Church Pulpit Posts

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

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….

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

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….

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

Rogation Days | The Rev. Susan E. Hill, Associate Rector

As our church garden bursts forth its springtime beauty, and the bees buzz happily among the flowers, we celebrate Rogation Days in the church calendar. These are the three days prior to Ascension Day (May 18, this year). A fifth-century bishop in France began the tradition of Rogation (from the Latin rogatio for “asking”) by mandating a period of fasting and prayer in order to stave off potential disasters. Rogation Days became associated with the planting season in England. The local vicar would lead a procession around the fields, blessing them by praying a litany and reciting psalms….

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

Sea Songs | The Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson, Rector

Our Adult Forum during Eastertide has focused on the spirituality of our five senses: touch, sight, smell, sound and taste. I am facilitating the conversation on sound this Sunday. In my preparations, I came upon some interesting research from marine biologists at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Their studies of the songs of humpback whales have revealed that a song specific to one group of whales can move relatively quickly across thousands of miles….

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

Listen For The True Voice | The Rev. Robert A. Jacobs, Deacon

Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He is also the gate to the sheepfold. The two roles are one. His relationship with us is not that of a user, but of a friend, one who nurtures us toward growth. Like sheep, we know the voice of Jesus, and we can tell his voice from that of a stranger, or someone who wants to lead us to a new doctrine. We know Jesus’ voice because His word is clear. He always call us to do good, to pray, to celebrate His presence and His grace. The stranger the narcissistic, the morally perverse are easy to identify. They tell us to look out for number one.

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

All Together Now | The Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson, Rector

Today is the last day in Volunteer Appreciation Week. In recognition of the many, many people who give their time and their talents to Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, we hosted a lunch for our volunteers this past Monday. It was a lovely event. The food was excellent. There were goody bags and t-shirts for everyone, and speeches of gratitude from Michael, Steve, Jay and me. To the delight of everyone in attendance, there was even a picture projected onto the video screen of Steve’s baby son. He was smiling and wearing a onesie that said “Future HASK Volunteer.”

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

Joyous Eastertide | The Rev Susan E. Hill, Associate Rector

Perhaps it is the effect of the (very) warm weather we are experiencing, but the first week of Eastertide – the period between Easter Sunday and Ascension Day – is feeling particularly festive to me this year. I hope the same is true for you as well.

As you know, during our Lenten preparation for Easter, we often focus particularly on spiritual practices such as fasting, praying, and meditating on scripture. With the arrival of the Paschal Feast, we may have been particularly eager to give up any fasting practice we took on! And we may have quickly let go of any other Lenten disciplines we practiced as well. And this is as it should be – the cycle of fasting and feasting is integral to the practice of our faith. The disciplines we take on during times of preparation set us up to enjoy periods of feasting that much more!…

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