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Daily Message from St. Edward’s – March 26, 2020

Dear parishioners,

We are sharing 4 items in this daily message:  A wonderfully penned personal note from Bob & Nancy Oliver sharing their reflections on St. Edward’s. An April/May Grocery card inquiry which needs a response to the parish office from those who participate. An important communique regarding Shaped by Faith from Amy Swiernik that requires a response. And the daily Lenten Meditation.  Please read carefully as we are seeking responses from people on some of these messages today.

Be well & stay safe.  It was a beautiful day, today!

Michelle

Today’s personal note is from Bob & Nancy Oliver – Founding members of St. Edward’s:

To our fellow parishioners,

Nancy and I are founding members of St. Edwards.  We have been around for a long time.  We attended the first

service in the union hall on Nissley Road in 1981 and since that time we have met many wonderful people who came through the doors on a

Sunday morning and made lifelong friendships with a lot of them.  We have memories of things that happened along the way that still bring

a chuckle.  We have also grieved with  friends and families over the passing of a parish member.  This is what it is like when you belong to a

church.  You are part of something that enables you to carry on in your faith while facing adversity like we have confronting us.

Be strong; Stay isolated; Wash your hands; Read the daily message; and Pray for all of us.

  • Bob & Nancy Oliver

GIANT AND STAUFFERS GROCERY CARDS

To all people who participate in the Giant and SKH grocery card program:  I would normally order these cards on Monday, March 30th for April.  Could the people who get grocery cards reach out to the parish office by phone or email and let me know if you want cards for this month, as well as think about May, which would be ordered at the end of April.  I am happy to order them and we can figure out how to get them to you, but I want to ensure that people want/need the cards with no pressure to order them, should people find that with a change in lifestyle they would like to cancel the cards for now and just shop on their own as they need to.  Please know that there are minimums for orders required for these monthly card orders so we either have to all maintain the cards as they are now or decide as a group to regroup in June.  This is an important source of passive fundraising for St. Edward’s, but we do not want to have people order cards in these changing circumstances if they decide they need to take a breather.  Thank you.

Shaped By Faith Team

St. Edwards is putting together a team to participate in the Bishop Audrey’s, Shaped By Faith initiative.  Each parish is asked to put together a team of 3 to 4 people to attend 9 meetings during the next 18 months.  Ideal teams consist of; the rector, a vestry person and a parishioner in the pews, for a total of 3, but 4 could be accommodated.  If you would like to be a part of this initiative, please contact Julie Hoff at 717-898-6037 or email at jjhoff05@aol.com by Saturday March 28, 2020. Currently, Julie Hoff and our new Rector Rick Bauer are on this team.  We are seeking at least one additional layperson to join this team.  This will be an 18 month commitment with meetings every other month with other churches in the Lancaster Convocation. Meeting 2 will be happening by Zoom on Sunday March 29th from 1-2 pm.

What is Shaped By Faith?

Our Diocese has embarked upon a huge project called, “Shaped by Faith”, where regional groups of parishes are examining their future together and their optimal configurations for health, vitality and values, financial sustainability, God’s call in the neighborhood, and new models for being Church. Together we are taking on this necessary, change-oriented work to build a diocese for the future that is vibrant, life giving, sustainable and God driven.

We have this common goal together as a diocese. At the very first town hall style gathering, congregations engaged in a visioning process with four guiding words: Discovery, Experimentation, Creativity and Collaboration.  The entire process for Shaped by Faith relies on all parishes and convocations collaborating with one another as we explore together what the future looks like for our diocese.  Working together first in teams within the parish, and then, those same teams coming together to work on the next set of tools in the process, building trust, and a common sense of ‘we are in this together’.

Togetherness is fostering relationships between parishes that result in new ways of doing and being church. For example: there may be collaboration on shared resources where one parish administrator is producing the bulletins for two or three churches, instead of each creating their own. Two parishes may decide a more permanent collaboration will enhance their communities and they will join to form one parish. It’s possible a parish will form new collaborations with community-based services, such as housing Family Services in a portion of their building.  Will a parish ‘rent’ their building to another denomination to hold services on Sunday afternoon or another day the congregation isn’t using the physical building?

The possibilities are limitless. I’m imagining as this process unfolds, the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania will have a wide variety of collaborations never before dreamed and our togetherness will be enhanced exponentially as we seek to build the kingdom of God, because we have done this work collaborating together.

A Collect for Shaped by Faith

God of wisdom and love, in whom we find our joy: Help us to listen for your Word and to discern your way forward for our Church.  Give us the insight to hold on to what is true, the courage to explore new ideas, and the boldness to create with you.  Let us be Shaped by Faith for your mission; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy, One God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Amy Swiernik

Diocesan Shaped By Faith Team Layperson

The Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania

101 Pine St, PO Box 11937, Harrisburg, PA 17108

717-236-5959 ext. 1104

aswiernik@diocesecpa.org

 

LENTEN MEDITATION – THURSDAY, MARCH 26, 2020

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

  • Matthew 18:1-3

________________________________________

My husband has taught nine and ten-year-olds for twelve years. Hearing story after story about kids in his classroom has shaped how I understand Jesus saying we need to cast aside our notions of greatness and become “like children.”

For ages nine and ten, we’re talking uncontainable rambunctiousness and uninhibited dancing—and necessary recess to get all the extra energy out. This tender age is when a quiet kid may start to come out of their shell or a happy child goes silent, weighed down by an adult world they don’t understand or have control over. There’s also a lot of sass, though frequently it’s expressed in incredibly funny ways. But perhaps most importantly, this is an age when children are on the cusp of their own great transformations.

Jesus skewers our adult versions of greatness. Fancy job titles? Multiple degrees? How dull. Better, he says, to be like a nine-year-old: funny, rambunctious, still tender and with way too much energy. Far better to stay an uninhibited singer, someone who struggles to line up quietly in the hallway and on the cusp of transformation.

  • Miguel Escobar is the Director of Anglican Studies at Episcopal Divinity School at Union.

Daily Message from St. Edward’s – March 25, 2020

Dear parishioners,

As many of us suspected would happen, Bishop Audrey has just informed the diocese that it will not be possible for churches to have any kind of normal services for Holy Week and Easter. In fact, it is not imagined that we will be able to be physically back in our church buildings before the end of May. The need for us to keep ourselves safe, as well as not to risk spreading infections to others, is just too great. She and all of us together know how deeply disappointing it is for us not to be able to gather in person to commemorate these most central parts of the story of our faith.

But this does not mean that Holy Week and Easter are cancelled! Instead we and the diocese are working on alternatives to gathering in the church. These alternatives may very well be online. As soon as we know what we plan to do, we will let you know. Stay tuned in the coming days as we do our best to adapt to these difficult circumstances.

David +

We dub this “Hump Day” so that calls for uplifting news to carry us through. 😊

A personal note from Herb Johnston, vestry member to St. Edwardians:

Hi to all of you St Edwardian’s: Herb Johnston here. I am in my 4th year of serving on your Vestry and usually attend the 8am service. While on our sabbatical from our church I have been able to catch up on all the paper work the Vestry generates. Also Marsha and I walk most every day in our neighborhood. Sometimes we walk in different parks too. We are working on jigsaw puzzles which challenge us. Also we do the crossword puzzles that are in the newspaper.  We also are reading some books and watch and listen to online subjects of interest to us. We each also have our own “spaces” too to do those things that interest each of us. All in all things are going well, but not as well as it used to be. I think you know what I mean. Finally, I keep my Book of Common Prayer nearby. I pray for you all and for our church. Be well!

Uplifting news from Washington National Cathedral today:

Seek and ye shall find, apparently. Today, Washington National Cathedral sent 3000 N95 masks to MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and 2000 to Children’s National Hospital after a stonemason found a forgotten stash in the Cathedral crypt. Certified by manufacturer as still good.

A way for us to connect on Friday’s with many thanks to Patrick Ishler for coordinating!

There will be a Facebook Live stream on the Way of the Cross (Stations of the Cross) on Friday, March 27 and Friday, April 3 at 6:30 pm.  Please join us on Dina Ishler’s Facebook page as we take the journey of Jesus to the cross.  All are so very welcome to join in and when we can’t be together physically we can use this gift of technology to pray with and for each other.

Click on this to hear some uplifting music:  In Christ Alone (Virtual Choir #3 / A Cappella).  Thank you, Meredith Westgate for forwarding on!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RY4CW5pte98&feature=youtu.be

LENTEN MEDITATION – WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25, 2020

Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving spirit may so move every human heart and especially the hearts of the people of this land, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

–        The Book of Common Prayer

________________________________________

My three daughters and I frequently talk about how to navigate life as black girls and women. One thing we talk about is the fact that people think we shouldn’t have to talk about profiling, bias, racism and praying for those who wish us harm. When the girls were younger, people often questioned whether my husband was their father. He’s very dark-skinned; the girls have different skin tones that are considerably lighter than his.

Nia, my eldest, commented that in the past, people would stare and not say anything. The question stayed on their faces, unlike now. Nia paid attention to the fact that it made her upset, but as a child, she didn’t have the mindset to look past her feelings toward a solution. She gave everyone the benefit of the doubt, deserved or not.

My friend Rachel loves to remind me that we are an Easter people. We turn and turn and turn again to the risen Christ for forgiveness and redemption. The only way we will ever be able to stop praying this prayer for social justice is to have difficult, honest conversations with each other whenever we can. What can you do this Lent to invite the Spirit into your heart? What barriers are you willing to cross?

–        Miriam Willard McKenney is the Development Director for Forward Movement. She finds extreme joy parenting her three girls with her husband, David.

 

Daily Message from St. Edward’s – March 24, 2020

Dear parishioners,

This week we are adding a new twist to our daily messages.  One of our fellow parishioners, Hank Spire, had a wonderful suggestion to incorporate a personal note from our laity to our fellow parishioners just letting them know what is happening in their lives during our “separation” and sending love and prayers to our fellow St. Edwardians, in 100 words or less.  What a wonderful way to stay connected with people’s daily lives.  If you would like to participate in this exchange, please forward your “note” to the parish office and we will incorporate it in our daily messages.  Perhaps we will even turn it into a little St. Edward’s “press” booklet we can share and post that shows our grace to others for the community of faith that we are.  We hope you will participate!  We start with a message from Julie Hoff, Vestry Junior Warden:

Hi, everybody!  I am thinking of and praying for you during our time apart.  I do miss being at church and seeing all of you!

I am dusting off my retired teacher skills as I work with my third grade( the grade I taught) granddaughter on a full complement of daily work sent by her teacher via internet. Hooray for technology!

For long time St. Edwardians, we were reading the book Sarah, Plain and Tall this morning when I noticed the dedication -For old friends, dear friends- Dick and Wendy Puff, Allison and Derek.  Sounds like the Puff family from the union hall days, don’t you think?!  Be well!

  • Julie Hoff

A little levity:  I read a story on CNNNews where the security guard at a museum in Oklahoma City was given the additional task of being the museum’s social media manager, due to its closure to the public.  His posts take people on “tours” of the museum’s offerings.  This was his first post introducing himself on “the Instagram”:

nationalcowboymuseum

“Hello Friends, my name is Tim and I am the head of security for The Cowboy. I have been asked to take on the additional duty of social media management while the museum is closed. I’m new to social media but excited to share what I am told is called “content” on all of The Cowboy’s what I am told are “platforms” including the Twitter, the Facebook, and the Instagram. My team and I will also continue to protect and monitor the museum and grounds. Thanks, Tim We are required to smile in our official photos. Send.”

From Nancy Davidge

Public Affairs Officer, The Episcopal Church

Episcopalians are invited to join with Christians around the world as together we join in praying the Lord’s Prayer on Wednesday, March 25 at noon in our own time zones in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pope Francis Invites Christians to Pray on March 25th

Pope Francis on Sunday invited all Christians to respond to the coronavirus pandemic “with the universality of prayer, of compassion, of tenderness”, adding, “Let us remain united. Let us make our closeness felt toward those persons who are the most lonely and tried”.  Speaking after the traditional recitation of the Angelus, the Holy Father called on all Christians to join together in prayer. “In these trying days, while humanity trembles due to the thread of the pandemic, I would like to propose to all Christians that together we lift our voices towards Heaven,” he said.

On Wednesday, 25 March, the feast of the Annunciation, Pope Francis has invited “the Heads of the Churches and the leaders of every Christian community, together with all Christians of the various confessions, to invoke the Almighty, the omnipotent God, to recite at the same time the prayer that Jesus, our Lord, taught us” – the Our Father. Pope Francis prayed, “may the Lord listen to the united prayer of all of His disciples who are preparing themselves to celebrate the victory of the Risen Christ”.

We are inviting you to issue a call through your networks and social media for Christians to join in praying the Lord’s Prayer, and in any other ways we are led to pray, at:

Wednesday, March 25 at 12:00 noon in our own time zones.

On the web:  All Christians Invited to Pray on Wednesday, March 25th

LENTEN MEDITATION – MARCH 24, 2020

Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it: I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you.

  • Isaiah 42:5-6

________________________________________

When my four-year-old gets out of the car, she immediately bolts. Her dash is usually anticipated by the common parental refrain, “Hold my hand, please!” She rarely wants to hold my hand. In this way, parking lots are spiritual exercises for our family. I’m aware of the dangerous realities they bring. She doesn’t care. My depth of knowledge, my fear for her well-being is manifested in a hand hold.

Typically, when I hear the language of God holding our hands, I’m reassured by the image. It’s an image I receive as one where God’s outstretched hand is always available for me when I know I need it. But my parental parking lot fear makes me notice that Isaiah wants to convey a different thing. I’m not the best judge of my need for God’s protection; I cannot be relied upon to know what’s best for me. In the parking lot of my life, sometimes God has to grab me, to save me from my independence.

  • Patrick Funston is a husband, father of two young children and rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Manhattan, Kansas.

Daily Message from St. Edward’s – March 23, 2020

Dear parishioners,

Today, we offer you a prayer, forwarded to us form Dolly and Arch Cross, which Father David thought was very insightful in these current times, as well as the daily Lenten Meditation.  Please stay in touch with us, and each other, and we will keep connecting with you, as well, on a daily basis.  We are getting new content and interesting suggestions for staying connected in innovative ways from the parish office, Father David, and each other in our parish community.  You should be seeing these new items in upcoming emails and on the St. Edward’s website and on Facebook.  We will be producing an April Scepter, as well, which will come out April 5th, so look for that on our website.

As we enter week 2, people are longing to hear from others in the various “communities” of their lives – family, friends, and worship, so if you have a moment, please pick up the phone and say hello to someone in your life, especially your friends at St. Edward’s.  You would be surprised at how much it really means to them.  As you keep each other in your prayers, please keep Father David and his wife Diane, as well as Father Rick and his family in your daily prayers.

Until tomorrow.. .

Michelle

PRAYER FOR A PANDEMIC  

May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake.

May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.

May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close remember those who have no options.

May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have no margin at all.

May we who settle in for a quarantine at home remember those who have no home.

As fear grips our country let us choose to love.  During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, let us find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors.                                                                       Amen

 

LENTEN MEDITATION, Monday, March 23, 2020

Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?

  • The Book of Common Prayer

________________________________________

Sometimes it can be hard to find Christ in others. Sometimes it can be hard to find Christ in yourself too. One of the most humbling experiences of parenthood is the absolute, bottomless love that children can offer. Unconcerned about how your career is going or whether you served broccoli as the vegetable for dinner three nights in a row (or if you missed the vegetable entirely), children just don’t care. They love.

I had never much connected with parental images for God until I had children. “Father” was too distant and patriarchal, and “God our Mother” seemed like a reactionary knock-off that tried to reverse a gendered binary. Responding in love to the love of my children, though, puts me in the place of both lover and beloved. I can repeat day after day that I don’t earn God’s love, but secretly I am sure that good behavior is required. Would I demand that of my children to love them? Of course not. Do they require it of me for love? No.

God’s love is there, waiting. Sometimes it’s easy to see, other times less so. But Christ is in me and in you. Let us open our eyes.

  • Sara Irwin is an Episcopal priest serving as pastor of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Carnegie, Pennsylvania, married to Noah Evans and mother of their two children

Daily Message from St. Edward’s – Sunday, March 22, 2020

Dear parishioners,

As we worship, in a different way today, let us keep in our prayers Father David, whose ministry to St. Edward’s, during our transition, has been a blessing to all of us, to his wife Diane, and to our incoming rector, Father Rick, and his family, for the new ministry we are so blessed to have for St. Edward’s future.

  • Michelle

Prayer from the Vestry for our New Rector

Dear God,

As we begin our journey with a new rector in the life of St. Edward’s, refresh us with a new vision and help us to fulfill the duties and responsibilities that come to us.

May we show gracious hospitality to our new rector, Father Rick, and to his family and welcome them with prayers and support. Fill him with wisdom and understanding and with the knowledge of your will for our parish in all things. May we all be touched by your Spirit that our hearts may yield to you in reverence and obedience.

Fill our hearts with gratitude and love for the blessings of this new ministry that we pray will be a blessing to you and, by our example, will lead others to serve you.

Help us to truly embrace one another in love as we strive to strengthen and grow our community of faith. Through our ministry together, may we bring gracious acts of kindness to others in your name.  May we bring strength to the weak, hope to the despondent, joy to those who sorrow.  May we always put our trust in you.

May Father Rick be led always by the Holy Spirit,

We thank you for new challenges. Help us to meet them with courage and trust in you. May we be filled with the love and gratitude for our savior, Jesus Christ, who lifts us from the burden of sin and anxiety.  Gather this community close to you and protect us.  We pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Daily Message from St. Edward’s – March 21, 2020

Dear parishioners,

It is a beautiful spring day today and what better way to spend it than to perhaps get a “jump” on cleaning up our outdoor spaces, if we have yards, or just taking a step outside onto your deck or patio and breath in some sunshine and fresh air!  We hope you are able to take advantage of these weekend sunny spring days.  I saw on social media a great Isolation Wellbeing Daily “To-Do” list, which had some very useful and mindful suggestions.  Focusing on the positive is where we need to travel in these new times.

  • Shower and take your medication
  • Clean one thing/space
  • Tend something growing
  • Be mindfully present to:  A sound or song; a sensory feeling; something you see; a spiritual practice
  • Reach out to a human being beyond your home

Until tomorrow. . . .

Michelle

Today’s message is the Lenten Meditation for Saturday, March 21st as well as our weekly cycle of prayer so you can keep in your prayers those we would recognize at our Sunday worship, in addition to all those we pray for in these current times. 

 

LENTEN MEDITATION, MARCH 21, 2020

Holy Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body the Church.

  • The Book of Common Prayer

________________________________________

During seminary, I spent quite a bit of time in the Chapel of the Apostles at The School of Theology in Sewanee. The chapel’s stone, wood, metal and glass formed a cathedral of light, transparent to the changes in seasons and time, which in turn formed me through the rhythm of the community that gathered to pray.

But one of the most formative features of the chapel wasn’t made of stone, wood, metal or glass; instead, it was a little boy named John Michael. He was born with an infection that left him with major health and developmental issues. He was small for his age. He couldn’t stand or talk or feed himself. Sometimes he would moan or cough, but it was more than apparent that John Michael loved being in the chapel. He was often there with his seminarian father who held him in one hand and The Book of Common Prayer in the other. He showed me what the Body of Christ looks like—every baptized person no matter their age or development, who, when gathered together, form Christ’s Body. Full members. Every one of us.

  • Jamie Osborne serves as a priest at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Montgomery, Alabama, where he lives with his wife, Lauren, and their two elementary-age children.

 

Anglican Cycle of Prayer

Pray for the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui

Diocesan Cycle of Prayer

St. Paul’s, Wellsboro

We pray for Christians, Muslims, and Jews and all people of faith throughout the world who are suffering persecution for their beliefs.

Parish Cycle of Prayer: Sam Fleming; Curt and Mary Ann Franck; Mike Freshwater; Bob Gepert and Anne Labat-Gepert

Pray for the recently departed:  Joyce Shank, mother of Michael Shank

Praying for those we love and who are important in our lives is an essential component of our worship, but many of the names listed and read out in the Prayers of the People are known only to those who have requested them, and the list grows each week.  So, when we come to the Prayers of the people in the service, the names for those “You are asked to pray for” and those “for our military personnel” will not be read aloud; rather we invite you to lift those names up to God in Christ silently in your heart as we pray the Prayers of the People, adding any others you wish to pray for.

You are asked to pray for:  The St. Edward’s Vestry, The Rev. David Bateman, The residents of The Episcopal Home, Lucetta Kiefer, Joe Holwager, Rose Dixon, Arch Cross, Mary Walker, Liz Yeager, Patricia Stout, Marge Sieghardt, Harry West, Sandy Patrone, Mimi Stauffer, Robert Hubbard, Kate Peterson, Donna J. Mott, Charlotte Jakiel, Stephanie Patrone, Nicholas Patrone, Dakota Patrone, DJ Dixon, Robert, The Rev. Jay Croft, Robert Carter, Dorothy Diehl, Barbara Bradfield, Fran Davis, Pat Kiefer, Cody Campbell, Heather, Cheryl Shearer, Myra Taylor, Sally Mears, Barry Leed, Father Sud, Dr. Randy Cohen and Family, Aaron Rowe, Sr., Dorothy Rowe, Dr. Karl and Carolyn Moyer, James Pentland Moore, Joseph Holena, Rick Welk, Max Lown, Aiden Guillory, Joyce Shank

You are asked to pray for our military personnel who are being deployed or serving in the military:  Rev. David J. Sparks, Evan Westgate, Adam and Christina Grim, David Peck, David Sternberg, John Lewis, Gordon Frankenfield, Allison Tomich, Mike Spurr, Seamas Whitesel, Capt. Andrew Pfeiffer, 1st Lt. Thomas Whitesel, Brandon Fox, Alex Kube, Richard Mutari, Dustin Burleson, Anthony Koser, Jack Hawk, Christina Dragon, Justin Carnahan, Clayton Tennies, Benjamin Jenkins, Andy Lopez

Daily Message from St. Edward’s – March 20, 2020

Dear parishioners,

I could never have imagined writing a weekly email to St. Edward’s under these circumstances. The coronavirus has caused things to change so rapidly and severely that it’s almost hard to catch our breath. Yet here we are.

Americans are traditionally such a positive and “can-do” bunch of people that it’s extra hard for many us to not be able to go out and take obvious, concrete actions in this crisis. It’s hard to just hunker down.

But it’s good to remember that Christians are actually supremely well-equipped to deal with difficult circumstances. Our world-view doesn’t assume that things will always go well or that people will always make the best choices. Instead it offers us a longer vision and reminds us that this is God’s world, that adversity is always part of Christian living, and that prayer and ministry to others are always the way forward.

In the meantime, as your pastor I encourage you to do things to keep up your own spirits. Take an appropriately “social distanced” walk if you can. Make a special effort to love and enjoy the company of those in your household. Use the telephone and internet to speak to those you care about, taking every opportunity to see their faces and hear their voices when you can. During this time of enforced isolation, reach out to others in every way possible. It will be good for you and good for them. God would approve.

David +

Readings For Sunday, March 22nd – Fourth Sunday in Lent Year A 2020

The Collect

Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world: Evermore give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Old Testament:  1 Samuel 16:1-13

The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” And the LORD said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you.” Samuel did what the LORD commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, “Do you come peaceably?” He said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the LORD.” But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the LORD does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.” Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.” Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen any of these.” Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.” He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.

The Response:  Psalm 23

Dominus regit me

1 The LORD is my shepherd; *

I shall not be in want.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures *

and leads me beside still waters.

3 He revives my soul *

and guides me along right pathways for his Name’s sake.

4 Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I shall fear no evil; *

for you are with me;

your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

5 You spread a table before me in the presence of those who trouble me; *

you have anointed my head with oil,

and my cup is running over.

6 Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, *

and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

 

The Epistle:  Ephesians 5:8-14

Once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light— for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Sleeper, awake!

Rise from the dead,

and Christ will shine on you.”

 

The Gospel:  John 9:1-41

As Jesus walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some were saying, “It is he.” Others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” But they kept asking him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ Then I went and washed and received my sight.” They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.” Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And they were divided. So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” He said, “He is a prophet.”

The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” His parents answered, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, “Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.” He answered, “I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” Then they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” The man answered, “Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?” And they drove him out.

Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.” He said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped him. Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not blind, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.”

Optional parts of the readings are set off in square brackets.

The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle and Gospel lessons are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the USA, and used by permission.

The Collects, Psalms and Canticles are from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979.

From The Lectionary Page: http://lectionarypage.net

 

Sermon for the Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year A      2020

                The Rev. David Bateman

 

Among our readings for this Sunday are two wonderful stories.  From the book of the prophet Samuel we have the selection of David to be the future king of Israel, a well-known story many of us learned as children in Sunday school.  And from the Fourth Gospel we have the tale of the healing of the man born blind, a narrative which some think may be the most artistically crafted and well-told of any in the New Testament.  The anointing of David is in the Lenten lectionary as part of the series of major events in salvation history that we have been listening to this season, such as the creation, the calling of Abraham, and Moses leading Israel through the wilderness.  The healing of the blind man is in the lectionary now because Lent and Easter are the time of year when we hear parts of the Gospel according to John that would otherwise get left out of a three-year cycle.

Despite their both being good stories, however, they are not very much alike.  The casts of characters bear little resemblance to one another, and the kind of action taken by God is quite different in each of the tales.  Perhaps we should simply say they are different narratives that just happen to be read today for different reasons, and leave it at that.  Which one appeals to you more, the story of a crafty God tricking king Saul and fooling everyone at Bethlehem, or the story of a blind man who turns out to be pretty good at arguing with the Pharisees?

Or to ask it in a different way, which tale do you prefer, the one in which God vindicates the underdog at the expense of the authorities, or the one in which God vindicates the underdog at the expense of the authorities?  Yes, you read that correctly.  Because, you see, when we ask it that way, all of a sudden the differences between these two passages disappear.  David is the youngest of his brothers and the family sheep-tender; that makes him the person of least importance doing the job with the least status.  Compare him to the disabled protagonist of the gospel story, a nameless and sightless grown man who is so disbelieved that his parents are asked to speak for him.  Furthermore, God hatches a clever plot to exalt the boy David and fool the king at the same time, while in a similar way God uses the healed blind man to make fools of the Jewish leaders.

But it is not enough that we merely recognize what is going on in these two episodes.  We also have to be aware of the way we hear the stories, to notice what sort of ears we tend to listen with, for there is a great spiritual danger waiting here for people just like us.  This is because the most natural thing in the world is for us to focus on David with the beautiful eyes, or on the blind man who does so well under cross-examination.  Given our choices among the different characters, we are tempted to identify with the good guys, to put ourselves in the shoes of one of the more admirable people.  And yet if the contrast is between the nobodies and the establishment, between those who lack status and voice and privileges versus those who are respected and listened to and are part of powerful institutions, then, realistically, where do you think most of us in this congregation and in the Episcopal Church are going to fall?

Honesty requires us to see that these two stories are aimed, in a very crucial sense, against people like us.  Here, as in countless places throughout the Bible, God is exhibiting a bias — a clear prejudice, if you will — in favor of those who are ignored or small or in need.  Because the balance is so often tilted against them, God actively takes their part; whenever there are sides, God takes that side.

This serves as a good reminder as we endure the crisis surrounding the coronavirus and COVID-19. Now that most of us have taken care of our basic needs and hunkered down at home to ride it out, it’s time to think of others: the people who are losing their jobs & paychecks, the people who are getting sick, those who are already homebound & on their own, and those who already were on the margins for whom things can only get worse. God is on their side, and we must, in our own limited ways, strive to be on their side, too.

There are many good reasons for making sacrifices and giving things up in this season of Lent, but one reason we might not always think of has to do with that other side that God is on, and the people who are part of it.  The people on the other side spend much of their lives being deprived and doing without against their wills.  When we voluntarily deny ourselves something good, we share a small experience of solidarity with God’s favorite people.  It doesn’t mean that we have completely changed sides or even that we fully understand that side, but it does mean that we choose to care, that we want to be connected, and that we are trying hear what God says and see what God is doing.  When we talk about seeing and God, though, we should talk about a Who instead of a what.  Jesus says, “I am the light of the world.”

Even though Lent is now half-way over, it’s not too late to take on a small Lenten sacrifice or to see your existing disciplines with new eyes.  “Therefore it is said, ‘Awake, O sleeper, … and Christ shall give you light.’”  Amen.

 

Links to Sunday Worship Webcasts:

Sunday, March 22nd | 11:00 AM High Altar Webcast

St. Thomas Church – NYC Festal Eucharist

https://www.saintthomaschurch.org/events/festal-eucharist-13/

 

Washington National Cathedral

Sunday, March 22, 2020 | 11:15am

This event will be broadcast online due to concerns related to the coronavirus. The Cathedral will be closed through May 16.

Join us for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist on the Fourth Sunday in Lent.

https://cathedral.org/event/holy-eucharist-4-2018-03-04-2018-05-06-2018-06-10-2018-09-09-2018-10-07-2018-11-18-2018-12-16-2018-12-30-2019-01-20-2019-04-28-2019-05-05-2019-09-08-2019-09-29-2019-11-03-2020-01-05-2020-03-22/

Links to Useful Resources for Prayer and Stewardship:

https://sainteds.org/links/

https://diocesecpa.org/stewardship/

 

LENTEN MEDITATION, MARCH 20, 2020

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

  • Ephesians 5:1-2

________________________________________

Without fail, on my children’s birthdays, family friends arrive at our home with a tower of homemade cards and trinkets. Carefully drawn and colored pictures, Perler beads melted into new shapes, delicately folded origami animals, rainbow loom bracelets in favorite colors. Each created treasure is as unique as its recipient and the relationship shared with its creator. This abundant outpouring of love is so personal and thoughtful.

These friends began creating their gifts with their whole hearts since they were able, though over the past five years the cards have become more ornate and the handmade gifts a bit more complex. Yet the spirit of it remains the same. As I revel in the love poured into these personal, fragrant offerings, it makes me reconsider the meaning of the gifts I send with a click of the button and two-day shipping.

Children are able to imitate God without making it hard. They share art, remember favorite colors and create things that honor the beauty they see in the person they are celebrating. It’s holy and it’s simple. And it’s so easily forgotten as we grow older.

  • Emily Rutledge is the Children, Youth and Family Minister at Church of Our Saviour in Charlottesville, Virginia, and a mother of two.

 

 

 

 

 

St. Edward’s Daily Message – March 19, 2020

Dear parishioners,

Happy Spring!  I was saying to Father David today, that this seems like the longest week, in terms of time passing, than we have experienced in months!  But we are grateful for longer days and moderate temperatures to be able to go outside and take in the unfolding of spring and all of the buds and birds that seem to be oblivious to what us humans are experiencing.  A good time for bike rides and long walks to bask in the wonder of our natural world and take some much-needed “deep breaths.”

Today’s message focuses on outreach ministry to our local community, our parish community, and to children.

We start with 2 free online resources, from Church Publishing Group, made available through April 15th.

This first link is to Living in Lent – Meditations for Forty Days by Barbara Cawthorne Crafton It is a wonderful collection of hymn texts from our Hymnal 1982 matched with reflections for each day of Lent. Very reflective in digital book form that you can view on your computer or tablet, and a nice complement to the daily Lenten meditation that we include at the bottom of each Daily Message from the Episcopal Relief & Development 2020 booklet.

https://issuu.com/churchpublishing/docs/livinglent2?fr=sNDNhMTY3MDM3Mg&utm_campaign=test&utm_source=ExactTarget&utm_medium=email&utm_content=https%3a%2f%2fissuu.com%2fchurchpublishing%2fdocs%2flivinglent2%3ffr%3dsNDNhMTY3MDM3Mg&utm_term=Free+Resources+-+COVID+19

This second link is to a wonderful children’s book entitled, Candle Walk – A Bedtime Prayer to God by Karin Holsinger Sherman, which is a wonderful bedtime story to share with your children to lull them into peaceful sleep.

https://issuu.com/churchpublishing/docs/candlewalk5?fr=sNmZhNjY3MDM3Mg&utm_campaign=test&utm_source=ExactTarget&utm_medium=email&utm_content=https%3a%2f%2fissuu.com%2fchurchpublishing%2fdocs%2fcandlewalk5%3ffr%3dsNmZhNjY3MDM3Mg&utm_term=Free+Resources+-+COVID+19

We are fortunate, at St. Edward’s, to have the ability to share our generosity and ministry with the local Hempfield Area Food Pantry.  As some of you may recall, Diane Gerlach from the Food Pantry came to St. Edward’s back in January to share with us the extraordinary work they do for our local community (Hempfield area) and how integral St. Edward’s ministry is in making their efforts successful.  With our monthly food and monetary donations, as well as the freezer dedicated to the Food Pantry in the name of Stephen & Rayelenn Casey, upon Father Stephen’s retirement, St. Edward’s has become one of their larger food donors.  BUT, in these new times, the food pantry cannot accept food donations from outside groups, including churches.  And, in this time when families that cannot get out or are suffering from lack of a paycheck and school meals, it would be wonderful if we could continue our ministry to the Food Pantry by donating over the next 3 weeks, monetarily, in order to provide them with funds that they can then take to the Food Bank and purchase the food products they so desperately need.  So, how about it?!?  The amount does not matter and it can involve the entire family.  Create your own household challenge to raise money and either send it via mail to St. Edward’s over the next 2 weeks or go online to the diocesan website and make your donation through our St. Edward’s portal, the same place you can make your weekly giving https://diocesecpa.org/stewardship/ and in the memo line mark it “Hempfield Area Food Pantry.”  Let’s show the Food Pantry our love for our neighborhood community, and in doing so fill us with the grace of God’s love.

For those in need:  The Food Pantry is open Mondays & Wednesdays from 10 AM – 1 PM.  Please bring your ID to document you are a Hempfield resident.  You can get food the same day and if you are NOT a Hempfield resident, but attend St. Edward’s, you are eligible to receive food.  The entrance is in the rear of the building.  85 E Brandt Blvd., Landisville, Pennsylvania 17538

The guiding principle of St. Edward’s community outreach activities is found in Matthew 25:37-40. ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

If there are any questions, please email or contact the parish office or Beth Lynch.

Reaching out to each other:  Remember there was a game show on TV a while back and one of the options to get help with answering the questions was to “Phone a Friend”?  Well, in these new times we are experiencing, we ask that you open up your St. Edward’s directory and “Phone a Friend.”  Maybe it is someone you already know from your ministry work or from the worship service you attend, or, maybe, you could reach out to someone that you may not know and introduce yourself and just take a few minutes of your day to say hello and have a chat!  Even though we are “social distancing” we can still be together as a community of faith and reaching out to those you know, and especially to those you do not know, is the kind of ministry that we are called to do.  If you do not have a directory or need a phone number or email, please contact the parish office or Meredith Westgate.  It is best to send the office an email and I will reply in a timely manner.

LENTEN MEDITATION, MARCH 19, 2020

You shall not defraud your neighbor; you shall not steal; and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a laborer until morning. You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.

  • Leviticus 19:13-14

________________________________________

This passage is stunning in its specificity. It could simply command us to not take advantage of the poor, but instead it specifically addresses employer abuse, the act of withholding wages from people who are hungry now. It could simply say to not take advantage of others’ vulnerabilities, but instead it says to not make fun of those who can’t hear what you’re saying or trip up those who will never see it coming. Through this specificity, we meet a God who is watchful of how powerful people treat the powerless.  As Americans, we are immersed in a hyper-competitive culture that encourages—even exults in—capitalizing on others’ desperation and vulnerability. Yesterday’s headlines included a story about drug companies taking advantage of people with rare but fatal diseases. Their individual needs are so great while the population with this disease is so small that companies take advantage and charge exorbitant amounts.  This is not the way of God. I believe we are called to join with God in being watchful of how powerful people treat the powerless.

  • Miguel Escobar is the Director of Anglican Studies at Episcopal Divinity School at Union.

 

Daily Message from St. Edward’s – March 17, 2020

Dear parishioners,

We hope our St. Edwardians are doing well and we want you to know we are here for you!  We will be sending an email message every day that will include ways that we can serve in ministry to each other and to our community as a community of faith.  So. . . STAY TUNED!  We will end each email with a Lenten meditation from the Episcopal Relief & Development booklet and hope you find these reflective.  In this email today, we have included the introduction to the booklet so that parishioners understand the daily format which is a scripture quotation followed by a reflection from one of this year’s contributors, who encompass rectors, development directors, children and youth ministry leaders in our Episcopal community.

We have recently learned of the death of Joyce Shank, mother of Michael Shank. We ask you to hold Joyce and her family in your prayers.

May her soul, and souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace.

Besides prayers, calls, cards and emails, there is one more thing you can do to support St. Edward’s during this time. Please keep up-to-date with your pledge or regular contribution. Even though we must keep our doors closed for a period of time, we also must continue to pay our fixed expenses such as electricity, insurance, and salaries. We will continue to pick up our mail, so you can easily mail your contributions to the office and we will see that they are properly credited.  We have also been blessed to discover that the diocese has set up online giving for each parish.  If you feel comfortable making your weekly giving or pledge donation in this manner (it is a secure giving tool), simply go to the diocesan web site, click on the tab up top and it will take you to a page where you can scroll down, find St. Edward’s, and continue with making your contribution!  Thank you for maintaining your faithfulness through your financial stewardship!

David +

Here is the direct link to that diocesan web page:  https://diocesecpa.org/stewardship/

As of this week’s update from the diocese, the parish will be closed through April 4th, but should resume services for Palm Sunday, April 5th.  Please stay in touch to get further updates, as situations may change.

LENTEN MEDITATION

Thank you for joining Episcopal Relief & Development for this holy season of Lent. Our Lenten meditations this year focus on the spiritual lives of children and how children inspire the spiritual lives of adults.

Why children? In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says, “Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” Children show us the face of God and help us to know the heart of God.

Around the world, 155 million children under the age of six are not reaching their full potential because of inadequate nutrition and health care. We know that the first years of life form a foundation for future learning, good health and well-being. Episcopal Relief & Development works with communities to ensure children have access to food, clean water and quality health care. When these basic needs are met, the lives of all people in the community improve.

Episcopal Relief & Development is committed to helping those whom Christ calls the greatest among us, so they can better reach their God-given potential to learn, grow and thrive.

As you pray and reflect upon the meditations in this booklet, I invite you to remember the children in your family, faith community and life-and the lessons they might teach you. I invite you to learn more about Episcopal Relief & Development’s work with children and how you can help us expand that work through our ONE THOUSAND DAYS OF LOVE campaign. We ask you to pray for the children in our programs and those who care for them. Please also pray for our partners and staff as they strive to help communities thrive. Thank you for partnering with us as we work together for lasting change.

LENTEN MEDITATION FOR MARCH 17th

If you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday. The LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.

  • Isaiah 58:10-11

As I spend time with my children, I often think about how amazing it is that their births and lives have affected my being so acutely. Much like with my ordination, I can very clearly feel and see a “before” and an “after.” I often wonder if that change was an uncovering of something that was within me all along or if it’s something that was given to me from outside.

In speaking about service, Isaiah offers a type of answer: YES. Acts of service reveal an internal light, but that’s not all. Service allows us to see God’s grace funneled toward us.

  • Patrick Funston, Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Manhattan, Kansas

 

 

A Message from Father David

Dear People of God at St. Edward’s,

It is still hard for us to adjust to the strange and uncomfortable circumstance of having to temporarily close our church. I doubt that many of us have seen something like this happen in our lifetimes, though I have read that some churches in the U.S. closed during the worst of the polio scare in the 1940s and 50s.

But this closure strikes at the heart of our spiritual lives because gathering for worship is so central to our experience of the Christian faith. No handshaking, no saying “Amen” together, no passing of the peace, no Eucharist. We are even deprived of our beloved coffee hour where we check in with each other and connect to people we know and who know us. It is indeed hard.

But this sacrifice is necessary. In part it is for our own good and our own health. It is also, though, for the good of others, for the common good. And that is something we can get behind and appreciate as a spiritual matter. By staying away from St. Edward’s, we are making our own small contribution to the welfare of everyone around us.

As a parish we will do our best to stay connected and spiritually focused while we must remain physically apart. Our parish website will be the main place for new information, and for resources we can use to supplement our prayers and interrupted worship. Even though the office will be closed, we will monitor phone and email messages and relay them to the Senior Warden or to me as needed. Though I can’t make routine pastoral visits, I am still available to come to the hospital or visit anyone who has a serious pastoral need. And I am available by phone as well.

I also encourage you to use the telephone and the internet to stay close to others during this time. We can minister to others — and receive their ministry as well — via electronic communication. And the sound of a human voice is a powerful thing.

If we are fortunate, this interruption will last only a few weeks. Only time will tell. Difficult circumstances are a normal part of life and living as Christians. We have our faith to sustain us, and we have our community to keep in contact. May God bless us while we wait.

David +