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Will you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD? Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?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.
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
Lent 4, March 15, 2015
Numbers 21: 4-9
Ephesians 2: 1-10
John 3: 14-21
It’s a strange pairing of stories, don’t you think?
First, there’s the episode from the Book of Numbers: the Israelites are (once again) grumbling ungratefully in the wilderness and are punished, this time with poisonous snakes. Then they’re sorry, so they are given a cure: an image of a snake on a pole, that cures snakebites when they look at it. Second, there’s the Gospel, where Jesus refers to the first story in such a way that we rather obviously are going to draw a comparison to the crucifixion: “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”
There’s a lot of commentary on this – centuries of it, as you might expect. And of course, it fits in with Lent, repentance, and all that. But all of this makes it harder, I think, to see the essential strangeness of the two stories as well as the strange way they are thrown together. The strangeness comes, I think, partly from the idea that looking at the image of a serpent is what heals the serpent’s sting. But more, Read more
When we think about Jesus’ behavior in this scene, I mean, really think about it and picture it, we have to be shocked. This is not the gentle Jesus who tells his disciples to let the little children come to him. This is not the kind Jesus who is moved when people are mourning and responds by healing the sick or raising their dead loved ones. This is not even the wily Jesus who sets logical verbal traps for the Pharisees and Sadducees when they come to debate him.
Instead, this is a scene worthy of an Old Testament prophet: Jesus makes a whip of cords (no sticks or weapons were allowed on the temple grounds, so he had to make it out of whatever he could find handy–in this case, it may have been the rushes that were used as bedding for the animals). He uses this whip, and I hope that I’m not the only one who has an Indiana Jones image in my mind right now, and with it he drives out the sheep and cattle as well as the merchants who were selling them. He pours out the coins of the money changers and knocks over their tables. He appears to be a little nicer to the merchants who were selling doves, merely telling them “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!”
Now, to us it may sound weird that there were animals and money changers in the temple in the first place. We wouldn’t have people buying and selling things here in our pews, after all, so what was going on?
It turns out that this scene takes place in what was called the Court of the Gentiles. This was the outermost court of the temple, which was huge, and was open to anyone who wanted to visit. You had to be Jewish to get further into the temple, and you had to be male to get past what was called the Court of Women. Anyway, the Court of the Gentiles had long been used as a place where Read more