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This Week – 11/23/20

This Week.

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”  Luke 17:11-19 

Martin Luther was once asked to describe the nature of true worship. His answer: the tenth leper turning back. This passage from Luke is the gospel reading assigned for Thanksgiving Day, and it points us to the importance of giving thanks. There are also some other details in this story that speak to our Thanksgiving Day experiences.

Jesus, on his way to Jerusalem, finds himself in an in-between place where Jews and Samaritans meet. There was long-standing conflict between Jews and Samaritans. Samaritans are the other, the enemy. But yet in the Gospel of Luke, Samaritans are the exemplar of loving our neighbors and of giving thanks. By using Samaritans in this way, Luke invites us to see that the Samaritans are not the enemy, but instead are our neighbors that we can learn something from.

Family gatherings can be in-between places, where folks with lots of history and baggage come together. In 2020, our Thanksgiving Day should look quite different. We will be spread out in backyards or joining by Zoom, and there will likely be points of disagreement and tension. When you are fed up with wearing a mask, I hope you give thanks that you have the chance to protect those around you by leaving your mask on. And when someone says something you disagree with, or someone can’t work Zoom right, I hope that you give thanks that you can gather with friends or family even with COVID-19 precautions. 

If we focus on giving thanks, we will spend less time being frustrated with the weirdness of Thanksgiving Day 2020.

– Kelley

SCHEDULE

Tuesday

  • 3-6 p.m. Drop-in Hours at Trinity Commons
    Come by for a chat or just to take a break.

Sunday

  • 6 p.m. Worship at Trinity Commons & Zoom
    Join us for Holy Eucharist in the chapel. Wear a mask and invite a friend. You can also join us via Zoom.

This Sunday – Christ the King Sunday

This Sunday.

Jesus said, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. -Matthew 25:31-33

As the liturgical year comes to an end, our readings point us to the power and authority of Christ. Typically this day is referred to as Christ the King Sunday. Before we turn to the expectant waiting of Advent, we are reminded of the power and judgment of Christ. 

Most of us would rather not be judged. We would rather not take final exams or have job evaluations. But judgment is an important part of life and relationships. It is in those moments of judgment and evaluation that we receive truth about ourselves and our relationships. We see the truth that we have indeed learned and grown, as well as the truth that there is more for us to do. It is these moments of truth that enable us to shape our future.

When Jesus, as King, judges the nations, his judgment is based on their capacity for mercy. Those that looked at the world and offered kindness are judged as righteous, and those that failed to offer kindness are doomed to eternal life. This is a parable that is meant to make us uncomfortable. It comes as a judgment to us while we still have time to change. And perhaps that is the good news of this parable, we can still choose to be kind.

Join us this Sunday as we are reminded that we will be judged by our acts of kindness. We will welcome back the Rev. Emily Collette as our preacher. Join us for Holy Eucharist at 6 pm and supper following. Remember to wear a mask. You can join us at Trinity Commons or on Zoom (bulletin).

– Kelley

This Week – 11/16/20

This Week.

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The collect for this past Sunday instructs us that God “caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning.” This means the passages that comfort us like Psalm 123:3 “So our eyes look to the Lord our God, * until he show us his mercy.” This means the passages that challenge us like Matthew 15:30: “throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” It also means the Scriptures that we have just forgotten about, like the entirety of the Book of Judges.

This Sunday we heard seven verses from Chapter 4 of the Book of Judges. This is the only time in the three year lectionary cycle that we hear anything from this book. Judges is a collection of stories of the cyclical leadership of Israel. The cycle was generally Israel would fall into sin, bad things happen, a judge would be lifted up, Israel would repent, things would get better, and then the slide back into sin. There were six judges in all. The brief passage introduces us to Deborah, the only judge that was a woman. Deborah is also the only judge that was viewed as uniformly positive and identified as the “mother in Israel.”

You might be surprised by the stories told in judges. This is the book where the story of Samson and Delilah is told. It includes military battles and intrigue to rival Game of Thrones. But more importantly, when we read the whole book, in the context of the larger story of God, we see again and again that God is faithful, even when we are not. 

Maybe this week you can take a moment and turn to a part of the Bible you have not read before, you might be surprised what you find there. I hope you join us at BSC for our last Holy Eucharist of the semester at 11:45 am today, or drop by the Trinity Commons this afternoon. 

– 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 for a short service of Holy Eucharist.
  • 3-6 p.m. Drop-in Hours at Trinity Commons
    Come by for a chat or just to take a break.

Sunday

  • 6 p.m. Worship at Trinity Commons & Zoom
    Join us for Holy Eucharist in the chapel. We will again welcome the Rev. Emily Collette as our preacher. Sunday Supper following the service. Wear a mask and invite a friend. You can also join us via Zoom.

This Sunday – 24th Sunday After Pentecost

This Sunday.

Psalm 123
1 To you I lift up my eyes, *
     to you enthroned in the heavens.
2 As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, *
     and the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress,
3 So our eyes look to the Lord our God, *
     until he show us his mercy.
4 Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy, *
     for we have had more than enough of contempt,
5 Too much of the scorn of the indolent rich, *
     and of the derision of the proud.

Psalm 123 is one of the fifteen Songs of Ascent. These songs are thought to have been sung by pilgrims making their way to Jerusalem for worship. They tend to be short and therefore easy to memorize. While verses 1-3 of Psalm 123 look to God as the source of mercy, verses 4-5 express the frustration and suffering of the people. This is a people that have had enough. The people have returned from exile, but yet they are still suffering. The complaint of contempt and scorn is so general that we cannot determine the precise historical context, but this ambiguity allows this psalm to be the prayer of the people of God in every generation.

We have made it through the election, but our news and social media are still filled with scorn and contempt. We have gotten good news about a possible COVID vaccine, as the COVID numbers increase dramatically. It feels a bit like we have done what we were supposed to do–vote, wear masks, physically distance–but yet the suffering continues. I find comfort in the words “So our eyes look to the Lord our God, until he show us his mercy.” There is comfort in that I am not alone. There is comfort in saying the words that generations of the people of God have said in times of suffering. 

Join us this Sunday as we gather so our eyes look to the Lord. We will welcome Bishop Kee Sloan and the Venerable Lou Thibodaux. Join us for Holy Eucharist at 6 pm and supper following. Remember to wear a mask. You can join us at Trinity Commons or on Zoom (bulletin).

– Kelley

This Week – 11/09/20

This Week.

Thank you to all the folks that were present, joined virtually, or offered well wishes and prayers for my ordination on Saturday. It was a beautiful and joy-filled service. If you were not able to join live, the service is available here

It’s hard to believe that we are already near the end of this semester. I must admit at the beginning of the semester I expected that we would have another shutdown. But all y’all kept vigilant with COVID precautions, and we have been able to continue to gather. 

In the reading from Matthew this week, Jesus tells a parable about 10 bridesmaids, 5 of which are deemed wise and 5 foolish. All 10 were excited for the bridegroom to arrive and were dressed and lamps lit. All 10 fell asleep when the bridegroom did not arrive on time. The 5 that are found to be wise were those that brought extra oil. They came ready, filled with hope, but knowing that things may not go as planned or as they would like it. Because of their preparation, they were able to refill their lamps and to join the bridegroom at the celebration.

Very little about 2020 has gone as planned or hoped for. Be we are still called to be ready. To be ready to seek and serve Christ in all persons. To be ready to work for justice and peace. That means saying our prayers, wearing masks and physically distancing, and keep washing our hands. We may be tired of all this, but we have got to keep vigilant and be ready.

I hope you join us on campus at BSC for Holy Eucharist at 11:45 am today, or drop by the Trinity Commons. Also, another reason to be ready is that the bishop is coming! Bishop Kee Sloan and the Ven. Lou Thibodaux will be with us on Sunday for Holy Eucharist and supper. 

– 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 for a short service of Holy Eucharist.
  • 3-6 p.m. Drop-in Hours at Trinity Commons
    Come by for a chat or just to take a break.

Sunday

  • 6 p.m. Worship at Trinity Commons & Zoom
    Join us for Holy Eucharist in the chapel. Bishop Sloan will be with us. To join us in person signup hereSunday Supper following the service. Wear a mask and invite a friend. You can also join us via Zoom.

This Sunday – 23rd Sunday After Pentecost

This Sunday.

Jesus said, “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept.” Matthew 25:1-5

We’ve talked a lot about waiting this year. Waiting for an end to the pandemic. Waiting for an election. For at least the election, the long period of waiting seems to be at an end. 

All of our readings for this Sunday point to the importance of being ready. We are called to not just avoid being caught up in the anxiety of the waiting, but to make provisions, and be ready to take action with the day of the Lord arrives. 

Our worship together is part of our preparation so that we can be ready. Through scripture, sacrament, and community, we keep our lamps trimmed and ready to greet Jesus. Join us for Holy Eucharist at 6 pm and supper following. Remember to wear a mask. You can join us at Trinity Commons or on Zoom (bulletin).

– Kelley

This Week – 11/02/20

This Week.

“So whatever your politics, however you have or will cast your vote, however this election unfolds, wherever the course of racial reckoning and pandemic take us, whether we are in the valley or the mountaintop, hold on to the hope of America. Hold on hope grounded in our shared values and ideals. Hold on to God’s dream. Hold on and struggle and walk and pray for our nation.” – Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, November 1, 2020

Last week, on Tuesday, October 27, I clicked on the video of the Birmingham City Council meeting. One of the first things they did that day was honor Martha Mae Ophelia Moon Tucker (pictured above in 1963). Ms. Tucker will retire as the chief inspector of her polling place tomorrow, after serving as a poll worker for 57 years. 

When she registered to vote in 1963 the first question that was asked of her was if she could spell her name. That was just the first of the ridiculous questions that she had to answer. But she stayed the course, answered them all, and registered to vote. She then signed up to be a poll worker and has worked every election since then. She has also voted in every election since 1963 too.

Yesterday, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry gave a wonderful sermon. It is 27 minutes long, and worth every minute. You can listen to it here. As he concluded, he reminded us that we are to hold on to God’s dream “and struggle and walk and pray for our nation.” 

Tomorrow is the day that many of us have been waiting for and dreading. I hope you vote tomorrow. If you have already voted, I hope you remind someone else to vote. Even if you think the whole system is broken, I want you to vote. I want you to vote because Martha Mae Ophelia Moon Tucker knows that voting matters, and she struggled and worked for 57 years so that everyone can vote. 

And I want you to pray. We can’t hold on to God’s dream if we aren’t listening to what God has to tell us. Below you will find this week’s schedule and the opportunities that we have to gather for prayer. 

I also want you to take care of yourself. Between the election and the pandemic, there is plenty to be anxious about. So wash your hands, wear your mask, and be kind to yourself.

I hope to see you on campus or at the student center this week. Come by and say your prayers or just have a chat.

– 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 for a short service of prayers, scripture, and Holy Communion.
  • 3-6 p.m. Drop-in Hours at Trinity Commons
    Come by for a chat or just to take a break.
  • 6:30 p.m. Election Day Evensong
    Join us at St. Andrew’s (or on Facebook) for a special service of prayers for our country. More info

Saturday

  • 11 a.m. Kelley’s Ordination to the Priesthood at St. Andrew’s
    While in-person attendance will be limited, the service will be live-streamed. More info

Sunday

  • 6 p.m. 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 – 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