All Saints Messenger

All Saints Messenger - December 7, 2017

posted Dec 7, 2017, 10:40 AM by Church Secretary

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Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, 

In our Advent Study on Saturday mornings, Deacon Martha has been leading us on a wonderful journey through Handel's Messiah. Handel's work is known and recognizable throughout the world. However, studying the pieces of music, listening to the words, the changes in instrumentation give us a new found discovery; God and Jesus themselves become readily accessible and present through Handel's music.

This past Saturday we focused on Isiah's passage "Comfort ye My People" from the 25 thchapter, 'The Lord will wipe away the tears from every cheek'.  It is another of Isaiah's most beautiful images, of God wiping away our pain and sorrow and shame.  What pain and sorrow and shame have you suffered?

What pain and sorrow and shame do you suffer now? Can you imagine that suffering - the pain and sorrow and shame you suffer - being wiped away?  What would that be like? 

Think about this and reflect and notice the hopes and desires in your heart that have come to light through Isaiah. Then intentionally resist letting them sink back, beyond your consciousness and instead nurture those hopes, remember what they are, then speak to the Lord about your hopes and desires.  In your own words, as we await the one prophesied about by Isaiah at Christmas, speak to God about what is in your heart.

**Our study on Handel's Messiah begins at 9AM on the next two Saturday's. I hope you will join us.

Blessings this Advent,
Fr. Gary+

See ya Sunday!

All Saints Messenger - November 30, 2017

posted Dec 7, 2017, 10:28 AM by Church Secretary

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The Forward Day by Day Meditation for THURSDAY, November 30     

Saint Andrew, Apostle

Matthew 4:19  And [Jesus] said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fish for people."

Followers of Jesus pass on the good news every day in sincere conversations and acts of common decency. Caring enough to listen compassionately to someone else's pain, grief, or remorse can convey the message of grace and new life more profoundly than words we might speak.
The martyrs of the ancient church died-often gruesomely-rather than renounce their faith. But the Greek word from which martyr comes doesn't refer to death. It means to witness. Andrew died in Patras, Greece. He was tied to an x-shaped cross and died over a two-day period. Throughout his ordeal, he shared with onlookers his faith in life found in Christ.

As the baptized, we witness to the resurrection by how we live. Our compassion for others, our perseverance through hardship, and our humble pursuit of peace and justice demonstrate that a world-transforming love is at work in our lives.

MOVING FORWARD: Write down the story of how Jesus has called you into ministry with him. Share your story with someone you love and share it with us by using #ForwardDayByDay.

All Saints Messenger - November 23, 2017

posted Dec 7, 2017, 10:26 AM by Church Secretary

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Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Today is Thanksgiving Day, a day of Turkey, family & friends, football and ... oh, right giving thanks for all the blessings we have: family, friends, food, shelter, security, A Loving God and a crucified Lord! So much to be thankful for.

As we gather this day with those we love and maybe those whom we don't know enough to love as family we remember to love them because they are a part of God's family. We can find this love in surprising places, by surprising people, in surprising ways.

Today's Forward Day by Day illustrates this, "We were sleeping on benches in a French train station. Our train didn't leave for another four hours, so I was guarding our backpacks while my companions dozed.

A man wearing shabby, ill-fitting clothes sat by me. Weeks of grime discolored his coat, and his hands were visibly dirty. As he approached, a smell reminiscent of a dumpster preceded him. Being a young and inexperienced traveler, my alert rose to bright red alarm.

We sat in silence for a while, exchanging enough words to discover that we shared no common language. After what seemed like hours, my seatmate reached into his coat pocket and drew out a small, oily bag. He gently held out the bag to me. I nodded my thanks, took one of the three dates, and ate it. He sat a while longer and left.

That night, I shared a bench with a rich man, not because of the little money in his pocket but because of the grace that lived in his heart. Generous people always have enough to share with others, not because of how much they have, but because of how much they are willing to give."

May it be so for all of us! Happy Thanksgiving!

See ya Sunday!

Fr. Gary+

Untitled Post

posted Nov 20, 2017, 11:57 AM by Church Secretary

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Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Our passages last Sunday through next Sunday are from Jesus' Final Discourse or the Discourse on the End of Times. It is mostly about judgment and the expected conduct of the followers of Jesus and the need for vigilance by his followers in view of the coming judgment. 

This Sunday's passage is about the servants and the talents and what they individually do with them. One is scared and puts it in the ground for safekeeping, and the ones with two and five talents doubled theirs. These parables are often confusing and perplexing and ask us to think differently since Christ is asking us to act differently.

 Jesus' teaching in these parables invite us to think about what life in the kingdom of God looks like as we wait for Jesus to come again. In this particular parable, Jesus focuses on being a good steward of the gifts God has given us. Life would be much easier if being a good steward were simpler. We could be confident that we knew or were able to avoid actions that lead to outer darkness and gnashing of teeth. However, if that were the case, then Jesus wouldn't have had to die. Jesus, in telling this parable, calls us to lives of responsible stewardship that is not close-fisted, but openly corresponds to the generosity of God's gifts. The faithful steward knows that God's generous ways are beyond human comprehension, and so seeks to use God's gifts in ways that give honor to this faithful and generous giver.

Gracious God, your ways are not our ways, your heart is bigger and you forgive debts freely. Help us to understand and treat all of our neighbors with your justice. Amen.

See ya Sunday!

Fr. Gary+

All Saints Messenger - November 9, 2017

posted Nov 13, 2017, 11:34 AM by Church Secretary

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The Forward Day by Day Meditation for FRIDAY, November 10

Matthew 14:20a  And all ate and were filled.

I moved to a new school in sixth grade. No place makes you feel like the new kid quite like a middle school cafeteria. Lunch tray in hand, I surveyed a sea of unfamiliar faces, looking for more than an empty chair. I was looking for somebody who would be glad to see me, someone who would welcome me.
In the eucharist, we experience two closely connected truths. One is that Jesus is delighted to see us-so delighted in fact that he gives himself to us in the bread and wine. As we gather around the table, we see people of every age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and social class. When we are brave enough to look around, we recognize that Jesus is glad that each person has shown up. And we should be glad too.

When Jesus feeds the ragtag, motley crowd that followed him, he foreshadows the eucharist and the heavenly banquet that awaits us. When Jesus draws us to him, he also draws us to each other. Thanks be to God.

MOVING FORWARD: Share a meal with a new friend this week-or with an old friend you haven't seen in a while.

All Saints Messenger - November 2, 2017

posted Nov 13, 2017, 9:59 AM by Church Secretary

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The Forward Day by Day Meditation for THURSDAY, November 2

Matthew 13:23  But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundred fold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.

My daily commute takes me through Louisiana farmland. The state boasts rich, fertile soil, perfect for cotton, corn, sorghum, and other crops. Overflowing rivers and bayous have deposited their nutrient-rich sediments on this land for millennia. Farmers since before the marking of time have tended fields.
Our hearts, souls, and minds are the soil within which Jesus sows the seeds of good news-that God loves us, each one of us, without reservation. When these seeds of love take root, they bear fruit and change the way we treat those around us. We receive everyone we meet as God's beloved.

Our spiritual soil is never barren, though it may be rocky, shallow, or overgrown for a season. But Jesus constantly tends and nurtures us with word and sacraments, through other people, and all of creation. Jesus persistently and patiently prepares us to receive and share his love. The sower's work is never in vain.

MOVING FORWARD: Visit a local farmers' market to enjoy the last fruits of this year's harvest.

All Saints Messenger - October 26, 2017

posted Oct 27, 2017, 9:57 AM by Church Secretary

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Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

This Sunday we will gather together as a loving community of faith and we will hear from Matthew, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind." Words that  should stick to us like glue, yet, we often discover our own weaknesses when we deal with others.

Many years ago two young men with long records of crime and delinquency robbed the YMCA on the lower east side of New York City. On their way out of the door they noticed a man at the telephone switchboard. Fearing that he would call the police, the young men grabbed him and beat him savagely with brass knuckles and a black jack. Thinking that he was dead, they then stuffed him behind a radiator near the swimming pool and left.

Later that evening Gertrude Ederle, the famous swimmer, was walking near the pool and stepped in some blood, slipped, screamed, and then found Donald Tippet's body. Tippet was rushed to the hospital where for days he lingered between life and death. Eventually he lived, but one eye had been so badly damaged that it could not be saved.

Meanwhile the two young men were caught and brought to trial. Their past record assured they would get a long sentence. At this point, Donald Tippet did an amazing thing. He asked that the two young men be put in his custody. He believed in them, believed they could be changed.

One of the boys refused to change and was soon caught for another crime. The other boy however was more receptive. He went on to college. Eventually he went to medical school and became a surgeon, an eye surgeon. The late Bishop Everett Palmer wrote of this surgeon, "I wonder if he ever performs one of those delicate operations without stopping to think of that night in the YMCA and of a young man, who later became Bishop Donald Tippet of the San Francisco area, whose confidence changed his life."

There is something life changing about that kind of love. Who couldn't help but be touched by it? What we need today is not a revival that would bring more people into church. What we need is a revival that would motivate us to take Christ's redemptive love out into the world.

We are called to go out into the world radiating the love of Jesus and transforming the world. The world needs our love, we need each others love. Thanks be to God!

See ya Sunday!

Fr. Gary+

All Saints Messenger - October 19, 2017

posted Oct 19, 2017, 11:40 AM by Church Secretary

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The Forward Day by Day Meditation for THURSDAY, October 19

Jeremiah 38:4 Then the officials said to the king, "[Jeremiah] ought to be put to death, because he is discouraging the soldiers who are left in this city, and all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man is not seeking the welfare of this people, but their harm."

Nobody likes that guy who goes around saying, "We're gonna lose. You might as well give up now." At the siege of Jerusalem, Jeremiah was that guy. So, the prophet who once spoke on behalf of the Lord is thrown into an empty cistern-to sink into the mud and into the silent oblivion of death.
In my own life, it has often been the stranger who ensures that I cannot compartmentalize God's challenging word away so that it remains unheard. The self-giving love of the student who rearranges her life to raise funds for her disabled father's rehabilitation care shows me that I need to change the way I love and honor my own family. The stranger sets God's insistent and unyielding word of judgment before us, so that we might turn away from idolatry and toward love.

MOVING FORWARD: Offer comfort to a person in your community who may have recently either received bad news or been the bearer of bad news.

All Saints Messenger - October 12, 2017

posted Oct 19, 2017, 11:36 AM by Church Secretary

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The Forward Day by Day Meditation for THURSDAY, October 12

Matthew 9:22a Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, "Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well."

When this woman says to herself, "If I only touch his cloak, I will be made well," she knows what could happen. But she also knows no one must see what she is about to do. Determined to be made well, the woman sneaks through the crushing crowd, reaches out, and brushes Jesus' garment.
Jesus turns and sees her; the woman's eyes are downcast and drowning in shame. In this one moment of connection, Jesus banishes shame, fear, social stigma, and physical pain from the woman. The crowd pushes and pulls the action in another direction, but the woman doesn't notice. She is a new creation-she is daughter, not unclean. In the freedom of this new peace, I can imagine Hosea's words arising in her mind: "Those who were not my people I will call 'my people,' and her who was not beloved I will call beloved" (Romans 9:25b). "And in the very place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' there they shall be called children of the living God" (Hosea 1:10).

MOVING FORWARD: Visit a friend or community member who may be recovering at home or in the hospital. Talk to your priest or clergy person about taking communion to them as well.

All Saints Messenger - October 5, 2017

posted Oct 5, 2017, 12:40 PM by Church Secretary

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Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

In the days of Jesus the purpose of God's vineyard had been rationalized away. The righteously religious had replaced the intent of God's covenant promises with nationalistic pride, self-interest and self-justifying traditions.

How long does it take to develop such theological blinders? The historian Phyllis Tickle, in her book, "The Great Emergence", observes that it takes around 500 years for religious communities to lose their spiritual way. It's just 500 years since the time of the Reformation. Perhaps we are sitting at the juncture of another moment when the tenants of the vineyard are likely to kill those sent to collect it's valuable produce.

In today's parable Jesus does not suggest God will withdraw the covenant promise, but he does warn his hearers: "Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom." Does any part of that warning ring true for the congregation of which you are a part of? Does any ring true for the larger church with which you are in association? With whom in your circle of faith can you ask humbly and honestly, "What is our purpose for being here, and how does it relate to the cross and empty tomb of Jesus?"
God of the covenant promise, renew in us a clarity of identity and purpose. Grow in our lives and in our communities a rich harvest of faith, hope and love. Amen.
See ya Sunday,
Fr. Gary+

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