Posts

Blessed Martin

January 15, 2019 would have been Martin Luther King’s 90th birthday.It seems strange to think of such an icon as an old man, especially because he was killed before he was 40 years old. The irony is that his martyrdom made his legacy even more indelible than if he had lived a long life. What we missed was what else he could have accomplished, which I am sure is a great loss. There is a song in the Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing hymnal that we as a congregation haven’t sung (to my recollection) about Dr. King.It is number 46 and I encourage you to look at all the words, but here is a sample: Holy God, you raise up prophets; Praise and honor do we sing, For your faithful, humble servant, Doctor Martin Luther King.
Refrain Blessed Martin, pastor, prophet you the mountaintop did see; Blessed Martin, holy martyr: Pray that we may all be free.
Champion of oppressed humanity Suff’ring throughout all the world; He offered pride and dignity Let Christ’s banner be unfurled! Refrain
Words: Harold T. Lewi…

The Incarnation Season

Some liturgists view the Church seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany as a unit, inviting the faithful into a deeper understanding of Emmanuel, “God with us.” It is a surprising and awe-inspiring event that God chooses to limit God’s self and live as one of us, a mortal being. The season of Advent allows us both time and space to remind ourselves of what the world was like before Jesus was born.We also walk with the faithful (Mary!) and not so faithful (Zachariah!) as they struggle to understand and respond to the Spirit’s work in their lives. We celebrate the miracle of the “Word made flesh” during the Christmas season.Unfortunately, reflections on the incarnation can be overshadowed by our secular observances, vacations and other distractions.It is important to take some time to reflect on this wondrous event and how it affected everything in our world forever. The Season after the Epiphany varies in length depending on the date of Easter.We are blessed that this year that we g…

A Morning Resolve

Image
I came across this wonderful prayer that is both a great way to develop holy habits and re-dedicating ourselves – everyday! – to be a faithful disciple of Christ.As we begin 2019, I offer this as a way to frame our personal and communal lives.I pray that this year will deepen our love of God and each other. In Christ, Rev. Valerie+



'Twas a week before Christmas (an oldie, but goodie)

‘Twas a week before Christmas and all through the land The Church reminded us that the Savior’s birth was at hand. The season is not about the perfection of glitter But about a loving God who would not leave us bitter. And so God sent us his Son wrapped up like a present In the garb of our mortality, the human flesh of a peasant. The cookies may not be made, the decorations may not be hung, The cards may not be sent, the lights may not be strung. Yet let us all make the true preparations for the coming of our Savior And open our hearts and lives to the Lord’s loving favor. No more precious gift has ever been received. It is up to us to remind the world what we truly believe. Not in jolly old elves, talking snowmen or reindeer in flight But in God, who loves us with all of his might. So stop for a moment and take a deep breath, As we await the Christ, the true conqueror of death. Let go of the need to fulfill a secular call to perfection And allow Jesus’ sacred will to become our motivation. To praise …

Advent Wreath

A couple of weeks ago I as asked about the “meaning” of the candles on the Advent Wreath.  As with most symbols, the question has several different responses. As a whole, the candles help us mark time by offering us a visual reminder of time passing as the candles burn down.  Also, as each week passes and more candles are lit, the entire wreath offers more light, reminding us that Christ is the Light of the World – a light that burn brighter the more it is shared.
Each week of Advent has a theme that is connected to the readings appointed for that Sunday. The first Sunday is hope,“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, God’s mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in the Lord.” Lamentations 3: 21-24 If you are familiar with the Book of Lamentations, it is not known to be very hopeful, so it is an interesting theological…

Advent Word

Rather than go through a litany of Advent resources for you this year, I am focusing on one – Advent Word (www.Adventword.org or www.facebook.com/StBarnabas-sbnj.org), which Steve Welch mentioned during announcements last Sunday.  For the 24 days of Advent this year, there is one word offered to reflect upon as we prepare our hearts and minds for Christ’s coming.  So far the words offered have been: Journey, Focus, Watch, Night.  Many people are posting their reflections on these words.  You can find them by searching on #Journey, #Watch, etc., or just spend 5 minutes on your own and consider that word for yourself.  

Today (December 5th) would have been my maternal grandmother’s 105th birthday.I never knew my paternal grandmother, so my mom’s mom was the example I had of a what a grandmother was.She was a petite woman who suffered a stroke before I was born.She seemed perfectly normal to me, but I was told her sparkle was about 93% of what it was before she had a stroke.As a grandmot…

Structure – Globally and Locally

I just returned from Baltimore, MD, where I attended a meeting for The Episcopal Church’s Standing Commission on Governance, Structure, Constitution and Canons. If you haven’t fallen asleep or clicked on another page, thank you.  Yes, the topic seems dry, perhaps even boring, and yet I am invigorated by the conversations we had and hopeful that what this group is engaged in will indeed support the work of the Spirit in every congregation.
Structure is a helpful as it makes our common life have order.Jesus organized his ministry with 12 apostles and the sending out of least 70 others in pairs. He established a pattern of repentance (turn), study, prayer, worship, support, work and rest that calls his followers into a deeper relationship with God as our foundation and source of well-being.
Over the last two centuries, the Church has continued to develop structures, most of which are to support its ministry of reconciliation.And yet, as society changes, so to must the Church, which does…