No one likes to lose. With the winter Olympics in full swing, our newsfeeds are full of stories about winners. You know as well as I do that our culture values winning—at times, above all else.
This Sunday is the first Sunday in Lent, which is "a season of penitence and fasting" in faithful preparation for the celebration of Easter. In order to enter more deeply into the spirit of this season, we will be chanting The Great Litany at our services on Sunday.
Among a lot of my peers, I realize I’m a conservative. In fact, I’d bet my whole month’s pay you are too. Now, when I say this, I’m not thinking about a religious or political category; I’m not thinking about the religious fundamentalism that arose in our country in the 19th century and that is prevalent today or a certain partisan politics (I hope you see, too, that such categories are not always helpful).
Every year, over 100 million Bibles are sold or given away. It is the best seller of all best sellers. There is no question about it. The Bible is life changing. It enraptures the mind, takes over the heart, confounds our thinking, and sometimes confuses us to no end. The Bible is a deep and tempestuous sea, which carries us across choppy waters and the doldrums of life, to new and unexplored lands of the heart.
This Sunday, we have one worship service at 9am, followed by our Annual Meeting. Sunday school and childcare will be provided. This Sunday is a time for us to celebrate our common life together here, as we root ourselves in our faith and, in particular this Sunday, the witness of our patron saint—St. Timothy. Perhaps you know something of St. Timothy, perhaps nothing at all—so, let me share just a few words about him.
A good portion of my childhood, and much of my free time now, has been spent near water in silence. As a kid, I’d pass some of my summer break from school up at Burt Lake in Northern Michigan or on the St. Joe River near my house, with a line in the water and thoughts about nothing in my head.
As we enter this new year, it is a time of reflection upon what has been and what is to come. For some, this is a time of making resolutions, for others, it is a time of perhaps giving thanks, mourning, rejoicing or gladly saying goodbye to what has been with a deep hope for the future.
By now you might be feeling the rush of the season with last minute shopping, preparations, and school finals! It is that time of year. Know that with all of the frenetic energy, there is peace at the center in knowing God’s love. So, take some time this week and find a moment or some space to take a deep breath and rest in your belovedness and the goodness of God’s creation around us.
I don’t know about you, but I find myself, during these weeks leading up to Christmas, simultaneously filled by the joy and anticipation of the season, as well as running from one activity to another, barely on top of what’s coming next. This year in particular, it might feel like four weeks is not enough time to get ready for Christmas. There is a sense, perhaps, that “I just can’t get it all done.” Well, here’s the good news: You don’t have to.
This Sunday we begin the holy season of Advent, as we prepare ourselves, not to make another turkey dinner, or rush to buy that last minute gift, or frantically look for the perfect tree, but to receive the good news that God is Emmanuel—God with us.
Dear St. Tim’s family:
Happy Thanksgiving! I pray that this holiday is a time of thanks with loved ones near and far. Indeed, this time of the year can be challenging as some of us might feel the deep absence of a loved one, or the acute awareness of friends and family far away.
As of late, my mind has been filled with big thought—some that aren’t really helpful. I’ve been thinking and talking a lot with our leadership here at St. Tim’s about our priorities for the coming year—in fact, this Saturday, the vestry gathers for the day to explore next steps here at St. Tim’s.
There are few things that bring people together like some good food. In my family, we celebrate life’s big moments with food. We just can’t seem to really do anything well without breaking bread together. Food brings people together. Indeed, every week, we are brought together by a bread that gives us life and reminds us that we are God’s.
As a child, I remember seeing Mr. Ed and Mrs. Violet. They sat up towards the front of the sanctuary, always side-by-side, never far apart, and smiled when you said, “hello.” Mr. Ed and Mrs. Violet were short people, and they lovingly called one another, the Keebler elves.
This evening at 6pm we gather at St. Tim’s to celebrate our Renewal of Ministry and the Welcoming of a New Rector, as our bishop, Rob O’Neill joins us. We will join in song, pray for God’s blessing, and break bread together as we move into the future God has for us.
On Monday morning, I sat on the couch of our living room, while our oldest son was on my lap as I helped him with an early-morning bloody nose. He was a bit nervous, appreciating his dad’s embrace—and I think, reveling in the fact that he got to watch an episode of Peppa Pig until the nosebleed ended.
The gifts of being and belonging in community are so powerful. And yet, they are not always obvious as we rush through our days. Here at St. Tim’s I’ve noticed the powerful and sometimes, hidden, gifts of community. For example, the power of being community with and for one another is clear at our weekly book study on Tuesday evening, as we discuss race, racism, and our Christian faith in our country.
Recently, I have had conversations with people in our community—both St. Tim’s and our larger community—that have me thinking about life. Recently, I shared a cup of coffee with someone who is six months sober after having confronted their addiction. We listened, cried some, laughed, and celebrated the gift of seeking health and wholeness.