This Sunday – All Saints Day

This Sunday.

This Sunday is All Saints Day, the day that we recall the saints of the faith. It is also the day that most of us remember all the faithful departed. It is one of the big feast days in the church. It is a day for baptisms and white stoles. It is intened as a celebration. 

This year, with all that 2020 has brought, All Saints Day feels a bit heavier. COVID-19 has killed nearly 230,000 people in the US. There are protests and unrest, and a divisive presidential election. But still it is All Saints Day.

Six weeks ago we began a study of the Sermon of the Mount, which begins with the Beatitudes. Now we come full circle, and will hear the Beatitudes this Sunday. We need to hear that we are blessed–we who mourn, who are merciful, who hunger and thirst for righteousness. We need to be reminded of the priorities of the Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus teaches.

This Sunday, we will also renew our Baptismal Covenant. Four weeks ago our bishops called for us to remember who we are during this divisive time. Well for Christians, who we are starts with our baptism.  

Join us this Sunday as we remember those that have gone before us. Come be reminded of who you are and what you are called to do as a Christian. Worship is at 6 pm and supper follows. Remember to wear a mask. You can join us at Trinity Commons or on Zoom (bulletin).

– Kelley

Our bishops offer encouragement to live in hope and unity. For other reflections offered by our bishops in this season of election, click here.

Upcoming Special Events

Tues, Nov. 3 at 6:30 pm
Election Day Evensong
Join us for a special service of prayers for our country.
More info


Sat. Nov. 7 at 11 am
Kelley’s Ordination
to the Priesthood

While in-person attendance will be limited, the service will be live streamed.
More info


Sun. Nov. 15 at 6 pm
Bishop Sloan’s Visitation
We will welcome Bishop Sloan for worship and dinner. To join us in person signup here.
You can also join us on Zoom.


ICYMI
Here are the links to the Sermon on the Mount Series:
The Beatitudes
Taking Torah Seriously
You are salt and light
Pray then in this way
Do not worry
Enter through the narrow gate

This Week – 10/26/20

This Week.

Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

The Sermon on the Mount begins with the pronouncement of blessings on the disciples of Jesus, but as the sermon continues, it becomes clear that what Jesus is asking for is not easy. As the sermon comes to a close, Jesus makes it clear that what his disciples are called to is the hard road and the narrow gate. But those who stay on the path, those who are poor in spirit, those who fast and pray and give alms, those who do not give in to worry, they will find life.

When the road gets difficult, we can rely on our blessedness. When we feel alone, we can rely on the fact that we are children of God, brothers and sisters in Christ. Our journey on the hard road is not one that we take alone. 

We are in a stressful time in our country. There is lots of anxiety and uncertainty for folks, but we are not alone. I invite you to pray for our communities, our country, and our elected officials. For those that might find it helpful, you can use this litany and prayers for each day.

I hope to see you on campus or at the student center this week. Join us as we say or prayers or just come by for a chat.

– Kelley

Upcoming Special Events

Tues, Nov. 3 at 6:30 pm
Election Day Evensong
Join us for a special service of prayers for our country.
More info


Sat. Nov. 7 at 11 am
Kelley’s Ordination
to the Priesthood

While in-person attendance will be limited, the service will be live streamed.
More info


Sun. Nov. 15 at 6 pm
Bishop Sloan’s Visitation
We will welcome Bishop Sloan for worship and dinner. To join us in person signup here.
You can also join us on Zoom.


ICYMI
Here are the links to the Sermon on the Mount Series:
The Beatitudes
Taking Torah Seriously
You are salt and light
Pray then in this way
Do not worry

SCHEDULE

Tuesday

  • 11:45 a.m. Worship at BSC
    I will be on campus at 10 am, come by and say hello. Then join us IN THE CHAPEL as we say our prayers and continue our reflections on the Sermon on the Mount.
  • 3-6 p.m. Drop-in Hours at Trinity Commons
    Come by for a chat or just to take a break.

Sunday

  • 6 pm Worship at Trinity Commons & Zoom
    Join us for Church in the chapel. Sunday Supper following the service. Wear a mask and invite a friend. You can also join us via Zoom.

This Sunday – 21st Sunday after Pentecost

This Sunday.

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” Matthew 22:34-36

When I was in law school, particularly in my first-year classes, I was subjected to the Socratic method of teaching. Based on the teaching method of the Greek philosopher Socrates, this method involves a seemingly never ending series of questions designed to have students develop critical thinking. Typically it is the teacher asking the questions, but the real core of this style of teaching is the back and forth until either you arrive at a fallacy or a synthesis.

In Chapter 22 of Matthew, Jesus has entered Jerusalem, and the events of Good Friday and Easter Sunday will soon occur. Jesus has been teaching in Parables, and the Pharisees and Sadducees have been responding with questions. The Pharisees first ask about paying taxes, then the Sadducees about the resurrection, and now we return to a question from a Pharisee lawyer. This series of questions and answers was commonplace for rabbis. Jesus brings a questioning to a close by offering an answer that synthesizes the 613 laws in the Torah. Jesus makes the life-giving connection between the love of God and the love of neighbor and self. 

Join us tonight as we explore this connection and seek a deeper relationship with God, ourselves, and each other. Worship is at 6 pm and supper follows. Remember to wear a mask. You can join us at Trinity Commons or on Zoom (bulletin). Please note we have updated our Zoom settings, so the new short link is http://bit.ly/TrinityCommonsZoom

– Kelley

Upcoming Special Events

Tues, Nov. 3 at 6:30 pm
Election Day Evensong
Join us for a special service of prayers for our country.
More info


Sat. Nov. 7 at 11 am
Kelley’s Ordination
to the Priesthood

While in-person attendance will be limited, the service will be live streamed.
More info


Sun. Nov. 15 at 6 pm
Bishop Sloan’s Visitation
We will welcome Bishop Sloan for worship and dinner. To join us in person signup here.
You can also join us on Zoom.


ICYMI
Here are the links to the Sermon on the Mount Series:
The Beatitudes
Taking Torah Seriously
You are salt and light
Pray then in this way
Do not worry

This Week – 10/19/2020

This Week.

Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? … But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:25-26, 33-34

During the shutdown, my neighbor hung a bird feeder. There was the initial frustration of squirrels raiding the feeder, but after trying out some tricks the squirrels were deterred. That meant that we got to spend the summer watching the familiar cardinals and brown thrashers at the feeders, as well as new additions of house finches, rose-breasted grosbeaks, and other small birds.

At some point, my neighbor said she was worried that the birds were becoming dependent on the feeder and maybe her feeding them was affecting their ability to forage for food. I laughed a bit and said that I didn’t think that was how birds worked.

Do not worry. Jesus points to the birds and their reliance on God to provide for them to demonstrate why we shouldn’t worry. Birds don’t have to worry as long as they are being birds–eating at feeders, building nests, flying. Jesus’ call to us to not worry is a call to be who we are created to be–made in God’s image, beloved, and faithful. I don’t think Jesus expects that we will just stop worrying, but he does call for us to not get so caught up in worrying that we lose sight of God. When our priorities are in order–striving first for the Kingdom of God–we can stay focus on what matters.

What are you worrying about? What can you do today to stay focused and not let worry overtake you?

This week’s schedule is below. BSC folks take note that we are moving to Yielding Chapel for our Tuesday worship. I hope to see you soon on campus or at Trinity Commons.

-Kelley

SCHEDULE

Tuesday
  • 11:45 a.m. Worship at BSC
    I will be on campus at 10 am, come by and say hello. Then join us IN THE CHAPEL as we say our prayers and continue our reflections on the Sermon on the Mount.
  • 3-6 p.m. Drop-in Hours at Trinity Commons
    Come by for a chat or just to take a break.
Sunday
  • 6 pm Worship at Trinity Commons & Zoom
    Join us for Church in the chapel. Sunday Supper following the service. Wear a mask and invite a friend. You can also join us via Zoom.

This Sunday – 20th Sunday after Pentecost

Photo of Vulcan: Photo by Jessamyn West, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

This Sunday.

And the Lord continued, “See, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock; and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.” Exodus 33:21-23 

If you have spent any time in Birmingham, then you have probably paid a visit to Vulcan on Red Mountain. Vulcan was created for the 1904 World’s Fair, and was made from iron mined at Red Mountain and cast at Sloss Furnace. Vulcan is the Roman god of fire and blacksmithing and was chose to represent Birmingham’s iron and steel industry. After the World’s Fair, the statue was eventually installed at its present location in the 1930s. 

Any visitor to Vulcan is familiar with the view from the open-air observation platform. Once you step out of the elevator, you are greeted by the “back” of the Roman god. For first time visitors, this view usually leads to a chuckle from both kids and adults. 

When I read this story from Exodus, of God’s plan to pass by Moses and show him his back, but not his face, I confess that this posterior view of Vulcan comes to mind. Moses has been in intense conversation with God. Moses has been pleading with God to be with the people. It is God’s presence that is necessary. It is the presence of the true God that the people were desperate for when they created the golden calf.

Again Moses negotiates with God and God’s mind changes in a way that creates a deeper relationship. The God of their ancestors, the “I AM,” The God that brought them out of Egypt, now reveals a new aspect — the God who is gracious and merciful. Godself cannot be fully revealed to Moses or the people, but God will go with them because they carry God’s name. 

Join us on Sunday as we seek a deeper relationship with God and each other. This Sunday we will welcome the Rev. Emily Collette as our preacher. Worship is at 6 pm and supper follows. Remember to wear a mask. You can join us at Trinity Commons or on Zoom (bulletin). 

– Kelley

This Week – 10/12/2020

This Week.

Jesus said, “Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:9-15

We say the Lord’s Prayer so often, that it is easy to forget that it is part of the Sermon on the Mount. This is a prayer that most of us can recite by memory. It is a prayer that we often go to in times of stress or need. While this prayer is thoroughly associated with the Christian faith, it is rooted in the faith and prayers of Israel. Which makes sense since Jesus was Jewish, as were the first disciples.

While the whole prayer is powerful, it is perhaps the opening line that is the most transformative. “Our Father.” When we pray in this way we are claiming our kinship to God, and because we are children of God we are part of a new family with countless siblings.

Maybe this is why this is the go-to prayer in times of distress. It reminds us that we are never alone. We are always God’s children, and we are always brothers and sisters in God.

What does the Lord’s Prayer mean to you? In all the craziness of 2020, how connected do you feel to God right now? How connected do you feel to others?

Check out the schedule below for times that we can connect through prayer and fellowship. I hope to see you soon on campus or at Trinity Commons.

-Kelley

SCHEDULE

Tuesday
  • 11:45 a.m. Worship at BSC
    I will be on campus at 10 am, come by and say hello. Then join us in Norton 121 as we say our prayers and continue our reflections on the Sermon on the Mount.
  • 3-6 p.m. Drop-in Hours at Trinity Commons
    Come by for a chat or just to take a break. You can also drop in on Zoom.
Sunday
  • 6 pm Worship at Trinity Commons & Zoom
    Join us for Church in the chapel. The Rev. Emily Collette will preach. Sunday Supper to-go following the service. Wear a mask and invite a friend. You can also join us via Zoom.

This Sunday – 19th Sunday after Pentecost

This Sunday.

When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered around Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make gods for us, who shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” Exodus 32:1 

Waiting is always the hardest part. Whether it is waiting for Christmas or birthday celebration, or waiting for the arrival of a loved one, the time spent waiting can be both a source of excitement and anxiety. Waiting is often a bit easier when we know the day and the hour we are waiting for. We can mark days off on a calendar, count down the minutes.

It is when we don’t know how long we will have to wait, that the anxiety can really set in. When we are stuck in an airport waiting for a delayed flight. When we are waiting on a grade on midterms. When we are waiting on a diagnosis. These are times when anxiety can get the best of us.

The people of Israel had waited for 40 days and 40 nights for Moses to come back down the mountain. In the end, they give in to their anxiety and need for feeling like they are in control and build a golden calf. And as God will make clear, this was not the right way to handle themselves in the waiting. 

Since March, the whole world has been waiting. We have been waiting for a vaccine, waiting for a return to normal, waiting for justice and equity. How are you handling the waiting? What have you been doing to hold back the anxiety? What have you been doing to prepare for the time when the waiting is over?

I hope to see you this tonight at 6 pm for worship with supper following. Remember to wear a mask. You can join us at Trinity Commons or on Zoom (bulletin). 

– Kelley

This Week – 10/05/2020

This Week.

Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16

We are back to our usual schedule this week, so I hope to see you on campus or at Trinity Commons. This past Sunday we had a wonderful supper after our service thanks to the folks at Black Dog BBQ. So remember, Sunday suppers are back!

For the past couple of weeks, we have been looking at The Sermon on the Mount. We have reflected on the Beatitudes and on Jesus’ call to take the Torah seriously.  In the passage for this week, Jesus declares that his disciples are salt and light.

I have always found this a bit curious. Salt and light are both very useful, but they are not my go-to comparisons to use for encouragement. Salt certainly makes food taste better and can preserve food. Light definitely makes life easier. But salt and light can be too much. If you have ever eaten an over-salted meal or stepped into the bright sunlight from a dark room, you know how too much of either of these can be an unpleasant or painful experience.

What do you think Jesus wants the disciples to learn by being “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world”? What is he encouraging? And what is he warning against? What does it mean to be salt and light in 2020?

-Kelley

SCHEDULE

Tuesday
  • 11:45 a.m. Worship at BSC
    I will be on campus at 10 am, come by and say hello. Then join us in Norton 121 as we say our prayers and continue our reflections on the Sermon on the Mount.
  • 3-6 p.m. Drop-in Hours at Trinity Commons
    Come by for a chat or just to take a break. You can also drop in on Zoom.
Sunday
  • 6 pm Worship at Trinity Commons & Zoom
    Join us for Church in the chapel. Sunday Supper to-go following the service. Wear a mask and invite a friend. You can also join us via Zoom.

This Sunday – 18th Sunday after Pentecost (Suppers are back!)

This Sunday.

On this date 70 years ago the first Peanuts comic strip was published. Charles Schulz would go on to draw nearly 18,000 Peanuts strips before his death in February 2000. I have loved the Peanuts since I was a kid. Perhaps predictably, Snoopy is my favorite character, with Linus coming in a close second. I never really grew out of it. Schulz’s simple images have continued to speak to me throughout my life. 

In a way, the Peanuts is a series of parables. Schulz’s simple stories carry with them a twist that speaks to more complex issues of adulthood. In his lifetime Schulz identified as a fundamentalist Christian and a secular humanist. Through the voices of Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, and the thoughts of Snoopy, Schulz explored unrequited love, depression, anxiety, faith, and sometimes the meaning of life. 

Snoopy reminds us that sometimes when we feel like things are meaningless, we have to get back to the basics. For Snoopy, the basics include Charlie Brown showing up with supper. 

Supper doesn’t fix everything, but it can be a good start. We have slogged through isolations, online classes, and the weirdness of COVID-19. The last time we were able to share a meal at Trinity Commons was in March. So I am really excited that this Sunday we will offer supper following the service. It won’t be the way we usually do it, we will have to be physically distant, the meals will be to-go style and with disposable utensils, but we can gather together to find meaning in worship and through sharing a meal.

I hope to see you this Sunday at 6 pm for worship with supper following. Remember to wear a mask. You can join us at Trinity Commons or on Zoom (bulletin). 

– Kelley

This Week – 09/28/2020

This Week.

Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.  For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.” Matthew 5:17-18

Some folks read the Sermon on the Mount as a correction to the Torah. Pointing to Matthew 5:17 through 6:4, they describe Jesus as providing antitheses to the shortcomings of the Jewish law. Scholar Amy-Jill Levine writes that these are not antitheses but extensions of the law. Jesus is not correcting the law, but is instead challenging us to protect the law and take it more seriously. Jesus places a “fence around the Torah,” and by doing so the Torah is protected because is harder to get yourself in a situation where you would break the law.

Putting a fence around something can be an important tool. If we are trying to quit a bad habit, the first thing to do is remove the temptation. If we are trying to develop a healthy discipline, sometimes we have to make space and remove distractions. When we do this, we are showing our commitment and how important the thing is that we are trying to change.

How can you protect what is important when there is so much competition and distraction? In this day of information overload, are there things you need to put a fence around? Do you need to protect a relationship with family or a friend? Time for rest? Time for joy? What are the temptations or distractions that you need to clear out to make room for God?

I hope you join us this week, either at BSC or Trinity Commons. Don’t forget to register for Fall College Retreat at Camp McDowell by October 1.

Also, GOOD NEWS, this Sunday we will offer Sunday Supper to-go following our worship service. So, come and say your prays and share a meal!

-Kelley

SCHEDULE

Tuesday
  • 11:45 a.m. Worship at BSC
    Join us in Norton 121 as we begin our look at the Sermon on the Mount during a short service of prayers and scripture.
  • 3-6 p.m. Drop-in Hours at Trinity Commons
    Come by for a chat or just to take a break. And if you are interested, you can even grab a popsicle or ice cream cone. You can also drop in on Zoom.
Sunday
  • 6 pm Worship at Trinity Commons & Zoom
    Join us for Church in the chapel. Sunday Supper to-go following the service. Wear a mask and invite a friend. You can also join us via Zoom.