“Wow! I want to go to your church!”

“Wow! I want to go to your church!”

These were the words of the Most Rev. Michael Curry (the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church) after he met our Senior Warden, our Junior Warden and his wife at the Baccalaureate Eucharist on Thursday May 18th. He seemed to be impressed with Redeemer’s vitality, as represented by our leadership. I must say that is quite an endorsement! Maybe some Sunday, Bishop Curry’s desire can be fulfilled and he can join us for worship. However, if we have him preach, be prepared! He will bring the house down. Just ask Roy and Carol Ann.

Guest Preachers at Redeemer April 23, 30 and May 7

 

The Rev. Christopher Martin

On Sunday April 23, the Rev. Christopher Martin from St. Paul’s San Rafael will preach and preside at Redeemer while I preach and preside at Nativity. Among many other things, he is the founder of a nationwide movement called The Restoration Project and the author of an excellent book by the same name. He also helped spearhead the Marin Episcopal Youth Group, which now meets at Redeemer.

The Ven. David Stickley

On the Third Sunday of Easter (April 30), we will gather on the outdoor prayer labyrinth and listen to the preaching of the Venerable David Stickley, the Archdeacon of the Diocese. He serves as the Dean of the Chapel for the School for Deacons and has been a longtime friend of Redeemer’s. Please welcome him and ask him any questions you might have about the diaconate. 

Professor Paul Blankenship

On Good Shepherd Sunday (May 7), professor Paul Blankenship will preach and share his research on the spiritual lives of people experiencing homelessness. He is an adjunct professor at Seattle University and a PhD candidate at the Graduate Theological Union. He and I co-led a young adults worship service in Marin and the East Bay called Amare. Please welcome him and ask him what it means to be a “Good Shepherd of the Streets.”  

 

Lessons from the Labyrinth (March 15, 2017)

I have noticed a couple ladybugs on the Glenwood labyrinth this last week, but they always seem to fly away or hide under a weed before I can take their picture. Instead, I have included a picture of a thirsty ladybug on the baptismal font at the Bishop’s Ranch. Like the ladybug, I have also been extra thirsty this week. Perhaps this is because the weather is getting warmer and drier or perhaps this is because I have been ruminating on John 4, in which Jesus himself experiences thirst and asks a Samaritan woman for some water. Last Sunday, we explored the gift of listening in the context of Jesus’s conversation with Nicodemus (in John 3). This Sunday, we will explore the gift of tasting, drinking and quenching one’s thirst in the context of Jesus’s conversation with the Samaritan woman (in John 4). I invite you to consider times in your life when your physical thirst was most powerfully quenched; as well as times when your spiritual thirst felt most satiated. Also, what do you think it is that you most deeply thirst for?

Optional Reading for Lenten Series on John

For those interested in learning about a Feminist Reexamination of the Authorship of John’s Gospel, click on the link below to download a PDF of an article by Sandra Schneiders, which suggests that the Samaritan Woman of John 4 (our Gospel reading for this Sunday) is the textual alter-ego of the author.

Sandra Schneiders, Because of the Woman’s Testimony

Lessons from the Labyrinth (March 10)

This is a picture of the outdoor prayer labyrinth at the Bishop’s Ranch in Healdsburg, where I stayed on my birthday for a personal retreat in preparation for Lent, particularly in preparation for our Lenten “dive” into the Gospel of John. I prayed, hiked, wrote, meditated, and read some commentaries on John as well as a book by Jon Kabat-Zinn titled Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness. Throughout Lent, we will be focusing mindfully on each of our five senses: hearing, tasting, seeing, smelling and touching. This Sunday, we will focus on the gift of listening as we consider Jesus’s words to Nicodemus: “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). As we discussed last Sunday, the most important prayer in all of Judaism is the Shema, which is Hebrew for “Listen!” As I listened to the wind blowing through the trees and the forceful streams gushing, I reflected on the Spirit’s presence in the sometimes gentle and sometimes wild wind and waters. I also remembered that in Hebrew, the word for “Heaven” is shemayim, which is a combination of the words shema (again, “listen”) and mayim, which means “waters.” So according to the Hebrew language, listening to water is heaven! I relished the brief moments at Bishop’s Ranch when I experienced a taste of heaven in the rolling streams and the pouring rains. I hope you also find time to taste heaven in the simple act of listening to the wind blowing and water flowing around you today and throughout this season of Lent.

 

Lessons from the Labyrinth (March 1)

I am now catching my breath after playing frisbee and hacky sack with the preschoolers on the prayer labyrinth. Before that, we talked about Lent, Easter and Shrove Tuesday. And then we enjoyed a pretty epic pancake toss (as pictured). Their energy and enthusiasm is contagious and also appropriate for this day before Ash Wednesday as we play, party and feast on fatty pancakes. Tomorrow, we enter a long period of prayerful preparation for another day of playing, partying and feasting, a day that happens to be the most important day of the entire liturgical year: the Feast Day of the Resurrection, a.k.a. Easter! Join us tomorrow night at 7 PM as we remember that we are “but dust and to dust we shall return,” and as we begin this holy season of Lent, our prayerful preparation for the Easter Feast. 

Lessons from the Labyrinth (Feb 25)

“Hees jevv-ah hen-ne Sun-nau-neet Hen ne-se-eet va-den-au.” These are the opening words of the Lord’s Prayer in Arapaho, as translated by Episcopal priest and missionary John Roberts, whose feast day is today (Feb 25). As I have walked the prayer labyrinth this week, I have continued to reflect on my time at Standing Rock while praying for the people, land and water of the reservation. I realize how much the language, ceremonies, prayers, and chants of the Lakota Sioux have helped me to appreciate those essential things that I so often take for granted, especially the life-giving elixir that is water. I imagine the Rev. John Roberts also came to a deeper appreciation of creation and the Creator through his extended encounter with the Arapaho and Shoshone in Wyoming. Engagement with other perspectives, languages and voices can help us grow in understanding and help us open our eyes to see that which we might be overlooking. This Sunday is the last Sunday of Epiphany, which is a season all about opening our eyes and “looking around” as we have been singing. The Gospel for this Sunday is about Peter, James and John opening their eyes to see Jesus beaming with radiant glory in what is called the Transfiguration. In order to help us open our eyes to the radiance of this Gospel passage, we will be welcoming an outside voice: the Rev. Vanessa Glass of St. Francis Episcopal Church in Novato. We will be swapping pulpits this Sunday, a practice that Bishop Marc described as “healthy and fun.” Although I absolutely love opening up the Word with you all on Sunday mornings, I also recognize the importance of offering other voices and perspectives, which can help us open our eyes to see the overlooked radiant glory that is often beaming all around us. After Eucharist, the Rev. Vanessa Glass will lead us in a conversation about Redeemer’s Core Values and Future Dreams. After I preach and preside in Novato, I plan to join you for this important conversation, in which I hope you can all participate. May our eyes be opened to see the ways that Redeemer has spread and can continue to spread God’s dazzling radiance on earth. Amen. Or in Arapaho, “Hoi-ee!”