March 16, 2019
Has anyone seen the children's "Alleluia Banner"? or heard the "A-word"? Not around here! Not since the beginning of Lent! Instead, we're beginning our worship with The Penitential Order, the crosses are veiled, the vestments are purple, and we're taking seriously how we, individually and corporately, get off-course from the Way of Love, i.e. loving God, and our neighbors as ourselves. Note the assumption, that we love ourselves. For some of us, some of the time, loving ourselves -- choosing to want the best for ourselves -- is the hardest part of the Way of Love.
Sunday morning's Rectory Forum will begin our Lenten journey with the Way of Love by discussing a first recommended step -- "Turn." We'll look at where "Turn" shows in the Bible, and where it shows up in our traditions -- especially in our worship. This will repeat a conversation that we had at our first Tuesday evening Lenten Soup Supper. (Don't tell anyone, but we celebrated a birthday and had some delicious cake!) This coming Tuesday's supper topic will be "Learn."
The Way of Love graphic is on our Sunday bulletin covers, and is briefly described among the announcements. These steps to 'The Way of Love, were introduced by our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry at last summer's General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas.
Our own Bishop James Curry, now retired, called this week to say that he would like to worship with us on Sunday, to hear our Deacon-Intern Felix Rivera's sermon, and would be willing to talk with interested folks about the "Swords into Ploughshares"project at the end of Coffee Hour. This new project turns firearms voluntarily turned over to Police Departments into gardening tools! Yes, it involves some serious blacksmithing, and Bishop Jim can talk to us about that. He will also be inviting us to an event on Sunday, April 7 in New Haven.
It seems to me that "Swords into Ploughshares" offers us one hands-on way to participate in the Way of Love. I see opportunities to live into the first two steps, to "Turn" and "Learn." We'll learn more about "Pray, Worship, Bless, Go and Rest," as Lent proceeds.
Many of us will recall Bishop Jim's visitation with us several years ago when the Sunday School first sponsored a pancake breakfast to raise funds for children's education in Haiti. He shared a powerful Haiti photo presentation with us. This year, our Sunday School's "Helping Hands for Haiti" pancake breakfast-fundraiser will be Sunday, March 24th. We will be honored to welcome the Rev. Sam Owen, founder of the New York Haiti Project, which is working with the people of Martel, Haiti, to build and sustain St. Luke's School and Church. Fr. Sam will bring us up-to-date on the status of the school's development, and the current challenges facing the people of Haiti.
I look forward to seeing how the Spirit moves us to follow "The Way of Love" this Sunday, and in the weeks to come.
In faith, hope and love,
p.s. Members of the Altar Guild and I had breakfast together in the Rectory this morning. We talked about the coming events of Lent, Holy Week and Easter -- a particularly busy time in their year. It's not necessary to have shared in breakfast to help the Altar Guild; just speak to one of the members. This morning I learned about a task that I had never considered before: cleaning out the bell of the candle snuffers. It seems that candle smoke contains candle wax-vapor, and a combination of candle soot and wax-vapor congeals inside the snuffers. If this sooty wax builds up, it will melt and drop onto the altar linens! I'm sure that Hope Sperry would happily share this task if asked.
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!