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Voices of Grace
This day we are solemnly reminded that God’s grace is free---but it is not cheap. This is the day we reflect that, although the price of our freedom from slavery to sin has been paid, we are not promised an easy life when we follow the way of our Lord who paid that price. Jesus warns us today that the cost of discipleship to his Way may be the loss of our family--or even our life. Join the people of Grace and St. Stephen’s as we humbly pray today for God’s great mercy and unfailing help for us, for our lives, for our families, for our country and for our world.
This week the sun will reach its annual summer zenith. The green growing season has finally arrived. Yet which gardener among us hopes to tend a garden without tools? This day we hear Jesus’ command to reap the harvest he has sown with the tools he has given to us. Join the people of Grace and St. Stephen’s as we call upon the name of the Lord to continue to equip us to do the work the Lord has called us to do, “for the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.”
Space and time compress and stretch. Only gravitational “waves” can pass through all matter. Ninety percent of the universe is composed of stuff that is invisible to all our methods of detection and thus we have no idea what it is, or what it is made of. It is humbling to remember these limitations of human knowledge when we contemplate God. Through Scripture we understand that God has revealed Godself to humans in different forms at different times in human history, but we still don’t “know” or “understand” God. Join the people of Grace and St. Stephen’s this Sunday as we pause in deepest humility to worship the one God, as summed up in the Church’s mystery of the Holy Trinity.
The Spirit of God was promised to the people of God for thousands of years. The people of God believed in the promise and waited (and waited) for “those days” when God would pour out his “Spirit on all people, when sons and daughters will prophesy and old men will dream dreams and young men will see visions.” A time when, they were told, “both men and women” will receive the Lord’s spirit. And that time came, in Jerusalem, in “those days” in the first century, upon a band of frightened men and women who had followed the one they called the Christ. Join the people of Grace and St. Stephen’s this day as we celebrate with joy the day that the promise was fulfilled and the day when the Spirit came to live among all the people of earth—and continues to abide among us, even to today.
Have seen the Grace gardens lately? Sue Stoner and her dedicated team of Saturday morning gardeners have been hard at work in spite of the crazy Colorado spring weather. Here she shares her best practices for gardening in June.
Nine months ago we embarked on an epic journey, one that was both exciting and daunting. Nine months ago we began a journey through the Bible. And like all epic journeys, it started at the beginning, at the Genesis. I am telling you this because the final day of May was also the final study of the season. On May 31 we completed our seven-week study of Numbers--the fourth book of the Bible and the fourth and final book of season one of the Grace and St. Stephen's Parish Bible Study.
We have now completed an entire year in the life of the Rector's Seasonal Book Group. We have immersed ourselves in some wonderfully fascinating stories: Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor, Life of Pi by Yann Martel, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne, and Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.
As we begin our second cycle of reading through the seasons, it seems like a good time to remind you of what the Rector's Seasonal Book Group is about. One of the unique features of this parish group is that we only deal in fiction. Through story we consider deeper truths about life and faith. Each reader reads at his or her own pace during the season. Then we gather once to enjoy discussion and food. Each gathering is also a potluck featuring dishes inspired in some way by the book we have read.
This summer we are trying something a little different: we are going to read a graphic novel--a story that utilizes words and pictures. Our summer book is Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan. Read it over the summer and on Wed., Aug. 23 at 5:30 pm join us for a great discussion and a great meal. You can obtain a copy of the book through the office for just $10.
In anticipation of training starting in September for our new lay pastoral caregiver program--Community of Hope International (COHI) --we are having a summer book study on Benedictine spirituality.
COHI is based on the Rule of Benedict, a sixth century monastic rule that is the foundation of Western monasticism. Our own curate, Fr. Brendan, is a Benedictine monk. We'll be using the book of the same title as above by Episcopal priest Jane Tomaine. The 8-week book study is on Saturdays from 10 am to noon, and begins Sat., June 10. Books are $13 and are available in the office.
Whether you plan to become a lay pastoral caregiver, or simply want to learn more about the Rule of Benedict and how it applies to our lives today, you are welcome to join us. Please contact Cindy Page for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (719) 339-8428.
Today we celebrate “graduation,” a transition from the old way of living to a new way of being in the world. It is a new beginning, a “commencement.” On this day, Ascension Sunday, we hear Jesus telling his students that they have completed their time of learning and now is the time to take what they have learned and change the world. Really change the world. And then he leaves us on our own—staring blankly at the place where he used to be. Lost without the teacher. Join the people of Grace and St. Stephen’s as we earnestly pray that God will not abandon us to undertake his impossible mission alone--that God will send his Spirit to guide us and direct us in fulfilling his mission to save the world.