The first question for many of you is, how is Pat? Our Parish Administrator, Pat Wakefield, continues to make good, if arduous, progress with her new knee. Yesterday, she reported that she had even taken a few steps with only a cane -- rather than a walker -- for support. (No need for showing off, Pat!)
While sitting at Pat's desk, some routine purchase decisions have come my way. Two decision have and will show up on the altar. These decisions were guided by the sacramental principle that things ought to look like what they represent. Communion bread should look like bread, and communion wine should be the color of blood. We exhausted our supply of sweet, white communion wine in July. On August, we broke out the new communion wine; it's light, dry and red.
There's an oft-repeated and variously attributed saying about white communion wafers: "I don't have trouble believing they're the Body of Christ. I just can't believe they're bread!" Whole wheat communion wafers are a step closer to "breadness." So, when we have consumed our current supply of white communion wafers, we will begin using whole wheat wafers. The change in color, texture and taste will be obvious.
The church supply houses are finally catching up to the need for communion wafers that are absolutely gluten-free. For people with gluten allergies and full-blown celiac disease, avoiding gluten is not optional! These are on order, and will be separately stored, consecrated and reserved. An announcement will be made when they are available for the asking.
Resist the temptation to wash your car this week! TheAcolytes' Car Wash will be next Saturday, August 20 at the Bishops' Farm Orchard Market Red Barn from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Let's pray for a break in the weather, as our Acolytes, assisted by their parents and other young folks, raise funds for their projects. We have a new generation of Acolytes, and it's time to start planning and saving for a pilgrimage to the National Acolyte Festival at Washington National Cathedral in October 2017.
Excitement is building for Vacation Bible School, which starts Monday, August 22, and will continue through Friday, August 26, from 9 a.m. until Noon each day. "Deep Sea Discovery: God is With Us Wherever We Go," looks like a fun adventure with fresh approaches to dramatic Bible stories, with matching crafts, games, music, ...and oh yes, the all important snacks! You can find more information and registration here; just scroll down to the bottom of the page.
V.B.S. is not just for rising Kindergarten to 5th graders! Youth and adults who would like to get in on the fun are urged to contact Laurie Varley for ways they could be helpful for a day or more. Thanks to volunteers, two day's worth of snacks and the composition notebooks have all been donated; just three days of snacks remain.
In faith and hope,
p.s. In my sermon for August 7, I promised to include in this letter a poem by George Herbert (1593-1633), Anglican parish priest, poet, and theologian. Every phrase describes prayer. Maria, the mother of Pearl (in Pearl, a novel by Mary Gordon), remembers snatches of it as she struggles to comprehend the incomprehensible:
Prayer, the Church's banquet, Angel's age,
God's breath in man returning to his birth,
The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,
The Christian plummet sounding heav'n and earth;
Engine against th' Almighty, sinner's tower,
Reverse'd thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,
The six-day's world transposing in an hour,
A kind of tune, which all things hear and fear:
Softness, and peace, and joy, and love, and bliss,
Exalted manna, gladness of the best,
Heaven in ordinary, man well dressed,
The milky way, the bird of Paradise,
Church bells beyond the stars heard, the soul's blood,
The land of spices; something understood.
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