Spark Your Creativity

“Spark Your Creativity” is an art program being offered at ECA (The Episcopal Church in Almaden). Knowing God created each of us with a variety of gifts and talents we will develop each participant’s artistic gifts and talents through the creative medias that our featured artists used. Most sessions will be 3 weeks of 90 minutes group instruction and interaction. At each lesson the children will be learn about an artist and that artist’s style and medium. Then the children will have an opportunity to create their own art piece in that style and medium. The children’s art will be highlighted at an art exhibit at a special family event and service on a Saturday following the classes.

Participation at the family event and service is a requirement of participating in the art class experience.

Session 1: Be Abstract

  • Thursday, February 28, 3:30–5:00 PM
  • Thursday, March 7, 3:30–5:00 PM
  • Thursday, March 14, 3:30–5:00 PM
  • Saturday, March 16, 4:30–6:30 PM

Total Cost: $45 for the first child in the family, $15 for the second child in the same family

Future Classes will be arranged according to demand and interest. If you know of youth who would like this experience please let us know how to contact them and their families especially if they are middle school age!

Important: Before you register your child or children, be sure you can commit to all the dates and times including the Saturday Family Event and Service.

Download Registration Form

Let’s ROC the New Year!

On January 19th at “Let’s ROC” we are celebrating the Epiphany, when we remember the magi or three kings who traveled from far away, following a star to find the baby Jesus. The travelers search and when then they find the Christ Child, they are overwhelmed with joy. I’m praying that this season of Epiphany can be a time for us to search for Christ, and be overwhelmed with joy.

January 19th at Let’s ROC we’ll seek Christ together. We will make cookies to share with the homeless guests at the Village House warming shelter, we’ll seek Christ as we reflect on scripture together, and I pray we will be overwhelmed with joy when we encounter Christ at the table.

I hope we can ring in the New Year together January 19th, 4:30-6:30! Please RSVP so we know you’ll be there.

Holly McCullough
holly@eca-sj.org
Building Bridges Coordinator
Episcopal Church in Almaden

“When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.” Matthew 2:10

Join Us

Mark your calendar now! Let’s ROC (Reach Out in Community) will happen the third Saturday of each month from 4:30 to 6:30. Join us January 19th to ring in the New Year. February 16th will be talking about love and lovin’ those chimes. March 16th we’ll celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with shamrocks and rainbows.

Let’s ROC Christmas Pageant 2018

Christmas Pageant

Let’s ROC Christmas Pageant is December 15th at 4:30 PM. There will be Christmas carols, communion and a celebratory meal and of course a pageant. There is room for everyone who would like to participate in the pageant.

Actors will gather on December 15th at 3:45 to get in their costumes, go over their roles and make some ornaments. If you, or someone in your family would like to be a part of the pageant, please email Holly as soon as possible. This is a great time to invite grandchildren, or neighbors to celebrate Christmas with us. We are still on the look out for a real live baby who might be interested in playing Jesus in our play and we will have speaking roles available until the end of this week. When letting me know of a possible participant, it is helpful to know the age, and interest of the possible participant.

Help December 15th

December 15th actors and actresses will prepare in the learning center. We will need help with crafts, getting children into costumes, and hosting parents. Please let Holly know if you are interested in helping Saturday afternoon before the pageant.

Thanks,
Holly

Holly McCullough
holly@eca-sj.org
Building Bridges Coordinator
Episcopal Church in Almaden

Let’s ROC 11/17/2018

Let’s be thankful and celebrate Thanksgiving together November 17th, 4:30 – 6:30. Join us for music from Chime In, worship and a feast. Please sign up in the fellowship hall to bring a side dish, or if you’re up for it, contact Holly and volunteer to roast a turkey.

Holly McCullough
holly@eca-sj.org
Building Bridges Coordinator
Episcopal Church in Almaden

While you have your calendar out, make sure that you’ve set aside December 15th, 4:30 – 6:30 for our Christmas Pageant. It will be a heartwarming event.

Let’s ROC 10/06/2018

Looking Ahead… Let’s ROC Blessing of the Animals

Let’s ROC Blessing of the Animals is Saturday October 6th.

  • 4:30–5: Be a Blessing – Pray for the wellbeing of animals around the word, care for animals in your neighborhood
  • 5–6: Say Thanks to God – We’ll thank God for our pets and stuffed animals and they will receive a special blessing
  • 6–6:30: Eat – Come rest at the table

See you soon,
Holly

Holly McCullough
holly@eca-sj.org
Building Bridges Coordinator
Episcopal Church in Almaden

Let’s ROC 09/15/2018

“Let’s ROC” is this Saturday September 15th, 4:30 to 6:30 at ECA. We would love to have you there. Here is what we’ll be up to:

  • 4:30–5: Be a Blessing – We’ll start out writing some encouraging notes and praying for our neighbors
  • 5–6: Say Thanks to God – We’ll thank God for inviting us to be friends
  • 6–6:30: Eat – Come rest at the table

Please RSVP today so we can be ready for you this weekend. Let me know if you’re up for helping with setting up.

Registration materials are available for our October Peacemakers Camp – you can find them here!

See you soon,
Holly

Holly McCullough
holly@eca-sj.org
Building Bridges Coordinator
Episcopal Church in Almaden

Let’s ROC 08/18/2018

This month, it’s the Blessing of the Backpacks! Saturday, August 18, bring your phone, calendar or backpack to be blessed and take home a reminder that we are blessed to be a blessing.

Here’s an outline of the schedule:

  • 4:30 – 5 PM: Be a Blessing – serve your neighbors by making playdough for local preschoolers
  • 5 – 6 PM: Say Thanks to God – we’ll get ready for school by having our backpacks blessed and talk about what it means to be blessed to be a blessing
  • 6 – 6:30 PM: Eat! We’ll have one last BBQ to end the summer on a high note

If you would like to help with set up, clean up or in the kitchen, please let me know. If you’re up for attending, RSVP today, or sign up in Sunday in the parish hall. Also, if you’ve already let me know you’re coming, thank you, you’re getting this again as a reminder, and because it is tricky to take names off of these emails.

Thanks,
Holly

Holly McCullough
holly@eca-sj.org
Building Bridges Coordinator
Episcopal Church in Almaden

Holy Week and Easter at ECA

This is a synopsis of our Holy Week services, to let people know some of the symbolism of what we will walk through together March 25 through April 1.

We begin Holy Week on Palm Sunday in the circular gathering area in front of the church. We bless and distribute palm fronds. To the sound of All Glory, Laud, and Honor, we process to the sanctuary, and hear the story of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The Holy Eucharist swings from the joy of triumph to the reading of Jesus’ Passion and Death at the end of the service, and we leave in silence. This service takes us through the full range of emotion and the events of Holy Week.

Maundy Thursday is the first day of the Triduum: the three, great holy days. The Maundy Thursday Eucharist, Good Friday liturgy, and the Great Vigil of Easter are really all one service, spread over three days, that grounds us in the mysteries of our faith. On Maundy Thursday 7pm, the focus is on Christ’s institution of the Sacrament of his Body and Blood, the Eucharist, as well as on the self-giving love shown in his washing of the disciples’ feet. The altar and sanctuary are silently stripped of all adornment, in the near dark, to the sound of Psalm 22 being chanted. The altar is washed with consecrated wine and water – remembering the blood and water that poured out of Jesus’ side in the crucifixion. The altar represents the bier of Christ that received his body after his death the next day. We end in silence, with anointing and individual prayers of healing for those who wish at the altar rail.

Good Friday’s noon service includes hymns, prayers, Scripture readings, veneration of the cross and sermon – the official Liturgy of the Church for Good Friday. The 7pm service is the Stations of the Cross around the Fellowship Hall. The latter springs from the ancient practice of making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in order to walk the Way of the Cross that Jesus walked. As it became increasingly difficult for Christians to do this, the practice began in villages and churches. We stop at each “station” that describes our Lord’s Passion, with Scripture reading, reflection, and prayer. Our beautiful Stations of the Cross posters were loving colored for us by our Warming Center guests last year.

The Great Vigil of Easter begins at dark on Holy Saturday: 8:15pm on the patio. This is the Church’s ancient, first liturgy of Easter Day, full of symbolism and meaning. Outside, we light the New Fire from which the Paschal Candle burns, process into the church and hear salvation history in Scripture and song. Our baptismal vows are renewed and we celebrate the first Holy Eucharist for the Feast of the Resurrection, in a brilliant blaze of light and glory. This is a truly inspiring and mystical liturgy that is received through all the senses.

On Easter Day, we have our two glorious celebrations of Holy Eucharist on the Day of Resurrection – with wonderful music at the 10:45am service. Children of all ages enjoy our traditional Easter Egg hunt and “Easter Bucks” are raised to contribute to charitable causes close to ECA’s heart.

These Easter celebrations are deepened and enriched by our walk with Jesus through Holy Week. The liturgies are designed to speak to participants in deep and meaningful ways through many senses. I encourage you to attend as many of the Holy Week services as you are able – they will make a difference in your Easter morning!

Travel the Globe in Our Neighborhood 2018

This year’s Travel the Globe kids camp is full!

This camp is offered to Kindergarten through 5th Grade and will highlight countries and cultures of families in our neighborhood! We will gain an appreciation of their cultures through stories, art, cooking, music and language. This camp will run 4 days, February 20 thru 23, from 9 AM to 3 PM, but campers can register to attend any number of days. Enrollment is limited so early registration is suggested!

Registration is only secured by completed registration form and appropriate fees for the camp. Registration can be mailed to the church or delivered during regular office hours Tuesday thru Friday 10 AM to 2 PM. For questions and more information please contact Susie Ferguson via email: christianed@jointventurechurches.org

Travel the Globe 2018 Registration Form

Here’s our itinerary for the week:

Tuesday, February 20 – Fly with Us to France

  • Visit a culinary school and learn to make tasty baguettes and Quiche Lorraine
  • Be an artist – set up your easel and paint with Matisse, Monet, Picasso and other artists on the Left Bank
  • Visit a language school to learn a little French
  • And more!

Wednesday, February 21 – Fly On to China for Chinese New Year

  • Learn the techniques and make your own homemade Chinese dumplings
  • Learn about the Chinese Zodiac and celebrate The Year of the Dog
  • Take a break for Tai Chi
  • Be creative with red (lanterns, dragons and more!)

Thursday, February 22 – Continue Around the Globe and Fly On to El Salvador

  • Pupusas and cortido will be our culinary challenges
  • Create art in the style of Fernando Llort
  • Practice our Spanish
  • Enjoy a travelogue of El Salvador

Friday, February 23 – Fly On to The Netherlands

  • Learn to cook poffertjes, a favorite of the Dutch
  • Learn to play sjoelen and other Dutch games
  • Learn how a country can survive “below sea level”
  • Make your own windmills with Lego bricks and more!

Exploring God’s Zoo

This 5-day camp runs 9 to 3pm for children kindergarten thru 5th grade. Enrollment is limited. Register now!

Our camp Exploring God’s Zoo will highlight the fall season, animals and St. Francis. We will do this through music, drama, art, cooking, games and more! Campers will be preparing a very special presentation for Saturday October 7 at 4:30 PM before our Blessing of the Animals. And yes, our campers will be invited to bring their pets for a special blessing in honor of St. Francis! Saturday’s event will be open to all in our neighborhood who wish to join us and have their pets blessed.

For questions and more information on this camp and other Children and Youth programming at ECA contact Susie Ferguson, Director of Children and Youth Ministries: christianed@jointventurechurches.org

Registration Form Fall 2017

Lenten Meditation 46, April 15

Saturday, April 15

Job 14:1-14
Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16
1 Peter 4:1-8
Matthew 27:57-66

by Betty Consorte

My first thought was “what fools,” as if a mere stone could stop or contain the Lord or his word. They were so fearful of seeking and exploring this new way of thinking, this new and loving power. Let us never forget to seek God’s truth – to look beyond our everyday thinking, to see God’s truth in our lives and to share, when we can, God’s love with others. No matter where we are we are never alone – the presence is always with us.

Lenten Meditation 45, April 14

Friday, April 14

Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Psalm 22
Hebrews 10:16-25
John 18:1-19:42

by Kimberly Axtell

And so they took the body of Jesus. . .

When I was younger, I was profoundly glad that Jesus died for me. I needed the reassurance that God cared for me personally, broken as I am.

As I got older, I was profoundly glad that Jesus died for the world. All of humanity needs to be reminded of God’s care, broken as we are.

Now I am profoundly glad that Jesus died to redeem the evil systems of the world. Jesus dared to speak truths that shook the status quo, truths that caused his inevitable death. I believe that we, too, are called to speak truth, to name systems that are hurtful to all of creation: those that kill the body and soul of our community, those that keep people in persistent poverty and hunger, and those that damage our environment.

Thank you, Lord, for your work of redemption that was begun this day for all of creation.

Lenten Meditation 44, April 13

Thursday, April 13

Exodus 12:1-4, 11-14
Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
John 13:1-17, 31b-35

by Brother Mark Brown, Guest Commentator on the Gospel of John

Suffering

Is it not often suffering that breaks open our hearts to receive love? Is it not often the suffering of others that draws us into compassion? To receive love, to express love, to be broken as the bread is broken, to be poured out as the wine is poured out: this is to become the flesh and blood of Christ: this is to participate in the Divine Nature.

– Br. Mark Brown, Society of Saint John the Evangelist

Lenten Meditation 43, April 12

Wednesday, April 12

Isaiah 50:4-9a
Psalm 70
Hebrews 12:1-3
John 13:21-32

by Wendy Martin

Isaiah 50:4-9a
Jesus is determined to follow God’s will despite the hardships. He is a model for us to stay strong, to keep on keeping on, even when friends and family disagree with what we do or say. We are following God’s plan for us: to grow and to become more like Him. What difficulties are you dealing with today? God knows what you are going through. He understands. He is with you.

Psalm 70
David continues to plea for God’s help. Although I pray daily, it is sometimes not my first go-to in time of need. I sometimes forget to pray for God to put His hand over my mouth so I do not say meanness. I want to complain to others and feel validated. Is prayer the last solution in times of trouble? Sometimes. How about you?

Hebrews 12:1-3
We are all running the race of living a Christian life. The destination – Heaven. It’s a lifelong race that involves peaks and valleys and sometimes sludge along the way. To make it to the end, I need the daily discipline to stay in shape. But temptations pull me away from spending time with God: getting to work, a few extra minutes of sleep, wanting to be a couch potato, the news, household chores, errands, the demands of others. Endurance to keep running comes from listening to others who’ve run before me, readings such as our Lenten meditation booklets, from my time in the Word, and my newfound written prayers to Jesus. Let’s run this race together, shall we?

John 13:21-32
Jesus predicts his betrayal and yet continues doing God’s will by going through with his crucifixion. How hard that must have been! It is heartbreaking when a loved one betrays us. How could this happen after all we have done, given, been? I found my way through the craziness by making God the center of my life. People, jobs, things – can all be taken away from us – and we spin out of control. As the sun is the center of our galaxy which all things revolve and which if taken away would cause disarray, the Son is our center from which our life revolves and thankfully, cannot be taken away.

Lenten Meditation 42, April 11

Tuesday, April 11

Isaiah 49:1-7
Psalm 71:1-14
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
John 12:20-36

by Mary Moran

The Servant of the Lord

To me this reading is unclear. Is the servant Isaiah, Israel the Nation or is it Jesus, in whom Israel is personified?

The Lord called (Jesus, Isaiah or Israel?) to be his servant. While (Jesus, Isaiah or Israel?) felt he had labored to no purpose, he believed his reward was with God.

The servant would be the light of the many people so that they could experience grace and salvation.

6 “…I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”
– John 12: 20-36

36 “…Put your trust in the light while you have it so that you may become sons of light….”
– Psalm 71: 1-14

The Psalmist recalls his life of trusting in the Lord, concerned about his old age and infirmity, troubles and enemies but continues in his praise and trust in God.

14 “…I will always have hope.”

3 “…Be my rock of refuge….You are my rock and my fortress.”
– 1 Corinthians 1: 18-31

Many factions of believers have differences and boasted about their particular beliefs. Regardless of the intellectual knowledge and worldly wisdom, faith in God is far more important.

25 “…The foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom. Any weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”

“Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

30 “…You are in Christ Jesus who has become for us wisdom from God, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.”

Lenten Meditation 41, April 10

Monday, April 10

Isaiah 42:1-9
Psalm 36:5-11
Hebrews 9:11-15
John 12:1-11

by Sandie Mueller

John 12:1:11

Six days before the Passover, Jesus went to Bethany and was having a last meal with Martha, Lazarus (whom Jesus had raised from the dead) and Mary. And Mary brought in a pound of very costly ointment, pure nard, and with it anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping then with her hair; the house was filled with the scent of the ointment. Then Judas Iscariot – one of the disciples – said, ‘why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?’

But Judas was not in the wonder of the moment and missed the content of Jesus’ message of right judgement – who were the poor in spirit whom it was necessary to nurture, and how. Jesus, ever the teacher, was not harsh with Judas. Focusing on Mary, speaking to Judas and for others to hear, he said only, “Leave her alone; let her keep it for the day of my burial. You have the poor with you always, you will not always have me.”

Lenten Meditation 40, April 9

Sunday, April 9

Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
Matthew 21:1-11

by Brother Mark Brown, Guest Commentator on the Gospel of Matthew

Defy

We do not deny the reality of death or the degradation of suffering. But we do claim the victory of life over death, of light over darkness. And so we defy anything which would degrade our humanity.

– Br. Mark Brown, Society of Saint John the Evangelist

Lenten Meditation 39, April 8

Saturday, April 8

Psalm 31:9-16
Lamentations 3:55-66
Mark 10:32-34

by The Rev. Mary Morrison

The disciples are on the road, going up to Jerusalem. For a brief moment in time, we join them in their journey. Mark tells us, “Jesus was walking ahead of them; they were amazed and those who followed were afraid.”

The Christian life is a journey, a pilgrimage, and each year, during Lent, we are once again travellers on the road of transformation, the road to Easter and new life. We try to leave our old selves behind and become the people God has created us to be, but those old selves are tenacious and hard to shake. And our journey is rarely fast and smooth; rather, the way is long, with many ups and downs.

As always, Jesus is out in front of us, leading us to abundant new life God desires for us, a life of love and joy, peace and hope. Yet we—like the disciples—are afraid. We know that the journey to that abundant new life, like so many of life’s journeys, is also one of loss, pain, and grief.

This little snippet from Mark’s Gospel serves to remind us that God’s ways are not our ways. Even in seemingly hopeless situations, God can be at work bringing healing and wholeness (even if it isn’t the health and wholeness we expect). It also reminds us to pay attention: to keep looking for the elusive signs of God’s work in the world around us; keep listening for hints of God’s spirit in the noise that surrounds us; and keep searching for God’s life in the places we least expect to find it.

And Jesus I have promised to serve thee to the end
O give me grace to follow, my Master and my friend

– Hymn 655

Lenten Meditation 38, April 7

Friday, April 7

Psalm 31:9-16
Job 13:13-19
Philippians 1:21-30

by The Rev. Shelley Denney

Psalm 31:9-16

Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am in trouble; my eye is consumed with sorrow…fear is all around…But as for me, I have trusted in you, O LORD. I have said, “You are my God…Make your face to shine upon your servant, and in your loving-kindness save me.”

We all have those times…when our “eye is consumed with sorrow” or when “fear is all around.” Following Jesus – in fact, believing in God – is no guarantee that the sorrows and fears of life will not surround us. They are part of all human life. But how do we respond when they hit?

The psalmist takes full, poetic advantage of the opportunity to give voice to his frustration, anger, hatred, and despair. But weaving in through these tumultuous feelings is a thread of hope that his trust in God will see him through, that God will, in fact, be his “strong rock, a castle to keep [him] safe.”

Our Presiding Bishop, The Most Rev. Michael Curry wrote, “Faith is the key to living life in the Spirit. It is God’s job to keep watch, it is our job to keep the faith.” In the depths of our pain, it is our job to hold on to a shred of hope. That may be the hardest thing we ever have to do. But it gives meaning to life and to the process of navigating our pain.

This was true even for Jesus, who cried out the words of Psalm 31 just before he died. “Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.’ Having said this, he breathed his last” (Luke 23:46).

Lenten Meditation 37, April 6

Thursday, April 6

Psalm 31:9-16
1 Samuel 16:11-13
Philippians 1:1-11

by The Rev. Kate Flexer

Philippians 1:1-11

To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at ECA!

‘I thank God every time I remember you,’ Paul says. What a wonderful letter he writes to his friends in Philippi, with such love and prayer for them. I still have boxes of letters I received, and some I wrote, to friends and family in years past – several pages thick with story and details and vibrant voice. And yet I no longer send such letters, nor do I receive them – they’re vanquished by short, pithy emails and the even shorter, pithier texts (with emojis). None of them are kept in boxes to look at again. Not much is communicated there anyway.

Relationships with other people take more time than we sometimes feel like we have. It takes time to write a letter, to offer our thoughts and questions and wonderings to another person. But the few times I do it, I notice that it doesn’t actually take that much time, and it feels good. It connects me heart to heart with the other person in a way that no short text could do.

No less so in our relationship with God. How long a letter do we write to God, in our prayers? Do we take the time to give all the details, explore the ins and outs of our soul in God’s presence? Or do we rely on cryptic texts? ‘God pls heal me TYVM!’

As we move into Holy Week, perhaps this season can prompt us into taking a little more time in God, writing and thinking and listening and reading – to allow the one who began a good work in us to bring it to completion. To remember, and be re-membered, by God.

Lenten Meditation 36, April 5

Wednesday, April 5

Psalm 143
Jeremiah 32 :1-9, 36-41
Matthew 22:23-33

by Mary McPherson

“I am the God of Abraham…” Matthew 22:32

In today’s gospel, the Sadducees ask Jesus a convoluted question about whose wife a woman will be after she marries 7 brothers. The Sadducees have an ongoing argument with the Pharisees that there is no resurrection. For me, there are two things that catch my attention in this passage. First, Jesus explains that indeed there is a resurrection. However, when we are resurrected we will not be married. I’m not happy about that, but it’s not my call, so I just have to accept it. I hope John and I will still be friends!

I know there are many things about heaven we just have to wait to find out about. But I also find it interesting how Jesus uses the tense of the verb – “is” not “was” – to explain how God is the God of the living, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. My mind immediately goes to the transfiguration scene when Jesus meets with Elijah and Moses up on the mountain. Elijah and Moses never met on earth. They are from two entirely different time periods. Yet they are alive and they know each other. Plus they seem to know Jesus and what is happening on earth. Are our loved ones watching what goes on with us as well? Who will we get to meet when we get to heaven? Now that is something to ponder and look forward to!

Lenten Meditation 35, April 4

Tuesday, April 4

Psalm 143
2 Kings 4:18-37
Ephesians 2:1-10

by The Rev. Julie Nelson

From Death to Life

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians he claims that we were once dead, but are now raised up. We are now alive! This is, for me, what Easter is all about. Easter is about the hope of our own resurrection – and not a resurrection after physical death, but the resurrection we need when we have spiritually died.

In all of our lives, there are times when we are spiritually dead. Maybe we are dead inside because we are caught in a cycle of addiction. Maybe we feel dead because of the grief that has consumed us after a traumatic experience or loss. Maybe we are dead inside because we are so overwhelmed with despair that we cannot even imagine how we might feel hope again. Being abused or oppressed can bring death to our spirits. Darkness can consume our souls, and we find ourselves feeling dead, even though we are still walking and talking and breathing.

This is what Jesus brings us through his resurrection. Jesus brings us new life. As Paul says, “But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us…raises us up with him….” No matter how lonely, or empty, or sad, or desperate, or full of despair we might be, God’s mercy finds us. God’s love heals us. God’s grace makes us whole again – and brings us back to life!

Lenten Meditation 34, April 3

Monday, April 3

Psalm 143
1 Kings 17:17-24
Acts 20:7-12

by The Rev. John Buenz

Too Much Talking, Not Enough Listening
ECA Lenten Mediations from Acts 20:7-12

Paul had a lot to say and for most of it we should be grateful. His companion, Luke, remembered much of what he said, including some with an almost humorous down side. On occasion Paul talked when he should have been listening. This reading suggests piece of advice worthy of practice during Lent, especially when clergy and elders are tempted to give advice.

Paul is about to depart from Troas, and he can’t resist the temptation to “preach a sermon that went on till the middle of the night..and carried on talking on till he left at day break”. A young man falls asleep, falls over a balcony and drops three stories. Paul is able to notice, checks him out and then keeps on talking.

More is often learned by listening than by talking. Lent is a learning season, that is to learn from listening as prelude to pondering what Christ has to whisper in the inner ear of the soul. As an occasional preacher, I have had my share of kind but pointed hints to shorten up. I hope to remember Paul’s example and suggest that learning by listening might be considered as a discipline. That’s especially relevant when tempted to give advice to young people who have to learn by listening to their own experience. You can tell when they fall asleep.

Lenten Meditation 33, April 2

Sunday, April 2

Ezekiel 37:1-14
Psalm 130
Romans 8:6-11
John 11:1-45

by The Rev. Canon Linda Taylor

The word in the Lazarus story that grabs my attention is unbind. Unbind. Jesus calls Lazarus to come out of the tomb, and he does just that. Lazarus comes out, blinking against the light of the sun, even with the cloth covering his face. He’s probably stumbling as he emerges—walking on legs that have been dead for four days and tripping on the burial cloths that bind him. And the people who have gathered to watch Jesus’ grief—the people who are also mourning this man who’s been such an important part of their community—are probably falling over each other to get away. And Jesus says to them: Unbind him and let him go.

As I write this meditation several weeks before the beginning of Lent, I wonder what will be unbound as we prepare our hearts for the Paschal feast. Unbinding is not always a comfortable process. The ties that bind us can give comfort and a sense of stability. They can also hold us back from new life. Lazarus obediently came out of the tomb, but he couldn’t step into new life without the freedom only his community could give him. He needed the people of his community to set him free from the things that bound him to his former life.

The good news is that Jesus continues to call each of us into new life as the Body of Christ. The good news is that we have this ever-changing community to support us as we move away from the ties that bind us and toward healing and wholeness. The good news is that God’s Spirit is with us on the days when that’s easy and on the days when that movement leaves us shaking in our shoes.

Thanks be to God.

Lenten Meditation 32, April 1

Saturday, April 1

Psalm 130
Ezekiel 36:8-15
Luke 24:44-53

by Brenda McHenry

Psalm 130

My soul waits for the Lord,
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.

Waiting is hard—or boring—or anticipatory—or depressing—or a combination of these and maybe more. Waiting requires hope. Otherwise, there’s no point—if it can’t happen, it’s not worth waiting for.

If you have ever waited for news, you are hoping for a desired outcome. If as a parent, you’ve waited for your teenager to arrive home when she’s beyond her curfew, you were hoping for her arrival, along with many other emotions. At this moment, my dog waits in the easy chair for me to come back and sit with him.

We “can’t wait” for many things— the phone to ring, this day to end, to see a friend. But we do wait. What other choice is there? We often have assurance it will come. Our hope is sure.

A soul waits for the Lord. The waiting is difficult, just like the watchman who longs for the end of the night. It’s so hard that it’s worth repeating. But God has mercy and forgives, and all our sins will be redeemed.

Lenten Meditation 31, March 31

Friday, March 31

Psalm 130
Ezekiel 33:10-16
Revelation 11:15-19

by Debbie Estill

“If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.”

It is only by putting our hope in His unfailing love that we receive full redemption. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Him.

He takes no pleasure in our sin, but wants us to turn from sin and live in the light of His glory. His desire for creation is life, not death. We cannot trust in our own righteousness and do evil, it would be better to be a wicked man and to turn away from sin.

We face this choice each and every day.

Lenten Meditation 30, March 30

Thursday, March 30

Psalm 130
Ezekiel 1:1-3; 2:8-3:3
Revelation 10:1-11

by Inge Bond

Psalm 130

Psalm 130 speaks to me because of the message of crying out for God in the depths of our despair, in our darkest times. As an insomniac, the verse about waiting for the Lord even more than those who watch for the morning tapped me on the shoulder, while I am acutely aware that there is a big difference between insomnia and desperation for another day. Those who are watching for morning are in more dire times than I (I have been there, as have we all, but am grateful not to be at that point now).

This psalm compels me to be compassionate toward my fellow humans – I know not who spends each night crying out for God, or watching for the morning , hanging by a thread. I need to trust that the Lord will respond to my call, if not always to my exact specifications, and I need to support those who are watching for the morning. That can be a terribly painful and lonely time and if I can be a vessel of the Lord on earth, and provide comfort, I need to do that.

For those who wait for morning, as the Psalm says, there will be mercy and redemption. What great comfort the Lord provides.

Lenten Meditation 29, March 29

Wednesday, March 29

Psalm 146
Isaiah 60:17-22
Matthew 9:27-34

by Martha Reynolds

Matthew 9

Dear God,

We pray to hear Your words and those of our Lord Jesus Christ with attentive hearts. That we never conflict, condemn or deny the sacred teachings the Bible presents. May we never not acknowledge You, Dear God. You are the center of our life. Our creator, our Divine God. We pray to become what You created us to be. We pray our life be a passion to serve You, focused on Your heavenly ways not our earthly desires. Each day we pray You guide us that your faith and our trust in You become stronger and stronger in all that You have told us through YOUR WORD, THE BIBLE. We thank You and we glorify You. For Your great love and blessings of Christ our Lord we praise You and give You our unending devotion.

Dear God, may we not become discouraged, only preserve, step by step Your will for our life. Our omnipotent God, may our hearts and souls be filled with the beauty and the glory of Your presence. We pray that we help each other worship You. May Your love and Your mercy become known over the whole world. For Your gift of your only son, Jesus our Lord and Savior we thank You and we praise You. To Jesus we declare our undying love and thankfulness. Nothing can compare with His gift of eternal life. For accepting our sins, that our sins are forgiven. With grateful hearts, with bowed head and on bended knew we ask You to hear our prayer. We love You, to You be all the glory.

Enrichment Through the Arts

Enrichment Through the Arts is a kids camp exploring creativity through a variety of media. Each day a different art form will be highlighted. Look what’s being planned…

  • Monday – Weaving & Guatemala
  • Tuesday – Photography & Ansel Adams (Children will be using polaroid film.)
  • Wednesday – Painting & Monet, Seurat & Picasso
  • Thursday – Ceramics & Clay
  • Friday – Culinary Arts (Children will bring home dinner for the family.)

Each day includes at least 3 projects around the art theme of the day. Enrollment is limited each day due to materials needed for the projects. Spaces are on a first come first serve basis. Enrollment is only secured with completed registration form and fees.

For more information contact the Director of Children and Youth Ministries at ECA.

Registration Form

Lenten Meditation 28, March 28

Tuesday, March 28

Psalm 146: 1-10
Isaiah 42: 14-21
Colossians 1: 9-14

by Marion Grunge

Some of these writings could be about 3,000 years old and can still apply to what is going on even today.

The Psalms tell us that God “does what is fair for those who have been wronged.” He goes on to say that “for a long time I have said nothing; I have been quiet and held myself back. But now I will cry out . . . I will make the rivers become dry land and dry up the pools of water. I will destroy the hills and mountains and dry up all their plants.”

Sound familiar?

Paul, in one of his letters, tells the church at Colossae in the Lycus Valley in Phrygia (Asia Minor), “God will strengthen you with his own great power so that you will not give up when troubles come, but you will be patient.”

Will God be there to strengthen us as trouble comes knocking at our doors?

Back to the Psalm we are told, “Do not put your trust in Princes – today it could be elected officials – or other people, who cannot save you. When people die, they are buried. Then all of their plans come to an end.”

Depending on who you listen to, we are coming out of a drought. Was the drought caused by us or by God? Either way, we’ve seen how we could loose all our rivers, hills, and mountains if we do not act.

We were given this land to care for. Adam and Eve were kicked out of their Paradise. Will we be kicked out of our Paradise or are we just going to destroy it?

. . . “send us out to do the work you have given us to do . . .”

Lenten Meditation 27, March 27

Monday, March 27

Psalm 146
Isaiah 59:9-19
Acts 9:1-20

by George Romer

My thoughts on reading and re-reading these passages are:

Each set of scripture, unto itself, is a story of different times, but taken together testifies to the theme of hope and salvation to those who will open or have their “eyes” opened by the timeless message. Empires come and go, government regimes rise and fall, wax and wane, but the need and utility of silent meditation is there for the doing. Epiphanies happen and hearts change. Do what you can to effect improvement but, know what you cannot influence. There is an oft recited quote, “This, too, shall pass.” These passages are long and difficult to read but fruit is there if one reads then through a few times, slowly without interference. Then, read them again. Think of these verses in relation to the temporal events which consume our consciousness. Go ahead and see what comes out for you.

Lenten Meditation 26, March 26

Sunday, March 26

1 Samuel 16:1-13
Psalm 23
Ephesians 5:8-14
John 9:1-41

by Susie Ferguson

John 9:39 – “I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.”

In chapter 9 of John we hear the story of Jesus healing a blind man, blind from birth, and the Pharisees reaction and investigation of this healing. A miracle that on one hand brings forth awe and wonder and proclamation, “He is a prophet.” And on another hand a miracle challenged and discounted by the Pharisees as they are quick to conclude: “You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?” And they drove the man out! A miraculous healing bringing one from darkness to light….and for the Pharisees seeing but being spiritually blind.

If you volunteered in our warming center you witnessed a miracle healing bringing one from darkness to light. Our guests were in a darkness, a darkness of homelessness, some compounded by poor health and physical incapacities. Some a darkness of circumstance, misfortunes and challenges. It was Christ’s light that shone through the volunteers that began a healing miracle and will continue to change the lives of women through this program, Village House. Serving and giving generously of our time and our love we were blessed and enriched as witnessed by the fruits of our labors and seeing our guests begin their transformations.

At the same time, I encountered “Pharisees” living amongst us today. Yes, those quick to remind me that they had always worked, never slacked off, never taken handouts, and resentful of those receiving our generosity. Like the Pharisees they interrogated and challenged. Like the Pharisees they were judgmental and put themselves in elitist positions.

Yes, even today some see with the eyes of Christ and some remain blind. As we continue to move through Lent, let us search our hearts and find more and more ways to see with the eyes of Christ.

Lenten Meditation 25, March 25

Saturday, March 25

The Annunciation:
Isaiah 7:10-14
Psalm 45
Hebrews 10:4-10
Luke 1:26-38

by Brother Mark Brown, Guest Commentator on the Gospel of Luke

Grace

We are very imperfect vehicles for the embodiment of Divine Grace. We’re all driving around on at least one flat tire and with missing or malfunctioning parts. Broken as we are, the impulse is still there: Christ’s desire to incarnate grace and truth.

– Br. Mark Brown, Society of Saint John the Evangelist

Lenten Meditation 24, March 24

Friday, March 24

Psalm 23
1 Samuel 15:22-31
Ephesians 5:1-9

by Kathleen Eagan

Psalm 23

While waiting in the ER for the results of a head CT to reveal whether I was having another stroke, I asked my friend Eileen to read me the 23rd Psalm. I usually know it by heart, but not that day. Eileen is not religious, or even “spiritual,” but she is tech-savvy and promptly called up the Psalm on her smart phone. She held my hand and read this wonderful, soothing message over and over, and I breathed it in.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for thou art with me.”

I needed that reminder, that He was with me then, and always, no matter what happened next.

There was no stroke that day, and I have a memory of that psalm reaching my heart that will sustain me forever.

1 Samuel: 22-31

In this passage, Saul repeatedly begs Samuel for his pardon.

This year the bright blue star that I picked from the sanctuary read: “Pardon.” I chuckled deeply when I read that. Forgiveness and pardon are high on my list of “things to work on.” I bear the double burden of deep resentments concerning my childhood, and a large dose of self-criticism for my own mistakes in adulthood. For pardon goes both ways, doesn’t it? We need to experience the healing power of forgiveness of both self and others.

It is difficult to forgive those who harmed us, especially when they do not apologize or even acknowledge the harm done. But it is possible, with God’s grace and our own willingness. With ourselves, I have found that the trick is to realize that our standards are unreasonably high, and must soften to allow our human failings to be accepted and forgiven. We learned through our mistakes, and tried not to repeat them!

The qualities of mercy and compassion are what helped me reach this understanding.

Ephesians 5: 1-9

This chapter begins with the exhortation: “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.”

I love the idea of imitating God, for that is indeed what we do a lot of the time: our most earnest attempts to live our lives with God, for God. Will we succeed? Yes, if we study and remember what those Godly qualities are, and we evaluate our results with mercy and forgiveness. We are imitating, doing our best, and keeping God’s example foremost in our minds as much as possible. Talking to God through prayer and meditation alone and with others will help us hone our efforts to their best outcome.

May I imitate you, Lord, in all that I do, for you have given us so many bright and wonderful teachings to follow that will guide us home to you.

Lenten Meditation 23, March 23

Thursday, March 23

Psalm 23
1 Samuel 15:10-21
Ephesians 4:25-32

by Nancy Romer

Psalm 23

Ever since I was a small child, Psalm 23 was the one that my Sunday school teachers wanted me to memorize. Without skipping a year, each one would inform me that I needed to have this one in my memory pocket in case I needed to pull out comfort in a difficult situation. Dutifully, I did as they said. I could almost say it backwards. But I didn’t fully appreciate the depth and meaning of it until I had lived into life.

I am grateful that it has been in my spiritual reservoir many times over the years. I am grateful too, for all those teachers who felt it was important to memorize parts of the Bible. If you don’t already, I encourage you to have some words of the Bible in your spiritual reservoir for times when you might need them.

Lenten Meditation 22, March 22

Wednesday, March 22

Psalm 81
Jeremiah 2:4-13
John 7:14-31, 37-39

by Sandie Mueller

The psalm cries out, “If you would but listen to me. . .oh, that my people would listen to me and walk in my ways. Where is the Lord who brought us up from Egypt, led us in wilderness where no one lives?”

Jeremiah says, “My people have forsaken me, the fountain of living water and dug cisterns, cracked that can hold no water.” Jesus spent forty days in the desert after his baptism by John, and his experience almost reflects the desert experience of the Israelites coming out of Egypt. He was tempted but answered those temptations. He listened to God.

Jeremiah asks What wrong did your ancestors find in me that they went far from me. They did not ask, “Where is the Lord?” Jesus was/is the Lord.

In John Jesus says, “My teaching is not mine but his who sent me. Anyone who resolves to do the will of God will know whether I am speaking on my own. Those who speak on their own seek their own glory, but the one who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is true and there is nothing false in him. Judge by right judgment.”

Lenten Meditation 21, March 21

Tuesday, March 21

Psalm 81
Genesis 29:1-14
1 Corinthians 10:1-4

by Todd Axtell

Looking at the Psalm from this day’s appointed readings, it basically says, get with the program–i.e. follow God–and everything will be fine. “Open your mouth wide and I will fill it,” God states. The Psalm exclaims “Sing aloud to God our strength…raise a song…” Amen.

Lenten Meditation 20, March 20

Monday, March 20

Psalm 81
Genesis 24:1-27
2 John 1-13

by Brother David Vryhof, Guest Commentator on the Gospel of John

Chosen

In the life that we know in the world, if some belong, then it follows that others do not belong. If some are chosen, others are left. But God’s love extends to each and every person, to every living thing. We belong to God, not because of anything we have done or merited on our own, but because God has chosen us.

– Br. David Vryhof, Society of Saint John the Evangelist

Lenten Meditation 19, March 19

Sunday, March 19

Exodus 17:1-7
Psalm 95
Romans 5:1-11
John 4:5-42

by Kathy Mastre

Psalm 95 v. 4:

“In his hands are the caverns of the earth,
and the heights of the hills are his also.”

The Luray Caverns in Virginia are awesome with stalactites, stalagmites, crystals, interesting formations and little lakes!

God creates amazing wonders above and below ground!!!

Lenten Meditation 18, March 18

Saturday, March 18

Psalm 95
Exodus 16:27-35
John 4:1-6

by Brother Luke Ditewig, Guest Commentator on the Gospel of John

Acceptance

Jesus had a hard time returning home to visit. His own home town, his neighbors and community, took offense at his change into a powerful prophetic teacher. He had changed radically, and they didn’t like it. Jesus knew what it feelt like to be restricted and rejected, for others to want a static past and refuse to affirm who he is becoming.

– Br. Luke Ditewig, Society of Saint John the Evangelist

Lenten Meditation 17, March 17

Friday, March 17

Psalm 95
Exodus 16:9-21
Ephesians 2:11-22

by The Rev. Shelley Denney

Ephesians 2:11-22

Christ Jesus is our peace; in his flesh he has made us one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.

There is an air of hostility all around us in this country. Communities are divided, families are divided, friends are divided – walled off from one another through intolerance and fear. It seems we cannot disagree without antagonism. Civil discourse and progress toward goals through mutual compromise seem things of the past as we are mired down in intransigence, half-truths, and “alternative facts.”

How do we, as Christians respond to this? God calls us always to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Ephesians tells us that it is through Jesus that we are drawn together from far and near and made into one humanity. It is the sacrifice of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection that has closed the great gulf between humanity and God – created by humanity’s insistence on deciding what is right and wrong for ourselves, rather than relying on God.

What does that truth mean for our daily life? How are we one with those with whom we disagree so virulently? How can we hear the third way of Jesus in the midst of “us” and “them”? What truth is spoken to us by the knowledge that Jesus has broken down our dividing walls?

Lenten Meditation 16, March 16

Thursday, March 16

Psalm 95
Exodus 16:1-8
Colossians 1:15-23

by Marion Grunge

The Israelites were into the second month of their exodus from Egypt when they start yelling at Moses and Aaron about the lack of food. They said they were better off in Egypt where they could have all the good food they wanted, even if they were slaves and would be beaten when they didn’t follow all the rules. At least they could count on the security of a home, food, and clothing. Here they couldn’t count on anything.
They were out in the desert and couldn’t even find their daily needs – like sweet water, dependable food – maybe being a slave wasn’t so bad after all. Now they had to net their own quail, 6 nights a week, and get up early to collect their own manna, 6 mornings a week, just to eat. They had to blamed someone, Moses and Aaron were nearby so why couldn’t it be them.

We are good at finding someone else to blame for our problems and not admitting our own shortcomings. God provided manna for the Israelites until they reached Canaan and the Egyptians have been netting quail for over 3,500 years. So the Israelites knew how to net quail and, even today, in some areas of the desert manna can still be found.

God will provide all our needs, until something else comes along.

Lenten Meditation 15, March 15

Wednesday, March 15

Psalm 128
Ezekiel 36:22-32
John 7:53-8:11

by Brother David Vryhof, Guest Commentator on the Gospel of John

Temptation

Perhaps Jesus can be so gentle, so compassionate, and yet so unflinchingly honest, because he has known the temptation to find an easier way, the temptation to reach for power and privilege and popularity, and the temptation to be noticed, appreciated, honored by others. He was, after all, “tempted in every way as we are.”

– Br. David Vryhof, Society of Saint John the Evangelist

Lenten Meditation 13, March 13

Monday, March 13

Psalm 128
Numbers 21:4-9
Hebrews 3:1-6

by Brother Geoffrey Tristram, Guest Commentator on Psalm 128

Worship

Worship is so compelling because it is the one place I can come and be completely open and honest before God. I do not need to pretend. As I look at God and God looks at me – I can be who I most truly am. As we say in our opening prayer, “To you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid.”

– Br. Geoffrey Tristram, Society of Saint John the Evangelist

Lenten Meditation 14, March 14

Tuesday, March 14

Psalm 128
Isaiah 65:17-25
Romans 4:6-13

by Bonnie McPherson

Isaiah 65:17-25

This set of verses bring such comfort as we see inequity, pain and suffering, and intolerance all around us. Hearing God’s promise to us that he will create a “new heavens and a new earth, and that the former things will pass away and will not be remembered” brings such peace. But if you read the preceding verses, it talks about a “nation that did not call on my name”, “a obstinate people who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations “, and states that he will measure into their laps the full payment for their former deeds”. I don’t believe that God intends for us to sit idly by and wait for these promises, but to be an active participant in doing what we can, speaking up against intolerance and inequity, showing by our words and DEEDs that we are God’s people, but reassuring us that we are never alone when we walk with him, and that in his time “they will neither harm nor destroy on his holy mountain”.
Jesus followers ROCK! Praise be to God!

Lenten Meditation 12, March 12

Sunday, March 12

Genesis 12:1-4a
Psalm 121
Romans 4:1-5, 13-17
John 3:1-17

by Wendy Martin

Genesis 12:1-4a

Leaving what is familiar is scary. God called Abraham out of his comfort zone so He could bless him with land, children, and a relationship with God that would bless many in years to come. In retrospect, our country is what it is today because of decisions made by our forefathers that were probably hard to make and out of their comfort zones. In life, we have difficult decisions to make. We are who we are today because of past decisions we’ve made – both good and not so good. We share our faith by sharing our experiences with others to benefit future generations.

Psalm 121

God is able to give us victory over our troubles. Some troubles come from our will. Despite our efforts to do right, problems exist. Maybe there a lesson or a skill we need to learn. Good is good all the time; all the time God is good. We don’t have to understand God. We just need to trust God. What are you trusting God with today?

Romans 4:1-5, 13-17

Thank God, literally, that we are allowed passage unto heaven based upon our faith, not by our actions on this earth. (Ashley rephrased this sentence as I read it aloud! Praise God!) We didn’t behave ourselves into a relationship with God and we cannot misbehave ourselves out.

John 3:1-17

Born from the womb – first birth
Born from the spirit, God’s spirit – second birth
Repenting of our sins
Asking Jesus to be the Lord of our Life
The Holy Spirit comes to live within us
We are trying to live like Jesus
Sharing His love with others, believers and non-believers
Tough job
But He who has overcome the world is here to help
All we have to do is ask and believe (that’s faith)
Be still in body and mind and listen
What is God saying to you?

Lenten Meditation 11, March 11

Saturday, March 11

Psalm 121
Isaiah 51:4-8
Luke 7:1-10

by Ellen Lukanc

The Bible I use at home is one I received for my confirmation many years ago in 1973. It has a yellowed, creased leather front cover. The pages are thin and crinkled from a snowball fight that ended with it being dropped into a mix of winter slush. When I opened it today to the Psalm passage I found a small slip of paper with a handwritten name on it. This name was of a friend during my college years that I had not thought of in years.

I cannot recall the exact circumstances of why I felt compelled to place his name there. Had I put his name at that spot because I was upset we had ended a romantic relationship? Or was it because as a friend I was keeping him close in prayer? I reflected that many times since I had received my Bible, I have opened it to search for guidance, solace, comfort and help. A few situations have been monumental as in the loss of a beloved family member. Others, like finding my friend’s name, are lost in my memories.

My Bible is worn and the cover bent but the words inside still confirm God’s enduring promise to care for, protect, heal and love each one of us. In all things, at all times, forever in eternity.