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This Sunday – 16th Sunday after Pentecost

This Sunday.

“Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me?”  -Matthew 20:10-15

Apparently, capuchin monkeys prefer grapes to cucumbers. If there are two capuchin monkeys both are happy to eat cucumbers. But if you give one a grape and the other a cucumber slice, the non-grape getting monkey will flip out at the unfairness. Studies in children point to an innate sense of fairness, and so at a very young age children will insist on getting their fair share.

Our reading from Matthew for this Sunday challenges us to learn what the Kingdom of Heaven has to say about fairness. The parable of the laborers in the vineyard raises all sorts of questions. It seems natural to sympathize with the workers hired earlier in the day. Their outcry of “it’s not fair” seems reasonable, after all, they did more work. But their complaint is rebuffed by the landowner.

If fairness isn’t what we are supposed to seek, what is Jesus offering us? What does this parable teach us about the Kingdom of Heaven? 

Join us this Sunday at 6 pm in the chapel at Trinity Commons as we gather for worship and together we can wrestle with this parable. Remember to wear a mask and use the online bulletin or bring your prayer book. You can also join us online via Zoom.

– Kelley

This Week – 09/14/2020

This Week.

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ was lifted high upon the cross that he might draw the whole world to himself: Mercifully grant that we, who glory in the mystery of our redemption, may have grace to take up our cross and follow him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Today is the Feast of the Holy Cross. Unlike Good Friday which focuses on Christ’s Passion, this feast is a remembrance of the Cross itself. The date is tied to the dedication of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher 335. This church was built by Constantine on the believed site of Golgotha and where his mother, Helena, found a relic of the true cross.

I was fortunate to go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land a few years ago and to go to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The steps leading up to where you can touch the stone of Golgotha are worn down by the thousands of pilgrims’ footsteps. The church may not mark the actual Golgotha (there is an alternative site outside the old city), but I found that didn’t really matter. The place was made holy by the faith of the pilgrims that came there seeking the grace to take up their cross and follow Jesus.

Holy Cross Day also marks the beginning of the Ember Days. This is a period that invites special discernment and prayers for Christian ministry. All of us as Christians are invited to take up our cross and follow Jesus.

Where is God calling you?

-Kelley

SCHEDULE

Tuesday
  • 11:45 am Worship at BSC
    I will be on in front of Norton around 10 a.m., come by and say hello. Then join us in Norton 121 for a short service of prayers and scripture.

    I won’t be at Trinity Commons this Tuesday afternoon but come by next week.

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

This Sunday – 15th Sunday after Pentecost

This Sunday.

“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided.”  -Exodus 14:21

When Cecil B. DeMille released The Ten Commandments in 1956, it was the most expensive movie made at that time, costing $13 million. The parting of the Red Sea was considered the most difficult special effect created, and the movie won an Oscar for its special effects. In 2014, Ridley Scott released his film Exodus: Gods and Kings. With a budget approaching $200 million, Scott and the special effects crew used CGI to create the parting of the Red Sea. You can’t have a movie about Moses and the Exodus without the parting of the Red Sea.

Our reading of Exodus now brings us to the pivotal moment. There is a lot to catch our attention in this story –walls of water, winds, the Egyptian army, Moses with his arms raised– the real focus of this story is God. This is God’s power at work in the world. This is God’s story.

Join us this Sunday at 6 pm in the chapel at Trinity Commons as we gather for worship and to hear the story of God’s saving acts. Remember to wear a mask and use the online bulletin or bring your prayer book. You can also join us online via Zoom.

– Kelley

This Week – 09/07/2020

This Week.

Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.  –Romans 13:8

Paul’s simple challenge to owe no one anything except love actually puts us on the hook for a lot. It means that we owe each other a lot. We owe each other care and respect.

These past six months we have really had to practice the love we owe each other. We have all been called upon to change our plans and give things up. We wear our uncomfortable masks and stay six feet apart. We do all this to protect ourselves, but also to protect each other.

We have a ways to go yet with all this. We still have to watch the numbers and be careful. But I am thankful that we are able to carefully gather again.

I hope to see you this week, either on campus at BSC, at Trinity Commons, or on Zoom. We still owe each other love and the care that requires, but I have found that all this is a bit easier when we get to spend time together.

-Kelley

SCHEDULE

  • Monday, 6 pm at BSC
    BSC students come out to the Residence Hall Quad for Smooshie Pie and hang out with me and the other campus ministers
  • Tuesday, 11:45 am Worship at BSC
    Join us for worship in Yielding Chapel.
  • Tuesday, 4-6 pm at Trinity Commons & Zoom
    Take a break and drop by Trinity Commons, and cool off with a popsicle. Kelley will be hanging out from 4-6 pm, and ready to hear about your day. You can also join via Zoom.
  • Sunday, 6 pm Worship at Trinity Commons & Zoom
    Join us for Church Outside. Wear a mask and invite a friend. You can also join us via Zoom.

This Sunday – 14th Sunday after Pentecost

This Sunday.

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”  -Matthew 15:20

This Sunday will mark 183 days since we gathered for worship in the chapel at Trinity Commons. During this time we have used technology to continue to meet and to worship. In the past two weeks, we have moved our worship outside or downstairs–braving the heat, bugs, and rain. Throughout this season of COVID-19 we have continued to gather in the confidence that where two or three are gathered in the name of Christ, he is present. 

I am excited to announce that this Sunday we will gather in the chapel for worship. Furniture has been moved to maximize space and allow physical distancing. The lectern and altar have been moved to allow 8 feet between them and the congregation. The chairs have been spaced out and marked off to allow 6 feet between people. We will have hand sanitizer available. Remember if you are not feeling well or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, we ask that you stay home and join us online.

Join us this Sunday at 6 pm in the chapel at Trinity Commons as we gather in the name of Christ. Remember to wear a mask and use the online bulletin or bring your prayer book. You can also join us online via Zoom.

– Kelley

This Week – 08/31/2020

This week.

“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”  – Mt. 16:24

Pre-COVID-19 I loved going to the movies to watch comic book movies. In 2018 I was really excited to go to the opening weekend release of Black Panther. The audience was diverse in age, race, and experience level with comic book movies. I laughed afterward as I watched a young White comic book kid explaining to an older Black man about how Black Panther fit into the MCU.

I was really ready to send 2020 packing when I heard that Chadwick Boseman, a.k.a. King T’Challa in Black Panther, died. It was made even more heart wrenching when I learned that for much of Boseman’s time in the spotlight he was fighting cancer. In spite of his illness, he continued acting and serving the community.

Representation matters. We need our superheroes to represent the full diversity of our community. We need a world where White kids and Black kids want to be Black Panther on Halloween. In the church, we need saints that represent the full diversity and experience of the people of God.

This week The Episcopal Church celebrates the life and ministry of a Deacon David Pendleton Oakerhater (originally Okuhhatuh), a Cheyenne spiritual leader and warrior who fought against the United States to protect Indigenous peoples’ land rights, for which he was imprisoned. He was ordained a deacon in 1881 and returned to Oklahoma where he was instrumental in founding schools and missions, through great personal sacrifice and often in the face of apathy from the church hierarchy and resistance from the government. He continued his ministry of service, education, and pastoral care among his people until his death on August 31, 1931. He was the first Native American to be added to the calendar of saints in The Episcopal Church.

So this week I am thankful for the example of David Oakerhater, and his commitment in the face of apathy and resistance to serve Christ and his people. I am also thankful for Chadwick Boseman, who invited us to see the world differently.

Do you have a favorite saint? Are you Marvel or DC? Come by Trinity Commons tomorrow from 4-6 pm and tell me about it.

-Kelley

SCHEDULE

  • Tuesday, 4-6 pm at Trinity Commons & Zoom
    Take a break and drop by Trinity Commons, and cool off with a popsicle. Kelley will be hanging out from 4-6 pm, and ready to hear about your day. You can also join via Zoom.
  • Sunday, 6 pm Worship at Trinity Commons & Zoom
    Join us for Church Outside. Wear a mask and invite a friend. You can also join us via Zoom.

This Sunday – 13th Sunday after Pentecost

This Sunday.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 
-Romans 12:12

Well, you made it through the first week of classes, whether in person or online. Well done! There are a lot of changes this semester. Classes moved online. Wearing masks. Big changes to how we get to gather and hangout. But I hope you found some happy moments in all the strangeness–seeing friends, starting a class that you are excited about.

Since March, we have all had to practice patience, and we have done our best to persevere in prayer. But I think it has been a lot harder to rejoice in hope. It is easy to lose hope, particularly if you read the news. Sickness. Racism. Violence. Unrest. 

There is a difference between being optimistic and hopeful. To be optimistic is to see things in the most favorable light or to expect the best possible outcome. Optimism can be a good thing, but it is not the same as hope. For Christians, our hope means that we live with confidence in the newness and fullness of life and the completion of God’s purpose for the world. While we experience the uncertainty of this time and the pain in the world, we are still called rejoice in our hope in God.

Join us this Sunday at 6 pm at Trinity Commons for Church Outside. Remember to wear a mask, use the online bulletin, and dress comfortably. You can also join us online via Zoom.

– Kelley

This Week – 08/24/2020

This week.

Hello folks.

Well, the first day of classes of the Fall 2020 semester for UAB, BSC, and Samford is nearly in the books. My guess is that it was not exactly the first day that you had in mind. Between social distancing, masks, and hybrid or online classes, it is all pretty strange. I am hoping that you survived the momentary Zoom outage this morning and that classes went well.

Yesterday we gathered in person for worship for the first time since March 8th. We were outside, and the temperature wasn’t too bad. We did encounter mosquitos, and next week we will be better prepared to limit their annoying attendance. It was great to be with those of you that attended in person, and also wonderful to have the lively presence of those attending via Zoom. You can watch the sermon here.

Each university has its own return to campus plan and has a slightly different timetable for resuming activities. As we are able to return tp campus, we will let you know through email, our social media, and website.

If you need a break from school or work, starting tomorrow, August 24, I will be hanging out at Trinity Commons from 4-6 pm. The Zoom room will also be open if you want to drop in online. So, take a break, and come hang out a bit. And since it is still so hot outside, we will have an assortment of popsicles to help you cool off while you take a break.

Back in March, as everything closed a prayer from the Book of Common Prayer got passed around. It has been a helpful prayer for me, and I wrote about it here. While we are venturing out more, there is still a lot of uncertainty, and plans change quickly.  So, I offer it to you.

This is another day, O Lord.  I know not what it will bring forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be.  If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely.  If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly.  If I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently.  And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly. Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit of Jesus.  Amen.

-Kelley

SCHEDULE

  • Tuesday, 4-6 pm at Trinity Commons & Zoom
    Take a break and drop by Trinity Commons, and cool off with a popsicle. Kelley will be hanging out from 4-6 pm, and ready to hear about your day. You can also join via Zoom.
  • Sunday, 6 pm Worship at Trinity Commons & Zoom
    Join us for Church Outside. Wear a mask and invite a friend. You can also join us via Zoom.

This Sunday – 12th Sunday after Pentecost

This Sunday.

When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses, “because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.” Exodus 2:10

Do you know the story of how you got your name? In movies and comic books the “origin story” gives the backstory of a character, typically explaining how they became a hero or a villian; how they got their powers; and how they got their name. 

This Sunday we get the origin story of Moses. We learn about the circumstances of his birth, the strong, brave women that protected him, and how he gets his name. As is usually the case, there are important seemingly minor characters that play a vital role in the shaping of the hero to come. 

I hope you will join us this Sunday at 6 pm at Trinity Commons for Church Outside. Remember to wear a mask, use the online bulletin, and dress comfortably. You can also join us online via Zoom.

– Kelley

This Week – 08/17/2020

This week.

Hello folks.

I am writing this from my home office, which is where I typically am for our Zoom worship and gatherings. Zoom has been a great way for us to stay connected during this time of COVID-19. UAB, Samford, and BSC will all begin their Fall semester on August 24. Given that, and the return of many folks in Birmingham, Trinity Commons is planning to return to in-person worship on Sunday, August 23, at 6 p.m.

We are going to gather for worship outside in front of the student center. Our service time of 6 p.m. means that there will be shade. We have folding chairs available, but you can also bring your own. There is plenty of space for us to physically distance.

We are going to continue using the Liturgy of the Word, which includes prayers, music, scripture, and a sermon, but not Holy Eucharist. Starting off, we won’t offer Sunday supper, but we are working on a plan for Sunday suppers in the near future. I think this is the safer way for us to be together right now.

So, here are the important things to know and remember:

  1. Sunday, August 23, at 6 p.m. we will meet outside at Trinity Commons for worship.
  2. You need to wear a mask. It can be a cloth mask or a disposable mask, but it needs to cover your nose and mouth. You will need to wear your mask the whole time, especially if you are within 6 feet of someone or inside. We will have the student center open so that folks can use the restrooms if needed.
  3. Stay home if you are sick, or if someone in your household is sick. Don’t come if you have been exposed to COVID-19 and are waiting for your test results, or if someone in your household has. We will continue to offer a Zoom option, so if you are not feeling well, please join via Zoom.
  4. Use the online bulletin. To limit contact and to not use a lot of paper, we ask that you download the service bulletin to your phone or iPad and use that. We will have a few paper bulletins available, but if at all possible, please use the web version.
  5. Dress comfortably. While we will be in the shade, it is still August in Alabama, so it will be hot.

This will all be strange at first. And we are beginning the strangest fall semester ever. But I am looking forward to seeing everyone again. And for folks that need to or prefer to connect online, we will continue Zoom as an option to join us.

Take care of yourselves, and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.

–Kelley

Schedule: 

  • Tuesday, 6 pm on Zoom
    Drop by to hang out or have a chat on Zoom (http://bit.ly/TCZoom).
  • Sunday, 6 pm at Trinity Commons
    Join us for worship on Sunday, August 23, at 6 pm at Trinity Commons. If you need to or prefer to gather online, join by Zoom (http://bit.ly/TCZoom).