Two days ago was the first day of 2019. It’s hard to believe. All around us there were celebrations for the arrival of this New Year. We love new things in our society—the newer the better. In the new we sense hope, the future, that all will be well. I can’t help but wonder if this, too, is part of our consuming culture—to seek the new not only to hide from “what has been” but also to give us the assurance that we are here now and up-to-date.
I must admit to some amount of trepidation at authoring a message for our community newsletter, if for no other reason than I personally do not care much for digital reading. The more I considered the task, however, the more I came to see it as an opportunity to offer a challenge you may just find bracing.
This Sunday we celebrate the final Sunday in Advent with one service at 9am. Our combined worship is followed by the Greening of the Church as we prepare for Christmas Eve services on Monday at 4pm (Family Service and Children’s Pageant) and 8pm (Lessons and Carols), please note that both of these services have Communion.
What is it about this time of year that brings about such a wide array of emotions? I truly believe that this season of Advent, this season of preparation, allows us to reflect on the past year, not only the times of joy but also the hardship and sorrow. As we move through the weeks leading up to ‘that blessed morn’, we all move through a vast array of these emotions.
This Sunday, you might notice something a bit different. Nearly every Sunday we pray together a psalm as part of our worship service. This Second Sunday of Advent, we will not be praying a psalm together, but reciting a passage from Luke's gospel (Lk. 1:68-79), often called the Benedictus, meaning "Blessed"
The turkey (and people) have been stuffed and we’re off to the next big season… Advent! That’s right, it’s not Christmas yet. Despite the lights, shopping, and fluctuating Holiday plans, we still have the work of Advent to do.
Thanksgiving is upon us and is the beginning of the holiday season of planning, festivities, and sometimes hand-wringing. As the days turn to night sooner, we would do well to be reminded that even in the darkness there is need of joy and celebration. Surrounded by night we have special need of fellowship to remind us we are not alone.
This Sunday we close our annual pledge campaign to meet our financial needs for the work we believe God is calling us to as the people of St. Tim's. We have heard from parishioners each Sunday over the past 5 weeks about how St. Tim's--how you!--make a difference in their lives. We have heard the stories of how we have offered ourselves to one another in care and prayer; we've heard how our life together in showing love and welcome transforms people's lives and their relationship with God
“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died,” says Mary, the sister of Lazarus. Can you imagine the piercing power of these words to the heart of Jesus—who was a dear friend to Lazarus and Mary and Martha? John tells us that Jesus wept in this moment. The power of death is a real thing in our lives and, it’s power is not final; indeed, the power of death has been defeated.
This Saturday, October 27th, we, as the Episcopal Church in Colorado, will be electing a new bishop. Last year our bishop, Rob O’Neill, announced his plans to retire in March of 2019 and this began a search process that culminates this Saturday as delegates from the parishes and throughout the diocese gather to prayerfully elect the 11th Episcopal Bishop of Colorado.
Over the past several months, I’ve had, what I might call, meaning-conversations with quite a few people. More than normal, to be honest. I’m not sure what has caused this spike in people wanting to talk about the core values of their lives.
It is an exciting time at St. Tim’s. And as our Senior Warden, Simon Caddick, mentioned on Sunday: God continues to guide us and call us forth into deeper waters of faith as a congregation. We are working to align our monies with our mission, which is a way of saying, that we are committed to being faithful to the ways God is calling us forth in ministry.
This week brought deep sadness, pain and grief upon many in our larger community as we heard the news that two students, in separate incidents, died by suicide. These students were not immediately a part of St. Tim’s, but some of us did know them. John Putnam, our Youth and Children Minister has been in touch with our youth and parents. The reality of such tragic moments in our lives, families, community, and church brings forth a myriad of emotions. As a parent of two children, my heart is sick for the families, friends and loved ones of the dead. Indeed, my heart, as I am sure for many of us, is touched by the fear and wondering of, “What can I do to help my children, grandchildren, loved ones?”
Our Gospel for Sunday contrasts the very humanness of Jesus’ disciples with Jesus’s vision of the Kingdom of God. We encounter Jesus and his disciples on the road, and while he was teaching them, they were arguing about who was the greatest. Even they knew this was silly, so when Jesus asked them what they were arguing about, they were silent. So Jesus told them plainly, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.”
“Jesus called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?’” This is one of my favorite scriptures, coming from Mark 8—and we hear it this Sunday
This coming Sunday, September 9th, will be our Kickoff Sunday. We launch our program year together and gather after the 10am service for an all-parish picnic and celebration.
There is unspeakable joy in being a priest and pastor. There is also great responsibility and with it, great privilege to offer care, love, forgiveness, blessing and edification in the name of Jesus. In part, this is why I am writing to you this week about a topic in the life of the greater church that is difficult for me as a priest and a parent to put into words.
Change is a hard thing—let’s be honest. I had a spiritual mentor who said to me, quite bluntly, after I went on blabbering about my frustrations with something changing in my life: “Nick, life is always changing.
All week long, our offices at St. Tim’s have been filled with annoying noises. There has been shouting so loud that people have closed their doors. A constant barrage of beeping, whistles, and yelling. It’s not been a great environment, but something new is happening.
Grief is a powerful thing. If you’ve ever experienced it—then you know this to be true. If not in your mind and heart, then certainly in your body. I say this because we also live in a culture that doesn’t like to talk about grief. We don’t talk much about the pain inside us, the sadness, and even the feelings of isolation, out-of-control-ness, and fear.