February 12th, 2019

That which is, that which was, and that which has not yet come to pass…

 These lines from the theological masterpiece, “The Lord of the Rings”, echo in my ears quite frequently. I remember a seventeen year-old young man who desired to become a priest, but quickly gave that dream away for some cheap booze and temporary comfort. Unknowing, uncomfortable, and unable to feel worthy enough, he ran away from the Church into the arms of a cruel world and a harsh reality…always trying to get back to the way it ‘used to be’.

 Being a teenager is quite possibly one of the most difficult times in our lives but we don’t remember it; we’re so plagued by our current context that when a young person bemoans the goings-on of their lives, we gloss over it and say something flippant like, “I’d trade places with you in a second.” Really? WOULD you? Because I wouldn’t go back to being a teenager for all the ‘howdies’ in Texas. But that’s our nature—to yearn for that which is past because it’s been shaded in our memory as ‘the good ol’ days’. But those days were full of change, too.

 The difference?

 We weren’t old enough to lament days past. We didn’t know any better. But most importantly, we still held wonder in our hearts for the possibilities that lie before us.

The saying, “You can’t ever go home,” really is irritating because of its misplaced truth. In reality, it should say, “You can try to go ‘back’ there but it’ll be different and you’ll be disappointed. Just sit tight and make the best of where you are and who you can be. You’re already home.” I imagine at some point, people cease looking ahead or living in the present, preferring to glance behind; the summation of memories’ earned paint a vibrant picture more pleasing to view than the daunting inevitability of looming advanced age. And yet I wonder as my thoughts wander into hope rather than lamentation. Are the best days behind us, ever? Or, accompanied by faith, hope and love, are we in store for more grace, deeper knowledge, and new experiences?

There’s a point to the past: It tells us where we’ve been and allows us to remember our mistakes, our successes and all the ‘stuff’ in between. But it’s the past. Our duty to the past is only to venerate those who came before us while simultaneously attempting to improve upon the work they conducted. SO much has changed within our community, and it will keep changing. I don’t know that we’ll ever get to a place where we long to cease growth and stop searching for opportunities. But I do know that we will never be the same as we are, today. We will have to reconcile our desire to make time stand still with the ongoing call to keep stretching ourselves to do the work we’ve been given. The ‘glory days’ are still ahead, these are but just some of them. The beginnings of whispers that will turn to shouts of joy, great AMENS to God because of where we’re being led by the Spirit.

 

So, whether it’s a piece of property being renewed, a piece of the church being replaced, or a piece of ourselves that has to fade in order to make way for a new normal, we would do well to celebrate ‘the way it used to be’ while also joyfully exclaiming the prospect of that which has yet to pass. This is our home, God’s kingdom on earth. Where you are, so I also shall be. We will live together, learn together, cry together, and change the world together. We’ll change each other together. Some things may look different, the building and worship may seem ‘new’; but really, they’re simply old bones being brought back to life and traditional worship being placed in contemporary context—past joys relived, with a sprinkle of future hope on top. Don’t worry about tomorrow or fret about what used to be. This is your home. These are your people. This is our time.

 We can’t ever go back ‘home’…

…because in truth, we never really left.

Faithfully,

Fr. Sean+

January 30th, 2019

You’ve heard Nicole talk about Cursillo in the past year; well, the 2019 Cursillo weekend is rapidly approaching. Are you interested? Do you KNOW what Cursillo IS?

Cursillo is a movement that seeks to deepen existing faith and strengthen the knowledge of spiritual ‘self’ and the bond between you and God—and you and your neighbor. As it is shrouded in mystery, I can’t give too much away; however, I CAN tell you that it’s well worth the time spent. I won’t lie to you: when Nicole and I were sponsored to attend Cursillo, I was more than a little skeptical. I had just arrived in Bartlesville as a recent graduate from seminary. Basically, I’d just been through a three-year spiritual/academic boot-camp. I wasn’t interested in turning around and attending a microcosm of another, shorter, and lay-led version…

I was wrong.

 The weekend, while not what I expected, was far from lacking. From arrival to departure, Nic and I were enveloped into a community of people serious about their faith. This wasn’t some one-off type of ministry retreat; it was/is the real deal. And, in the vein of honesty, Nicole appreciated it much more than I did, even though I thoroughly enjoyed myself. It’s become part of her ministry, part of her spiritual practice; for that, I’m eternally grateful. Within Cursillo, she’s found a piece of herself that was previously lying dormant: A spiritual leader passionate about Christ and dedicated to leading others to Him. As for me, it was a different kind of encounter with God. I’d spent so much time ‘doing’ and ‘learning’ that I’d set my own spirituality on the back-burner, set on low-heat—a fact I hadn’t realized until a week or two AFTER we got back home. Turns out, I NEEDED the weekend. I needed a time in which I could ‘Be still and know that God was God’(Psalm 46), to ask God to ‘Open my lips so that my mouth could proclaim His praise,”(Psalm 51) and to acknowledge openly without being all ‘priesty’ that I had fallen away from the sense of joy that faith can provide, instead relying solely on study and the knowledge that I was to lead and not follow.

 In short, Cursillo was graciously humbling—I walked away with a sense of calming joy, a feeling with which I hadn’t entered.

So if you’ve become a little stagnant in your faith-life, if you’ve found yourself searching for a way to engage on a deeper level, or if you’re seeking a way to serve Christ by virtue of being with others, then this weekend is for you. And…those ‘ifs’ should encompass just about everyone. I will tell you that it is a time-regimented weekend—there won’t be much ‘down-time’—so if you decide to attend, know that you’ll be swept away and engaged in some activity or another for two and a half days.

 But it’s worth it. Trust me.

 If you’d like to attend the upcoming weekend, March 29-31 at St. Crispin’s Conference Center+Camp, please contact Nicole Ekberg at: Nicole.ekberg@resurrectionokc.org

I hope you consider this opportunity to renew, reinvigorate, and refresh. Take care of yourselves, and I’ll see you soon.

Faithfully,

Fr. Sean+

January 23rd, 2019

People of the Resurrection,

Greetings! Last Sunday’s annual meeting seemed to be a rousing success—all forty-two minutes of it. J If you missed the meeting and are curious about the reports submitted, please reach out to the office and we’ll get you a book of reports.

I’d like to welcome/congratulate our new vestry members, convention delegates, and wardens: Lance Straughn, Debbie Horton, (both vestry members); Ann Zuk, Eric Hileman, June Howard, Nicole Ekberg (alternate)—our delegates; and Ann Zuk and Tom Ruder, our new Senior and Junior Wardens! Thank you all for your willingness to serve. I know that you’ll do very well in supporting the life and ministry of Episcopal Church of the Resurrection.

This church has been and continues to be blessed by its members. Thirty years ago at the end of January, the first Episcopal liturgy was held in this building. As such, we’ve dedicated this upcoming Sunday as ‘Heritage Sunday’, so to honor the tridecinnial occasion. We’ll be singing some old(er) hymns, hearing from three parishioners representing the past, present, and future settings of our congregation, and also seeing some pictures of the building as it was being built alongside the present-day state of it. I’m looking forward to seeing all of you, then.

 Lastly, ACH contribution sheets are still available for those of you desiring to take part in that type of giving. We’ve had quite a few folks switch to this system since the announcement a few weeks ago. Again, ACH is a way to automatically draft your pledge from your bank to ours; this helps in ensuring the budget needs of the church by virtue of your gracious giving being consistent regardless of absence. If you’re like Nicole and me and appreciate being able to place something in the plate, the ‘dollar-a-Sunday’ offering might be the answer! Since I mentioned this, we’ve been receiving almost double the plate offering (cash) than normal. So, by signing up for ACH and giving a dollar on Sundays, we’re not only ensuring the stability of our stewardship, but we’re ALSO adding to it! If things continue as they have over the last three weeks, we’ll have funded not one but TWO programs this year with just a dollar a Sunday! AWESOME!

If you have any questions about anything listed above, don’t hesitate to reach out. I love hearing from you. J

Faithfully,

Fr. Sean+ 

January 16th, 2019

Why have an annual meeting?

I’m SO glad you asked! Annual meeting, at the mention, seems like one of those meetings that should’ve been an e-mail, instead. However, with regard to this coming Sunday’s gathering, that isn’t the case.

Sunday will mark the 51st annual meeting of Episcopal Church of the Resurrection. As Episcopalians, we love our traditions—sure, but this time allows us to come together and talk about:

o   the state of our church

o   the goings-on of the previous year

o   the financial aspect of last year and the budget for 2019

o   giving thanks for members’ roles in ministry

o   selecting new members for vestry by vote

o   selecting delegates for Diocesan Convention (Meta-annual meeting with all churches around the state)

o   possibilities for improvement/growth during the upcoming year

While we’re a faithful group of rag-tag counter-culturists, we still have a duty to see to the ‘business of the church’. 

In my life I’ve seen some pretty long annual meetings—some going for more than two and a half hours. That isn’t the case, here. Typically (after having done one meeting J) our meeting should last around an hour…or less.

What to expect:

We’ll gather in the Parish Hall shortly after service for food and fellowship—as always. This Sunday, bring a dish to share for a potluck! After we finish eating, we’ll settle in and get started. We’ll say a few prayers, then jump into reports from the Sr. and Jr. Wardens. “What do THOSE people do?” you ask? The Sr. Warden is—best described—the Rector’s confidant, counselor, and ally. As Sr. Warden, that person is expected to conduct the business of vestry meetings in the absence of the Rector; be available for discussion about multiple issues within the church concerning the building, programs, upkeep, financial decisions, and overall vision of the Rector; and, most importantly, to ‘steer the ship’ in the prolonged absence of a Rector. Basically, if I were to get very sick or otherwise have need to be away for a long period of time, the Sr. Warden would act as leader of the Vestry and ensure that the business aspect of the church and its integrity are maintained. The Sr. Warden is selected at the discretion of the Rector, but with much input from both the out-going Sr. and the current vestry. I’m beyond pleased with Ann Zuk as the incoming Sr. Warden, as I know that she brings with her invaluable insight, a faithful heart, and a keen mind. The transition from Ed Sanchez to Ann Zuk is, in my mind, a natural evolution. Ed has been, and shall continue to be, my friend (thanks, Spock). He has proven to be an invaluable asset in terms of ‘steering the ship’ for many years without a full-time Rector, and has also been a close ally and confidant for which this Rector is unfathomably grateful. Thanks, Ed. For everything.

The Jr. Warden acts in many of the capacities of the Sr. Warden, and, in the absence of both the Rector and the Sr., acts with the authority listed above. However, the main focus of the Jr. Warden is to concentrate on physical plant needs (the building, both inside and out) and to maintain the upkeep and continuous improvement of the facility. This position is elected by popular vote at the annual meeting. This year, I’ve asked Tom Ruder to allow himself to be nominated for our next Jr. Warden. Tom brings with him handy-man-esque experience with the added bonus of a level-head. Tom will also be part of ‘the meeting of three’ prior to any vestry meeting; this is to plan the meetings, discuss sensitive issues (if there are any) and lend insight to upcoming needs/projects of the church. Accepting this position is a great responsibility and takes a lot of time to maintain. I appreciate Tom’s willingness to step into the large shoes of Pete Woodward (our out-going Jr. Warden and confidant of mine). Tom will undoubtedly serve with dignity and passion. As for Pete, he will be missed. You’ll hear in his report about the massive undertaking that he…undertook…upon accepting his role as Jr. In the last years, Pete has overseen MULTIPLE projects to perfection, all while maintaining a sense of grace and patience. Thank you Pete, I’ll miss you in the meetings, but I promise to continue to plague you over OU football.

Both of these positions will serve for two years.

 After those reports, we’ll review last year’s income/expense report (the treasurer’s report) and view the vestry approved budget for 2019.

 Then we’ll begin the elections of Jr. Warden and vestry. This is the governing body of the church, with me as its chair. We discuss multiple different issues during our meetings and decide the best way to enable this church to continue to grow and thrive. This year’s nominees are Debbie Horton and Lance Straughn. I have faith that these two individuals will serve well and will be valuable to the proceedings of ECOTR over the next three years.

 We’ll close with some shenanigans and then with prayer. That’s it! I hope this answers any questions you might have had prior to the meeting and I look forward to spending this time with each of you. Thank you for making this place such a welcome and warm environment within which we worship and bring others to Christ.

Faithfully,

Fr. Sean+

 

January 9th, 2018

A few of you have asked for ‘more’ concerning the wise men and their journey. I will tell you what I know…

The name wise men or ‘magi’ seems to be the ubiquitous moniker for the group of men who traveled “from afar” and presented the “baby” Jesus with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

First, let’s talk about the word magi. Transliterated directly from the Greek “μάγος”, the word becomes magos. Magos is how the English language transliterates, but the word translates from magos to magus in our understanding rather than just our way of speaking (comprehension vs. phonetics). Magus, as defined by good ol’ Webster (okay, not really, but defined by lexicons), is defined as:

a.     the name given by the Babylonians (Chaldeans), Medes, Persians, and others, to the wise men, teachers, priests, physicians, astrologers, seers, interpreters of dreams, augers, soothsayers, sorcerers etc.

b.     the oriental wise men (astrologers) who, having discovered by the rising of a remarkable star that the Messiah had just been born, came to Jerusalem to worship him

c.     a false prophet and sorcerer

Let’s set aside the notion of these men being sorcerers and false prophets and concentrate on their capabilities as scientists and astronomers (not to be confused with astrology—no horoscopes were harmed in the writing of this article). These men were likely held in high esteem as educators and thus became emissaries of the Kings in their region. This is why they’re sometimes referred to as “The Three Kings”; they were ambassadors of their monarchs. It is important to note that nowhere within scripture are these men named outright—the names Caspar/Gaspar, Balthasar/Balthazar, and Melchior are those attributed to the men, but without reference. Being of Eastern descent, they would travel great lengths teaching and showing people of other nations their science—alchemy, their understanding of the stars, etc…

Next, location, location, location. It is widely held in current cultural nuance that these men were present at the birth of Jesus. That is not accurate. If we take a closer look at scripture, Matthew 2:11 states, “And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.” Notice that, in reference, Jesus is a ‘child’ not an infant. Weird. Most likely these men had departed their homeland—that of Persia (common-day Iran and Iraq)—as they saw the ‘new star’ in the sky which heralded the coming of the Christ-child. (Note: These men were also likely to be of the Zoroastrianism religion, of which one of the tenets was to pursue and discover the champion, or destroyer of evil. This is an ancient and obscure monotheistic religion that helped shape some of the Abrahamic religions). As the star appeared, they departed their lands. Traversing such a great distance would’ve most likely been impossible with only three people; dangers such as robbery, injury, or sickness loomed heavily, making it necessary for multiple people, or a caravan, to make the journey rather than a few dudes on camels. Just sayin’. This trip was well over nine thousand miles and would’ve taken, at minimum, a little under two years’ time to complete. Thus, upon arrival, Herod does the math quickly—after asking them when they left—and orders the murders of every infant in the region aged two years and under.

As you are aware, modern nativity scenes show three wise men present at the time of Jesus’ birth. This is an impossibility, but one that—given the amount of time between the nativity narrative and present day—has been widely accepted and left unquestioned. I hope this answers the curiosity some of you had regarding my momentary mention of the magi. What else have we not questioned? What else is there that you’d like to know? Would a bible study be beneficial for you—one that concentrates on reading for spiritual growth AND for better understanding of the written Word?

Feel free to email me with any questions or comments, I’m always happy to nerd out a little on Bible talk! Take care and have a great week.

Faithfully,

Fr. Sean+

 

 

 

 

January 2nd, 2019

Happy New Year!

The holidays can be a joyful time, full of wonderful moments and encompassing love. However, they can also be exhausting. We run the race, go to the parties, make the drives, cook the turkeys, … it can get overwhelming! January is a great time to sit back and relax, to throttle down and allow the busy nature of the past season to wash away. I urge you to take the time to do just that: Take time to sit back and be thankful for all the blessings in your life.

It’s easy to forget how much God impacts our lives amidst all the ‘stuff’ we do. It’s not intentional but it still happens. How did Advent affect you, this year? Did the services help? The reflections? Did you feel closer to God this year than in the last, further away, or the same? The answers matter, yet the questions matter more. Because faith is the one thing that we don’t ‘throttle down’. Faith should be a burning desire, a sense of seeking and wonder that fuels us through life’s seasons. We should be able to rely upon faith when things seem impossible and rejoice in faith when all is well. But to be able to understand our faith, we have to question where our faith IS. Constantly. It may seem exhausting, but really, it doesn’t have to be. If done well, this process turns into a constant conversation with God—an open-ended dialogue that never ceases. Sometimes the conversation is difficult, sometimes it’s mysterious and confusing, but most of the time it’s a sense of beautiful revelation. Revelation of things known, revelation of faith not yet encountered, revelation of grace unearned yet joyfully received.

This year, try to start that conversation if you haven’t already. And if you have, think about what the next level of dialogue with God sounds like. In a few short months, we’ll be on our way into Lent and Easter; my hope for all of us is that this current conversation leads us into those seasons filled with hope and desire for the constant companionship of God. And of course, with one another.

God bless you all. I look forward to another joy-filled year with you; and I eagerly anticipate the growth we’ll undoubtedly experience together.

Faithfully,

 

Fr. Sean+

December 12th, 2018

DON’T YOU DARE START SAYING MERRY CHRISTMAS YET.

Whatever. Stop that. Seriously.

Why? What’s the point of Advent and why have we (as clergy, especially) allowed it to become more important than the almost overwhelming joy that wraps us up during December?

We (the church) started out with good intentions, methinks. Too much of secular goings-on seemed to overtake the general anticipation of the incarnation of Christ; yet, in our attempts to hoist Advent up and hold it as a sacred season, many clergy and stodgy parishioners have morphed ‘the hoist’ into a strangle-hold, virtually choking the life out of Christmas before it even arrives. This isn’t the intent, and it was never meant to be. If we can’t see our need to become closer to Christ, our need to retrain our desires to seek God, THEN gifts and holiday bustle, we’ve already lost. But the cost paid to right the wrongs of ignoring God during Christmas is a little high, right now. We overshot. We placed Advent on an unreachable pedestal, worshiping it rather than practicing it. Well, knock it off—both figuratively and literally.

I want to encourage you to embrace the Christmas spirit, wholly; I also want EQUAL encouragement to be shared for your anticipatory practice during Advent. It IS important. But it isn’t so much so that I desire you to forgo the Christmas joy around you so that you feel better about liturgical life. Let’s face it: People NEED joy, especially now. They need to hear and feel that someone out there loves them; that a stranger could hold the keys to unlocking their caged isolation just by virtue of saying two simple words…Merry Christmas.

…Annnnnd I just read Deacon Dion’s article for today. Turns out, that’s the Holy Spirit at work, folks. My article was going to end with the previous paragraph, but I feel like adding just a bit more.  I agree with him, completely. My own Advent ascetism has been so strict the last few years that I (GUILTY) have not let the words, “Merry Christmas”, depart from my lips prematurely. So let me say this, and please hear me: Practice Advent because you desire to come closer in contact with Jesus Christ, and because you feel the need to delve into scripture and listen to others’ points of view. But at the same time, don’t forget the joy that is waiting to be let into your hearts if you would only allow yourselves to let it. Be not afraid of spreading holiday cheer. Be not afraid to listen to Christmas music, wear Santa hats, and dress in red (Here’s lookin’ at you, Tawana Ruder). And be not afraid to remind your local priest (if needed) that Advent and Christmas are but two parts of a whole year—a year in which we step one foot closer to the presence of God.

I wish you a blessed Advent.

…and a very Merry Christmas.

Joyously,

Fr. Sean+

December 19th, 2018

Tis’ the season.

There’s so much happening right now!!! I want to write you about a few things coming up, AND about some opportunities in the new year.

First, this evening is our Wednesday night community meal followed by youth, choir, and young adult formation. We’ll begin eating around six, but don’t worry about being ‘on time’—we’ll see you when you get here. Tonight’s menu: Pizza.

Next, there’s a service tomorrow evening called, “A Service of Remembrance”. While its main point is to allow those with holiday grief an opportunity to remember their loved ones, it can also serve as a point of support from those of you who may not have emotional difficulty during these weeks. The service starts at seven and all are welcome; please come and join us for a contemplative mass.

Advent four is Sunday at the regular time, but with one new class prior to service: Confirmation class. Have you been confirmed in the Episcopal Church? If not, do you know what that means? Even if you HAVE been confirmed, how long ago was it and could you use a refresher course? All are welcome to attend these classes, and I believe that we’ll all benefit from the conversations had—including myself. I usually walk away receiving new insight—and even if I don’t, I always walk away feeling a deeper connection to my personal faith. Please let me know if you’d like to be confirmed, received, or would just like to attend the class (even those of you that attended this time last year).

IMPORTANT! Following church on Sunday, we’ll be decking the halls! It’s a mighty job so we’ll need ALL the help we can get to create the Christmas atmosphere you’ve all been anticipating. With lots of folks, it will make the work more fun and quite a bit quicker, plus, we’re gonna feed you! SO please, if you can spare the time, plan to hang out after church and decorate for Jesus’ birthday party!

Additionally, there will be services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. CE service begins at 9:30 with a music program (you’ll get to sing some carols, too) followed by Midnight Mass at 10:30pm. Please come and take part in what is one of the most beautiful services in our liturgy. And bring your family and friends! Santa might be able to make it, too, for a brief cameo whilst on his way down to South America, so don’t miss the chance to see him. Christmas day service begins at 9am. If you haven’t ever attended one, AND you have the chance, come and be with us as we celebrate Jesus Christ on his official (yet probably not actual) birthday. I hope to see you there—I’ll be the one in the loud and obnoxious Christmas suit.

Life and vitality means being busy; we must be full of both! Thanks for being a part of this family, and for walking together in faith, hope and love as witnesses of Jesus Christ. Bless you all and I’ll see you sometime soon at an event near you!

Faithfully, Fr. Sean+

December 5th, 2018

Happy holy Advent!

I hope you’ve each experienced the daily reflections posted on the website, facebook, and delivered by email. With so many medias, it’s almost impossible to miss! As for myself, I’ve enjoyed the writings immensely. Thank you to those who graciously submitted their thoughts.

Acclimating to ascetics (practices) of Advent, during the first week, is much like the first week of a new diet: difficult. There are many other tasks and priorities that have been cemented, many of which are almost impossible to work around. But there it is, the reason for the change: we become intentional about setting time aside in order to engage our spirituality and faith. Delving into daily scripture and reflection can have a profound impact on the soul; it always has that impact when supported by prayer. It isn’t simply just glossing over the musings of someone ‘other’ but rather hearing the story of their soul as it appears on the page. The same with scripture. The bible is unique in that it is a living, teaching love letter from God to the rest of us. Yet, we idly cast it aside as something archaic, unimportant, or irrelevant to our context.

Not all the time, but too often.

That’s one of the major tenets of Advent; the return to scripture and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable to its ongoing message to humanity. What speaks to you this week? What insights or ‘aha’ moments have you experienced? Have you engaged in Advent practice at all? Ask yourself these questions and I guarantee you’ll feel a pull toward the Holiness of this season. 

Tonight, I’ll be speaking to the youth about their thoughts on the reflections and scriptures offered thus far this week. I almost always learn from their perspective, as they (hopefully) do from mine. Are you engaging with anyone else during this time? Have you reached out to a spouse, partner, friend, or neighbor who may be reading the same material concurrently, just to hear what they’ve encountered? If not, try. You might be surprised.

The new Advent diet pangs go away quickly, I promise. Before you realize it, you’ll be hungering for a new food; the diet of scripture, interaction with your fellow faithful, and spiritual curiosity will begin to replace your need for the art of secular busy-ness. Keep reading, keep praying, keep listening. That longing voice inside you—the one that seeks God and the presence of His Holy Spirit—will be answered in short order by the cry of an infant that breaks the silent night; the infant who will save the world again.

Faithfully,
Fr. Sean+

November 28th, 2018

It’s almost Advent! There are a few changes coming to a bulletin near you that I thought you’d like to know about.

First, we’ll be changing the liturgy from Rite 2 to Rite 1 for the entire season. The reasons for this are many but I’ll highlight some of my own for you. The main prompt for the change is that we celebrate in Rite 2 language for the majority of the year. Let’s face it: contemporary language is easier to understand and visitors to the church can more readily participate when there’s one less barrier to break. Having said that, Rite 1 is in our DNA as Anglicans and I’d like to keep it that way. The service folds deeper into the traditional worship style of our denomination when spoken in the words of that time; I love it, and I hope that if you don’t, then you’ll at least give it a closer look this year. Another reason for using Rite 1 is to have the opportunity to recite the “Prayer of Humble Access” prior to receiving communion—“We do not presume to come to this thy table…” It is arguably one of the best prayers in the whole of our liturgy. And then finally, I want to offer this Rite for some of the people who grew up in the church prior to 1979—before the BCP was changed from the 1928 version. It is dear to many of our long-time members and I want to share that moment with them. I hope you do, too. We can never know where we’re going without knowing where we’ve been.

Second, the blessing at the end of the service, “Be at peace…”, will go on hiatus until December 24th. This allows us an opportunity to anticipate that ‘peace’ that comes from the incarnation of God, the birth of Jesus Christ. Instead, we’ll be using an Advent blessing, so keep an ear open for it!

Third, we will be saying Alleluia. The whole time. There’s nothing in the BCP that stands against using the word during Advent, therefore I am not against it. Honestly, I think it’s about time we understood Advent for what it is: A penitential season of anticipation and joy. Our hearts should barely be able to contain themselves within our chests. We should be so excited about the incarnation of Christ that we not only want to say Alleluia, but we want to SCREAM it from the mountaintops. Remember that penitential seasons call us to look inward and do some naval gazing, so don’t lose that chance to make some changes in your life. However, Advent should be approached with wonder, eagerness, and a sense of the Holy that can’t quite be explained. Say Alleluia. Scream it. Or silently whisper it to your own soul as a gentle reminder that the Savior of humankind is coming once again to free you from darkness.

I look forward to this, and every, season with you. I hope you have a blessed Advent experience and I hope that the liturgy speaks to your souls as it does to mine.

Faithfully, 

Fr. Sean+