The author Octavia Butler just keeps surfacing. Reading her dystopian novel Parable of the Sower in our Holy Apostles summer book group a couple of years ago must have raised our collective awareness of Butler and her work, because ever since then it seems like she is everywhere. In lectures. Pop culture references. Think pieces. An opera at Lincoln Center last summer. And then, just last week, someone forwarded the link to a webinar where panelists were to discuss her prescient understanding of the climate chaos we are experiencing today….
Jesus always took time to pray. He wanted to hear His Father’s voice, in solitude and peace. He looked for and cherished that quietness. A time, when He could clear His mind and be strengthened by God’s voice, giving Him direction and courage. A time when He could withdraw from the cares and clamor of the world….
I was speaking with a friend recently who is getting set to retire. When I asked this person what they were going to miss most, they responded, “Well, I’ll tell you what I won’t miss: meetings! If I never have to attend another meeting again, it will be too soon!!” I think most of us have shared this feeling at one time or another. Even with the conveniences of gathering via Zoom, it’s easy to think of meetings—any meetings!—as events to be endured….
This past Thursday, January 18th, was the feast day marking the Confession of Saint Peter the Apostle. On that day, we remembered the gospel story (Matthew 16:13-19) of Peter proclaiming the identity of Jesus, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replies, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church…” The gospels portray Peter as an ordinary guy, a fisherman, who didn’t have any special theological training. He was likely illiterate. But his connection to God was such that he could see Jesus clearly through a divine gaze, seeing the Christ, the anointed Messiah, the Son of the living God. Even after this experience, Peter still struggled to understand fully Jesus’ message about the Kingdom or Realm of God. And yet, Peter went on to fully become a pillar of the Church, the rock on which it is founded….
Today is the day in our church calendar when we commemorate the life and ministry of Aelred, Abbot of Rievaulx. At first glance, Aelred seems to be another in a long line of medieval monks, raised in tumultuous times, who grow into faithful leadership and died a “good death.” Such lives are certainly worth highlighting in the narrative arc of Christian history, and Aelred’s life included all that plus one very specific theological focus: friendship….
In the wilderness, a voice was heard. This was not just any voice. It was a voice that echoed with the promise of something greater, something more powerful than anything the world had ever known. This voice belonged to John the Baptist. A man who was not afraid to stand-alone in the wilderness and proclaim the coming of the Messiah for all. He was preparing the way for the Lord, making straight paths for Him. This was a message of hope, a message of salvation….
These days, New Year’s resolutions are controversial. I hear them dismissed as random, or unattainable. Some people say that making resolutions sets us up for failure. And yet…everyone asks about them! The idea of resolutions at the turning of the year is so interwoven in our expectations for what happens overnight between December 31 and the morning of January 1 that we typically default to the assumption that we should be making them (and that everyone else is doing so, as well).
At 10:27 pm Eastern time, Thursday, December 21st, we passed the Winter Solstice. This marked the moment when the North Pole, which had been tilting farther and farther away from the Sun started to shift back. Thursday was the shortest day of the year, and daylight now begins to lengthen for the next six months. The solstice also marks the beginning of astronomical winter. (I learned this year that there is also a “meteorological winter” which began about three weeks ago – how did I never know this before?!)…
Thanksgiving was a day more special than most at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen. As you can see in the picture above, we welcomed weekday guests into our nave for the first time since March 13, 2020. While we have hosted community Sunday Supper meals once a month for the last few years, our hot meal service during the week is still offered on a “grab and go” basis.
During the holidays this year, we wanted to give our guests the gift of warmth, relaxation, and family style service. Volunteers brought food directly to tables, and people sitting there could help themselves to what they liked of the turkey, sides and sauces. Pumpkin pie and cookies provided a sweet final course to the meal. The food got unanimously rave reviews….
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….