Chaplain’s Corner

Easter 5 (C) May 19, 2019

Posted by on May 19, 2019 in Meditations, News | Comments Off on Easter 5 (C) May 19, 2019

Easter 5 (C) May 19, 2019

[RCL] Acts 11:1-18; Psalm 148; Revelation 21:1-6; John 13:31-35 Acts 11:1-18 The Acts of the Apostles depicts Jesus’ early followers as observant Jews and the beginnings of the church as rooted within Judaism, yet is concerned with the expansion of the church from those origins to a movement spread throughout the Roman Empire.In the first part of today’s passage, verses 1-3, Peter’s fellow apostles and the Jewish believers in Jesus (the circumcised believers) confront Peter as he returns to Jerusalem from baptizing the Roman centurion Cornelius in Caesarea. They demand an explanation for why he has broken the Jewish law by entering a gentile house and eating unclean food.In verses 4-17, Peter repeats the events of Chapter 10, a device that Luke uses for emphasis. As Peter explains the vision in which God has informed him emphatically and repeatedly that what God had cleansed he was not to regard as unclean, he affirms the point that the Holy Spirit had directed the conversion of the gentiles by recounting a simultaneous vision on Cornelius’ part that he should send to Joppa for Peter. When Peter arrives at the house, he begins to proclaim the gospel, but the Holy Spirit falls upon Cornelius’ household just as it had upon the Apostles on the day of Pentecost. Peter remembers God’s words and gifts on that day, and understands that it is God’s will that the gentiles be saved.In the final verse, 18, the Apostles and Jewish believers are silenced. They too understand that the gentiles have been given salvation through belief in Jesus, and praise God.The passage is pivotal in the spread of the gospel from the Jewish followers to the wider world of the gentile Roman Empire. It also makes the distinction between baptism by water, a human act, and baptism by the Holy Spirit, an act of God. What are some of the differences and similarities between water baptism and spirit baptism? Which comes first? Is one more public than another? Even though the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles at Pentecost, they are slow to understand God’s purpose and command that the gospel be preached to everyone. Not all of the Apostles come to this understanding at the same time. Can you think of other examples of times, either in the Bible or in your own experience, when understanding God’s call comes as a process as well as a specific moment of enlightenment? Psalm 148Psalm 148 is a hymn of praise. A cast of all the created are called upon to praise God the creator of all the universe. In verses 1-6, the inhabitants of the heavens are exhorted to praise their creator. In verses 7-14, the elements of the earth are called to praise God’s glory. God is the exalted and splendid creator of heaven and earth, and the children of Israel, his loyal servants, are especially near to him. Today’s passage from Acts ends with the Apostles praising God, saying, “Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life” (Acts 11:18). What parts of Psalm 148 might the Apostles have included in their praise? Try writing some additional verses that the Apostles might have prayed in an extemporaneous outpouring of praise in response to Peter’s explanation of events in Acts 11:1-18. Revelation...

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Easter 4 (C) – May 12, 2019

Posted by on May 10, 2019 in Meditations | Comments Off on Easter 4 (C) – May 12, 2019

Easter 4 (C) – May 12, 2019

Acts 9:36-43; Psalm 23; Revelation 7:9-17; John 10:22-30 Acts 9:36-43 One of the true joys of the Easter season is dwelling in the Book of Acts and seeing the immediate effects of the Resurrection upon the community of Jesus’ followers. We hear of people, at least men, who are filled with the Holy Spirit, and how they evangelize, prophesy, and build a community centered around the Holy Spirit. In this community, poverty is confronted with the sharing of wealth, hunger with the sharing of food, and death with resurrection. Those who are marginalized, like widows and orphans, are tended to by disciples like Tabitha. As we continue to reflect upon the Resurrection and how it might transform us and our communities, these stories help us to see where our own communities can be led more fully by the Holy Spirit. However, this passage also encourages us to be more critical of both the text of Acts and of our own society, particularly around gender roles. A close reading of Acts shows that men and women are treated differently from each other, which would be expected, given the culture in which it was produced. The men are filled with the Holy Spirit and consistently do the “public” work of ministry by preaching, healing, and teaching; these are not roles that we see being held by women in this text. While we may react to that with frustration, anger, or acceptance, this text could also be an opportunity for us to ask where in our communities gender roles are deeply entrenched and how we might be called to begin the hard work of building communities where gender roles are more equal. The message of Easter, particularly as exemplified in Acts, encourages us to look deeply at not only our individual lives but at our communities and how we might live more fully into a life filled with the Holy Spirit and to address—and dismantle—the cultural systems that hinder that journey. Who is marginalized in your community? How do you already serve them? Does that service feed you spiritually? Does that service build those who are served up and treat them with dignity?  Are there defined gender roles in your community, whether explicitly or implicitly defined? How would you start to address them to bring equality? Psalm 23 This is one of the most famous passages of scripture in both the Christian and Hebraic traditions, and many have dwelt in it and have been comforted by it over the centuries. As we dwell in it, we are comforted by the pastoral images and the feeling and knowledge that God will be with us in our most desperate hours. When we encounter a passage that we know very well, it can be easy to simply hear it as we have always heard it, especially with this passage because the imagery is so comforting. In order to hear this passage anew, one might focus on one particular image or think of a very difficult situation where you want to be assured that God is with you. Picture the scenery of this psalm—the pastures, the still waters, or the table spread before us—and meditate simply on how you have experienced God in that particular place in your own life. Another option would be to follow...

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Easter 3 (C) – May 5, 2019

Posted by on May 3, 2019 in Meditations | Comments Off on Easter 3 (C) – May 5, 2019

Easter 3 (C) – May 5, 2019

[RCL] Acts 9:1-6, (7-20); Psalm 30; Revelation 5:11-14; John 21:1-19 Acts 9:1-6, (7-20) Saul of Tarsus, the persecutor of Christ-followers, performs his job so thoroughly that Acts describes him as “still breathing threats and murder” (v. 1). Rounding up believers on the Way, binding them up, andsending them to Jerusalem was as innate to him as inhaling and exhaling. We might even presume that Saul took great pride in how effective he was at his occupation. But Jesus has a knack for using the most unlikely characters to do God’s work and to show what true turning-around looks like. In this instance, perhaps Saul is the reminder that binding is always multi-directional. When we bind others, we are inescapably binding ourselves. Jesus looses Saul’s boundedness with a profound show of light and outward blindness that brings Saul to his knees. Simultaneously, the Lord speaks to a disciple inviting him to facilitate Saul’s healing and final transformation—signaling that none of this transformation and conversion business is accomplished alone. Saul now has inner vision, but can see nothing of the physical world. And for three days he lives in blindness, until Ananias, the disciple, arrives to lay hands on him. [RCL] Acts 9:1-6, (7-20); Psalm 30; Revelation 5:11-14; John 21:1-19 Acts 9:1-6, (7-20) Saul of Tarsus, the persecutor of Christ-followers, performs his job so thoroughly that Acts describes him as “still breathing threats and murder” (v. 1). Rounding up believers on the Way, binding them up, and sending them to Jerusalem was as innate to him as inhaling and exhaling. We might even presume that Saul took great pride in how effective he was at his occupation. But Jesus has a knack for using the most unlikely characters to do God’s work and to show what true turning-around looks like.  In this instance, perhaps Saul is the reminder that binding is always multi-directional. When we bind others, we are inescapably binding ourselves. Jesus looses Saul’s boundedness with a profound show of light and outward blindness that brings Saul to his knees. Simultaneously, the Lord speaks to a disciple inviting him to facilitate Saul’s healing and final transformation—signaling that none of this transformation and conversion business is accomplished alone. Saul now has inner vision, but can see nothing of the physical world. And for three days he lives in blindness, until Ananias, the disciple, arrives to lay hands on him.  Jesus continues to heal, transform, and level the gap between oppressed and oppressor even after the Resurrection. Saul is forced to find another way to order the pattern of his breathing. No more threats or murder, only baptism and proclaiming Jesus.• Are there actions that are unconsciously second nature to us that we do not realize may be harmful to others?• When have you experienced healing and/or transformation? Psalm 30 The psalmist reveals a deeply faithful trust in what God has done and will do in the future. God has healed -and restored them to life when all the world was against them. Through this steadfast faith, the psalmist can readily sing praises, dance, and give thanks. Psalm 30 reassures us that when we cry to the Lord, we will not be abandoned. “Weeping may spend the night, but joy comes in the morning” (v. 6). • “Trust” is such a simple...

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Easter (C) 2019

Posted by on April 27, 2019 in Chaplain, Featured, News | Comments Off on Easter (C) 2019

Easter (C) 2019

One of the wonderful joys of Easter is that it is a Season: 50 days to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Christ’s victory over the power of sin, evil and death.We celebrate those seven Sundays during which the early Church commemorated/remembered together in community what took place following Jesus’s death and burial. Christ was experienced physically by those who knew Him. There is a power in those stories and there is hope and joy.Every year we share those stories (that Central Story in/of our faith) with each other and the world. We can only tell the stories faithfully by using the source materials we have, that is by the various Biblical accounts and the early Church’s understanding of what took place—their struggle and their eyes being opened and coming to faith: “My Lord and My God!” We cannot coerce others into faith or believing. We are called to authenticity and to support those who struggle with their faith. We are called to listen to all those who are searching and be with them in their journey. If you will, “Be a companion along the Way!” As we also continue to grow and learn in our faith and understanding, may the Risen Lord be with us all. Alleluia: Christ is Risen!The Lord is Risen indeed: Alleluia!Bishop Philip M. Duncan, IIChaplain of The Episcopal...

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Mary Magdalene Fund Easter Ingathering

Posted by on April 25, 2019 in News, TEC_News | Comments Off on Mary Magdalene Fund Easter Ingathering

Mary Magdalene Fund Easter Ingathering

But whoever has been forgiven little loves little. “Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”  The Mary Magdalene Fund supports the operations, work, and mission of The Episcopal Community. The name of the Fund was chosen because Mary Magdalene was the first to spread the news of the Risen Christ. Funds may be used to provide services, materials, and communications that exceed the regular budget; to help with expenses of providing retreats, workshops and annual meetings; to defray costs of providing services at General Convention of The Episcopal Church, and to help provide operational needs. Although donations may be made at any time, the major ingathering date is Easter. Donations may be made in honor of or in remembrance of a person important to the donor. Names of those so honored are listed on the website of The Episcopal Community. You may send a check to The Episcopal Community, PO Box 242, Sewanee, TN 37375. Please note the check is for The Mary Magdalene Fund or you may support the Fund by clicking the link below: Donate . . . This gift, this mercy, this unbounded love of God for us has been lavished upon us as a result of Christ’s victory. To taste this love is to share in His victory. To realize our freedom, to exult in our liberation from death, from sin and from the Law, is to sing the Alleluia which truly glorifies God in this world and in the world to come. Thomas...

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Installation of Pat Davis and Merry Keyser

Posted by on April 25, 2019 in Featured, News, TEC_News | Comments Off on Installation of Pat Davis and Merry Keyser

Installation of Pat Davis and Merry Keyser

You are invited to Pat Davis & Merry Keyser’s Installation into The Episcopal Community April 27, 2019 12:30pm The Chapel at St Mary’s Convent, Sewanee, TN Merry Keyser retired from her Federal government career in 2004 and, together with her husband, embarked on an intentional “giving back” career as a volunteer for our professional society – the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Our IEEE volunteer work takes us around the world organizing conferences and although we initially agreed to do this for ten years, we are still going strong and expect to continue for a few more years.      Also, starting in 2004 Merry agreed to accept a Diocesan leadership role and has been serving as the Assistant Treasurer for the Diocese of East Tennessee. Due to conflict of Interest concerns I have not served on the Vestry or the Search committee for my own parish for many years but I do make myself available as a resource from time to time. I really enjoy serving my parish as a Worship Leader, enthusiastic member of the Altar Guild, and facilitator for many small groups.      My interest in Benedictine spirituality was fostered by my EFM mentor back in 1995 and we were both founding members of the East Tennessee Benedictine Study Group. Sadly, we no longer meet. During one of my IEEE volunteer activities for a conference in Rome I was fortunate to take a day off to travel to the abbey of Monte Cassino. I would encourage anyone who is considering making that trip to go ahead and make that effort. It is so worth the experience. Much of what I learned there has formed the basis for the content for study groups that I have facilitated in my parish in recent years. Pat Davis      Pat Davis – I am a cradle Episcopalian who loves the liturgy of the Episcopal Church. I love the spiritual closeness and connection to God that participating in the eucharist offers me.       I am a Cancer survivor so  maintaining closeness with my family, friends and church spiritual community is very important to me.  I am a licensed therapist in solo private practice in Va. Beach I offer individual and family therapy and also run an out patient substance abuse program in my office that is sanctioned by the Chesapeake Bay ASAP.      I am a Cancer survivor so  maintaining closeness with my family, friends and church spiritual community is very important to me.  I am a licensed therapist in solo private practice in Va. Beach I offer individual and family therapy and also run an out patient substance abuse program in my office that is sanctioned by the Chesapeake Bay ASAP. Let’s all welcome Pat & Merry by sending cards of welcome or greeting. Please send your cards to The Episcopal Community, PO Box 242, Sewanee, TN 37375. Your greetings will be sent to Pat &...

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Palm Sunday – Year C

Posted by on April 14, 2019 in Meditations | Comments Off on Palm Sunday – Year C

Palm Sunday – Year C

ISAIAH 50: 4-9The prophet receives his assignment from God every morning, which he dutifully teaches to God’s people. Question: What have God’s prophets taught you? Are you willing to trust them?PHILIPPIANS 2: 5-11 Paul calls us to a life of humility in the service of our Lord and Savior Jesus. Question: Have you committed yourself to a life of humble service to Jesus and His Kingdom? How do you serve Him?LUKE 23:1-49The hour has come and Jesus faces what he was born to experience. Question: Where are you in this crowd of people? What will you do  to change the outcome of this...

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5th Sunday in Lent Year C

Posted by on April 7, 2019 in Meditations | Comments Off on 5th Sunday in Lent Year C

5th Sunday in Lent Year C

Isaiah 43:16-21“Trust in God brings the past alive, gives the present meaning, and the future hope.” Question: Do we really want our faith to be so mundane as to be entirely predictable? Or do we want our God to do surprising things, things that we couldn’t even begin to imagine, things that ‘no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived’ (1 Cor. 2:9)?”Philippians 3:4b-14Without throwing away his own religion Paul, nevertheless, throws away a theology which had made him important and given him great status. In its place he embraces Christ and Christ’s way. Question: What does it mean to know Christ? What social holiness will come from your knowing the power of Christ’s resurrection?John 12:1-18 It seems Martha was a person of some figure, from the great respect which was paid to her and her sister, in visits and condolences on Lazarus’s death, as well as from the costly ointment mentioned in the next verse. And probably it was at their house our Lord and his disciples lodged, when he returned from Jerusalem to Bethany, every evening of the last week of his life, upon which he was now entered. Question: Have you ever seen or experienced someone physically caring for a loved one in preparation for that dying person’s...

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4th Sunday in Lent – Year C

Posted by on March 31, 2019 in Meditations | Comments Off on 4th Sunday in Lent – Year C

4th Sunday in Lent – Year C

JOSHUA 5: 9-12A story of forgiveness and restoration for God’s people. Question: Has there been a time in your life when God has withheld something from your daily life? How did you feel when it was restored?2 CORINTHIANS 5: 16-21 Paul’s is concerned that the people he has come to teach believe that his honesty is valid. It is always imperative that a leader lives above reproach. Question: As a Christian do you see how important it is to live an exemplary life? How do you accomplish that?LUKE 15: 1-3, 11-32 The story of the Prodigal Son contains judgment, jealousy, forgiveness and unquestionable love. Question: As we journey toward Christian maturity, do you see how easy it is to become ensnared in questionable behavior? Which ones have caught you? What did you learn from these...

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3rd Sunday in Lent – Year C

Posted by on March 24, 2019 in Meditations | Comments Off on 3rd Sunday in Lent – Year C

3rd Sunday in Lent – Year C

EXODUS 3: 1-25God intervenes in Moses life, giving him a task that will test his faith and love of God.Question: Has God ever asked the seemingly impossible of you, to test your faith in Him? How did you respond?1 Corinthians 10: 1-13 Paul teaches from experience the importance of understanding and using our knowledge of God’s love and empowerment for His people. Question: Are you able to apply your knowledge of God in your daily life? How do you do this?LUKE 13: 1-9 Luke’s teaching is about nations whose people rebel against God, and thus invite disaster by their choice. Question: Are you able to apply this teaching to your life today? What can you do to help others make a positive...

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