An End and a Beginning
Last night was the twelfth night of Christmas, which is a special night not only because it is the end of the Christmas season (and the title of a Shakespeare play) but also because it is the Eve of Epiphany. We simultaneously observe an ending and celebrate a new beginning. So the church calendar once again coincides with the life of our community as my time as your priest comes to an end and a new season of leadership begins.
Epiphany is a season in which we honor the surprising ways that God shows up in our lives whenever we have eyes to see and “look around” (as we will sing in Justin’s wonderful Epiphany song this Sunday). Epiphany asks us a question that I asked you all on my first Sunday here, and that is, “Are we open to the God of surprises?” On that same Sunday, we prayed in the Collect of the Day that God’s grace may always precede us and follow us. That is my prayer for Redeemer during this time of transition, of endings and new beginnings, that God’s grace may continue to go before us just as God’s grace remains behind us. As we worship and sing this song once again this Sunday, let us be open to the God of surprises, to God’s unexpected epiphanies and to the beautiful ways that grace will follow us and precede us.
Grace Before Us
Grace Behind Us
Grace Under Our Feet
Grace Within Us
Grace Over Us
Let all around us be Grace
Register NOW: CLICK ME
As is our tradition at Redeemer, we will be packaging 10,000 meals with Rise Against Hunger (formerly Stop Hunger Now) on January 21, 2018 from 1:00 – 3:00 PM. The event will be at St Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1123 Court St., San Rafael
Don’t forget to register NOW: CLICK ME
Rise Against Hunger’s meal packaging program is a volunteer-based initiative that coordinates the assembly-line packaging of highly nutritious dehydrated meals comprised of rice, soy, vegetables, and 23 essential vitamins and minerals. The program was created to give dedicated individuals and organizations — from businesses to civic clubs — the opportunity to participate in a hands-on international hunger relief program and to become educated, engaged advocates for the world’s hungry. The events also give volunteers hands-on experience in leadership development, team-building, relationship-building, creative problem-solving, and goal-setting and achievement.
Since the inception of the meal packaging program in December 2005, these packaged meals have been used primarily to support school feeding programs in developing countries. Hunger is the common thread among the world’s most challenging issues. Targeting hunger — specifically by supporting school feeding programs — leverages support to other causes including poverty, disease, education, and the welfare of women and children.
Did I mention that you should register NOW: CLICK ME
Chalking the Door
There is a centuries-old Anglican practice known as “Chalking the Door” that I invite you to participate in after Eucharist this Sunday. It is a concrete way to both honor the Epiphany event of the Magi’s welcoming of the Christ child and to ask for Christ’s blessing on our parish home for the new year. The practice traditionally involves a priest writing the following formula with chalk on the lintel of an entrance door: “20 + C + M + B + 18.” The letters C, M, and B have two meanings. First, they are the initials of the traditional names of the three Magi who visited Christ: Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar. They also serve as an abbreviation of the Latin phrase Christus mansionem benedicat which means, “May Christ bless this home.” I especially appreciate how the Latin word for home is “mansionem” since our church has such a rich historical connection to a mansion (and we continue to make room for others in the mansion of our hearts). The “+” signs represent the cross and “2018” the new year. Together this formula functions as a humble request that Christ bless our parish home, watch over our comings and goings, bless all visitors and dwell with us throughout the entire year. After Eucharist this Sunday, you are invited to gather with me by the front door of the church for a brief liturgy in which we will participate in this fascinating tradition of “Chalking the Door.” You are also welcome to take some of the blessed chalk home with you and chalk the doors of your own home for the new year, using the same prayers.
Ever since the Diocesan Agricultural Chaplain the Rev. Elizabeth DeRuff invited us to pay attention to our gladness, we have been receiving flour for Communion bread from Honoré Farm and Mill, along with several other Episcopal parishes in the diocese (including Grace Cathedral). This season, the Rev. Elizabeth asked Fr. Daniel to write the meditation that accompanies the flour:You can read and follow Fr. Daniel’s other sermons and publications on his blog here: https://deforestlondon.wordpress.com/
Readings for the First Sunday after Epiphany
Lay Eucharistic Minister and Reader of First Reading: Terri Leinsteiner (Genesis 1:1-5)
ALL LECTORS: PLEASE WATCH THIS VIDEO AND PLEASE REVIEW AND PRACTICE READINGS BEFOREHAND AND ARRIVE AT LEAST 20 MINUTES BEFORE SERVICE
Communion Bread: Carol Ann Falk
Second Reading: Cindy Smith (Acts 19:1-7)
Prayers of the People: Cindy Smith
Coffee Hour and Lunch: Redeemer Family
Altar Guild: Kelly Mason
Service Host: Stephanie Ortega-Kennison
Cantor: John Geist
Music Director: Justin Schrum
Preacher and Presider: Fr. Daniel London