Greetings, fellow saints! (And you do know you ARE saints, don't you?) To be a saint, you don't have to be sinless, or a martyr, or even dead. The "communion of saints," that we affirm in the Apostle's Creed, "is the whole family of God, the living and the dead, those whom we love and those whom we hurt, bound together in Christ by sacrament, prayer, and praise." Come to our annual family reunion this morning at 8 or 10am as we celebrate All Saints' Day with this beloved hymn: They lived not only in ages past; there are hundreds of thousands still; the world is bright with the joyous saints who love to do Jesus' will. You can meet them in school, or in lanes, or at sea, in church, or in trains, or in shops, or at tea; for the saints of God are just folk like me, and I mean to be one too. "See you in church!" Celeste+
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- Last Sunday's sermon, "Love thy neighbor as thyself" has been my mantra this week. I'm trying God and with your grace I will get there. I frequently wonder if my children hear or absorb any of the messages we receive at church on a weekly basis. This morning that wonder was laid to rest. My 18 year old and I were watching the news before school and after about the third story of mistreatment and harassment, he states "If everyone just treated everyone else like they want to be treated the world would be a better place. He is listening! I think God smiled. Angie Battey, Sr. Warden
- I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God's grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6-8 Throughout Paul's letters he is constantly referring to the interconnectedness of Christians. For good or ill we are connected. There are times I wish this wasn't so true. Those times when the title "Christian" is used for attitudes and actions that I find decidedly UNChristian, yet, like the family member that makes me cringe, they are still part of the Christian family. We can only continue to try to be the best witness we can, to do the work of bringing the Kingdom of God just a bit closer, and continue to declare what we know to be true, that our God is one of Love. Our God cares for the poor, for the hurting and broken, even for those who don't know that they are broken. It is hardest to be loving to those who choose not to love, yet we are called to love them as well. How will you love those who make you cringe? Linnae Peterson, M.Div.
- The collect appointed for All Saints' Day: Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
- In her essay, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, Peggy McIntosh writes, "I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group." In occasional meditations this season, I'm sharing some of her observations. Here are a few more of the daily effects of white privilege that Ms. McIntosh has discovered in her own life: * I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser's shop and find someone who can cut my hair. * Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability. * I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them. * I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection. * I can be pretty sure that my children's teachers and employers will tolerate them if they fit school and workplace norms; my chief worries about them do not concern others' attitudes toward their race. Think about it. Do you have these advantages? What would your life be like if you didn't? Do you know of other people who don't have these advantages? Celeste Hemingson+
- Greetings and peace, brothers and sisters! Here's a "prayer riddle" for you: In the Gospel lesson assigned for today, Jesus tells us that the first and greatest commandment is to love the God with all our hearts, and with all our souls, and with all our minds. He also tells us that the second, which is like the first, is to love our neighbors as ourselves. Which of these two commandments is the more challenging for you? "See you in church (worship at 8 or 10am)" Greetings and peace, brothers and sisters! Here's a "prayer riddle" for you: In the Gospel lesson assigned for today, Jesus tells us that the first and greatest commandment is to love the God with all our hearts, and with all our souls, and with all our minds. He also tells us that the second, which is like the first, is to love our neighbors as ourselves. Which of these two commandments is the more challenging for you? "See you in church (worship at 8 or 10am)" Celeste+
- The collect for the feast day of Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Apostles. O God, we thank you for the glorious company of the apostles, and especially on this day for Simon and Jude; and we pray that, as they were faithful and zealous in their mission, so we may with ardent devotion make known the love and mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
- During this past week I've had occasion to talk with leaders from our various outreach ministries about their visions for these endeavors. Reflecting on these conversations, I realize that everybody found this one element to be essential: Respecting the dignity of every human being. All found their ministry to be unique in that everyone being served is welcomed without judgement, without having to justify their situation of need, and without being condescended to. The word "sanctuary" came up in describing one ministry. This attitude of "radical hospitality" is one of the gifts that makes St. Matthew's special. And it appears to have become part of your "DNA". Treasure it; it's rarer than you know. Celeste+
- ... give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 There is a 'challenge' on Facebook right now to take a black and white photo of something important to you, but it cannot be of people and you cannot explain it. I took a photo of my washer and dryer. Here's my explanation to you: I am lucky enough to have: laundry in my home, clothes to wash, and people to wash clothes for. The dryer has seen me through first married with just Matt and myself, then three kids - onesies, footy pj's, cloth diapers, t-shirts, sports uniforms, through now adult size clothes. The dryer has seen us through 23 years of life. I am so very thankful for it (and the washer too, but it's newer). I took the challenge as an opportunity to be thankful for the everyday things in my life. If you can't appreciate the beauty of a fallen leaf, a flower, or the magical wonder of a washing machine & dryer combo, I believe we are lost. I challenge you to look around where you are this very moment and be grateful for something there. Kelly Kennerson Parish Administrator
- I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. Phil. 1:3-5 Thank God for the people who have our backs, the ones we can call on for help, the ones who laugh at our jokes, the ones who put up with our cranky days. Thank God for the ones we can count on to be there. Thank God for the people who will feel free to challenge us, who will push us to do better, who will not let us stay where we are. Thank God for the people who don't like us, who can't stand being around us, who find us grating and annoying. Thank God that we are not in this life alone. Who are you thankful for today? Linnae Peterson, M.Div.