One of our family traditions is to say grace before dinner. It's a simple thing. Early on we settled on a grace and even as our children have gotten older, it has not changed. It seems a little thing, to pause before we eat and thank God that there is food on the table. Yet, it is important to take the time to pause and know that what is normal and average is a great gift. Food, clothing, a snug place to live, people who love us and care for us, all these things are great gifts. Taking to time to say "Thank you" changes the way to live in the world. It can change to way we treat each other. So, if you don't have a table grace I offer you these, pick one, learn it and make it a practice to pause and say Thank you. -Blessed art Thou, Lord our God, who causes the earth to produce food. Amen. -Bless this food, and those we hold dear, in Jesus' Name, Amen. -Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest, let these gifts to us be blessed. Amen -Blessed be God, who is our bread. May all the world be clothed and fed. Amen -For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful. Amen by Linnae Peterson
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- "The kingdom that Jesus preached and lived was all about a glorious, uproarious, absurd generosity. Think of the best thing you can do for the worst person, and go ahead and do it. Think of what you'd really like someone to do for you, and do it for them. Think of the people to whom you are tempted to be nasty, and lavish generosity on them instead. These instructions have a fresh, spring like quality. They are all about new life bursting out energetically, like flowers growing through concrete and startling everyone with their color and vigor. " (N. T. Wright, Luke for Everyone).
- "It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth." - Book of Common Prayer We often hear this sentence on Sundays during the Eucharistic Prayer. It has a wonderful cadence and as I thought about that, I started thinking about the cadence and rhythm of our lives. As we move through our days, how much does our relationship with God come into play? If we're mindful of God's gifts and give thanks during the day, it will certainly expand God's part in our rhythm - and that is a good and joyful thing. Leo Steffens, Vestry Member
- There is an old Peanuts cartoon that is one of my favorites. Lucy is writing a report entitled "The History of the Church". We only see the first line of the report which begins, "My pastor was born in.....". Now the Church has existed for a bit longer than that. In fact, by tradition the Church began when God poured out the Holy Spirit upon the disciples at Pentecost. Those followers of Jesus told the story of Jesus to others, and they told the story of how Jesus touched them and on and on. The Church, the gathering of the followers of Jesus, has existed in many forms and many places, in the deserts of North Africa, in the cold of northern Russia, in the heat of Asia. In each of these places, as people heard the story of Jesus it stirred something inside of them and they wanted to know more, wanted to connect with others who sensed the same thing. So began the church and over the first 300 years or so, folks gathered in homes and fields and sometimes even in underground tombs to share the stories of Jesus, celebrate the Eucharist and figure out how to live their lives as followers of Christ.
- St. Matthew's Church has been my spiritual home since 1987, and while I know only a few personally, there is a comfortable familiarity in our shared experience in this lovely church and with our own shepherd, Father Exner. As someone who had a moral but not religious upbringing, I believe that all authentic and loving spiritual languages nourish us rather than threaten us. I appreciate that our leadership enjoys diversity. As Thich Nhat Hanh has said, "I think it is possible to profit from many traditions at the same time. If you love oranges, you are welcome to eat them, but nothing prevents you from enjoying kiwis or mangoes, as well. Why commit yourself to only one kind of fruit when the whole spiritual heritage of mankind is available to you? It is possible to have Buddhist roots as well as Christian or Jewish roots. We grow very strong that way." Pat Soule
- "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace." Numbers 6:24-26 I love hearing these words when they are occasionally used at the end of the service. They give me hope and strength to take on a new day, a new week, or a new whatever comes round the bend. This passage is one of my favorites from the Old Testament. God doesn't just drop help from far above. In a very personal way, God give us what we need. Melanie Sherwood, vestry liaison for Stewardship and Administration Parishioner at St. Matt's for 10 years
- "The Christian story is the claim that the paradox of laughter and tears, woven as it is deep into the heart of all human experience, is woven also deep into the heart of God." N.T. Wright, Simply Christian
- Today and each Saturday you are invited to join with the faithful people around te world by saying Morning or Evening prayer at http://thetrinitymission.org orhttp://dailyoffice.org. You can find these daily prayers in the Book of Common Prayer as well. Morning Prayer begins on page 75 and Evening prayer on page 115. If you have specific prayer requests, please email them email@example.com and the prayer team will include them in their prayers on Sunday morning before worship.
- Tell it out among the nations: "The LORD is King! * he has made the world so firm that it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity." Psalm 96: 10 We celebrated Memorial Day on Monday, but today is the traditional date. Begun shortly after the Civil War, this day was set aside to remember all those, North and South, who had died. We do well to remember today that the cry of the Psalmist "The LORD is King!" is as radical now as it was when he wrote it. As Christians, our proclamation that "Jesus is Lord!" always has the potential to put us in opposition to any government or group. We are people of the kingdom of God, and our allegiance is first and foremost to the values of that kingdom, to resist evil, to seek and serve Christ in all people, to strive for justice and peace, to respect the people, and to proclaim the Good News of God in Christ. (See BCP Pgs 304-5) Where are you being asked by God to live the values of God's kingdom in a new way? The Psalms Every Sunday one of the readings is from the Psalms. Sometimes it is said in unison, sometimes as a call and response, sometimes it is chanted, sometimes sung, yet the words of Israel's song book are there. The reciting of the Psalms has been for centuries a central aspect Christian's daily connection with God. Like the rest of the Bible, these poems contain the whole of human life, the light and the dark. This week's meditations are on the psalm that we will hear this upcoming Sunday. I pray that they may water your soul, and help you enter more deeply into your life in Christ. -Linnae Peterson, M.Div.
- When my grandmother died, my mother commented to me that at every funeral in our family, either someone was pregnant or had just had a baby. It made me stop and think. Not only was that true but we often had young children present. As uncomfortable as we may be with death, it is a part of our world and a part of the world our children live in. When someone close to us dies, we feel the loss, and so do our children. Even if our children did not know the person who died they pick up on our emotions. For many of us our first inclination is to keep our children as far away from any experience of death as possible. We want to "protect" them from the pain that comes from loss and grief. No matter how hard we try, we cannot keep them from those emotions. Instead we need to give them the tools to grieve well. Grieving well is a challenge. We need to remember the person as they were, as a whole person, good and bad, lovable and difficult. The stories that come out at funerals often can help us remember the person. Funerals can also help us begin the process of saying goodbye and letting go of our hopes and dreams for that relationship. Our children too, need to have the opportunity to tell their stories and say goodbye. Take the time now to think through how you would help your children grieve. Would you have them attend the funeral? What if it is too far away? Is there some other way for your family to honor the person, to tell their stories and say goodbye?