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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Fall Colors

Grace Episcopal Church
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Grace Notes
26 October 2017

Fall colors have been fleeting this year.  The combination of a dry Summer, late warmth, and then sudden change in the weather, with much wind, has meant that as the leaves on the trees have at last assumed their full brightness, they are leaving (no pun intended) quickly.  Regardless, it is presently glorious, and a time to remind ourselves of the glories of God’s creation.
In his poem, Pièd Beauty, the English poet Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844—1889) wrote:

Glory be to God for dappled things – 
   For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; 
      For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; 
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings; 
   Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough; 
      And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim. 

All things counter, original, spare, strange; 
   Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) 
      With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; 
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: 
                                Praise him.

We certainly experience the dappled things that Hopkins writes of in the first stanza:  leaves, clouds, landscape (certainly cows, in these parts!)  But we must not forget the variety of which he writes that are “dappled” not in their appearance, but in being “counter, original, spare, strange”, i.e. unconventional, “out on the curve” of society.  When we don’t forget the wideness of God’s creation, then we can begin to experience those on the margins in our society, in the Church, in our lives, as those in whom God delights as much as He delights in all of His creation, all of His creatures.
Our experience of what is counter, original, spare, strange can certainly stretch us.  In contemplating the bright colors of the Fall landscape on a cool and damp day we may be challenged in how far we can walk.  We may be challenged in how far we can walk alongside those outside of the margins to which we are accustomed.  And yet the pied beauty of creation is all of things which God “fathers-forth whose beauty is past change”.  God’s beauty does not change.  We get little glimpses of this beauty in this life, in the experience of a glorious Fall day, and in the experience of a fellow son or daughter of God in whom we are to experience the image and likeness of God; to seek and serve Christ.
May our experiences of beauty in this world—however fleeting they may be—ever be knit together in in the oneness of creation realized when God is praised.

Guest Column (Adwoa Lewis-Wilson):  We human beings are so fragile.  Though created in the image of God, we feel our vulnerability keenly.  The vulnerability sways our choices; we need anchors to soothe that pain.  We feel the desire that knits us to the Relationship for which we are created; we seek affection to soothe our loneliness.  All this is natural to our state and of no moral freight on its own.
Yet it is also the source of much that gets us in trouble.  We seek after idols – money, sex, knowledge, busyness, distractions, success and worldly outcomes.  Our fearfulness makes us usurious, or perhaps just stingy, or perhaps just blind to the needs and fragility out of which others act.  Our pride makes us inclined to forget the value in others, to speak of them as objects, or as though our works were their Savior and our perceptions their Judge. 
In Chapter 19 of Leviticus, we read a collection of commandments designed to help us cultivate holiness.  Of course, any one of us who is honest knows that it is beyond our strength and effort to obey fully.  As we have in the prayer book, O God, because without you we are not able to please you...
And so, nearly as many times as Leviticus 19 gives us a commandment, it also gives us an anchor.
I am the Lord
Except for the first two verses, God does not say because I said so nor because this is what I, the Lord, am like.  God simply says, like a lullaby, I am the Lord.  God gives us a command... and He swaddles us with the strength of His Name. 
But in this Name, God says so much: I Am here.  I am All.  I fill the hole and hunger you feel.  I Am, the All-Sufficient One.  Why hoard your gleaning when others are hungry?  I Am, your companionship and love, why take the spouse of your neighbor?  I Am, the All-Powerful, receive my sabbath rest and trust in my provision.
Think of the child going to bed in fear of the boogey man or the youth trying to climb the high rope course.  He is afraid and looks to his mother, “I can’t do this.”  She does not say, “You better, because I would.” “You have to, in order to do me honor.” “I won’t believe your love for me, son, if you aren’t brave.”  She says with love, I am your mom, I am with you, I love you
This is the strength that precedes and enables the work that youngster has ahead of him.
I am the Lord.
I am the Lord.
I am the Lord.
It is my own Nature that will inspire, strengthen, and guide you. Let my Name be your heartbeat; let it be your guiding song.

I am the Lord.

Don’t forget stewardship!  Our stewardship ingathering, at which we will bless all gifts offered, will be on Sunday, 12 November.  Please remain in prayer about how you are called to give to further the mission of the Church!

Grace aboundsPlease thank: 
§  The Aparicio family for the Sunday coffee hour.
§  Justin Panske for lawn care.
§  Ben Dobey for gardening

Special “Thank You’ s” :  A supply of Thank You note cards can be found on the table at the back of church nave.  When someone in the parish does something special, take the time to write them a personal note.  Also, from time to time, think about who you might want to thank for ongoing service, and let them know you have noticed!

Call for ContributionsIf you have a spiritual reflection to share, or want to point your fellow worshipers toward a resource, submit your contributions to Fr. Karl (by email) by Wednesday in the week of publication.

Don’t forget “Something Extra for Grace”:  Supplemental giving envelopes can be found in pews.  If you want to give something extra, please use an envelope to ensure that you are credited.

Music this Week:          The Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 25A)
                                       Organist:  R. Benjamin Dobey

Prelude         Chorale Prelude on Lord Jesus Christ, thou living Bread       Max Reger
Entrance      450    “All hail the power of Jesus’ Name!”                          Coronation
Offertory      517     “How lovely is thy dwelling-place”                Brother James’ Air
Communion Motet   As pants the hart                              Early American Folk Hymn
                                                     Paraphrase by Tate & Brady (1696) of Psalm 42
Communion 336     “Come with us, O blessèd Jesus,”                       St. Christopher
Closing        551     “Rise up, ye saints of God!”                                Werde munter
Postlude                 Prelude & Ricercar in B flat                                Johann Krieger

Parish Notices
§  Fall Cleanup: We will gather this Saturday, October 28th. Start time is 8:30 a.m., and we expect to finish early afternoon. Coffee and donuts will be provided and a sandwich lunch around 11:45 a.m. Cleanup will take place inside and outside the church - outside landscape, inside housekeeping, clean refrigerators, touch up painting, few minor repairs.  If you plan to work with the indoor crew, please bring cleaning materials. If you plan to work outdoors, please bring extra tools (rake, pruner, etc.) A sign-up sheet is in the Narthex. Let’s have fun together as we spruce up our beautiful physical plant and build community together!
§  All Saints’ Day: All Saints’ Day is Wednesday, November 1st. We will celebrate with a Solemn Mass at 6:00 p.m. followed by a pot-luck supper.
§  All Souls’ Day: All Soul’s Day is Thursday, November 2nd. We will celebrate the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed at the 9:00 a.m. mass.
§  Compline: Next Sunday, November 5th at 8:00pm, the Schola Cantorum will sing Compline, a beautiful restful service full of candles and music.
§  Defibrillator Training: The training is scheduled for Saturday, November 4th at 9:45 in St Nicholas Hall. It will take about an hour. Grace Church has received a donated defibrillator. We have contacted Pat Nicholaus, chief of the fire department EMS group to come and help us get acquainted with the defibrillator, and answer questions we might have.
§  Judging by the response at the late service on Sept 30th, very few of us know how to use one. Who knows the day or the hour when we might need it? There are directions on the equipment, but reading them in an emergency would take up critical time.
§  While this is mainly intended for the ushers and vestry, ALL interested people are welcome and encouraged to attend. Please put this on your calendar!
§  Happening: The next Happening will be held at All Saints Episcopal Church, Appleton, Wisconsin, November 10-12, 2017. Activities begin with Check-in on Friday at 7:00 pm. Please eat dinner before you arrive. Participants must attend the entire weekend. If you are unable to stay on site for the entire weekend, then plan to attend the next Happening. Happening ends on Sunday, following a celebration service that starts at 2:00 p.m. Family and friends are encouraged to attend the service.
§  Happening is a unique Christian experience for youth who are in grades 9 through 12 as well as the adults who work with them. The weekend is a one-time experience of God and the way God can be a part of our everyday lives. On the weekend there will be singing, fellowship, surprises, prayer, fun and friendship. Individuals are given the chance to discover more about themselves, God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, their families and their world. Led by young people and adults who have attended Happening before, participants hear talks on many subjects and discuss in small groups.
§  Something Extra for Grace: Envelopes are available in the pews if you are moved to give an extra gift, beyond your pledge or regular plate donation, toward the life of the church. Gifts are tax deductible if you write your name on the envelope.
§  Horvats in Croatia: Aaron and Winnie, our missionaries in Hrvatska, Croatia, have sent us their Summer newsletter. Copies are available in the Narthex.
§  Love INC Monthly Bulletin is now available online at:
§  Grace Notes is here:  You can sign up to receive the blog every Thursday
§  Grace Abounds: Sermons, podcasts, the Bible Challenge
§  Like Grace Church on Facebook: @gracesheboygan
§  We Are on Itunes! Check out the new podcast!!!

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