Feast Days

Feb. 4, 2018 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Feb 4, 2018 in Epiphany, Feast Days, Sermons

Today we celebrate the feast of Candlemas which honors Jesus being presented in the temple by Joseph and Mary, according to Jewish tradition. Aged Simeon and the Prophet Anna who had long awaited his coming, and are prophet and witness to the fulfillment of God’s promise revealed in the one we call the light of the world.  We first gathered at the entrance with an icon of the ‘Presentation of Jesus in the Temple,’ with candles to symbolize the light of Christ entering, and amidst ‘Candlemas Bells’ (also called snowdrops) which are a sign of purity and life breaking through the ‘death’ of winter. They are often the first blooms to come up as snow begins to melt and there is much lovely folklore about them you can look up or ask me about later. Widely celebrated in England, Candlemas is the first day one is allowed to bring the ‘Candlemas Bells’ indoors, first bringing them to the altar for the feast day to recall the promise of greater light to come, and only after that may they be brought into people’s homes. It falls midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox; just when we are wearied by the long winter nights and rainy days, we see the hint of lengthening days and the growing light in the world.

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Jan. 7, 2018 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Jan 7, 2018 in Epiphany, Feast Days, Sermons

The Judean wilderness setting for Jesus’ baptism as told in the gospel according to Mark is wonderfully real, earthy, and tactile. We hear of people crossing the countryside and being baptized in river water, a man who wears camel’s hair and leather, who eats bugs and honey, the image of the thongs of Jesus’ sandals to be tied. You can imagine that sense of him coming up out of the water himself, it running off his face, then hair and shoulders, and dripping from his clothes as he is startled by seeing the heavens ripped open, and God’s larger-than-life voice that only Jesus hears. It keeps us from pretending baptism is a nice tame ritual, domesticated and abstract in it’s power. No – this is all about the real, tangible presence of God crashing into this world in a new way! Picture that Spirit as a dove descending on him—was it gently lofting down from fluffy clouds, or was it part of that ripping open of the heavens, diving down on John, Jesus and the others at the river, bearing the power of God’s in-breaking just as Jesus hears those words? Did people look up in serene angelic adoration, or did they duck to avoid the Spirit’s swooping speeding path, peeking at the last to see where it landed? I like to think it was the latter and more dramatic real-world scene.

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Nov. 5, 2017 – All Saints’ Sunday (sermon)

Posted by on Sun, Nov 5, 2017 in Feast Days, Season after Pentecost, Sermons

The last two churches I served, as well as the one in Bellingham, where Michael and I were married, all had those grand stained-glass windows with scenes from Jesus’ life and striking images of those we call saints. They’re usually depicted with symbols of their holiness or martyrdom, they seem to glow from within, each is spotlessly attired, with faces that are solemn if they’re men, and sweetly thoughtful if women, and they are all adorned with halos. It’s common practice for priests to be asked about them, and so right away you learn about the saints depicted in your church windows. (Dorcas and Damaris were never mentioned in seminary, but I learned their story!) Coming to Saint Michael and All Angels meant learning about only one “saint”—and none of the usual ones are depicted in our windows. But in a way, many of the other lesser known ones are in here.

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Photo album: Saint Michael’s Day Celebration 2017

Posted by on Wed, Oct 4, 2017 in Events, Feast Days, Photos, Season after Pentecost, Youth

Saint Michael’s Day Celebration 2017: Here are some photos taken by parishioners James Violette, Kathie Wilbert, and staff member Jason Anderson at our patronal feast day celebration on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Many thanks to all who make the day a festive success!

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Saint Michael and All Angels – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Oct 1, 2017 in Feast Days, Season after Pentecost, Sermons

Jacob is in exile at Bethel, feeling alone and abandoned by God, and goes to sleep using a stone for his pillow. In his dream God appears reiterating his words to Abraham and Isaac, that all humankind would be blessed through them, and now repeats the promise to Jacob. God promises to be with him always and to return him to this land. That divine appearance to the three patriarchs highlights the tremendous importance of these promises to God’s people. Jacob is sure of it because he’s seen the signs of divine angels ascending and descending upon the ladder which reaches from him to the heavenly realm, and now at the foot of this ladder, God appears reiterating that promise. Jacob awakens saying, “Surely the Lord is in this place…This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” It is this vision of Jacob’s wherein the sacred Temple at Bethel is named and founded. Keep this scene in your mind now, because it is this which Jesus alludes to in our gospel.

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Sep. 10, 2017 – Holy Cross Day – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Sep 10, 2017 in Feast Days, Season after Pentecost, Sermons

Something very powerful happens when we process in following the cross. I say ‘we’ because our procession through the people gathered is not just to cue you about when to stand, it’s done on behalf of the whole assembly. It symbolically draws us all together into worship, so as far as is possible the procession will include all of the orders of the church; lay members, religious orders, deacons, priests, and bishops – at our annual convention each year it’s quite a sight! Being led into worship with the cross is not an accident, it is symbolic of our coming together to pray as people who seek to follow Christ, and our prayers and intentions are thus focus

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