SERVICES & SERMONS

 

Sunday Worship

Holy Eucharist Rite II 9:30 am Virtual Service

The Eucharist we are using is adapted for a special need in a special time. It draws on the wisdom and creative path of Teilhard de Chardin’s Mass on the World, which begins, “Since once again, Lord…I have neither bread, nor wine, nor altar, I will raise myself beyond these symbols, up to the pure majesty of the real itself; I, your priest, will make the whole world my altar and on it will offer you all the labors and sufferings of the world.” As we cannot physically share bread and wine due to the global pandemic, we share the Word and a spiritual communion. 

 

 

Children's and Family Christian Education

Until we can regather in person, these programs are offered virtually. To be added to the distribution list with information about these programs, please contact Rebecca Troutman: rbtroutman@gmail.com.

Young Child Friendly Service

at 8:30 am

THIS SERVICE IS SUSPENDED UNTIL

WE CAN SAFELY MEET IN PERSON

 

We gather for a Rite II Eucharist where all are always welcome.  Children join in the worship and will find activity boxes with art supplies and work sheets having to do with the day's themes.  Everyone gathers around the altar for the Eucharistic Prayer and Children of all ages take part in the final hymn by joining in with shakers and rhythm instruments.  At all of our services, dress tends to be pretty casual and we observe what some of our people call a relaxed reverence.  

 
 
Sermon

John 1:43-51

2 Epiphany – Commemoration of MLK

The Rev. Dr. Rosemary Beales

Interim Rector

Who do you love?

What have you lost?

Where does it hurt?

And what do you dream?

Those are not casual questions, are they? They can make a person feel vulnerable, even in the best of times – and these are not the best of times. These four questions –

Who do you love?

What have you lost?

Where does it hurt?

What do you dream? probe the very heart of who a person is.

They are also questions that can help us heal.

To these questions, which come from a new initiative of the Episcopal Church, I would add a fifth, proposed 53 years ago by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This question has been on many of our hearts as we reel from the events of last week at the Capitol and prepare for what might occur this week. Dr. King’s question for his nation, then, and for us now, is this:

Where do we go from here?

There will be many answers to that question from the diverse sides of our current conflicts, but I think the one most in tune with the philosophy of Martin Luther King is the one founded on questions, on dialogue, on listening, on LOVE. It is the one most in tune with the teaching and example of Jesus Christ, who called Martin, who calls us, as he calls the disciples in today’s gospel: Follow me.

*     *     *

Today’s call story, as is typical of John’s gospel, is quite different from the familiar account in the other gospels, where Jesus approaches fishermen on the shores of Lake Galilee. Here, we meet Philip and Nathanael and hear a strange dialogue full of titles for Jesus – Rabbi! Son of God! King of Israel!

But the invitation, and the response, are the same as for the fishermen. Jesus says “Follow me,” and they do.

In every gospel, this call comes before the disciples witness any miracles, hear any teaching, share any meals with Jesus. There is a kind of “fierce urgency” in their response. He calls, and they come. Something in the person of Jesus, I think, fills them with hope.

Jesus could have assembled an army, mustered a mob, even beseeched his Father to send angels to fight for the rights of his people. Instead, Jesus chose the way of nonviolence, the way of Love, even to death on the cross. In following him, so did Martin Luther King choose that path.

In the introduction to Dr. King’s final published book, his colleague Vincent Harding recalls his preaching: “I choose to identify with the underprivileged. I choose to identify with the poor. I choose to give my life for the hungry. This is the way I’m going. If it means suffering a little bit, I’m going that way. If it means sacrificing I’m going that way.” And in a prescient but logical extension of this way, Dr. King continued, “If it means dying for them I’m going that way because I heard a voice say, ‘Do something for others.’”[1] You and I know whose voice that was, the voice of hope, the voice of love, the voice of Jesus.

It’s no accident that in America, when you work for those who are poor, hungry and unhoused, you are largely working for people who are Black and brown. As was made abundantly clear at the Capitol last week, our country is still in the grips of white supremacy, both unrecognized in ourselves, and on full and violent display at the Capitol.

Of all the offensive images we witnessed there, the one that would have most horrified Martin Luther King, and I think must appall us, were the flags and banners that invoked the name of Jesus. This is “a dangerous perversion of the Christian faith,”[2] a misunderstanding of scripture -- and a call for us to convert hearts and minds. We do that not by logical arguments, but by patient presence and curious conversations.

So where do we go from here? How do we engage with those whose beliefs we despise and whose actions we abhor? Let me be clear that accountability, legal and social, must occur. There is no peace without justice. There is a process for justice, and it being pursued, even if not as aggressively as we might wish.

I’m guessing that most of us don’t have family or friends who participated in the insurrection, BUT many of us might know people who sympathize, if not with methods, then with the message. That is where we have some power. And that power is love – love in action.

“Power at its best,” Dr. King said, “is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.”[3]

So think about that power in the context of the Episcopal Church’s initiative toward dialogue, which was designed before the January 6 events, but is even more urgent now. The initiative, called “From Many, One,”[4] seeks to bring people together for one-on-one conversations around the questions that began this sermon. Imagine sitting with a brother-in-law, a parent, a neighbor or co-worker, at a time set aside and planned, and opening your heart to hear their answers to the questions, and reveal your own:

Who do you love?

What have you lost?

Where does it hurt?

What do you dream?

I do not suggest that these conversations would be easy. I, for one, have become  used to avoiding certain topics and I have mentally categorized some fellow humans as “those people.” It will take courage and time and a large dose of hope to begin bridge-building. But friends, what we are doing now is not working. We can’t keep doing, and not doing, the same things and expect different results. If we can listen with curiosity and respect to one another’s dreams, we might all come closer to the dream of Martin Luther King. We will come closer to the dream of God.

Pondering our own answers to these questions -- maybe even writing down or recording our own answers -- is a good way to observe the feast of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. Tomorrow IS a good day to begin, remembering his commitment to “the fierce urgency of now.”[5] TODAY is an even better day to begin, remembering the urgent command of Jesus, to all of us, “Follow me.”

Amen.

[1] Martin Luther King Jr., Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? Kindle edition, location 120

[2] Adam Russell Taylor, “Accountability is a prerequisite for healing,”

[3] King, Where Do We Go From Here, p. 37.

[4] https://episcopalchurch.org/files/en_-_from_many_one_guide.pdf

[5] Martin Luther King, “I Have a Dream” speech, Letter from Birmingham Jail/I Have a Dream  (Logan, IA: Perfection Learning Corp.) p. 38.

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