ST JAMES EPISCOPAL CHURCH
for the week of March 7, 2021
What you need: a watch, clock, or timer; a quiet creative activity; a candle (if it's okay, or an intentional object like a cross); a Bible, if you'd like; paper; something to write with; a snack. Have your class with a sibling or other family members, or enjoy this time by yourself.
1) Begin with a transition time - Peace & Quiet: enjoy a creative activity for about 10 minutes (journaling, clay, Legos, drawing, etc.) - a time to change gears.
2) Next, clear that space, or move to another space, and light a candle (or place your intentional object). Settle in, and say a prayer, like: Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105). Offer more prayers, silently, or out loud, if you want.
Our focus for this class =
Never let your troubles get you down.
Whenever troubles come your way
hold your hands up high and say: Hallelujah, anyhow!"
-- words & music by Joseph Pace
This clip features the Rev. Oris Mays - learn more about him, a gospel music icon, here.
And take a moment to ponder what he said about his own life:
"My ultimate motive -- what I’m all about -- is to help people change the course of life.
If you can’t help make this world a better place, you’re really not doing a job.”
Don't let your troubles get you down.
If Satan blocks your way,
stand right up and say: Hallelujah, anyhow!"
Her mom had been a church organist, and later, Harris played the piano at church. Hymns and gospel music were part of the soundtrack of Harris' life, growing up. The words of this song, and so many others, were stuck in her head!
What do you think she meant, when she said "Hallelujah, anyhow"?
She tells us! Bishop Harris wrote that the words reflect her sure knowledge that, no matter what, "it is well with my soul." (That's a phrase from another hymn, with a heartbreaking backstory; #188 in Lift Every Voice and Sing, "When Peace, Like a River".)
I wonder if another way to look at it might be: “We are Easter people, living in a Good Friday world.” (That's another favorite quote from Bishop Harris.) What do you think?
The Episcopal Church sets the day of Harris' 2020 death, March 13, as a time to remember the Rt. Rev. Barbara Harris. Her life is an inspiration, and her memory is a blessing, indeed.
Bishop Harris dedicated her life of service to all people, working against racism, sexism, homophobia, and all divisions. Here's a quote from a 2009 sermon: “If God is the creator of all persons, then how can some people be more acceptable to God than others?”
This quote of hers answers that question: "God has no favorites. So to you, gay man, lesbian woman; you, bisexual person; you, transgender man or woman; you, straight person; all of us, the baptized: Let us honor the sacrament of our baptism and our baptismal covenant, the only covenant we need to remain faithful."
As we remember Bishop Harris, her accomplishments, her dedication to justice, and her love of God, how will you honor her memory by honoring the sacrament of your baptism?
How will you keep your baptismal covenant (refresher here!)? Consider another favorite quote of Harris', this one found on a scrap of paper that she kept as inspiration: “The Power behind you is greater than any obstacle ahead of you.” (What Power supports you?)
What written, spoken, or sung words keep you focused and/or inspire you?
What words do you choose to guide you & accompany you throughout your life?