Happy 150th St. Matthew's Church Our "little" church is about to celebrate our 150th anniversary. I am continually amazed at how much we do to strengthen our faith, support one another, and help our community. This could not be done without each and every member of our parish family. Our program year is up and running and so many step up to support the mission of St. Matthew's on a daily basis. From Sunday school to cooking meals and everything in between. You are all leaders and I am so grateful to be part of St. Matthew's Angie Battey, Sr. Warden May the gift of leadership awaken in you as a vocation. Keep you mindful of the providence that calls you to serve. As high over the mountains the eagle spreads its wings, May your perspective be larger than the view from the foothills. When the way is flat and dull in times of grey endurance May your imagination continue to evoke horizons. When thirst burns in times of drought May you be blessed to find the wells. May you have the wisdom to read time clearly And know when the seed of change will flourish. In your heart may there be a sanctuary For the stillness where clarity is born. May your work be infused with passion and creativity and have the wisdom to balance compassion and challenge May your soul find the graciousness to rise above the fester of small mediocrities. May you welcome your own vulnerability As the ground where healing and truth join May integrity of soul be your first ideal, The source that will guide and bless your work
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- The Parable of the Bagpipes Source: unattributed Time is like a river. You cannot touch the water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy every moment of life. As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a paupers cemetery in the South Carolina back country. As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost and, being typical, I didn't stop for directions. I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch. I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late. I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I didn't know what else to do, so I started to play. The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I've never played before for this homeless man. And as I played "Amazing Grace", the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together. When I finished, I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though my head was hung low, my heart was full. As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, "I never seen anything like that before, and I've been putting in septic tanks for twenty years." Apparently, I'm still lost, but not as lost as before. Meditation by Gayle Feick Things don't always go the way we plan. Sometimes that is all for the good. It is surprising each time the way God, in His mysterious ways, does wondrous things.
- We thank you, heavenly Father, for the witness of your apostle and evangelist Matthew to the Gospel of your Son our Savior; and we pray that, after his example, we may with ready wills and hearts obey the calling of our Lord to follow him; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
- When we pray for our brothers and sisters who are victims of disaster, such as Hurricane Harvey, it's encouraging to see what wonders God works in the human spirit. Please click on the link below for a glimpse of that spirit. Just wait for the ad to finish, and be sure to watch to the very end, when the Lone Star flag is waving. Celeste+ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BF-MtSxapDs
- O you who dwell in the gardens, my companions are listening for your voice; let me hear it. Song of Solomon 8:13 ' I was leaving work one afternoon recently and about to pull out of the driveway when this monarch beauty caught my eye. It was enjoying rest and replenishment on the sedum in the front flower garden of the parish house. I am thankful that St. Matt's is not only a place of respite for people, but creatures as well. I am thankful for the past parishioners who worked to establish the lovely flower beds and current parishioners who maintain them for all to enjoy. Take some time after church, or stop by midweek, to enjoy the gardens. Kelly Kennerson Parish Administrator
- In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. John 1: 1 This is probably my favorite sentence in the bible. Many people think that there is a conflict between science and religion. I think of them as different ways of looking at the same thing. Scientists, physicists in particular, strive to discover the laws and equations that govern the creation and the workings of the universe. They were there before time began - the word. The religious community discovers the word through direct experience of God, and through the lense of all human experience. Artists discover the word through a painting, or music, or sculpture, or dance. We are all looking to understand the fundamental nature of our existence - the word. Blessed are they who find the word in all of these places. Where do you find the word in your life and work? Benge Ambrogi, Parishioner
- Seventy times seven (Matthew 18:22). That's how many times our Lord charges us to forgive those who sin against us. In other words, a lifetime of forgiving. If that seems hard to you, you're in good company. But it's easier to forgive than you might think. Join me this morning at 8am or 10am for some good news! "See you in Church!" Celeste+
- Good Enough It's that time of year again when many church programs and ministries that have lain dormant through the summer pick up the pace once again. Each Sunday we hear of many opportunities for getting involved in ministry of one kind or another. In this context, I am reminded of a sermon I heard years ago in which the preacher used the phrase, "If a thing is worth doing, it's worth doing badly"-a jarring phrase, to be sure, particularly to someone with perfectionist tendencies like myself! His point was that many of us feel drawn to a particular kind of ministry - teaching Sunday school, singing in the choir, serving on a committee, you name it - but hold back because we feel we lack the necessary skills, or talent, or education, or the right personality. When we do this, we fail to recognize that God doesn't expect us to be perfect; if ministries were carried out only by those few people who were perfectly equipped, nothing would ever get done around the church. God can take the little that we have to offer and turn it into something big. Remember how someone offered Jesus five loaves and two fish, and Jesus was able to feed 5,000 people with them? How will you serve God today? Paul Peterson, Parishioner
- Holy Cross Day Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ was lifted high upon the cross that he might draw the whole world to himself: Mercifully grant that we, who glory in the mystery of our redemption, may have grace to take up our cross and follow him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
- The following is an excerpt from Richard Rohr's daily meditation because it speaks so well to the divisions we are struggling with these days. Richard Rohr directs the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque NM. Celeste+ Forgiving Reality for Being What It Is Wednesday, August 30, 2017 The story of Noah and the flood is filled with insight. (Although I do not really believe God killed all the people on the earth and saved only one family!) God tells Noah to bring into the ark all the opposites: the wild and the domestic, the crawling and the flying, the clean and the unclean, the male and the female of each animal (Genesis 7:2-15). Then God does a most amazing thing. God locks them together inside the ark (Genesis 7:16). Check it out. Most people never note that God actually closed them in! God puts all the natural animosities, all the opposites together, and holds them in one place. I used to think it was about balancing all the opposites within me, but slowly I have learned that it is actually "holding" things in their seemingly unreconciledstate that widens and deepens the soul. We must allow things to be only partly resolved, without perfect closure or explanation. Christians have not been taught how to live in hope. The ego always wants to settle the dust quickly and have answers right now. But Paul rightly says, "In hope we are saved, yet hope is not hope if its object is seen" (Romans 8:24). The virtue of hope widens and deepens our foundation. Noah's ark is not meant to be a cute children's story; it is a mature metaphor for the People of God on the waves of time, carrying the contradictions, the opposites, the tensions, and the paradoxes of humanity-preserving and protecting diversity inside of a safe unity created by God. (Thinking of it merely as punishing "bad" people only appeals to our lowest instincts and puts us back into meritocracy.) It is no accident that animals are deemed worth saving and that the covenant YHWH proclaims after the flood is "with every living creature," not just humans as we presume. (Read Genesis 9:10, 13, 15, where it is said three times!) This is no small point, although it has been largely ignored. God's gathering of contraries is, in fact, the very school of salvation, the school of love. That's where growth happens: in honest community and committed relationships. Love is learned in the encounter with "otherness" as both Martin Buber and Emmanuel Levinas taught. Not coincidentally, they both were Jewish philosophers whose worldview was formed by the Hebrew scriptures.