The picture below is a rendering of Exodus 15:20-21. The Israelites have just crossed through the Red Sea, and the Egyptian army has drowned in the water rushing back to its normal depth. In the awe and wonder that follows, the text tells us “Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing. And Miriam sang to them: ‘Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.’”….
Meditation for the Eve of Christmas Eve | The Rev. Susan E. Hill, Associate Rector
One of the best bumper stickers I ever saw was this: Don’t Postpone Joy!
It might seem like following that exhortation should be easiest to do at this time of year. There are gatherings of friends and family and church communities. There are sparkling lights and festive music. There are sweet smells of cookies and fresh cut trees.
But it is also easy to get caught up in what some have called the “Christmas Machine” – the stress of family tensions, finding perfect gifts, traipsing to gatherings hither and yon, or playing the consummate host. And it is also easy to feel left out – estranged or just far from family, missing friends who are traveling, or beset by worries or grief….
Grateful Preparation | The Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson, Rector
With only one week to go until Christmas, we may find ourselves caught up in the final stretch of last-minute preparations. For me that includes some version of the Advent carol People Look East: “Make your house fair as you are able, trim the hearth and set the table. People look east and sing today: Love the guest is on the way.” We are looking forward to having visitors this year. My father and his husband will be celebrating Christmas with us, and I want to make sure all is clean and comfortable for their stay….
Expectations | The Rev. Robert A. Jacobs, Deacon
Have you ever been in a situation where people did not live up to the hopes and expectations you had for them? If so, you can probably understand why John the Baptist was confused in this coming Sunday’s gospel.
Uncertain, scary times can shake us and cause us to have doubts about our faith. John the Baptist is a good example. When we like John, are moved by the Holy Sprit, we vow to follow God. When we receive blessings, we are sure that Jesus is our Savior. When we face tragedies and disasters, we perhaps may question our faith. We question why these things happen. There are times when we are wrapped up in our suffering that sometimes we can’t see, or feel God’s presence….
Advent Focus | The Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson, Rector
It’s hard for those of us who are older to believe, but the musical production of The Lion King is marking twenty-five years on Broadway. First an animated movie and then, famously, a production that melded puppetry and human performance, the show is a legendary staple of theater-going in our city (and in many others—productions of the show have toured all over our nation and all over the world).,,,
A Benedictine Advent | The Rev. Susan E. Hill, Associate Rector
Today in our Episcopal calendar we remember James Otis Sargent Huntington, a priest and monk who died in 1935. He is best known for founding the Order of the Holy Cross, a Benedictine order for men. Huntington began the orders’ ministry in some of the poorest areas of the Lower East Side of Manhattan. After a stint in rural Maryland, Holy Cross found its current home in 1902 in West Park, NY, near Poughkeepsie. The monastery was the first building built for an Anglican monastic order since King Henry VIII! Huntington went on to help found various other institutions, including Kent School in Kent, CT, where Mother Anna was chaplain….
Episcopal | The Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson, Rector
Our particular branch of Christianity is called The Episcopal Church because we are a church with bishops. The word Episcopal comes from the Greek episkopos, which means “overseer,” and the Latin episcopus, which means “bishop.” To say that we are a church with bishops is also to say we are a hierarchical church. Bishops have oversight in their diocese. They serve as chief pastors to both clergy and laity there, and they have responsibility for the doctrine, discipline and worship within their dioceses.
In short, they are the boss(es). At our ordinations, Bob, Susan and I, like all priests and deacons, vowed to respect and be guided by the pastoral direction and leadership of our bishop. By extension, the churches we serve do the same….
Patience | The Rev. Robert A. Jacobs, Deacon
We live in a world that is unpredictable, a world which is worrisome to us, a world in which we never thought we would experience.
What do we do when trouble tries to bury us? Do we trust God even when we can’t see His plan? Somehow we seem to think God needs to explain what he is doing. Trust God? Be calm? Have patience?…
For All The Saints | The Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson, Rector
One of the best parts of living in New York City is the option to get from one place to another on foot. Even if only for part of our travels, walking is embedded in how we negotiate our days. And the more we walk, the better we get at all the little shortcuts at streetcorners. We start to anticipate when the lights will change and move forward accordingly. And, if no cars are coming toward us and all is clear, we might cross the street even if the red hand is still solidly telling us to stay put.
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….