Sunday, February 26, 2012

Lent 1B: Recommitting to the covenant

Lectionary: Genesis 9:8-17; Psalm 25:1-9; 1 Peter 3:18-22; Mark 1:9-15

When our kids were little, they honestly believed that Steve and I could help them understand any mystery they confronted, or solve any problem that arose in their lives. Then they became teenagers and we suddenly knew nothing – until they got to their twenties, when we became smart again!

Of course, Steve and I couldn’t (and still can’t) understand the mysteries of the world, and we can’t solve every problem that arises for our children, though we will give it our best. But the innocence of a child’s total trust in their parents’ care for them is a beautiful thing, when the parents are faithful to that trust. Even really good parents, however, aren’t perfect, but God is.

God alone is steadfast in faithfulness, compassion, grace, and mercy, and deserving of our total trust. In our relationship with God, we strive for the kind of innocent faith that knows absolutely that, even knowing our weaknesses and mistakes, God loves us, and is willing and able to help us anytime… every time we need it.

But the original sin of humanity, which is the underlying subject of the whole book of Genesis,is our hubris, our tendency and desire to forget our utter dependence on our Creator. We live as if our lives are in our own hands not the loving hands of God. We believe that we are in control, that we are in charge, forgetting that our very breath is a gift from God each moment of our lives.

And when we live like that we are failing to keep our part of the covenant relationship which is simply this: that God will be our God and we will be God’s people.

Today’s reading from Genesis is a reminder of that covenant relationship. To understand this covenant, however, we need to go back for a minute to the creation stories in the beginning of the book of Genesis. In the beginning, the chaos waters covered the earth and God calmed them, and brought order to the chaos. (Gen 1:6)

In the story of Noah, the chaos waters are again covering the earth, destroying everything. The chaos waters symbolize the consequence of human sin.

The Creator looks upon the devastating effect of sin on creation and brings order to the chaos again, because that is the character of God. As the psalmist reminds us: God is “gracious and upright,” God “teaches sinners” the way to go and “guides the humble” (that is, those who will let God be God), onto the right path. And the psalmist continues: “all the paths of God are love and faithfulness” to those who keep their end of the covenant. (Ps 25)

So God, seeing the destructive effects of sin on creation, breathes the breath of life over the earth again, calming the chaos and removing the power of sin to destroy. Then the Creator invites the created to renew the covenant saying: “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you…” When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember this covenant which is everlasting. Never again will all flesh be cut off from me and never again will the chaos waters destroy the earth. (Gen 1:14-15).

This theme of water is heard again in Mark’s account of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan. As promised, the earth and its waters are calm. This time, it’s the heavens that are ripped open.

The Hebrew word being translated here as ‘torn apart’ is ‘rend’ (a violent word), the same word we heard on Ash Wednesday in the reading from the prophet Joel: “rend your hearts, not your clothing…” (Joel 2:13)

On Ash Wednesday, the prophet Joel called us to rip open our hearts so that we could let God in. Now God is doing the same. As Jesus comes up out of the water, God rips open heaven and lets us in. In this baptism, humanity and divinity were joined one to another, not just ritually, or conceptually, but actually - in Jesus.

Immediately after his baptism, the Spirit of God drives Jesus into the wilderness where he is tempted by Satan, the one who opposes God. That is exactly what we are called to do during Lent. We are called to go into the wilderness, knowing that wild beasts are in there, and trusting our survival to God.

We’re called to devote time to be in the presence of God in the fullness of our humanity, so that we can remember who God is to us, and who we to God. In this wilderness, we’re called to remember what tempts us to sin, and repent of it.

Medieval mystic, Julian of Norwich, calls sin “a wretched and continual contrariness to peace and love.” (John Skinner, ed., Revelation of Love, Julian of Norwich, 137.) Julian likens a sinner to a headstrong toddler who, she says, must be free to run and explore her little world if she is to grow to maturity, but who inevitably falls, tearing her clothing and becoming hurt and dirty.

[The child] cries out – not to a God of punishment but to a loving mother Christ. (This was a revolutionary concept for the Middle Ages – Christ as a loving mother!) The loving mother [Christ] picks up the toddler, cleans and comforts it, then holds it close again.” (Margaret Guenther, Holy Listening, the Art of Spiritual Direction [Cambridge, Cowley Publications, 1992]) 27.

That is the gift and fruit of repentance: being held close in the loving embrace of God. Repentance means choosing to lay aside our shame and guilt, and asking to be lifted up so we can rest in the lap of our Creator.

As long as we live, we will fall into sin, and it sneaks up on us. We often don’t even realize a sin has taken hold in our lives until we stop to notice.

That’s why practice Lent. We set aside time to look deeply inside… to go willingly and humbly into the wilderness with our hearts torn open so that God can enter in, and we stay there for the full 40 days, so that we can be guided by God back onto the path of love and faithfulness. Then running down that path with the innocent faith of a child, we throw ourselves, with all our might into the embrace of our loving mother Christ where we are filled with God’s grace and forgiveness.

In just a moment, we will pray together the Nicene Creed, as we do every Sunday at Holy Eucharist, confessing that “We believe in one God, the Father Almighty.” (BCP, 358) By saying this prayer together, we are remembering that God, the Creator of all that is, is our devoted parent and we are God’s beloved children.

God never forgets that, but we do. Thankfully, we have Lent, which we practice together so that we can notice and repent of our sin, individually and communally, and recommit ourselves to the covenant, letting God be God for us and being God’s faithful people, innocent, trusting, and loving as we are loved, in return.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ash Wednesday: Letting God fill our emptiness

Lectionary:Joel 2:1-2,12-17; Psalm 103 or 103:8-14; 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10; Matthew 6:1-6,16-21

(Note: Below is a combo of preaching notes and text - a little of both.)

Pierre Teillhard deChardin was a French philosopher and Jesuit priest who died in 1955, so he was a modern philosopher and theologian. I first came across deChardin through my spiritual director.

The first quote she shared with me is something that has been very important in my prayer life and is perfect for Lent, so I share it with you. Teillhard said: “Let us leave the surface and without leaving the world, plunge into God.” And so if you think about the waters of Baptism, and how we are plunged into the death of Christ and then live with Christ in his resurrected life, plunging into God fits very well with our identity as Christians.

It’s also a very good way to address what the world does with Lent. And here’s what the world does with Lent. As you know, I’m on Facebook – and in those online discussions I get to answer questions from people I knew when they were like 5, and now they’re adults trying to figure out, “How do I do Lent? Is it OK if I do this or not that?” And other people ask: “What does it mean when we say we sin or repent?” And so here’s what I see on Facebook: “I’m giving up giving up stuff for Lent. Or – I’m giving up going to New Mexico for Lent. Or – I’m giving up sushi for Lent (and this person just said they hated sushi).

So that would fit into our gospel reading of the things we do for other people to see. But we don’t have to do anything for Lent. If we choose not to do anything, it’s not like we go to hell or get banished from the family of God. It’s up to you. This is a total opportunity for us to plunge into God.

We set aside this time on our calendar to remember that, while we live in community, and it through the community – the body of Christ – is made known in the world, we’re also individuals who have bodies, and our bodies are created by a loving God who created them in the divine image, then redeemed them, and then sustains them every single day that we’re alive.

It’s a gift that we have breath, a gift from our Creator. So we’re asked to take a moment to remember that God is the Creator, and we are the created.

One of the most commonly known things about Lent is that it is a time that we fast. Today is a day we fast. Good Friday is another day that we fast. You don’t have to! If you can’t fast, it’s also a day of abstinence – see if you can do without meat.

And here’s why we do that: because most of us, don’t ever wonder if we’re going to have a next meal. Do we? Most of us are pretty certain that we can have the next meal that we want. And so we’re asked, for one day, to have our bodies feel what it’s like not to have that, to intentionally put our bodies into a state of emptiness.

The state of emptiness reminds us of our mortality. We need food to eat. We need water to drink. We need air to breathe. And all of that is given to us by our Creator as a gift.

Fasting also gives us a sense of a lack of satisfaction, and that puts us into that place where we plunge into God. If, when we get hungry, we get grumpy or we get a headache, or we get whatever else you get when you get hungry – I get grumpy and a headache, those are the two I know. If we get there, then we remember that everything we do, every thought we have, can be given over to God who can fill us in our emptiness.

The fact is, most of us don’t feel empty very often. In fact, our culture tells us never to feel empty. Always get more! And this can lead to problems. For example, if you have a headache and you take two aspirins, and the headache doesn’t go away, you take two more. There’s always more! Take more. Have more. Do more. Get more. Win more. Own more.

One of the greatest signs of this sin in our culture, and I hope I don’t offend anyone here who might be in this business, is the business of storage units. If you don’t have enough room in your house for everything you want to have, buy a storage unit!

My parents have three storage units, in addition to their huge condo in FL. And they don’t even know what’s in there anymore! Whenever I go there I empty out more of their stuff, and I say, “Why don’t you get rid of some of this stuff?” And they say:”Oh, I can’t get rid of that.”

But my parents were post-depression babies and they did know lack. And once they could, they grabbed a hold of everything they could, and that became their source of nourishment.

Lent is the season where we say: “I let it go. I will allow myself to experience the emptiness.” Emptiness feels like death, so we kind of avoid it. We’re afraid of it.

If I’m empty, if there’s no light, if there’s no water, if there’s no lushness, if there’s no stuff, I feel like I’m dying. And to that, Teillhard would say, ‘Great! That’s the idea!’ Remember in our Baptism we are baptized into the death of Christ and then live with him in his resurrection.

(Counter-cultural world… Chrisotological reversal.)

So I‘d like to get to one other thing that culture talks about and re-frame that: sin. We know we’re sinful. Anybody who has ever heard our Baptismal vows, which we repeat several times a year, knows that we say, “When we sin, we will repent and return to the Lord.” It doesn’t say ‘Now that I’m baptized I’ll never sin again,’ and it doesn’t say ‘If I sin again…’ it says “when we sin we will repent and return to the Lord.” Well – this is the time we do that.

When we get into that state of emptiness, into that state of insecurity, we come to know our sin. For instance, the hunger in our body can show us that we are relying on ourselves, and what we can provide for ourselves, rather than on God for what we truly need.

What does being in this state of insecurity bring up for you? Those are the sins God can touch with hands of love.

Sin doesn’t mean “bad things I do.” It leads to bad things we do, but it isn’t the bad things we do. Sin is a state of separation from God, so anything that we put up as a barrier between us and God is a sin. For instance, for some of us, it is self satisfaction (good job, reputation, retirement, etc.) and forgetting that we are dependent upon God.

For others it’s self loathing and self-punishment. But that is sin, because God created us out of Love and judged us as not just good, but very good (Genesis), so if we hate ourselves, we have sinned.

Conclusion about sin)

Lent means Spring…. During spring we sow seeds that we will nourish and cultivate… that’s what God is with us in Lent. When the prophet says, “rend your hearts, not your clothing,” he’s saying go to the interior, not something on the outside. It’s not about sushi or chocolate or television, it’s about your heart. (Hildegard of Bingen – moist soil of our soul, nourished for 40 days during Lent.)

Our goal in Lent is to let God in - which brings us back to Teillhard. Teillhard says that death is about communion with God: “…when the painful comes in which I suddenly awaken to the fact I am losing hold of myself and am absolutely passive within the hands of the great, unknown forces that have formed me; in all those dark moments, O God, grant that I may understand that it is you …who are painfully parting the fibers of my being in order to penetrate to the very marrow of my substance and bear me away within yourself… Teach me to treat my death as an act of communion… For you bring new life out of every form of death.”

It’s traditional during Lent to practice:

Prayer (centering, intercessory, icons as a window to the divine, Rosary, labyrinth)
Fasting (food, anger, judging others, complaining, whatever steals your peace or wastes your time)
Almsgiving (giving money, time, or prayer to those who don’t have it)

That’s how we roll during Lent. So I invite you to a holy Lent. (Go to BCP, 264)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Epiphany 6B, 2012: Access to God

Lectionary: 2 Kings 5:1-14; Psalm 30; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Mark 1:40-45

En el nombre del Dios, Padre, Hijo, y Espiritu Santo. Amen.

Our Scriptures today offer us two very different healing stories, both involving lepers. The interesting thing about leprosy is that, while it covers a wide range of physical ailments, it eventually leads to the same social consequence – exile. Once the disease progressed to a certain point, a priest would declare the person “unclean” at which point they were banished to a lonely existence outside the city limits, forced to immediately leave family, friends, and jobs, and forced to keep at least 50 paces (about 125 feet) away from everyone else.

Leprosy, like most other ailments and infirmities, was considered by most to be punishment for sin. Healing, therefore, required an offering for atonement. In our reading from 2 Kings, Naaman misunderstood this part about the offering.

Naaman, the great and mighty military commander, who is used to having and using power, is plagued by a nasty skin condition, which if it progresses, will change everything – he’ll be cast out, lose his position of power, and the Arameans will lose their military hero. Hearing about his condition, a young Israelite slave girl serving Naaman’s wife offers some advice: Why doesn’t Naaman go see the prophet of God in Samaria? He could cure him.

The picture here is an interesting one: Naaman, the icon of power finds his salvation in the faith of a slave girl, the icon of powerlessness. God often works that way.

So off Naaman goes to find this prophet, bringing his offering of expensive gifts and showing off his importance with military pageantry. But when Naaman arrives, Elisha doesn’t even deign to greet him, and Naaman is insulted. Worse yet, the prophet’s instruction to Naaman is simply that he wash in the River Jordan seven times.

‘That’s it? I came all this way to wash in the river? I could’ve done that at home! Our rivers are better!’ Now Naaman is really insulted, and he stomps off in a rage; his pride wounded and his expectation of a glorious homecoming following a miraculous cleansing – gone!

The story ends well though. Naaman finally submits, does as Elisha commanded, and he is healed. No pomp, no circumstance – just a cure, and a bit of embarrassment in front of his entourage.

The thing about healing, though, is that it is so much more than physical repair-work. It is always an act of reconciliation. It’s a restoration to wholeness of life and relationship. Sometimes, this includes the outward and visible healing of a physical ailment; sometimes not, but there is healing nonetheless, restoration in ways that may only be discernable to the person healed, or to those who know them well.

Like the story of Naaman, the gospel of Mark offers us a story about a leper who needs healing; only this leper is already living a lonely existence in exile. Somehow, this leper was so certain that his healing would be found in Jesus that he violates the law, approaching Jesus and kneels at his feet.

But the leper doesn’t ask for healing. From the depth of his faith, he informs Jesus that if it be his will, Jesus has the power to make him clean. The leper isn’t just seeking a cure for a skin rash. He’s asking Jesus to restore him to wholeness of life.

According to one commentator, The next ”verse presents… a difficult translation problem. Most manuscripts of this text say that Jesus was filled with pity or compassion (Greek: splanchistheis), but others [earlier ones] say that he was angry (Greek: orgistheis)… [which] could be the proper reading here.”

So let’s think about that for a minute… Clearly, Jesus’ response to the leper points to his compassion. But if, as the earlier manuscripts say, he was angry, why would that be? What would make him angry?

Well… what made Jesus angry at other times during his ministry? He was angry at the temple when he turned over the tables of the money changers – and that was because the poor were being exploited. The religious leaders had made the temple tax so high that the poor couldn’t afford to come worship God. And as I said last week, Julian of Norwich reminds us that “prayer is what unites a soul to God.” So Jesus gets angry when anyone restricts access to God from anyone else who desires it.

In violation of Mosaic Law, Jesus responds to the leper by touching him. In doing so, Jesus demonstrates that the kingdom of God had indeed come near, and it is a place where the exiled, the oppressed, the sinners, and the poor all have access to God and to wholeness – no matter how unclean, or how unworthy we deem them to be.

The text says, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him. The Greek word translated as ‘touched’ also means ‘to enkindle,’ ‘to put fire to.’ Jesus, therefore, did so much more than touch the leper. By laying his hands on the exiled leper, Jesus joined himself to him and put his fire, his Spirit, into him. When Jesus joined himself to the leper, the leper was made clean, purged of the guilt of sin that held him bound and cleansed of the rash on his skin. No one could doubt his restoration, it was plain to see.

The same is true for us today. Today, we are the ones God is calling to be instruments of healing like Elisha was. And if we, like the leper, know absolutely that our healing and wholeness are found in Jesus, then we too will be joined to Jesus and receive the fire of his Spirit into us. Then we, like the healed leper, we will be compelled to share the good news that everyone has access to God through Jesus by whose Spirit we are forgiven, healed, and restored to wholeness of life.

Be "on fire" people of Redeemer. Open yourselves to Jesus, so that he might put his Spirit in you, so that you might be a light to shine in the darkness of the world.

You have been chosen. Do you trust that? Do you know as certainly as the leper did, that your restoration to wholeness is in Jesus Christ? Are you willing to kneel at his feet here today, and inform Jesus that you want what he has to give?

If you are, then let’s read together again our Collect for today.

O God, the strength of all who put their trust in you: Mercifully accept our prayers; and because in our weakness we can do nothing good without you, give us the help of your grace, that in keeping your commandments we may please you both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Epiphany 5B 2012: Be willing to be connected

Sermon by the Rev Dr Valori Mulvey Sherer, Rector, Redeemer, Shelby

Lectionary: Isaiah 40:21-31; Psalm 147:1-12, 21c; 1 Corinthians 9:16-23; Mark 1:29-39

En el nombre del Dios, Padre, Hijo, y Espiritu Santo. Amen.

Many of you know that the time I spent as a hospital chaplain was very formative for me. My experiences then shaped the way I understand and do pastoral care even now. I served on the oncology-hematology unit of a regional hospital deep in the heart of the Bible belt in south GA,

All of my patients on the oncology unit died. Most of the hematology patients survived, though they returned regularly – sickle cell is a persistent and painful disease.

The people I served needed God to be bigger and more powerful than the diseases destroying their bodies. They needed the God described in Isaiah who is “mighty in power.”

They also needed God to care about them as insignificant as they felt they were. They cried out to the God of Isaiah who “gives power to the faint and strengthens the powerless.”

Julian of Norwich once said that prayer “unites the soul to God.” Yet with so much diversity in belief (and non-belief) among the people I served as chaplain, prayer was a complicated thing.

During a typical visit, I would spend a great deal of time listening. There were times that I knew I should only listen and pray quietly, within the secrecy of my own heart. Other times I was compelled to speak and to act – inviting them to pray and engage the God they feared – the God they feared because they were angry at God or were carrying the burden of past sins.

Either way, I had to trust my own prayerful preparation and the movement of the Holy Spirit within me. It took a long time before I felt comfortable with that, but when I trusted, it never failed to be exactly right.

When family or friends were present, I would listen as they talked or prayed together. I made note of the words and phrases they used – especially the ones they repeated.

I would listen for the song of their prayers, that is, the way they used their voices. I learned the cadence and language of their prayers so that I when I spoke the good news to them they could hear and understand it.

For the Pentecostals, I learned to pray as a Pentecostal: “Thank you, Jesus. We just thank you Jesus that we can come to you right now and give you praise. [Editorial note from the preacher] We call upon you, Lord, in the name of Jesus to lift the burdens of our hearts. Here is your child, Father God. Take him home now – home to glory-land. Thank you, Jesus. Glory halleluiah!”

For the Jews, I prayed like a Jew: “Hear, O Adonai, and answer the prayers of your faithful servants. Look upon the suffering of this your righteous one and be merciful to her. Protect her with the strength of your right arm, for you are steadfast in love and mighty in power, and to you we give thanks and sing our praise forever.”

To the wounded Christian, I prayed as one also wounded: “Holy God, you are gracious and full of compassion. Hear our prayers for this beloved child of yours. Fill him with your Holy Spirit and hold him close in the warm embrace of your healing love.”

Praying like this didn’t feel the least bit hypocritical to me. Was it hypocritical of God to become Incarnate – to become like us – so that we could understand and believe? By seeking to serve in this way, I came to realize that there is within me the free and open heart of a Pentecostal, the deep and faithful heart of a Jew, and the willing and hopeful heart of the wounded ones.

My purpose, as a witness of Christ’s love, was to let God’s presence be the priority, not to analyze their theology or teach them mine. All I had to do was let God show me the connection between them and me, then be willing to be connected. Religious laws and theological perspectives become so unimportant in the face of the Love that connects us.

When Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law, he violated religious law. Jewish men never touched women who were not their family, and worse yet, he did it on the Sabbath. But for Jesus, compassion overruled the law – and it was the first of many times he would model such behavior.

Mark tells us that Jesus created quite a buzz when he healed the man with the unclean spirit in the synagogue (the story we heard last week). And the next day the whole city showed up at Peter’s house, and Jesus cured many of them.

Giving freely of his divine compassion and comfort, Jesus released those who came to him from whatever sin held them bound. Jesus was also generous with his proclamation, preaching beyond the limits of acceptability. He came out, as he said, to proclaim the good news to all regardless of the divisions culture imposes – divisions like class or race or gender or nationality.

We who carry on the ministry of proclaiming the good news must be willing, as Jesus was, to go to the people who need to hear the message of salvation, and like St. Paul, give it to them in ways they can understand so they can receive it.

Elizabethan English, which is found in the King James Bible and in the Rite I services in our Prayer Book,is the language of a past world, and it isn’t very useful in ‘the hood’ or with 20-somethings. And how many of you have seen this translation of the Prayer Book. It’s called “The Hip Hop Prayer Book.” It is not a version, it’s a translation of our Prayer Book.

So how many of you are fans of rap and hip hop? I admit, that for years I hated rap and hip hop. And I had lots of good reasons for putting up a barrier against it – and that was my sin. God had a connection to make and I was refusing to be connected.

Now, one of my favorite music artists is Tupac Shakur, a rapper who died at the young age of 25. I commend to you his video, Ghetto Gospel. Here’s a bit of Tupac’s message:

there's no need for you to fear me
if you take the time to hear me,
maybe you can learn to cheer me
it aint about black or white, cuz we're human
I hope we see the light before its ruined
my ghetto gospel

The beauty of our Anglican tradition is that we can pray in Elizabethan English, preach about a rapper, pray from the Hip Hop Prayer Book, and chant our Eucharistic prayers – all in the same service. We are and we can be, as St. Paul says, all things to all people – reflecting the character and the purpose of God.

All we have to do is trust God to show us the connections we are called to make, and then be willing to be connected.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Newsletter article by VMS: Secure in the Arc of the Rainbow

Shortly after Steve and I arrived here, our new Redeemer family held a welcome reception for us at the home of our own Mary Walker. It was a beautiful day, Mary’s garden was lovely, and the food was, in typical Redeemer fashion, sumptuous. I enjoyed watching the children run and play, observing the patterns of friends talking to one another, then watching the groups shift as conversations led them. The flow was easy, the friendships varied. It truly was a beautiful day.

Suddenly, the sky grew grey, and it began to drizzle, then rain. The sun came back out before the rain stopped, and this is what we saw: a double rainbow! It’s hard to see a rainbow and not hear the voice of God from the story of Noah in the 9th chapter of Genesis: "This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth." (v 17)

This image returned to my memory as I reflected on our Annual Meeting last month and our two-and-a-half year journey together so far. I love how in the rainbow given to us as gift that day, the second rainbow is dimmer than the first one. I saw that as our rainbow, Redeemer’s rainbow, part of and generating from the main rainbow, but also distinct from it, as if it were the offspring of the main rainbow. The promise of God to Redeemer for a new chapter in its life of worship and service in God’s name attached to the promise of God to all flesh on earth. Inspiring!

As I looked over the photos from that day, I realized that we are truly a church reborn. Many of the people in those pictures aren’t present with us anymore, for various reasons. So many who are vital to our new life today, weren’t among us yet. We are a new generation.

During the first six months of my ministry here at Redeemer, we embarked on a communal journey of discernment. We called the tool we used then the “Purple Sheets” (simply because they were printed on purple paper). The tool had two purposes: 1) to help me learn what was going on here at Redeemer and who was doing it; and 2) to encourage all of us to envision our future together. From these purple sheets, our priorities were established. In 2010, the Year of our Re-Birth, our feeding ministry was born – it was Redeemer’s first priority. The second priority was a vital youth program, which is why 2011 was the Year of our Youth.

As we enter 2012, The Year of Hospitality, we do so as a new generation living in times that are markedly different from what they were two and a half years ago (economically, socially, etc.). So now is a good time for us to journey once again in intentional discernment, discovering together who we are – now - and prayerfully listening for whom God is calling us to be - now.

Please pray for your vestry and clergy who will be in retreat Feb 4-5, preparing to lead the new generation at Redeemer into the future we will envision together under the merciful guidance of God. Our community remains securely covered by the arc of the double rainbow that remains our gift from God, who is steadfast in love, full of compassion, and supplies all our needs.