Monday, October 27, 2008

A Wilderness Reflection

Loving God and Your Neighbor
A Reflection for the Wilderness - by James Wall
The 24th Sunday After Pentecost • Year A
26 October 2008

Leviticus 19:1-2,15-18 • Psalm 1 • Matthew 22:34-46

A young physician in Japan named Kusuda met a college friend who had been studying Zen. The young doctor asked him what Zen was.

"I cannot tell you what it is," the friend replied, "but one thing is certain. If you understand Zen, you will not be afraid to die."
"That's fine," said Kusuda. "I will try it. Where can I find a teacher?"

"Go to the master Nan-in," the friend told him.

So Kusuda went to call on Nan-in. He carried a dagger nine and a half inches long to determine whether or not the teacher was afraid to die.

When Nan-in saw Kusuda he exclaimed: "Hello, friend. How are you? We haven't seen each other for a long time!"

This perplexed Kusuda, who replied: "We have never met before."

"That's right," answered Nan-in. "I mistook you for another physician who is receiving instruction here."

With such a beginning, Kusuda lost his chance to test the master, so reluctantly he asked if he might receive Zen instruction.
Nan-in said: "Zen is not a difficult task. If you are a physician, treat your patients with kindness. That is Zen."

Kusuda visited Nan-in three times. Each time Nan-in told him the same thing. "A physician should not waste time around here. Go home and take care of your patients."

It is said that Saint John the Evangelist, the patron saint of this cathedral taught only one sermon: “Love one another.” Of course, many priests when citing this legend on Sunday make joke of it – wouldn’t that be great every Sunday if I got up and said to the congregation: “love one another!” and then got on with the rest of the service.

But my thought is this: perhaps we might actually get it after 100, maybe 1,000 sermons. Probably not.

It’s so simple: love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. On these commandments the whole of the way of life known as Torah, hang.

Saint John got it – and communicated it with Zen-like simplicity every time his community met. Love one another.

But did the rest of the Jesus movement get it? Saint Paul seemed to. His great hymn to love is probably the most moving in any language: let me read it for you as most of you will not have heard outside of the context of a wedding service:

1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

 4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 8Love never fails.

Do you get it now? Love one another.

But I always find that it’s the “how to” that’s the most difficult part. How the heck do we love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, let alone loving our neighbor?

Let me start off with another story from the east.

A young man came to a great yogi with a question: how do I find God. The yogi told him to sit, banish all thoughts from his mind and follow his breath. After two days of so doing the man came back to the yogi.

“Surely finding God is more interesting than my breath,” said the man. Can’t you give me a more interesting exercise?”

The yogi told the man to follow him and they walked down to the sea into the crashing waves of the Indian ocean. The yogi suddenly seized the man and held him under water holding him there for a full minute until the man was almost unconscious.

Pulling the terrified man back up out of the water, the yogi screamed: “how interesting is your breath now? If you seek for God as much as you craved your breath under the water, you will find him. If you realize that the very breath you breathe is a miracle, you will know him.”

How much do you yearn for God? How much do you appreciate that our very life is a miracle – that every step we take on this earth is a gift of God’s to be nurtured and thankful for? If we can come to a realization that life is not to be taken for granted – that every moment is infused with divine love: then we come close to loving God with all our heart, mind soul and strength.

The Buddhists call this mindfulness and it takes practice. One weakness, I think of orthodox Christianity is that we think that God is the one who takes all the initiative in the spiritual life – we pray for God to take care of this problem and that issue. But really, we have to meet Him halfway. If we take time every day to sit and be still in God’s presence, perhaps following our breath, perhaps reciting a short prayer to ourselves, we will slowly come to a realization of His presence in every moment in every day. God is, according to theologian Paul Tillich, the very ground of our being. It is in coming to realize this in our bones that we are able to begin the process of loving Him.

The late Trappist monk and writer Thomas Merton insisted that we must awaken to the sacred in the ordinary. In his words: “Life is this simple: We are living in a world that is absolutely transparent and the Divine is shining through it all the time. This is not just a nice story or a fable. It is truth.”

In our community we have a mindfulness exercise that Jesus left us. It is such a great exercise in paying attention that the early church raised this exercise to the status of a sacrament. It is of course, the Eucharist – the taking of the bread and wine to commemorate Jesus’ last supper with his disciples. Of course most Christians, Anglican or otherwise don’t see it this way. Every Sunday, millions in America and others around the world trapes up to the altar to receive a tiny host and a sip of wine while mulling the current status of the World Series or, perhaps, the inappropriate skirt length of the woman in front of them in the line. Is this the appropriate way to receive the Son of God?

In my last two homilies I‘ve asked you to take your shoes off and bow as you move forward to receive communion. Please feel free to do so again if this practice will enable you to become more aware as you receive the bread and the wine.

As you take the bread and wine, do not try to feel anything. Many of us, I think, try to feel holy or something similar as we eat and drink the elements. Instead, be aware and awake. When you take the bread, slowly place it in your mouth. Feel the texture and taste the taste. When you take the cup, know that you are taking the cup. Raise it to your lips slowly and appreciate the strong taste of the wine.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Jean Pierre de Caussade, a French priest of the 18th century:

“The present moment holds infinite riches beyond your wildest dreams but you will only enjoy them to the extent of your faith and love. The more a soul loves, the more it longs, the more it hopes, the more it finds. The will of God is manifest in each moment, an immense ocean which only the heart fathoms insofar as it overflows with faith, trust and love.”


Monday, October 13, 2008

A Wilderness Reflection

A Reflection for the Wilderness
Saint John’s Episcopal Cathedral
The 22nd Sunday after Pentecost • Year A
12 October 2008

Isaiah 25:1-9 • Psalm 23 • Matthew 22:1-14

Tonight, as we begin our season of Creation, I have a story I want to share with you. Find a comfortable position in your seat, close your eyes if you’d like, and try and make yourselves part of the story I’m going to tell.

The time is the early 1970’s. The place, the village of Reni in the rural, forested mountain valleys of northern India. This is a region of small villages, like Reni, where the people live by subsistence farming, the raising of livestock, foraging in the surrounding forests, and trading in various forest products.

For centuries, the villagers have enjoyed unrestricted access to the forests and their bounty, developing a relationship that is relatively stable, both economically and ecologically. By the 19th Century, however, and with increasing regularity in the decades preceding our story, the governments of India, colonial or native, have taken control of the forests to manage them as a commercial resource, though in recent years they have begun to show some interest in protecting certain areas in the region as nature preserves.

Occasionally, over the years, the government auctions off permits to harvest timber in these forests. With increasing regularity, however, the villagers and their local cooperatives are denied logging permits, which go to commercial logging companies with no understanding of the economy or the ecology of the forests. Clear cutting becomes common. Monsoons strip away the soils, causing landslides and floods that destroy homes and kill hundreds, if not thousands, of people. Finally, the villagers decide that they have had enough.

In 1974, the government announces a logging permit auction and invites the leaders of the local villages around Reni to attend a meeting to work out some of their issues and find a resolution to the conflicts that have arisen between the villagers and the logging companies. The villagers agree to the meeting.

Soon after the village leaders leave Reni for the town where the meeting is being held, those remaining hear unmistakable sounds. The loggers have arrived, and the villagers realize the meeting is a ruse. With the village leadership gone, the loggers begin their work, with no concern for the consequences on the villagers and their livelihoods. They just want their trees, and the money they can make off of them. The women of the village, in an act of amazing courage, do the only thing they can do to protect their beloved forests and their family’s livelihoods.

They run into the forest, and right in front of the loggers, throw themselves around the trees.

And thus the term “tree-hugger” is born.

You’ve probably heard the term “tree-hugger” used before. Usually it’s used in a derogatory fashion, meant to belittle those who work to conserve natural resources and create a more sustainable world. But doesn’t that story put the term in a different light? The action was part of the Chipko Movement, as it became known, from the Hindi word meaning “to hug” or “to embrace”, and was more than just about saving a bunch of trees. It was about conserving a natural resource for the livelihood of current and future generations, a need they felt so strongly that the villagers were willing to give their lives for it.

What does this mean for us as part of the Christian community? What can this story tell us about our relationship with Creation? A look at our readings tonight begins to give us a clue. Tonight we were given images of green meadows to rest in and still waters to sit by. We were given a vision of the community of God gathered for a banquet, a banquet of rich food and well-aged wines, all of it the bounty of God’s good creation. Jesus in his parable points us back to this vision, a banquet for all of God’s people, opened to anyone the host’s servants could find, “both good and bad”, as the story notes.

Notice how material our readings are tonight. We often tend to think of our Christian faith as something spiritual, which it is, in part, but our faith is material too. Jesus was born of flesh and blood, he lived among us eating and drinking with his friends, healing sick bodies and minds, he raised the dead to new, material lives, and he died his own horrible and material death. This is just as important to our faith as is the Resurrection of Jesus, and we relive it every time we come together to share the bread and wine as a forerunner of that heavenly banquet Isaiah and Jesus speaks to us about.

But we can take this a step further, maybe many steps. We can also engage this materialness of our faith by honoring everything that God has created and given into our care. As James Jones, the Bishop of Liverpool, notes in his book, Jesus and the Earth, “matter matters to God”.

Matter matters to God. All of creation matters to the God who created us as the material, as well as spiritual, beings that we are. Caring for that creation and being wise stewards of its bounty is a part of our call as Christians to love God and our neighbors. Let us go forward through and from this place, worshiping the Creator of creation, honoring and being responsible stewards of the creation God has given us.

Oh, and if this season of Creation inspires you in some small way to do something as part of your own stewardship and you find yourself called a “tree-hugger” for doing it, thank that person for their compliment. I certainly can’t think of a higher one.


Monday, August 4, 2008

Light a Candle

Do you ever just feel the need to light a candle, but are not near a fire- or wax-safe location?  You could just light a virtual candle, and let the light of your prayer shine for the rest of the world. I have seen some quite cheesy online candle-lighting, but this is a really lovely process. Please mark your candle with the group Wild.


Saturday, August 2, 2008

iPhone Theology

I came across this great essay entitled "iPhone Theology" and wanted to share it with the community. It's a great reflection on how our desires for the "latest and greatest" things can become an opening for God to enter our hearts.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Lambeth Bible Study for 7/28

John 10:1-10

Jesus the Good Shepherd

‘Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.’ Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

So again Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

What is Christianity About?

I recently found this bit of video and I wanted to share. It features Brian McLaren, a major voice in the Emerging Church movement here in the US, and presenter at the Lambeth Conference taking place in England right now. For more on his presentation, you can go here and here, but the video sums it up well.

What are your thoughts and reactions to this?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Lambeth Bible Study for 7/23

John 8:1-20

while Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’ They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus straightened up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, sir.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.’]]

Jesus the Light of the World

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.’ Then the Pharisees said to him, ‘You are testifying on your own behalf; your testimony is not valid.’ Jesus answered, ‘Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I have come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgement is valid; for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. In your law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is valid. I testify on my own behalf, and the Father who sent me testifies on my behalf.’ Then they said to him, ‘Where is your Father?’ Jesus answered, ‘You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.’ He spoke these words while he was teaching in the treasury of the temple, but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

Lambeth Bible Study for 7/22

John 6:1-14 & 25-59

Feeding the Five Thousand

After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming towards him, Jesus said to Philip, ‘Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?’ He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, ‘Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.’ One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, ‘There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?’ Jesus said, ‘Make the people sit down.’ Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, ‘Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.’ So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, ‘This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.’

When they found him on the other side of the lake, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.’ Then they said to him, ‘What must we do to perform the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’ So they said to him, ‘What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” ’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ They said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’

Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.’

Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ They were saying, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, “I have come down from heaven”?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Do not complain among yourselves. No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, “And they shall all be taught by God.” Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’

The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ So Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live for ever.’ He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bishop's Bible Study Monday, 21 July

Here is the Bible Study Passage for Monday, 21 July, 2008

Please continue to hold in prayer all those assembled for the Lambeth Conference.

John 6:14-21

When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, ‘This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.’

When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
Jesus Walks on the Water

When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, got into a boat, and started across the lake to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The lake became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the lake and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’ Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land towards which they were going.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Here is the Lambeth Bible Study for Saturday, 19 July.

John 4:6-42

Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.

A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink’. (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?’ (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink”, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?’ Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.’

Jesus said to her, ‘Go, call your husband, and come back.’ The woman answered him, ‘I have no husband.’ Jesus said to her, ‘You are right in saying, “I have no husband”; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.’ The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ). ‘When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am he, the one who is speaking to you.’

Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, ‘What do you want?’ or, ‘Why are you speaking with her?’ Then the woman left her water-jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, ‘Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?’ They left the city and were on their way to him.

Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, ‘Rabbi, eat something.’ But he said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’ So the disciples said to one another, ‘Surely no one has brought him something to eat?’ Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. Do you not say, “Four months more, then comes the harvest”? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, “One sows and another reaps.” I sent you to reap that for which you did not labour. Others have laboured, and you have entered into their labour.’

Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I have ever done.’ So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there for two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Saviour of the world.’

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bible Studying Along with the Lambeth Bishops


As our Bishop has posted on his blog, The Lambeth Diary, the collected bishops will be meeting in small groups every morning for bible study as a part of their gathering. He has posted the readings so that others may join, in their own manner, with them and with other Episcopalians and Anglicans throughout the world. I thought it might be an interesting exercise to join them in cyberspace, and so will be posting the readings for each day so that any from our community interested in commenting may do so.

Bible Study for 18 July

John 1:19-34

19 This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ 20He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, ‘I am not the Messiah.’ 21And they asked him, ‘What then? Are you Elijah?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you the prophet?’ He answered, ‘No.’ 22Then they said to him, ‘Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?’ 23He said, ‘I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, “Make straight the way of the Lord” ’, as the prophet Isaiah said.

24 Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. 25They asked him, ‘Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?’ 26John answered them, ‘I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, 27the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.’ 28This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.

29 The next day he saw Jesus coming towards him and declared, ‘Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30This is he of whom I said, “After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.” 31I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.’ 32And John testified, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” 34And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.’


Monday, July 14, 2008

Season of Refreshment

As part of the season of refreshment, we have been writing onto a white board activities, places, or things that give us refreshment.  Here is a sampling from that list.  Please comment and add your own "Refreshment" ideas.

Attending the Wilderness (yah, I'd have to put that one first)
Diving into cool water
Walking with my dog
Walking barefoot
Reading a good book
Going Skiing


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mantra Meditation

Please click on the image to enlarge.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Prayer Workshop

Please click on the image to enlarge.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Green Book Study

Easter Book Study, sponsored by the Saint John’s Green Team

In December 2006, the Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Reverend James Jones, spoke at Saint John’s on the role of Christians in helping to conserve the environment. Inspired by his presentation, a Green Team was formed to explore how we at Saint John’s can “live in harmony with creation and with God” (BCP p.845). This Easter, the Green Team will be sponsoring a study of Bishop Jones’ book, Jesus and the Earth, which is his exploration of whether concern for creation has any rooting in the teaching and example of Jesus.

The group will meet April 27th, May 4th, 18th, and 25th, in Robert’s 202, from 4:45 pm to 5:45 pm, right before the Wilderness worship service. Books are available through or If you have any questions, please contact Brian Ray James at For more information on the Green Team itself, please contact Brian 
or Canon Rebecca Crummey at

Please join us for this wonderful study opportunity!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Lent in the Wilderness

Back at the beginning of Lent, the Dean of Saint John's noted that in many ways, the Wilderness service didn't really have a patronal festival so much as it had a patronal season, the season of Lent. This time of wandering in the wilderness, seeking greater self-discipline and closer unity with God in Christ, at first seems like such a depressing thing, but this year I have found it quite feeding and a time of growth. And not just for me as an individual, but for this service too.

It's been amazing to watch this community grow, and refreshing to find new ways of expressing the Christian faith that can speak to us in the early 21st century while being so true to the most ancient and orthodox beliefs of the church. I look forward to walking this path with all of you into Easter and beyond.

Lenten Blessings to All.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Church Statistics

The Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life has released the US Religious Landscape Survey. Check it out!


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Beginning

I have been working with the wilderness since this last summer when the planning really started to take shape. I won’t go into incredible detail, but our aim was to find a place where others feel at home. I think, with God’s help, that we have achieved that goal. The Wilderness is a place for people to come and contemplatively interact with God and worship. It’s not a place where you will be forced to believe this or that, or a place where people will look down on you for who you are or who you are not. It is a place where all are welcome and everyone belongs.