John The Baptist proclaimed that some one was coming. Someone so spectacular that it was not enough simply to just wait for him to arrive. He called upon the people to be honest with themselves. To step back from their daily routines and prepare their hearts to receive the one whom God was sending, who would redeem them from their sin, and offer them new life. He challenged them to repent; and embrace the Son of God….
Every year around this time, my spouse Charlie brings home a booklet of art that has been created by the detainees he works with on Riker’s Island. Contributions include visual art, poems, short stories and—this year—a one-act play. The subject matter varies, but all the artistic expressions usually have something to do with either endurance, transcendence, or both.
This year’s volume is titled Creating Within: Art from Rikers and the NYC Health + Hospitals Art Collection. The picture above is from the back inside cover of the collection. It was created by Keith A., who writes, “all we need is a drop of hope.” Within the drop of hope coming out of the dropper, you can see that he includes the words “freedom, friends, support, home, job, family, love.”…
We aren’t quite in Advent yet, but the season begins soon ─ next Sunday, December 3rd. Actually, some believe Advent should start a bit earlier ─ after the Feast of St. Andrew on November 30. And scholars remind us that it was originally a seven-week season, before the Church settled into the shorter four weeks or so to which we are accustomed….
Yesterday was “Fast-a-Thon” for Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen; a day when participants ask those in their network to sponsor them as they fast in support of our Soup Kitchen guests. The fast is a modified exercise: in solidarity with those who come to our doors for a hot meal (which is often the only sustenance they receive on any give day), we are asked to eat only one meal within a twenty-four hour-period instead of three….
As a teenager I joined the Boy Scouts, and always remembered the Boy Scout Motto. “Be Prepared.”
The story of the 10 Virgins, Matthew 25:1-13, illustrates this. Five where ready with their lamps when the Bridegroom came and five were not.
This is symbolic, as when we don’t know when the Lord shall return, we don’t know the day nor the hour. He just might come like a thief in the night, and we need to keep oil in our lamps, because in your waiting you don’t have time to run back to the store.
This was the issue with the five foolish virgins. They were not prepared for the bridegroom; they were not prepared to wait on the Lord. They were just caught in the moment of fashion, being on the list, and just hanging out with the in-crowd….
All Saints Day was this past Wednesday, November 1, and we will be celebrating this major feast in the church year on Sunday. During this time of war, in places where there is so much death and anguish, it is especially poignant to reflect on the people who have lived their lives in the service of others—those who have insisted on the humanity of all; those who have committed themselves to peace, even when peace seemed to be an impossibility….
On Saturday, October 28, the Church celebrates the feast of Saint Simon and Saint Jude. Despite having a feast day dedicated to them, we don’t know much about either man. They were named as apostles in the gospels, but Simon is never mentioned again. Because he is...
The Rev. Dr. Barbara Holmes is a theologian and pastor with experience in education, activism and the arts. She describes her life as being “committed to the struggle for justice, the healing of the human spirit, and the art of relevant and radical creativity.” In our individual and collective struggles to process current events and respond faithfully, she offers us this list of spiritual reflections and practices…
God’s gift of grace is generously showered upon all, but if we do not receive that grace and allow it to change us, we can miss out on the abundant life of salvation….
Grace is the grace that goes before us, available to all people. Justifying grace is the grace that moves us from our old selves into a new covenant life with God, and sanctifying grace is the grace by which we grow in our Christ likeness….
Two weeks ago, I wrote here about St. Matthew. Last Friday, Mother Susan wrote about St. Michael. If it’s not too much “saint focus” (is there such a thing as too much “saint focus?”), today I remind us that Wednesday of this week was the day when we celebrate St. Francis of Assisi. Arguably the most famous saint in Christendom, Francis is known and beloved by people from across the spectrum of faith traditions.
Because he is so famous, many stories of his life are well known. His conversion to Christianity follows an arc similar to St. Paul’s, and his expression of faith echoes medieval ballads of courtly love. In rejecting temporary comforts, he reminds us of God’s provision for all. When he confronts the Wolf of Gubbio, Francis takes a stand against demonizing the stranger. In his Canticle of the Sun, Francis draws all things together, rejoicing in God’s infinite expressions of creativity….