weariness and fragility.  His impotence.
I see how he looks at Simon, with utmost humility and gratitude.

This is for me. So I feel anguish and gratitude.  I express my thanks that he can continue this journey.  That he has help.  That he knows my inability to carry my burden alone.

I say what is in my heart, with deep feeling.



The Sixth Station:  Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus.
Jesus' journey is at times brutal.  He has entered into the terrible experiences of rejection and injustice.  He has been whipped and beaten. His face shows the signs of his solidarity with all who have ever suffered injustice and vile, abusive treatment.  He encounters a compassionate, loving disciple who wipes the vulgar spit and mocking blood from his face.  On her veil, she discovers the image of his face - his gift to her.  And, for us to contemplate forever.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

What does the face of Jesus hold for me?  What do I see, as I look deeply into his face?
Can I try to comfort the agony and pain? Can I embrace him, with his face so covered with his passion?

The veil I behold is a true icon of his gift of himself. This is for me.  In wonder and awe, I behold his face now wiped clean, and see the depth of his suffering in solidarity with all flesh.



The Seventh Station:  Jesus Falls the Second Time.
Even with help, Jesus stumbles and falls to the ground.  In deep exhaustion he stares at the earth beneath him.  "Remember, you are dust and to dust you will return."  He has seen death before.  Now he can feel the profound weakness of disability and disease and aging itself, there on his knees, under the weight of his cross.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

I contemplate Jesus brought very low.  As I behold him there on the ground, with all the agony taking its toll on him, I let my heart go out to him.
I store up this image in my heart, knowing that I will never feel alone in my suffering or in any diminishment, with this image of Jesus on the ground before me.

This is for me, so I express the feelings in my heart.



The Eighth Station:  Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem.
The women of Jerusalem, and their children, come out to comfort and thank him.  They had seen his compassion and welcomed his words of healing and freedom.  He had broken all kinds of social and religious conventions to connect with them.  Now they are here to support him.  He feels their grief.  He suffers, knowing he can't remain to help them more in this life.  He knows the mystery of facing the separation of death.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

I look at their faces.  So full of love and gratitude, loss and fear.  I contemplate what words might have passed between them.
I remember all his tender, compassionate, merciful love for me.  I place myself with these women and children to support him.

This is for me.  So, I let this scene stir up deep gratitude.



The Ninth Station:  Jesus Falls the Third Time.
This last fall is devastating.  Jesus can barely proceed to the end.  Summoning all this remaining strength, supported by his inner trust in God, Jesus collapses under the weight of the cross.  His executioners look at him as a broken man, pathetic yet paying a price he deserves.  They help him up so he can make it up the hill of crucifixion.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

I pause to contemplate him there on the ground. The brokeness that makes me whole.  The surrender that gives me life.
I pause to experience and receive how completely he loves me. He is indeed completely poured out for me.

As I treasure this gifted experience, I express what is in my heart.



The Tenth Station:  Jesus is Stripped.
Part of the indignity is to be crucified naked. Jesus is completely stripped of any pride  The wounds on his back are torn open again.  He experiences the ultimate vulnerability of the defenseless. No shield or security protects him.  As they stare at him, his eyes turn to heaven.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

I pause to watch the stripping.  I contemplate all that is taken from him.  And, how he faces his death with such nakedness.
I reflect upon how much of himself he has revealed to me.  Holding nothing back. 

As I look at him in his humility, I know that this is for me, and I share my feelings of gratitude.



The Eleventh Station:  Jesus is Nailed to the Cross.
Huge nails are hammered through his hands and feet to fix him on the cross.  He is bleeding much more seriously now.  As the cross is lifted up, the weight of his life hangs on those nails.  Every time he struggles to pull himself up to breathe, his ability to cling to life slips away. 

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

I make myself watch the nails being driven through his flesh.  And I watch his face.
I contemplate the completeness of his entry into our lives.  Can there be any pain or agony he would not understand?

This is for me.  Nailed to a cross to forever proclaim liberty to captives.  What sorrow and gratitude fill my heart!



The Twelfth Station:  Jesus Dies On The Cross.
Between two criminals, a mocking title above his head, with only Mary and John and Mary Magdalene to support him, Jesus surrenders his last breath:  "Into your hands I commend my spirit." 

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

I stand there, at the foot of the cross, side by side with all of humanity, and behold our salvation.
I carefully watch and listen to all that is said.
And then, I experience the one who gives life pass from life to death, for me.  I console Mary and John and Mary.  And let them console me.

This is the hour to express the deepest feelings within me.



The Thirteenth Station:  Jesus Is Taken Down From The Cross.
What tender mourning!  Jesus' lifeless body lays in his mother's arms.  He has truly died.  A profound sacrifice, complete.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

I behold this scene at the foot of the cross.  I contemplate touching, caressing his body.  I remember all his hands have touched, all who have been blessed by his warm embrace.
I pause to let it soak in.  He knows the mystery of death.  He has fallen into God's hands.

For me.  That I might love as I have been loved.  I pour out my heart to the God of all mercies. 




The Fourteenth Station:  Jesus Is Laid In The Tomb.
They take the body of Jesus to its resting place.  The huge stone over the tomb is the final sign of the permanence of death.  In this final act of surrender, who would have imagined this tomb would soon be empty or that Jesus would show himself alive to his disciples, or that they would recognize him in the breaking of bread?  Oh, that our hearts might burn within us, as we realize how he had to suffer and die so as to enter into his glory, for us.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

I pause to contemplate this act of closure on his life.  In solidarity with all humanity, his body is taken to its grave. 

I stand for a moment outside this tomb.  This final journey of his life has shown me the meaning of his gift of himself for me.  This tomb represents every tomb I stand before with fear, in defeat, struggling to believe it could ever be empty.

In the fullness of faith in the Risen One, given by his own Holy Spirit, I express my gratitude for this way of the cross.  I ask Jesus, whose hands, feet and side still bear the signs of this journey, to grant me the graces I need to take up my cross to be a servant of his own mission.



Note
Modern liturgists have emphasized that devotion to the Passion is incomplete without reference to the Resurrection and have thus fostered the addition of a "fifteenth station," the Resurrection of Jesus.

The Fifteenth Station:  The Resurrection

J
esus, your friends were devastated in their loss. Their darkness couldn't have been any deeper. As we find ourselves in Winter, it can seem like life has given out on us. Yet we know that it is impossible to snuff out the life God has given. Even when all seems lost, your Resurrection gives us new hope!
As a child, sometimes I feel sad. I can think of those who have died and how much I miss them. I can worry about many things.
As an adult, I can despair when I think of family members and friends who have died. I can forget that you died and rose again in order to save them and prepare a place for them.
Help me remember that, through Baptism, I have become a child of God. I am united with Christ, with those who live around me, and with those who have died as well. Jesus suffered all the difficulties I must face, so I know you understand my challenges and walk with me as I face them. I know I must face certain difficulties. Even though I don't like them, help me feel your presence with me.


LET US PRAY
God, you so loved the world that you gave your only son, who died and rose for all of us. Help me be thankful for the eternal life promised me. Help me approach you often for the forgiveness I need, the forgiveness Jesus won for me through his passion, death and resurrection. Help me use the gifts of the Holy Spirit to face all the challenges that confront me. I know that sin, suffering and death have been overcome by the resurrection of your son. Help me share in the joy of all who have been redeemed, that I may be renewed, made more perfect, and cry out with joy with all your people


Source:  Pictures are from http://ourladyswarriors.org/prayer/stations.htm

Charleston Area Justice Ministry (CAJM)

posted Dec 13, 2012, 2:23 PM by CalvaryEpiscopal Church


CHARLESTON AREA JUSTICE MINISTRY (CAJM)

The Charleston Area Justice Ministry (CAJM) is organized to do powerful justice in Charleston, Dorchester, and Berkeley Counties of South Carolina.  Clergy and laity from the Charleston area formed CAJM.  It is currently composed 22 congregations from the following faith communities: African Methodist Episcopal (AME), Baptist, Congregational, Episcopalian, Greek Orthodox, Lutheran, Orthodox Union of Judaism, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Union of Reform Judaism, Unitarian, and United Methodist.  

Calvary Episcopal Church’s Mrs. Jennie L. Cooper and Mrs. Elaine Gambrell are two leaders in CAJM.  They are called Justice Ministry “Team Members” and they have organized about 20 people to serve as Justice Ministry “Network Members,” including: Mr. George I. Bush, Jr., Mrs. Arenilla Bush, Mrs. Wilhelmina A. Frasier, Mrs. Andrea J. Magwood, Mrs. Andrea Robinson-Lawrence, Mrs. Veronica C. Sheppard, and Ms. Jewell Dingle.

A CAJM Research Meeting Kick-off was held at New Tabernacle Fourth Baptist Church earlier this month.   The purpose of Research Meetings is to build relationships with community leaders (locally, statewide, and nationwide) who have been involved in justice issues of interest to CAJM.  CAJM Research Committees will work to: (a) understand the relationships between these leaders and the issues and (b) obtain information about how they are helping to resolve—or have resolved—these issues in their communities.  The two Justice Issues that CAJM will research in 2013 are: (1) Education and (2) Crime/Violence. 

The CAJM Education Research Committee consists of 70 people and the CAJM Crime/Violence Research Committee consists of 50 people.  They will conduct research meetings on a regular basis to develop a solid understanding of these two issues and identify winnable solutions to these issues based on the “Issue Criteria” which stipulate that the issue: (1) is Popular, (2) is Unifying (not divisive to CAJM), (3) involves Local decision-makers, (4) is Winnable (because our power as a community is significant to the decision-maker), and (5) is Controversial (it was highlighted during CAJM House Meetings and approved at a CAJM Community Problems Assembly).

Please respond favorably when Calvary’s Justice Ministry Team Members and Network Members invite you to attend several important, upcoming meetings in 2013, including: (1) Team Assembly on March 18th, (2) Rally on April 8th, (3) Nehemiah Action Assembly on April 29th, and (4) Celebration on June 10th.



Deacon Ed Dyckman, Chair, Department of Social Ministries, Diocese of South Carolina




 

Coming Street / St. Philip / Line Street Two-Way Plan ...

posted May 22, 2012, 9:11 AM by CalvaryEpiscopal Church   [ updated May 22, 2012, 11:48 AM ]

COMING ST. PHILIP LINE ST. TWO-WAY PLAN:  

The plan and study is online. The City Dept. of Traffic and Transportation is recommending the adoption of Alternate #2 which converts Coming to two-way from Beaufain St. to Race street, the conversion of St. Philip to two-way from Beaufain to Calhoun and the conversion of Line Street to two-way for Rutledge to King.  The entire study is online at:

http://www.charleston-sc.gov/shared/docs/0/comingstreettwo-wayconversionanalysis%20final022812.pdf  

The Cannonborough/Elliottborough and the Radcliffborough Neighborhood Associations are currently supporting Alternate #2.


One80 Place (formerly Crisis Ministries) Little Red Wagon - Don't forget to bring your donation

posted Feb 24, 2012, 8:02 AM by CalvaryEpiscopal Church   [ updated Mar 9, 2015, 3:00 PM ]

 
-- Please keep the Little Red Wagon donations “rolling-in” each Second Sunday!  The folks at One80 Place (formerly named Crisis Ministries Homeless Shelter) on Meeting Street are delighted to receive our gifts of: deodorant, sunscreen, new shower shoes (flip flops), new men’s and women’s t-shirts, new men’s and women’s underwear, pasta, coffee, PAM cooking spray, vegetable and olive oil, breakfast cereal, #10 cans (large) of vegetables and fruit, laundry detergent, packaged socks, Dixie paper cups, new reusable water bottles, toilet paper, paper towels, and cleaning supplies.  Just a can or box per week from every Calvary family can make a great difference!  Please contact Ms. Marion Holmes, Little Red Wagon Ministry Leader, with questions at 884-0584.


The Little Red Wagon is our collection point on Sunday for food and non-perishable items for donation to Crisis Ministries homeless shelter.  Please place your items in the Little Red Wagon as you enter church each Sunday.  Ms. Marion Holmes, Little Red Wagon Ministry Leader, will ask a volunteer to roll the wagon towards the altar when the ushers bring the collection plates for blessing; and arrange a volunteer to bring the items to Crisis Ministries during the week.  Think of the Little Red Wagon when you shop.

Just a can or box of food or other supplies per week from every Calvary family can make a great difference!  If you would like to learn more about helping with this new ministry, please contact Marion at 884-0584 or holmeslongm60@gmail.com.




THERE IS ALWAYS A NEED FOR FOOD AND SUPPLIES.


Urgently needed items:
- New, white towels and washcloths
– New, white pillowcases
– New pillows
– New, white, twin-size cotton blankets

Ongoing needs:

Food:
- USDA approved bacon, sausage, ham, chicken, and ground beef
– Breakfast Items like eggs, syrup, cereal, breakfast bars, oatmeal, waffles, grits, biscuits
– Orange Juice
– Milk
– Cooking Oils – Vegetable Oil, Pam Spray, Butter
– Fruit
– Coffee

Children’s Needs:
- New single and double baby strollers
– New infant car seats
– Diapers, especially newborn, size 5 and 6, and pull-up diapers
– Shower shoes for kids (flip-flops)

Personal – all items must be new and unused:
- New, packaged undergarments for men, women and children
– Shower shoes for women (flip-flops)
– Soap
– Feminine hygiene products
– Ponchos and umbrellas
– Reading glasses and sunglasses
– Ear plugs

Linens – all items must be new:
- New, white, twin sheet sets
– New pillows
– New, white towels
– New, white, twin blankets

Other:
- Bike locks and bike lights
– Tissues
– Cold medicines


One80 Place recently completed a new homeless services center directly adjacent to our current property in Charleston.

You can now drop off donations at the Bakker Family Donation Center.
 
  Mailing Address:
  PO Box 20038
  Charleston, SC 29413
  Assistance: help@one80place.org
  Email: info@one80place.org
  Phone: (843) 723-9477
WE’RE HERE TO HELP

One-Eighty Place is located at 35 Walnut Street in Charleston. Our doors are open to those in need 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

If you need shelter, please call us at 843-737-8357. Leave a message and we will return your call. You can also email help@one80place.org.


The staff at One-Eighty Place understands the challenges, causes and obstacles homeless individuals face. Drugs and alcohol, family issues, mental health problems, PTSD, we have seen and dealt with all of it. Helping homeless citizens begin again is all that we do.

We have proven programs in place and a very good success rate for helping people turn their lives around. Our programs are tailored to each individual because we know everyone has their own set of circumstances. The option to stay with us is yours. We will not force you to stay. We are here to help those who want help.

 
CHARLESTON SHELTER

35 Walnut Street
Charleston, SC 29403

view google map


 About the Charleston Shelter:

– Men’s Shelter with 70 beds, 40 transitional housing beds for male Veterans and 10 overflow cots during extreme weather conditions

– Family Center holds 30 beds for women and families and 10 transitional housing beds for female Veterans

 
 SUMMERVILLE SHELTER

 107 Elks Lodge Lane
  Summerville, SC 29483

  view google map


 About the Summerville Shelter:

– Housing for up to 28 women and families

– Established by Dorchester Interfaith Outreach Ministries in 1989 in response to needs arising from Hurricane Hugo

– Became a program of One80 Place in 2012

Our Summerville location, formerly the Palmetto House, allows homeless women and families living in the Summerville area to remain in a familiar location. Those staying at this location have access, including transportation, to all of the available services and programs provided at our downtown location.

If you are a single female or a female with dependent children in need of temporary housing, please call our Housing Assistance Line (843) 737-8357.


OUR DOOR IS ALWAYS OPEN.

If you or someone you know is on the brink of, or currently homeless, we invite you to come see what we offer.
CONNECT WITH US


BAKKER FAMILY DONATION CENTER HOURS:
Monday – Friday 8 am – 12 pm and 1 – 5 pm

The Bakker Family Donation Center is open!
Please understand we are not equipped to accept donations outside of our donation hours. If you are unsure if we can accept your donation, please call 843-737-8387 during regular business hours.

Please note: We cannot accept clothing, toys, household items, used baby items or prepared foods from individuals.

To make a donation in Summerville, or if you have a large donation or questions about needed items, please contact our Director of Community Engagement,
Brad Cashman, at 843-737-8369 or bcashman@one80place.org.

Summerville Donation Hours:
Saturday and Sunday 8 am – 4 pm

Thank you for supporting One80 Place!



HALOS - Turning help into hope.

posted Jun 22, 2011, 2:14 PM by CalvaryEpiscopal Church   [ updated Dec 27, 2011, 7:40 PM ]

Calvary’s HALOS representative is Mrs. Mildred Wise.  She sincerely thanks parishioners and friends for their financial support when called upon and ask for your continued support.  She is still collecting monies for summer camps and you will receive more information for Back to School supplies.


HALOS is the Proud Recipient of the 2011 Erin Hardwick Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management from the South Carolina Association of Nonprofit Organizations

Every day, children across South Carolina suffer from abuse and neglect. In 2004, 17 cases on average were confirmed each day in the state. And in Charleston County alone, more than 1,800 children have open cases of abuse or neglect with the Department of Social Services.

At HALOS (Helping And Lending Outreach Support), we provide assistance to abused and neglected children in Charleston County and to their caregivers. Through a variety of programs and initiatives, we help to improve the lives of these children.

However, HALOS is only as strong as our partners, and we need your help to succeed in our mission. With a single donation, you can change the life of a child.

HALOS works hand-in-hand with individuals, businesses, civic groups, clubs, and religious organizations in the Charleston area to help children and their caregivers. Through partnerships with generous individuals and groups, we connect interested parties with children who desperately need their help. Donors can sponsor children for summer camp, supply much-needed back-to-school items, and donate gifts to celebrate birthdays and Christmas. Donors can also provide essential household items to caregivers who need them to keep children out of foster care. And through the Kinship Care program, volunteers can donate their time and expertise to support those caregivers who provide a safety net for abused and neglected children.

Imagine the relief a little boy feels when he is able to stay with his grandparents instead of moving to a foster home. Or the joy a little girl feels after years of neglect when she goes to summer camp for the first time and has a safe place to stay during the summer.

Then imagine how you can make such a difference in the life of a child in your community.

 HALOS WISH LIST

  • New or Gently Used Twin Beds, Bunk Beds, Toddler Beds, and Cribs in good condition and assembled (we CANNOT accept cribs with drop-down sides or missing hardware)
  • Diapers (Newborn through Size 5), Pull-Ups, and Baby Wipes
  • New Car Seats
  • Living/dining room furniture
  • Dressers
  • Household products (dishware, silverware, pots/pans, cleaning supplies, towels)
  • Bedding (sheets/pillowcases, comforters, blankets, etc)
  • Gift Cards to WalMart/Target for Birthdays and holidays
  • Small items for teen gifts (jewelry, picture frames, wallets, caps, etc.)
  • Monetary donations to send children to summer camp
  • Unrestricted monetary donations

 Volunteers for Kinship Care Resource & Support Program:

  • Background-checked volunteers aged 16 and over to provide childcare at monthly support group meetings and respite events
  • Volunteer groups to prepare food for adults and children at monthly support group meetings (average of 25 adults and 45 children per meeting)

There are some items that we cannot accept at HALOS.  Please ask us where you can go to donate the following items that we do not accept here:

  • Used car seats
  • Clothing for children over 24 months of age
  • Used toys
  • Cribs that have drop-down sides


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