Forgiveness | The Rev. Robert A. Jacobs, Deacon

Forgiveness | The Rev. Robert A. Jacobs, Deacon

We hear forgiveness in the Lord’s Prayer. We hear forgiveness in our creed. We hear about forgiveness in our confession.

What is forgiveness? The dictionary says, to excuse for a fault or offense, to grant pardon without harboring resentment, to excuse a mistake without fault, an intentional decision to let go of resentment and anger. The Greek word translated forgiveness to means, “to let go.”

Forgiveness is in many ways a learned behavior. We learn how to forgive. We learn to value it or not. We can also learn other lessons about forgiveness. Some people hold righteous anger. They bare a grudge for decades….

Forgiveness | The Rev. Robert A. Jacobs, Deacon

Aidan Bishop of Lindisfarne, 651 | The Rev. Susan E. Hill, Associate Rector

Aidan was a monk at St. Columba’s monastery on the island of Iona in the seventh century. Upon hearing that a fellow monk had gotten nowhere in preaching the gospel to the northern English, Aidan piped up and opined that perhaps a gentler approach would work. The predictable result was that Aidan soon found himself on the way to Northumbria to evangelize! He was so successful in his mission that Christianity soon spread as far as London….

Forgiveness | The Rev. Robert A. Jacobs, Deacon

Mascots | The Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson, Rector

Riding the C train uptown one afternoon, my spouse Charlie nudged me and subtly pointed to the other side of the car. Sitting across from us was a man wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “Winchester Sachems,” accompanied by a graphic depicting the profile of what was meant to be an indigenous person in some sort of headdress. I recognized the image immediately. I attended Winchester High School in Massachusetts, and the “Sachem” was our mascot.

Forgiveness | The Rev. Robert A. Jacobs, Deacon

Persistence | The Rev. Robert A. Jacobs, Deacon

Persistence is the ability to maintain action regardless of your feelings. It is the ability to continue even when you feel like quitting. The difference between winners and losers is their level of persistence.

As believers in Christ we need to be persistent as the Canaanite women does in Sundays Gospel lesson. Throwing in the towel at any little disappointment can make us not to be able to receive answers to our requests.

God’s time is different from our own. He does things at His own time, and He does not make mistakes, His timing is always right and accurate. His words tells us in Isaiah 55:8-9 that His ways are not our ways; neither is His thoughts our thoughts….

Forgiveness | The Rev. Robert A. Jacobs, Deacon

Everyday Resurrection | The Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson, Rector

The 1970 Broadway show titled The Me Nobody Knows was one of the first rock musicals ever produced. Based on an anthology of writings by urban young people, it included this song, titled “The Tree:”

This man I know
Has an apple tree he’s hoping will grow
day after day he waits
and what does he see?
Not one apple on the tree…..

Forgiveness | The Rev. Robert A. Jacobs, Deacon

The Spiritual Practice of Napping | The Rev. Susan E. Hill, Associate Rector

In these dog days of summer, you might want to try a new spiritual practice ─ napping! To be sure, this is not what we typically think of when we imagine prayer practices. Our ideas may tend more toward kneeling or sitting quietly, reciting memorized or improvised prayers, praying one of the daily offices in our prayer book, or perhaps meditating to clear our minds. Maybe we enjoy a walking meditation, or saying a rosary, or reading scripture, or gazing at an icon. And these are all wonderful practices (though maybe not the kneeling if you have bad knees!). But napping?! Seriously?….

Forgiveness | The Rev. Robert A. Jacobs, Deacon

His Eyes are on the Sparrow | The Rev. Robert A. Jacobs, Deacon

Throughout our lives there are times, we may feel discouraged and down, but always remember that God is by our side and watches over us through it all.

The sparrow is one of the smallest birds in the world and may be considered as of no consequence to many people. Know that God cares and notices when one of them falls to the ground.

Part of this coming Sunday’s Gospel, Matthew 10:29-31, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. Even the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”…

Forgiveness | The Rev. Robert A. Jacobs, Deacon

Church of the Holy Apostles at Prayer

Every week or two, Assisting Bishop Mary Glasspool writes a letter to clergy. There’s a theme to each letter, and she wrote recently about prayer (specifically corporate prayer; prayer within worshipping communities). She included this quotation from a book written in 1990 by Garrison Keillor, which mentions Holy Apostles:

…Episcopalian was the church in wingtips, the Church of the Scotch and soda. So when I moved to New York and walked into Holy Apostles, I was surprised to see no suits. Nobody was well dressed. A congregation of a hundred souls on lower Ninth Avenue, a church with no parking lot, which was in need of paint and the sanctuary ceiling showed water damage, but which managed (I learned the next week) to support and operate a soup kitchen that fed a thousand New Yorkers every day, more than a million to date. Black faces in the sanctuary, old people, exiles from the Midwest, the lame and the halt, divorced ladies, gay couples: the real good anthology of the faith. I felt glad to be there. When we stood for prayers, bringing slowly to mind the goodness and the poverty of our lives, the lives of others, the life to come, it brought tears to your eyes, the simple way Episcopalians pray….

Forgiveness | The Rev. Robert A. Jacobs, Deacon

Barnabas the Encouraging Apostle | The Rev. Susan E. Hill, Associate Rector

One of my favorite things about St. Barnabas, whose feast day we commemorate on Monday (transferred from Sunday), is that his name means “son of encouragement.” It is particularly notable, because Barnabas started out life in Cyprus with the name Joseph. We learn in chapter four of the Acts of the Apostles that he was so impacted by the preaching of the gospel that he sold a field that he owned and turned over all the proceeds to the apostles. It was those apostles who began to call him Barnabas….

Forgiveness | The Rev. Robert A. Jacobs, Deacon

Tuning In | The Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson, Rector

In a recent online forum on prayer, a woman who was raised in the Quaker tradition talked about her understanding of worship as a “listening prayer.” She described her surprise and delight when she stayed with some friends in Belarus and heard them answer the phone. Instead of “hello,” the custom there is to pick up, say, “I’m listening,” and then wait for the speaker to talk on the other end of the line.

This is certainly a very open way in which to begin any conversation, on the phone or otherwise. It assures the party making the call that the one receiving it is fully present and engaged. Answering the phone with these words is much more intentional than merely saying “hello.” “I’m listening” is focused, but agenda-free; creating space for input from the caller….


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