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Happy All Hallows’ Eve! | The Rev Susan E. Hill, Associate Rector

Happy All Hallows’ Eve! | The Rev Susan E. Hill, Associate Rector

As you are no doubt aware, Monday is one of the biggest American holidays – Halloween. But you may not know or remember that Halloween began as All Hallow’s Eve, the vigil that takes place the evening before the church’s celebration of All Saints’ Day on November 1. The All Hallow’s observance itself came out of the pre-Christian Celtic celebration of Samhain (pronounced “Sow-en”, where sow rhymes with cow), which marked the beginning of winter and the first day of the new year. Going into winter must have felt like an apt time to reflect on human mortality, and so on this evening the souls of the dead were said to visit their homes. (This tradition is of course also related to the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico and beyond.) Since evil spirits might be out and about as well, bonfires were set on hilltops to scare them away, as well as to remember the light of the sun when the days were the shortest….

Happy All Hallows’ Eve! | The Rev Susan E. Hill, Associate Rector

Guest Appearance | The Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson, Rector

As many of you know, we have been discussing The Social Justice Bible Challenge in our Adult Forum on Sundays. Each gathering includes some of the most beautiful, provocative and (sometimes) unsettling passages in Scripture. As an offshoot of our conversations about our longing for justice and our individual discernment about how best to live that longing…

Happy All Hallows’ Eve! | The Rev Susan E. Hill, Associate Rector

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

The picture below was taken in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. A parishioner forwarded it to me after telling me how moved she was to see a town crosswalk painted with the rainbow flag. This image is beautiful in several ways. First, the expression of solidarity is clear, bold and impossible to ignore. Second, the sign of welcome is integrated into the life of the community (everyone uses roads, most people use crosswalks). And third, the flag is painted in an area defined by motion—indicating that inclusion is assumed. If we are to move from one place to another, that process is sustained by diversity….

Happy All Hallows’ Eve! | The Rev Susan E. Hill, Associate Rector

The Social Justice Bible Challenge | The Rev. Susan E. Hill, Associate Rector

This fall, our Adult Christian Education Forum series will focus on scripture that reminds us of God’s emphasis on justice and inspires us to take action as individuals and as a community in the world. The material we’ll use is drawn from a book called The Social Justice Bible Challenge, edited by Marek P. Zabriskie.

In the book’s introduction, Zabriskie observes that there are many Christians who do not connect the Bible with the pursuit of social justice. On the one hand, there are those who enjoy studying scripture and perhaps applying it to their own personal lives. But these folks often stop short of taking action in the wider world to advocate for justice and equality for all. On the other hand, there are Christians who devote themselves to outreach and social action in their community. But they may be less comfortable grounding and sustaining themselves and their mission in scripture….

Happy All Hallows’ Eve! | The Rev Susan E. Hill, Associate Rector

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

           As you have all heard me announcing endlessly (and are still hearing, in reading this!), Bishop Dietsche will be with us this Sunday to preach, celebrate the Holy Eucharist and confirm two of our congregants. I have wanted to publicize the Bishop’s time at Holy Apostles, of course. And I have been repeating this announcement more than is usual because—just for one Sunday—we are changing the time of our worship to 4:00 pm. There will be no morning services on September 25, as we are hoping that everyone who feels comfortable worshipping in person will gather in community to greet Bishop Dietsche later in the afternoon….

Happy All Hallows’ Eve! | The Rev Susan E. Hill, Associate Rector

Unjust Steward | The Rev. Robert A. Jacobs, Deacon

A steward is someone who has been given the authority to oversee something for someone else. In other words, a servant, even though a steward my have control over people and resources.

Can you see the parallel between the master (Jesus and the steward (us) in our everyday lives? Are we not responsible for our families, and ourselves but ultimately answer to Jesus?…

Happy All Hallows’ Eve! | The Rev Susan E. Hill, Associate Rector

The Rhythm of Labor and Sabbath | The Rev. Susan E. Hill, Associate Rector

As we go into Labor Day weekend, the traditional marker of the end of summer, it might be useful to reflect on the idea of having an annual Federal holiday to honor labor. The origins of the holiday have to do with the American labor movement, but I’m thinking more broadly about honoring the labor that we and those around us do — honoring it by taking time to rest.

And this brings me to Sabbath. One of the most frequently broken of the Ten Commandments is the commandment to rest once a week, to hallow the Sabbath day. That commandment smacks up against the Protestant work ethic that many of us grew up with – and God’s commandment has tended to lose that contest!…

Happy All Hallows’ Eve! | The Rev Susan E. Hill, Associate Rector

New Perspective | The Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson, Rector

Research and experience tell us that our brains stay young(ger) if we challenge them. In addition to getting enough sleep, eating healthily and exercising, we support our neural networks by doing something different, or something familiar in a different way. When our neural networks are strong and flexible, our focus sharpens, our memory improves, and our awareness expands….

…Our spiritual lives work in a similar way, I think. Trying a new form of prayer, or adopting a new spiritual discipline—no matter how small, even for some part of one day!—works our spiritual muscles. Even small shifts in how we live our faithfulness can lead to an expanded awareness of the holiness that surrounds us….

Happy All Hallows’ Eve! | The Rev Susan E. Hill, Associate Rector

What Is Bothering You? | The Rev. Robert A. Jacobs, Deacon

Sunday’s Gospel reflects on the woman who was crippled for 18 years. She had shuffled through life, head down, looking at people’s feet. Today we would probably call it osteoporosis, arthritis, or stenosis.

She is one of the most powerful pictures of faith in the New Testament. She attended Synagogue every Sabbath for those 18 years, and probably attended almost 1,000 services during that time. She has not been healed, yet she still believes in God.

She prays, but even when it seems like God isn’t going to answer, she remains faithful. She comes to services, in spite of the fact that no one would think a thing about her if she did not….


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