In Herod's Land
Yesterday, December 13, was the Feast of St. Lucy (Lucia of Syracuse, martyred by the Romans in 304). Now if you know anything at all about Lucy, you probably associate her with Scandinavian observances of her feast, with little girls processing about with wreaths and lit candles on their heads. Her name derives from "lux" (light) so connections with bleak mid-Advent are logical.

The reason we Anglicans join Roman Catholics and Lutherans in remembering Lucy, though, has more to do with sex and power. Lucy, born beautiful and wealthy, spurned the advances of a pagan suitor, who in possessive rage then named her as a practicing Christian to the local Roman authorities. When Lucy refused to worship the Roman emperor as a god, she was condemned by the governor of Syracuse to be "defiled" in a local brothel.  One of the legends about Lucy is that a team of straining oxen was unable to drag her from the court to her punishment. Lorenzo Lotto's painting of this moment is all about the integrity of an isolated woman in a frenzied, libidinous culture.

Lucy's witness, I think, aligns her with John the Baptist. John was actually put to death (Mark 6:14-29) for his public critique of Herod's sexual acting-out (discarding a first wife wantonly and taking possession of his brother's wife, Herodias). The Herod we see in Mark's gospel is dangerously powerful, impulsive and besotted, with judgment rooted somewhere south of his neck. The Baptist's own neck ultimately goes to the block as a consequence.

The admittedly gruesome stories of Lucy and John are important, I think, because they point us into a particular Christian sexual ethic as we continue just now to absorb the torrent of news stories detailing the sexual predation of famous and powerful men. I often feel that we, in mainline "progressive" Christian churches, have retreated from confronting some of the more destructive and oppressive conventions of our culture for fear of seeming prudish, intolerant, behind-the-times or sanctimoniously judgmental. While we certainly have centuries of such witness to answer for, how do we activate our own faith and the template of Christ's love just now in the process of confronting and ending a culture of pandemic sexual abuse, in which both women and men are daily victimized, manipulated and humiliated?

The final words of our baptismal covenant offer perhaps the most important perspective, calling us to complicity in the safeguarding the dignity of every human person. Christian ethicist Margaret Farley makes this more specific: "to treat another human person as a mere means is to violate her insofar as she is autonomous; it is to attempt to absorb her completely into my agenda, rather than respecting the one that is her own." In a class I once took with Margaret, she was fond of saying "we can't scoop up others into our own agendas." Sexual or otherwise.  This is what Christ was talking about when he gave us the new commandment.

Lucy and John's dreadful reckonings come, in the end, because they refuse to be scooped up into sordid dynamics of power and degradation. May their witness guide our prayers and actions as we try to make God's kingdom of safety and human dignity a bit more palpable in our own daily lives and work.

See you in church,

Patrick Ward
Associate Rector
Weekly Services and Readings
Holy Eucharist 
7:45 a.m., 9 a.m., 6 p.m.

Morning Prayer
11:15 a.m.

Sacred Silence & Choral Compline
Resumes January 7.


Noonday Prayer
12:10 p.m.

Note: Wednesday night Choral Evensong is on hiatus December 20 & 27.


Holy Eucharist with Prayers for Healing
12:10 p.m.

 Preview this week's bulletin.
This Week at Trinity
Candlelight Carols

Sat., December 16, 4 p.m. & 7 p.m. (freewill offering)
Sun., December 17, 4 p.m. (ticketed benefit: SOLD OUT)

Join us for this glowing service of song, scripture, and candlelight. Early arrival recommended for the Saturday services!  More...
Christmas at Trinity
Celebrate Christmas at Trinity

Sun., December 24 
10 a.m., 4:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 11 p.m.
Mon., December 25
10 a.m.

With Advent 4 falling on Christmas Eve this year, Trinity will hold a single morning service at 10 a.m., followed by our Christmas pageant at 4:30 p.m., and Festival Christmas Eve Eucharist at 7:30 & 11 p.m. On Christmas Day, join us for a joyous Festival Eucharist at 10 a.m. More...
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Christmas Gifts at the Welcome Center

The Welcome Center has a selection of beautiful small gifts, including this new CD of Christmas and Easter hymn arrangements, written by our own Director of Music Richard Webster. All sales support Trinity's mission and ministries.
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 Candlelight Carols
12 Lives Forum: Scott & Claire Shaeffer-Duffy on Dorothy Day

Sun., December 17
10:15 am

Scott & Claire Schaeffer-Duffy will present Dorothy Day of the Catholic Worker's Movement to us as part of our Forum series. More...
Preparing for Proposed Tax Legislation Changes

Adam shares some thoughts on how you might maximize the tax benefits you receive for your charitable gifts to Trinity, in light of the proposed bills before Congress.  More...
Last Week's Sermon
Miss last Sunday, or just want to experience the sermon or Forum again? We invite you to listen or watch on our website:

Last Sunday's sermon:

by the Rev. Bill Rich, Interim Rector
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Deck the Church
for Candlelight Carols
& Christmas

Help make the church sparkle with greenery & flowers, as we welcome the thousands of guests through the doors for our Candlelight Carols & Christmas services. Many hands make light work!  Contact Jim Carter to sign up.
Send the Choir to England: Donate to the Silent Auction

Donate by January 7

Silent Auction & Cabaret Friday, January 26, 6-9 pm

The Trinity Choirs are still seeking items for the winter Silent Auction to defray the cost of our 2019 England tour. Do you have season tickets, or time in a vacation home you're willing to share? Maybe your favorite restaurant would donate a gift certificate! To donate an item of at least $50 in value, contact Ron Aldridge.
Looking Ahead
New Year's Eve Worship

Sun., December 31 
10 a.m.

On New Year's Eve there will be a single service at 10 a.m. Classes, etc. will not meet this day.  
Handel & Haydn
Jubilee Concert

Sun., December 31 
2 p.m.

Join H+H in a free and festive celebration of Jubilee Day, the anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.  More...
Epiphanytide Brunch with Children's Ministries

Sun., January 7
10 am

Join Children's Ministries for our annual potluck Epiphany Brunch, complete with royal visitors. Please bring your favorite side items (e.g., muffins, bagels, Munchkins, sausages), or contact us for an assignment.  More...