"Our God is in the business of transforming ordinary things into holy things, scraps of food into feasts, and empty purification vessels into fountains of fine wine." Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans During this time of Lent, as we quiet ourselves to observe and wait, I acknowledge the gift of serving on the Altar Guild. On Saturdaymornings, I enjoy preparing the altar in silence for its use on Sundaymorning. I see where the ordinary things are transformed into holy things: the linens, the vessels, the silver and brass, and the bread and wine. Following the services on Sunday, though the parish is still bustling around me, I feel at peace while putting the altars to bed for the week, washing the vessels after pouring any remaining drops of consecrated wine into the ground, and even while cleaning the soiled linens at home. This feels as sacred as is receiving the host and wine at the communion rail. "This is the purpose of the sacraments, of the church -- to help us see, to point to the bread and wine, the orchids and the food pantries, the post-funeral potlucks and the post-communion dance parties, and say: pay attention, this stuff matters; these things are holy." Joan Alayne Stevens
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- The Collect for Frederick Douglass: Prophetic Witness, 1895 Almighty God, whose truth makes us free: We bless your Name for the witness of Frederick Douglass, whose impassioned and reasonable speech moved the hearts of a president and a people to a deeper obedience to Christ. Strengthen us also to be outspoken on behalf of those in captivity and tribulation, continuing in the Word of Jesus Christ our Liberator; who with you and the Holy Spirit dwells in glory everlasting. Amen. "The American people have this to learn: that where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob, and degrade them, neither person nor property is safe." -Frederick Douglas
- We are officially in the Season of Lent in which we walk our pilgrimage through the wilderness of our lives to the clarifying events of Holy Week and Easter. We do this as individuals and as a community. In addition to Sunday morning worship, there are a good number of ways your pilgrimage can be guided and buoyed this Lent: One way is to come along on Thursday evenings (starting next Thursday, Feb. 22nd) and join in on our Adult Ed Lenten offering. Linnae and I are facilitating this program and we are excited! For those who can join us for dinner from 6-7, we will have a time of fellowship. The program will be from 7-8:30. We are meeting in the undercroft of the church. I hope you can join us. Another way is to remember than we are allowed to celebrate life - even in Lent! To that end, please join us for a Celebration of New Ministry together next Saturday, Feb. 24th at 1pm (followed by a reception). My dear friend Leah Torrey will preach and the bishop will preside at this service. Let's celebrate our new life together and all that St. Matt's means to us. Child care will be provided. Lent is a time to take stock and make changes that will help us be more fully whom God has created us to be and to help us, as a community, to be at our best for the sake of God's kingdom. Peace, Nancy
- Not what is not there and yet not what is there now but what is coming. Haiku by Jan of Nagasaki
- Throughout Lent we are digging into who Jesus is by looking at the Gospel of John. In the Gospel of John we see a Jesus in a different way than the other gospels, with less action and more images and explanations, the writer gives us and chance to encounter Jesus in a new way. Each week we will be posting questions related to this week's focus with an opportunity for you to share your responses. You can respond on Facebook in the comments, by email to the church office, or write your response on a poster in the Undercroft. Can you tell a story about a time when you felt loved? Where did you see God's love this week? Linnae Peterson, M.Div. Join Our Mailing List!
- The Collect for Ash Wednesday: Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. Join us in worship at 7am or 7pm today.
- Tomorrow is the beginning of Lent. I tend to think of Lent as a quieter time in the church season. It is a time of preparation, anticipation of Jesus' death and then joyous resurrection. For me personally, this time of year is one of quiet observation. I am watching the birds returning and their colors brightening, the daylight hours are lengthening, owls are hooting in the woods, and snowpack is receding leaving more ground for my dog to sniff. It is a season to simply 'be' in observation and anticipation. May the next 40 days bring you some enlightenment and peace. Blessings, Kelly Kennerson
- The Prayer of Saint Ephrem, the Syrian O Lord and Master of my life, take me from the spirit of sloth, despondency, lust of power, and idle talk; But grant me rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to thy servant. The season of Lent is upon us. The older I get, the more I look forward to this time of year. While January is the time that society generally starts anew with resolutions, I find Lent to be that time of renewal for me so much more than January 1. In my work as a personal organizer, I encourage my clients to take these winter weeks to get organized one drawer, one closet, one cabinet at a time. I suggest that they do not wait until "spring cleaning" time because once the weather turns warm and inviting we are all more inclined to move outdoors and neglect or put off the tasks indoors. It occurred to me (light dawning on marblehead) that Lent is this same process; only on a internal personal level. It gives me an opportunity to go inward and self reflect on the clutter and unused portions of myself that need order and cleaning. By reading and meditating on God's word I can become the authentic self that He intended me to be. May God grant us all a soul cleaning Lent. Angie Battey
- In each congregation that I have been in, there has been a desire to understand the Sunday service better - not just as a program apart from worship but as an appropriate "real-time" commentary within the Sundaymorning service itself. These services are often known as "Instructed Eucharists." Today, Feb. 11th, at both services, we will have such an opportunity. At various parts in the worship, I will comment on why we do what we do. I will make sure to do so without, hopefully, ruining the spirit of worship. Why are we doing what we are doing? Why do we read from so many parts of the Bible each week? Why do some people bow or cross themselves? Why do we kneel, stand, or sit when we do? There is no limit on the questions so, if you have any of your own, please ask them during the sermon time. Peace, Nancy
- Footprints in the snow Furry friends you come so near Where is it you go? Seeing the footprints animals make in our meadow following a snowstorm reminds me of a childhood hymn from vacation Bible school: "All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful: The Lord God made them all." - Author: Cecil F. Alexander, Hymns for Little Children, 1848 Joan Alayne Stevens (reprinted from February 2014)