What are you waiting for?

Have you ever heard “life is a journey not a destination?” It’s a truism that is lost throughout much of our modern society. As a culture, we tend to frown on having to wait for anything. We can sometimes prefer our destination to arrive as quickly as possible and would rather not have to journey to it at all.
Yet it is often the journey that is transformative. It is how we choose to get to where we’re going that changes us and makes us who we are. Without the journey, we are simply a people who get whatever we want whenever we want it; and that offers no transformation whatsoever.
Advent is a time for waiting, but not passively. It is a time of preparation and expectation…. it is a time for journeying; and that makes it a time for transformation. The wise men journeyed across whole countries to find Jesus in his manger. Mary and Joseph were on their own journey to the city of Bethlehem. Advent is a time for journeys.
As we enter this holy season of Advent, what will your journey be? How will this season transform you as you move through its days and weeks to arrive at the birth of Christ on Christmas Day? How will you prepare a place for Jesus in your world this year?
A journey involves changing where you are, so you may have to do something new or do what you’ve always done somewhere new. Maybe you can spend less money on gifts for people that already have much and more money on gifts for people who have little. That’s transformative. Maybe you can celebrate the season of Advent in a new place by journeying alongside other people of faith by attending Church, or in a Bible study, or at a fellowship group. Maybe you can be in a new spiritual place by dedicating more time to prayer or meditating on Holy Scriptures. All of these things are a journey. They all take time, deliberation, and effort; and they are all transformative.
This Advent season, wait on the move. Take a journey. Be transformed. What are you waiting for?

Father Zeke

Pentecost

Pentecost was originally a Jewish feast that celebrated Moses receiving the Law on Mount Sinai.  But in AD 33, something equally as miraculous occurred on this day.  Just as the risen Christ has promised, the Holy Spirit descended on God’s people.  The disciples saw what looked like tongues of fire on their heads and began to speak so that all could understand them regardless of their native language.  The Holy Spirit came to dwell with us, and thus began the Church as we know it.

It’s a truly miraculous story!  However, sometimes one of the most powerful nuances of this story is overlooked.  It has to do with something described way back in the Book of Genesis: the fall of humanity, the fall of angels, and the fallen world.  The Tower of Babel was a mighty structure that was toppled and God then confused the language of the people so that they could no longer understand one another.  That is what a fallen world looks like, full of destruction and confusion.

On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit filled the lips of the disciples and allowed them to speak so that all could understand them.  That is what a redeemed world looks like!

Just like Christ’s resurrection shows us a glimpse of what true life looks like after the Kingdom comes, the day of Pentecost shows us how humanity can interact after the Kingdom comes.  Just like God, through Christ, restores our lives to wholeness;  God, through the Holy Spirit, restores our communities to wholeness.  That glimpse of what is to come shows us the true mission of the Church: “to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.” (BCP, p. 855)

Pentecost reminds us of the power that God has given us through the Holy Spirit, and of the work we are meant to accomplish with that power.

As a member of Christ’s one holy, catholic and apostolic Church, the power of the Spirit is given to you so that you may go out into the world and proclaim the authority of God the Father, the love of Jesus Christ, and the unity of the Holy Spirit.

 

 

 

The Rev. Christopher Zeke Coughlin

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…

Historically, Lent has been observed by Christians in memory of the struggles and temptations of the wilderness. Lent became a time for self-examination and repentance, a time for looking at ourselves and seeing the direction our lives are taking us.
Are you happy with the direction your life is going? Do you feel your lifestyle is leading you into a deeper relationship with God or to a deeper dependence on the things of this world? Now is the time for us to make changes, do a little course correction, and alter the way we live to put more focus on God, His love, and His plan for us. God is forgiving, and so we ask for His forgiveness and ask for the strength to make changes in our lives. In this way, we can live toward a better place, a better peace.
Lent is also a time for us to forgive others. In ages past, it was a time when notorious sinners were reconciled to the Church and accepted back into the fold. So it is a time when we repent of our own sin and move back into God’s plan for us, as well as a time when we forgive others and help them reenter God’s plan for them.
Reconciliation is not always God’s will, but forgiveness is. Every time we pray the Lord’s prayer, we ask to be forgiven and for the strength to forgive others. Let Lent be a time when you put down the burdens you carry on your heart – forgive someone whom you need to forgive. Lay aside your anger and pick up God’s love. Put down the yoke of this world, and pick up the yoke of Christ, for his yoke is easy and his burden is light.
Take this lent to reorient your life even more fully toward God: forgive and be forgiven.

Father Zeke

God is Revealed to Us!

Despite all the Christmas decorations having disappeared from street corners and shopping malls, the Christmas season is not over!  On the Christian calendar, the Christmas season begins on Christmas and continues for twelve days (hence the song).  Then comes Epiphany!

On Christmas Day, Jesus came into the world, but was still only known to very few people.  On Epiphany we celebrate his presentation to the broader world.  We do this by remembering both the visitation of the the three Persian wise men who came to pay him homage, and the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan where the Holy Spirit descended on him and God the Father declared him to be his Son.  Through these events, Jesus was made known to those beyond his family and neighbors, and beyond his religion.  Be they shepherds in their fields, kings from foreign lands and a foreign faith, or  adherents coming to hear the words of the prophet John – all came to know Jesus Christ!  That is what an epiphany is: the appearance or understanding of God in someone’s life.

For this Day of Epiphany, and the days to follow, celebrate according to the season: Tell Someone About Jesus!  Be the venue God can use to reveal the truth of Jesus Christ to someone in your life!

You may think that everyone already knows about Jesus, but that’s simply not true.  Most people in America are unchurched, and many people have a cultural understanding of Christianity as a religion (often a negative one) but don’t really know anything about Jesus Christ himself.  Change that!

Celebrate Epiphany by telling someone your story!  Talk to someone about Jesus the way you would tell them about a close friend.  You needn’t share what your religion believes, but rather what Jesus has meant to you in your own life.

If you feel you don’t know Jesus well enough to do that, celebrate Epiphany by getting to know him better!  Make time to read scripture and talk about Jesus with others.  Make this Epiphany one to remember.