This Sunday, I’ll have a new experience here at Trinity. A portion of our community will worship at 8 a.m., then some of us will gather for Adult Christian Formation at 9:15 a.m., and then a portion of our community will worship at 10:30 a.m. It might feel as though we’re not as close together on Sunday mornings as our summer 9:30 combined service ends. But that’s only partially true. Remember that we all walk in the same way of love every Sunday – praying the same prayers, singing the same hymns, meditating on Scripture together, gazing at our holy images reflected in the stained glass, and most importantly taking in the same body of Christ.
No matter where you are in life – age, stage of life, career, challenges, successes – we are knit together every time we pray the prayers and soak in the generous beauty of Trinity Church. This is because we are walking in the way of love. Original followers of Jesus called their religion, “The Way.” (We know this from the Acts of the Apostles.) I hope you’ll join me on Sunday mornings at 9:15 to think and reflect more on what our modern-day actions of walking in the Way of Love look like for us. The parts of the Way of Love are reflected in the image (below) – Turn – Learn – Pray – Worship – Bless – Go – Rest. Together we’ll think and reflect on how these practices knit us together as a community here at Trinity. The ways that these practices help you draw closer to Christ in your daily life. The ways that these practices help you take Jesus out into greater Watertown and the north country. See you there!
Your Sister in Christ,
The Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost
I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. – Ephesians 3:17-19
“In the first century, Jesus of Nazareth inspired a movement – a community of people whose lives were centered on Jesus Christ and committed to living the way of God’s unconditional, unselfish, sacrificial, and redemptive love. Before they were called ‘church’ or ‘Christian,’ this Jesus Movement was simply called ‘the way.’ … how can we together grow more deeply with Jesus Christ at the center of our lives, so we can bear witness to his way of love in and for the world?” – The Most Reverend Michael B. Curry, Primate and Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church
With the words and Scripture above, our Presiding Bishop invited everyone in our church to begin studying and reflecting on what it means to be a Christian and an Episcopalian. He chose seven practices that can help us think about and discern what Jesus is teaching us about the lives we live and what God intends for our lives. Each week in September and October, we’ll reflect on those seven practices of Turn – Learn – Pray – Worship – Bless – Go – Rest and make connections back to the bible, everyday life, worship, our beliefs, and even Trinity’s own history. Mark your calendars for Sunday adult forum, 9:15 to 10:15 a.m. in the Parish Hall, beginning Sept. 8 for this time of learning and discussion. Each session will stand on its own so you can attend all or a few (but I hope you’ll attend most of them. Your questions and reflections are an important part of that hour). More details next week!
The Tenth Sunday after Pentecost
In the closing moments of Ken Burns’ Mark Twain, the writer Russell Banks speaks of how Twain’s work “goes on altering our consciousness of the world.” He continues:
“You know, human beings, we’re a strange species, we’re unique almost, but mainly in so far as we have to learn over and over and over again what it is to be human. We have to be taught simply what it is to be human. Other species know exactly what is to be a dog, a cat, even a chimpanzee, but we’re not drawn by instincts, to that degree, to be ourselves … and Twain [does] what any great writer does, [and that is] show us, remind us, teach us, what it is to be human, the worst of it, to be human, and the best of it, to be human.”
In his own idiosyncratic, imperfect, brilliant way, Twain was indeed trying to teach us what Jesus teaches us: how to be human. One of the gifts of hearing the bible in church on Sundays is that we hear the many experiences of Jesus’s life and teachings which empower us to live more fully as humans who are also Christian. Experiences like Jesus curing the bent over woman (pictured above). The summers in our church are a treasure trove of Jesus’s teachings on what it truly means to be human. And because we’re hearing those teachings while being a congregation gathered for worship and prayer, the work of simply being gathered as Trinity is also teaching us what it means to be human.
Thanks be to God, for this. And thanks be to each of you too.
Your Sister in Christ,
The Ninth Sunday after Pentecost
A member of our church recently recalled the joy of watching her four-year-old granddaughter catch fireflies near the lake. She said it was one of those magical times where all the adults wanted to almost freeze time in place – to capture the spirit of that moment forever. I hope we all have summer memories of fireflies – I know that I do and they’re among my most precious. To think of a four-year-old catching her very first fireflies – to imagine adults wanting to forever remember such a precious moment – brings to mind the importance of wonder for us as people of faith. The poet Christian Wiman wrote, of being Christian and of practicing of our faith, “Wonder is a precondition for all wisdom.” To wonder is to see beyond ourselves, to dwell in possibility. Not unlike all the possibilities that exist when a four-year-old chases incandescence on a perfect summer evening.
Your Sister in Christ,