Lenten Reflection for Sun 3/17/2013

Psalm am: 118
pm: 145 Jeremiah 23:16-32 1 Corinthians 9:19-27
Mark 8:31-9:1

Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without
leaving happier.  —- Mother Teresa

Laughing GirlRobert Henri

Laughing Girl
Robert Henri


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Lenten Reflection for Fri 3/8/2013

Right HandAuguste Rodin

Right Hand
Auguste Rodin

Psalm am: 88
pm: 91, 92 Jeremiah 11:1-8, 14-20
Romans 6:1-11 John 8:33-47

I assure you that everyone who sins is a slave of sin.        —-John 8:34

Why can’t we do what we like? According to William Barclay, those who sin are
not doing what they like, they are doing what sin likes. During the time of
Lent we are called to reflect on our priorities and activities. Are they merely habits
and indulgences offering no real enjoyment or value? Are we in control of our
desires or do they control us?
Do we truly enjoy surfing through the myriad of cable channels night after night at
the expense of more meaningful activities. Or are we slaves to the habit of watching
mindless programs that take us farther away from the freedom of a true
choice and God. Do our purchases truly provide us pleasure or are we chasing
after status or indulging our whims. Barclay says “we can allow a pleasure to take
hold of us so completely that we cannot do without it.”

Dear Lord grant us the wisdom, desire and discipline to replace those meaningless habits and indulgences with actions that will truly please and serve you as well as ourselves.

Sharon and Tom England
Together for thirty-five years

Lenten Reflection for Thur 3/7/2013

White-tailed deer in Toronto, Canada

White-tailed deer in Toronto, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Psalm am: 42, 43
pm: 85, 86 Jeremiah 10:11-24
Romans 5:12-21 John 8:21-32


As the deer longs for the water-brooks, so longs my soul for you, O God—-Psalm 42

How did this wonderful Psalm fall into my hands for the Lenten Reflection? I didn’t
choose it ahead of time, I promise! And I’ll admit, while I like the psalm, what I really love
is the modern song that sounds to me like a love song to God:

As the deer longs for the water
So my soul longs after You
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship You
Chorus You alone are my strength, my shield
To You alone may my spirit yield
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship You
You’re my friend and You are my brother
Even though You are a king
And I love You more than any other
So much more than anything
I want You more than gold or silver
Only You can satisfy
You alone are the real joy giver
And the apple of my eye

I live where I can see deer. When I’m at home in Georgia, we live in the middle of deer
country. They are gentle, graceful creatures. God’s love is gentle and filled with grace.
And yes, I like being in love with God.

Dear Lord, You alone are my heart’s desire and I long to worship you. Amen

Kate Harrigan,
Mother and Wife, Teacher and Priest

Published in: on March 7, 2013 at 12:33 am  Leave a Comment  
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Lenten Reflection for Sat 3/2/2013

Psalm am: 75, 76
pm: 23, 27 Jeremiah 5:20-31
Romans 3:19-31 John 7:1-13

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me”   —-Psalm 23:4

Lent comes every year on Ash Wednesday and lasts for 40 days. The 40 days of Lent reminds us
of the 40 days that Jesus was in the wilderness. Right after Jesus’ baptism, after the Spirit descends
like a dove and God declares Jesus to be God’s beloved Son, the Spirit leads Jesus out in
the wilderness. There he is tempted by the devil for 40 days and 40 nights. For us as Christians,
Lent is a time of spiritual wilderness, a time when we are called to take on a new spiritual discipline
or give up a worldly temptation.
As people living in the world, however, our wilderness times are not so neatly scheduled. They
don’t start on a given date and end 40 days later. They come at any time, and when we are in the
middle of the wilderness, we usually have no way of knowing how long it’s going to last.
This psalm speaks of wilderness times, for what could be more “wilderness” than the valley of
the shadow of death? And no one likes being in the wilderness. It’s a place of pain and loss, a
place of darkness. We can’t see our way through this darkness, and so we are vulnerable.
But the darkness has a purpose. Gerald May explains it this way.

“God darkens our awareness in order to keep us safe. When we cannot chart our own course, we become vulnerable to God’s protection, and the darkness becomes a ‘guiding night,’ a ‘night more kindly than the dawn.’ The night is dark for our protection. We cannot liberate ourselves; our defenses and resistances will not permit it, and we can hurt ourselves in the attempt. To guide us toward the love that we most desire, we must be taken where we could not and  would not go on our own. And lest we sabotage the journey, we must not know where we are going.”  —-The Dark Night of the Soul, pp. 72-73

What a comfort it is to know that God is with us in these dark times. And God doesn’t just walk
with us through the valley of the shadow of death, comforting us with his rod and staff. God is
continually at work to redeem whatever situation we find ourselves in.

“When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
the rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
for I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
—-Hymnal 1982, #636 How Firm a Foundation

Gina Barrett

musician, dog lover, crossword puzzle aficionado, loves to read & eat

The Wailing Wall

English: Wailing Wall Jerusalem 2011

English: Wailing Wall Jerusalem 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Wailing Wall is the name for the Western Wall at the foot of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the only remaining portion of the Temple Courtyard. Jews have been visiting the Wailing Wall for over 300 years to pray, to meditate, to morn, and to place their written prayers on slips of paper into the cracks and crevasses of the wall.  In the Chapel we have placed our own version of a Wailing Wall.  Built and used by New Hope Community during Advent, their prayers have now become the chain that hangs on the wall. You are encouraged today and throughout Lent to write or draw your prayers and tuck them into a spot on the wall. For Easter Vigil we will offer up all the prayers of both communities.

“Change” We “Can” Believe In

 

 

As a Lenten Discipline, the children of St Paul’s challenge us all to a program
called “Change We Can Believe In.” As stewards of the environment and our
resources, they ask us to take an empty can and at the end of each day in Lent

 

Empty Can

Empty Can (Photo credit: spike55151)

 

deposit your loose change in it and bring the can to church each week. They will
collect it and at the conclusion of the Lenten season, use it to buy Giant gift cards
that support the ministries of St Paul’s. The cards will then become available for
the rector’s discretionary fund to feed those in need. The collected cans will be recycled to
protect this “fragile earth, our island home. “

 

 

 

 

Lenten Reflection for Thur 2/21/2013

Psalm am: 50, 59, 60
pm: 19, 46 Deuteronomy 9:23-10:5
Hebrews 4:1-10 John 3:16-21


God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore
we will not fear, though the earth should change, and the mountains shake
in the heart of the sea”.   —-Psalm 46: 1-2 (NRSV)

This passage seems to focus on God’s unwavering faithfulness to humanity.
For better or worse, the world is always changing, which can lead to varying
degrees of uncertainty. There is uncertainty about the future of our lives, our
community, our country and our world. We don’t know what will happen.
That uncertainty can lead to fear and doubt, often hindering us from fully
participating in the Kingdom of God. While we will never be able to shake
uncertainty and fear, we can take refuge in God and the knowledge that humans
have been putting their trust in God long before we were born. God will
not abandon us as we pursue the Kingdom of God.
Jason Swartley

learner

Lenten Reflection for Wed 2/20/2013

Psalm am: 119:49-72
pm: 49, 53 Deuteronomy 9:13-21
Hebrews 3:12-19 John 2:23-3:15

“Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without
being born from above.”   —-John 3:3

When I first read the verse that I was assigned, I honestly groaned a little.
The term “born again,” in my mind has been twisted, turned, used for ammunition,
to separate, and to make people feel guilty. What does it mean to be
“born again” anyway? I was sure that I was going to pick another, easier
verse. Maybe a nice Psalm or something.
But as I was driving home from work the next day, I noticed a man in my
neighborhood who is often standing on one of the street corners. You’ve
probably seen him. He often blares his Gospel music and holds a big sign, “Ye
must be born again.” He smiles and waves at the passing cars, day in and day
out on some street corner in Harrisburg. I’ve seen him at least 4 times in the
past week, in 4 different places.
And it made me think. Maybe this verse, which has grown musty and old in
my mind, deserves another look. This man believes in this message enough to
stand on every street corner, in the freezing cold and in the hottest days of
summer. It made me think about what it means to be, as my Bible translation
says, “born from above.” Born again. Reborn. Renewed. Transformed. Jesus
tells Nicodemus, “You must be born of water and the Spirit.” We are called
to be in the present moment, here on earth, and yet with a focus on heavenly
things. Jesus tells us that the Kingdom of God is here, but if we are not attentive
to the Spirit, we will miss it. Being “born from above” is not a one time,
snap decision. It is a call to be alive, to be open to the Spirit at all times and in
all places. We, as Christians, are to be walking and living in the Spirit, listening
to God’s voice and becoming aware of the Spirit’s presence in ourselves
and in those around us.
Micalagh Beckwith Moritz
Social Worker, Coffee/tea lover, Traveler, Wife

Published in: on February 20, 2013 at 12:03 am  Leave a Comment  
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Lenten Reflection for Tue 2/19/2013

Psalm am: 45 pm: 47, 48
Deuteronomy 9:4-12 Hebrews 3:1-11
John 2:13-22

“Your path led through the sea, your way through the majestic waters, though the “Footprints” were not seen.”  —–Psalm 22-19

This Bible verse brought to mind the poem, “Footprints”, and the impact it had on
my life at a time when I was experiencing tremendous emotional pain from the
loss of our daughter.
On September 29th, 2007 while attending the Praise and Worship for Women Program
at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church, we were asked to take a piece of paper
from a basket, and surprisingly, my sheet read, “Rejoice.” It was as though Jesus
was giving me a message of encouragement as I was struggling through “Troubled
Waters.” “Rejoice” as Jesus had been saying to me in different ways for several
days to remind me, that although my journey was faced with many challenges, he
was there with me to calm the turbulent waters. My “Church Sisters” gave me
great comfort during that evening as I shared my painful journey, yet, I still did
not feel or see the presence of Jesus. Suddenly, I again glanced at the piece of
paper with the word, “Rejoice”, and almost immediately it took me to the poem,
“Footprints.”
As in the Psalm 22 Biblical Verse,
“Your path led through the sea, your way through the majestic waters, though the
“Footprints” were not seen.”
I recalled the words that were highlighted for me in the poem;
“But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life,
There is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why at times when I
needed you most, you should leave me. The Lord replied, “My precious child, I
love you and I would never leave you. During you times of trial and suffering.
When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then I carried you.
Ann Scott
Wife – Mother – Grandmother

Published in: on February 19, 2013 at 12:13 am  Leave a Comment  
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Resources for Lenten Study

English: Lenten Cloth in the Museum Gherdëina ...

English: Lenten Cloth in the Museum Gherdëina Deutsch: Frühbarockes Fastentuch aus des St. Jakob Kirche in St. Ulrich in Gröden aufbewahrt im Museum Gröden. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are like me, study is important part of the observation of Lent.  You are encouraged to join us at St Paul on Wednesday evenings at 6:30pm.  We are studying prayer and art. AND NO ARTISTIC TALENT IS REQUIRED!

If you cannot make Wednesday night or want some additional study you might want to consider one of more of these options.  New Hope Community has invited St Paul to join in a Monday night Bible Study at the Mid-town Scholar Bookstore on “The Bible Jesus Read”.  Meeting at 6:30pm the group is led by Pastor Tom Longenecker in an informal format with lattes, handouts and lots of time for questions.

The Diocese has a Lenten Blog which you can access here http://alpha.diocesecpa.org/blog/wordpress/?cat=3

You can participate in a Diocesan-Wide on-line Lenten Study based on the book Calling: Song for the Baptized by Caroline Westerhoff and moderated by Diocesan Webmaster Lesley Carter. You can get more information and sign-up here http://www.diocesecpa.org/dfc/newsdetail_2/3157446

And, as I mentioned before – For those who like to cook, you may be interested in this Lenten Study that Church Health Reader has posted on-line. Entitled “Seasoning Lent: 40 Days of Recipes and Reflections” and written by Stacy Smith, it consists of a weekly reflection and a simple nutritional recipe for each day of the week.  It is also available as a paperback and can be ordered through Church Health Reader.  You can find the find it on-line or order the hard-copy version at Church Health Reader here: http://chreader.org/contentPage.aspx?resource_id=667.