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Salem. Shalom. Salaam. Peace.

Lent 2 CMarch 17, 2019
Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18 Ps. 27 Philippians 3:17-4:1 Luke 13:22-35
Religious wars were raging. Blood was running in the streets. A 25-year-old woman had just become queen, following the 5-year rule of her sister – and during those five years the new queen had lived with constant uncertainty: would her sister have her arrested and killed, or could she live in peace?

This is how Elizabeth I begins her reign as the Queen of England in 1558. If you think the political upheavals of today are shocking and destabilizing, England in the 16th century gives us a precedent.

And I bring this up today because the Episcopal Church – as part of the Anglican Church – began during this very time of religious violence and bloodshed, of fear and uncertainty. We are still influenced by what Queen Elizabeth and her advisors did to stabilize the English nation and to create the English church. And the ruler who came after her, King James, made sure we could read the Bible – the very word o…
Recent posts

The Bible begins in a garden and ends in a city, but in between is the desert

The First Sunday in Lent     March 10, 2019   Grace Church             Deuteronomy 26:1-11
Ps. 91Romans 10:8b-13Luke 4:1-13

The Bible begins in a garden – in Genesis – and ends in a city – The Book of Revelation, which talks about the City of God – but in between is a desert. And so today we begin Lent in the middle: in the desert. What is it about this story of Jesus in the desert a story about the origins of the Christian faith? Why is this desert experience essential to what it means to be a Christian?
I’m going to use the Sunday lessons during Lent to give us all a little refresher in Church History: in the story of where this Christian religion came from, and so maybe give each of us a clue about our place in this great stream of devotion and piety and hope and courage, and where we might be headed. One early image of the church is a boat filled with voyagers. The idea of Christian community as a little boat of fellow travelers bobbing along is charming, but isn’t it also a picture o…

Put out into the deep water, Jesus said.

Epiphany 5-C -- Feb. 10, 2019 Ps. 138 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 Luke 5:1-11Put out into the deep water? Much easier said than done. Simon and his fishing buddies are professionals. They know the risks of the deep water. They know where the fish are, and they aren’t there. They fished all night and caught nothing, before Jesus walks onto the beach. Jesus is teaching lots of people, and in order to enable more people to hear him, he hires Simon’s boat and floats off shore a distance while he finishes his lesson. The text doesn’t tell us whether Simon and the other fishermen were listening. It’s likely they were sleeping after working all night. Some biblical scholars suggest that the waters of the Sea of Galilee, or Lake Gennesaret, as Luke calls it, were overfished. It’s not unlike the strains we put on the fish populations in our waters today. The Romans had developed new culinary techniques to preserve fish in salt, which created a market in far-off Palestine. The demand for fancy fish for t…

Sunday, Jan. 27: Everyone has a gift

When you show up at Grace Church this Sunday, come to the parish hall. Our whole service will take place there, as we engage in some reflection and planning.

Think about it: when you see this glass, is it half-empty or half-full?

That is kind of a cliche, I know, but well-worn sayings contain truths we often overlook.

In a small congregation like Grace Church, we often see more emptiness than fullness, what we lack rather that what blessings we hold.

This Sunday, we will begin a conversation to turn that process around.

Think about it: Everyone has a gift. Every child, every seasoned veteran of community life, every working person, every butcher, baker and candle-stick maker: everyone has a gift. Want to get started? Here is a short questionnaire to get you thinking.

In a thriving community, each person gives that gift. We name those gifts, we connect them with other gifts, and together we build a compelling vision for the future.

Look at that glass again. It is half-full of gifts, as…

A Personal Asset Starter

A Personal Asset Starter
To begin with, you have basic assets. The physical objects you hold dear. Your own talents and skills, your family or friends, the groups you belong to or your economic assets; what you spend or save or sell. Let’s start with those. Fill out this personal asset starter and see what comes to mind. This is just a first glance of assets you are most aware of. Write down whatever to your mind.
Begin With Basic Assets ·What is your cup half full of? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ·What do you have to be thankful for? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Physical Assets ·What are some physical thing…

Confidence: the wine won't run out

Given the impending SNOW STORM for Sunday, January 20, I am posting the sermon I would have preached. The story of Jesus turning water into wine at the marriage party in Cana is just TOO GOOD a story to pass by.

BE SURE YOU ARE IN CHURCH NEXT SUNDAY: January 27. In preparation for our community-wide conversation, think about this:

What is God's will for Grace Church?What do we bring to Grace Church?What is God calling us to be and to do here?This is the party where the food is terrific and the company is scintillating and the wine never runs out. This is the grace and truth of God.
Epiphany 2-C Isaiah 62:1-5 Ps. 36:5-10 1 Corinthians 12:1-11
John 2:1-11
You have been invited to a wedding. It’s kind of far away, in a not very interesting place. The family are dear friends of your family, but they are not very well off, and you suspect that it will be a not-so-grand wedding. It will be fun, and loving, and festive. So you go to this out of the way place, for this humble yet elaborate cere…

New Year

Is TIME progress? Does it go in a circle? If there is a beginning, is there also an end?

In the Bible -- both the Hebrew scriptures of the "Old Testament" and the Greek of the "New" -- God acts in history -- salvation history, theologians call it. There is a beginning: Genesis, the beginning of creation, the beginning of time as the Jewish community remembers it.

The Gospel of John echoes that beginning as it tells its version of the birth of Jesus: a beginning as an explosion of light, a smashing embodiment of God's creative love and power. The Word was with God and was God.

This beginning is ongoing. God's creation continues to develop, grow, change. With the birth of Jesus, God re-partners with humanity in this very act of growth and change. With the birth of Jesus, God takes us by the hand. The light shines in the darkness. With God, we can continue the work of creation, continue to help this whole world become the world God created it to be.

Meet us at Gra…