Jesus ate Meals - #EatTogether

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Over the past couple years we have had a small framed sign in the church narthex that simply says, “Jesus didn’t run projects, establish ministries, or put on events.  He ate meals.” This is a quote from Tim Chester’s book, A Meal with Jesus.  I offer this because it states something fundamental about who we are as follows of Jesus.  

Last week I wrote about fellowship and how a lot of fellowship revolved around eating together.  This makes perfect sense from a theological perspective.  As Christians we share a sacred meal each Sunday when we celebrate Holy Communion.  Holy Communion operates on many different levels, but the fact that it is bread and wine that we consume is not mere symbolism or coincidence.  We are nourished by the same bread and wine, and when we share that holy food, we grow together both physically and spiritually.  Spiritually, because we are each drawn deeper into the life and death of Jesus Christ – and all that that means in following his teachings, compassion, love and grace.  Physically, because our bodies are all sharing in the same molecules that make up the elements of bread and wine – we have eaten the same food, and it is now a part of all of us.  

This way of thinking can and should be applied to our understanding of sharing any food in fellowship.  When we share a meal with each other, we are sharing the same nourishment.  When the meal is over and we separate company, a part of what we shared goes with everyone who was present.  Perhaps, this is why sharing food is sometimes considered such an intimate act.  Food brings us closer together.  This is also a big reason we eat together at St. Luke’s.  Whether it is Wednesday evening dinners, First Sunday Potlucks, coffee hour after worship, or the upcoming Shrove Tuesday pancake supper, we grow together when we share food.  

Share a meal with a friend, or a stranger, or your family, or a fellow church member, or with someone who you need to repair your relationship.  Eat together and see what happens.  Below, be sure to watch a video that made the rounds on social media last year, but illustrates beautifully how community is restored, formed, and strengthened when we choose to share a meal.

In Faith, Hope & Love,

Fr. David+

Fellowship - A Brief Guide!

This past Saturday evening we had perhaps the best Chili cook-off we’ve had over the past four years by every measure – more people, more chili, the quality of chili (delicious!), new people & longer-term members eating together and getting to know each other.  Overall it was a good night and my hope is that it was only the first of many such gatherings and opportunities for us this year as we build up our community at St. Luke’s. 

Being part of a church means being part of a church community.  That community is strengthened through worshiping together, studying together, serving together, and of course through eating and laughing together – what most of us would call fellowship.  Fellowship is one of those things that most all of us agree needs to take place to strengthen our church community, but many people tell me they are either too busy to participate in things like the chili cook-off, or they are comfortable with the people they already know.  So, to help get us all on the same page, I want to offer to you an abbreviated guide to fellowship @ St. Luke’s:

1.       Fellowship can and should happen as much AWAY from the church as it does AT the church.  I hear of people from church meeting together for lunch or dinner or some other social gathering/event.  Great!  Truthfully, most of our “church” fellowship should happen away from church – fellowship should take place where we live our lives. 

2.       Most fellowship revolves around food – but not all!  Inviting fellow St. Luke’s members to do an activity with you is a great way to get to know them – and for them to get to know you.  Activities can be anything – kayaking, running a 5K, joining a campaign of your favorite role-playing game, watching a movie or concert, going on a trip, etc.

3.       Not sure how to get to know new people at church (or anywhere for that matter)?  Invite them to join you for lunch or breakfast after worship; spend a coffee hour or two speaking with just them, listening to find out who they are, and sharing who you are as well; agree to participate in a church event together (outreach or service events, or things like the Chili cook-off); send them an email, text, or phone call, introducing who you are and that you’d like to get to know them & see what happens from there.

4.       Invite new people to join you occasionally when you do things with church members who are already your friends.  Besides being hospitable, this is how our community is truly strengthened.

5.       While fellowship takes place primarily away from the church building, there are also several good fellowship opportunities that do take place there.  In fact some of these occasions even shape and form the way we see our church community.  Some examples of this happening annually might be the Pentecost Picnic and St. Luke’s Day Festival.  Happening more frequently is the weekly Wed. evening dinner at 5:30, and the monthly First Sunday Potluck after the 10:30 service. 

6.       While not everyone can make every event, keep an eye out for different fellowship opportunities such as Game nights, movie nights, or other special dinners or cook-outs that take place at St. Luke’s. On average, at least one “fellowship” event like the above happen once a month

7.       Perhaps most important of all is that by spending time with our extended church family outside of worship, our own worship begins to deepen.  Because our lives have crossed paths outside of worship and we better know those praying next to us, our prayers for our church and for our community carry a greater weight and are more sincere.  

Every day I am thankful for the community at St. Luke’s, and for the friends and fellowship my family and I have found there.  I look forward to spending many, many more evenings laughing together, sharing great food, and of course, getting to know you more. 

In Faith, Hope & Love,

Fr. David+

Sermon for January 21, 2018

Download or listen the sermon from Sunday.  The Gospel text is below: 

Mark 1:14-20

After John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.

St. Luke's Day Celerbation - 2017

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Every year we celebrate the feast day of our patron saint, St. Luke. For the past several years this celebration has included a festival on Saturday along with special worship on Sunday.  

This year, our St. Luke's Day Festival will take place on Saturday, October 14 from 10am. till it finishes that afternoon.  All are welcome and invited to join us as we celebrate!  This year's schedule includes,

Saturday, October 14:

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7 a.m. - Monthly Community Yard Sale

10 a.m. - music by the Goshen Travelers

11 a.m. - First responders Blessing

And while you are there, don't forget to buy one of our famous marinated chicken dinners. 

There will be games, inflatables, and crafts for children of all ages. 

Sunday, October 15:

We will celebrate the ministry of St. Luke and how that ministry continues to shape our identity as St. Luke's church.  Our guest preacher that morning will be the Rev. Canon Frank Logue, at both our 8:30 & 10:30 services, and we will share breakfast between our worship at 9:30 in the parish hall.  

St. Luke's - Healing Happens Here

These are some of the stories of St. Luke's members whose lives have been changed by discovering the transforming power of God's grace.  This video was created during our summer congregational meeting.  

God's invitation is for all who are weary and carrying heavy burdens; for all who are searching for healing and transformation.  

Bishop's Visitation 2017

Every 12-15 months we have the joy of being able to worship with our Bishop.  Confirmations, people being Received into the Episcopal church, and baptisms usually take place on those occasions.  This year, our bishop, the Rt. Rev. Scott Benhase made his annual visitation on Sunday afternoon, May 7.  St. Luke's was pleased to celebrate with 6 people being Confirmed or Received.  Following worship we shared a cookout dinner and filled our parish hall with laughter, excitement, and new life.  Can't ask for anything better during Easter Season!

The Great Fifity Day

Alleluia, Christ is risen!

This is the Easter acclamation, which we shouted in worship this past Sunday.  Jesus’ resurrection is foundational to our faith as Christians, and as such, the church has taught for centuries that Easter is so special it should be celebrated longer than simply one day.  Because of this, we joyfully celebrate Easter for 50 days (The Great Fifty Days) – from Easter Sunday all the way till Pentecost.  As Christians we feast and celebrate longer than we fasted during Lent (40 days) because the resurrection is that important, and it also reminds us that at the end of all things we will be feasting at the Great Wedding Banquette far longer than any suffering or sorrow we experience now.  

With the above in mind, we at St. Luke’s will be celebrating Easter a little differently this year.  First, each Sunday during worship, the sermon will explore some kind of foundational truth of who we are – as Christians, as Episcopalians, as St. Luke’s.  Just as the resurrection is foundational to our faith, we will examine specific foundational beliefs in order that we may live more joyfully and confidently in the light of Christ’s resurrection. 

Secondly, I would like to invite you to join me and my family every Saturday evening during Eastertide at St. Luke’s for a cookout.  We will bring the hamburgers & hotdogs, you bring a side dish, a game if you’d like, beverage of your choice, and of course a readiness for fellowship & fun.  This will begin next Saturday, April 29 around 5:30 p.m., and continue till June 3, the eve of Pentecost.  Everyone is invited, so come for one Saturday, or every week, and join us as we celebrate and “feast” together! 

My hope for each of us during this period of the Great Fifty Days of Easter is that we know and experience the resurrection of Jesus more and more in our own lives, and in the life of our church. 

The Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia!

With Faith, Hope & Love,

Fr. David+

Music & Arts Camp 2017!

Get ready for Music & Arts camp 2017 at St. Luke's this summer!  M&A Camp will be at St. Luke's the last week of June - June 26-30, 2017, from 9 a.m. till 5 p.m..  We are excited to offer this week for the fourth year running.  One of the exciting changes being offered this year is that your child can choose a specific focus for classes - visual arts, movement arts, musical arts, & storytelling/dramatic arts.  And like in years past there will still be fun and games, great music, water play day, all with the goal of reinforcing faith in Christ.  Cost this year is $75 for the week, $125 for 2 children from the same family, and $150 for 3 children.  Sign up using the form below, or email Fr. David for more information - frdavid@stlukesrincon.com

Hope to see you this summer as we explore and grow in faith through creativity!  Check back here for a daily schedule within the next few weeks. 

Parent's Name *
Parent's Name
Any Alergies? *
Are you willing to volunteer? *
Volunteers are able to receive a discount for the cost of the camp.

A Holy Week Q&A

Why do we change the color from purple to red?

In order to set aside Holy Week as the culmination of Lent, we change the color from purple to red.  The red reminds us of the passion of Christ, particularly his death.  Red also reminds us of the presence of the Holy Spirit throughout the week.

 

Why are we having services every night of the week?

The short answer is because it’s Holy Week.  The longer answer is that by gathering together daily during Holy Week, we remember the entire story.  We hear the lessons that tell us about the woman anointing Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume and washing them with her hair and the story of Judas betraying Jesus, and Jesus knowing full well what was coming.  This one week out of the year we set aside as special, sacred time and walk with Jesus through his passion each day.

 

What does “Maundy” mean (as in Maundy Thursday)?

“Maundy” comes from the Latin word “mandatum” meaning command, or mandate.  It was on this evening, while with the 12 apostles, Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. (John 13:34)”  We call this day Maundy Thursday to remember this new command.

 

Why do we wash feet on Maundy Thursday?

The short answer is simply because Jesus washed his disciples’ feet and told them to do likewise.  You can read that story in the gospel of John chapter 13. 

By taking on the role of a servant, we are reminded that humility and service are the characteristics of Christian leadership.  It’s also an uncomfortable experience to both have your feet washed and to wash someone else’s feet.  Through the act of foot-washing we are reminded that sometimes following Christ is uncomfortable. 

Though all are invited to come forward to have their feet washed and to wash someone else’s feet, it is not a requirement by any means.  If you choose to not participate in our ceremony of foot-washing you are invited to join in the singing or pray silently.

 

What’s the deal with stripping the Altar?

We strip the altar and remove all the candles, vessels, and decorations from the church as our last act of devotion on Maundy Thursday to remind us that this is the last Eucharist we will celebrate until Easter.  Just as Jesus was stripped of his garments when he was nailed to the cross, so we strip our altar as we remember his humiliation. 

 

What is the Stations of the Cross?

The Stations of the Cross (or Way of the Cross) refers to a series of artistic representations depicting Christ Carrying the Cross to his crucifixion.  Many churches contain Stations of the Cross images, typically placed at intervals along the side walls of the nave

On Good Friday we move along from image to image (or stations), say a prayer, and remember Christ’s own journey carrying the cross to Golgotha.  This is a particularly moving service since we physically move from station to station.   This year, St. Luke’s is offering a service of the Stations of the Cross at 12 noon on Good Friday.

 

Why do we consume all the bread and wine on Good Friday?

Good Friday is the day that Jesus died on the cross.  His physical life ended.  In our theology, we believe that Christ is truly present in the bread and wine of Holy Communion.  We consume all the bread and wine that has been left in reserve (for communion on Good Friday and to take to those who are sick or shut-in) to remember his physical death.  Just as Christ’s body suffered and died, so his physical presence among us through the bread and wine (his body and blood) is out of our midst till the Easter Vigil.

 

Why is the Easter Vigil at sunrise on Sunday morning, instead of Saturday evening?

There is a general practice in the Episcopal Church to hold the Easter Vigil after sun-down on Saturday evening before Easter Day.  This is something that is neither wrong nor right, but left up to the preference and practice of the local congregation and priest.  Easter is about light triumphing over darkness, life over death.  That seems best expressed as we see the sun rise during our first celebration of the resurrection.  

 

What makes the Easter Vigil so special anyway?

According to our Book of Common Prayer, the Easter Vigil is THE central worship service of the entire Christian year.  It is bigger than Christmas Eve; bigger than Maundy Thursday or Good Friday; bigger than our Easter service later that morning.  The Great Vigil of Easter (or Easter Vigil), is patterned after the worship of the earliest Christians, centuries ago.  In it we move from the darkness of the tomb to the light of resurrection through fire, water, story and song.  Since this is the most important service of the Christian year expect incense, candlelight, baptisms, mystery, and more.

 

If I go to the Easter Vigil do I still need to go to the 10:00 A.M. Easter service?

The short answer is no, you have already gone to the main service of Easter.  The 10:00 service will still be a special service that is bigger and filled with more pageantry than a normal Sunday service, but if you have attended the Vigil, you’re truly experienced the resurrection, and there is no need to attend both services.

 

I heard you say the word, “Triduum.”  What does that mean?

“Triduum” simply means a three day period.  Specifically, Episcopalians will often use this word to describe the three days beginning with sun-down on Maundy Thursday through sun-down on Easter Sunday to express the overall unity of the passion story.  The Last Supper, crucifixion, lying in the tomb, and then the resurrection, form one story of God’s redeeming love and work in this world.  By calling these three days the “Triduum”, we remember that all of these services are connected, and part of one larger narrative of God’s salvation.

 

Are children welcome?

Yes of course!  The services during Holy Week are special to be sure, and sometimes we show that specialness by keeping silent in worship, but children learn that these days are different and special by coming and being involved – even if that means there is noise instead of silence.  It is by attending and participating that children and youth learn the significance of Holy Week in general and Easter in particular.  We all bear the responsibility of teaching future generations our faith and traditions, including the significance of this week.  So yes, children are always welcome!  There is a nursery/crying room available beside the doors to the nave of the church for the youngest children when they need to step out of the service. 

Holy Week Worship Schedule

St. Luke's Holy Week schedule 2017:

 

Palm Sunday, April 9 – We will begin our service in the memorial garden with the Liturgy of Palms at our new time, 10:00 a.m. 

 

April 10-12 – Holy Communion each evening at 6:30 p.m.

 

Maundy Thursday, April 13 – A service of Foot Washing, Holy Eucharist, and Stripping of the Altar at 6:30 p.m.

 

Good Friday, April 14 – Stations of the Cross offered at 12:00 noon, and the Good Friday Liturgy at 6:30 p.m.

 

Easter Day, April 16 – The Great Vigil of Easter will be celebrated at 6:30 a.m.  We will share breakfast at 8:30 a.m.  Our regular Easter Service will take place at 10:00 a.m., followed by an Easter egg hunt for the children at 11:15 a.m.