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May 3, 2017, 8:57 AM

A word at mid-week 5/3

Greetings and happy mid-week!

In this week's Gospel lesson, we meet with with the Risen Jesus as he encounters two disciples traveling back to their homes in Emmaus. It is an interesting story with many different twists and turns: grieving and irritable disciples who are trying to figure out what is next for them and for their fellows colleagues, a stranger who seems oblivious to all that has happened over the past few days - the suffering and death of their friend and teacher, Jesus - and a mysterious recognition, of having their eyes suddenly opened when they break bread together and see that it is Jesus who is with them! As Jesus engaged them on the road and retold all of the biblical stories of the patriarchs and matriarchs and kings and prophets of the faith and how they all pointed to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, it was like he was connecting the dots for them so that they could see the entire picture more clearly. And, in the sacred meal, as Jesus took the bread, blessed it, gave thanks, and gave it to them, it all came together and realized that he was in their midst. This is not just a good Bible story, it is the story that we tell and retell and live into each week when we gather together, pray, read and listen to the stories of our faith, and break bread and share it, together. It is in these breakthrough moments that we can recognize and live lives more abundantly. May it be so for us as we gather week to week at 8320 E. 10th Street!

It was a busy 2-week transition period for all of us as we gathered on April 22 at St. Christopher's, Carmel for Bishop Cate's Celebration of Ministry and then again on April 28 and 29 with all of the festivities surrounding the ordination and consecration of Bishop Jennifer. What an historic time to be a part of the Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement! In his address to the clergy, 

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry reminded us that one of the gifts of the Episcopal Church is that it is founded on a model of intimacy. We are a group of small churches who gather regularly for worship, who pray together, study scripture and other formation together, who raise their children together, and who take care of the church building and grounds, together. Even in "big box" churches, they form small groups to do these kinds of things - things that are already built into our DNA in the Episcopal Church. He also reminded us that priestly ministry is first and foremost about connecting people intimately to God and to one another. All other tasks that a priest or rector or priest-in-charge may have responsibility for, nothing should take precedence over this one, essential priestly function!

Also, this week, I had the opportunity to spend time with Bishop Mauricio Andrade and his wife, Sondra. They are a wonderful ministry team! I learned a lot about Brasilia and our "companionship" as a diocese. One of the strengths they identified in our diocese is how we have dialogued about important and sensitive issues. For example, the church in Brasilia is facing a similar point in history that we faced a few years ago about same-sex marriage. As might be expected, there is much debate on both sides of the aisle on this issue. Bishop Mauricio is taking opportunities to gather differing viewpoints for conversations. Good things are happening as a result! He also noted that he is a follower of St. Matthew's on Facebook! He and Sondra enjoy our posts and all the good he sees happening at St. Matthew's. He said he really likes all of the pictures we post! So, let's keep it going!

God's love to you all! Fr. Frank 

Thank God for Sacred Spaces

As I walked into St. Matthew's early last Sunday morning, I thought how wonderful it was to be back in a sacred space. Being part of the 180+ singers of the massed choir for the ordination/installation

service for our new bishop last Saturday, it was at most times impossible to find those thin places where earth and heaven intersect.  

While I know that true worship can take place anywhere, I am also well aware that I act differently when entering the church on East 10th. Reverencing the cross - the empty cross of the Reformed church - is more than just a routine. It acknowledges that Christ has indeed saved us, and that I am truly loved. I have repeatedly witnessed St. Matt's parishioners end the animated conversation of the narthex and take on a completely different demeanor as they enter our sacred space. 

Clowes Hall was not designed as or intended to be a sacred space, and indeed, last Saturday, rarely if ever did it serve as one. Much of the conversation that took place there would have never happened in the individual churches the worshipers attend. It was, however, only in the vibrant liturgy where one could worship. 

But praise be to God that we worship weekly in a sacred space! I am grateful for saints, living and dead, who were instrumental in fashioning our worship space with architecture that lifts the eyes heavenward. And as a musician, I could not ask for more wonderful acoustics!

Dale Caldwell

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