Author Archives: admin

Home meditation March 29,2020

Chilmark Community Church 

March 29, 2020, Fifth Sunday in Lent

Rev. Ernest Belisle, Pastor

 

Opening Prayer:

O God, source of all life, we thank you for your abiding presence.  Sometimes life seems unbearable and we struggle with the burdens of life and death. We try desperately to be in control. Set us free, in mind body and spirit O God, from all our worries and insecurities. Free us now from a wandering mind and a restless heart that we might worship you in spirit and in truth. Renew within us an awareness of who we are as God’s people. May this be a time of new life and new resolution to live in and through the One who came not to be served but to serve.  Amen.

 

Meditation for the Week

Today we give thanks that God is our strength and shield. With the hymn writer Martin J. Nystrom, we can sing:  As the deer pants for the water, so my soul longs after you. You alone are my heart’s desire, and I long to worship you. You alone are my strength, my shield; to you alone may my spirit yield. You alone are my heart’s desire, and I long to worship you.

Our scripture reading for the day assures us that in Christ there is certainty in life and through death. The reading is for the fifth Sunday of Lent in the A Cycle of the Revised Common Lectionary from the Gospel according to St. John’s Gospel chapter 11 verses 1-45.  What an event!  Jesus, having left the Bethany area (near Jerusalem) because of threats on his life received a call to return, from Mary and Martha, because his friend, Lazarus, was extremely ill and near death (corona virus?).  After Lazarus’ death, Jesus decided to return to Mary and Martha, against the advice of his disciples.  When he arrived, Martha scolded him, Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.  Mildly suggesting, why bother to come now that he is dead for three days.  Jesus was genuinely moved, his answer to Martha was, Your brother will rise again… I am the resurrection and the life.  Those who believe in me, even though they die, yet they will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?’’Jesus then went to the tomb (with a group following him) and asked that the stone be rolled away. There were, at first, some objections because of the stench and contamination that would come from the tomb. Eventually, the stone was rolled away and Jesus ordered, in a loud and passionate voice, “Lazarus, come out!” Lazarus came out in the manner in which he was placed in tomb; bound head, hands and feet with burial cloth.  Jesus ordered, “Unbind him, and set him free.”

This is a significant and extraordinary event for many reasons.  Here are a few:

  1. a) That Lazarus was dead for three days makes the point that he was not in a coma; he was really dead. (This is no making believe, it is a spiritual account! The implication is that many are dead and entombed; while there are also those who are out of the tomb but still wrapped in their death cloth.)
  2. b) That Jesus was willing to risk his life and return to the area demonstrates Jesus’ love for his friend. (Jesus risked/gave his life for all the world.)
  3. c) That Jesus was able to raise Lazarus from the dead displayed Jesus’ power over death and the grave. (Jesus/God still has power over spiritual and physical death.)
  4. d) That Jesus ordered himunbound from his death clothreveals Jesus’ desire to set him free from the marks of death to live a new life in Jesus the Christ. (Jesus still orders us unbound from the things that bind us in death and to death.)

To all of us in this time of uncertainty, disease and death may we hear the words of Jesus, “I am the resurrection and the life.  Those who believe in me, even though they die, yet they will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?”… “Unbind him/her, and set him/her free.”

Let us remember that it is in Christ that we find new life spiritually and physically; even in this time of disease and death. We are a people of LIFE.  Hear the words and thought of Cardinal John Henry Newman who advised, “Fear not of death, but fear rather, that when you come to the end of your earthly journey you find out that you never have lived.” Yes, so afraid of death that we never lived – if so our whole earthly sojourn becomes one long morbid journey because of the fear of death, because of a lack of faith and trust in God: the All-Mighty, All Loving, All Powerful God of heaven and earth and the universe. So in these times of lock down and social distancing let us remember to do our best to find life – joy, peace and love in our family, our loved ones and our God.  We journey with Jesus through hardships, sacrifices and even death, from Galilee to Jerusalem and then to new life.

Remember Jesus’ word, “Unbind …set … free!” The scripture reading suggests: Be not bound by death or the fear of death. (Of course, I am not suggesting we discontinue our physical practice of social distancing!) Let us remain spiritually connected through prayer, meditation and thinking of each other.

You, O Christ, are in us, in our hospitals, in our nurses and doctors, in your Church, in your world, and in you we find ‘the resurrection and the life.’

Sincerely,

Your Brother in Christ,

Ernest Belisle (Pastor)

Prayer with you family or alone:

Leader: Be with us O Lord as we pray this prayer.

From the swirling chaos of the primeval waters you brought forth light and life, O Lord.

All: One thing I know, though I be dead as Lazarus, you loved me so much that you brought me back to life, unbound me and set me free to eat and drink, sing and dance with you in your house.

Leader: From the mud of the earth you brought into being one who is intended to see what you see, O Lord.

All: One thing I know, though I be dead as Lazarus, you loved me so much that you brought me back to life, unbound me and set me free to eat and drink, sing and dance with you in your house.

Leader: From my sisters’ prayers and tears for a sick and dying brother you have called my name that I may be a witness to your glorious power, O Lord.

All: One thing I know, though I be dead as Lazarus, you loved me so much that you brought me back to life, unbound me and set me free to eat and drink, sing and dance with you in your house.

 

Pastor: Send forth your Holy Spirit on me and on all your people in ways yet unimagined, that through this time of chaos and confusion we will be opened, and, will see your heart at work in me and in the world. May we not hold back but cry out loudly:

All: You are the Resurrection and the Life, O Christ, my God.

 

Your Personal Prayers:

 

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

As we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

 

The Hymn for the day:

         Jesus, Joy of Our Desiring         UMH644

(Martin Janus, 1661; trans. anon.)

 

  1. Jesus, joy of our desiring, holy wisdom, love most bright; drawn by thee, our souls aspiring soar to uncreated light.

Word of God, our flesh that fashioned, with the fire of life impassioned, striving still to truths unknown, soaring, dying round thy throne.

 

  1. Through the way where hope is guiding, hark, what peaceful music

 rings; where the flock, in thee confiding, drink of joy from deathless springs.

Theirs is beauty’s fairest pleasure; theirs is wisdom’s holiest treasure.

            Thou dost ever lead thine own in the love of joys

         unknown.

 

Closing Prayer and Benediction

Love mercy, deal justly, practice patience, and live peacefully with all.  Know that Jesus is our Resurrection and Life; in him we can find new Life in troubled times; in the name of the God our Father and Mother, in the name of the Son Jesus the Christ our Brother, and in the name of the Holy Spirit our Comforter.  Amen.

Benediction:                   Traditional Irish Melody

May the road continue smooth before you;

             May there be enough light along the way;

May peace greet you at every crossroad

             And joy accompany you to the end.

Through whatever pain and suffering is yours to endure,

             Know that God is in it with you.

Amen

Chilmark Community Church

March 15, Worship from Home

Chilmark Community Church

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Third Sunday in the Lenten Season

“In nearness shall Thy voice be heard;

Spirit to spirit Thou doth speak.”

(Alfred Henry Vine)

 

Scripture Reading for the day is from St John 4: 5-42

We are happy you are reading, reflecting and worshiping from home.   Our Scripture reading for reflection is from the Gospel according to St. John. It tells the story of the Samaritan woman who met Jesus at Jacob’s well as he was travelling through Samaria on his way to Jerusalem.  (Please read the record of the event from the Gospel.)

Water and Food are two basic human needs. In the Gospel narrative the woman, like Nicodemus (last week’s reading), misses the point regarding spiritual things.  When Jesus offered her “living water” but she thought it was physical water from Jacob’s well.  She saw and thought of only the physical and not the spiritual. “Everyone who drinks of this water will never thirst again,” said Jesus.  The woman light-heartedly asked Jesus to give her that living water so that she would have no more need to return to the well.  Jesus spoke of the water that quenches our spiritual thirst and yearning.  Jeremiah noted that “it is the Lord who is the fountain of living water.”  Jesus pointed to the Messianic age in which, “They shall not hunger and thirst” any more (Isaiah 49:10).

There is the larger theological question of the nature of the souls of human beings and the nature of the Divine Soul (Holy Spirit) and how these two relate to each other. Paul, in his epistle to the Romans 8:16 noted that “it is that very Spirit (God’s Spirit) bearing witness with our spirit that we are the children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ”.  Your soul and my soul are connected to God’s Holy Spirit and in constant communication.

Along with this there is also the question of God granting us free will.  In the midst of our Spirit to spirit connection God grants freedom of will.  So it was for Adam and Eve. So it was for the Israelites in the desert, so it was for the people of Jesus’ time and so it is for us today.  Think of our biggest human struggle and how crucial today’s reading is to the question:  “Who/What satisfies our deepest needs: “living water,” wine, strong drink or what?” Every human soul is thirsty and needs to be quenched at the fountain of “living water” given in God through Jesus Christ.

May God’s Divine Spirit continue to speak to your spirit and mine in this time of uncertainty and dread.

Richest blessing as we travel the road Jesus walked during this holy Lenten Season!

 

Let us Pray:

Almighty and everlasting God,

giver of health and salvation,

we give thank for your presents with us in times of both health and illness.

As your holy apostles anointed many who were ill,

so pour out your Holy Spirit on us and especially on those who are ill, afraid or mourning the passing of a loved one.

Increase our faith and confirm our hope in you,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen

The Lord’s Prayer:                 

Our Father, who art in heaven,

     Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

As we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.

Amen.

March 22, 2020 Worship from Home

Chilmark Community Church

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Fourth Sunday in the Lenten Season

“Through the night of doubt and sorrow, on ward goes the pilgrim band;

Singing songs of expectation, marching to the promised land.”

(Bernhardt Ingemann, translated by Sabine Baring-Gould)

 

Scripture Reading for the day: St John 9:1-41

Welcome to the Chilmark Community Church Family meditation for the week beginning Sunday, March 22, 2020.  Thanks you God that you have led us through another week of corona pandemic uncertainty and social distancing.

My prayer is: Leader us, eternal One, lead us

Through our time of pandemic uncertainty;

Guard us, guide us, keep us, heal us,

For we have no help but you,

Yet possessing every blessing

If our God our Leader be. Amen

                                                   (Adopted from James Edmestom)         

We continue to reflect on our Lenten Theme: Journeying with Jesus – From Galilee to Jerusalem.  Galilee is the place of home and security and Jerusalem the place of uncertainty and pain, but Jerusalem is also the place of Resurrection and eternal life. Our Journey with Jesus is a spiritual journey.

During Lenten we are reflecting on spirituality, understanding spirituality and the place of spirituality in our lives. In our reading for the day the woman at the well, like Nicodemus the week before, had no idea of spiritual things. She understood thing only from a physical point of view.  Our spirituality strengths our inner fortitude and assures us that although we may not know what the future holds, we know God holds our future.  The church is, first and foremost, a spiritual institution. The church suggests and offers to the peoples of the world ways to be closer to God the source of all spirituality. During this time of physical and spiritual crisis we encourage all to spend some time in reflection, self-examination, repentance, self-denial and prayer.  We encourage you to pray for our researchers and scientists, our health care-workers and public servants, and our polities and service workers.

In the reading for Saint John (9:1-41), Jesus heals a man who was born blind. Those who saw what had happened asked Jesus, “Whose sin caused this man to be blind, his or his parents?” Jesus replied, “neither his nor his parents’ sins but that God’s work might be raveled through him.”  The occasion demonstrated that God transformed the man’s blindness into sight – darkness into light!  The man is in fact an example of all of us how have allowed Jesus to transforms our darkness and despair into light and hope. Jesus is the light of the church and the world! Again, the people of Jesus’ day were looking for the physical sins the man or his parents had committed while Jesus was speaking of the spiritual place of God in our lives.

Traveling with Jesus is a spiritual journey – from blindness to sight, from darkness to light, from disbelief to belief, from anxiety to assurance, from insecurity and serenity, from despair to hope and from death to life. As the record of the event goes, sometime later, Jesus came across the man and had a conversation with him. The man had come to believe in Jesus the Christ – the Messiah, the Light of the world.

The life, teaching and example of Jesus dispel our spiritual blindness and lead us on our journeying through these times of uncharted waters.

Very sincerely,

Ernest Belisle (Pastor)

 

Let Us Pray:

O God of the ages, you have always journeyed with humanity – with Abraham and Sarah, with Moses and Joshua, with Mary and Joseph, with Paul and Silas, with the pilgrims and with all our fathers and mothers to the place you promised. Bless and guide all the peoples of the earth who are suffering in any way because of this new corona virus outbreak. Grant to our scientists the wisdom of a cure, calm our anxieties, grant us inner peace and help us to learn to trust in you during this present time of social distancing. We remember that all the sacrifices we make are made for the sake of all humanity. Increase our hope in you and rekindle our vision in Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd of the sheep. Speak to us Spirit to spirit as we continue to journey into an unknown future. We pray all these things though Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, now and forever. 

Amen.

 

Your Personal Prayers and Reflections:

 

The Lord’s Prayer:                 

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

As we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.

Amen.

 

 

The hymn for the day:

Hymn: “He Leadeth Me: O Blessed Thought” #128 UMH

  1. He leadeth me: O blessed thought!

O words with heavenly comfort fraught!

Whate’er I do, where’er I be, still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.

Refrain: He leadeth me, he leadeth me,  by his own hand he leadeth me;

  1. Sometimes mid scenes of deepest gloom,

sometimes where Eden’s bowers  bloom, by waters still,

o’er troubled sea, still ’tis his hand that leadeth me.

 

Refrain: He leadeth me, he leadeth me,  by his own hand he leadeth me;

  1. Lord, I would place my hand in thine, nor ever murmur nor repine; content, whatever lot I see, since ’tis my God that leadeth me.

Refrain: He leadeth me, he leadeth me, by his own hand he leadeth me;

  1. And when my task on earth is done, when

by thy grace the victory’s won, e’en death’s cold wave
I will not flee, since God through Jordan leadeth me.

 

Refrain: He leadeth me, he leadeth me, by his own hand he leadeth me;

(Joseph H. Gilmore, 1862 (Ps. 23)

 

Closing Prayer: (the Irish Blessing)

May the road continue smooth before you;

          May there be enough light along the way;

May peace greet you at every crossroad

          And joy accompany you to the end.

Through whatever pain and suffering is yours to endure,

          Know that God is in it with you.

Amen

Rear wall Sanctuary gets new shingles.

IMG_20200114_103632They were very tired old shingles that came off easily.IMG_20200116_122130IMG_20200116_162328Seth Gauley did the wall around the corner a few years ago and returned to tackle this high wall.IMG_20200118_145826IMG_20200129_160237Shingle by shingle the wall turned gold.IMG_20200207_154637Finished Wednesday practically in the dark.IMG_20200207_154609Thank you, Seth.  The photographs don’t quite capture how high that peak is.

February 2020 Bishop’s message

 

Feb. 1, 2020

Dear Beloved in Christ:

Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

A few weeks ago, 16 youth and eight adults returned from India, having taken part in the Mission of Peace sponsored by the Northeastern Jurisdictional Youth Ministries.

These annual pilgrimages were born out of the vision cast by the late Bishop C. Dale White.

Two of the participants on the most recent Mission of Peace are from our Conference. I am thankful to all who supported, encouraged, and helped these youth and made this pilgrimage possible for them.

As I read reflections written by the youth and adults on this Mission of Peace to India, one theme stuck out: their experience of “radical hospitality” that was above and beyond what they’ve experienced elsewhere.

We have been talking about the need to practice hospitality in our churches for more than a decade. What did these youth, who are active in our churches, find that made it so new and different from what we’ve been practicing? What is missing in our churches?

I asked my colleagues on the Episcopal Team to read their statements and offer their thoughts. Discerning all our reflections, I realized when our youth talk about their understanding of radical hospitality in the context of their experience in India (where they met leaders and people of all faiths and visited homes and various institutions), they mean something more than welcoming a person into your home or church and feeding them. Radical hospitality for them is about genuinely wanting to be with someone and sharing yourself and your valuable time.

Let me share comments by my colleagues:

These young people experienced a hospitality that they had not experienced before … and so they called it “radical.” I suspect the ordinary treatment of guests that the Indian people were extending came from their tradition and out of true respect for the “other.” No one is a stranger if you recognize the divinity in each one. So, to be welcomed, even on the street by a stranger, with “Namaste,” was overwhelming to kids who have a hard time belonging in the U.S. culture that excludes and forces people to prove their worth.

They experienced hospitality in the form of gifts: roses, plaques, meals, and lots of tea … but what seemed to matter even more was the gift of TIME. Important, busy people, religious leaders, medical professionals, government officials…they stopped what they were doing to give attention, to listen, to share in conversation, to eat and drink, often in their own homes (however humble), to invest in a relationship even if the meeting would only be short-lived.

They were especially moved by those from other faith traditions who took this time and valued and respected them from across differences. They recognized that their needs and comfort were prioritized above the needs and comfort of their hosts. They wondered (and doubted) if such hospitality were possible among our Christian communities of faith in the US. And they witnessed this gift of hospitality shown among the Indian people… care offered to the outcast, the poor, the sick, despite their ability to compensate. Because of the fine facilitation and theological framing of the Mission of Peace, young people are now articulating this gift of radical hospitality as “a reflection of God’s love and grace through the people who show it.”

Among the reflections of the youth was a challenge: “…I challenge everyone here to take this radical hospitality back home and show it to people we know and don’t know in the way it was shown to us here in India. For that is the way shalom and peace is truly found in this world full of hate and greed for if you cannot show hospitality to those around you, how do you expect the world to finally be free of the bondage of hate.”

Another offered, “I can only hope that if a group of foreign high schoolers ever comes to one of our home churches, we’d be able to reflect the radical hospitality we’ve been shown here…”

It is my hope and prayer that as people of God we take time to examine our own understanding of radical hospitality.

These youth challenge us to ask ourselves: When we are volunteering at our church’s soup kitchen, food cupboard, or fund-raising dinner, do we take time to talk and build relationships with those who come through our doors?

I understand time is important. Are we willing to give some of what is so valuable so we can really talk to a stranger and, more importantly, listen to their needs, pains, and concerns?

May God grant us the power, grace, and love to prayerfully reflect on these questions.

In Christ’s love,


Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar


 

Fo

 

Rolling Ridge Taize

For Christians, Advent and Lent are typically seasons of spiritual preparation.  For years, Rolling Ridge has offered an Advent Quiet Day to prepare hearts for Christmas with a core of regulars who find rest amid the holiday hustle and bustle.  Last year, we offered our first Taizé Lenten Retreat, and were so blessed by the turn-out and the positive feedback we received in preparing spirits for Holy Week and Easter.
With Lent just around the corner (Ash Wednesday is February 26th), we invite you to journey with us to the cross at our second annual Taizé Lenten Retreat from Sunday, March 1st to Monday, March 2nd.  Whether you come for the full overnight retreat, or just for one day, your heart will find that place of quiet as you sit in the stillness, walk in the woods, or read in the glow of the fireplace.  Taizé-style worship will frame the retreat, with Rolling Ridge Director, Lawrence Jay, facilitating the time of reflection and silence, and Danny Smith and Mark Bayer-Larson leading music.
With so much noise going on around us, we encourage you to unplug and find a spiritual place of peace with Christ this lenten season as you journey with us to the cross and prepare for Easter.
  
We also invite you to check out all the Day Apart Retreats we have scheduled this winter and spring.  With over 26 events on the calendar this season, there is bound to be something that calls you to come away from the busyness to find rest for your soul at Rolling Ridge.
Rolling Ridge is awakening hearts to God and transforming communities with love.  Come, connect, and discover the spiritual difference. 

660 Great Pond Rd. North Andover, MA 01845
Phone: (978) 682-8815 Fax: (978) 681-1162 Em

Bishop’s New Year’s Greeting

Jan. 1, 2020

Dear Beloved in Christ:

Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The house in which I grew up in India did not have electricity until I was five years old. In fact, many homes in my village did not have electricity until I was in my early teens. A large number of households relied on kerosene lamps to provide light at night.

In those days, I was impressed by the faithfulness of people who went out every day at dusk to light lamps on the posts and then again at dawn to extinguish them. Whole communities and families relied on faithfulness to this task for their wellbeing.

The lamps saved us from the danger of falls and gave direction in the darkness as people walked from place to place. They provided protection from snakes and other creatures for those who walked barefoot. When visitors came to the village at night, they could count on someone accompanying them with a torch. Even strangers were offered this hospitality when they passed through.

When I was 10 years old, I visited a lighthouse. The lighthouse operator pointed out a huge rock in the midst of the sea. He explained that it is difficult for those who navigate the waters at night to see the rocks. His responsibility was to alert sea captains to the danger ahead and to help them navigate safely through those waters. Failure to light the way could result in shipwreck and/or the loss of life.

As we enter a new year, we are reminded that none of us knows what obstacles lie ahead. Our faith reminds us that we are given a light to guide our way.

The Psalmist said, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

John’s gospel begins, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  All things came into being through him … What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:1, 3-5)

The mystery and miracle of the incarnation is this: Jesus, the Word of God, with God from the beginning, was and is manifested as the light of all people.

Yet, God’s Word is not only revealed in Jesus. God’s Word is made manifest through us and all creation. We are at once born of the light, recipients of the light, and bearers of the light. Let us live into this amazing mystery of God!

Gracious God,
who created all things —
thank you for your grace which
has brought us to the dawn
of another year —

We do not know what lies ahead,
but we do know,
you are our Creator;
we are yours,
made to bear the light
by being the light
with Jesus
in the world —

Open us to
the mystery of
your Word made flesh
in your creation,
in Jesus,
in us —

In the name of
God, the Word,
Creator of all things;
Jesus, one with God from the beginning,
Word made flesh;
Spirit, present within and through us,
now and forever.
Amen.

Prema joins me in wishing you and your loved ones a happy and blessed New Year!

In Christ’s love,

Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar


 

Bishop’s Advent Message

Dec. 1, 2019

Dear Beloved in Christ:

Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Someone I met in Hawaii recently shared that local drivers generally do not honk. If someone honks, they assume it is a tourist. Hawaiians do not rush; they are polite to other drivers and allow the motorist in front of them to take his or her own time.

This description of Hawaiian drivers reminded me of a conversation I had with a church leader about the way we move through Advent. In essence, he said, we rush through Advent — going from one party to another, racing to finish Christmas shopping, hurrying to put up a Christmas tree, scrambling to mail Christmas cards, stressing over preparing food for family and guests. After all these rushed preparations, we greet this joyous and important day with low spirits and fatigued bodies.

I thought further about the contrast between these two ways of navigating through life in general and Advent in particular.

Our commercialized celebrations cause us to honk our way through Advent; to act like tourists rather than residents of God’s realm — pushing our way through crowds, hurrying the motorist in front of us, rushing to be fully prepared by Christmas Day.

Sadly, and ironically, it is precisely our rushing and honking our way through our preparations for Christmas that cause us to miss it! We miss the arrival of the Christ, who has already come again in the people in front of us.

My prayer this Advent is that we cease our anxious honking and wait with anticipation – “Prepare Him come” with open hearts and see Christ where he is – here and now – in the great gift that has already arrived: It is the motorist in front of us, those around our table, and everyone we meet.

In Christ’s love,

Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar

 

ADVENT PRAYER

 

Loving God made flesh —

as we rush through the days of Advent

busy about many things –

our minds full,

our hearts racing,

our bodies weary,

from the mad pursuit to prepare for Christmas,

 

slow us down

wake us up

open our eyes

to see you right here, right now

in front of us

 

in the lines of traffic

we want to rush past

 

in the preparations

we want to finish

 

in the people we want

to move out of our way

 

in order to meet you —

who has already come

to this place,

to this moment

right here

right now –

Love made flesh, dwelling among us.

 

We pray through Christ

who lives and reigns

with you

and the Holy Spirit.

Amen

 

November 26 Italian Night

Tom Ruimerman once more produced the grand finale to the Pizza Night season. (People always look awkward eating..my apologies)..but there were 4 tables of  happy eaters.DSCF0421November 26 BNovember 26 AMany thanks to Julie Flanders for fetching pizza from Rocco’s in her nifty red insulated bag for the past many Tuesdays.

Onward to 5:30 pm Tuesday “Community Suppers”.  From soup to Leg of Lamb…

(stay tuned)

The Widow and the bad Judge 10/20/19

Today’s reading from the Holy Scriptures tells of the unjust Judge. As the Parable goes there was a judge who answered only to himself, couldn’t give a rip about spiritual things and worst still did not care one hoot about or for the poor widow. Mosaic Law prescribed that the husband’s immediate family and the community of faith were primarily responsible for widows. This notion would not have been lost on Jesus’ audience that she had no one – family or faith community. The point is there was only one person on earth who could help her — the judge. The parable suggests that if even this notorious unjust Judge ended up giving the woman justice how much more would God the merciful do for those who keep asking. Remember that our God is God even of the unjust Judge and God can change the minds and attitudes of the unjust in our world.

The widow knew that this Judge was her only earthly hope, so she prattled on and on, daily waiting for the judge to arrive at his office in the morning, daily being the last face he saw as he left for his comfortable home in the evening. Her persistence in prayerfully dealing with the unjust Judge won in the end, he gave her justice. The point Jesus made was, “we must prayerfully persevere in dealing with the ungodly world and in the end we will come to know God’s justice.”

What a powerful word this is for us in a society that wants everything to come our way easily. At the first inkling of things not going our way we throw in the towel. We do not want to hear any other view but our own. We lock ourselves in silos and thus there is no cross fertilizing of ideas and actions, no holy conversations and God directed comprises. The result is that we grow progressively impoverished in character and spirituality. This is how it is in politics and this is how it is in the many church. The parable speaks loudly to us, it is time to prayerfully persevere.

Faith, patience, hope and openness be yours!

Ernest Belisle (Pastor)