Friday, December 26, 2008
Sung most often as a Christmas carol but wonderful for any time of the year. The The hymn is composed by Elizabeth Poston and sung here by the Choir of Kings College, Cambridge (1993) ...Here are the words
Jesus Christ the Apple Tree
The tree of life my soul hath seen
Laden with fruit and always green
The tree of life my soul hath seen
Laden with fruit and always green
The trees of nature fruitless be
Compared with Christ the apple tree
His beauty doth all things excel
By faith I know but ne'er can tell
His beauty doth all things excel
By faith I know but ne'er can tell
The glory which I now can see
In Jesus Christ the apple tree.
For happiness I long have sought
And pleasure dearly I have bought
For happiness I long have sought
And pleasure dearly I have bought
I missed of all but now I see
'Tis found in Christ the apple tree.
I'm weary with my former toil
Here I will sit and rest a while
I'm weary with my former toil
Here I will sit and rest a while
Under the shadow I will be
Of Jesus Christ the apple tree.
This fruit does make my soul to thrive
It keeps my dying faith alive
This fruit does make my soul to thrive
It keeps my dying faith alive
Which makes my soul in haste to be
With Jesus Christ the apple tree.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Sunday, Dec. 21st , Advent IV -Holy Communion, Rt. I. Greening of the church to follow immediately after the service.
Wednesday, December 24th, Christmas Eve, Holy Communion, Rt. II - 6:00 pm with caroling and nativity.
This year please bring a gift (in addition to yourself!) for the Christ Child. We are collecting unwrapped baby gifts (items for newborns - blankets, clothing, diapers, wipes, etc.). These will be given to two organization who help women with unplanned pregnancies - the Florence Crittenton Home and the Lowcountry Crisis Pregnancy Center.
Sunday, January 4, Epiphany Celebration and Bonfire- 4:00 PM at Palmetto (directions will be available at church). Come, bring a covered dish and your Christmas Tree.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Yesterday somebody gave me a button that read “It’s OK to say, Merry Christmas.” I’ve been thinking about that button. I suppose that its main purpose is to let a fellow Christian at the cash register know that they can say Merry Christmas instead of “Happy Holidays” or some other such sentiment.
I put it on and wore it and will do it again when I go shopping – but, I won’t be wearing it here until Christmas Eve and then I’ll be wearing it for the 12 days of Christmas You see, I still am needing an Advent…and the church is still in Advent. We are in the place of getting ready to welcome a guest, of preparing our hearts for not only the remembrance of the birth of the Christ Child but also getting ready for the day and hour that we will meet him face to face….whether it is when he returns on the Day of the Lord or when we die.
It’s so easy to get swept up into some kinds of getting ready for Christmas: getting a tree, decorating the house, baking, getting gifts, sending out cards, visiting with folks we love, or maybe getting ready for travel. All of these are perfectly good things to do, but we risk missing some real opportunity if we don’t take the time to think about the spiritual significance of Christmas. We miss the opportunity to get in touch with our deepest longings and notice the signs that the prophets hold up for us. It’s a little bit like getting to work or showing up for school and realizing that you had forgotten that a major project was due that day – Just forgot…Head was too full of all kinds of other stuff or other things and people in our environment were clamoring for (and getting our attention), while the quiet but most important thing slipped by.
John the Baptist tells us something important today…Jesus called him the greatest man who ever lived…does he loom that large for you? Let’s think about some possible sources of John’s greatness. I want to look at just three
1. He knew who he was --- “I am not the messiah” …He was the forerunner – the one sent ahead . With all of Jerusalem coming out to be baptized, with all of the sensation and public attention he was attracting, it would have been easy to want to hold on to that limelight as along as he could….but he knew who he was and he acted on it…he was faithful to the call of God in his life….I like this little quote from Goethe…. “Never by reflection, but only by doing is self-knowledge possible to one.”  Contrary to what our culture teaches ("Look within , Grasshopper"), we learn who we are and what we are to be about by doing – not by sitting around and peeling back the layers of our inner onion.
So, let me ask you an Advent question --- what is God’s call on your life? What work has he given you to do? How are you doing?
2. John the Baptist had the eyes of faith to be able to recognize Jesus…how is your spiritual vision these days – do you see the signs of God at work around you?
3. Instead of envy, joy --- instead of living out of a place of limited good (there’s only so much limelight to go around) he was filled with joy at the prospect of simply being the friend of the bridegroom – (Remember wedding customs about friend announcing)…are we willing to step aside from the me first , ego driven individualism of the culture surrounds us?
So – here are some Advent questions we can ponder to get ready…
What calling has God placed in my life and am I living it out faithfully…and if we discover we are not, not, then confess it and ask for God’s help and guidance…
Am I in enough of a relationship with Jesus Christ that I am able to see with the eyes of faith? If we are not, then pray for a new start at Christmas…
Am I willing to give way and let Jesus Christ be the Lord of my life instead of my self? Are we willing to let him be the bridegroom? If not then confess, and say with John – Lord, grant that we might decrease and he increase.
If we can reflect about these questions – then, we will be truly getting ready for Christmas…not for commercial Christmas but for God’s Christmas. May God bless you in your Advent discernment. Amen.
JTCO – Advent III-2008
 Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) – Poet, novelist and dramatist.
Monday, November 24, 2008
St. Clement: Stromata.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
The Marriage Course offered again
Monthly Fellowship Gatherings – Wednesday nights
More Hands-On Community Outreach
Use praise music in combination with traditional music in worship – Guitar/Piano
Food Drive or some other type of food ministry – perhaps in concert with others in community.
People who are willing to drive others to town
Dialog Sermons (Dick did this once a month)
Outings at Brick Church – Oyster Roast, for example
Occasional Services at Jamestown and other sites associated with SJS
Healing Prayer Service
Vestry Building improved ( Quiet HVAC and improve bathroom) so we can get more use out of it - AA, etc.
* Suggestion was made to write the names of several of your favorites on the Time and Talent survey.
May the Lord who has given us the will to do these things give us the grace and power to perform them. Amen.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
*Click on the photo for an enlarged image. I especially like that there are empty spaces on the bottom rows for saints yet to come.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Whosoever commands the sea commands the trade; whosoever commands the trade of the world commands the riches of the world, and consequently the world itself.
Walter Ralegh (c.1552–1618), English explorer and courtier
Here is my question of the day: Does this still hold? I suspect there is a new ocean. Could it be space? How about the internet?
Monday, September 1, 2008
Archdiocese of Detroit
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Archbishop's Pastoral Letter to Bishops of the Anglican Communion-Tuesday 26 August 2008
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has today sent a letter to the bishops of the Anglican Communion, setting out his personal reflections on the Lambeth Conference. The full text of the letter can be found below:
As the Lambeth Conference of 2008 comes to an end, I want to offer some further reflections of my own on what the bishops gathered in Canterbury have learned and experienced. Those of you who have been present here will be able to share your own insights with your people, but it may be useful for me to add my own perspectives as to where we have been led.
For the vast majority of bishops, it seems, this has been a time when they have felt God to have been at work. The Conference was not a time for making new laws or for binding decisions; in spite of the way some have expressed their expectations, Lambeth Conferences have never worked straightforwardly in this way. The Conference Design Group believed strongly that the chief need of our Communion at the moment was the rebuilding of relationships – the rebuilding of trust in one another – and of confidence in our Anglican identity. And it was with this in mind that they planned for a very different sort of Conference, determined to allow every bishop's voice to be heard and to seek for a final outcome for which the bishops were genuinely able to recognize an authentic account of their own work.
I believe that the Conference succeeded in doing this to a very remarkable degree – more than most people expected. At the end of our time together, many people, especially some of the newer bishops, said that they had been surprised by the amount of convergence they had seen. And there can be no doubt that practically all who were present sincerely wanted the Communion to stay together.
But they also recognized the challenge in staying together and the continuing possibility of further division. As the proposals for an Anglican Covenant now go forward, it is still possible that some will not be able to agree; there was a clear sense that some sort of covenant will help our identity and cohesion, although the bishops wish to avoid a legalistic or juridical tone. A strong majority of bishops present agreed that moratoria on same-sex blessings and on cross-provincial interventions were necessary, but they were aware of the conscientious difficulties this posed for some, and there needs to be a greater clarity about the exact expectations and what can be realistically implemented. How far the intensified sense of belonging together will help mutual restraint in such matters remains to be seen. But it can be said that few of those who attended left without feeling they had in some respects moved and changed.
We were conscious of the absence of many of our colleagues, and wanted to express our sadness that they felt unable to be with us and our desire to build bridges and restore our fellowship. We were aware also of the recent meeting in Jerusalem and its statements; many of us expressed a clear sense of affinity with much that was said there and were grateful that many had attended both meetings, but we know that there is work to do to bring us closer together and are determined to do that work.
The final document of Conference Reflections is not a 'Report' in the style of earlier Conferences, but an attempt to present an honest account of what was discussed and expressed in the 'indaba' groups which formed the main communal work of the Conference by the Reflections Group. But although this document is not a formal Report, it has a number of pointers as to where the common goals and assumptions are in the Communion. Let me mention some of these.
First, there was an overwhelming unity around the need for the Church to play its full part in the worldwide struggle against poverty ignorance and disease. The Millennium Development Goals were repeatedly stressed, and there was universal agreement that both governmental and non-governmental development agencies needed to create more effective partnerships with the churches and to help the churches increase and improve their own capacity to deliver change for the sake of justice. To further this, it was agreed that we needed a much enhanced capacity in the Communion for co-ordinated work in the field of development. Our Walk of Witness in London and the memorable address of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom formed a powerful focus for these concerns. And the challenge to every bishop to identify clear goals for developing environmentally responsible policies in church life was articulated very forcefully indeed: information was provided to all about how the 'carbon footprint' of the Conference itself might be offset, and new impetus given to careful and critical self-examination of all our practices. We were reminded by first-hand testimony that the literal survival of many of our most disadvantaged communities was at risk as a result of environmental change. This enabled us to see the issue more clearly as one of justice both to God's earth and to God's people
Second, on the controversial issue of the day regarding human sexuality, there was a very widely-held conviction that premature or unilateral local change was risky and divisive, in spite of the diversity of opinion expressed on specific questions. There was no appetite for revising Resolution 1.10 of Lambeth 1998, though there was also a clear commitment to continue theological and pastoral discussion of the questions involved. In addition to a widespread support for moratoria in the areas already mentioned, there was much support for the idea of a 'Pastoral Forum' as a means of addressing present and future tensions, and as a clearing house for proposals concerning the care of groups at odds with dominant views within their Provinces, so as to avoid the confusing situation of violations of provincial boundaries and competing jurisdictions.
Importantly, it was recognized that all these matters involved serious reflection on the Christian doctrine of human nature and a continuing deepening of our understanding of Christian marriage. A joint session with bishops and spouses also reminded us that broader moral issues about power and violence in relations between men and women needed attention if we were to speak credibly to the tensions and sufferings of those we serve.
Third, there was a general desire to find better ways of managing our business as a Communion. Many participants believed that the indaba method, while not designed to achieve final decisions, was such a necessary aspect of understanding what the questions might be that they expressed the desire to see the method used more widely – and to continue among themselves the conversations begun in Canterbury. This is an important steer for the meetings of the Primates and the ACC which will be taking place in the first half of next year, and I shall be seeking to identify the resources we shall need in order to take forward some of the proposals about our structures and methods.
The Conference was richly blessed in its guest speakers, who all testified to their appreciation of the Anglican heritage, while asking us searching questions about how flexible and creative our evangelistic policies were, about the integration of our social passion with our theology and about the nature of the unity we were seeking both within the Anglican Communion and with other Christian families. Our many ecumenical representatives played a full and robust part in all our work together and we owe them a considerable debt.
Finally and most importantly of all, we were held within an atmosphere of steady and deep prayer by our Chaplaincy Team. The commitment of the Conference members to daily worship was impressive; and this has much to do with the quality of that worship, both in moments of profound quiet and in exuberant celebration. It mattered greatly that we were able to begin with a period of retreat in the context of Canterbury Cathedral; the welcome we received there was immensely generous and we all valued the message clearly given, that this was our Cathedral, and that all of us were a full part of the worshipping community that had been here since Augustine came to Canterbury in 597.
I know that all present would wish me to express thanks once again to all who planned and organized the Conference, to those who composed the Bible Studies, those who devised and monitored the work of the indaba groups and all others who served us so devotedly in all sorts of ways – not least the Stewards, whose youthful energy and commitment and unfailingly supportive presence gave all of us great hope for the future. Thanks to all of you – bishops and spouses – who attended, for the great commitment shown and for the encouragement you have given each other.
But together we give thanks to God for his presence with us, his faithfulness to us and his gifts to our Communion. As was said in the closing plenary session, we believe that God has many more gifts to give to and through our Communion; and we ask his grace and assistance in teaching us how to receive what he wills to give. "He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness." (2 Cor. 9v10)
Your servant in Christ
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Dear folks, here is a report from the Lambeth Conference - the once every ten years gathering of the bishops of the Anglican Communion. It is one of three from our bishop, + Mark Lawrence. To check out the two other reports, click on the link at the bottom of the report...
A bishop asked me this morning while we were sitting in Canterbury Cathedral waiting for the Eucharist to begin, “What has been the biggest surprise for you?” I thought about it for a moment and said, “The way my heart has been broken and broadened.” I suppose it goes without saying that as a new bishop of the Church I hardly needed any more challenges then I already had before I came here. Yet somehow I must trust that God gives us the grace necessary to sustain us in the responsibilities to which he calls us. Bishop Charles Henry Brent used to say, “Responsibility keeps pace with spiritual development. The more a man carries, the more he is capable of carrying. God fits the back to the burden and the burden to the back.” So, for instance, how can I pray and share meals with these bishops from the Sudan or Ghana who have such needs for their people and then forget them when I return home? How can I reconnect with an old friend like Bishop Tito Zavala from Chile and not sense that God brought us together for his purposes years ago when I was the diocesan liaison between the Diocese of Pittsburgh and Chile and not feel that this relationship should be cultivated afresh? I have met so many bishops of kindred spirits from England, Ireland, India, and elsewhere that it reaffirms my conviction that we need one another to carry out the mission Jesus Christ is calling us to in this global age. It is clear to me that they face challenges that we can help them with—and we challenges for which their clarity and forthrightness is a strengthening balm. One of the highlights of these past few days was our day in London—the Witness Walk from Whitehall to Lambeth Palace where the Prime Minister of England addressed us with passionate conviction regarding the need for people of faith and good will to work together towards the goals of eradicating extreme poverty, hunger and bringing educational opportunities to all. After his speech and that of the Archbishop I wandered into the Lambeth Library seeing documents of the Virginia and Carolina colonies. From there we went by coach to the Garden Party with the Queen at Buckingham Palace. I found it only natural while in this setting of royal majesty to reflect upon the splendor of the heavenly realms which our Lord left in order to sojourn among us in humility and with his body hung in shame upon a cross to purchase our salvation. The Father, in his will to redeem a slave like me, sent his Son, who in his humiliation, revealed his glory and our redemption. We enter now into the final and crucial week. The Bible Study and Indaba Groups have begun to peel away layers of caution and hesitation therein laying bare many difficult issues. This has been painful at times as we’ve faced the chasm that divides us. Like many of you, particularly those who have been to General Convention or provincial gatherings of one kind or another, I have lived with this chasm for so many years that it is easy to forget that for Christians elsewhere it is hardly the most pressing issue they face. For some of them it is the need for food, shelter, clean water, coping as refugees or holding firm to the gospel in the midst of persecution that dominates their ministries. Yet the crisis that The Episcopal Church threw the Anglican Communion into in 2003 has not only complicated our lives as Episcopalians but has made it increasingly difficult for them to do their ministries in what were already demanding cultural contexts. A conference such as Lambeth must address many concerns and these are often interconnected and multilayered. Perhaps I can share some of our discussions with you later, but for now there is a verse in the Mosaic Law that comes to mind as I write about these two seminal groups of the conference: “You shall not uncover your sister’s nakedness.” That is, it would be inappropriate in my mind to discuss in any detail what is transpiring in the Bible Study and Indaba Groups. Beyond saying it is the striving of people from diverse cultures to engage one another respectfully yet honestly in order to understand what the challenges are that dominate the lives of our people. The last two meetings of the Self-Select Session, The Bible and Human Sexuality, I attended (Wednesday and Friday) were much improved over the first. We looked at certain Old Testament passages regarding human sexuality in the second session and New Testament passages in the third session. Some of each session was spent in a lecture format, some in small group work and some in larger group discussion. The time was hardly sufficient for the subject at hand. At the end of our final meeting an Australian bishop made a statement that was in a way a question, but there was hardly any answer that seemed sufficient with which the presenter could reply—“Surely a loving Heavenly Father would not leave his children confused about something so fundamental as human sexuality…if so, I’ve been wasting my time for forty-three years!” I suppose some were put off by the force of his words, but it seemed to me a necessary and poignant pause with which to end our time. Tomorrow we have another hearing on the Windsor process and the Covenant. We’ve already been told that nothing will be definitively decided on the Covenant at this Lambeth, but I suspect that what we do decide will play a role in this ongoing process towards a covenant that unites us in a deeper fellowship or the lack of a covenant that will surely lead to greater division than we already have in the Communion. I need to prepare what I’m going to say at this hearing, or, if I do not get the opportunity to speak, then to turn in my written words to the Windsor Continuation Committee, so I will leave off writing to you for tonight. It is 10:00 p.m. and I have this other work to do. But if I may say in conclusion, Allison and I joined many other bishops and spouses at Canterbury Cathedral for worship this morning. We enjoyed a lovely luncheon given to us by the Cathedral congregation, and then she and I walked over to St. Martin’s Church, the oldest Church in England. Afterwards we visited the ruins of St. Augustine’s Abbey before catching the bus back to the University of Kent and to our dormitory rooms. The three sites which are almost contiguous with one another are World Heritage Sites. They are also reminders that forms and structures may change—yet the Lordship of Christ will abide forever. But some embodiments of the Church and its mission abide, changing faithfully with the culture, and some entirely collapse, or exist merely as relics of prior generations’ faith. These three places were a stark reminder to me of the gravity of the issues before us in Anglicanism and in The Episcopal Church. Can Anglicanism adapt to the opportunities and challenges of a Global age? I, for one, believe it can—and what we do at this Lambeth Conference will either further us towards this opportunity or drag us back into an overly autonomous provincialism that will only thwart the call of Christ for us today and the movement of the Holy Spirit in shaping a church that is sufficient for tomorrow. As I’ve begged you before so I do now, keep us in your prayers.In Christ,
+Mark LawrenceSouth Carolina
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
It's when we most need your prayers and input that it is most difficult to find the time to get information into your email baskets! We are busy busy busy, but that is when we need God's outpouring more than ever, His love through you. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers and thoughts, even when I haven't written in awhile.
Some of you already know that Betsy Hake, the missionary with whom I shared a home for ten years, is ill. She has been diagnosed with amyloidosis, and is undergoing chemotherapy in NYC. If you would like to call her, she is staying at the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan. Her friend, Dr. Elvia, is with her. Please keep her in your prayers.
We are well into the 2008 school year at God's Littlest Lambs in Flor del Campo, and God's LIttlest Lambs in San Buenaventura. Now that we have TWO schools, along with everything else, we are trying to do a better job of coordinating what comes down in suitcases with our visitors. Julie Hoffman (firstname.lastname@example.org), from Clinton UMC, is working with Valerie to make lists and spread sheets so that all of our programs receive support in this way. We are thankful for Julie's help. Please feel free to get in touch with her if you are planning to come down, or want to send something.
Our ministry was recently involved in a peaceful demonstration against government corruption. About thirty people (no one from our ministry) were on a hunger strike in front of the congressional building, and we helped with latrines, spiritual support, singing from our children, and by marching in the accompanying demonstrations. As a result of the strike and demonstrations, a new law was enacted which makes it possible for state attorneys to be prosecuted for corruption during their administration. Also, several files of high-ranking officials were re-opened for prosecution. The people leading the strike have suspended the demonstrations for ten days to give the government an opportunity to demonstrate good faith. If that does not happen, the strike will begin again. We can be thankful that the process has been completely non-violent. In fact, the organizers called the demonstrations, "A March for Peace." We feel that Christians should join the struggle for justice, and will continue to support this movement. We appreciate your prayers for the country of Honduras.
Food prices have escalated tremendous during the past few months, and of course the poor are always hit the hardest. Since we work in a poor neighborhood, people come to us for help. Our food bank has not been able to meet the demand. St. David's Episcopal Church in Atlanta has begun a drive called "Put the Beans Back in the Bag," and have raised several thousand dollars for food for our folks. Thank you, St. David's!
Obeying the Law, Trusting Jesus
Each year during June and December, all Hondurans, by LAW, receive double salaries, a full month's pay. Since we are subject to Honduran law, we pay these bonuses. It is really a wonderful thing, as many many people here, including our own employees, work for little pay. Everyone looks forward to these two months. June is upon us, and frankly, we don't have what we need to pay double salaries. The Lord has always provided, and we are trusting Him to provide this time as well. Please join us in prayer for this immediate financial need, and if you feel led to help, thank you. As I pointed out in the previous paragraph, the economic situation here is grim, and the needs great.
Our Beautiful Children
How can I not mention our beautiful children? When I walk through our schoolrooms in Flor, visit the children's home in SBV, and just sit around my own house, I am struck by the beauty and character of our children! Joyful, well-behaved, intelligent -- well, we have a GREAT GROUP, and we love them all so much. Many of you have visited our children this year, and I'm sure you agree with all that I am saying. Thank you for helping us teach, love and disciple these children -- more than 200 of them!
In my master's program, we are doing a class called "Healing and Wholeness." First we read two books about physical healing. Now we are reading two books about inner healing. We are praying for people, and we are taking a close look at our own lives in order to receive healing ourselves. This week we are doing a "Healing Prayer Inventory" for ourselves. We have already done genograms on our families to look for patterns which need healing. This master's program has now left being practical, and has gotten downright personal! Thanks be to God. We all need healing, and I am no exception. I thank the Lord for this opportunity, albeit required, to invite the Holy Spirit to do some serious work in my soul and spirit.
Thank you for all that you do for LAMB. Thank you for your prayers for Betsy, for the children, the construction, the double salaries, the spiritual and emotional wellbeing of our staff (including me!), and our precious country, Honduras. May the Lord continue to speak to us His plans, and may we be found faithful in working towards their completion.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
"We are like a bunch of oysters trying to describe a ballerina"
And finally from William Willimon...."Augustine, one of the greatest minds of the Western World, put his head to thinking about the Trinity. Augustine, a master of words, took fifteen books to talk about the Trinity, fifteen books that took him over a decade to write. Augustine’s On The Trinity continues to be helpful in thinking through that which is difficult to think about, and talking about that which is difficult to describe, namely the nature of God who comes to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Early on in his massive treatise, Augustine had seven statements about God: The Father is God. The Son is God. The Holy Spirit is God. The Son is not the Father. The Father is not the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not the Son. And then, after these six statements, Augustine adds one more. There is only one God. This is the thinking that is tough to get into our brains. We have experienced three rather distinctive modes of God’s presence. God is the Father, the Creator of us and the world. God is the Son, the One who comes to us as Jesus, living, suffering, dying, and rising among us.
We experience God as Holy Spirit, that power that has intruded into our world as the near presence and power of God. And yet, we are not trite theists, we don’t believe in three gods. We know, with Israel, that is only one God. These names, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not three names for the same thing. They are three names of one God. And how to make sense of that? You can certainly understand our sisters and brothers the Jews who hear talk of this kind and who may think to themselves, “Christians are no longer monotheist. They no longer believe in one God but in three gods.” No, what we are attempting to do in the Trinity is make sense of how there can be one God, and yet that one God being experienced by us in three special ways. In the Council of Nicea, they spoke of God’s “three persons.”
In our language, that sounds like we are talking about three different people. No, Nicea was building upon the Greek experience, from Greek drama of the way in which one character in a Greek play portrayed a number of different people in the play by simply moving off stage, putting on another mask which was called a persona, and returning to the stage as a different actor. One actor could play three different roles. I am one person, but I play the roles of father, husband, and son.
In a similar way, though there is one God, we experience that God working in three different ways in the world. And yet, like most analogies about God, this analogy helped, but not completely. In Book 7 On the Trinity, Augustine tried this. Rather than looking specifically in scripture, or in the world, for analogies to speak about God, he looked within himself. In looking within himself, Augustine noted how the human soul itself is Triadic, Trinitarian.
There is a kind of triune way in which we experience ourselves, as if the Trinity is built right into the structure of our reality. We say for instance “I love myself.” According to Jesus, it is all right to love ourselves, for we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. So we can say, “I love myself.” When we do so, we are speaking in a Triune way. When I say “I love myself,” there is a lover that is doing the loving, namely me loving myself. There is also the beloved, the object of my love, which is also me, then, there is the loving, the act and energy of the lover upon the beloved. So even with the one there is the lover, the beloved, and the loving. Thus, within our own hearts, in our own experience, Augustine said that there is the vestigia trinitatis. Reality is Trinitarian.
One of the church fathers said that, “When we talk about the Trinity, we must forget how to count.” He was simply recognizing that, at first glance, the Trinity is a mathematical impossibility. After all, how can one equal three? We must throw away our math, not because the Trinity is a logical muddle, but because we need a different kind of logic.
It took Augustine fifteen books to try to think about it, because God is God and we are not. Because God comes to us with a complexity and effusiveness, a ubiquity and a plenitude that boggles our modest minds, no wonder we have trouble thinking about God. No wonder the Trinity boggles our imaginations. And that is probably the right way to put it. The problem with the Trinity is not that this is a bunch of nonsense, but that God is God, in God’s particularly glorious, effusive way, and we are just people, the recipients of a love so deep we cannot find words to describe it.
When we think about the Trinity, we must forget how to count. Augustine makes another attempt to think in a Trinitarian way by looking at himself. In my soul, there is memory, understanding, and will. That is when I say, “I remember my mother,” there is the will, my decision to remember something, to draw into the present that which is past. And yet simultaneously there is that act of memory. I will to remember something and, with luck, I will to remember. And yet while I am willing, and remembering, I am also understanding. My mother is appearing instantaneously before my eyes, in my memory. I see her, know her, and understand. It is as if the Trinity, God’s dynamic, effusive nature appears to be built right into the structure of who I am and what the world is. There is a modern word for talking about this dynamic structure — synergy. Within the Trinity, there is constant movement, interaction, as the Father gives to the Son, and the Son is constantly returning praise and glory to the Father, and the Father and the Son give to the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit constantly draws everything back to the Father and the Son.
There is the Beloved, the Lover, and the Love."
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
Here are some of her pictures from the service and picnic
Monday, March 24, 2008
“Don’t be afraid,” the angel said – almost always, the first word out of the mouth of the Holy One or his emissaries.
“Fear not” – and yet, how could they not have been scared to death?
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary had gone in the dark to the tomb of Jesus, and, suddenly, there was an earthquake, and an angel coming down from heaven and rolling back the stone. “His appearance,” the text tells us, “was like lightening and his clothing white as snow.”
The guards shook with fear and became like dead men– the words Matthew uses tell us they became rigid, immobilized – passed out cold …as if they were dead…
“Don’t be afraid” the angel said to the women..
“Don’t be afraid” the angel said to Mary – Jesus’ mother
“Don’t be afraid” the angels said to the shepherds.
Think about what happened with the Israelites when God miraculously pried them out of Pharaoh’s hands. They ran through the desert pursued by an army and came to the Red Sea .
There was a wall of water in front of them, a wall of Egyptians behind them and the walls were closing. Would it be death by drowning or death by the sword? V. 10 in that 14th chapt of Exodus tells us, “In great fear, the Israelites cried out to the Lord and said, 'Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die out here in the wilderness? What have you done?'" And Moses said, “Do not be afraid, stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will accomplish for you today,” and God made a way through the waters.
Think of the vision of desolation seen by the prophet Ezekiel who lived at a time when the people of Israel had been defeated in war. Towns and cities had been razed with untold numbers of casualties. The survivors were marched off into slavery – all forms of family and community destroyed. An entire people were disheartened and disappearing, probably so sick at heart, they wanted nothing more than to lie down and die. “Don’t be afraid” God said to them through Ezekiel, “I will give you new life.” And He did.
To the same Ezekiel, God showed the vision of the valley of the Dry Bones—I have wondered if a modern-day equivalent imagery might not be some of the photos coming out of the concentrations camps like Dachau – with death everywhere…no life, no future, no hope. Can these bones live, came the question to Ezekiel…and he responded…o Lord, only you know..and you remember what happened…the Spirit of Life itself breathed over, blew over those bones and the bones were joined together, flesh and muscle,came on them. In the valley of death, the Spirit of Life danced and blew over the dead bones of a whole people, and they lived.
And, St Paul proclaims over and over again that that when we are united to Christ, Death has no hold over us.
Now, back to our gospel reading. The angel of the Lord said to the women , “Do not be afraid. You are looking for Jesus…he is not here…he has been raised from the dead and is on his way ahead of you to Galilee…you will see him there. "
With joy and fear and everything else, they ran to tell the disciples, and suddenly on the road with them was Jesus. What a moment! And, what did he say to them? He said,“Greetings” or the equivalent of “hey, y’all." Then, he said to them, Don’t be afraid…go and tell.
You see, the followers of Jesus have nothing to fear… NOTHING. God’s resurrection power can overcome anything… So, what are you afraid of? Financial loss? disease? Our own death? The death of someone we love? The anguish and heartsickness of grief?
These are very real losses but we need to know that 1. those we love are not lost but in God’s keeping…2. that resurrection is real..perhaps, the most real thing of all. 3. that death can do its worst and does not have the final word…because in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, God’s final word to us is life, and life energized by a love that will never die.
“Don’t be afraid” is the sermon delivered first by a lightening –faced angel and then by Jesus himself. We are witnesses to the resurrection and there is nothing on this earth that is beyond the reach of God’s resurrection power.
Jesus says to us – go and tell others that I have walked this road before you and there is nothing to fear… go and be witnesses to the resurrection…go be Easter people who live with joy and anticipation in our sad, anxious and fearful world.
Go to those who are anxious or fearful and surround them with resurrection love..
Go to those who are grieving and embrace them with resurrection love (this doesn’t mean beating someone over the head)…but simply loving them..walking with them---- if they will let you…praying for them..and embodying resurrection hope.
Because Jesus has been raised from the dead, love and life have the last word and will ALWAYS have the last word.
Today, right now, to you, Jesus says---hey, y’all--- don’t be afraid, but go and tell. AMEN.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Painting by John Coburn, Australia, contemporary, Asian Christian Art Association.
March 20 -----7:00 pm----- Maundy Thursday
March 21 -----12 Noon------ Good Friday
March 23----- 10:00 am----- Easter Day !!!! & Flowering of the Cross
March 30----- 11:00----- Annual Brick Church Service & Picnic*
* Please note that in the event of very inclement weather (tornado or hurricane), the picnic will be held at the Morrison House in the Village.
Monday, March 17, 2008
When I first came on board, the vestry expressed a strong desire that SJS continue the work of moving from being a Sunday only chapel to having a fuller ministry presence. To that end, we have been working for some time to identify our vision for ministry.
Vision for ministry, mission, mandate and other like terms are often used to help organizations focus their efforts and resources more effectively.
In the Church, mission is the larger term, and we already know what that is because it was given to us by our Lord. The Mission of the Church is delineated by The Great Commandment on one side (Love God with all your heart, soul and mind and Love your neighbor as yourself – Luke 10.27) and The Great Commission on the other (Go make disciples – baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded. –Matthew 28.19-20). The Vision for Ministry is the unique call or way in which a congregation (or individual) carries this out in a particular season.
Your vestry and I have been working for some time now to articulate the unique call of God for this Church family. My assumption has been that God has already been at work here for quite a long time (!) and that probably what we needed was simply to identify more precisely what is already happening. Consequently, over a period of time, I have sensed and observed that St. James Santee is a place of healing.
As I have talked about this and checked out this perception with many of you, it seems to ring true. As a result, we have been using the following phrase to describe who we are and what we are doing in this season as , “Called to be the Hands of Jesus – Connecting, Caring and Healing.” The helpfulness of this kind of focus is that strategic decision making becomes so much simpler. When we are faced a decision, we ask, “How will this further our call to be a healing community?”
As one could imagine, this is a broad description, and we have lots of ideas about how to live it out. These have included developing a Recovery Ministry as well as a ministry of healing prayer. What is also included is the sense of being called to heal the hurts in the community and the families around us. To this end, we are offering The Marriage Course which is designed to strengthen marriages. This will be offered first to the congregation and then later, after a trial run, to the community,. This is not to say that we are overlooking the needs of single persons, but just that this is a good and obvious starting place.
There's more to add but the conversation will continue. See below for more information about The Marriage Course.
May you all have a blessed Holy Week and a glorious Easter,
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Wednesday evenings – April 2-May 14 from 7-9:30 pm.
The Course will be facilitated by Kent MacEachern, LMFT / PartnerCoach. More general information can be found at http://www.themarriagecourseusa.org/
The first course will be limited to six couples. Please sign up by speaking with Mrs. Olbrych – - or at email@example.com.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Dear St. James Santee Members and Friends,
The story of Jesus Christ began before time, and the threads of this “ best story of all” run throughout the whole of the Old and New Testaments. The E-100 plan has been adopted to help us follow those threads so that we might be better able to grasp the breadth and depth of God’s love for us. It is suggested that each week you read and meditate on the passage for the week. On Sundays, except for major feast days, we will hear a sermon on a portion of that reading. May you be blessed in your study, reflection, hearing and learning.
E-100, Pt. 2 - The New Testament Plan
The Living Word
51. The Word Became Flesh- John 1:1-18 - Jan. 16
52. Gabriel’s Messages Luke- 1:1-80 - Jan 23
53. The Birth of Jesus - Luke 2:1-40 - Jan 30
54. John the Baptist - Luke 3:1-20 - Feb 6
55. Baptism and Temptation - Mt. 3:13-4:17 - Feb. 13
The Teachings of Jesus
56. Sermon on the Mount - I Mt. 5:1-6:4 - Feb. 20
57. Sermon on the Mount -II - Mt. 6:5-7:29 - Feb 27
58. The Kingdom of Heaven - Mt. 13:1-58 - March 6
59. The Good Samaritan Luke - 10:25-37 - March 13
60 Lost and Found - Luke 15:1-32 - March 20
The Miracles of Jesus
61. Feeding the Five Thousand - Luke 9:1-36 - March 27
62 Walking on the Water - Mt. 14:22-36 - April 3
63 Healing a Blind Man - John 9:1-41 - April 10
Palm Passion Sunday April 17
Easter Day April 24
Second Sunday of Easter – Brick Church May 1
64 Healing a Demon-Possessed Man - Mark 5:1-20 - May 8
65 Raising Lazarus - John 11:1-57 - May 15
66 The Last Supper - Luke 22:1-46 - May 22
67 Arrest and Trial - John 18:1-40 - May 29
68-70. The Crucifixion & Resurrection - John 19:1-42 - June 5
The Church is Born
71 - Pentecost Day - Acts 2:1-47 June 12
72 Growth and Persecution - Acts 3:1-4:37 - June 19
73 The First Martyr - Acts 6:8-8:8 - June 26
74 Sharing the Word - Acts 8:26-40 - July 3
75 Good News for All - Acts 10:1-11:18 - July 10
The Travels of Paul
76 The Road to Damascus - Acts 9:1-31 - July 17
77 The First Missionary Journey - Acts 13:1-14:28 - July 24
78 The Council at Jerusalem - Acts 15:1-41 - July 31
79 More Missionary Journeys - Acts 16:1-20:38 - August 7
80 The Trip to Rome - Acts 25:1-28:31 - August 14
Paul to the Churches
81 More than Conquerors - Romans 8:1-39 - August 28
82 The Fruit of the Spirit - Gal. 5:16-6:10 - Sept. 4
83 The Armor of God - Ephesians 6:10-20 - Sept. 11
84 Rejoice in the Lord - Philippians 4:4-9 - Sept. 18
85 The Supremacy of Christ - Colossians 1:1-23 - Sept. 25
Paul to the Leaders
86-87 Elders & Deacons - 1 Tim. 3:1-6:21 - Oct. 2
88 Good Soldiers of Christ - 2 Tim. 2:1-26 - Oct. 9
89 All Scripture is God-Breathed - 2 Tim. 3:10-4:8 - Oct. 16
90 The Coming of the Lord - 1 Thess. 4:13-5:11 - Oct. 23
The Apostles’ Teaching
91 The Most Excellent Way - 1 Cor. 13:1-13 - Oct. 30
92 A New Creation in Christ - 2 Cor. 4:1-6:2 - Nov. 6
93 A Living Hope - 1 Peter 1:1-2:26 - Nov. 13
Christ the King – Last Sunday after Pentecost - Nov. 20
1 Advent C Nov. 27
2 Advent C Dec. 4
3 Advent C Dec. 11
4 Advent C Dec. 18
Christmas Day Dec. 25
Christmas 2 Jan. 1, 2012
94 Faith and Works - James 1:1-2:26 - Jan. 8
95 Love One Another - 1 John 3:11-4:21 - Jan. 15
96 A Voice and a Vision - Rev. 1:1-20 - Jan. 22
97 Message to the Churches - Rev. 2:1-3:22 - Jan. 29
98 The Throne of Heaven - Rev. 4:1-7:17 - Feb. 5
99 Hallelujah! - Rev. 19:1-20:15 - Feb. 12
100 The New Jerusalem - Rev. 21:1-22:21 - Feb. 19 Last Epiphany
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet,
and a light unto my path. (Ps. 119:105)
St. James Santee Episcopal Church
The Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence., Bishop
Vicar – The Rev. Jennie C. Olbrych: 843-571-7915
firstname.lastname@example.org & stjamessantee.blogspot.com
205 Oak St. * P.O. Box 123, McClellanville, SC 29458