Grace Episcopal Church
28 February 2019
Mysterium tremendum et fascinans. This Latin phrase was coined by the Lutheran theologian, Rudolph Otto (d. 1937) to describe the religious experience of the sacred, and arose, recently, in a discussion in diocesan Deacon School. The phrase translates into “mystery that inspires awe and fascination”, and is Otto’s attempt to classify what it is that happens when we encounter the sacred.
Mystery names that which is totally different from what is found in ordinary life and evokes a reaction of silence. When we are in the presence of something (really, Someone!) so far beyond ourselves, the last thing we are tempted to do is open our mouths. If we do talk, we don’t make any sense at all. Witness Peter at the Transfiguration (e.g., Mk. 9.2—8).
Tremendum (awesome) connotes the experience of overwhelming power, which results in us trembling in awe.
Fascination results because in the face of overwhelming power we experience a sense of mercy and grace. The power is that of Love.
We grope for words to classify for ourselves “what just happened” when we encounter the sacred. In my own case, when I have had a “God moment” it has involved a sudden experience of tears, but tears of the joy of entering into a state far beyond the normal. The problem, of course, lies in how we can ever share experiences of the sacred. They are too intensely personal, and if we do seek to share these moments those to whom we speak shall be tempted to dismiss our testimony as just too particular to relate to.
But what about when we describe moments of grace which we have witnessed in others? What about when witness unexpected kindness or forgiveness? I suggest that we can well describe such “God sightings”, such testimonies of grace, and when we pay attention we will notice these glimmerings of the kingdom of heaven more and more in the world around us.
As we prepare for Lent let’s focus on how to cultivate the practice of God sightings and the practice of sharing them. An excellent way to start is to begin with the Adult Education class which begins this coming Sunday, on a Rule of Life. When we are intentional about how we pay attention to God we will notice His presence in all things. Join with Nicci for this class at 9 a.m. on Sundays.
Grace abounds: Please thank:
§ Doug Hamilton for the Sunday coffee hour.
§ Bobbie May and Julie Davidson for janitorial help.
Call for Contributions: If 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 envelopes are available in the pews. If you are moved to give something extra, please use an envelope to ensure that you are credited.
Music This Week: The Last Sunday after Epiphany
Music Director: R. Benjamin Dobey
Prelude Prelude on Coelestis Gloriae Geoffrey Vinter
Entrance Hymn 7 “Christ whose glory fills the skies” Ratisbon
Offertory Anthem “Christ whose glory fills the skies” Charles Wesley
Communion Motet O Light of Light R. Benjamin Dobey
Communion Hymn 137 “O wondrous type! O vision fair” Wareham
Closing Hymn 123 “Alleluia, song of gladness” Dulce Carmen
Postlude Paean on ‘ Of the Father’s Love Begotten John Cook
§ Adult Formation: Growing a Rule of Life: Beginning today, Adult Formation participants will spend six weeks using a tool from monastic spirituality and the Society of Saint John the Evangelist to develop their own personal Rule of Life. Participants will discover a highly personal, guided way to gently live into who God invites us to be.
§ Sacrament of Reconciliation: Lent is a time of self-examination preparing for the death and resurrection of our Lord. The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be offered by appointment. Please contact Fr. Schaffenburg to set up an appointment to make your confession.
§ Shrove Tuesday Feast before the Fast: March 5 is Shrove Tuesday. A New Orleans Mardi Gras celebration in St. Nicholas Hall will follow the 5:30p.m. Mass.
§ Ash Wednesday: March 6 is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent and a day of fasting and penitence. We will observe this day with Mass and Imposition of Ashes at 12:10 p.m. and Solemn Mass with Imposition of Ashes at 6:00 p.m. This is a holy day and a wonderful way to begin your Lenten observance.
§ Lenten Program: Friday nights in Lent beginning March 15th, we will have Stations of the Cross at 5:30pm, followed by a simple Lenten supper at 6:00pm. At 6:30 the program will be Entering the Passion of Jesus: A Beginner’s Guide to Holy Week, author, professor, and biblical scholar Amy-Jill Levine explores the biblical texts surrounding the Passion story. The six-session DVD features Dr. Amy-Jill Levine offering a fresh, timely reinterpretation of the Passion of Jesus. The video segments are approximately 10-12 minutes each. The program will be facilitated by Fr. Karl and Mother Michele.
§ Scout Appreciation Pancake Breakfast, March 17: Mark your calendars and stay a few minutes, after each service, to savor a down home Pancake Breakfast. Scouts will supply all the know-how for the event. As an added bonus, Maple Syrup will be supplied by the Drewry Farms of Plymouth. This award-winning Maple Syrup is served at all the major restaurants in the area and beyond.
§ Flower Schedule for 2019: Giving the gift of flowers is a wonderful way to remember a loved one or to offer thanksgiving for your blessings. If you wish to sign up for a specific Sunday, the Flower Schedule is available on the table in the narthex. More than one person can sign up for each Sunday.