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Ten days ago, I sat by a campfire, wondering how I would answer my own question.
About thirteen of us were watching the smoke rise from the fire pit at the first-ever All Saints Parish Camp at our diocesan camp and conference center, Camp Noel Porter. We had eaten dinner and were chatting about this and that, and it was time to bring the group together and to introduce the theme of our time at camp. I read a Miwok creation story, and the group reflected on how it was similar to and different from the creation stories in Genesis. Then, as we were about to go to our tents, I invited everyone to speak a blessing or an intention for our time away from home, up at camp.
It is very easy to ask others to come up with a blessing or an intention for a time away, but I discovered that it was harder to think one up for myself. As I listened, I became aware that the circle would eventually get around to me, and that I would have to answer my own question. What would I say?
I went up to camp after a very intense week with some of the volunteer work that I do for Camellia Waldorf School, the school that my children attend. I had been on the phone, on email, and texting with school staff and volunteers every day, leading up to the culmination of the work we had been doing for months. I was ready to take a break and disconnect.
What I realized, when it was my turn to speak, was that I wanted more than just to disconnect. I also wanted to reconnect with things I had become disconnected from during the intense work I had been doing. I wanted to reconnect with my family, with the natural environment (so very beautiful up at Camp Noel Porter), and with God.
I wonder how often that feeling of wanting to “get away from it all” includes, hiding behind it, a desire to reconnect with those life-giving things that tend to fall by the wayside when life gets stressful. I would guess that this happens especially at transition times, such as moving from summertime to school time (which is often a transition time even for people who aren’t in school themselves!).
Take some time to pay attention to your feelings, especially when you are stressed. If you are feeling like getting away from things, ask yourself if there is anything that you want to move toward–silence, family, friends, God–and then, in addition to disconnecting from things that cause you stress, make the opportunity to reconnect with things that give you life.
The next meeting of Holy Wisdom Chapter will be Monday, September 14th, at 6:00 p.m.
We will gather at Norma Kohout’s home, 5994 Lake Crest Way, Apt. 3.
Our dear Norma is back home after suffering a major set-back following hip surgery. She was in ICU for a week. The chapter is very thankful that she is doing well with lots of prayer and good care.
The book we are reading and discussing during the meeting is “The Screwtape Letters”by C. S. Lewis.
For information about Holy Wisdom Chapter and The Order of Daughters of the King contact Carolyn Sutton at 916 395-4972 or Norma Kohout at email@example.com.
The Episcopal Church Women (ECW) are planning their first meeting after summer break. The meeting will be in the parish hall on the third Monday, September 21st, at 11 AM. Lunch will be served following the meeting. Pat Youmans is the incoming president. Please contact Pat or Carolyn Sutton if you have any questions.
The ECW Book Nook has become a fixture in the Parish Hall and is used by many in the church and many who visit our church. The books have been sorted recently and many donated to other groups in the community. New books are coming in regularly and are appreciated by all. Please consider sharing your books with others through the Book Nook. This is the only on-going fund raiser for ECW at this time and we hope to continue some outreach in the community as in the past. Hardback books are $2.00 and paperbacks are $1.00.
Get ready for the beginning of Sunday School! Well, actually Sunday School has been continuing all summer long, but on September 13th we will begin our school-year Sunday School pattern of three classes (ages 3-5, 6-8, 9-11). We use a lectionary-based curriculum that includes opportunities for creativity and prayer, and the children come into church so that the community is together for Eucharist. Registration is easy and can be on the same day that your child starts Sunday School See you in church!
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 by Dr. Jill Joseph, Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost ,September 27, 2015
Today we played in the collect, “Grant us the fullness of your grace that we, running to obtain your promises, may be partakers of your heavenly treasure.”
What a task it is to be human yet yearn for the grace of God, to yearn for God……Years ago, as a late adolescent, I heard the great Jewish rabbi and writer, Abraham Heschel, speak about exactly this as he pulled on his long white beard and shook his head sadly, saying something like:
“What a thing it is to be human. To be created because the Robbonem Shalelem, the Master of the Universe, gathered together dust of the earth and filled it with the breath of life, combining dirt and the spirit of God. What a mistake! Why didn’t he ask me what to do? Why not hold the wings of a butterfly and breathe into it? Or perhaps a ray of sunlight? But no, here we are, suspended forever between dirt and the breath of God.”
I propose that both the reading from the Book of Numbers and from Mark confront us with the mystery that is our human frailty and therefore invite us to ponder our relationship to the God for whose grace we yearn. In this week’s readings we are given opportunities to reflect on what it is to be human and on the nature of our intimate relationship to one we call “God”.
As for ourselves, dust of the earth and breath of God, the picture is pretty clear. We are too often just a mess.
Listen to the Book of Numbers. Rescue us from slavery, miraculously bring us dry and safe through what would have been a watery grave, cast down armed fighters riding chariots that pursue our helpless families, promise a new land, bring forth food in a barren desert and what do we do? We crave what we left behind and do not have. Remember that grilled fish flavored with leeks and onions and garlic, and the heirloom cucumbers and the sweet late-summer melons and how about Read more
Sermon by the Rev. Betsey Monnot, 9/20/15
Jesus brought a little child into the group of grown-up disciples, who had just been arguing about which one of them was the greatest. Then he took the child in his arms and said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”
It really is that simple. The one who welcomes even a single child in the name of Christ, that one welcomes Christ himself, and thereby welcomes God. Which is, after all, what we’re here for today. We are here seeking God, hoping to find God in our experience here at church. And we have many opportunities when we come to church–we encounter God in the readings from God’s Holy Word, in the beauty of the music or the building we find ourselves in, or in the prayers. We encounter God as we take Christ’s Body and Blood into our own bodies when we eat the bread and drink the wine at Communion. We encounter God in the children of our church, and in each other, both when we share the peace of the Lord and afterward, when we socialize at coffee hour.
All that happens on any ordinary Sunday. But today, we have an extra opportunity to encounter God, and it is as we witness and join in the blessing of the marriage of Tessa and Brandon Scott. In bearing witness to the love that has grown between Tessa and Brandon, and in hearing the promises that they make today, we ourselves take part in the work of the Holy Spirit that has brought them together, and we offer them our help and support as they move forward in their life together. Tessa and Brandon have already welcomed one another’s children, as Jesus suggests to his disciples. They have already made a family together in that spirit of welcome, and in doing so, they have welcomed Jesus, just as Jesus said they would.
Most wedding sermons that we hear are chiefly concerned with matters of marriage, of the life that the couple is embarking on together, of the witness that their marriage bears to the rest of the community, and of the duty of the community to uphold the new couple in their marriage. But today is Read more
Sermon by the Rev. Betsey Monnot 8/23/15
One day, back before I went to seminary, a friend and I were in a store on Newbury Street in Boston. This particular store specialized in selling gargoyles–statues modeled after gargoyles from cathedrals in Europe. They were cool, but too expensive for either of us, and we were going to leave without making a purchase. But then, as we were going past the cashier’s stand, I saw a rack with crosses hanging from it.
Now, being about to go off to seminary, the crosses caught my attention. They were the type made out of old nails–in this case, old iron nails probably salvaged from an old New England home–or else possibly modern reproductions of old nails, forged for the purpose of making crosses out of them.
Either way, I decided that I wanted one, and they were much less expensive than the gargoyle statues. I showed the cashier my cross and handed over my money, and he said “Ah, yes. That symbolizes the triumph of the spiritual over the physical.”
I simply smiled and took my change and my cross out onto the street. Then I turned to my very understanding, non-seminary-bound friend, and threw a fit.
Well, it was a reasonable fit, not really loud or anything–perhaps better described as a passionate explanation of why the cashier was totally wrong.
The thing is: it is so easy to see the resurrection as a triumph of the spiritual over the physical, if you don’t understand it very well. Jesus died on the cross, but then he rose! So that means that God is more powerful than death, the spiritual triumphs over the physical.
But no, not really. Not quite. Remember that after Jesus rose from the dead, he still had the nail-holes in his hands and feet, and the spear-hole in his side. The physical reality of his death was still with him, even after he rose. The resurrection was not the triumph of the spiritual over the physical, it was the triumph of life over death.
Jesus, after all, was a very physical guy. We have been hearing evidence of his physicality for the last several weeks as we’ve been reading through the Gospel of John in church. Jesus feeds five thousand people, well, more than that really, because it was five thousand men plus also women and children, on only five loaves and two fish. Eating is certainly a physical process that everyone, including Jesus, engages in. And then we’ve heard over and over about Jesus being the bread from heaven, that whoever eats this bread will live forever.
In fact, in the Greek, the word that is translated “eat” in today’s Gospel passage is actually better translated “chew,” Read more