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Showing posts from March, 2020

Sermon for March 29

I am grateful that we have this opportunity to come together on Sunday morning even if it is sitting in front of our computers and laptops. But I miss St. Mark's. I miss coming together on Sunday morning. I often envision all of us there. I see everyone in the pews. Father Daniel is there leading us in worship. Kelleah is at the piano, Richard is leading us in song, Barbara and Dale are at the prayer rail ready to listen and pray with us. I see us walking up to the rail, kneeling and taking communion. For at the center of everything there are the elements of the Eucharist, the cup and the bread. The Scriptures for this Sunday are Ezekiel 37:1-14 and John 11:1-45 I learn so much at the lay preaching classes available through our diocese. At the last class someone said that a sermon should not be more than five or six minutes. Really ??? I couldn't believe my ears. We are an eclectic bunch at St. Mark's, coming from other denominations where the sermon was the main course

Blog Business

As new items keep appearing on the blog, I thought it would be good to give you some idea how this works. I hope this blog becomes a resource for holding us together and nourishing our life in Christ. (By the way, there's absolutely nothing wrong with sharing this Internet address with friends who are not part of our local parish.) Scheduling Preparation for Sunday: This will consist of a link to Sunday's lectionary readings plus (I hope) a hymn or two from the Episcopal hymnal. It will ordinarily post at 7:00 AM on the previous Thursday. Holy Week will be a bit different because there are readings and hymns for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter. I'll put those up on Monday of Holy Week. Sermons: These will ordinarily post at 7:00 PM on Saturday. Morning Service of Prayers: This link to the combined service at Grace Episcopal in Mansfield will appear when I get the information, typically on Saturday evening. Sunday school: I posted the material for the Tob

Preparation for Sunday, March 29

March 29, 2020, is the fifth Sunday in Lent. We have one more week before Palm Sunday. The liturgical colors are purple, representing preparation and repentance or, alternatively, "Lenten Array," a rough or homespun fabric with an off-white color. These are the readings for the fifth Sunday in Lent . Here is Psalm 130 set to music: Hymn 151 . If you open this link in a separate tab , you can listen to the music while you read the words.

Survey of Tobit

The men's Sunday school has been working our way through the Apocrypha, and, for one one reason and another, we never did get into Tobit. I was prepared for this lesson when the coronavirus shut things down, so I thought it would be good to simply put the notes online. —Curt Allen How we got the Old Testament canon What do we mean by "canon"? A closed collection of writings (we are not expecting to add more books) Inspired by the Spirit of God A normative authority held to be the rule for faith and life. An assumption behind the whole idea: God is the moving force behind all the discussion and negotiation to get books recognized as "canon." What's going on is not a matter of politics or of research to defend the inspiration of a particular book; it's a matter of discerning God's leading. This concept is known as " autopistos "—the writing speaks to the heart of the believer and reveals itself to be the Word of God in a way that

Sermon for March 22

This is something of an experiment—the virtual blog sermon. The result will probably be more like a journal entry than a real face-to-face sermon. (I hope it's not too much like an academic paper.) One advantage of doing it this way is that I can put in more detail and you can take it in at your own pace—even stop and back up if you like. Yes, that's the English teacher speaking, thinking about the difference between written and spoken English. Just to refresh your mind, here is a link to the Scriptures for this fourth Sunday in Advent . Some background material Before I get into the real content, here's a bit of material which stands behind today's Gospel. First, here's a map of Jerusalem. Perhaps John 9 doesn't follow immediately after the events of John 8, but if it does, Jesus has just left a near-deadly encounter at the temple (the area surrounded by red and yellow stripes on this map) with the Jewish authorities. He might well have met the blind man q

Preparation for Sunday, March 22

The Collect for Sunday, March 22: 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. These are the lectionary readings for this coming Sunday, March 22: 1 Samuel 16:1-13 Ephesians 5:8-14 John 9:1-41 Psalm 23 And here is a link to the readings themselves: the Scriptures for the fourth Sunday in Advent . My own background has deep roots in the Scottish Presbyterian portion of the church, and that's OK because the American Episcopal Church owes its existence to the Scottish church as much as to the English. The old Orthodox Presbyterian hymnal was a favorite of mine, and it included a lot of hymns which trace back to the Welsh revival of about 120 years ago (we Celts have to stick together). Here are a couple of powerful hymns which relate to the times

Helpful Links

I have changed the appearance of the text so links to outside pages are in dark blue like this one . (The color does clash a bit with the nice green, but I wanted links to stand out so you could find them.) If you hover your cursor over a link, it turns red . In the upper right of your screen, you will see a set of three lines (which look like this ≡). If you click those, you get to a side menu of useful links. One of the best goes to the Daily Office from the Mission of St. Clare .

Coronavirus: A new era begins

By now, you are certainly aware that the coronavirus danger has caused shutdowns of almost all public events, and St. Mark's will be cooperating in this public health strategy to protect our most vulnerable neighbors. Bishop Hollingsworth has made it official: all public worship services in our diocese are suspended until further notice. This new blog is an attempt to keep our community life going until we can again meet face-to-face. Sermons, announcements and other material (hard to say what) will appear here to keep us informed. It's perfectly OK to share the link to this blog with anyone you know. If you want to respond to anything written here, click the "Enter your comment" below and follow the instructions. Comments will not appear immediately; Curt Allen will read them before they can show up. (This is to keep out the robots and those who are trying to sell hatred or snake oil.) Note that if you are not signed in on a Google account when you comment, you