I invite you therefore in the name of Church to a Holy Lent.

Weekly Reflection, Friday, February 12

By: David May, Rector

I invite you therefore in the name of Church to a Holy Lent.

In September 2020, members of the vestry met by Zoom call with many of the ministry groups of our parish. All together, we think the vestry met with probably 80 to 100 parishioners over a two-week span. In addition to time just to catch up with one another, each ministry group had been asked to think about two questions: ‘what are you/we learning in these strange times?’, and ‘what do you want to do about that?’ What people shared with each other was so rich and often very personal. We saw again that so often what we think of as most personal is often something that we all share in common.

After all those conversations, four themes seemed to emerge: the gift of our own humanity, a clearer realization that we live in ‘a fallen world’, the gift of community, and the hope for a new creation. You could hear these themes as people talked about what they were discovering matters most. You could hear it as we talked about the brokenness in our world and in ourselves that this pandemic has laid bare. You could hear it as people wondered about how we could be different going forward.

By the mercy of God, we will come back together over the course of this current year, 2021. And as we come back together, we have the opportunity to return changed by what this long, long season of absence has taught us.

The people of St. Mary’s have helped create a beautiful Lenten Daily Devotional Booklet for this season. This booklet is an invitation for this season of Lent to look back and consider what we are learning about ourselves and our world. And it is an invitation to look forward with fresh vision about what kind of a church God is calling us to be at this time and in this place.

May the living God draw near to you in this holy season and guide and strengthen you as we journey to the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus.


St. Mary’s created a Lenten Daily Devotional Booklet

The people of St. Mary’s have created a beautiful Lenten Daily Devotional Booklet. In this six-week Lenten offering, you will find reflections written by 30 parishioners – children, young people, and adults – on the themes that emerged from the vestry zoom call meetings. We invite you to pick one of these up to consider, think, journal, reflect, and pray about what kind of church God is calling us to be.

Download the electronic version. Or pick one up at the Church Office.

A Reflection for Noonday Prayer

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

By: Amelia McDaniel, Lay Associate for Christian Formation

This is a poem by Friar Richard Hendrick a Franciscan Friar living in Ireland.

Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
But,
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.

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A Sermon for the Fourth Sunday in Lent

By: Eleanor Wellford, Priest Associate

 

On the surface, the story that we just heard from John’s gospel is about a blind man who was healed by Jesus. Ironically it’s also about people who could see well enough but were blind to what was right in front of them.

I get that. How many times have I found myself standing in front of an open refrigerator door looking for something that I knew was in there? And how many times does my husband have to step in and pull out the item that I was looking for? It was there all along. I just didn’t see it.

Or how many times have I been on a walk, especially this time of year, and missed the beauty of nature in full bloom? It’s not that I choose to do that as much as I simply get distracted by my thoughts.

The man in this morning’s gospel had no choice about what he could see or not see. He was blind from birth. People would pass by him all the time, talking about him as if he weren’t there and speculating about the cause of his blindness. He was in the same place every day and every day they chose not to see him.

But Jesus saw him and felt compelled to heal him even though the blind man didn’t ask for that. Jesus just did it – and he happened to do it on the day of rest – the Sabbath. When the Pharisees heard about that, they didn’t like it one bit.

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A Sermon for the Second Sunday in Lent

By: Amelia McDaniel, Lay Associate for Christian Formation

 

Yesterday morning, while scrolling through all the smattering of news I can access on my phone, I came upon something worth stopping for.
The story of Dan Peterson and Norah Wood. You may know it.

Dan Peterson was shopping at the local Publix in Norcross, Georgia. Mr. Peterson was, as he told it, pretty severely depressed. He had just lost his wife of many years and I can only imagine what an incredibly lonely task it was to be out shopping for just himself.

Norah Wood was at the grocery store too with her mom. She was four years old and getting a ride in one of those big carts. Norah was in her cart not feeling particularly lonely at all. In fact, when you watch the security video of what follows, you see she is perfectly filled up.

Norah waved at Dan as their carts passed. She called out to him, “Hey Old Person”. The three of them were strangers to one another. But that didn’t stop Norah. Dan paused kind of dumbstruck. Next she asked for a hug. “Absolutely” said Dan. Norah asked for her mama to take a picture of them together.

Then Dan said, to Norah and her mom, “You don’t know. This is the first time for quite a while that I’ve been this happy.” And hearing him recount the story you realize just how much Norah was a blessing to Dan.

The story went viral and got picked up for national news. Thousands of letters of encouragement came flooding into Dan’s mailbox. It is a story that just felt good.

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A Sermon for Ash Wednesday

By: David H. May, Rector

 

In keeping with the spirit of this day, I have a little confession to make. I don’t want to overstate it. I think it’s really just sort of ‘garden variety’, human kind of a stuff. I bring it up, only because it seems to ride ‘shotgun’ in a lot of our lives. Although, maybe I’d better just speak for myself. Sometimes, these little thoughts will pass through my mind like: I wonder why that person talks so much and doesn’t seem to notice that maybe other people would like to have a chance to talk too. Or, that person clearly has way too many grocery items to be going through the express lane. I’d never do that. Why can’t that person think of other people’s feelings, Or, why won’t that person play by the rules? And why does that person always have to talk about how their glass is always half empty? Well, that’s probably enough. Maybe more than enough.

The only conclusion I can reach for that kind of thinking is that it rests on the simple question of why people, family, co-workers, the town council, (why stop there?!), the Governor and Congress, oh what the heck, why can’t everybody behave a little more like me. I’d never do any of those un-thoughtful things, heaven knows.

Or would I? Or do I? Am I one of those people others would like to do a little fixer-up job on? Is it I Lord?

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