1. The Letter
Interfaith Power and Light is partnering with the Laudato Si’ movement to bring the documentary film about climate change, “The Letter,” to congregations this summer.
The Letter tells story of the Laudato Si’ environmanals encyclical letter by Pope Francis issued in 2015, through the eyes from frontline leaders battling the ecological crisis across continents. Laudato Si means “Praise be to you” which is the first line of a canticle by St. Francis that praises God with all of his creation.
Featured in the film are a variety of speakers on the topic: Arouna Kandé, a climate refugee in Senegal; Cacique Dadá, an environmental defender and leader of the Maró Indigenous territory in the Brazilian Amazon; Ridhima Pandey, a youth climate activist from India; and Greg Asner and Robin Martin, biologists studying coral reefs in Hawaii.
The film features exclusive footage from their encounter with Pope Francis, alongside the personal stories and scientific findings throughout the documentary.
A Pentecost that can’t be duplicated – 180th anniversary as well as Pentecost, a church altarpiece under construction, new hangings in the church plus 3 priests on hand.
1. Hymn – “Glorious things of thee are spoken”
2. Gospel – Woman at the Well
4. Prayers of the People
5. Offertory – “Jesus met the woman at the well” – Larry Saylor, guitar.
6. Concluding Prayer
7. Hymn “Guide me O thou great Jehovah”
St. Patrick, apostle of Ireland, was born in England, circa 386. Surprisingly, he was not raised with a strong emphasis on religion.
When St. Patrick was 16 years old, he was captured by Irish pirates and brought to Ireland where he was sold into slavery. His job was to tend sheep. He came to view his enslavement of six years as God’s test of his faith, during which he became deeply devoted to Christianity through constant prayer. In a vision, he saw the children of Pagan Ireland reaching out their hands to him, which only increased his determination to free the Irish from Druidism by converting them to Christianity.
The idea of escaping enslavement came to St. Patrick in a dream, where a voice promised him he would find his way home to England. Eager to see the dream materialize, St. Patrick convinced some sailors to let him board their ship. After three days of sailing, he and the crew abandoned the ship in France and wandered, lost, for 28 days—covering 200 miles of territory in the process. At last, St. Patrick was reunited with his family in England.
Now a free man, he went to France where he studied and entered the priesthood. He never lost sight of his vision: he was determined to convert Ireland to Christianity. In 431, St. Patrick was Consecrated Bishop of the Irish, and went to Ireland to spread “The Good News” to the Pagans there. Patrick made his headquarters at Armagh in the North, where he built a school, and had the protection of the local monarch. From this base he made extensive missionary journeys, with considerable success.
To say that he single-handedly turned Ireland from a pagan to a Christian country is an exaggeration, but is not far from the truth. He baptized thousands and ordained many priests to lead new communities of Christians. His explanations of God was so simple that he was criticized during his lifetime for his lack of learning. However, he was known for his passion and zeal.
“Patrick was really a first—the first missionary to barbarians beyond the reach of Roman law,” Thomas Cahill writes in How the Irish Saved Civilization. “The step he took was in its way as bold as Columbus’s, and a thousand times more humane.”
Through preaching, writing and performing countless baptisms, he convinced Pagan Druids that they were worshiping idols under a belief system that kept them enslaved. By accepting Christianity, he told them, they would be elevated to “the people of the Lord and the sons of God.”
Patrick is said to have used the shamrock to explain the Trinity, demonstrating that God is both three (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), yet one, as the shamrock is both three-leafed, yet a single plant. While no hard data proves that Patrick actually went around teaching via plant life, it was a brilliant move if he did. Shamrocks were sacred plants for the Druids, symbolizing eternal life. There is a consistent record of Celtic Christianity’s reinterpreting the culture into Christian forms, and this is a profound example of that.
St. Patrick died in 461 in Saul, Ireland. Though he was never formally canonized by a pope, St. Patrick is on the List of Saints, and was declared a Saint in Heaven by many Catholic churches.
The Episcopal Church annually honors St. Patrick with the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, the date of his death, which falls during the Christian season of Lent.
This is a central hub for Lent articles and activities . https://churchsp.org/lentatstpeters2023
Feb 2 – The Presentation and Candlemas
“Today is a day of purification, renewal, and hope.”
The Presentation of our Lord commemorates when Mary and Joseph brought the infant Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem where he was greeted by Simeon and Anna. By the Law every first born male was to be consecrated to the Lord.” This happened 40 days after his birth at Christmas.
It is a feast day though it does not often fall on a Sunday. Candlemas occurs at a period between the December solstice and the March equinox, so many people traditionally marked that time of the year as winter’s “halfway point” while waiting for the spring.
Candlemas is actually a very old feast, celebrated by both the churches of the East and the West, and in some places it is on this day that the creche is finally removed from the church. The passage from The words in this scripture are often part of Compline
According to some sources, Christians began Candlemas in Jerusalem as early as the fourth century and the lighting of candles began in the fifth century. Other sources say that Candlemas was observed by blessing candles since the 11th century. An early writing dating back to around 380 CE mentioned that a feast of the Presentation occurred in a church in Jerusalem. It was observed on February 14. The feast was observed on February 2 in regions where Christ’s birth was celebrated on December 25. It is also Groundhog Day in the United States and Canada on February 2.
Candles are blessed on this day (hence the name “Candlemas”). It was the day of the year when all the candles, that were used in the church during the coming year, were brought into church and a blessing was said over them – so it was the Festival Day (or ‘mass’) of the Candles. Candles were important in those days not only because there was no electric lights. Some people thought they gave protection against plague and illness and famine. For Christians, they were (and still are) a reminder of something even more important. Before Jesus came to earth, it was as if everyone was ‘in the dark’.
Pieces of these candles are considered of great efficacy in sickness, or otherwise. When a person is dying, a piece is put in his hand lighted, and thus he passes away in the belief that it may light him to Paradise.
Christmas , December 25, 2022
Explore Christmas Eve– A study of the scriptures, art and the meaning of the Christmas Scriptures.
Explore the Art of the Nativity How the Nativity has been viewed by artists
Rediscovering the love of God this Christmas- a one minute video from the Acts8Movement of the Episcopal Church
Unlikely Christmas Carols: Bruce Cockburn’s “Cry Of A Tiny Baby”
A post from teacher and theologian David Lose: “So maybe I shouldn’t describe this Christmas carol as “unlikely” in that Bruce Cockburn has explored the Christian story and theology, along with issues of human rights, throughout his forty-year career. But it may very well be unfamiliar to you. If so, you’re in for a treat, as the Canadian folk and rock guitarist, singer-songwriter’s beautiful retelling of the Christmas story blends elements of both Luke’s tender narrative of the in-breaking good news of God to the least likely of recipients – a teenage girl, her confused fiancee, down-and-out shepherds – with Matthew’s starkly realistic picture of a baby that threatens kings by his mere existence.
Here’s the link to a video with the words .
For more David Lose writing about the Christmas Eve and Christmas readings, check out the “Christmas sermon I need to hear.”
“Space in the Manger”
by Meghan Cotter. Meghan is executive director of Micah Ecumenical Ministries, a faith-based nonprofit that offers holistic care to the community’s street homeless
“Some time back, I watched a friend in need attempt to repair five years worth of disintegrating relationships. The library, a local gymnasium, a number of area businesses and even her family had cut off ties in response to her boisterously disruptive behavior.
” She’d picked up criminal charges—a few nuisance violations, a trespassing or two and an assault on an officer. At times, even the agencies trying to help her had been left with little choice than dismissing her from their facilities. But the more the community isolated her, the more volatile became her symptoms. She grew angrier and louder. Her self-appointment as the spokesperson for her homeless peers turned radical, even threatening. Feeling ignored and stripped of personhood, she waltzed into a church one Sunday, intent on being heard. Just in time for the sermon she rose from the congregation, rolled out a sleeping bag and unleashed a number of choice words to convey the plight of Fredericksburg’s homeless.
” The following morning, the church pastor faced a critical decision. In the interest of safety for his congregation, he too considered banning her from his church building. Instead, he made up his mind to find a way to help this woman. By the end of the week, she was hospitalized and taking medications. Within the month she had stepped down to Micah’s respite home, which cares for homeless individuals when they are discharged from the hospital. She realized how sick she really was, and a new person emerged before our eyes. She reunited with family, paid off fines, regained her driver’s license, became remarkably motivated to comply with doctor’s appointments. She set goals—seeking disability, but only temporarily, going back to school, earning a nursing degree and finding a way to productively address the needs of the community’s homeless.
“Christmas on the Edge” – Malcolm Guite
Christmas sets the centre on the edge; The edge of town, the outhouse of the inn, The fringe of empire, far from privilege And power, on the edge and outer spin Of turning worlds, a margin of small stars That edge a galaxy itself light years From some unguessed at cosmic origin. Christmas sets the centre at the edge.
And from this day our world is re-aligned A tiny seed unfolding in the womb Becomes the source from which we all unfold And flower into being. We are healed, The end begins, the tomb becomes a womb, For now in him all things are re-aligned.
Alexander Shaia – “Solstice, Shepherds & Your Animal Spirit”
Alexander Shaia is the author of Heart and Mind: The Four-Gospel Journey for Radical Transformation. A number of years we read the book together in Christian ed.
In this video he is talking about the shepherds in Luke’s Gospel. The video starts at the 2:42 mark to get to his main message:
You can read portions of the transcribed text here
“The text is really primarily about your life whenever your life is in the deepest night, when your life is in the deepest dark.”
“The Beauty of the Shepherds story in Luke is that it tells about the journey we make hearing deep in the night of our life an angel announce that there is a birth but that we have make a journey through the night to the dawn where we will see with our own eyes that fresh radiance born before us.”
A Christmas Message from Bishop Goff – “Where is this stupendous stranger?”
“So I invite us all to a spiritual discipline in this holy season and that is to spend ome time with someone you don’t ordinarily engage…maybe someone of a different generation either much older or much younger than you or someone of a different race or ethnicity, a different culture or religion, a different economic circumstance.
“Have a cup of coffee together or a meal together, talk and listen deeply. Look for the face of Christ in that person. Because as we come to really know a stranger in our midst we welcome Christ who was himself a stranger and we find surprising connections that we never imagined with other natives of this world God made.
Christmas Eve , December 24, 1968, at the Moon with Apollo 8
53 years ago on Christmas Eve we witnessed the moving reading of the first 10 verses of Genesis for the largest audience up to that time. They were told to something appropriate. The astronauts have reflected on the event. A newspaper friend of Borman tried to think of what to say and he could come up with nothing after a night’s work. His wife said (raised in convent in France) suggested, “Why don’t you start in the beginning” He said “Where?”. She said “Genesis in the Bible.” They reflected later – “Why didn’t we think of that.” Borman explained they tried to convey not happen stance but power behind world and behind life gave it meaning. As he later explained, “I had an enormous feeling that there had to be a power greater than any of us-that there was a God, that there was indeed a beginning.”
The full story is here