There is perhaps no more beloved image of who Jesus is from John’s gospel than the image of the “Good Shepherd”. It is an image that often evokes a feeling of tenderness, care, and warmth. How many stained glass windows or gilded images have you seen of the shepherd carrying the sheep across his shoulders?
Resist gossiping, stop trolling, and maybe just put away your electronic device altogether! This is, in essence, the wisdom of Pope Francis on how we should engage one another in our digital world. That may seem funny—to get advice from the Pope on electronic etiquette, but you’d be mistaken not to pay attention.
Tonight, we begin what is called the Triduum. That’s a funny word and maybe one you’ve never heard. We begin with our Maundy Thursday service at which we will commemorate the first eucharist and Jesus’ “mandate” (where we get Maundy) to love one another.
Life is complicated. The more I live it the more I notice this to be true. Perhaps that is because with age there is the chance to realize how little we can control amidst the changes and chances of this world. How often have I heard, “when I was a kid things were better.” To which I want to say, “Of course they were. You were a kid!”
In this Sunday’s gospel reading, we see a group of outsiders come to the disciples saying: We want to see Jesus. Nowadays it is a popular thing for churches to have mission statements. We even have one here at St. Tim’s: “We strive to embrace all people with the love of Jesus.” But, more and more, I hear from people outside the church who don’t really care what a church’s mission statement is as a community.
During the seasons of Lent and Easter we are, as a congregation, invited to read the gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. We have six bible study groups meeting to discuss, engage, share, and grow together through engaging our holy scriptures. You can still join a group by signing up in the church lobby. And, on Sundays, at 9am, we meet in the library to engage the texts for the week—all are welcome.
Where do you see God active in your life? It’s a question that might make your stomach drop or give you pause for thoughtful reflection. In my experience, most people believe that the answer to this question is “church”. That might be Sunday worship or it might be small group Bible studies or particularly, serving our neighbors at St. Francis Center, House of Hope or any community partner. It’s a way of saying that most people think that God is active, we see and know and experience God, in “churchy settings”.
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.