- Visit Us
- Happening Now
- Contact Us
I once heard a band sing a song that included the line: “Don’t just do something, sit there!” These words jumped into my mind as I was thinking about the wonderful Centering Prayer time we are offering at All Saints now. On Tuesday mornings at 11:30, anyone who wishes gathers in a circle of chairs in the chancel. Our leader, Sally Smith (who leads several Centering Prayer groups and is very experienced in Centering Prayer), reads a brief spoken prayer and then rings a small gong three times, followed by the words: “Be still and know that I am God. Be still and know. Be still. Be.” Then, we sit there! We sit together in silence for twenty minutes, until the gong rings again to bring us gently back.
If you haven’t ever experienced this type of prayer, you may be wondering what we do during those twenty minutes. The answer is: nothing! We sit, with the intention of being in the presence of God, and when our minds wander (as they inevitably do) we gently bring them back to the intention of being in the presence of God.
It doesn’t sound like much, but this kind of prayer is a cornerstone of my own life of faith. I find that it changes me, that it opens me to God, and that I become aware of God’s presence.
I highly recommend experimenting with Centering Prayer, either by coming on a Tuesday morning or by sitting by yourself for twenty minutes, doing nothing but holding the intention of being in God’s presence. (Find more information about Centering Prayer here.) Centering Prayer has the potential to deepen your connection with God and to transform your spiritual journey. Give it a try!
Thoughts and updates from All Saints
First, the Easel –
The “Roots” of All Saints:
We are a truly welcoming community. Our circle expands to fit whoever comes. We care for and love one another. We honor doubt and strive for authenticity in our spiritual life together. Our liturgy and music is traditional and we take it seriously; at the same time we have fun with it and it is never stuffy.
One of the other signs says:
Becoming more deeply who we are as Episcopalians;
sharing who we are with the world.
The “roots,” you may remember, were something that the whole community commented on a couple of years ago (remember Betsey’s “trees”?). The rest of what is up there is the result of the work of last Fall’s vestry retreat.
What this amounts to is a discernment of who we are as a community, and a vision of who we will carry and build on this in the future. I’m reminding you all of this today because this is still the plan which the vestry and the clergy of All Saints are using as we move forward. Each decision that we make comes with this vision in mind. How does what we are doing or proposing to do fit in with the kind of community we are? And how does it further the mission of the church, which at the core is becoming more deeply disciples of Christ and inviting others to do the same?
We came to the conclusion that the best way we, the All Saints Community, could do this was to ground ourselves more deeply in the tradition we represent. We believe that the Episcopal way is a great avenue to Christ; and that the best way for us to fulfill on our call to ministry was to emphasize the strengths of that tradition in which we are already grounded. This means two things: first, that we recognize that our tradition has been ‘undersold,’ that it has much to offer the world but we’ve been too quiet about it; and second, that to do this, we have to begin by understanding it better ourselves. All this is why we are consciously making an effort to both explore and practice our tradition. That is why we have added a new worship opportunity on Tuesdays at Noon based on the Episcopal Daily Office; it is also why we are currently offering an “advanced bible” class on Sunday, not just to understand the Bible better, but to understand better the way our tradition offers us tools to understand what the Bible means to us. And of course, we’ll be doing more based on these principles going forward.
Above all of this, of course, is the root of what it means to be a Christian community. The goal is to understand better what it means to be disciples of Jesus, both so that we can be better disciples ourselves, and to offer an example of disciples to others in the wider community around us.
That’s what we’re doing. I just thought you’d like to know.
Ash Wednesday this year is February 14, and All Saints will offer two worship services, one at noon and the other at 7pm. Both services will include imposition of ashes and Eucharist. Childcare is available at the 7 pm service, and, as always, children are also welcome in worship.
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.
Sermon given November 26, 2017
Today, the last Sunday after Pentecost, and so the last Sunday before Advent begins, is known as “Christ the King.” I suppose that you can say that as the last Sunday of the Church year, it also represents the culmination, the end goal, the realization of the Kingdom of God. That is why we have so many parable about the Kingdom for the last few weeks, and why you can plausibly interpret many of them as being about the end times. I don’t necessarily think that it is best to limit our interpretation of these readings to something that predicts the future…we should have a broader notion of what Jesus is saying to us: a description that says to us what the point of all this is, where we are going, but also why we are going there, and what the first principles of following Jesus really are.
This Sunday, called “Christ the King” also isn’t just about glorifying Jesus. Yes, it says that Jesus is “King of Kings and Lord of Lords,” but that isn’t just something we say to say how great he is. It’s the nature of his kingship and lordship that is the question. It’s about why what it represents is what we should consider true greatness. But even more than that, it challenges us to consider what our response to that greatness ought to be, and what it means to be Jesus’ disciples.
This last week was a rough one for me and for many others, perhaps many of you listening to me today. I love this country very much. I appreciate that we have a Declaration of Independence that says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.