For most of our culture this will be "Super Bowl Sunday." Some will focus their attention on watching millionaires play in the dirt; others will focus on the entertainment; and others will focus on the advertising around the game and the entertainment. It'll be quite the spectacle! The Church will focus on a different spectacle this Sunday: The story of the Transfiguration -- the revelation of Jesus as God's Son to Peter, James and John on a mountaintop -- his face "changed," his clothes becoming "dazzling white" This is the last of the series of epiphanies (showings or revelations) of Jesus' divine nature and authority, before he goes down the mountain for the journey to Jerusalem, the cross and the tomb.
You may be relieved -- or disappointed -- to learn that no spectacles are expected to accompany our Annual Parish Meeting. Instead of special effects, reports have been printed, charts prepared, and the tables all set. Comfort food will be ready following the 10 a.m. service: chicken pot pie and macaroni & cheese right out of the oven, bread & butter, fruit, orange juice, milk, coffee and tea. Then, the meeting will proceed with dispatch. We'll thank those who have served the parish, elect their successors, and take counsel together about our common life. In addition to considering a Proposed Amended Version of our Parish Bylaws*, new business will include a report on our "God's Call to Us -- Now & Into the Future" planning process, an explanation of the extra pews now stored in the Parish Hall, and an introduction to some enhancements for that space proposed by the Evening ECW.
The meeting will adjourn early enough for you to get home, have a nap, and still have lots of time to get ready for the evening's game!
Since February 7 is the Last Sunday After the Epiphany, Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday will immediately follow. The forecasts for Shrove Tuesday, February 9, now include the possibility of snow at some point in the day. At this point, we still hope to renew the Christ Church tradition of a Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper. However, if snow falls and the Guilford Schools cancel evening activities in school buildings, we'll cancel the Pancake Supper for 2016, just as we did in 2015!
Weather permitting, we will start serving shortly after 5 p.m. and continue until shortly before 7 p.m. At about 6 p.m., those so inclined will gather by a window or in the driveway, to watch as the palms from last Palm Sunday are ignited to become the ashes for Ash Wednesday. If you have a dried up palm leaf gathering dust, please bring it with you for the conflagration!
Ash Wednesday signals the beginning of Lent, and with it comes a pivot in the life of the Church. We are invited to a holy observance, "by self-examination and repentance (i.e. change of course); by prayer, fasting and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's Holy Word."(BCP, p.265) The ashes of Ash Wednesday signify our accepting this invitation. Please notice that the Church does not ask usto become dour or depressed!
Lent Madness, which I introduced here last week, is one way to respond to the Church's invitation that will bring a smile to your face! Considering how God moved through the lives of some 32 saints, will lead to some self-examination and possible change of our own courses. The thing about the saints is that they paid attention to God, and God's call to them.
The process of paying attention to God is called "prayer." During Lent 2016, Stephen Douglas will lead the Rectory Forum and Tuesday Soup Supper in conversations about the prayer lives of the saints. Ignatius of Loyola developed a sequence of prayers known as "Spiritual Exercises;" although Ignatius is not included in this year's Lent Madness Roster, Stephen will use Ignatius' prayerful exercises to frame the conversations about forms of prayer. Join the conversations which will begin on Sunday, February 14, and Tuesday, February 16.
I hope this finds you safe and warm, with heat and power, and I look forward to sharing this week's journey with you!
In faith and hope,
*A marked-up version of the Parish Bylaws showing all the changes, plus the Proposed Amended Version of the Parish Bylaws are available on-line (click here)
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!