April 24, 2020
Our season of celebrating Jesus' Resurrection -- and our own participation in his Risen Life -- continues. This Sunday, we go back to the early evening of Resurrection Day, when two of Jesus' disciples encounter the Risen Lord on the Road to Emmaus. (Luke 24:13-35). This message includes announcements about:
There's a phrase in the "traditional form" of the Lord's Prayer, that has given me pause since I was a boy, and frankly I haven't found any of the pious explanations from my Sunday School days (or since) the least bit helpful. That phrase is "Lead us not into temptation." Would God do that? Admittedly the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness after his baptism, but only Matthew says that Jesus was led there "to be tempted."(4.1) Mark and Luke take pains to separate the Holy Spirit's leading and the devil's tempting. Then there are the plain words in the Letter of James, " ... for God cannot be tempted by evil, and [God] himself tempts no one."(1.13b)
The 1979 Prayer Book provides an alternative text for the Lord's Prayer. When I was first introduced to this alternative in Trial-Use revisions of the Prayer Book in the 1970's, it was like the clouds parted. I could pray "Save us from the time of trial" without crossing my fingers! The challenge in translating this line of the prayer is that the Greek word peirasmos carries meanings of temptation, testing and trial.
We are surely "in" a time of trial in this season of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this time of trial, we (apparently) need God's help to avoid the temptations of self-serving behaviors that disregard our neighbors' health or needs, e.g. not wearing a mask, and hoarding. For that reason, I'm going to invite us to "try-on" using the alternative text. You will find this form printed in the online bulletins for Sunday's Eucharist and Wednesday's Order for Evening. The version of the Lord's Prayer that you use is, of course, entirely up to you! I'll be interested in your reactions, and happily respond to any questions that you might have.
Sunday Vocal Solos for Eastertide:
To help us celebrate Eastertide, our Music Director Mark Sullivan has arranged with Mark Rehnstrom and Leila Mustakos to provide vocal solos, one each Sunday through Pentecost. This Sunday, Leila will grace us with another timely aria from Messiah, "If God be for us, who can be against us." This passage is lifted from Romans 8:31b; Bible Study participants will find it very familiar from our discussion on April 15. These solos by professional vocalists is funded by your generous Eastertide gifts. Thank you!
"Forward Day-by-Day" is an inspiring booklet of daily devotions on specific Bible passages. Copies are usually available in the Narthex or on the Ushers' Table. If you regularly pick one of these up, please let our Parish Administrator Donna Tafel know at firstname.lastname@example.org or the office voicemail 203-453-2279, and she will mail the May-July edition to you. Please specify if you need the Large-Print edition.
Perhaps you now find yourself being open to this daily discipline. If so, you're in good company: Betty Ford was probably one of the most out-spoken devotees of Forward Day-by-Day. It is also available in all sorts of digital forms; find them by clicking here.
Outreach to the Homeless:
Although our parish mask-makers are doing so out of steadfast concern (also known as "love") for their neighbors, some kind folks have insisted on making contributions to our Outreach funds. Rose Robinson reports that $172 of camping supplies have already been sent to support the efforts of the Amistad Catholic Workers house with New Haven's homeless folk. Our Outreach team will arrange for future recipients.
After learning about the work of the Amistad Catholic Workers house with homeless people, our ECW leaders asked to have your gifts of personal-care items and underwear be sent to them. Unfortunately, these items were still here because their original destination, Chapel-on-the-Green, has temporarily suspended all in-person ministries. I'm happy to report that all these donations are now on their way to New Haven.
Please help shape Sunday's Prayers of the People by sending me the people and concerns you would like included. This is the online version of the clipboard where you would note people, concerns and thanksgivings for inclusion in our Sunday prayers. Please reply to this message by 5p.m. on Saturday.
Our intercessions, remembrances and thanksgivings will be sent out on Monday (that's still my goal!) with any particulars you'd like to share; so, please be specific about what you're sharing just with me, and what you'd like to share with the rest of the parish.
Wednesday Evening Prayers:
Our livestream mid-week evening service of prayer and music has made the shift to its Eastertide format. For the time, we're using a Litany for this season of the coronavirus written by Anne & Jeffrey Rowthorn. Yes, those Rowthorns! Ann and retired Bishop Rowthorn, are currently in residence at the Ecumenical Institute in Collegeville, MN. An online bulletin will be available Wednesday morning.
Thursday Morning Bible Study meets 9:30-10:30a.m. via Zoom. We're moving into Chapter 9 of Paul's letter to the Romans; this section has been called "God on Trial" -- Why are the peoples of God so divided, if in fact, salvation is available to all? Here's the link to our online conversation: click here: Participation by telephone is also possible; I'll send the connection number on request.
Digital Sunday School:
I'm looking forward to what Tyler Jarvis, our Director for Children's & Youth Ministry, has in store for our youngsters this weekend! Look for it in your in-box, and if it's not there, check your "buik mail" or "spam" folder. You can find editions for previous Sunday's by clicking here.
Thanks to all who are mailing in your offerings! God bless you, and may your numbers increase! Although we are not meeting together in-person, the life of the Church continues online, in prayer, worship, education and service -- and in all the ways that support and maintain our common life. So, as you are able, in your current financial situation, please continue your financial support of the parish by sending your offerings to Christ Church, PO Box 574, Guilford, CT 06437. Your offering will be presented at the altar; it will be physically present, even while you remain safely at home.
If you are sheltering-in-place and need assistance with picking up groceries or prescriptions, please be in touch with the Parish Office. Fellow parishioners would gladly do the go-fer-ing for you.
.In the faith, hope and love of Christ,,
p.s. Reminders for Christ Church's online worship:
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!