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March 9, 2017, 10:42 AM

A word at mid-week, 3/8

Good morning and welcome to mid-week!

As we begin our Lenten observance, the lectionary readings immediately turn to the theme of temptation. Who among us is not tempted? I think the wise theologians who set up the lectionary in this way thought it best to be emphasize that the power of temptation is an ever-present challenge in our lives. Often, we don't realize that we have fallen prey to temptation until we look back on things. It is always much easier to recognize mistakes after they occur. And, further, the things that can tempt us - the things that are not good for us - can sneak up on us and be disguised as something attractive or even innocent. Maybe this is why we practice self-denial ("giving something up for Lent") to help us remember that temptations are right around the corner!

The sin of Adam and Eve was less a malicious or belligerent act and more of a subtle realization and perhaps fear of their vulnerability. When we deny our vulnerability, when we seek to be self-governing, self-ruling, self-determining without qualification, without need of God or anyone, we have fallen prey to sin. On Ash Wednesday we are unabashedly reminded of our vulnerable nature, our limits, that we are finite creatures of the Creator: "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return!" Our vulnerability  is crucial for our capacity to love. We cannot be in a loving relationship without allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. The repentance we seek in Lent is a return to our vulnerability -to once again open ourselves up and recognize our interdependence on God and one another. To once again accept the person that God created. To turn toward God and reconcile with what is broken in us. Please see my sermon, below.

This evening, St. Matthew's is hosting the Irvington Area Minister's Lenten Soup Supper and Prayer Service. The preacher tonight is the Revd Rick Ginther from Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. I hope you will all plan to attend! Thanks to Martha Cooper for organizing the Soup Supper and for all the volunteers who are helping!

As you know, the funeral services for Bill McFarland were held on Monday, March 6 at the funeral home. I am in discussions with Nancy about the possibility of holding a Memorial Service at St. Matthew's in honor of Bill's long-time association with the parish. We will likely do this in April closer to Bill's birthday. More details to come.

At their Spring Luncheon in April (see ad below), the Episcopal Women's Ministries will recognize Honored Women of the Diocese of Indianapolis. Many of you have submitted names to me (Thank You!) and I will be announcing our candidate soon!

On Sunday, we will "pass the bucket" for the Episcopal Fund for Human Need (EFHN). When clocks change for daylight savings time (A Day of Change), we will encourage everyone to toss all loose change into the bucket and we will give the collection to the Episcopal Fund for Human Need (EFHN). These donations help change the lives of people who depend on the outreach programs of the 34 outreach agencies in our diocese that are supported by your Episcopal Fund for Human Need.

Last week, we kicked off our Lenten Adult Forum's by beginning reading The New Jim Crow. We have several copies of the book available for those who would like to read the book during Lent, whether or not you are participating in the Forum discussions. We ask for a free-will donation to help off-set the expenses of the books.

Next Thursday (March 16), my family and I will be traveling to Japan for two weeks. I will be away Sunday, March 19 and March 26. The Revd Mary Slenski will lead Sunday services and Fr. Steve Giovangelo will continue to be here for the Wednesday services.

God's love to you all, Fr. Frank

May We Continue to Celebrate!

Last Sunday, musical elements of our worship changed in style and effect - Lent I. In this penitential season, a Kyrie has replaced the Gloria. The Fraction Anthem and the Psalm are presented in unaccompanied chant form. While this music may be more reserved and intimate in nature, it is no less effective or meaningful. The forty days of Lent do NOT include the Sundays. They are still feast days. While it is our pattern to note our own sin and short-comings during this season, we can still rejoice in the bountiful grace we have already received. How can we but offer our highest praise and thanksgiving?

Dale Caldwell

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