Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Sending Us Out

Send us now into the world in peace,
and grant us strength and courage
to love and serve you
with gladness and singleness of heart.

Father, send us out
to do the work you have given us to do,
to love and serve you
as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord.

We humbly
beseech thee, O heavenly Father, so to assist us with thy
grace, that we may continue in that holy fellowship, and do
all such good works as thou hast prepared for us to walk in

Each of these post communion prayers reminds us what we are called to do after communion, after we leave our church...

"Let us go forth in the name of Christ to bring peace into broken relationships, healing to alienated persons, and justice into oppressive structures." Amen!

November 27 Sermon (Advent I)

Most gracious Lord, by whose direction this time is appointed for renewing the memory of your infinite mercy to us in the incarnation of your Son Jesus; grant that we may live, this holy time, in the spirit of thanksgiving, and every day raise up our hearts to you in the grateful acknowledgment of what you have done for us. Besides this, we ask your grace, O God, that we may make a due use of this holy time, for preparing our souls to receive Christ our Lord coming into the world at the approaching solemnity of Christmas. Amen. - From John Goter, 17th Century (adapted)

Moose… Stay alert.

That was our welcome to Vermont.

A bright yellow sign, warning of what may lay ahead, Moose… Stay alert. I think it’s perfect sign for Advent.

Advent is our season that calls our spiritual lives to be awakened, to “cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light” as our collect calls us to do. There is something about Advent that makes us suddenly alert. Perhaps it is the clear night skies with the gaze of the moon and stars on us. Perhaps it is the windswept clarity of early winter, when the trees are swept bare, and there is no sign of the lushness of summer to hide our works of darkness from ourselves and from one another.

St. Paul wants us to wake up, as we heard “Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers.” In Advent, salvation is nearer to us. Nearer to us because we are preparing for the coming of the Christ child. We are preparing for the return of Christ. We are waking up. So that is why.

But how do we wake up when our bodies are telling us to hibernate with the best of them. The darkness beckons to us, lulls us into slumber, and for some of us, even depression. How do we do we fight all of that? How do we put on that armor of Light?

Jesus said, “Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into...

She was miserable: stuck in a job she hated, no one special in her life. While her friends were busy celebrating weddings and having adorable children and prospering in careers they loved, she was alone, mired in self-pity. But her perspective changed in an instant.

She just had lunch with her mother. Her poor mom listened to her daughter's litany of unhappiness and tried to offer what support she could. Then she returned to her small apartment. While in the kitchen, she heard a noise in the hall - and suddenly remembered that she had forgotten to lock the door behind her. She got up and looked down the hall. At the top of the stairs a masked man was pointing a handgun at her. She had never experienced such fear in her life.

He demanded her cash. But she explained that she didn't have any, that she relied on her debit card. Again he demanded money, and again she said she had none. She offered to go with him to an ATM. "You can take my computer," she pleaded. All she could do now was wait for the stranger to determine how this would play out.

And in that moment of waiting, she felt her whole life - the beauty, the love, the darkest moments. She remembers: "The one regret, the unfinished business I had with this life of mine. My mother would always think of our conversation and believe that her only child had died a miserable person, unfulfilled and greatly at odds with life. That is what brought tears to my eyes. I realized what a beautiful life I had actually lived; I just hadn't always appreciated it . . . I'm sorry, Mom, I thought."

A second later, the intruder turned and ran.

"A meaningless act of violence" her family and friends said when they heard about what happened. But she disagrees: "Every day, I have the option to decide: Is my story going to be about anger, fear and unhappiness? Or can my story be about peace, forgiveness and walking a new path of gratitude and compassion? . . . It is only by God's grace that I am able to locate those virtues at all but they are there, bubbling along like an underground stream beneath the stony ground of my heart." [From "Under the gun: New life after a home invasion" by Brittany Conkle, America, December 7-14, 2015.]

Her confrontation with the intruder is an Advent awakening for this young woman. In the midst of her fear, she realizes the preciousness of her life, that life is a gift that God gives her - and all of us - in order that she might discover God in the love of others and come to realize the goodness of this world in anticipation of the next. Advent calls us to "watch," to pay attention to such signs of God's unmistakable presence in all that is loving, in all that is beautiful, in all that is life-giving and nurturing.

Jesus said, "Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”

Jesus told us that he would come again, but he didn't give us a time, lay out a plan. He only told us to stay alert, be ready, he will come at an unexpected time. Like the expectation of a birth of a child, it is that waiting with anticipation not knowing the exact time. As well as being a theologian, Paula Gooder is also a mom. She weaves those two perspectives together in her book The Meaning Is in the Waiting:

"As I waited for the birth of my baby, I discovered that waiting can be a nurturing time, valuable in its own right. Until then, I had assumed that waiting could only be passive, that it involved sitting around, drumming my fingers, completely powerless to do anything until the moment of waiting passed and I could be active again. How wrong I was. The waiting of pregnancy is about as active an occupation as one can hope to engage in . . .

"One of the other things I learned during pregnancy was that learning to savor the time of waiting allows us also to appreciate the event when it comes. The loss of an ability to wait often brings with it the inability to be fully and joyfully present now. Instead, we are constantly looking backward to better times we used to know and forward to better times that may be coming. The more we do this, the more we miss the present . . .

"It [also] becomes hard to appreciate the future moment even when it does come . . . We live forever in the future, so that, when the future becomes the present, we are ill-equipped to deal with it and have lost the ability to be fully present, right now.

"One of the many reasons we wait in Advent is to hone our skills of being joyfully and fully present now. After a month of doing this, Christmas Day can gain a depth and meaning that would otherwise fly past in a whirl of presents and mince pies."

The season of Advent calls us to such "pregnant waiting": to appreciate, value and cherish; to be present and attentive to family and friends; waiting opens up our vision and spirits to realize the love of God in our midst. This Advent season calls us to embrace the wisdom to be realized in "pregnant" waiting: to slow down, stay alert and see the goodness of God around us that we rush by too quickly to see, to behold Christ in every moment of compassion, forgiveness and joy we experience in the everyday Advent of our lives. Amen.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Invitation to Communion

As we approach the altar on Sunday remember...

This is the table, not of the Church but of Jesus Christ.
It is made ready for those who love God
and who want to love God more.

So come, you who have much faith and you who have little,
You who have been here often
and you who have not been for a long time or ever before,
You who have tried to follow and all of us who have failed.

These are the gifts of God for the People of God.

Come, not because the Church invites you;
It is Christ who invites you to be known and fed here.

Adapted from The Iona Community, Iona Abbey Worship Book, (Glasgow, UK: Wild Goose Publications, 2001), 53.

Behold what you are, may we become what we receive.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving #prayers

Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the
fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those
who harvest them. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of
your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and
the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with
you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
(from the Book of Common Prayer, p. 246)

Traditional Table Graces and Thanksgiving Prayers

 Bless, O Lord, this food to our use,
and us to thy service,
and make us ever mindful
of the needs of others.

Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts
which we are about to receive from thy bounty,
through Christ our Lord.

Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest,
Let these thy gifts to us be blessed.

Be present at our table, Lord;
be here and everywhere adored.
Bless these thy gifts and grant that we
may feast in fellowship with thee.

Thanksgiving Prayer from “We Thank Thee” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

For this new morning with its light,
Father, we thank thee.
For rest and shelter of the night,
Father, we thank thee
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything thy goodness sends,
Father in heaven, we thank thee.

Thanksgiving Prayer for Harvest Time

Loving God, all that we have
comes from your goodness
and the work of those who love us.
Bless us and the food we share.
Watch over those who care for us.
Open our eyes to the needs of the poor
during this time of harvest and thanksgiving.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
(From Blessings and Prayers through the Year, Elizabeth McMahon Jeep, Liturgy Training Publications 2004) 

A Word of Thanks

For health and strength and daily food;
for all the joys that make life worth living;
for the opportunity to help those
who need us so very much,
we give you thanks, O God. In Jesus’ name.
(From Pilgrim Prayers for Mealtime, Alexander Campbell, Pilgrim Press 2013)

Thanksgiving Prayer “That We May be Renewed”
Loving God,
bless our food and drink
our friendship and our laughter
that we may be renewed
in body, mind, and spirit
to work together
for the coming of your kingdom
of justice, love, and peace.
(By Maureen Edwards, printed in Blessed be our Table, Neil Paynter, Wild Goose 2003)  

The Hand that Made the Hands
For the hands that tilled,
for the hands that harvested,
for the hands that processed,
for the hands that transported,
for the hands that stocked,
for the hands that sold,
for the hands that bought,
for the hands that prepared,
for the hands that will hold,
for the hand that made the hands,
our hearts are forever grateful.
(By Ewan Aitken, printed in Blessed be our Table, Neil Paynter, Wild Goose 2003)

A Scottish Grace
Praise to God who giveth meat.
Convenient unto all who eat.
Praise for tea and buttered toast,
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
(From Saying Grace, Sarah McElwain, Chronicle Books 2003)

Thank you to http://www.buildfaith.org/2014/11/26/thanksgiving-prayers-and-table-graces/

Sunday, November 13, 2016

November 13 Sermon

Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart and especially the hearts of the people of this land after our elections, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP)

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

We might think of these words from Abraham Lincoln from his famous speech in 1858 when he accepted the Illinois Republican Party endorsement for the US Senate. A prophetic speech that understood that slavery was dividing the country and the country had to go one way or the other…

Eight years before Abraham Lincoln said it, Sam Houston in the Senate debate on the Compromise of 1850 around slavery proclaimed: "A nation divided against itself cannot stand."

Of course the origin of these phrases rests with Jesus… when confronted by the Pharisees, Jesus said, “And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” (Mark 3:25)

We seem to be in a time of such division. President elect Trump won the electoral college but lost the popular vote and if the figures I saw are correct, nearly half the eligible population didn’t vote. Those who voted were divided by race, gender, religion, ethnic origin…

We are indeed divided… and the news tells us this… people being attacked for their votes, minorities fearing for what their lives might be in our nation, nazi symbols appearing and other hate crimes, KKK and other like minded groups feeling energized and spreading their hate.

So where do we begin to heal the division?

It begins right here. In Church.

“There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”

The church, the body of Christ is called to be one in Jesus. That is our unity. It should be above everything else in our lives.

Too often though, we allow partisan divides: race, gender, sexuality, conservative/liberal divide us from one another. And yet, we are still one of the few places left in our country where opposite minded folks can and do come together. We have Trump voters, Clinton Voters, independent voters and non-voters as part of our congregation. As it should be.

We are not a country club. We are not one political party. We are not a museum.

The Church is the community of the New Covenant – followers of Jesus – and our mission is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ. “Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right.” For part of the common good, the common bond that holds us together here in the US both in church and outside of it, is that we value each person or group’s rights. And it’s up to us to do it. In the words we speak, in what we do on social media, in all of our interactions – how do we value others.

So I want you to stop and think about this:
  • How did the results of the election impact my life?
  • As part of the winning party of this election, what are my responsibilities?
  • As part of the losing party of this election, what are my concerns and needs?

Too often now we live in our own bubbles. We have self selected news, friends, etc. that connect with our worldview and we have often neglected to hear what the other side is saying (out of sight/mind).

No matter how this election went for us, I think one of the goals we need to have is “to achieve understanding of the other. Achieving understanding does not mean one has to agree with everything that the other shares. The discipline of listening helps us understand others. Take the time to discern, given what has happened, what are your needs and concerns that are significant and important to you and your group and what are our responsibilities to each other.” (Eric Law)

Why do we need to this? I think the Mexican author Carlos Fuentes put it best:

"People and their cultures perish in isolation, but they are born or reborn in contact with other men and women, with men and women of another culture, another creed, another race. If we do not recognize our humanity in others, we shall not recognize it in ourselves."

I think Fuentes is on to something, because I think he is connecting with what Jesus would expect of us, to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We grow with those connections, without them we suffer. Our own Desmond Tutu gives us such an understanding through the African word Ubuntu.

“Ubuntu [...] speaks of the very essence of being human […] you are generous, you are hospitable, you are friendly and caring and compassionate. You share what you have. It is to say, "My humanity is caught up, & is inextricably bound up, in your humanity." We belong in a bundle of life. We say, "A person is a person through other persons [...] A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed, or treated as if they were less than who they are.” ― Desmond Tutu, No Future Without Forgiveness

So this brings me to our life together here at St. Peter’s.

In the midst of these anxious times, we have a real opportunity to bring change and hope to our world and it begins with you and me. I hope that St. Peter’s is a place for you that not only sustains you in your life in Christ but it also empowers you to do the work that Jesus gives to all of us…

To love everyone we encounter - to find the lost, to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner, to rebuild the nations, to bring peace among the people, to make music in the heart…

And I hope when you are asked, you are able to give your offerings to help us to continue our important work in the world and to open our doors so that all can come in – all parties, races, genders, sexual identities and orientations, any and everyone may enter in and find their place at this altar and among our community. Where strangers become friends. May we listen to understand one another & may we love the other (whoever that is for us) and begin to heal the divisions in our house. Amen.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

A Thanksgiving Prayer

O God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work,
help me to remember the jobless;
When I have a home,
help me to remember those who have no home at all;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer,
And remembering,
help me to destroy my complacency;
bestir my compassion,
and be concerned enough to help;
By word and deed,
those who cry out for what we take for granted. Amen.

A Thanksgiving Prayer by Rev. Samuel F. Pugh

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Veterans Day

O God of peace,
we pray for those who have served our nation,
who laid down their lives
to protect and defend our freedom...

We pray for those who have fought,
whose spirits and bodies are scarred by war
and whose nights are haunted by memories
too painful for the light of day...

We pray for those who serve us now,
especially for those in harm's way:
shield them from danger
and bring them home,

Turn the hearts and minds
of our leaders and our enemies
to the work of justice and a harvest of peace...

May the peace you left us,
the peace you gave us,
be the peace that sustains,
the peace that saves us.

O Lord Jesus, hear our prayer
for our Veterans & their families,
for all those who heard the call and served
and for a lasting peace in our country & world!

(slightly adapted from the Concord Pastor)

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Who is Enmegahbowh?

One of the saints of the Episcopal Church...

Called the “Providential Man” by church historian Theodore Holcombe, Enmegahbowh, or John Johnson as he was known at his baptism, was the first Native American to be ordained a deacon and priest in the Episcopal Church. Born about a day’s journey north of Toronto in c. 1820 Enmegahbowh, the son of a chief, was set apart as a healer from childhood. Indeed, his name means “the man who stands by his people.” - Heidi Scott

You can learn more about him here:





All Saints' Sermon

Almighty God, you led your pilgrim people of old with fire and cloud; grant that your church, following the example of your saints, like blessed Enmegahbowh, may stand before your holy people, leading them with fiery zeal and gentle humility. This we ask through Jesus, the Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen.

This week as I watched friends travel to ND to be with the Standing Rock tribe as a prayerful witness for peace, I thought about one of the saints of our church who we remember as a prayerful witness to those he ministered too. In 1845, he attempted to abandon his missionary work in the US and return home with his wife to Canada. While sailing Lake Superior, he twice experienced a terrible storm on Lake Superior (think Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald!) and had a vision of Jonah calling him back to his work. His new journey began on water, in his words in a letter written to Bishop Whipple:

“The heavens were of ink blackness; there was a great roaring and booming, and the lightning seemed to rend the heavens. The wind increased, and the vessel could not make headway. The Captain ran here and there talking to his sailors . . . . I was sure that he would summon his mariners and say to them: “Come, let us cast lots that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us.” If they had cast lots, it would have fallen upon guilty Enmegahbowh . . . They would have asked me who had caused the storm, and would have discovered who I was, my occupation and my country. Would I have been bold enough to tell all this? If my faith in God was real, certainly I would have said, ‘My friends, I have been a missionary, I believe that there is a God in Heaven; that I am the sole cause of this great wind, or I have sinned against God. I have taken the inclination of my heart, and have run away from my work.’

The letter was written by The Rev. John Johnson Enmegahbowh, the first Native American to be ordained an Episcopal priest in the United States, and who served as deacon and priest for over 40 years. He was a missionary of the Methodist Church beginning in 1833, having grown up in a tribal village in Canada. In his missionary work in the US he met Biwabikogeshig-equay or Iron Sky Woman (baptized Charlotte when they were married in 1841).

After the storm in 1845, he & his wife would return to the US and later the same year, he would meet an Episcopal priest Ezekiel Gear at Fort Snelling. After receiving a copy of the Book of Common Prayer, he and his wife decide to join the Episcopal Church.

He would help at the local missions and in 1859 was ordained as a deacon. He maintained a peaceful and courageous presence in the midst of the turmoil and violence among the white settlers and local Chippewa people with whom he ministered. In 1862, when members of the Ojibwa tribe decided to go to war against the white settlers, Enmegahbowh, spoke at the council:

“You may kill a few in the beginning, but in the end you will all be swept away from the face of the earth, and annihilated forever. I love you all. I see and know just exactly how the war will terminate. As a friend who loves you, I would ask you all as wise men to think and well consider whether your present plan is to your salvation or death. Think ye well.”

Years later after peace was finally achieved between the Ojibwa and the Sioux, Enmegahbowh wrote:

The great white-faced people say, “The White Earth Indians are turning to their foolish war dances and they will become foolish and regardless of their Christian professions... This dancing between the two parties was caused by a heart full of thankfulness. They rejoiced greatly that a lasting friendship had been established between them, and they had now become as one nation, as it were like one family....That is the prevailing spirit of my people and the Sioux nation today.”

In 1867 he was ordained a priest. He was given special dispensation by the Bishop having never learned Greek or Hebrew (as priests of the day were so trained) for he had long refused to learn Greek and Hebrew, stating that he was being sent to work among the living, not among the dead!

Enmegahbowh’s name means “The one who stands before his people” and that is what he did. He stood for peace, when in 1862 there was a tribal uprising, he warned the white settlers at a nearby fort for which he became unpopular in his tribe for a time. Enmegahbowh also stood up for his people through his constant reminders to Bishop Whipple as well as politicians of the conditions that the tribes were living in.

“It was his truth-telling, always gentle but always steadfast, that I most notice about Enmegahbowh. He told the truth as he understood it to his fellow Indians. He told the truth as he understood it to his bishop and to other whites and to people in Washington and even to several U.S. Presidents. He was at times unpopular because of this, but he managed throughout his life to spread the Good News. Enmegahbowh spoke the truth about earthly things, and that enabled his people to believe what he said about heavenly things. Pure and simple.” (The Rev. M. Lucie Thomas)

Enmegahbowh died on June 12, 1902. He was still standing by his people doing the work he was called to do until the day he died. I wonder if we can be agents of peace like he was in his day. Be it in the Sioux nation or in our home towns. On this All Saints Sunday, I think about the joy and hope the saints found in doing what God called them to do. That is certainly true of Enmegahbowh. And we too are called to share in such joy and hope in the work we are called to do in our world today.

In the words of William Stringfellow, “In truth, all human beings are called to be saints, but that just means called to be fully human, to be perfect—that is, whole, mature, fulfilled. The saints are simply those men and women who relish the event of life as a gift and who realize that the only way to honor such a gift is to give it away.”

Life is a gift and the saints found it by listening to God, they would find fulfillment and happiness in what they did. “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Jesus said. Life as gift and joy begins ritually in our rite of baptism, remembering the past, connecting with our life now and hoping for the future.

Today, Kate Elizabeth will join the household of God (at 10:15 AM). And through the witness of parents, Godparents, family and friends, and this parish, she will be baptized and will grow up and learn about the gift of life, a gift to be lived and enjoyed and given away.

This joy and hope is grounded in our lives. How we follow Christ, living our lives as witnesses to this faith and how we live in faith is the Gospel message for today, the Lucan Beatitudes were given to the disciples, where Jesus taught…

Blessed are the poor, the hungry, those who weep, those hated for Jesus sake, for God will reward you. But woe to us that fail to live into this, for we will have received our reward. Instead, we are to love, to do good, to bless and to give. These are the marks of one who lives the Beatitudes and one who is baptized and lives into following Jesus on the way, just as the saints have done.

In a society that lives on wealth and prestige, on aggressiveness and displays of power, the Beatitudes are a very different way of living our lives. They challenge us to see that the saints were committed to their faith, their community and their God. They lived these Beatitudes in their lives. We account them faithful and numbered in heaven.

Let us commit ourselves to the faith of Christ like the saints, like Enmegahbowh once did, and let us in hope, remember the saints, knowing that one day we will join them. For God calls each one of us, to do unto others, by giving of ourselves and find that indeed our life is a gift, it is joy, and it is meant to be given away. Amen.

Prayer for our Nation & the Upcoming Election

 “Go and vote. Vote your conscience … informed by what it means to love your neighbor. To participate in the process of seeking the common good. To participate in the process of making this a better world. However you vote, go and vote. And do that as a follower of Jesus.” — Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
Intercessor: Loving God, creator of this world who is the source of our wisdom and understanding, watch over this nation during this time of election. Help us to see how our faith informs our principles and actions. God, our creator,
People: Guide us in truth and love.

Intercessor: We give thanks for the right to vote. Help us to hold this privilege and responsibility with the care and awareness it merits, realizing that our vote matters and that it is an act of faith.
God, our creator,
People: Guide us in truth and love.

Intercessor: Guide us through this election as a nation, state, and community as we vote for people to do work on our behalf and on the behalf of our communities. Help us to vote for people and ballot initiatives that will better our community and our world so it may reflect the values Christ taught us. God, our creator,
People: Guide us in truth and love.

Intercessor: Help us create communities that will build your kingdom here on earth — communities that will protect the poor, stand up for the vulnerable, advocate for those who are not seen and heard, and listen to everyone’s voice. God, our creator,
People: Guide us in truth and love.

Intercessor: We pray for this nation that is deeply divided. May we come together for the common good and do as you have called us to do — to act with justice, to love all with kindness, and to walk humbly with you through your creation. God, our creator,
People: Guide us in truth and love.

Intercessor: Help us act out of love, mercy and honesty rather than out of arrogance or fear. God, our creator,
People: Guide us in truth and love.

Intercessor: Lord, continue to guide us as we work for the welfare of this world. We pray for places that are torn by violence, that they may know peace. God, our creator,
People: Guide us in truth and love.

Intercessor: We pray for communities who are struggling with inequality, unrest, and fear. May we all work toward reconciliation with one another and with God. God, our creator,
People: Guide us in truth and love.

Intercessor: Help us to listen in love, work together in peace, and collaborate with one another as we seek the betterment of our community and world. God, our creator,
People: Guide us in truth and love.

Priest: O gracious God, in your Word you have given us a vision of that holy City to which the nations of the world bring their glory: Behold and visit us, we pray, as we hold our election on Tuesday. Renew the ties of mutual regard which form our civic life. Send us honest and able leaders. Enable us to eliminate poverty, prejudice, and oppression, that peace may prevail with righteousness, and justice with order, and that men and women from different cultures and with differing talents may find with one another the fulfillment of their humanity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(intercessions by the Rev. Shannon Kelly; Closing Collect adapted from the BCP)

Reconciliation Prayers for our Country


Almighty God, you desire the reconciliation and unity of all peoples of the earth with you and with one another as a sign of the presence of your Kingdom; impart to the nations your moral vision of reconciliation; raise up leaders who are healers, unifiers, and reconcilers; and give to your church a
heart for the gospel of reconciliation; through Jesus Christ our Lord, the basis of all unity, now and forever. Amen.


Almighty God, through your Holy Spirit you created unity in the midst of diversity; we acknowledge that human diversity is an expression of your manifold love for your creation; we confess that in our brokenness as human beings we turn diversity into a source of alienation, injustice, oppression and wounding; empower us to build bridges between races, ethnic groups and religious communities;
enable us to be the architects of peace, friendship and understanding between people; through Jesus Christ our Lord, the basis of all unity, now and forever. Amen.

(prayers written by Rev. Brian Cox)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

All Souls Day

“All Saints' Day is the centerpiece of an autumn triduum. In the carnival celebrations of All Hallows' Eve our ancestors used the most powerful weapon in the human arsenal, the power of humor and ridicule, to confront the power of death. The following day, in the commemoration of All Saints, we gave witness to the victory of incarnate goodness embodied in the remarkable deeds and doers triumphing over the misanthropy of darkness and devils. And in the commemoration of All Souls we proclaim the hope of common mortality expressed in our aspirations and expectation of a shared eternity.” – The Rev. Sam Portaro from “Brightest and Best”

The Commemoration of All Faithful Departed:

O God, the Maker and Redeemer of all believers: Grant to the faithful departed the unsearchable benefits of the passion of your Son; that on the day of his appearing they may be manifested as your children; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

A Poem for All Souls (by Wendell Berry):

I tremble with gratitude
for my children and their children
who take pleasure in one another.

At our dinners together, the dead
enter and pass among us
in living love and in memory.

And so the young are taught.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

All Saints Day

“All Saints' Day is the centerpiece of an autumn triduum. In the carnival celebrations of All Hallows' Eve our ancestors used the most powerful weapon in the human arsenal, the power of humor and ridicule, to confront the power of death. The following day, in the commemoration of All Saints, we gave witness to the victory of incarnate goodness embodied in the remarkable deeds and doers triumphing over the misanthropy of darkness and devils.” – The Rev. Sam Portaro from “Brightest and Best”

Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

A Sonnet for All Saints (by Malcolm Guite)

Though Satan breaks our dark glass into shards
Each shard still shines with Christ’s reflected light,
It glances from the eyes, kindles the words
Of all his unknown saints. The dark is bright
With quiet lives and steady lights undimmed,
The witness of the ones we shunned and shamed.
Plain in our sight and far beyond our seeing
He weaves them with us in the web of being
They stand beside us even as we grieve,
The lone and left behind whom no one claimed,
Unnumbered multitudes, he lifts above
The shadow of the gibbet and the grave,
To triumph where all saints are known and named;
The gathered glories of His wounded love.