Grace Episcopal Church
30 October 2014
Technology doesn’t understand. The word technology derives from the Greek techné (art, skill, cunning) and logía (words or oracles). Technology, refers, in the strictest sense, to how we describe and understand the use of tools. But the word has come to mean much more in our modern society. Our understanding of how things work has become one in which we have invested power in things. I must, therefore, confess to both amusement and the experience of a particular “God moment” during the celebration of Holy Eucharist this past Sunday. Having pronounced the words of consecration over the bread, when I raised the consecrated Body of Christ the smart phone in the pocket of the subdeacon was somehow triggered, and the Siri voice-activated search engine said “I do not understand.”
Exactly. Technology doesn’t and cannot understand. No thing can. Even the most advanced technology, the most advanced “artificial intelligence” can never be more than the projection of human understanding of how tools work, and of how to use tools. When we project a desire that technology can somehow “save” us (i.e., that we can better manage the problems we face in this world), we all too easily fall into the trap of believeing that we are in charge. A stark example is found in the fact that over 80% of all spending in the Medicare program is made for treatments given during the last six months of the lives of program beneficiaries. No matter how sophisticated our technology, and no matter how well it is deployed by us, death is not optional. No matter how well we may “manage” or lives and our society using tools (even a theoretical self-aware computer) we can address no more than finite material problems, such as the deployment of material and monetary and information resources.
Our tools cannot participate in mystery, in salvation, in the presence of Our Lord. We can. Our tools are created by us to facilitate how we do things. We are created by God in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1.26), and it is to redeem us that God became one of us.
When we focus on tools we focus on ourselves. When we participate in mystery, it is then that we can understand; that we can experience blessing; that as we see, now, partially, we may one day see “face to face” (1 Cor. 13.12).
Grace abounds: Please thank:
§ Jessica Ambelang for both Sunday coffee hours, which included her signature All Hallows’ Eve spread. In clean-up she was assisted by Jack Britton, Julie Davidson, and Jennifer Pawlus.
For parish clean-up
§ Clear leaves around property: John Davis, Tom Wright, Anne Hanlon, and Tomaso.
§ Clean gutters: Paul Aparicio and Tom Wright
§ Trim grass edges: John Davis
§ Cut back flower garden: Paul Aparacio and Elizabeth Schaffenburg
§ Wash windows around columbarium, hall, and narthex: Tomaso and Anne Hanlon
§ Deep clean the kitchen: Barb MacEwen and Nicci Beeck
§ Clean nursery and lower hall-way: Mary Snyder
§ Dust pews and major woodwork in the Church: Bob MacEwen and Jack Britton
§ Apply touch-up paint to the Church monument-sign: John Davis
Useful hints about reading the Bible: Language matters. We think using verbal constructs, and we certainly express ourselves using words. The language of the Bible matters especially, for it is in the Biblke that God chooses to reveal who He is and what His will is for us. So, inaddition to paying attention, we need to understand better how pay attention. This link (to Relevant magazine) provides useful hints. (And, yes, I will confess to feeling a little vindicated to have preached all of these points for years!)
Youth Events: The busiest times.
I have been busy. You have been busy. Our youth have been busy. We're right about half way through the fall semester, and we find ourselves to be very busy. Between school, and work (and school work), there doesn't seem to be a very good opportunity to just sit quietly, and just be for a moment. In the last few weeks there have been several Diocesan events for youth alone (including New Beginnings, Fall Lock-In, and Convention for some, just to name a couple). And the pace is not lightening. We should commend our youth for being so active and participatory. The busyness isn't bad. It may be tiring, stressful, overwhelming (sometimes), but it is a sign of vitality; a sign of doing. To be in a position of constant contact with the things that are important to you is a great thing, especially when the alternative is to be absent from said important things, or people, or places. One thing I tend to say to people who tell me that 'they're too busy' or 'don't have time for something' is "you make time for what you feel is important". I don't think that the busyness is going to go away, but if there is nothing else to take away from this, I pray that somewhere along the way we all hear that line in our heads, and we find a new way of setting aside time so that we can take a moment and decompress from our day, and live a little more comfortably, and simply, and slowly. And that we, in the midst of our "busy", find that we also are also doing the "important".
High Schoolers If you have never been to a Happening weekend, you're chance is coming. Happening is a High School only lock-in that is intentional about being together and learning together about our faith, and who we are as Christians. Many people find that Happening is a defining moment for them in their faith journey, and the friends and community you create together lasts long after the weekend. Happening will be held at All Saints in Appleton, on Nov. 14-16, and you can register at www.diofdl.org/happening .
Call for Contributions: If you have a spiritual reflection to share, or want to point your fellow worshippers toward a resource, submit your contributions to Fr. Karl (by email) by Wednesday in the week of publication.
Personal Reflection: On Saturday, at Diocesan Convention, I had the privilege of observing my daughter as she served as thurifer at the Eucharist and then, later that day, assisted with a presentation of what the Diocesan Youth Program means to her and so many others. Since then, I’ve had a number of people comment about and compliment her poise and confidence. For that, I’d like to say thank you to and for the Grace parish family.
This week marks the sixth anniversary of our arrival at Grace. We’d been invited to attend a Sunday service and go for healing prayer in the Lady Shrine. We were broken, confused, and lost. Grace took us in and allowed us a place to heal at our own pace and in our own time amongst so many who showed they cared for us without even “knowing” us. Today, you see a young woman and her mother who are much different than the broken individuals who worshipped with you six years ago.
I probably wouldn’t have shared this story or marked our “anniversary of brokenness”, if it hadn’t been for the words in last Sunday’s epistle from 1 Thessalonians 2:8, “So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the Gospel of God but also of our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.”
Let us not forget that brokenness surrounds us all of the time. Our pews are filled with those who are broken or healing. We see individuals who we believe have it altogether. The trap we can fall into is to not realize that we each have struggles…some known, some unknown. But, the beauty of Grace is our ability to let others know that they are loved and cared for. And because we are each carrying burdens it is important for those of us who carry burdens silently, to ask for help because we are in a loving family.
So, first, I’d like to say “thank you” to Grace. You have provided community and family to two women who were broken and needed a home. You each share a bit of the wholeness that Kaleigh and I now try to live into. You have become very dear to us. And, secondly, if you are feeling broken or know someone who is, please know that we at Grace want to share “of our own selves” because you have (or they will) become very dear to us. This is what it is to me to live in love in our faith family … community. ―R. Kraft
A Milestone: After a month off (October was busy!) work has resumed on the project to strip and refinish the church floor. As of yesterday (29 October) all of the floor outside of the nave is complete. All chapels, confessional/cry room, stair alcove, entrance steps, and within the rood screen and altar rail are complete. Now the big project on the main floor begins! If you are interested in participating, please contact Fr. Karl.
Music this week: Propers for All Saints’
Prelude Elegy Edward Elgar
Entrance Hymn 618 “Ye watchers and ye holy ones” Lasst uns erfreuen
Offertory Hymn 287 “For all the saints” Sine Nomine
Communion Motet The souls of the righteous Eric Thiman
Communion Hymn 620 “Jerusalem, my happy home” Land of Rest
Closing Hymn 293 “I sing a song of the saints of God” Grand Isle
Postlude Toccata on ‘Christe Redemptor Omnium’ Dom Paul Benoit
§ Grace Kids and Youth: and even teachers or anyone that is so moved is invited come to church Sunday, November 2nd in a depiction of their favorite saint or biblical character in honor of All Saint's and All Soul's days. Come and join in the Communion of Saints right here at Grace Church.
§ Adult Education: On Sunday, 2 November, our 9 a.m. adult education hour will feature John and Stephanie Weiss, Sheboygan natives, of Wycliffe Bible Translators. They will present on the topic of bible translation and biblical literacy. The couple and their family will serve next year in Tanzania. Join us to learn more about how we better understand God’s Word by understanding how this world lives in our own language and in other languages, and about the challenges of making the Bible available to all.
§ Simple Potluck Supper and Compline: Sunday, November 2nd we will have our first Sunday of the month Simple Potluck Supper at 6:30pm. Come and enjoy the fellowship then stay for Compline at 8:00pm. The Schola Cantorum will be singing Compline which is the night time prayers said or sung just before retiring. It is a wonderful and peaceful way to end the day.
§ All Soul’s Day: All Soul’s Day will be transferred to Monday, November 3rd. we will celebrate the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed with a 12:10pm mass.
§ Office Closed: The office will be closed Monday and Tuesday, November 3rd and 4th for Sabbath rest. There will be no Daily Office on either of those days. There will be Mass on Monday –see above– and no mass on Tuesday. In case of an emergency, please call Fr. Karl on his cell at 889-7190.
§ Heresies: Adult Formation on the third and fourth Sundays will begin a five part series on Heresies. Heretical beliefs are both ancient and current, with none really being new. For example, it is common to hear Jesus described as a very holy man adopted or anointed by God, but “not God”. This is one of the ancient heresies (Arianism) about the person and nature of Christ. We’ll examine all of the classical heresies about who God is, what His will is for the Church, etc., to better understand our own faith. The class will be facilitated by Fr. Karl.
§ Commission on Ministry Discernment Series: The focus is vocation to ministry, lay or ordained. The next Circles of Light is about to begin. This is the first step in diocesan discernment for ministry-baptismal or ordained. Clergy are invited to encourage any persons considering their vocation to ministry to attend. More information at diofdl.org/com or contact Mother Jane Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
§ Salvation Army Bell Ringing: Grace Church is signed up to ring bells for the Salvation Army on November 8th in two different locations. At the Piggly Wiggly on the north side from 1:00-7:00pm and at the Pick & Save on the south side from 1:00-7:00pm. Both of the locations are inside. The bells and kettle will be there, & a sign in sheet. Please sign up on the sheet in the Narthex. If you have any questions please call Nancy Yurk at 453-9948.
§ Christmas Shoe Boxes: We will also be looking for these items to fill the shoeboxes: toothpaste and individually wrapped toothbrushes, and mild soap bars and wash cloths pencils, colored pencils, erasers and pencil sharpeners, paper to write on. These items must be able to fit into a shoe box. Thank you so much. Please bring items to church for the Christmas shoe boxes. For more information please speak with Pat Ford Smith.
§ Operation Christmas Child: The Sunday School classes are spearheading the effort to put together shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child, and would like to invite the whole parish to participate by donating small items for the shoe boxes, or if you desire a monetary donation that will be spent to get shoe box gift items. The goal is to have this be a parish outreach lead by the youth and children of the parish. Please participate as you can, including prayers for this to be a successful project. The drop off date is November 16th.
§ Life Line Screening: Grace Church is pleased to offer a preventive health event. Life Line Screening, a leading provider of community-based preventive health screenings, will host their affordable, non-invasive and painless health screenings on 11/20/2014. Five screenings will be offered that scan for potential health problems related to: blocked arteries which is a leading cause of stroke; abdominal aortic aneurysms which can lead to a ruptured aorta; hardening of the arteries in the legs which is a strong predictor of heart disease; atrial fibrillation or irregular heart beat which is closely tied to stroke risk; and a bone density screening, for men and women, used to assess the risk of osteoporosis. Register for a Wellness Package which includes 4 vascular tests and osteoporosis screening from $149 ($139 with our member discount). All five screenings take 60-90 minutes to complete. In order to register for this event and to receive a $10 discount off any package priced above $129, please call 1-888-653-6441 or visit www.lifelinescreening.com/community-partners.
§ Tripartite Thanksgiving Eve Worship: Join the Celebration on Wednesday, November 26th at 7:00pm at St. Dominic’s Parish. Pastor Kristin Berglund will preach. Join in the Tripartite Combined Choir and enjoy fellowship and deserts following the worship. The Thanksgiving Offering will benefit the Salvation Army. We will need two people to serve as ushers and a reader, if you can help please call the office. Thank you.
§ Christmas Castle Volunteers! On Thursday, December 18th from 1:00-3:00pm Grace Church will participate in the Salvation Army Christmas Castle. This gives those in need an opportunity to “shop” for Christmas presents for their families. We are in need of at least 5 people to help. Please sign-up on the sheet on the table in the Narthex. If you have any questions please contact Nancy Yurk at 453-9948.