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We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.Worship with us
With today’s contest between St. Barbara and Thomas Ken (a.k.a. Barbie vs. Ken) we come the the end of the first round of Lent Madness. If you turned in a bracket, how our your saints doing? You can check your score against The Official Lent Madness Results.
On a recent Saturday someone found something in the church they didn’t expect.
This story starts with a call to the office from Tyson Wright, one of our parishioners. Tyson, among his many talents, is a Scholar of La Veradera Destreza - a style of Spanish sword fighting. He is preparing for his examination to become an Instructor de Armas, and needed somewhere to practice giving a lesson because his backyard was soggy from the recent rain storm. The church parish hall seemed like a good place – lots of space and high ceilings. We made the arrangements and that was that.
Well not quite. Read more
Lent is here, and it offers us the gift of a liturgical season without a secular celebration plunked on top of it. During Advent and Christmas we have to struggle to remember the church season as we walk in a world where Santa Claus and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer reign supreme. At Easter, the Resurrection competes with the Easter Bunny for attention. But during Lent, there is no secular rival. Lent truly belongs to the church.
On Ash Wednesday the presider at the liturgy invites the congregation to the observance of a holy Lent, “by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.” Lent is a solemn time, a time to strip away the excesses and the things that don’t matter and to focus our attention on what really does matter. For five and a half weeks, plus Holy Week, our task is to look at our own lives and to peel away those things that tend to get in between God and ourselves.
Selecting a Lenten observance can be helpful in doing this work, if we choose it carefully. If we decide simply to give up whatever it is that we give up every year, then our Lenten observance can become a chore, something that we resent and feel angry or annoyed about, and it can even drive us further away from God. Take care in deciding which observance will be right for you!
A Lenten observance should be something that you notice, that takes you out of your ordinary areas of comfort and complaisance. It should be something that helps you focus on God, on your relationship to God, and on God’s boundless love for you and for all creation. You could decide to read out of the Bible or another spiritual book, to set aside time for daily prayer or meditation, or to take on or give up some other practice or activity. You could also decide to do one or more bigger things, such as take a quiet day. One will be offered at All Saints by the Daughters of the King and our Deacon, Virginia McNeely, date and time to be announced. Perhaps you might benefit spiritually by using Lent to take special care of your physical health: schedule your annual physical, begin an exercise program, and/or modify your diet in healthy ways.
Whatever your choice is, it should lead you deeper into relationship with God. Perhaps the online community of Lent Madness and the hilarity of voting for saints does that for you. Perhaps attending soup suppers and the program at All Saints does it, or engaging with the Episcopal Relief and Development meditations. It is up to you.
Lent is a gift, given by God and the church to us. Let us use it to become closer to the One who created us. Blessings on your Lenten journey!
All Saints is a great place to be. We have a very active congregation that is involved in both church projects and community projects. We can give you many suggestions for how to use your gifts and abilities in both the parish and the community if you feel a calling to do more. See me if you would like some suggestions or a referral to someone exercising that ministry.
If you like to help to make our church and its rituals beautiful, you may be interested in joining the Altar Guild. You would learn the names of everything we use for the Eucharist and how to prepare them. You would also learn how to get wine and lipstick stains out of almost everything—a very helpful skill. And you could also learn how to arrange flowers! This opportunity is open to both men and women, and it is done on a bi-weekly schedule with a partner. See a clergyperson or Altar Guild member for more information. Read more
All Saints Episcopal Church
2076 Sutterville Road
Sacramento, California 95822
8:00 am Sunday Holy Eucharist, Rite II
9:15 am Sunday Adult Bible Study
10:00 am Sunday Holy Eucharist, Rite II
Nursery and Sunday School at the 10 am service.
All Saints Church is located across the street from Sacramento City College. Each semester we offer students the opportunity to purchase a pass to park in our parking lot Monday through Friday from 7:00 to 4:00. For more information see our parking pass information page.
Easter Vigil Homily, 2015
Tonight, as we move from darkness to light, from grief to joy, we continue the tradition of storytelling just as Jews are now celebrating the Passover by telling of the redemption from Egypt and just as the church has recounted the story of Christ’s passion during this week that we call holy.
But tonight’s story is far more expansive and certainly far longer than either of these. It is a story designed to locate us in history and then summon us into the heart of the risen Christ.
Tonight we begin far back, starting in darkness and emptiness that recollects both the void and the tomb.
We start with creation itself: “in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…..”
We tell of the flood when the “windows of the heavens opened…. And the rain fell on the earth for 40 days and 40 nights.”
We recall the Exodus, the parted seas, the miraculous walk on dry ground from slavery to freedom, the joyous song of Miriam.
We recount living waters and the assurance of homecoming and new hearts.
We remind ourselves that even the dry bones of those slain may be filled with the breath of God.
What a history this is and tonight we claim it is our own, stretching our arms wide to hold it all. How can we not yearn to enter in and to become even a small part of this amazing tale of sustaining love and redemption?
These marvelous readings look backward from this night, reminding us of who we are, of what is been given us, of what has been promised us, again and again.
But I would propose that there is another story and another context for tonight’s celebration: the story of our own lives. I also propose that most of us gathered here are less comfortable with the telling of our own story and much less certain that it belongs in the tradition of grace. At least in my case, the personal story is a bit more shabby, less filled with triumphant singing than with off key humming, less the tale of a new and living heart than stories of partly kept promises. My life, and perhaps yours, most often seems well outside the sweeping grandeur of Genesis and Isaiah.
But her at this table and especially on this night we each are welcomed as we are.
Lenten fasting, both kept and not kept. Come.
Prayers said and prayers left unsaid. Come.
Deeply faithful and deeply skeptical. Come.
Private penance and public posturing. Come.
Come as you are with gladness to this table.
Listen now to Mark’s good news to understand this welcome.
Unlike any of the other Gospels, Mark tells no story of Jesus resurrected, appearing, speaking, walking, touching, eating. His gospel telling of the resurrection, as he wrote it rather than others tried to complete it, is not tidy. It is not even inspiring in the usual sense. The failure of the crucifixion was not the only failure he had previously recounted. There was awful recurrent human failure as told by Mark: disciples arguing about who is greatest, failing to understand teachings, asleep rather than watching when it was watching asked of them, promising faithfulness and then denying three times over. And now, crucifixion and death. It is all too apparent that these chosen disciples fled the carnage of this awful death as just the tiny remnant remained at the foot of the cross.
And how does all this horror end and what is Mark’s Easter story: three women come to anoint the body of their beloved friend, finding the heavy stone rolled away from the empty tomb where there awaits one who offers the familiar injunction to set aside fear. Rather than fearing, they are simply to go and tell the story of this empty tomb and of its promise.
But they could not. Mark recounts no marvelous tale of resurrection transforming lives. His good news concludes with yet another human failure. The disciples had no doubt fled days before. And these faithful women did not do as they were told for they were afraid and they said nothing.
Cannot we, too, know ourselves in this telling of the good news to those who failed?
I think we understand the flight from Jerusalem, back to fishing nets and awaiting families. Do we not return from this night to our own often shabby and uncommitted lives, our own earnest but flawed attempts at discipleship?
But, even as they flee and fail, these women hear the lingering promise: “he is going ahead of you.”
And so too, we, are promised this. “He is going ahead of you.”
“He is going ahead of you…..”
The weight of history shifts on the fulcrum of this night, past story tilting into the promised future.
The intimate mystery that we name as God goes before us: goes into our life as Emmanuel, incarnated God with us.
And goes into our death as Christ, resurrected God with us.
Wherever we are, there is God. Whoever we are, there is God.
Christ is risen: welcome to this feast.
Sermon by the Rev. Betsey Monnot, Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015
Have you ever felt like you’re not really ready? I often do. And today, I’m not ready for Easter. The house is a mess, we haven’t dyed our Easter eggs yet, and I only just found the Easter baskets in the garage this morning. And spiritually? Let me confess to you that I abandoned most of my Lenten disciplines about halfway through Lent. I didn’t mean to. You know, things came up. And then it’s hard to get back into it. And I didn’t manage. And so, I’m not really ready.
But on the other hand, maybe we can never really be ready for the resurrection. And when we aren’t ready, we tend to wing it, gloss over it. It is easier to oversimplify, easier to stop paying attention to the things that trouble us, easier to focus on what we ourselves need rather than on the bigger picture. And so I wonder if that might be what is at the root of the story that I want to tell you.
Once upon a time, a long time ago, the youth group that I was part of went to see a Christian rock band perform. One of the songs that they sang, that I, as a somewhat drama-prone thirteen-year-old, found deeply moving, was “He’s Alive,” by Don Francisco, (you can look it up on YouTube if you want to hear it–it has also been recorded by Bill Gaither and Dolly Parton, not that I am recommending it). The song is essentially a telling of the gospel story that we just heard, from Peter’s point of view. It attempts to enter Peter’s emotional state: afraid of being arrested for being one of Jesus’ companions, shame at having denied him three times, confusion at seeing the tomb empty.
All that is reasonably accurate, as far as the gospel of John is concerned. It’s the next part of the song that departs from any known gospel account: Jesus appears to Peter Jesus makes it clear that he loves Peter, and finally the song ends with swelling chords to accompany the repeated refrain “He’s alive, He’s alive/ He’s alive and I’m forgiven/ heaven’s gates are open wide.” Over and over. Imagine this with the dramatic crescendo of an overly-synthesized small-time rock band from the early 1980s, and you’ll get the basic concept of the song as I experienced it.
So now let me tell you why I bothered to revisit this somewhat embarrassing memory with you. Read more
Fifth Sunday of Lent, March 22, 2015, Sermon by Dr. Jill Joseph
“The days are surely coming……”
On this, the last Sunday of Lent before Palm Sunday and Holy Week, the readings turn our attention to the ways in which we are invited into new life, new hope, and new intimacy with the One who calls us each by name. In the reading from Jeremiah, in the Psalm of David, and in the Gospel of John it seems to me that we are offered a vision of transition and invitation. Each provides an answer, and indeed a similar answer, to the Lenten questions about how we might change and find new life. Each reading maps the route from our current narrative, our current circumstances to the almost unimaginable abundance and grace of the intimate mystery we name as God.
As I pondered these readings I was reminded of an early and wonderful mistake I made as I began to re-learn old hymns several years ago. This week at the sharing that followed Thursday night’s Lenten Soup Supper I recollected how I joined in singing the majestic words “there’s a wideness in God’s mercy like a wideness of the sea..” Perhaps it was because I was raised by father in the Coast Guard, because I lived close to the ocean, because I even spent some of my early childhood in a lighthouse and therefore knew the sea at least a bit. Perhaps it was even because of my experience of God. But, for whatever reason, the words that I enthusiastically sang were Read more