Rorate

Roráte caieli de super
et nubes pluant justum.
Aperiatur terra
et germinet salvatorum.

                     Isaiah 45: 8

Drop down, ye heavens, from above,
and let the skies pour down righteousness.
Let the earth open,
and let it bring forth a Savior. 

Father Ray’s Easter 4 Sermon at Trinity, from 2017

May 7, 2017

The 1979 Book of Common Prayer, which is now our current book of worship, made many changes in our liturgy: Contemporary language, the centrality of the Eucharist, and a great emphasis on the laity as members of Christ’s body the Church. Those changes were in response to the studies of what was done in the early church. One of the great scholars of that liturgical movement was an Anglican Benedictine monk, Dom Gregory Dix, whose monumental work was a book called  The Shape of the Liturgy. That book had a profound influence on the BCP we are now using.

One of the changes in our liturgy is how we view Easter. In the older prayer books, the Sundays following Easter were called just that. Forinstance, this day was once known as THE THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EASTER. Easter was pretty much over, and it was ordinary time. Change came slowly. I was in church on Easter Day when priest said in the homily, “I’m so tired after Holy Week and Lent. I’ll be so glad when today is over and we are back to normal.” Then, I was in  a church on the Sunday following Easter: The flowers were all gone, and the hymns were “The Old Rugged Cross” and “I Walk in the Garden Alone.” Change has always been difficult. Gregory the Great revised the chant used in the Eurcharist, what we call now Gregorian Chant. Two hundred years later, the Roman Schola Cantorum still hadn’t adopted Gregory’s changes.

Our present prayer book calls today The Fourth Sunday of Easter. For Easter is a time of 50 days and does not end until the Sunday of Pentecost on June 4th this year. There are so many facets to the Paschal or Easter mystery that the 50 days are needed if we are to understand more full the meaning of Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

On this Fourth Sunday of Easter, our attention is turned to one of the oldest representations of the risen Christ, older even than the cross or the fish – The Good Shepherd. We who live in a technological society do have to shift gears, because the figure of the Good Shepherd goes back to a pastoral age when the care of grazing animals was the major occupation. If a person is to succeed with animals, there is an intimacy that must exist. A shepherd has to know the sheep and always be on duty for them. And is what we believe about Christ – he knows us intimately, he loves us, and he is always there for us. The Good Shepherd can work with us only when he has our trust. This is an important facet of the Paschal mystery: that the risen Christ is always there for us and he wants out friendship and love.

In the Middle Ages, people viewed Christ as their judge, and he was one whom they feared and kept at a distance. That is why people didn’t receive Holy Communion but once a year in those days. Thank God we’ve moved beyond that. We need to be on intimate terms with Christ our Good Shepherd – He loved us so much he died for us and rose again. He us wholeness and life. As we get to know the Good Shepherd intimately, we become him and find that we are also shepherds. And through us others gain intimacy with Christ, and we are on duty for others, as Christ is on duty for us.

Father Ray Donohue Memorial Service

There was a memorial service for Father Ray on December 8 at Saint James Episcopal Church in Lake Delaware. The church and parish hall were both filled to overflowing with his friends. We sang all the rousing hymns and heard everyone from his fellow priests to his parishioners and campers remember him. Amazing how different and yet how completely recognizable all the memories were! We will post the bulletin at church. 

Many remembered his favorite verse, from an Edwin Markham poem:

“He drew a circle that shut me out —
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle and took him in!”

Trinity Day Camp AUGUST 21-25

God is Love: How do we Love?

August 21-25, 2017      10am-12noon

Grade One:  4-6 years old
Grade Two:  7-9 years old
Grade Three:  10-12 Years old

REGISTER TODAY!
Call Donna Kropp at 518-797-5119

  • Learn to care for loved ones
  • Practice yoga to care for yourself
  • Sing Songs
  • Make crafts to give to loved ones
  • Snacks and beverages provided

Counsellors and Steering Committee:

Donna Kropp
Rosie Kuhar
Nancy Dyer
Kim Graff — Rville Library Director
Lee Ackerman – Sawyer – Assistant Librarian
Dennis Winslow — retired Episcopal Church priest

 

Lent 1 Sermon by Fr. Jerry Adinolfi

TESTED IN EVERY WAY

 

Prayer

Our readings today teach us about the lessons of temptation, and how they can work for good or for evil and sin

  • The Rev. Dr. Mickey Anders tells a story of a salesman making his biggest pitch in his boss’s office; can of 1000 BB’s
  • Adam and Eve had the same problem and bit the forbidden fruit
  • Jesus, fresh from the Spirit of God having descended upon him in the Jordan River during his baptism, is now led by the same Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted for forty days and forty nights
  • Temptation is pervasive; immortal; how do we escape it’s clutches or work with it? Endure it?
    • How do we know whether we are being tempted or tested?
    • The Greek word for testing and tempting is the same: peira.zw : and it has a contextual usage
  • our Lenten journey is always about choosing; making choices
    • Not every temptation is as obvious as the BB story above.  Nor is every failure is so embarrassing. But every temptation is a challenge with consequences.  Not even Jesus was spared the choosing. He chose obedience to God! And suffered for it.
    • Overcoming temptation requires self-control; will power; the desire to overcome; and most importantly, guidance and empowerment from the Holy Spirit
  • we can get help if we want it; it’s an internal attitude; our motive
    • “No testing (temptation) has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing (temptation) he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it. (1 Cor 10:13)
  • Listen to Henry Nouwen’s words about temptation: What makes the power of temptation so seemingly irresistible? Maybe it is that power offers an easy substitute for the hard task of love he says. It seems easier to be god than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, easier to own life than to love life. Jesus asks, Do you love me? We ask, Can we sit at your right hand and your left hand in your Kingdom? We have been tempted to replace love with power.

 

In our Old Testament lesson this morning, God provides trees that were pleasant to the sight and good for food

  • Eve noted they were good for food, a delight to the eyes, but added desirous to make one wise
  • Going beyond, disobeying, modifying, adding to, etc. God’s word is the beginning of sin for it becomes a subtle form of idolatry; we then proceed to blame someone else because of our guilt
  • Keep in mind these words of Scripture from the Letter of James:
    • “No one, when tempted, should say, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one. But one is tempted by one’s own desire, being lured and enticed by it.” (James 1:13-14)
      • we pray: lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
      • Jesus said that a person is defiled by what comes from their heart; hence in Psalm 32 today, the Psalmist shouts for joy to those who are true of heart, in whose spirit there is no guile.

 

Look at what those early Christians endured for the sake of the Gospel as reported in the Epistle this morning, in Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Because of what Christ did, we have the opportunity to become the righteousness of God by being reconciled to God. The temptations and trials of the Christian life were indeed enormous, but as ambassadors for Christ, as servants of God, Saint Paul and his followers could say to the Corinthians in another letter in the power of the Spirit that they had nothing yet possessed everything. The New English Bible translates it this way: “Penniless, we owned the world!” And why? Because God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not holding our sins against us. Thus when we are tempted, we retort not by revenge but by reconciliation and obedience, as in the footsteps of Christ.

 

In today’s Gospel, the devil tempts Jesus in three fundamental ways by appealing to his: 1) to physical needs/hunger;  2) safety/protection/fear;  and 3) life purpose/goal/fulfillment

  • clearly, the ends do not justify the means of these demonic temptations for to do them would be sin, and Jesus was sinless
    • the word devil is translated, diabolos, which means slanderer, or given to malicious gossip, or more literally, one who throws apart
      • the devil divides, creates division, scatters, causes chaos while God restores order by recreation and reconciliation
      • simply put, the devil is “D evil” or dee evil!
    • the devil tempts; God tests
      • “Remember the long way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, the Lord told the people of Israel, in order to humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commandments.” (Deuteronomy 8:2)
      • As the Union Pacific Railroad was being constructed, an elaborate trestle bridge was built across a large canyon in the West. Wanting to test the bridge, the builder loaded a train with enough extra cars and equipment to double its normal payload. The train was then driven to the middle of the bridge, where it stayed an entire day. One worker asked, “Are you trying to break this bridge?” “No,” the builder replied, “I’m trying to prove that the bridge won’t break.” In the same way, the temptations Jesus faced weren’t designed to see if He would sin, but to prove that He wouldn’t.

–        Jesus’ victory over his temptations resulted in his being able to help us today, as the author of the Book of Hebrews so eloquently states:

  • “Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.” (Hebrews 2:18)
  • “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
    • How comforting to know that “he has been there, done that”
  • ironically, the very angels which the devil said would catch Jesus if he succumbed to the second temptation came to him and ministered to him after his trial of obedience
    • might that remind us to wait upon the Lord and his refreshment!
  • recall Jesus’ parable about the seed falling on the rock (Luke 8:13): “The ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe only for a while and in a time of testing fall away.”
    • At a time of testing, such as Lent 2017
    • Making mistakes often catapults us from arrogance to humility and then renders us teachable, pliable, malleable, useful to God
      • In the 1991 movie The Doctor starring William Hurt who plays Dr. Jack MacKee who had it all, until he himself becomes a patient in his own hospital
      • he was tempted by the power he had as a top cardiac surgeon until he yielded to the needs of others, thereby being humbled and made useful

 

Our Collect this morning serves as a good summary and closing for these Lenten thoughts

  • “….come quickly to help us, Lord, who are assaulted by many temptations, and as you know the weakness of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save”
  • In the words of the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah in his tenth chapter, “…I know, O Lord, that man’s ways are not of his own choosing; nor is it for a man to determine his course in life. Correct us, O Lord, but with justice, not in anger, lest thou bring us almost to nothing.”
  • as you saved your Son Jesus in the Wilderness, so save us now.

AMEN

Epiphany 2 Sermon by Linda Anderson

Jan 15, 2017

 

“Being called by name”

Linda Anderson

 


1:38 When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?”

1:39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon.

One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.

He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed).

He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).

John 1:37-42

 

What must it have felt like for Simon to have gone to see this Anointed, this Messiah, this Lamb of God, and for this Jesus to look at him and say, “I know you?” What a strange, intimate moment.   Only the day before John had testified

“I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.

I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’

And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.”

John 1:32-34

Imagine that you were Simon, your brother had just come to tell you that he had found the Messiah.  And you went post-haste to see him.  And this Messiah turned to you and said, “You are Simon.  I recognize you.  I know you so well, that I am going to give you a new name to signify who I really know you to be, a name with new possibilities!  A name to indicate a new direction!”

Names are important.  Knowing someone’s name and using it to greet them can enlarge our concept of “home”.  Like a verbal warm embrace, greeting someone by name is a gesture that says, “Welcome.  Join me.  Let us be together.  We are part of a community.”

I have always felt valued when someone knows my name.   Many years ago, I worked in a small town and frequented Lenny’s Pizzeria.  Lenny was known not only for his pizza, but also for his friendly, warm nature.  He would always greet me, “Miss Lin!  How are you today!”  Some may say that he was just a good business man practicing good business, but I like to think that he was truly happy to see me, that he cared about me and how I was doing.   Eating there was as comfortable to me as sitting in my own kitchen.  In fact, it was better, because I was surrounded by the warmth that Lenny created.

Today I have an auto mechanic, Lou, that smiles and greets me with a warm and familiar, “Hey Lin, how’re you doing?”  Lou was a huge help to me when I first moved to this area.  My car had died, in a snowstorm, in the dark, on Rt 32.  My cell phone had no service and I was stranded.  A kind man offered to let me use his phone and told me, “Tell them to bring the car to Lou.  He’s a good guy.  He’ll take care of you.”  And so I did.   And he did.   Now, thirteen years later, I still bring my car to Lou.  He has helped me through some drama and real trauma – the time I fell asleep and drove off the road, puncturing the radiator.  The time my car was hit by a trailer, I was dragged and my car was totaled.  So many miles, so many car stories!   I would always take my dog, Winston, with me when I had my car serviced.  Lou knew his name, too, and would always make a fuss over him.   What a gift to be received in this way!  To be welcomed warmly and to know that I would be cared for!

There is also something about the way these two people called me “Lin” as opposed to “Linda” that made me feel at home.   Only my family and close friends called me Lin, so by using that name, my familial nickname, unbeknownst to them, they joined my extended family of people who affectionately call me by that name

Unfortunately, some people are given names that do not affirm their worth.  A friend shared with me an article about a group of girls in India that took part in a ceremony to shed their unwanted names.  At birth, these girls had been given names that mean “unwanted” in Hindi.  The naming ceremony was one effort to fight gender discrimination against girls in a society where the birth of a girl promises to be a financial burden.   Families can go into debt to provide a huge dowry to marry off their daughters.  Sons, on the other hand, bring in money by marrying a girl with a large dowry.   Their community was attempting to fight a societal trend in which girl fetuses were being aborted, and baby girls died from lack of attention.  This community provided a way for the girls to value themselves, be valued and provide a hopeful future in which the mere statement of their name would be life affirming.  In the ceremony, these 285 “unwanted” girls wearing their best outfits with barrettes, braids and bows in their hair — lined up to receive certificates with their new names along with small flower bouquets from Satara district officials in Maharashtra state.

“Now in school, my classmates and friends will be calling me this new name, and that makes me very happy,” said a 15-year-old girl who had been named Nakusa [unwanted] by a grandfather disappointed by her birth. She chose the new name “Ashmita,” which means “very tough” or “rock hard” in Hindi.

Unwanted children are not found only in India.  I once spoke to a man who ran a farm here in NY.  He and his wife, who was a social worker, decided to open their farm to visits from at-risk children, hoping that their interactions with the animals on the farm would provide a positive environment for them.  One day, as the farmer was working, he overheard a little girl, maybe 6 or 7, who was talking to a cow.   She didn’t think anyone else could hear her, and she said to the cow, “I don’t know my real name.  At home they just call me “whore” and I don’t even know what that word means.”

I don’t have words to comment on such tragedy.  I will just take a moment to let the significance of that sink in.

There are so many tragic stories in this life.  Fr. Mark and I went to a conference this past week entitled, “Joining Forces: Reducing and Responding to Sexual Assault Across Disciplines”.   The main speaker told her story of an assault that she suffered, brutally raped and beaten by four men.   She was found in the trunk of a car by an off-duty policeman who felt “a nudge” to go back out a drive around a bit.   When she heard his voice outside the trunk of the car, and heard him say his name, “My name is Officer Billings.  I am a police officer and I am going to get you out” she began to feel some hope.  Her story was a nightmare of a story.  Yet there she was, standing in front of us, wanting to share it to help us help others who have been assaulted.  I was so moved by her story.  I got chills when she told of her rescue and the saving power at the mention of his name.  The police officer was hailed as a hero.  He said, “I was just doing my job.  If you had seen what she went through, you would call her the hero.”

We are blessed to be called by name and to be known by Jesus.  This man, this Son of God, whom we call our Messiah, walked the earth validating people from all walks of life.  He validated men.  He validated women.  The sick, the lame, the desperate.  He gave them hope and healing by greeting them by name.

I would like to share a quote by the dancer and choreographer Agnes De Mille who said

“A teacher is someone who calls you by your true name, and says

‘Go forth’.”  

 We call our teacher Jesus.  He knows us, values us and calls each of us by our true name.  He sends us forth.