Lenten Reflection for Sat 2/16/2013

Bonhoeffer-1932

Bonhoeffer-1932 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Psalm am: 95, 31
pm: 35 Deuteronomy 7:12-16
Titus 2:1-15 John 1:35-42

 
“It is very presumptuous and wrongheaded to think that the human being has to become deeply entangled in the guilt of life in order to know life itself,and finally God.” 

 

—-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

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Lenten Reflection for Fri 2/15/2013

Psalm am: 95, 31
pm: 35 Deut 7:12-16 Titus 2:1-15
John 1:35-42

“When shall I come and behold the face of God?”   —-Titus 2:1-15

Once again Paul is telling me in great detail what to do. How tiresome.
You would think he actually managed to keep his seat on that
first ride to Damascus. Fortunately, we move to the Gospel and
again find freedom.
Jesus looked at Nathaniel and loved his heart. No mention of degrees
or clubs or proper altar dressings here, just an acknowledgement
that the man was working at knowing and being known by
God. Seems to me that is really where Jesus both charms and frightens
us.
He spends little time with what we are doing except as an indication
of where our hearts are. He never once concedes that our actions
move our true self much of anyplace. He always shows that who we
are drives our actions.
Following a recipe is so
easy. Instead Jesus wants
to change who I am. Hard,
really hard. Good thing He
is there to help.
Mark Lambdin

Published in: on February 16, 2013 at 11:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Lenten Reflection for Thur 2/14/2013

Psalm
am: 37:1-18
pm: 37:19-42 Deuteronomy 7:6-11
Titus 1:1-16 John 1:29-34

”…he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared,”Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! —-John 1:29

…And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God”  —-John 1:34

As I looked at the readings for today, I focused on the Gospel of
John. (John 1:29-34)
This passage brings Jesus and John the Baptist onto the same
stage. As I looked at John’s account I noted that it had a different
approach than that of the other gospels. I discovered that John’s
Gospel has a central theme of the incarnate Jesus. Jesus is the
incarnate Son of God. John the Baptist’s testimony is used to recognize
Jesus as the Lamb of God and the Son of God.
The Gospel of John gives us access to see God through Jesus because
Jesus shares God’s identity.
Jesus is God’s Word and work
in the world. I plan to spend this
Lenten season getting to know the
Gospel of John from my newly discovered
perspective and come to a
better understanding of my Heavenly
Father.
This is going to be a wonderful journey!
Bon Voyage!
George Allport

Published in: on February 16, 2013 at 11:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Lenten Reflection for Ash Wednesday 2/13/2013

Psalm am: 95, 32, 143
pm: 102, 130 John 3:1-4:11
Hebrews 12:1-14 Luke 18:9-14

HEAR my PRAYER, O Lord;and let my CRY come to YOU.    —-Psalm 102:1

Out of depth I CRY to YOU, O Lord. Lord, HEAR my VOICE.  —-Psalm 130:1

Lent is a focused time of reflection, penitential prayer, preparation for
Easter and the Resurrection of Jesus. These psalms are prayers for God’s
help. As we journey through these coming forty days, let us affirm the
belief that we place our hope and trust in God. We “cry out” for his
acceptance and forgiveness. We hold it in our hearts that He is ready to
hear us. His mercy is present now and through eternity. In our worldly lives,
as parents, we teach our children to talk to us and say, “I’m sorry,” when
they have done something that is wrong. As we pass through Lent, let us
give our heavenly Father “sincere repentance.” For “I will forgive their
iniquity, and remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34) As we wait for
Easter, let us be “Resurrection People,” and give testimony to God’s love,
mercy, and readiness to forgive (through the life, death, resurrection of
Jesus) when we talk to Him daily and say, “I love you Lord, and I am so
sorry.”

Connie Allport
..wife, Mom, Mimi to “8″, and Mom “A” to many

Published in: on February 16, 2013 at 11:26 pm  Comments (1)  
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Are Your Ready to Answer the Call?

Are you ready to answer the call?

Sermon by Chap Wagoner on 1/27/2013

Texts for the Sunday are found here: http://www.lectionarypage.net/YearC_RCL/Epiphany/CEpi3_RCL.html

Today’s lessons center on the theme of ministry. The Gospel tells of the beginning of Jesus ministry. The Epistle talks about the different types of ministries.

If the answer is yes, then the question is what type of ministry. Now the question of discernment comes in.

The Epistle uses the analogy of the body. The body has arms, leg,s eyes, ears, and mouth. While the function of each is separate and distinctive, and at times one function will take the lead over the others, they all must perform their functions together for the body to function as a whole.

Let us now take the terms of this analogy and translate to ministry: Bishop, Priest, Deacons, Acolytes, Choir, Vestry,GREETERS and all other lay ministries.

Many of us have experienced a call to ministry. What exactly is a call? There is no set format. God ca

lls us in many ways. Each of His calls are unique to the individual.  God’s call can lead us to any of the forms of ministry: Priest, Deacon, lay.

We must use discernment to understand the call that God has  given us. Discernment is a process using prayer, thought and questions that enable us to better understand the ministry God has in store for us. Often the answer takes us to a place which is different from where we originally thought we were going.

Early in my life I knew what I wanted to do –  play professional baseball for the Orioles or become an Episcopal minister. God quickly helped me discern that my athletic skills would not lead to being a Baltimore Oriole. I could hit and field but not a speedy base runner.

Well on to ministry. I am a cradle Episcopalian from a  devout Episcopal family. My parents’ families were very active in several Episcopal churches with a few Methodists sprinkled in.

I attended Lutheran grammar schools and a Lutheran college. In 1973 I applied through the Diocese of East Carolina and was accepted to Virginia Theological Seminary in 1974. I was ready to be ordaine

d. Seminary was a formality. I had all the answers. God however had not given me the questions.

In brief, this experience wasn’t what I thought it would be. I didn’t understand. Why had God sent me to seminary to have this conclusion? I figured well God sent me to seminary to be a good lay person. So my career changed to sales. It turned out that sales was a very discerning part of my growth. It was through the selling process that I learned to be  a great listener. God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. Sales also taught me to ask probing questions that would help me better understand my customer and help select the best solution to their situation. I learned to listen to not only what someone was saying but how they were saying it. This gave me better understanding of their needs and potential solutions. Listening with empathy, gaining their trust, walking a mile in their shoes. I remember someone  saying you have to learn how to “Howdy” with people. The sales process also included explaining how the solution would best meet someone needs. My career as a product trainer taught me to not only explain the feature of the product but the benefit that feature would bring to the customer. If I heard no, it was not a rejection of me. It told me the customer still had questions and needed information and reassurance to make their decision. My job was to understand their objection, explain and re-emphasize the benefit that would meet their need. I found this helpful in pastoral counseling The sales process taught me How to tell a story.  On to Harrisburg…

Speed ahead 35 years, Pat Strohl, Deacon at St Stephen’s asked me to consider being a Deacon, He was getting ready to retire. I told him I would think about it. I remember asking God, “Are You serious? Now I am ready?.” This really caught me by surprise. I asked myself do I really want to do this I was happy being an usher and greeter at St Stephen’s. I was very comfortable in what I was doing.  I liked my ministry.  “Do I really want or need ordination to be a minister?” Pat was persistent.  A second

Cover of "Under the Unpredictable Plant: ...

Cover via Amazon

conversation took place. He gave me Eugene Peterson’s book Under the Unpredictable Plant: An Exploration in Vocational Holiness. The more I read the more things made sense, I realized that now the time was right.  After much prayer  thought and conversation I agreed to pick up this call on hold for all those years. Things moved quickly. I was elected to vestry and  became a LEV.  Exploring your  Ministry with Canon Kate and an internship at St Paul’s in a whirlwind 15 months. It was in the Exploring class that the term discernment was used and now I understood its importance.  Discernment was a great help.

This time everyone else was sure I was ready. I had the questions. I was not sure. Discernment and prayer helped me resolve my hesitancy . As this journey has progressed  I now have fewer questions and more assurance that this is what God has wanted me to do all along. He may have tried to ask me earlier, but I wasn’t listening. God found the way to get my attention and lead me to where He wants me to go.

But why the clerical collar? Pat told me it was a symbol and a reminder of an unbroken tradition in the church. Kate reminded me it could be a yoke. I now understand and embrace that it is a symbol of a responsibility not only to myself  but as a submission to the will of God. A reminder of an oath of promises made to God and to make Him the center of my life.

I then know that each week we all take this oath whether clerical or lay at the end of the Eucharist. It is called the dismissal. In Latin the mass ends with the words Ita Misa est. Gratia Dei this mass is over thanks be to God.  At the end of this Eucharist Deacon Brenda leads us in the dismissal. This is an important function of the Deacon, to send us out into the world. We need it. That  oath and a promise we make to God and each other  in how we live our lives for the rest of the week once we leave the Eucharist. It is confirmed  to us in today’s Gospel by Jesus, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me  to bring good news to the poor, He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of the sight of the blind, to let the oppressed go free and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Amen

Published in: on February 16, 2013 at 11:06 pm  Comments (1)  
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