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Daily Meditations

Monday April 2, 2018

An Altogether Different Language Recently someone shared this poem with me. Inasmuch as music plays a large role in my spirituality, I found it especially meaningful. I hope you will, too. - Paul Peterson   An Altogether Different Language by Anne Porter   There was a church in Umbria, Little Portion,  Already old eight hundred years ago.  It was abandoned and in disrepair  But it was called St. Mary of the Angels  For it was known to be the haunt of angels,  Often at night the country people  Could hear them singing there.    What was it like, to listen to the angels,  To hear those mountain-fresh, those simple voices  Poured out on the bare stones of Little Portion  In hymns of joy?  No one has told us.  Perhaps it needs another language  That we have still to learn, 
Paul Peterson

Sunday April 1, 2018

The following is the text of the Presiding Bishop's Easter 2018 Message (in three parts):   On our pilgrimage here, we stopped and spent two days in Jordan. In Amman, Jordan, we were able to spend some sacred and blessed and painful time with Iraqi Christians. These are Christians, many of whom are Anglican, who have fled their country in Iraq because of war and violence and hatred and desecration. They have given up everything, refusing to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ. And there in Jordan, with the help of the Anglican Church there and many other relief agencies, they are at least safe, hoping to find safe and permanent homes in other countries.   In the course of our conversations, and listening to them, at one point I found myself quoting a hymn, a song that many folk have heard around Easter, certainly in our country. And I didn't expect a response. You probably know how it goes - it says,"because he lives," referring to Jesus and his resurrection, "because he lives, I can face tomorrow." When I quoted that song, those who have lost their homes, people who have lost everything except life itself, those who have lost loved ones, actually responded to the words of that song. When I said,"Because He lives I can face tomorrow." When I said Jesus is alive, He's been raised from the dead, I saw them lift up their heads and respond with the words amen, hallelujah.   My brothers and sisters, evil could not stop him. Death could not stop him. Violence could not stop him. For the love of God, the heart of God, the reality of God is stronger than anything else. And Jesus really rose from the dead on that first resurrection morning.   God love you. God bless you. And, may this Easter season be the first day of the rest of our lives.   Amen.   The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry Presiding Bishop and Primate The Episcopal Church    
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry

Saturday March 31, 2018

The following is the text of the Presiding Bishop's Easter 2018 Message (in three parts): The truth is the message of Jesus was unsettling to the world then as it is unsettling to the world now. And yet that very message is the only source of hope in life for the way of the cross, the way of unselfish living, the way of sacrificial living, seeking the good, the welfare of the other before one's own unenlightened self-interest. That way of the cross isthe way of love. That is the nature of love. And that way is the only hope for the entire human family. The reality is the way of Jesus was a threat to the way that the world is, and hope for the way the world can and will be. But on that third day after the crucifixion, when by the titanic power of God, by the power of the love of God, Jesus was raised from the dead. God sent a message and declared that death does not have the last word. Hatred does not have the last word. Violence does not have the last word. Bigotry does not have the last word. Sin, evil do not have the last word. The last word is God, and God is love. (to be continued tomorrow) The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry

Friday March 30, 2018

The following is the text of the Presiding Bishop's Easter 2018 Message (in three parts):   Hello on Palm Sunday from St George's Cathedral in Jerusalem.   There is a passage in the 27th Chapter of Matthew's gospel where religious leaders, political leaders come together once again after Jesus has been crucified and executed, after he had been buried in the tomb. Once again they come together to seal the tomb, to make sure not even a rumor of his resurrection will happen. And this is what some of them say:   Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may go and steal him away and tell the people he has been raised from the dead. And the last deception will be the worse than the first.   It is easy to overlook, and sometimes convenient to forget, that Jesus was executed, Jesus was crucified by an unholy alliance of religion, politics, and economic self-interest.   Politics represented in Pontius Pilate, governor of the Roman Empire, representative of that very empire and all of its power.   King Herod, who heard Jesus at one of the trials, representative of the Herodian and economic self-interest at the time.   The Chief Priest, representative of religious aristocracies who had a vested interest in the status quo.   These three powers came together - economic, religious and political - to crucify the one who taught love the lord your God, love your neighbor, and actually live that way.   (to be continued tomorrow)   The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry Presiding Bishop and Primate The Episcopal Church
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry

Thursday March 29, 2018

"Do you understand what I have done for you?" He asked them. "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord.' You are right. That is what I am. I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet. So you also should wash one another's feet. I have given you an example. You should do as I have done for you. "What I'm about to tell you is true. A servant is not more important than his master. And a messenger is not more important than the one who sends him. Now you know these things. So you will be blessed if you do them. - John 13:12b-17   Maundy Thursday represents the last day of Jesus's time with his apostles and to remind them of the importance of humility and love. They were shocked when he changed into servants clothing and washed their feet before breaking bread with them for the last time. He reminded them that they must never place themselves above others. In the eyes of God's love all are equal. After they sat together for the last time He spoke the words that are repeated every Sunday as we worship at mass:   "And as they were eating, he took bread, and when he had blessed, he brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take ye: this is my body. And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many." Mark 14:22-24   I never truly understood the significance of Maundy Thursday until I took the time to learn more about it. I know that I will take the time to reflect for an hour as we approach Good Friday. Hopefully I will be one of many!   Roger Fortier, Sexton
Roger Fortier

Sunday March 25, 2018

Holy Week and Easter are almost here and there is a lot of buzz at church as various ministries get ready to do their part to prepare.  Linnae and Paul Peterson met with me last week to go over all the liturgical mechanics of each service in Holy Week and Easter as well as brainstorm with me about hymns.  Dave Greiner was over collecting acolyte robes and cinctures to make sure they are clean for these important services.  Yesterday morning, altar guild members - and anyone else who wanted to help - gathered to "cleanse the Temple" (ie, polish the brass, etc.).  Kelly is cranking out bulletins while also making sure - among many other things - that the palms (which arrived a few days ago) are kept in water so that they still look nice this morning.  I have worked out the details of the dramatic reading of the Passion Narrative, including who will have what role and where everyone will stand so as to be near a microphone!  Details, details.   And I'm sure you have your own activities and "chores" to do to prepare for Easter celebrations.  Here's a thought that came to me as I was deep in the details:  while all the preparations are important, let us not forget WHY we are preparing.  We are preparing ourselves, our homes, and our church to celebrate LIFE!  We are getting ready to walk with Jesus through this most difficult and holy week because that's how life often comes to us - through heart ache and pain.   So let us prepare and then let us be present, trusting that God will bring us to new life just as God did for Jesus.   Peace, Nancy
Nancy

Saturday March 24, 2018

Dirty jobs   On the first day of Lent I unstopped the drain in our shower; not a bad metaphor. As it happens, though, the drain cleaner I used wasn't up to the job; a week later the drain was clogged again. So I fetched my plumber's snake, got down on my knees, and tried again. And the metaphor expands.   I appreciate the fact that Lent comes around every year. It reminds us that, in this life, we never really "fix" ourselves, at least, not in such a way that we stay "fixed." The problems recur, again and again, the drain that was working fine slowly but inexorably clogs again, and each time we have to do the dirty job. Sometimes we have to get down on our knees. Of course, Lent isn't the only appropriate time to tackle these jobs, but I'm glad that there is one time in the year when the church taps me on the shoulder and says, "Hey, wasn't there something you were supposed to do?"   What dirty job will you tackle today?   Paul Peterson
Paul Peterson

Thursday March 22, 2018

  From Episcopal Relief and Development Lenten Meditations 2018   Fathers, do not provoke your children, or they may lose heart. Colossians 3:21   Now that I am a priest, my son has taken to calling me, "Father Father." I smile every time I hear this. I know my new moniker encapsulates the relationship I have with my son. There is affection between us. Our hearts are whole and filled with love.   I am an affectionate extrovert, savoring each relationship I have, whether it be nuclear or extended. I am also fairly conflict-averse, choosing to become a friend and or colleague-to get along and not fight. So it is, I believe, with God. I would like to think that we can see the heart of God in children, including our own.   Provocation shouldn't be banned. Some disagreement is natural. But I believe provocation is meant to teach, not to hurt. Hurt is an emotion that scars the heart. To provoke or hurt anyone, least of all a child, is disheartening. I recall having to punish our son a few times as he was growing up. The social worker side of me told me to punish with substance so as to make sure he would not do it again. The parent side of me told me to not do to him what I would not do to or expect of myself. Could it be that to provoke a child is to provoke God? After all, God has our heart, and our heart comes from God.   John A. H. Tomoso
John A. H. Tomoso

Wednesday March 21, 2018

From Episcopal Relief and Development Lenten Meditations 2018   Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.  John 6:12   This excerpt from the feeding of the 5,000 story is an example of what educators today would call a growth mindset.    A growth mindset improves upon its counterpart, a fixed mindset. With a fixed mindset, the disciples argued there were not enough fishes and loaves to feed everyone. Similarly, children using fixed mindsets think, "I'm not good at math" or "Boys don't dance." But a growth mindset affords children the idea that with effort and instruction, they can learn and do much more. The same is true for all of us.    Becoming better at science and spelling comes from practice, good instruction and the belief that we can do better. Relationship to God is not static. It flourishes through our engaged response to God's unlimited love for us.    What are the habits or self-talk that diminish your capacity for growth in God? What untapped gifts might you develop to grow in holy relationship with God and others?    Mary Carter Greene
Mary Carter Greene

Tuesday March 20, 2018

Today is the birthdate for Fred Rogers of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood which a lot of kids grew up watching, including myself. I recently saw a special on him and was developing a meditation. I had looked up some quotes and was going in one direction and then I read something else that changed my focus.   People have said, "Don't cry" to other people for years and years, and all it has ever meant is, "I'm too uncomfortable when you show your feelings. Don't cry."  I'd rather have them say, "Go ahead and cry. I'm here to be with you." Fred Rogers   Then I was reading Two Dogs and a Parrot (the title for book group discussion April 12, 7pm); the author was discussing how people like to do things, especially in a crisis. This caught my attention:  "But at the same time, it's difficult, in a culture that prizes the pragmatic more than it does the spiritual dimensions of life, to imagine that presence itself is a balm. The act of simply being present to pain may be at least as powerful a gift as anything we can make and leave on a doorstep."   The message of simply being present for someone couldn't have been made more clear to me. Who can you be present for today?   Kelly Kennerson
Kelly Kennerson

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