O you who dwell in the gardens, my companions are listening for your voice; let me hear it. Song of Solomon 8:13 ' I was leaving work one afternoon recently and about to pull out of the driveway when this monarch beauty caught my eye. It was enjoying rest and replenishment on the sedum in the front flower garden of the parish house. I am thankful that St. Matt's is not only a place of respite for people, but creatures as well. I am thankful for the past parishioners who worked to establish the lovely flower beds and current parishioners who maintain them for all to enjoy. Take some time after church, or stop by midweek, to enjoy the gardens. Kelly Kennerson Parish Administrator
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In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. John 1: 1 This is probably my favorite sentence in the bible. Many people think that there is a conflict between science and religion. I think of them as different ways of looking at the same thing. Scientists, physicists in particular, strive to discover the laws and equations that govern the creation and the workings of the universe. They were there before time began - the word. The religious community discovers the word through direct experience of God, and through the lense of all human experience. Artists discover the word through a painting, or music, or sculpture, or dance. We are all looking to understand the fundamental nature of our existence - the word. Blessed are they who find the word in all of these places. Where do you find the word in your life and work? Benge Ambrogi, Parishioner
Seventy times seven (Matthew 18:22). That's how many times our Lord charges us to forgive those who sin against us. In other words, a lifetime of forgiving. If that seems hard to you, you're in good company. But it's easier to forgive than you might think. Join me this morning at 8am or 10am for some good news! "See you in Church!" Celeste+
Good Enough It's that time of year again when many church programs and ministries that have lain dormant through the summer pick up the pace once again. Each Sunday we hear of many opportunities for getting involved in ministry of one kind or another. In this context, I am reminded of a sermon I heard years ago in which the preacher used the phrase, "If a thing is worth doing, it's worth doing badly"-a jarring phrase, to be sure, particularly to someone with perfectionist tendencies like myself! His point was that many of us feel drawn to a particular kind of ministry - teaching Sunday school, singing in the choir, serving on a committee, you name it - but hold back because we feel we lack the necessary skills, or talent, or education, or the right personality. When we do this, we fail to recognize that God doesn't expect us to be perfect; if ministries were carried out only by those few people who were perfectly equipped, nothing would ever get done around the church. God can take the little that we have to offer and turn it into something big. Remember how someone offered Jesus five loaves and two fish, and Jesus was able to feed 5,000 people with them? How will you serve God today? Paul Peterson, Parishioner
Holy Cross Day Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ was lifted high upon the cross that he might draw the whole world to himself: Mercifully grant that we, who glory in the mystery of our redemption, may have grace to take up our cross and follow him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
The following is an excerpt from Richard Rohr's daily meditation because it speaks so well to the divisions we are struggling with these days. Richard Rohr directs the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque NM. Celeste+ Forgiving Reality for Being What It Is Wednesday, August 30, 2017 The story of Noah and the flood is filled with insight. (Although I do not really believe God killed all the people on the earth and saved only one family!) God tells Noah to bring into the ark all the opposites: the wild and the domestic, the crawling and the flying, the clean and the unclean, the male and the female of each animal (Genesis 7:2-15). Then God does a most amazing thing. God locks them together inside the ark (Genesis 7:16). Check it out. Most people never note that God actually closed them in! God puts all the natural animosities, all the opposites together, and holds them in one place. I used to think it was about balancing all the opposites within me, but slowly I have learned that it is actually "holding" things in their seemingly unreconciledstate that widens and deepens the soul. We must allow things to be only partly resolved, without perfect closure or explanation. Christians have not been taught how to live in hope. The ego always wants to settle the dust quickly and have answers right now. But Paul rightly says, "In hope we are saved, yet hope is not hope if its object is seen" (Romans 8:24). The virtue of hope widens and deepens our foundation. Noah's ark is not meant to be a cute children's story; it is a mature metaphor for the People of God on the waves of time, carrying the contradictions, the opposites, the tensions, and the paradoxes of humanity-preserving and protecting diversity inside of a safe unity created by God. (Thinking of it merely as punishing "bad" people only appeals to our lowest instincts and puts us back into meritocracy.) It is no accident that animals are deemed worth saving and that the covenant YHWH proclaims after the flood is "with every living creature," not just humans as we presume. (Read Genesis 9:10, 13, 15, where it is said three times!) This is no small point, although it has been largely ignored. God's gathering of contraries is, in fact, the very school of salvation, the school of love. That's where growth happens: in honest community and committed relationships. Love is learned in the encounter with "otherness" as both Martin Buber and Emmanuel Levinas taught. Not coincidentally, they both were Jewish philosophers whose worldview was formed by the Hebrew scriptures.
The World Health Organization defines health as: a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. The definition of health above can be very comforting especially when one is living with a chronic condition. Health and well being is all encompassing. In addition to physical wellness, health includes emotional health and relationships with others, career / avocational / volunteer pursuits, financial health, intellectual health, environmental health, and spiritual health. All of these components comprise one's optimal capacity for overall health and well being. Which elements of your health and well being are filled to overflowing and which could use a little more attention? How can you live each day living life to the fullest given your gifts from God? Joan Alayne Stevens Parishioner
A Proper for September 11 - Originally developed by the Liturgical Commission for use on September 11, 2005, in accordance with the provision in the Book of Common Prayer for special observances O Almighty God, who brings good out of evil and turns even the wrath of your children towards your promised peace: Hear our prayers this day as we remember those of many nations and differing faiths whose lives were cut short by the fierce flames of anger and hatred. Hasten the time when the menace of war shall be removed. Cleanse both us and those perceived to be our enemies of all hatred and distrust. Pour out the spirit of peace on all the rulers of our world that we may be brought through strife to the lasting peace of the kingdom of your Son; Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
If I had a hammer I'd hammer in the morning I'd hammer in the evening All over this land I'd hammer out danger I'd hammer out a warning I'd hammer out love between My brothers and my sisters All over this land, .... If I had a Hammer, by Peter Paul and Mary Join us this morning, and hear the echoes of God's word in this familiar song. Rev. Celeste+
Our God is perfect love, A God who sets us free, Who will not force us to be more Than we are meant to be, A God of healing, light, and truth, Of gentleness and peace, Who gathers into encircling arms, All those who need release, From pain and fear and guilt and sin, God gathers everybody in. Monica Beck (long time parishioner of St. Matthew's until her passing July 6, 2004)