The Way of Love
Background for Discussion
The idea of a “Rule of Life’ comes from the Latin word regula and suggests a way to regulate or regularize our lives to stay on an intentional path. A “Rule of Life” is not just a set of rules to live by; rather, it is a gentle framework to guide and support us on our way.
Continue reading “Adult Formation Journal: September 16, 2018”
By Fr Ben Maas
Growing up, I loved sports. I still do. Despite having played a multitude of sports from an early age, I never rose to the level where watching and reviewing game film was prescribed. The most reflection that I can recall was when my tennis coach recorded me playing and had me watch the video with Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” (take a look at the man in the mirror AND MAKE A CHANGE) playing in the background.
Continue reading “Message from the Rector: 2018 Fall Newsletter”
Adult Formation at St. James’
Adult formation is learning about the faith and being formed by the triune God through the following:
- study of religious sources [Bible, Prayer Book, tradition, etc.]
- prayer [contemplation, lectio divina, centering prayer, examen, etc.]
- meaningful conversation [honest, open, focused, non-judgmental, shared, helpful, respectful, etc.]
- participation in the life of a faith community [learning groups, St. James’, The Episcopal Church, etc.]
The purpose of this 7- week course is to learn more about The Acts of the Apostles and the Early Church and to practice contemplative prayer. Consider this goal: 15 minutes of Bible and prayer daily.
- Sunday Learning Groups, 9:15 and 11:45 in Reception Room (Childcare for 5 years and younger)
- Tuesday Learning Group, 10:30 in Reception Room
- Home Learning Group Form your own group of two or more; meet in your own space.
Continue reading “Syllabus: Learning More about the Acts of the Apostles and Contemplative Prayer”
by Fr Ben Maas
Despite the fact that I have not turned a shovel of dirt or driven a nail, there is something remarkably satisfying about watching the expansion take place. I make it a regular part of my day to see the progress. Even before the first sign of construction, I reveled in the enormous hole that provided a glimpse of what would eventually fill the space. I have had a childlike enthusiasm on those big days when walls or floors are poured. Now with the basement formed and the foundation of what will be the new school entrance in place, I can practically envision the completed wing. I find myself looking over the construction sign with the completed rendering and then at the site, attaching finished walls, windows, a roof, etc. Even on the occasions where weather interrupts work or those days that just don’t show remarkable progress, I still find myself looking out the window and appreciating how far we have come.
Continue reading “Message from the Rector: 2018 Winter Newsletter”
by fr randolph charles, priest associate
Our Advent/Christmas book of meditations this year is I Witness: Living Inside the Stories of Advent and Christmas, a Forward Movement publication. Below is a description of the book:
“Many of us have heard the story of Jesus’ birth, but have we lived inside it? Episcopal priest Kate Moorehead invites us to enter the story of salvation with our hearts and minds wide open, experiencing the miracle of Jesus through the eyes of witnesses: Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men, and others. And Moorehead encourages us to bear witness ourselves – both then and now – to the marvel and majesty of a babe born in a manger, of Christ our King. These daily devotionals offer a companion through the seasons of Advent and Christmas and urge us to keep reading, keep listening, keep learning. The story of Christ’s birth can be both familiar and new in each re-telling. Come and see.”
Continue reading “Adult Formation in Advent”
Eager to love; Chapter five, “Contemplation: A Different Way of Knowing”
Quote from page 61-62
I believe the very foundation of what we mean by holiness or, in this case, mysticism, is that [Francis and Clare] knew and loved from a different source; they knew by participation in a Larger Knowing that many of us call God. Or, as Paul says, “They knew as fully as they were known” ( 1 Corinthians 13:12)
This kind of shared knowing, which is nothing but full consciousness is what many of us mean by contemplation. True contemplatives surrender some of their own ego boundaries and identity so that God can see through them, with them, and in them – with a larger pair of eyes. It is quite simply a higher level of seeing, and, if you do not like the religious language, you can just call it consciousness, or deep consciousness. But you still have to let go of your small, egoic self to get there (John 12:24). “Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
- What could you let go of and how could you let go in order for you to experience a closer union with God?
Continue reading “Notes on Chapter 5: Learning More about St Francis and Creation”
Lectio divina is an ancient form of Christian contemplative prayer that focuses on the “holy reading” of Scripture as a means of moving deeper into the presence and love of God. Lectio divina with Creation follows the same prayer pattern but uses God’s Creation instead of God’s Word to experience the love of God.
Continue reading “Lectio Divina with Creation”
“The people stand or kneel.” – Book of Common Prayer, page 362
by Norma Thatcher
I began attending the Episcopal Church in 1986.
Having been raised as a Methodist, I didn’t quite get the standing, kneeling, genuflecting, crossing of oneself, etc. I simply followed the lead of those around me, just as visitors to Saint James’ do currently.
Continue reading “Personal Reflection: Why I Stand to Pray in Church”
“The people kneel or stand.” – Book of Common Prayer, page 334
by Ninie Laing
Everyone should feel comfortable doing what seems appropriate for her own spiritual growth. I am a visual person, easily distracted by the scene around me. If I stand to pray with my eyes open, I am tempted to focus on my surroundings and not my inner dialogue with God.
Continue reading “Personal Reflection: Why I Kneel for the Prayers”
As I write this Monday morning, I am still buoyed by Sunday’s church picnic at Jimmy’s and Gina’s. It was good for my heart to see well over 100 parishioners, new and established of all ages, there to enjoy a beautiful day, to celebrate their connection to Saint James’, and to show their appreciation and affection for Gina.
While pleasantly distracted, much of me feels compelled to use this medium to express my heartache, solidarity, and prayers for the victims of Hurricane Harvey and to discuss the divisive events that unfolded two weeks earlier in Charlottesville. In fact, many times on Sunday, I was struck with the difficult dichotomy between the absolutely perfect weather and beautiful bucolic setting in Virginia and the grey skies, torrential rains, downed limbs and power lines, and rising waters in Texas.
Continue reading “2017 Fall Newsletter: Reflections from Fr Ben”
Thank you to everyone who made this year’s Holy Week so special! So many hands go into every service and every church activity – you can learn more about our clergy, music programs, children’s ministry, ushers, acolytes, altar guild, flower guild and so many other parts of the Saint James’ community throughout our website.
Below you will find photos and video of each service in Holy Week, and Scripture readings for each day of the week. We know that Holy Week can be an overwhelming time, with so many services and so many stories packed into such a short time. We hope that you will reflect on each day, and the power of each moment, at your own pace.
Continue reading “Holy Week 2017 Recap: Photos, Video & Scripture Readings”
Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Continue reading “Easter Sunday: Collect & Scriptures”
Below are the collect and scripture readings for Holy Saturday. You can also read the lectionary for the Great Vigil of Easter, which spans the creation of the universe to the resurrection, here.
O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Continue reading “Holy Saturday: Collect & Scriptures”
Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. – Book of Common Prayer, page 221
Continue reading “Maundy Thursday: Collect & Scriptures”
Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his body to be whipped and his face to be spit upon: Give us grace to accept joyfully the sufferings of the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. – Book of Common Prayer, page 220
Continue reading “Wednesday in Holy Week: Collect & Scriptures”
O God, by the passion of your blessed Son you made an instrument of shameful death to be for us the means of life: Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. –Book of Common Prayer, page 220
Continue reading “Tuesday in Holy Week: Collect & Scriptures”
The church invites all Christians to worship soon and often during Holy Week and through Easter Day. This is when we remember and embrace in a dramatic way the journey, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Palm Sunday: Jesus enters Jerusalem and confronts the domination powers of the Roman Empire and the temple authorities.
Maundy Thursday: Jesus shares the his last meal with the Twelve and washes their feet.
Good Friday: Jesus is crucified and dies.
Easter Eve: A new fire is kindled in the darkness, the Paschal Candle is lit, people are baptized, and we celebrate the first Eucharist of Easter. Christ is risen!
Easter Day: Christ is risen indeed! We joyfully celebrate the Resurrection of our Savior.
God is calling us all to gather for worship this Holy Week through Easter Day.
I invite your comments and questions.
– Fr Randolph
We encourage you to commit to attending as many of our Holy Week worship services as you are able. They dramatically walk us through Jesus’ last days and allow us to more fully enter the story and receive the love poured out for us. The experience of Holy Week also adds to the richness, joy, and bounding hope of Easter.
Continue reading “Holy Week Service Schedule & Notes”
A Saturday or so ago, we gathered for a family movie night. We settled upon the movie, October Sky, based upon the book Rocket Boys. An interesting aside, the exact same letters that form “October Sky” also make up “Rocket Boys” (Try it and see).
The movie is about Homer H. Hickman, Jr. and his friends’ interest in building rockets, but it is about much more than that. In Coalwood, West Virginia life was pretty much tracked for you at a young age. If you were a boy growing up there, you attended school long enough to test your football acumen or settle for life working in the depleted coal mines.
Homer quickly established that football was not going to be his route out of Coalwood, but he was equally certain that life in the coal mine was not for him. As trapped as Homer felt in Coalwood, his friends’ tracks seemed even narrower, as their family systems were wrought with instability, alcoholism and abuse, or profound poverty.
Continue reading “Message from the Rector: March 2017”