Actually the Prayer Book calls this, the "Last Sunday after the Epiphany." More about that shortly. It will also be a Sunday for us to celebrate our new parish Cookbook. Contributors to the Cookbook are invited to prepare a "tasting" of a recipe they contributed to the book, and share it during the Coffee Hour following Sunday's 10 a.m. service. This should make for a particularly splendid occasion!
David Moore will be on hand to autograph the reproduction of his watercolor of Christ Church which graces the book's cover; so remember to bring your copies with you. Additional copies will be available for sale.
Returning to the Prayer Book's theme of the day: It has been one epiphany, one revelation after another, since the Epiphany itself -- the revelation of Jesus to the wise eastern watchers of the stars. At his baptism, Jesus was revealed as God's Son, and since then we have heard John the Baptist's story of the Spirit revealing Jesus' identity to him, and then we heard Jesus reveal Good News of the Kingdom of Heaven, by the Sea of Galilee and in the Sermon on the Mount.
This Sunday, the last after the Epiphany, we will hear again words first heard at Jesus' baptism -- a heavenly voice proclaiming, "This is my Son, the Beloved..." Instead of hearing them beside the River Jordan, we will hear them on the mount of the Transfiguration. These words bracket Jesus' ministry in Galilee. From there, Jesus and the disciples will head toward confrontations with the religious and governmental powers of the day. And because we will be confronting what separates us from the love of God that Jesus reveals, we won't feel like singing or saying "Alleluia" for awhile So, we will say, "Farewell," to alleluias, this Sunday.
On Tuesday, we'll get ready for our Lenten journey without alleluias, by gathering to eat some pancakes and sausage, and by burning the dried-up palms leftover from last Palm Sunday. We renewed these Shrove Tuesday traditions last year, and it was a great time together. The pancakes were terrific, and the conflagration of the palms was a blast! Pancakes will be ready beginning at 5:30p.m.; the burning of the palms at dark, about 6:15 p.m.
Please feel free to contribute your old palms to the "burn pile." And if you would like to help with set-up, pancake/sausage/bacon prep, or clean-up, please sign-up this Sunday.
By burning, the palms are reduced to the grey ashes that give Ash Wednesday its name. And on Ash Wednesday, Lent begins as we say we are sorry for the ways we have hurt God, one another, and ourselves. Ashes on the forehead are a sign of that sorrow. Services will be offered at 7 a.m., Noon, and 7 p.m. -- the latter with Choir, organ and hymns. A brief, child-friendly service will be offered at 5:15 p.m.
However, Lent is not all sackcloth and ashes; it's also the season for Lent Madness! A tongue-in-cheek takeoff on March Madness playoffs, Lent Madness puts Saints-in-light into mock competition. These folks are already in full possession of their halos; so it is madness to think that they would compete for a "Golden Halo." But that's the idea. And along the way, we get better acquainted with them, how they glorified God, and served their neighbors. "Saintly Scorecards" are available for $2 each. To participate fully, you subscribe on-line at www.lentmadness.org. The madness begins on "Ash Thursday."
In faith and hope,
p.s. The Guilford Free Library's meeting room was packed Thursday with folks, including many from Christ Church, who were interested in hearing Chris George explain how refugee resettlement works. Chris knows the process well; for twelve years he has directed I.R.I.S. (Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services), a New Haven-based agency with long ties to the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, including Christ Church. My hunch is that this will be a topic at Monday's Outreach Committee meeting.
Those who want to learn more, may want to attend the Companions in Mission Conference on Saturday, March 4. Chris will speak on a panel with Bishop Ian Douglas and Allison Duvall, from Episcopal Migration Ministries -- one of the national agencies with which the State Department coordinates the resettlement of refugees. More information about this conference can be found here. I am registered; if you want to carpool to West Hartford, let me know.
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!