Sunday, May 13, 2018

7th Sunday of Easter

Readings for Today.

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My heart is full this morning.  It’s one of those days when I really am grateful for so many blessings, among them: the gift and grace of my children, my husband who is my partner on this journey of life and parenting, the beauty of God’s mountains and water and flowers, walking with all of you through life’s joys and challenges, the beauty of our voices lifted together in worship.  One of the things I’m really thankful for is that we have 6 more Sundays together. Every Sunday between now and the end of June has some sort of celebration planned, and I hope you will be here for as many of them as possible.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

6th Sunday of Easter

Readings for Today.

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Yesterday afternoon, I stood in this sanctuary and marveled at the grace and hospitality offered to a grieving family by this Emmanuel community.  We host many funerals and memorial services here. What made this one unique is that the man whose life we were celebrating probably never set foot in Emmanuel in his lifetime.  That we did not know him in life did not matter to the people who were here to read, to lead the prayers, prepare the altar, or host and clean up the reception afterward. This funeral was more than a community service - it was a true act of love.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

5th Sunday of Easter

Readings for Today.

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Jesus offers us a beautiful and intricate image of the vine and branches in today’s reading from the Good News of John.  Living here in the Pacific Northwest, many of us have seen grape vines. Some of us even prune and tend grape vines - and know intimately the how the branches grow from the vine.  How to prune so that the branches produce the most fruit.

Jesus says, “Abide in me as I abide in you.  Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me” (John 15:4).

Sunday, April 22, 2018

4th Sunday of Easter

Readings for Today.

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Baa.  You might have guessed from the themes running through this morning’s lessons – it’s Good Shepherd Sunday.  On the 4th Sunday of Easter every year, we talk about sheep and shepherds.  We hear how Jesus is the Good Shepherd, whose sheep know his voice.  And we are the sheep, for whom the good shepherd lays down his life.
Being a shepherd is no easy task – your sheep are your life and your livelihood - if they die, so do you.  You have to protect them from predators, make sure they have enough to eat and drink, and tend to them when they are sick.  Shepherds give, sustain and restore life for their sheep; they are stewards of their sheeps’ lives. As sheep of the Good Shepherd, we, too, are stewards of life, and not just our own lives, but all life.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter Day

Readings for Today.

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Mary, he says. That one, familiar word stops her short. Tears of despair and grief still wet on her face. Her eyes, a little blinded by the white of the angels in the tomb, finally focus on the gardener. She knows that voice. It’s Jesus! He is alive!
And she’s crying again – this time with relief and joy. She reaches to hug him, to feel the solidness of him. “Do not hold on to me,” he says, “for I have not yet ascended. Go, tell my brothers and sisters, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God” (Jn 20:17). And she rushes to tell the other disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” (Jn 20:18).

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Lent 5

Readings for today.

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“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24)

Wheat is often used as a symbol of rebirth, or new life, or sometimes of the life of a community.  At our house, we are growing wheat right now. A couple of years ago, I planted a container of wheat at the beginning of Lent.  Nothing happened for the first two days after we scattered the seeds, covered them with some soil, and watered them. Then, on the third day, we noticed something:  the seeds were swelling and starting to put out little roots. By the fifth day, there were little green shoots pushing up out of the soil. In the second week, there were days when you could almost see the shoots growing, reaching for light.  Four full weeks into Lent, the wheat grass was about 10 inches tall. The fruit of our tabletop wheat garden was the fruit of reflection, of taking time to watch it grow, of wondering at God’s creation.

Before watching this wheat spring up in the middle of our dining room table, I never really understood how the symbolism of wheat connects to Easter.  Now I know!! It takes three days for wheat to germinate.  Three days to die and come back to life.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Lent 4

Readings for Today.

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When I met last Sunday with the parents of the children who will be baptized at the Easter Vigil, we talked through the Baptismal Covenant.  (It’s on page 304 in the Book of Common Prayer, if you’re curious.) As we looked at the promises about how we will live out of our baptisms, we took special care to note the response:  “I will, with God’s help.” This is an important answer. Every one of the promises is a huge task: we could spend our entire lives trying to accomplish just one of the promises, and still never quite get there.  God’s help is vital to our lives as faithful disciples of Jesus, living into and out of our baptisms.