Episcopal Church
of the Resurrection
1433 NW R.D. Mize Road
Blue Springs, Missouri  64015
 
(816) 228-4220

Weekly E-mail

Friday, January 1, 2021

WELCOME 2021!  IN-PERSON CHURCH RETURNS.

Happy New Year
Join us for Church this Sunday
SECOND SUNDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS.
In-person and on-line at 8:00 am and 10:30 am
Wise Men Still Seek Jesus

Resurrection will host in-person services this Sunday.  COVID precautions will be observed with a face mask required. 



From Father David Lynch+
A NEW YEAR PRAYER.
Dear Friends in Christ,

Fr. David Lynch_
As 2020 leaves us, we so look forward to a brighter, more stable 2021!

We give thanks to God for the blessings we have received and ask His grace as we deal with all the transitions we have experienced. Coming into this new year I want us to reflect on the prayer of St. Francis as a preface for all of us going forward:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offence, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.

Not only is the language of the prayer fitting, so is the spirit in which we receive it.  Debbie and I continue to count our blessings and give thanks for all of you!  May 2021 bring all the goodness possible especially with the resolve of better health, safety and peace. So farewell to 2020 and Godspeed for 2021!     Fr. David+
CSL gift card outreach a major  success
RESURRECTION DONATES $910.
The Community Services League's (CSL) annual Christmas Assistance Program normallyCommunity Services League provides Christmas gifts and meal baskets to families in need. 

In 2020, due to COVID, Resurrection did not have its Christmas gift tree to benefit CSL.  Instead, we collected gift cards and money for CSL to distribute to those less fortunate.

As usual, Resurrection responded generously, with the parish ultimately donating $910 in gift cards or money to CSL.   THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO CONTRIBUTED! 
Monday Matters - RenewalWorks
FROM REV. JAY SIDEBOTHAM +.
Monday Matters Column dated December 28, 2020

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning Renewal Works with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
 
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might
The Rev. Jay Sidebotham _
 believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, whichenlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
 
He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own,and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
 
And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.'") From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son,who is close to the Father's heart, who has made him known.  -John 1:1-18
______________

As if to ward off seasonal silliness, the calendar of our church surrounds Christmas with a variety of observances indicating darkness, which makes a star shine more brightly.

We kicked it off in the last days of Advent (a season marked by foreboding and occasional tough messages of judgment) with the feast of St. Thomas of doubting fame. We read about this guy not only right before Christmas, but also right after Easter. That suggests to me that doubting is not only okay. It's inevitable. It's part of the deal.

Then right after Christmas, we move into a series of feast days that might make those who follow Jesus wonder about the cruise ship they signed up for. The day after Christmas we celebrate the feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr of the church, put to death by stoning by good religious folk. Then we observe the feast of St. John the Evangelist. According to tradition, he was exiled on the isle of Patmos. Right after that comes the feast of the slaughter of the innocents, recalling Herod's murderous attack on the infants of Bethlehem. It's a reminder (as if needed) that the cruelty of ambition and power tends to harm the most vulnerable. No news there. Shortly after that, we remember Thomas Becket, a man for all seasons, whose life ended with murder in the cathedral. Again, church fights are nothing new.

Taking these a day at a time, this Monday morning we wake up to the feast of John the Evangelist. I have in mind the distinctive way John told the story of Jesus. His Christmas story does not go to Bethlehem, but rather all the way back to the beginning of creation, where the word was with God and the word was God. Maybe as a meditative moment in this Christmas season, read the prologue of John's gospel, printed in the column on the left (John 1:1-18). What word or phrase strikes you from that passage?

The phrase that struck me this weekend: Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Let's start with the truth. The lineup of observances around Christmas underscores that Christmas itself is not all that holly jolly. It's a story of a refugee family left homeless, victim of political capricious cruelty. It speaks truth about our lives. As Scott Peck said in three choice words opening his popular book The Road Less Traveled, life is difficult. 2020 has confirmed that. Pandemic breeds loneliness and loss. Economic challenges are steep. Racial divide, political divide, religious divide seem more pronounced.

We need to know the truth, as tough as it might be. But perhaps the only way to handle the truth is to place it in the context of grace. In scripture, the truth of a broken world is clear to see. In Jesus, that broken world is on the receiving end of God's love. Said another way, truth leads to grace. It's the message of incarnation that God pitched a tent among us, not in a five star hotel but in a makeshift maternity ward, a cave to shelter animals.

The good news of Christmas marvelously and miraculously blends grace and truth. Light shines in the darkness, showing us who we are. (Sometimes that smarts.) It also shows us a way forward. Grace and truth. You can't have one without the other. Without grace, truth is too much to bear. (I'm hearing Jack Nicholson saying: You can't handle the truth.) Without truth, grace is cheap. Put the two together, we find an authentic, healing way forward. We have reason to celebrate. We have gospel which tells us that in the midst of mess, love shows up. Actually, more than that. Love wins.
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