Pentecost Sunday, June 4th
Remember to wear red!
Update from Vestry
The Vestry would again like to thank everyone for their comments during the annual meeting about the priest-in-charge process. We know that many of you may be interested in hearing where things are with the process and we wanted to provide you with this update. Wardens Chris McKerrow and Paul Antenore have been in regular contact with the diocese. The standard time frame for the diocese to fully start working with a parish on planning for its next rector is 4-6 months prior to the current rector's departure and work has now started in earnest. The plan the diocese has worked out with us is for a business consultant to start working with the finance committee over the summer to help determine the full time/part time status of Grant's successor. After Grant retires in October, we will have a bridge priest for at least three months. During that time, the vestry will start working on an abbreviated parish profile for the Bishop to use in selecting candidates. We know that many of you are interested in providing input in that process and we will hold a listening session in September after the start of the Program Year. Of course, once a suitable candidate is selected, we will have to give them appropriate time to plan for their own departure before they make the move to St. Luke's.
As always, please feel free to contact any member of the Vestry with your questions.
Dear People of God at St. Luke's,
Please see separately a schedule for June and July book and movie topics. Dinner will be thrown in there too for those interested in attending a matinee movie on a Saturday and then going out to eat. None of the choices are especially spiritual on their face. The movies and books each though have something to say about living as spiritual people, Christians following Jesus. Actually all 'art,' even pop TV shows, have something to say about our lives as Christians-nature of sin, grace, redemption, our place in the universe, human relationships and loving our neighbor. Sometimes it might not be saying anything all that interesting, but still something. Part of the discussions will be about how to think, frame what we encounter in our routine lives theologically, spiritually.
Now. This summer. I've got one last crack at a goal that has eluded me for 12 summers previous: the welcoming inclusion of all generations at our Sunday worship when there isn't Sunday School meeting. That means combining our liturgical resources, music, prayers, readings, and sermon with an eye and ear for adults and children.
Sunday School ends; church for kids is boring. I get that, I remember that. Some who professionally think about these sorts of things suggest that it is actually a good thing, this boredom or at least not being catered to. They argue that kids get a glimpse of matters that adults value which they, the children, might not cognitively grasp. Still, the argument goes, just by being present, hearing the flow of the historical worship of the church, the physical movement, singing and so forth that they are learning about something bigger than themselves, or any one person of any age.
In some past summers I've shortened the Bible readings and hymn choices, as well as sermon, not to have 'church-lite,' but sensitive to the realities of heat, mixed ages gathered, and the desire many have to use the rest of Sunday for family summer activities.
I'm a priest. I can't help it. I think going to church has intrinsic value. You might affirm that too. The slightly snarky, judgmental observation that God doesn't go on vacation in the summer pulls too much in the direction of guilt to me. Doing this special thing though has merit, meaning, shapes us, affirms the habit of going to a special place and doing remarkably unique things together-things we don't do any other time of the week. OK, maybe you might be in a crowd singing Sweet Caroline. But the cheers are not prayers, nor other spectators joined in hearing the Bible (but....hah!....I just remembered that back in the 60s some liturgical modernizers suggested that pretzels and beer might be more fitting food for our culture than bread and wine as symbols!)
Cutting to the chase. Each Sunday at 10 in June, and then 9 in July and August, through Labor Day weekend, I will have a short children's talk prepared, and I will have that talk even if it is just a couple kids there. At the end of the talk I will give them paper and crayons/markers and ask them to draw a prayer or prayers they might want to offer to God, and later they will have the chance if they'd like to share the picture and prayer. Further, on June 11th at both the 8 and 10 I will have stations set up for people to respond to the Bible readings in a variety of ways: a station for some to draw (people of all ages); another with modeling clay; one option will be for people to sit in quiet in their pew and meditate, and they can do so with or without a brief reflection I will make available that day; and either at the back of the church, or out in the garden or in the narthex/meeting rooms pe0ple will be invited to a small discussion group to reflect on some specific questions posed about the readings. Kids and adults who are more sensory will have that way to participate; adults who want quiet time will be able to embrace that opportunity. We'll see how it goes. If there is a favorable response, we'll offer the same again at future services.
Mother's Day Reflection- Denise Fox Barber
From the gospel according to Luke:
An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. 47 Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. 48 Then he said to them, "Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest."
Good morning - As most of you already know I am Father Grant's wife Denise, and also the proud mother of a wonderful daughter. Little could ever bring me more joy and pride than my role in our family, especially that of Kelsey's mom. As an aside, I am also a clinical psychologist and in that role I work mostly with children and their families - as well as some adults. And no, it's not always about your mother - even though that cliché probably exists because mothers are so very important in everyone's life. So I do admit therapists do ask about your mother - but that's not what it's always about - at least not all of it!
Now, back to my own daughter - blessed by a brilliant intelligence (I'll do a little bragging here) -and fierce determination, my daughter could be just about anything she wanted to be, unless, of course, it required lots of math! But, I am most proud of who she has become and what she has chosen to do with her life - to follow a career path characterized by helping
others - her focus being homelessness, hunger, and disparity in health care. Many people say - well, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree - but Kelsey's commitment to this work far exceeds my own. And because of this she has won my total admiration and made me a very proud mother indeed. I share all of this with you today because I am one proud mom, but also as a segue into the focus of my "mother's day" reflection. Today I want to focus on what I hope is the "mothering" instinct in all of us. I chose the passage from Luke - when a child is brought to stand beside Jesus - a child is used to represent the "least among you all" - and to teach us that whoever welcomes this little child, in Jesus' name, welcomes Jesus and the one who sent him. Maybe in thinking about what it means to be a mother, we can understand better what Jesus has asked us to do for the "least" of those in our midst. So, What does it mean to "mother"?
During my own childhood the men of our church prepared and served a Mother's Day meal for all the mothers of the congregation and their daughters. I remember well the small programs prepared each year - taking the letters of the word Mother and forming some superlative with each one.
So, take a few minutes to think about mothers. what comes to mind? ------- maybe you came up with words like:
Giving and, of course,
Maybe words like kind and compassionate also came to mind.
Now - let's think about how much "mothering" we all do each and every day. I firmly believe we can embrace this role - that of being a nurturing, understanding, and caretaking individual regardless of how our "children" have entered our lives - maybe they are biological or adopted children, or grandchildren, nieces and nephews, or children in our own church family - children in your neighborhood, students you teach, patients you treat. In this very setting, when we promise to support a child at the time of their Baptism, aren't we committing to this very role?
You may not agree with all of her politics but Hillary Clinton might be right when she says - it takes a village. Maybe it even takes a world! And - not to take anything away from children - but adults need "mothering" as well. Think of your spouse or partner (especially on a bad day), your friends, co-workers, an aging parent, and neighbors near and far. And sometimes those known only to us by their needs (the homeless and hungry who come to Common Cathedral, the disabled veterans or victims of domestic violence represented on the giving tree, victims of natural disasters aided by Episcopal Relief and Development, our guests at the monthly community dinner, the residents who attend our services at the Life Care Center) they may need the most mothering of all.
In his Sermon on the Mount, and as recorded in the book of Matthew, Jesus shared with us the eight Beatitudes, one of which includes: Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.
Mercy: defined as - the loving disposition towards those who suffer distress. -maybe, the "least among us"?
Whether you divide this show of mercy into corporal or spiritual works you come up with examples such as -
1 Feed the Hungry
4 Shelter the homeless
5 Comfort the imprisoned
6 Visit the sick
5 Be patient with those in error
7 Pray for the living and the dead
Maybe it is merely a smile and hello, it's nice to see you - or maybe it's preparing and serving a meal, donating clothing you no longer need, or a check sent in support of others' work close to home or far away - maybe it's adding a name to the prayer list or just remembering to include someone in your own personal prayers, but I would argue that showing others that "mothering", that nurturing, caretaking, understanding, supportive and merciful part of ourselves can make for a much better world.
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Maybe it takes a world, inhabited by individuals thinking not only about themselves, but also about others in need - no matter their age, the color of their skin, the country of their birth, their religious beliefs, their sexual orientation - because everyone can benefit from love, nurturance, understanding, kindness, support, and mercy - especially the "least" and most vulnerable among us.
So, my hat goes off to mothers everywhere - let's join together to celebrate their wonderful gifts to each of us - and embrace what it means to be a mother as we navigate this often cruel, cold world with all of God's children.
Happy Mother's Day and may God's word and Jesus' example guide us in all that we do - Amen!
Movies, Dinner & Book Discussions
Beatriz at Dinner, opens June 9, Kendall Square Cinema, Cambridge. Parking garage adjacent. Car pooling details to follow for June 17th, matinee approx. around 4 p.m.
Dinner following at The Smoke Shop, 1 Kendall Square. Traditional BBQ with some twists thrown in.
Discussion of the movie, June 22nd, a Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Gordon Room.
Tears We Cannot Stop, Michael Eric Dyson.A Leader of the new Civil Rights movement and author, pastor and scholar addresses our historic moment. Moving beyond the "Black Lives Matter/All Lives Matter" polarization.
Discussion: Tuesday, June 27th, 7 p.m., Gordon Room
, based on a true story set in the
1930's of Nova Scotian folk artist Maude Lewis, a woman with crippling arthritis who leaves her overprotective home to be a housekeeper for a rough-edged fisherman. Maude embraces art, and soon becomes famous, reaching even the White House among her patrons. Location tbd. Release is in mid-June; perhaps it might show at Loring Hall, Hingham eventually in July. Aiming for a group matinee viewing Saturday, July 8th,
following again tbd.
Thursday, July 13, 7 p.m. in the Gordon Room.
The Agony and the Ecstasy, Irving Stone. Stone pretty much invented the historical, fictional biography with this book about Michelangelo. If you've read it, it was probably years and years ago; if you haven't yet, you should.
Discussion: July 20th, 7 p.m. in the Gordon Room.