Proper Nine 7/5/2020

Link to PDF

The Still Point: The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost: Proper 9
A Time of Meditation and Reflection
… At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance…

T.S. Eliot, Burnt Norton
Peace on each one who comes in need;
Peace on each one who comes in joy.
Peace on each one who offers prayers;
Peace on each one who offers song.
Peace of the Maker, Peace of the Son,
Peace of the Spirit, the Triune One.

Opening Prayer
Praise to you, God, for all your work among us.
Yours is the vigor in creation,
yours is the impulse in our new discoveries.
Make us adventurous, yet reverent and hopeful
in all we do. Amen.

The Gospel                                                                                      Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
Jesus said to the crowd, “To what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in
the marketplaces and calling to one another,
‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not mourn.’
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of
Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of
tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”
At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have
hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants;
yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my
Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except
the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you
rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and
you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

 

Poem: Briefly It Enters, and Briefly Speaks      by Jane Kenyon
I am the blossom pressed in a book,
found again after two hundred years. . . .
I am the maker, the lover, and the keeper….
When the young girl who starves
sits down to a table
she will sit beside me. . . .
I am food on the prisoner’s plate. . . .
I am water rushing to the wellhead,
filling the pitcher until it spills. . . .
I am the patient gardener
of the dry and weedy garden. . . .
I am the stone step,
the latch, and the working hinge. . . .
I am the heart contracted by joy. . . .
the longest hair, white
before the rest. . . .
I am there in the basket of fruit
presented to the widow. . . .
I am the musk rose opening
unattended, the fern on the boggy summit. . . .
I am the one whose love
overcomes you, already with you
when you think to call my name. . . .

Reflection:
The gospel reading includes Jesus’s invitation to “come to me, all you that are weary and are
carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” These days our weariness seems constant and
our burdens perhaps heavier than ever. The global pandemic, and the worry of how we will
ever get out of it, bring a heaviness to our thoughts and emotions. At the same time, the
shocking events that reveal the depth and persistence of racism in our society remind us that
burdens are so much heavier for those whose “backs are against the wall” (Howard Thurman).
The poem offers new images – overflowing water, the musk rose, a basket of fruit, the stone
step and the working hinge – that may serve to expand or deepen our understanding of the
gospel.

Meditation:
What about Jesus’s invitation to “come to me and I will give you rest” speaks to you in this
moment?
How can we carry one another’s burdens in an anxious and difficult time?
How can we respond to those beyond our immediate community whose backs are against the
wall?
What particular words and images from the poem speak to your heart?

Prayers
We bring before God someone whom we have met or remembered today
We bring to God someone who is hurting tonight and needs our prayer
We bring to God a troubled situation in our world
We bring to God, silently, someone whom we find hard to forgive or trust
We bring ourselves to God that we might grow in generosity of spirit, clarity of mind, and
warmth of affection
We offer our thanks to God for the blessings in our lives
We name before God those who have died.

Gracious God, you hear all our prayers: those we speak aloud, those we hold in our hearts, and
those prayers for which we have no words. Hear the prayers of your people, and grant them as
may be best for us, for the sake of your holy name. Amen.
Accept our thanks for all you have done, O God. Our hands were empty, and you filled them.
May Christ’s holy, healing, enabling Spirit be with us every step of the way, and be our guide as
our road changes and turns, and the blessing of God our Creator, Redeemer and Giver of life be
among us now and remain with us forever. Amen.

Proper Eight 6/28/2020

Link to PDF

The Still Point: The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost: Proper 8

A Time of Meditation and Reflection
… At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance…
T.S. Eliot,
Burnt Norton

Peace on each one who comes in need;
Peace on each one who comes in joy.
Peace on each one who offers prayers;
Peace on each one who offers song.
Peace of the Maker, Peace of the Son,
Peace of the Spirit, the Triune One.


Opening Prayer
Praise to you, God, for all your work among us.
Yours is the vigor in creation,
yours is the impulse in our new discoveries.
Make us adventurous, yet reverent and hopeful
in all we do.
Amen.


The Gospel                                                                                    Matthew 10:40-42
Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes
the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a
prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous
person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water
to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple– truly I tell you, none of these will lose
their reward.”

Poem: “A Glass of Water”                     by May Sarton
Here is a glass of water from my well.
It tastes of rock and root and earth and rain;
It is the best I have, my only spell,
And it is cold, and better than champagne.
Perhaps someone will pass this house one day
To drink, and be restored, and go his way,
Someone in dark confusion as I was
When I drank down cold water in a glass,
Drank a transparent health to keep me sane,
After the bitter mood had gone again.


Reflection:
Aside from the obvious connection between May Sarton’s “glass of water” and Jesus’s “cup of
cold water,” both texts have a Eucharistic sense of a common cup that only refreshes because
its bearer (Jesus, the chalice-bearer, the house dweller in the poem) has already been
refreshed. We can take the cup/glass of water in other directions, too: the ministry of the
baptized, Jesus’s first miracle at Cana (transforming a simple cup of water into, perhaps, the
champagne from the poem), and the “still waters” of Psalm 23.


Questions for Meditation:
Though we have not enjoyed the physical Eucharist in months, we can imagine what
sharing a “glass of water” might mean in these times. For you, what does the glass of
water represent?
How have you benefited from someone else’s refreshing gesture, words, or actions
recently?
How have you “passed the cup” recently?


Prayers
We bring before God someone whom we have met or remembered today
We bring to God someone who is hurting tonight and needs our prayer
We bring to God a troubled situation in our world

We bring to God, silently, someone whom we find hard to forgive or trust
We bring ourselves to God that we might grow in generosity of spirit, clarity of mind, and
warmth of affection
We offer our thanks to God for the blessings in our lives
We name before God those who have died.


Gracious God, you hear all our prayers: those we speak aloud, those we hold in our hearts, and
those prayers for which we have no words. Hear the prayers of your people, and grant them as
may be best for us, for the sake of your holy name
. Amen.


Accept our thanks for all you have done, O God. Our hands were empty, and you filled them.
May Christ’s holy, healing, enabling Spirit be with us every step of the way, and be our guide as
our road changes and turns, and the blessing of God our Creator, Redeemer and Giver of life be
among us now and remain with us forever.
Amen.

Proper Seven 6/21/2020

Link to PDF

The Still Point: The Third Sunday after Pentecost: Proper 7
A Time of Meditation and Reflection

… At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance…


T.S. Eliot,
Burnt Norton
Peace on each one who comes in need;
Peace on each one who comes in joy.
Peace on each one who offers prayers;
Peace on each one who offers song.
Peace of the Maker, Peace of the Son,
Peace of the Spirit, the Triune One.


Opening Prayer
Praise to you, God, for all your work among us. Yours is the vigor in creation, yours is the impulse in our new discoveries.
Make us adventurous, yet reverent and hopeful in all we do.
Amen.


The Gospel                                                                                                   Matthew 10:24-39
Jesus said to the twelve disciples, “A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the
master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If
they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those
of his household! So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be
uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark,
tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear
those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul
and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the
ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not
be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. Everyone therefore who
acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but
whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven. Do not
think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a
sword.
For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.
Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son
or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross
and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose
their life for my sake will find it.”


Poem: Westwind #2                                                                                    by Mary Oliver
You are young. So you know everything. You leap into the boat and begin rowing. But listen
to me. Without fanfare, without embarrassment, without any doubt, I talk directly to your
soul. Listen to me. Lift the oars from the water, let your arms rest, and your heart, and heart’s
little intelligence, and listen to me. There is life without love. It is not worth a bent penny, or a
scuffed shoe. It is not worth the body of a dead dog nine days unburied. When you hear, a
mile away and still out of sight, the churn of the water as it begins to swirl and roil, fretting
around the sharp rocks — when you hear that unmistakable pounding — when you feel the mist
on your mouth and sense ahead the embattlement, the long falls plunging and steaming — then
row, row for your life toward it.


Reflection:
Mary Oliver’s prose poem, like the Gospel reading, challenges us to consider moments when
the soul’s longing and the heart’s preexisting connections are at odds. For Jesus, this takes the
shape of family bonds that we often don’t choose, but that nonetheless are, paradoxically, part
of our soul’s makeup. For Mary Oliver, the metaphor of navigating the rapids – at once
thrilling, dangerous, and utterly irresistible – can perhaps represent the decision to follow the
Holy Spirit’s guidance, even when it means an uncertain future.

Meditation:
When have you felt a “mist on your mouth” that has prompted you to act?
When has following your soul put you at odds with the bonds of family or community?
In our current turmoil, what does it mean to “row for your life” toward uncertainty?

Prayers
We bring before God someone whom we have met or remembered today
We bring to God someone who is hurting tonight and needs our prayer
We bring to God a troubled situation in our world
We bring to God, silently, someone whom we find hard to forgive or trust
We bring ourselves to God that we might grow in generosity of spirit, clarity of mind, and
warmth of affection
We offer our thanks to God for the blessings in our lives
We name before God those who have died.


Gracious God, you hear all our prayers: those we speak aloud, those we hold in our hearts, and
those prayers for which we have no words. Hear the prayers of your people, and grant them as
may be best for us, for the sake of your holy name
. Amen.
Accept our thanks for all you have done, O God. Our hands were empty, and you filled them.
May Christ’s holy, healing, enabling Spirit be with us every step of the way, and be our guide as
our road changes and turns, and the blessing of God our Creator, Redeemer and Giver of life be
among us now and remain with us forever.
Amen.

Proper Six 6/14/2020

Link to PDF

The Still Point: The Second Sunday after Pentecost: Proper 6

A Time of Meditation and Reflection

… At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance…
T.S. Eliot, Burnt Norton


Peace on each one who comes in need;
Peace on each one who comes in joy.
Peace on each one who offers prayers;
Peace on each one who offers song.
Peace of the Maker, Peace of the Son,
Peace of the Spirit, the Triune One.


The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send
out laborers into his harvest.
Matthew 9:37–38


Opening Prayer
Almighty God,
by your grace alone
we are accepted and called to your service;
strengthen us by your Holy Spirit and empower our calling;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.


Psalm 116:1, 10-17 Dilexi, quoniam
1 I love the LORD, because he has heard the voice of my supplication, *
because he has inclined his ear to me whenever I called upon him.
10 How shall I repay the L
ORD *
for all the good things he has done for me?
11 I will lift up the cup of salvation *
and call upon the Name of the L
ORD.
12 I will fulfill my vows to the L
ORD *
in the presence of all his people.
13 Precious in the sight of the L
ORD *
is the death of his servants.

14 O LORD, I am your servant; *
I am your servant and the child of your handmaid;
you have freed me from my bonds.
15 I will offer you the sacrifice of thanksgiving *
and call upon the Name of the L
ORD.
16 I will fulfill my vows to the L
ORD *
in the presence of all his people,
17 In the courts of the L
ORD‘S house, *
in the midst of you, O Jerusalem.
Hallelujah!


The Gospel                                                                                          Matthew 9:35-10:8
Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming
the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw
the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like
sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the
laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his
harvest.” Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits,
to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. These are the names of the
twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of
Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax
collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas
Iscariot, the one who betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: 
“Go nowhere among the

Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house
of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure
the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without
payment; give without payment.

Poem: from Jubilate Agno by Christopher Smart
For there is no Height in which there are not flowers.
For flowers have great virtues for all the senses.
For the flower glorifies God and the root parries the adversary.
For the flowers have their angels even the words of God’s Creation.
For the warp and woof of flowers are worked by perpetual moving spirits.
For flowers are good both for the living and the dead.
For there is a language of flowers.
For there is a sound reasoning upon all flowers.
For elegant phrases are nothing but flowers.

For flowers are peculiarly the poetry of Christ.
For flowers are medicinal.
For flowers are musical in ocular harmony.
For the right names of flowers are yet in heaven. God make gard’ners better nomenclators.
—–
For A is the beginning of learning and the door of heaven.
For B is a creature busy and bustling.
For C is a sense quick and penetrating.
For D is depth.
For E is eternity — such is the power of the English letters taken singly.
For F is faith.
For G is God — whom I pray to be gracious to Liveware my fellow prisoner.
For H is not a letter, but a spirit — Benedicatur Jesus Christus, sic spirem!
For I is identity. God be gracious to Henry Hatsell.
For K is king.
For L is love. God in every language.
For M is musick and Hebrew
מis the direct figure of God’s harp.
For N is new.
For O is open.
For P is power.
For Q is quick.
For R is right.
For S is soul.
For T is truth. God by gracious to Jermyn Pratt and to Harriote his Sister.
For U is unity, and his right name is Uve to work it double.
For W is word.
For X is hope — consisting of two check G — God be gracious to Anne Hope.*
For Y is yea. God be gracious to Eennet and his family!
For Z is zeal.
* In Smart’s manuscript, the letter ‘X’ was drawn as two G’s back to back.)


Reflection:
Today’s gospel (about Jesus’s “Little Commission” to the Apostles) and Psalm (loving/finding
joy in God) provide us with the natural question of what it means when those two concepts
merge. In other words, to quote Frederick Buechner, where do we find our vocation, at the
intersection between “the world’s deep need” and “our deep gladness”? Christopher Smart’s
long poem
Jubilate Agno is one man’s way of living into vocation. This one-of-a-kind glimpse
into Smart’s inner spiritual life is at once poignant, encyclopedic, playful, and puzzling. In fact,
Smart’s habit of constant (and aggressive!) public prayer was what put him into St. Luke’s
Hospital “for Lunatics”, where he worked on his poetry. This poem is essentially a long prayer
of praise. In this snippet, notice how Smart finds inspiration in flowers, the English alphabet,
and in the individual lives of those for whom he prays. Again, this is just a tiny selection, and

for the curious, please do seek out his famous meditation on his cat Jeoffry, as well as

Benjamin Britten’s wonderful setting, “Rejoice in the Lamb,” linked below.
Britten, “Rejoice in the Lamb”
Full text of Smart’s Jubilate Agno


Questions for Reflection:
In this moment, where does your “deep gladness” meet the world’s “deep need”?
Take one organizational scheme (the colors, the signs of the zodiac, the alphabet, etc.)
and try your own version of Christopher Smart’s prayer. 


Prayers
We bring before God someone whom we have met or remembered today
We bring to God someone who is hurting tonight and needs our prayer
We bring to God a troubled situation in our world
We bring to God, silently, someone whom we find hard to forgive or trust
We bring ourselves to God that we might grow in generosity of spirit, clarity of mind, and
warmth of affection
We offer our thanks to God for the blessings in our lives
We name before God those who have died.


Gracious God, you hear all our prayers: those we speak aloud, those we hold in our hearts, and
those prayers for which we have no words. Hear the prayers of your people, and grant them as
may be best for us, for the sake of your holy name
. Amen.


Accept our thanks for all you have done, O God. Our hands were empty, and you filled them.
May Christ’s holy, healing, enabling Spirit be with us every step of the way, and be our guide as
our road changes and turns, and the blessing of God our Creator, Redeemer and Giver of life be
among us now and remain with us forever.
Amen.

http://www.pseudopodium.org/repress/jubilate/

In Kind Drive for the St. Francis Center

Mission and Outreach Support for St. Francis Center

 

As we all get used to this ‘new normal’ and spend much of our time sheltering at home, it is sometimes easy to forget the extra challenges that are faced by those in our community who have no shelter.  St. Francis Center, a longtime mission partner, continues to remain open 7 days a week to provide much needed services and a safe daytime place for those most vulnerable in our community.

 

The Mission and Outreach Committee is sponsoring a drive for specifically requested in-kind COVID-19 related items for the Center.  We will be in the church parking lot on Saturday, June 27 from 9:30-11am and will be accepting your donations.  We will be properly masked and can take the items out of your trunk for a totally contact-free delivery.  We will then deliver these items to the Center. The items most needed by St. Francis Center are:

 

Hair Gel, Cologne / After Shave, Men’s Shoes, Rubbing Alcohol, Peroxide, Sweatshirts for men, Men’s Underwear (medium and small), Men’s Work Boots, Men’s pants (38″ waist through 30″ waist), shampoo / conditioner (travel size and family size), hand and body lotion (travel size), Vaseline (best buy at Walmart), reading glasses (Dollar Tree), Postage Stamps are a real treasure.

 

If you have any questions, please contact Janice Woodward (Janice.L.Woodward@gmail.com) or Al Grinestaff (ajgrine8@comcast.net).  Thank you for your continuing to support those who are need in our community.

Trinity Sunday 6/7/2020

This Sunday Still Point will be live streamed on Facebook at 5:30 pm. See below for the Poem and Meditation for Trinity Sunday. Leaflet for the service will be available on the “online worship” main page.

“Praise the Rain” by Joy Harjo
Praise the rain; the seagull dive
The curl of plant, the raven talk—
Praise the hurt, the house slack
The stand of trees, the dignity—
Praise the dark, the moon cradle
The sky fall, the bear sleep—
Praise the mist, the warrior name
The earth eclipse, the fired leap—
Praise the backwards, upward sky
The baby cry, the spirit food—
Praise canoe, the fish rush
The hole for frog, the upside-down—
Praise the day, the cloud cup
The mind flat, forget it all—
Praise crazy. Praise sad.
Praise the path on which we’re led.
Praise the roads on earth and water.
Praise the eater and the eaten.
Praise beginnings; praise the end.
Praise the song and praise the singer.
Praise the rain; it brings more rain.
Praise the rain; it brings more rain.
Meditation:
Joy Harjo is currently Poet Laureate of the United States, and brings images and rhythms from her Muscogee (Creek) background in all of her poetry.  Though there are many wonderful poems about threes and trios and trinities, Harjo’s poem manages to capture what it means to worship an all-encompassing, paradoxical triune God without being too explicit about it.  Notice, in particular, the unpredictability of a life with God: we’re flung upside-down and backwards.  Of the three-in-one members of the Trinity, the Creator is most present as the recipient of each ‘praise’ in the poem. But there’s also a hint at the incarnation, with the eucharistic line “Praise the eater and the eaten,” and an infusion of Spirit throughout, in the form of rain (which brings more rain).
Questions for consideration:
  • In our current moment, what phrases from this poem ring most true to you?
  • How do we ‘praise’ the hurt, the sad and the crazy while still maintaining the hope for more rain, and the hope for more hope?
  • If “praise the rain” is a call to action, what is that action for you?

 

Whitsunday 5/31/20

Link to PDF

The Still Point: The Day of Pentecost


A Time of Meditation and Reflection
… At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance…

T.S. Eliot, Burnt Norton
Peace on each one who comes in need;
Peace on each one who comes in joy.


Peace on each one who offers prayers;
Peace on each one who offers song.

Peace of the Maker, Peace of the Son,
Peace of the Spirit, the Triune One.


‘A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you,’ says the Lord; ‘I will put my
spirit within you and you shall live.’
Ezekiel 3:26; 37:14


Opening Prayer
Living God, eternal Holy Spirit, let your bright intoxicating energy
which fired those first disciples fall on us
to turn the world again. Hear this prayer for your love’s sake.
Amen.

The Gospel John 7:37-39
On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out,
“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the
scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’” Now he
said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no
Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Poem         Mechtild of Magdeburg English version by Jane Hirshfield
Effortlessly,
Love flows from God into man,
Like a bird
Who rivers the air
Without moving her wings.
Thus we move in His world
One in body and soul,
Though outwardly separate in form.
As the Source strikes the note,
Humanity sings —
The Holy Spirit is our harpist,
And all strings
Which are touched in Love
Must sound.


Meditation
Water is, from the very beginning of scripture, one of the most compelling signs of the presence
of the Holy in the midst of life, from the stirring of the water at the moment of creation, to the
water gushing from a cleft in the rock in the desert, to the river flowing from the throne of God
at the foretold culmination of sacred story. In the brief gospel passage, Jesus offers himself as
the source of that divine “living water,” which will be conveyed to those who are in relationship
with him by the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The poem uses images of birds and music, rather than water, to evoke the relationship between
the Holy Spirit and those who long for relationship with God. But the sense of “flowing”
present in all the images conveys the same sense of ease and power, of indwelling and
outpouring, perhaps of danger and transformation, that we may see in the passages where
water is the outward and physical sign of the Spirit.

Reflection
Which image of the Holy Spirit, and our life in the Spirit, is most compelling to you? Does this
image connect with a memory, or a hope for the future?
The images in poem and gospel can seem very personal, and yet scripture and tradition assure
us that the Holy Spirit binds us together in community, so that we are one, as Jesus and the
God he calls Father are one. Do you see something in these readings that might inspire or guide
you to seek community in a new way, in this time of distance, isolation, and social disorder?


Prayers
We bring before God someone whom we have met or remembered today
We bring to God someone who is hurting tonight and needs our prayer
We bring to God a troubled situation in our world
We bring to God, silently, someone whom we find hard to forgive or trust
We bring ourselves to God that we might grow in generosity of spirit, clarity of mind, and
warmth of affection
We offer our thanks to God for the blessings in our lives
We name before God those who have died.

Gracious God, you hear all our prayers: those we speak aloud, those we hold in our hearts, and
those prayers for which we have no words. Hear the prayers of your people, and grant them as
may be best for us, for the sake of your holy name
. Amen.


Accept our thanks for all you have done, O God. Our hands were empty, and you filled them.
May Christ’s holy, healing, enabling Spirit be with us every step of the way, and be our guide as
our road changes and turns, and the blessing of God our Creator, Redeemer and Giver of life be
among us now and remain with us forever.
Amen.

Seventh Sunday of Easter- 5/24/20

Link to PDF

A Time of Meditation and Reflection


The Seventh Sunday of Easter: The Sunday after the Ascension


… At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance…
T.S. Eliot, Burnt Norton
Peace on each one who comes in need;
Peace on each one who comes in joy.
Peace on each one who offers prayers;
Peace on each one who offers song.
Peace of the Maker, Peace of the Son,
Peace of the Spirit, the Triune One.


Alleluia! Christ is risen.


Opening Prayer
The heavens are open wide
since Jesus our brother, our Redeemer,
has entered through the veil.
We thank you for his new and living way,
by which we join the unnumbered millions
who are with you forever.
Praise to you our God; you answer prayer.
Amen.


The Gospel John 17:1-11
Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the
glory that I had in your presence before the world existed. “I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were
yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are
yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.”


Poem: Argyle on Knocknagaroon by Thomas P. Lynch
Because he barely heard the voice of God
above the hum of other choristers—
batwing and bird-whistle, gathering thunder,
the hiss of tides retreating, children, cattle;
because he could not readily discern
the plan Whoever Is In Charge Here has,
he wondered about those who claimed to have
blessed assurances or certainty:
a One and Only Way and Truth and Life,
as if Whatever Breathes in Everything
mightn’t speak in every wondrous tongue;
as if, of all creations, only one
made any sense. It made no sense to him.
Hunger he understood, touch, desire.
He knew the tenderness humans could do,
no less brutalities. He knew the cold
morning, the broad meadow, the gold sunset.
One evening on the hill of Knocknagaroon,
the Atlantic on one side, the Shannon
on the other, the narrowing headlands
of the peninsula out behind him,
the broad green palm of Moveen before him,
it seemed he occupied the hand of God:
open, upturned, outstretched, uplifting him.


Meditation
Perhaps this portion of John’s gospel happened like this: speaking prophetically, the community of early Christians who gathered around the John beloved disciple – and possibly Mary of Magdala, the first witness to the renewed life of Jesus – spoke beyond what they could know from their own experience. In ecstatic language that does not yield particularly well to
rational analysis, Jesus speaks of his union with the God he calls Father. The mystery of the Ascension, when we can get beyond the challenge of its seeming to be fixed in time and space, speaks of the re-union of Jesus with the Holy One. In the same way, the poet is suddenly transported beyond the moment by a sense of being lifted up into the embrace of the God.

Reflection
The last two lines of the poem could form a portion of the story of the Ascension, if we told it in another way, in another time, on another hill. What happens for you, if you read the poem as if it were about the earthly life and ministry of Jesus, and his “return to heaven” in the Ascension? What happens if you reverse the process, and bring the person you come to know in the poem back into the prayer and meditation of Jesus you hear in the gospel? Have you had an experience like that of the man in the poem? If so, return to that moment and see what gifts it holds for you in these times. If not, what gift is there for you, in these times, if you imagine being held in the hand of God?


Prayers
We bring before God someone whom we have met or remembered today
We bring to God someone who is hurting tonight and needs our prayer
We bring to God a troubled situation in our world
We bring to God, silently, someone whom we find hard to forgive or trust
We bring ourselves to God that we might grow in generosity of spirit, clarity of mind, and
warmth of affection
We offer our thanks to God for the blessings in our lives
We name before God those who have died.

Gracious God, you hear all our prayers: those we speak aloud, those we hold in our hearts, and those prayers for which we have no words. Hear the prayers of your people, and grant them as may be best for us, for the sake of your holy name. Amen.

Accept our thanks for all you have done, O God. Our hands were empty, and you filled them. May Christ’s holy, healing, enabling Spirit be with us every step of the way, and be our guide as our road changes and turns, and the blessing of God our Creator, Redeemer and Giver of life be among us now and remain with us forever. Amen.

Sixth Sunday of Easter- 5/17/20

Link to PDF Version

The Still Point: The Sixth Sunday of Easter


A Time of Meditation and Reflection
… At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance…


T.S. Eliot,
Burnt Norton
Peace on each one who comes in need;
Peace on each one who comes in joy.
Peace on each one who offers prayers;
Peace on each one who offers song.
Peace of the Maker, Peace of the Son,
Peace of the Spirit, the Triune One.


Alleluia! Christ is risen.


Opening Prayer
Eternal God,
light of the minds that know you,
joy of the hearts that love you,
strength of the wills that serve you;
grant us so to know you that we may truly love you,
and so to love you that we may gladly serve you,
now and always.
Amen.

 

The Gospel                                                                                                                 John 14:15-21
Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he
will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world
cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with
you, and he will be in you. I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the
world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you

will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments
and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I
will love them and reveal myself to them.”


Poem: Let Evening Come                                           by Jane Kenyon
Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.
Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.
Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.
Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.
To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.
Let it come, as it will, and don’t
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.

Meditation
In the translation still familiar to many, Jesus promises his disciples, “I will not leave you comfortless.”
While “orphaned” is the translation closer to the original, it has very different connotations. Jesus’
assurance of comfort comes at the moment when he is preparing to leave his friends, going first to
suffering and death, and then leaving them again at the moment of his ascension. The poem speaks also
of endings, the ending of the day, the ending of a season, the ending of life. Like the gospel passage, it
suggests that the comfort of God’s continuing presence in the midst of change, can help us to let go of
what we cannot keep.


Reflection
Do you find the images in the poem, and the refrain “let evening come,” comforting? Or do they evoke
some other emotion in you? How might the images of the poem speak to us about this time of loss and
distancing? The gospel and the poem each have a hint of something new, a revealing, an unfolding. Is
there something in your life that is beginning as other things may be ending?


Prayers
We bring before God someone whom we have met or remembered today
We bring to God someone who is hurting tonight and needs our prayer
We bring to God a troubled situation in our world
We bring to God, silently, someone whom we find hard to forgive or trust
We bring ourselves to God that we might grow in generosity of spirit, clarity of mind, and warmth of
affection
We offer our thanks to God for the blessings in our lives
We name before God those who have died.


Gracious God, you hear all our prayers: those we speak aloud, those we hold in our hearts, and those
prayers for which we have no words. Hear the prayers of your people, and grant them as may be best for
us, for the sake of your holy name
. Amen.


Accept our thanks for all you have done, O God. Our hands were empty, and you filled them.
May Christ’s holy, healing, enabling Spirit be with us every step of the way, and be our guide as our
road changes and turns, and the blessing of God our Creator, Redeemer and Giver of life be among us
now and remain with us forever.
Amen.

Fifth Sunday of Easter- 5/10/20

Link to PDF

The Still Point
A Time of Meditation and Reflection


The Fifth Sunday of Easter
… At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance…
T.S. Eliot,
Burnt Norton
Peace on each one who comes in need;
Peace on each one who comes in joy.
Peace on each one who offers prayers;
Peace on each one who offers song.
Peace of the Maker, Peace of the Son,
Peace of the Spirit, the Triune One.


Alleluia! Christ is risen.


Opening Prayer
Eternal God, your Son Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life for all creation;
grant us grace to walk in his way, to rejoice in his truth, and to share his risen life;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Amen.

 

The Gospel John 14:1-14
Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s
house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a
place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so
that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.”
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus
said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I
been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the
Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the
Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in
me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then
believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also
do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.
I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name
you ask me for anything, I will do it.”


Poem: from For the Time Being                                                                                                        W.H.Auden
He is the Way.
Follow Him through the Land of Unlikeness;
You will see rare beasts, and have unique adventures.
He is the Truth.
Seek Him in the Kingdom of Anxiety;
You will come to a great city that has expected your return for years.
He is the Life.
Love Him in the World of the Flesh;
And at your marriage all its occasions shall dance for joy.


Meditation
One of the best-loved and most problematic of the great “I am” sayings of Jesus in John’s gospel is “I am
the way, and the truth, and the life.” The second half of the saying, “No one comes to the Father except
through me,” has been a warrant for privileging Christianity above the other great religions of the world.
Though there are many critical, historical, and theological ways of mitigating the immediate appearance of
exclusivism in this saying, it remains a stumbling block for many. The poem – quite legitimately – bypasses
these difficulties and offers a series of images or vignettes that expand the possibilities of the saying, offering
a journey into the mysteries of the soul and a commitment to our life as embodied creatures, in relationship
with the incarnate Holy One.


Reflection
Which of the mysterious images of the poem intrigues you the most? What longings does it evoke for you,
especially in this time of limitations?

What is your history with the difficult second half of the saying, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.” Do you have memories, old assumptions, hurts that need
to be let go, if you want to engage with this gospel passage in a new way?
Do the images of the poem, or the words of the Gospel, inspire you to some fresh commitment or action as
you learn to live in our changed world?


Prayers
We bring before God someone whom we have met or remembered today
We bring to God someone who is hurting tonight and needs our prayer
We bring to God a troubled situation in our world
We bring to God, silently, someone whom we find hard to forgive or trust
We bring ourselves to God that we might grow in generosity of spirit, clarity of mind, and warmth of
affection
We offer our thanks to God for the blessings in our lives
We name before God those who have died.


Gracious God, you hear all our prayers: those we speak aloud, those we hold in our hearts, and those
prayers for which we have no words. Hear the prayers of your people, and grant them as may be best for us,
for the sake of your holy name
. Amen.

Accept our thanks for all you have done, O God. Our hands were empty, and you filled them.
May Christ’s holy, healing, enabling Spirit be with us every step of the way, and be our guide as our road
changes and turns, and the blessing of God our Creator, Redeemer and Giver of life be among us now and
remain with us forever.
Amen.