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Showing posts from April, 2016

International Sunday is May Day!

Many years ago I participated in a May Day (May 1st) celebration that involved rising before dawn, putting flowers in my hair and going to a field to watch the sun rise while others participated in Morris dancing and decorated a May Pole.  It was an experience – one that I did not repeat as I still prefer sleeping in to sunrises.  The whole enterprise felt a bit pagan rather than Christian, but it was interesting to learn something about another culture/ancient tradition.
This May 1st at St. Barnabas we will celebrate our cultural diversity with our annual International Sunday.  It is an opportunity through worship and fellowship to share our commonality and celebrate our difference.  Although the colonialism of the British Empire has its short-comings, the Anglican religious tradition is shared throughout much of the world because of the work of many evangelists.  This shared ethos brings many of us from very diverse backgrounds together every week, being connected by a liturgy that…

The Advocate Cometh

While I am not one to rush the seasons, we have an opportunity this weekend to consider how to offer the work of the Holy Spirit (the gift of which we celebrate on Pentecost 3 ½ weeks from now). Specifically, I am referring to the work of advocacy.  When Jesus tells his follows about the gift of the Holy Spirt in John’s Gospel (14:16; 14:26), he talks about the Spirit as the “Advocate.”  It is a helpful moniker that defines in part what the Holy Spirit does, supporting and encouraging us, as well as interceding on our behalf (when we are following God’s will).
This Sunday we will welcome The Rev. Sara Lilja as our guest preacher at St. Barnabas.  Sara is the Director of LEAMNJ – the Lutheran Episcopal Advocacy Ministry of New Jersey.  This is a cooperative ministry between the Episcopal Dioceses of New Jersey and Newark, and the Lutheran Synod of New Jersey to advocate for peace and justice within our political system.  This is a non-partisan effort, using our biblical foundation and…

Keeping Easter Alive

As Deacon Cathy reminded us in her sermon on April 3rd (which was fantastic), Easter is a season of the Church, not just a day. In fact, at 50 days long, the Easter Season is more than four times longer than the Christmas Season, yet doesn’t get anywhere near the amount of press.  And in a culture where things become passé minutes after something is introduced, keeping enthusiasm and interest in something for almost two months can seem a bit daunting.
Fortunately, a friend and colleague of mine, The Rev. Laurie Brock, had the brilliant idea of starting a blog called “Fifty Days of Fabulous” (www.50days.org) to celebrate the Easter Season.  Each day a contributing writer offers a reflection on a reading (or picture).  Going one step further, the bloggers encourage readers to respond to what they have just read in order to enact their faith in their daily life and work – which is what we are called to be doing.  Here is the post from April 13th.
In connection to this, I also feel call…

Say "Yes!"

One of the “lesser feasts” of the Church is the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel announced to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she would bear the Christ child.  The Church remembers that event on March 25th, 9 months before the Church celebrates Christ’s birth on December 25th.  This year, March 25th happened to be Good Friday, which is why I completely forgot about this feast. Some who were more attuned than I gave thoughtful Good Friday sermons on Mary holding Christ’s body in various ways. Due to some liturgical gymnastics, this feast was “transferred” (a handy “churchy” term for moving a feast) to April 5th, hence why I remember it this week.
The Annunciation is an incredible moment of revelation and one that we should take note of each year.  After centuries of God breaking into human history with prophets to call the people of Israel into Covenant over and over again, it final becomes incumbent upon one young girl to offer herself in obedience to God’s call.  And she said, “Yes.”…