There is no way to happiness - happiness is the way. Thich Nhat Hanh
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A mosaic of St Marks body welcomed into Venice, at St Mark's Basilica, Venice The Collect for the Feast Day of Saint Mark the Evangelist: Almighty God, by the hand of Mark the evangelist you have given to your Church the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God: We thank you for this witness, and pray that we may be firmly grounded in its truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. From Holy Women, Holy Men A disciple of Jesus, named Mark, appears in several places in the New Testament. If all references to Mark can be accepted as referring to the same person, we learn that he was the son of a woman who owned a house in Jerusalem, perhaps the same house in which Jesus ate the Last Supper with his disciples. Mark may have been the young man who fled naked when Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. In his letter to the Colossians, Paul refers to “Mark the cousin of Barnabas,” who was with him in his imprisonment. Mark set out with Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey, but he turned back for reasons which failed to satisfy Paul (Acts 15:36–40). When another journey was planned, Paul refused to have Mark with him. Instead, Mark went with Barnabas to Cyprus. The breach between Paul and Mark was later healed, and Mark became one of Paul’s companions in Rome, as well as a close friend of Peter’s. An early tradition recorded by Papias, Bishop of Hieropolis in Asia Minor at the beginning of the second century, names Mark as the author of the Gospel bearing his name. This tradition, which holds that Mark drew his information from the teaching of Peter, is generally accepted. In his First Letter, Peter refers to “my son Mark,” which shows a close relationship between the two men (1Peter 5:13). The Church of Alexandria in Egypt claimed Mark as its first bishop and most illustrious martyr, and the great Church of St. Mark in Venice commemorates the disciple who progressed from turning back while on a missionary journey with Paul and Barnabas to proclaiming in his Gospel Jesus of Nazareth as Son of God, and bearing witness to that faith in his later life as friend and companion to the apostles Peter and Paul.
Mother Theresa was once asked about her prayer life. The interviewer asked, “When you pray, what do you say to God?” Mother Teresa replied, “I don’t talk, I simply listen.” Believing he understood what she had just said, the interviewer next asked, “Ah, then what is it that God says to you when you pray?” Mother Teresa replied, “He also doesn’t talk. He also simply listens.” There was a long silence, with the interviewer seeming a bit confused and not knowing what to ask next. Finally Mother Teresa breaks the silence by saying, “If you can’t understand the meaning of what I’ve just said, I’m sorry but there’s no way I can explain it any better.” ----------------------------------------------- Prayer often is seen as the act of asking for divine intercession in the troubles of life, to gain healing and relief for family, friends and institutions we know and love. This is understandable, as we do whatever we can to relieve the pain and suffering in our known world. Yet, there are other realms, both within our closest being and beyond our known experience, that can benefit from such practice, and I am deeply moved by this glimpse into the spiritual perspective of Mother Theresa. Bob Jones
Since it's time for Spring Cleaning, instead of a 'regular meditation' we thought we'd share some hints for using common household products that are safer and more environmentally sound that commercial products. The world and all that is in it belong to the Lord; the earth and all who live on it are his. Psalm 24:1 Substitutes for Household Products which May be Hazardous + Polish furniture with 1-2 teaspoon(s) lemon oil in 1 pint mineral or vegetable oil in a spray bottle. Spray, rub in and wipe clean. OR mix together 1 teaspoon olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, 1 teaspoon whisky or brandy, 1 teaspoon water. Rub on furniture with cloth, then buff with chamois for a deep shine. +Clean windows using 1-2 Tablespoon(s) vinegar in 1 quart water. Rub with newspaper OR 3T ammonia, 1T white vinegar and ¾ cup water in a clean spray bottle, 1 or 2 drops blue food coloring optional. + Clean oven spills as soon as the oven cools using steel wool and baking soda for tough stains add salt OR use salt, baking soda and water. Place nonaluminum dish of ¼ c ammonia in water in oven overnight (not in self-cleaning ovens) +Remove odors by setting out vinegar (can heat) in an open dish, use fresh flowers or baking soda. + Soak silver in 1 qt. warm water containing 1T baking soda 1T salt and a piece of aluminum foil and heat until water boils. Remove silver, wash in spay water and polish dry. + Use soap, baking soda, vinegar, ammonia for most general cleaning OR in 1 quart warm or hot water, mix 1 teaspoon liquid soap, boric acid (borax), lemon juice, and/or vinegar. Make stronger according to the job to be done. + Clean toilet bowl with ½ cup bleach, baking soda or vinegar. Let stand 30 minutes, then scrub. + Use baking soda for bathroom cleaning. + Sprinkle clothes with cornstarch and water before ironing. + Use humidifier to dissipate static build up in fabrics. + To clean drains: pour ¼ cup of baking soda followed by ½ cup vinegar down the drain. Close drain tightly until fizzing stops Flush drain with boiling water. Use a plunger or metal “snake” if drain is severely clogged OR pour boiling water down the drain once a week. + Clean ceramic tile: mix ¼ cup baking soda, ½ cup white vinegar and 1 cup ammonia added to 1 gallon of warm water and stir. (Also works well as a general multi-purpose cleaner.) + To clean floors: mix ½ cup liquid chlorine bleach, ¼ cup white vinegar, 1/4 cup washing soda and 1 gallon of water in a pail. + To clean/deodorize carpets: generously sprinkle baking soda over dry carpet. Wait 1 hour then vacuum. OR mix 2 cups cornmeal and 1 cup borax. Sprinkle mixture on carpet. Leave on for one hours. Vacuum thoroughly OR to clean – mix1 quart white vinegar and 3 quarts boiling water,. Apply t vacuumed rug with wet rag being careful not to saturate rung backing. Dry thoroughly. Then vacuum. + For household insect spray: grind or blend 1 garlic clove and 1 onion. Add 1 T cayenne pepper and 1 quart water. Mix, let steep 1 hour. Add 1 T liquid soap. + For aerosol containers: substitute preparations in pump or mon-aerosol containers like creams, solids, and liquids. + Oil base paint: use water-soluble paints that eliminate the need to use paint thinners and paint outdoors or in well ventilated areas. + Polish floors and/or furniture by melting carnauba wax missed with mineral oil. + Mothball substitute: use cedar chips, lavender flowers, rosemary, mint, white peppercorns or spread newspapers around closets. + Garden pest insecticide: mix 1 tablespoon dishwashing detergent with 1 cup vegetable oil in airtight jar. Add 1-2 ½ teaspoons to 1 cup water. Spray on plants covering all leaf and stem surfaces. + Roach and ant repellent: sprinkle powdered boric acid in cabinet edges, around baseboards, and in crack. + To clean brass: mix 2 tablespoons flour, 2 tablespoons salt and 1 tablespoon water. Add water as needed to form a thick paste. Rub on with soft cloth; rinse and rub again to burnish. + To fight fleas: mix brewer’s yeast, onion or garlic in your pet’s food; sprinkle fennel, rye, rosemary, or eucalyptus seeds or leaves around animal’s sleeping areas. Apply flea powder out-of-doors and vacuum floors and carpets thoroughly. CAUTION: Never mix products containing ammonia with chlorine bleach, tolet bowl cleaners, rust removers or oven cleaners. The results are POISONOUS. 4/18
The Environmental Affairs subcommittee of the social justice committee would suggest the following for folks in celebration of Earth Day. Quick List Take hazardous materials to Transfer station (used oil, pesticides, oily rags, other chemicals you have not used in years and have no plans to use Replace old weather stripping around doors and windows Use a clothes line or clothes rack rather than dryer Install programmable thermostats Insulate and air seal attic scuttle (access to attic) Longer-term list Get an energy audit When it is time to replace your existing car, buy a hybrid car Heat your house with wood Install insulated window treatments
From St Basil the Great (c. 330-379) O God, enlarge within us the sense of fellowship with all living things, our brothers the animals [and all creatures] to whom you gave the earth as their home in common with us. We remember with shame that in the past we have exercised the high dominion of humans with ruthless cruelty so that the voice of the earth, which should have gone up to you in song, has been a groan of travail. May we realize that all creatures live not for us alone but for themselves and for you, and that they love the sweetness of life. This is a prayer for Earth Day, as we try to comprehend our dominance of Earth and the ever-increasing damage that has been done with our current technology. The Pacific Ocean now holds several un-filterable gyres of ‘plastic soup’, perhaps the size of France, that are now the toxic environment of our marine fellow creatures. The very meaning of 'ruthless cruelty’ has changed so dramatically in the 1800 years since St Basil wrote this prayer that it is a challenge for us all to even understand how we are complicit in this disaster, and what we can do to try to reverse it. Bob Jones
As Earth Day approaches, this quote from Joan Chittister rings oh so true: " The Creator of all, the scriptures tells us, saw all of creation as 'good.' It is our role to protect it, to guard it, to develop it, to sustain it--not to destroy it for our own purposes." That is a gargantuan task for any one of us to embrace but the other Earth Day theme that can help us carve out our own role in saving creation is to: "Think Globally; Act Locally." What can you do right here right now to protect, guard, develop, sustain creation? The land the sea, the sky and all that live within creation will thank you. And if we each do our part, together in total Thy will be done. Joan Alayne Stevens
I attended the book group last week. During the discussion I mentioned that walking the dog is the time my brain decompresses and I become aware of other things. I was asked the question – ‘is that the time you pray?’. I was a little taken aback at the question because I really don’t consider myself a person of prayer. I answered that I didn’t think so, but then went on to explain what I do when walking. I notice the shafts of light through the woods and think about the amazing warmth and happiness that the sun brings, I notice the lone fern moving and think about the invisible breath of God, I see a certain blue in the sky some mornings and think of the eyes of a young friend who died much too soon. I was told – yes, that is prayer. Just because you don’t have your head bowed and hands clasped doesn’t mean that you’re not offering up a prayer of thanks and wonder for things around you. I hope you become more aware of your prayerful thoughts today. Kelly Kennerson
The Collect for Mary (Molly) Brant (Konwatsijayenni)] Witness to the Faith among the Mohawks, 1796: Maker and lover of all creation, you endued Molly Brant with the gifts of justice and loyalty, and made her a wise and prudent clan mother in the household of the Mohawk nation: Draw us also toward the goal of our faith, that we may at last attain the full dignity of our nature in our true native land, where with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen. Mohawk Prayer Oh Great Spirit, Creator of all things; Human Beings, trees, grass, berries. Help us, be kind to us. Let us be happy on earth. Let us lead our children To a good life and old age. These our people; give them good minds To love one another. Oh Great Spirit, Be kind to us Give these people the favor To see green trees, Green grass, flowers, and berries This next spring; So we all meet again Oh Great Spirit, We ask of you. - Mohawk Prayer From Holy Women, Holy Men: Mary, or Molly Brant, known among the Mohawks as Konwatsijayenni, was an important presence among the Iroquois Confederacy during the time of the American Revolution. Baptized and raised as an Anglican due to the British presence in her tribal area, she spoke and wrote in English, and she sought to keep the Mohawks, as well as the other tribes of the Iroquois Nation, loyal to the British government during the Revolution. Born to Peter Tehonwaghkwangeraghkwa and his wife Margaret, she moved west to Ohio with her family and lived there until her father’s death. She and her brother Joseph took the name of their stepfather, Brant Kanagaradunkwa, who married their mother in 1753. Her stepfather was a friend of Sir William Johnson, the British Superintendent for North Indian Affairs. Mary met Sir William in 1759, and though they could not legally marry, she became his common law wife, and together they had nine children. She exerted influence among both the British and the Mohawks, and her voice was often sought among tribal councils and in treaty efforts. Following her husband’s death, the Oneidas and the Americans, in retaliation for her loyalty to the British and to the Anglican Church, destroyed her home. She and her children fled and were protected by the principal chief of the Five Nations, whose leaders respected her word and counsel. In 1783, she moved to Kingston, Ontario, where the British Government rewarded her for her loyalty. A lifelong Anglican, she helped found St. George’s Anglican Church in Kingston. At her death her tribesmen as well as the British with whom she had worked mourned her.
Today's Gospel lesson recounts another “post-resurrection” appearance of Jesus to his disciples - this time recounted by Luke. Not having a category in their brain for a resurrected Jesus, the disciples think they are seeing a ghost! It takes time for their brains (and hearts and psyches) to take in that it’s really Jesus - to see him as he really is. Do we - like the disciples - have a hard time seeing Jesus for who he is when he shows up in our lives because we, too, just don’t have a category in our brains for it? This is something I’ve been pondering about all week and will preach on at this morning's worship, 8 & 10am. Peace, Nancy