All Saints Messenger


All Saints Messenger May 17, 2018

posted May 21, 2018, 6:33 AM by Church Secretary

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

This Sunday is Pentecost, that great festival of the Church when we welcome again, the Holy Spirit, into our lives. The reading from John this Sunday is about love that helps us remember and hope. The love of Jesus that is always with us, most often through the Holy Spirit!

Jesus gave important last words before going back to the Father. These were abiding words that would help them "remember." This remembering is not merely a, keeping some thought in mind, it is action.  It is action that takes hold of Jesus' promise. It is action that moves one to walk with confidence into the future God has planned for you. 

Knowing Jesus was going back to the Father, the disciples were afraid of their future. But love was not about to leave them orphaned. Jesus promised to be present with them in the person of the Holy Spirit, to be their guide and to help them remember. Jesus makes that promise not only to the disciples of old, but also to us: "The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of (make you remember) all that I have said to you. ...My peace I give to you...Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid." (John 14:26-27)

Thank you, Jesus, for your presence with us in the person of the Holy Spirit who even now is transforming our fears into a living hope. Amen.

See ya Sunday!

Peace,
Fr. Gary+

All Saints Messenger May 10, 2018

posted May 21, 2018, 6:31 AM by Church Secretary

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

This Sunday's entire reading from the Gospel of John is part of a prayer made by a son to his father. Jesus is going down the checklist, as if his father had asked whether he had completed the chores that were assigned. I've made your name known, Abba. The words you gave me, I gave to them. I protected them. Jesus, like any human son, is assuring his beloved father that his duties have been accomplished. But it's verse 13, speaking of his joy, that highlights his humanity and endears him to me even more.

Happiness, delight, pleasure--his innermost feeling is revealed, giving us a sense of what he has endured. Unspoken are the years away from his father, the yearning to be back where he belongs, the self-discipline required to be faithful in all things, the intensity of his love. Reunion pictures whiz through my mind; like children running on the tarmac to a returning military dad, or an immigrant son crying with joy as he is united with his absent father once again.

Lord of all joy, with a grateful heart I praise and thank you for loving me so much in spite of the cost demanded of you. Grant me courage for the living of my days as you lived yours. Amen.

See ya Sunday!

Peace,
Fr. Gary+

All Saints Messenger May 3. 2018

posted May 21, 2018, 6:29 AM by Church Secretary

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

If you jump into a swimming pool you will get wet. It's not that if you jump in you will prove that you are worthy to get wet and therefore will be granted wetness. No, it's just the way it works. Jesus said if we keep his commandments--love God and love each other--we will find ourselves abiding in Christ--a place of abundant life and complete joy. That's just the way it works. It's hard to love as Jesus loved, though--to put yourself aside for the good of the other, especially to the point of sacrifice and suffering. But Jesus chose us for this and gave us the command so that we could love one another. We love--we abide; we abide--we love.

Lord, sometimes you talk in circles. It's a circle of love. Help us to color inside the lines of your love, which has no boundaries, so it shouldn't be too hard for us! Amen.

See ya Sunday!

Peace,
Fr. Gary+

All Saints Messenger - April 26, 2018

posted Apr 26, 2018, 1:19 PM by Church Secretary

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The Forward Day by Day Meditation for THURSDAY, April 26

Acts 12:7 Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him, saying, "Get up quickly." And the chains fell off his wrists.

Preaching the gospel often results in trouble for the apostles. Later in Acts, they will be described as "turning the world upside down." When Herod's fear of the Jesus Movement leads him to imprison Peter, no doubt Herod assumes prison walls can stem the tide of the gospel. He either has not heard or does not believe the story of the resurrection; otherwise he would know that not even death can withstand the love of God.
  
Breaking chains is the work of Christ in the world. Through his life, death, and resurrection the chains that bind us to sin are broken. Our work is the same as Peter's-to "get up quickly." The Book of Common Prayer suggests that service to God is "perfect freedom." It seems counterintuitive to suggest that in order to be free we have to submit to God, but this is how our life of faith in Jesus works. Placing anything else at the center of our lives binds us to that which does not save.

MOVING FORWARD: What chains have been broken in your life or community recently? How are you proclaiming that good news?

Good Book Club Reading: Acts 12:1-19

All Saints Messenger - April 19, 2018

posted Apr 26, 2018, 1:18 PM by Church Secretary

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

This Sunday we have the pleasure of hearing one of our own, Adam Nygren deliver his first sermon. Many of you know (and for those who don't) Adam is in the discernment process discerning a call to the priesthood. He has been forwarded to the diocesan Commission on Ministry and will go on retreat in May. The retreat will move him forward or ask him to do some more study. If he moves on Adam will depart from us for a few months as he joins another faith community as he continues his discernment, and the Church continues theirs.

We have been touched and many of us have been changed by Adam's presence in our community. I encourage you to pray for him and the process.

This coming Sunday  is often called "Good Shepherd Sunday." In our reading for today Jesus begins by calling himself the Good Shepherd, alluding to Ezekiel 34:11ff. According to Jesus, a good shepherd stands apart from a hired hand, because the shepherd is willing to give up their life for the sheep. This willingness to sacrifice is rooted in the love and care the shepherd feels for the ones the shepherd tends to. The sheep trust the shepherd because they know the shepherd. Jesus, our good shepherd, promises to lead us into green pastures--to give us the safety and freedom to enjoy them without fear, while he stands by to protect us. This freedom is pure grace for us. We, like sheep, do nothing to earn the sacrificial love of our good shepherd, who lays down his "life for us "of the shepherd's own accord."

Shepherding God, thank you for the freedom you have given us through your son, our Good Shepherd. We pray for all those in our world who live in fear, that Jesus' loving and guiding presence would be a constant source of peace and strength. Amen.

See ya Sunday!

Blessings,
Fr. Gary+

All Saints Messenger - April 12, 2018

posted Apr 26, 2018, 1:16 PM by Church Secretary

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The Forward Day by Day Meditation for THURSDAY, April 12

Acts 5:38-39 So in the present case, I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; because if this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them-in that case you may even be found fighting against God!

Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, is saying something important. In his address to the religious elites, he talks about this strange cohort of Jesus-followers who are constantly upsetting the status quo in Jerusalem.

 As a child, my family and I visited New York City. Gazing up at the tall buildings, I could have sworn they were moving ever so slightly. I grew very concerned that the buildings were going to fall at any moment. A passerby saw my perplexed face and told me that these tall buildings are meant to flex in the intense winds they encounter. "If they didn't bend," he said, "they would break."

The resilience at the heart of the church has nothing to do with us and everything to do with the spirit of the living God who inhabits and animates it. Jesus has promised that not even the gates of hell itself will prevail against it.

MOVING FORWARD: Think of the most unlikely victory in your life. Do you remember how you felt in that moment? How does revisiting it remind you of God's goodness?

Good Book Club Reading: Acts 5:27-42


All Saints Messenger - April 5, 2018

posted Apr 26, 2018, 1:15 PM by Church Secretary

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

Oh, the transformative power of doubt.

On this "Doubting Thomas" Sunday we can all recall a sermon or two that we have heard praising doubt...and that is a good thing. Without our doubt and questioning we would be open to havoc at the whim of evil and manipulators. Someone needed to doubt that the world was flat, or women were property or that  slavery was a good thing. With the many charges of "fake news" being hurled these days we'd better be skilled at sorting out what's real.

Thomas was a courageous disciple--pledging to follow Jesus to the cross, being martyred, legend says, in India as an apostle. His initial "doubt" was not a sign of weak character. He wanted to be sure, and Jesus doesn't condemn him for it, but by Jesus' presence transforms his doubt into faith.

The certainty of religious zealots can wreak havoc. God invites us to faith, not certainty. It is a sign of confidence in the Spirit's presence in our lives that we are willing to come to God with wonder, mystery, awe--and doubt.

Lord, give us the gift of growing in faith that comes from question and doubt. Let your spirit fill us with confidence in your presence... and that's sufficient. Amen.


Blessings,
Gary+

All Saints Messenger - March 29, 2018

posted Apr 26, 2018, 1:13 PM by Church Secretary

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

It is Maundy Thursday, the first holy day of the three holy days known as the Easter Triduum. During these three days we will journey alongside our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ. We are called to ponder, listen, reflect about our Lord...about his gift to us and how we will respond.

On this holy day, this Maundy Thursday, when Christ washed his disciples' feet and gave them bread and wine to remember himself, we pause to remember in awe, both for what Christ has done for us and for the charge he has given us. We have been washed clean, through and through, by our Lord and Master, who took on the role of a servant that we might be freed from all that would keep us away from God. Such a gift is beyond all understanding! What does this gift, this washing, mean to us? Might it be that as followers of Jesus, we are called to put aside our ambitions, our strivings, all that we think brings us glory and become servants to those who need us. Not out of obligation or striving do we do this, but solely in gratitude for the one who loved us so much.  In his life, death, and resurrection w are freed to serve.

Oh Lord, give us the heart of a servant, and wash us through and through. Amen.

See ya throughout the Triduum!

Blessings,
Gary+

All Saints Messenger - March 22, 2018

posted Apr 26, 2018, 1:12 PM by Church Secretary

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

The words of Psalm 31, which we will hear and read this Palm Sunday, could be projected into Jesus' life experience and so they have often been. In so doing, we can sense the level of shame and scorn that accompanied
the events of his last days. But the psalmist wrote as one who clings to God and seeks to be faithful, not simply as a projection onto some future Messiah. 

What does it mean to be faithful in our own time and place, when the privileged position of the church is receding into the past? How long will it be before our memories of the glory days "pass out of mind like one who is dead?" The story of faithfulness does not end with Jesus, or us, or future generations. He asks us to carry on. We are often sent forth from worship, blessed with the words mirrored in verse 16: "May the Lord's face shine on you and be gracious to you." What would it be like to actually believe that this will happen?

God, as we prepare for Holy Week, help us to trust that you will bring life out of death for us, and also for the church and the world. Our memories of the past are not our god, you are. We are in your hands. Amen.

See ya Sunday!

Blessings,
Gary+

All Saints Messenger - March 15, 2018

posted Apr 26, 2018, 1:11 PM by Church Secretary

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

"We wish to see Jesus." Do we? Or are we, like so many in the crowd, just dazzled by the signs Jesus has done, including recently in John's story raising his friend Lazarus from the grave? Dazzled? Life is complicated! It would be a gift to find a super hero, a magic maker who could eradicate the power of evil and make it all right again. We need not be surprised that our affections drift toward those whose ability to transcend a "normal" life make them seem larger than life--the strong, the assertive, the attractive, the brilliant, the lucky. Our stories are full of heroes who had the courage and might to change the course of life for the better. 

But Jesus, this Jesus, was not such a hero. He journeys toward Jerusalem where they kill the prophets. Is this our kind of hero? The hour had come when he was about to be revealed in all his complexity. Life springs from death. Not simple, not easy, not what the disciples wanted...but true.

Jesus, we want to see you. Make us ready. Invite us into the paradox of your truth. Amen.

See ya next Sunday!

Blessings,
Gary+

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