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A List for Lent

 Ash Wednesday was yesterday.  Some of went to church and received ashes on our foreheads.  The ashes are made from last year's palms.  The ashes are a sign or our mortality.  Ashes also represent our brokenness and our desire for reconciliation, renewal, and restoration. I find it helpful on my Lenten journey to add something to help me as I reflect upon my spiritual life.  There is no "one size" fits all here.  Different things speak to different people in different ways.  What I find helpful and encouraging may not be so for you.  That is perfectly ok. In no special order, here are some things I find helpful in Lent: Listening to the Easter portion of Handel's Messiah as I go about my day. Reading C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters-- or better yet, John Cleese reading it on audiobook. Watching the video versions of Godspell and Jesus Christ, Superstar. Listening to a musical setting of the passion narratives, such as Bach's St. Matthew's Passion. Reading

"Who is This?" **a sermon for 5 Epiphany**

Isaiah 40:21-31 + Psalm 147:1-12, 21c + I Corinthians 9:16-23 + Mark 1:29-39 We are almost at the end of the short season of Epiphany.   Epiphany, you may recall, is about seeing the signs.   Seeing the signs pointing to Jesus’ identity.   Mark’s Gospel, especially, does not want you and me to miss the clues pointing directly to who Jesus is-- the Son of God, the Anointed One. Last week we saw Jesus teaching with power and authority.   Those who heard Jesus were amazed.   Here is, by ancient near East standards, a young man daring to teach.   Neither does Jesus have the benefit of formal training like the Rabbis or other religious leaders.   Yet, Jesus’ words draw the people. Jesus’ power and authority are on full display again this morning.   Jesus’ teaching stuns the synagogue in Capernaum.   Jesus’ authority is not limited to words, however.   He also has the power to send evil spirits running.   Needless to say, this attracts attention!   A lot of attention! Following Sab

February 2024 Lion's Roar: All things Lent

  In just a few short weeks, Lent will be here.   Lent is a time for self-inventory, self-discipline, and self-improvement.   We have some special events to help you on your journey.             “Forty Days through Mark with St. Mark’s” will upload to our Facebook page Monday through Saturday at 7a.   We’ll start with a reading from the Gospel of Mark and I’ll make a few comments on the text.   The entire Gospel of Mark will be read by the end of the forty days.             Each Tuesday (starting 2/21) Deacon Dorothy will lead our Lenten series.   We’ll gather at 4p for a meal of soup and bread.   The program will be from 5-6p.   Join us at All Saints’ or on Zoom.             Fridays at 4p Dorothy and Andy will lead us in a virtual Stations of the Cross via Zoom.             Lent Madness will be back.   A bracket of 32 Saints has been assembled.   Read about each Saint at lentmadness.org to fill out your bracket.   Each day during Lent (with a few exceptions), two Saints face o

"What's in a Label?" **sermon for 2 Epiphany B, 14 January 2024**

  I Samuel 3:1-10(11-20) + Psalm 139:1-5, 12-17 + I Corinthians 6:12-20 + John 1:43-51 “Lynn, Lynn, the city of sin You never come out the way you came in.”   I feel I have always known this little chant.   Even as a very young child.   I am not sure how or where I learned it.   Perhaps it is just a north shore Boston thing.   I don’t know.   Lynn, the city in question, is outside of Danvers and Salem.   Yes, THAT Salem of the witch trials infamy. Popular lore has it that Lynn, in its past, had a history of corruption and lawlessness.   Especially during prohibition.   Lynn was then known for bootlegging, prostitution, and other illegal activities.   Think of Chicago during the same era with Capone and the other gangsters. I wonder what Nathanael has in mind.   Philip tells him about a learned teacher and healer from Nazareth.   Nazareth of all places!   One has to ask “what is Nazareth’s reputation at the time that Nathanael remarks: ‘can anything good come out of Nazare

January 2024 Lion's Roar

I write as 2023 comes to a close.   Soon 2024 will be upon us.   That does not seem possible.   Didn’t we just start 2023? A new year brings new things.   We have a clean slate.   There are soaring hopes and endless possibilities.   The world is our oyster! The Vestries of both St. Mark’s and All Saints’ will have their Annual Meetings and Elections later this month.   New leadership will be elected to the respective Vestries.   Reports will be shared about the parish’s life and ministry.   We’ll look ahead some to 2024. One very important change will take place before the Annual Meetings.   The Wardens of both churches have agreed to amend the partnership agreement.   I will be shared between St. Mark’s and All Saints’ in a fifty-fifty split beginning 1 January 2024.   All Saints is committed to supporting their brother and sister Episcopalians.   St. Mark’s is committing to helping provide support for All Saints’ fundraisers including helping set up, staff, cook, and clean up.

Christmas is Near

Christmas is only, GULP, 11 days away!!!  :-O :-O  I am not sure how that happened.  But, in a few short days, followers of Jesus will gather to remember the birth of the One who changed the course of history . . . the One whom we believe to be the Only Son of God. How fitting it is that we celebrate the Light of the world (see John 1) at a time when it is so dark.  I find these short winter days hard.  As do many of us who live with seasonal affective disorder.  We need sunlight, and lots of it, to properly function.   Cold, grey, wet days make me want to stay in bed and snuggle in with a good book, my cat, and a nice cup of something warm to drink.  Soon, however, we will see the days start to get longer as far as the hours of daylight.  The change will be almost imperceptible at first.  Slowly seconds will be added.  Then minutes. How fitting it is that the early followers of Jesus celebrated His birth just as the days begin to get longer.  Those first Christians made the connection

December Lion's Roar

Dear Ones, Advent is almost here!   A very special baby is on the way!!   As with any other human baby, this baby requires that you and I prepare for the birth.   We must get our hearts and minds ready to receive the Christ Child within us.   This is an inner, spiritual type of getting ready as opposed to an external kind of preparation. Deacon Dorothy and I will be leading a special Advent series on the Tuesdays of Advent.   The sessions will be both in-person as well as via Zoom.   Each session will start at 4p with a simple soup and bread supper before the program at 5p.   The series will be held at All Saints’ but St. Markians are invited to join us.   Please RSVP to Dawn-Victoria+ so we can make sure there is enough food.   You can also contact her for the Zoom link. This month concludes the first look at the “Ten (plus one) Rules of Respect.”   One of the greatest gifts we can give one another is to treat each other with kindness, respect, and compassion as fellow beloved C