I thank Tiffany Myers for her diligence in offering a daily reflection from #adventword, a ministry of Virginia Theological Seminary.The practice is meant to be thought provoking as we continue on our Advent journey and prepare ourselves for the welcoming the Christ child.
This got me thinking about some other words, like Messiah.It is one of those “churchy” words that we use thinking everyone knows what we mean by it, but perhaps not. It is the transliterated English word for the Hebrew term meaning “anointed one.”It is the term used in the Hebrew Scriptures to describe David after he was anointed by Samuel to replace Saul as King of Israel. Through God’s selection of David and directing Samuel to anoint him with oil, David became the Messiah.
The term “Christ” is the Greek translation of the Hebrew term for Messiah, and hence why we call Jesus the Christ, as Christians believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the anointed one of God to be the Savior of the world. The Gospel of Matthew sta…

Happy Program Year!

This time of year is always full of activity with many of us returning to “regular” work or school schedules.Hopefully the summer was full of time for relaxing and perhaps and an adventure or two.Now we find a pattern of life that makes time for all of the things we want to do, including seeking God’s presence!I pray that the time made for nurturing the Spirit will be beneficially in all the other parts of our busy lives.And just like sports, school or a vocation, we only get good at it if we PRACTICE!
What are your HOLY HABITS?
Prayer – Taking time to pray, even for 5 minutes a day, has been shown to reduce stress and focus our minds.It is the best time to get to know God, which requires us to listen as well as list all the things we want/need.“Be still and know that I am God,” the Psalmist wrote.As we get back to all our busyness, make sure to also make time to BREATHE!
Worship – It is important to gather with the larger community and offer our public witness to God’s presence in our…

Teach Them How to Say Goodbye

I love the musical “Hamilton.”  Like Stephen Sondheim, Lin-Manuel Miranda was able to tell an intricate, interesting story using rhyme, alliteration and witty turns of phrase.  Not only does the story re-introduce a pivotal person from the American Revolution, but it also does so in a “catchy” way that allows the listener to remember what was said and the lessons learned from the adventures and misadventures.
Alexander Hamilton was himself a brilliant writer, which George Washington recognized and used for his own benefit, both when he served as a General and as our first President. In the musical, there is a song dedicated to the critical juncture of when Washington wanted to step away from being President and hand that power and authority over to the next elected person. Doing this well was vitally important for this new country and form of government because it had never been done before!Hamilton didn’t want Washington to leave, but Washington was insistent.The song “One Last Time…

God be with you, Deacon Cathy

The ministry of the deaconate is a labor of love.  Most deacons are not compensated much for the ministry they offer both in and out of the Church.  Their directive is, “to bring the World to the Church and the Church to the World,” being that vital bridge between the cares and concerns of the world and the (sometimes inward looking) Church.  I have been blessed in my vocation to share the ministry with several dynamic deacons, including The Rev. Cathy Brunson.
Deacon Cathy has faithfully served St. Barnabas for over 10 years, serving during the transition of The Rev. Frank Hubbard to me.It is pro forma for a deacon to take a sabbatical after a new priest arrives to give her a bit of pastoral space with the congregation.After meeting Cathy and learning about her ministry, I knew I wanted to work with her, and was delighted she decided to return to St. Barnabas after a brief respite in 2011.
We have all benefited from Deacon Cathy’s dedication to Recovery Ministries, both at the pari…

Praying with Icons

First, I wish you all a Belated St. Barnabas Day!  Our Patron Saint’s Feast Day is June 11th, and this year it fell between 2 major Sunday Feasts – Pentecost and Trinity Sunday – so we could not transfer our commemoration to the closest Sunday like we usually do.  However, we do give thanks for the life and example of Barnabas, who ENCOURAGES us to give abundantly of ourselves in our life in Christ.   
On Pentecost, I offered the teaser that my blog this week would be help you understand my sermon on Trinity Sunday more deeply.  In an effort to offer the congregation an internalized spiritual experience, the sermon will be a meditation on the icon of “The Trinity”, written by Andrei Rublev. Yes, icons are “written” rather than “painted.”  As PBS anchor, Bob Abernathy, states, “In the Orthodox Christian tradition, icons are said to be written, not painted. The Orthodox consider making icons more a form of prayer than art, and they believe the iconographer’s hand is guided by God.” There …

Whitsunday (Pardon me, your Anglicanism is showing.)

I make a big deal about Pentecost and encourage everyone to wear red on the day the Church commemorates the arrival of the Holy Spirit. The color red symbolizes the tongues of fire that appeared over the heads of the believers in Jerusalem on that Pentecost morning. This tradition flows from Scripture and makes sense to our modern sensibilities, but this was not always the tradition.
Dating back to the 13th century, white was the color most associated with Pentecost as it was traditionally a day for people to be baptized (that is still true).  Those that were to be baptized usually wore white clothing to symbolize their cleansing from sin, so the day was known as “White Sunday.”  It appears that other members of the congregation also wore white, perhaps in solidarity, to reflect their own washing away of sin.  And culturally at that time, red was considered vulgar, only worn by those of ill repute.
As with many old English terms (i.e. “God’s Friday” became “Good Friday”), “White Sund…

Physics and the Ascension

“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send [her] to you.” John 16:7
Recently, I had to do some minor home repairs and I thought about how convenient it would be to be able to reach through a door in order to adjust a knob as my body could not contort in the way it needed to be able to see what I was doing.Regardless of what marvels appear in movies (through the power of CGI and other special effects), the laws of physics still rule our world and the simple truth is two objects cannot occupy the same space (at least not in this dimension!).
You might ask what such musing have to do with Jesus’s ascension into heaven – and the truth is that physics plays a very important role in this situation.Jesus in any bodily form (resurrected or otherwise), could not be in more than one place at one time.He was still bound by the laws of physics, as he attempted to explain to his d…