Spring!

Every year when Spring arrives and the whole earth seems to turn green-gold I think of this wonderful poem by Robert Frost:
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
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Easter Joy at St. Paul’s

Our Beautiful Easter Altar
Tyler & Vincent

Tyler & Vincent’s Clarinet Duet
Baptismal “Thanksgiving Over the Water”
Mary is “Marked as Christ’s own forever.”

“Everyone outside for the Easter Egg Hunt!”  (Rowen, Celia & Willem)

 Rowen
Shea & Rowen watch the fun.

Meanwhile, the grownups enjoy the special brunch inside. (Jennifer & Kyle; John & Jeannette)

Celestia & Tyler

  Celia counts jellybeans.    Larry’s bunnies rev up their Twinkies.

A good time had by all–our tradition at St. Paul’s!
50 Days of Easter Blessings!  Mother Candace+

Sleeping for Sorrow

Tomorrow night is Maundy Thursday, the night Jesus prayed fiercely in the darkness of the garden of Gethsemane: “”Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” As Jesus prayed to be released from his horrible fate on that cross, we are told the disciples were “sleeping for sorrow.”  Waking them Jesus says: “Could you not even watch with me for one hour?” And so we come on this night, to watch and pray with him for one hour.

 I hope you can make time in your busy lives for the very special services of Holy Week. Only when we’ve been to the dark garden of Gethsemane can we really appreciate the Resurrection garden that will greet us Easter Sunday.   

In Christ, Mother Candace+ 

 

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The Way of the Cross

Another Faithful Woman

The origins of Holy Week are traced back to Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem in the 4th century. Pilgrims pouring into Jerusalem to be baptized Easter morning, followed Cyril around to the various sites significant to the events of Jesus’ last days on earth: the “Upper Room” where he had his last meal; the “Via Dolorosa,” where he struggled to carry his cross; and the hill at Golgatha where they crucified him.  Fortunately for us, these 4th century walking “liturgies” were recorded by one of those early pilgrims, a Gallic woman named Egeria. Eventually these early liturgies became our Prayer Book liturgies of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter: sometimes called “The Triduum” (three days).

Egeria wrote an account of her Holy Week experience in Jerusalem in a long letter to her Christian women friends back home in Europe, who had never heard of these traditions. It is thought her letter might be the very first formal writing by a woman in the history of the world.

God bless Egeria, and all the pilgrims who walked with Cyril through Holy Week, marking it in time and recording it. Because of their faithfulness, we are able to follow Jesus’ last earthly journey to this day. If you have never walked this sacred walk I hope you will make time in your busy lives next week for the very special services of Holy Week!

Faithfully, Mother Candace+

 

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Have you lived YOUR life?

Every Lent I make a point of reading the poem “Ask Me” by American poet, William Stafford, which asks the question:  “Ask me whether what I have  done is my life.” It is the same question asked by Frederick Buechner in Listening to Your Life, which we are reading in our Lenten Study.  It is a question that is life giving for me, and I hope it is for you also:
                       Ask Me

Some time when the river is ice ask me mistakes I have made. Ask me whether what I have done is my life. Others have come in their slow way into my thought, and some have tried to help or to hurt: ask me what difference their strongest love or hate has made. I will listen to what you say. You and I can turn and look at the silent river and wait. We know the current is there, hidden; and there are comings and goings from miles away that hold the stillness exactly before us. What the river says, that is what I say.

In Christ, Mother Candace+

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How to Feed Your Soul

When we are feeling burned out, empty, dry, we invariably are told to eat well, get more sleep, and exercise. All of this is well-intentioned, good advice, which will certainly feed our body… but it will not feed our soul. Souls need food, and rest, and exercise of a different sort. Souls are fed with loving relationship, joy, and “every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Souls find rest in quiet contemplation and peace. Souls are exercised in prayer and worship. Not doing these things affects the soul like not eating or drinking affects the body.

Yours in Christ, Mother Candace+

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Dealing With Disappointment

Recently I read a study that said people spend more time daydreaming about what they “should have done,” or “might have done,” than they do thinking about what they are actually doing in their present life. It would seem that even Jesus thought about what he “might have done” when he lamented in Sunday’s Gospel: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem….How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!”

This touching lament made me think about what it must have felt like for Jesus, especially at the end on that cross. Everything he had hoped to accomplish had seemingly failed, his own people rejected him, the most learned of his community mocked him, his family thought he was crazy, one of his disciples betrayed him, another denied him, the rest deserted him. His hometown crowd literally tried to throw him off a cliff.

How amazing to have a God who was willing to live as one of us, willing to experience the rejections and disappointments we all experience. “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and grief to bear,” the old hymn goes, “We should never be discouraged, take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful, who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness, take it to the Lord in prayer.”

Amen! Mother Candace+

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Denying our false self

What  does it mean when Jesus asks us to deny ourselves, take up our cross,  and follow him? I don’t believe Jesus means we should deny our true self, since  the Gospels are full of encouragement and affirmation for being  our authentic self. Jesus affirms this when he says, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

I believe it means we need to deny our  false self, our worldly self, that’s always trying to please the powers,  achieve status, push others aside to have its own way.  Isn’t that just what Jesus did when he denied all the false selves the Devil tempted him with in the Wilderness?

When we are willing to walk the way of the cross–the way of love, of openness, vulnerability, and self sacrifice–we are walking the way of  deep self.  Jesus calls himself “The truly human One,” and when we are  “truly human,” we are touching “Christ in us.”  

Wishing you a Holy Lent, Mother Candace+

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Tempted by the Devil

Lent always begins with Jesus struggling with his adversary “the devil” in the Wilderness. Interesting to note though, that it is not the devil, but the Holy Spirit that “led” Jesus into the Wilderness “to be tempted by the devil.”  In fact in Mark’s gospel, the Spirit “drove” Jesus into the Wilderness. Being tested in the Wilderness seems to be part of God’s plan for his beloved son, a plan that begins and ends with suffering.

Our own lives are also full of suffering, which makes one wonder if our trials are somehow necessary for our spiritual growth. Suffering, if it does not destroy us, seems to awaken something in us, seems to call up in us strengths we did not know we had. Adversity forces us to define ourselves, and define our values. Perhaps it is not a coincidence then that one of the names for the devil, “Satan,” literally means “adversary.”

Something to ponder for Lent!

Mother Candace+

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Join us for Pancakes Sunday!

This coming Wednesday, February 13th, is Ash Wednesday, the most widely attended weekday service in Christendom.  One of my favorite poems-which I often use as a prayer-is “Ash Wednesday,” by T. S. Eliot. The final stanza is found below.  Enjoy!  Mother Candace+

Blessed sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden,
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
Sister, mother
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated

And let my cry come unto Thee.

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