Pastor's Blog

Mid-Week Video Series on Gratitude.

Dear Ones,

As we enter into the Fall, with its harvest season, it is my pastoral invitation to you to make room and space for gratitude in your life. Much has happened so far this year. We are very aware of the heaviness and uncertainty of it all, and yet as the mystics would say, even our suffering and tribulations belong in God. Nothing is wasted or dismissed in the ever-enfolding love of God. And even in the muck of it all, we have experience glimpses of beauty and goodness; for that, we give thanks to God.

It is my hope and prayer that we all find moments of gratitude in each of our days. Thanksgiving for a warm cup of tea, a finished puzzle, a call from a friend, the laughter of a grandchild, an opportunity to help others, a good book, completing some house chores, for having a house and chores to do, for the good stewardship of our church building by the Vestry and Building Committee, for stable internet connection during Zoom meetings, for medical teams and essential workers, for God’s eternal love for us… there so many reasons to be generous with our gratitude.

For the next 6 Wednesdays, I will be sending a Mid-Week Email Message focused on the transformative power of giving thanks. Contact me via email if you are interested in joining this series.

In these videos, we will hear Dr. Diana Butler Bass explore why gratitude is missing as a modern spiritual practice, offers practical suggestions for reclaiming it, and illuminates how the shared practice of gratitude can lead to greater connection with God, our world, and our own souls. The course towards changing the way we see and act in the world, according to Butler-Bass, is remembering the truth about God’s abundance and welcoming one another to a communal table where every need is met. Inspired by her book, this film series is a continued dialogue about what we’ve done with/how we misuse power, how to find an abundance within, what it looks like to be a cooperative culture rather than a competitive sharing, connecting.

The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks
This series includes six sessions:

Session One // Where Is God?
Session Two // A Table of Gifts
Session Three // Table Ethics
Session Four // Grace, Gratitude, and Gifts
Session Five // Gratitude and Abundance
Session Six // Table Memory

Pastor's Blog

from the frying pan into the fire

“Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ…”
– Philippians 1:27, St. Paul to the church in Philippi, and the church in Snohomish County.

Beloveds in Christ,

I’ve been thinking about my mother this past week. Two things I learned the most from my mother, gratitude, and resilience. She had all sorts of sayings and saying to communicate deep wisdom. Some of those sayings were rooted in the courage that poor people developed to face a life of hardship, and still see beauty, express love, and celebrate being alive.

These days it seems that we are jolted continuously, getting out of the frying pan into the fire. We are living amid a global pandemic that changed our habits and patterns of human interaction, a severe economic crisis that is impacting the livelihood and well-being of many, the gloom of collective trauma that alters our focus and our capacity for empathy, the blunt exposure of the wickedness of racism in our country and towns, the feelings of guilt and powerlessness at dealing with our complicity in racism, the increase politicization and polarization on issues like wearing masks, showing support for Black Lives Matter movement or appreciation for the work of the Police, hurricanes, fires, and now our skies covered in smoke. Yes… from the frying pan into the fire indeed. So much have happened, or have been unveiled, in a matter of months.

No wonder we feel tired, I know I am tired. And I get anxious, and I get snappy and cranky and long for the good old days of late 2019.

Nothing, or very little, in our lifetime, prepared us for figuring out life and meaning during this time. At the same time, we are not passive participants or merely waiting for this to happen. As Christians, we are summoned to be awake, clothe ourselves in Christ, and follow the Way. We might be tempted at this moment in history to say, Come Lord Jesus! But know that plea comes with a response that we might not want to hear. Our Lord Jesus is here, present among us, in solidarity with us in our struggles and hardship. While at the same time, it is us, the Church who now enfleshes the Good News of Christ’s Gospel in our neighborhoods. The Apostle Paul instructs and encourages the church in Philippi, and us the church in Snohomish County, to live our life as a church in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ.

Let us continue to be honest with God about our feelings of disheartening and sorrow during this time. While also continue to look for opportunities to live in the manner of the Gospel of Christ by not waiting for the time to resume our church services but seeking to be the church in the world. If you are tempted to ask what is St. John’s or the church doing about this or that, remember that you are the church, so the question also is what “I am doing about this or that” or “how am I helping, assisting, or leading on this or that.” We are all ministers of the church. We are all bearers of Good News, even, and perhaps more importantly, when we are all feeling that we are moving out of the frying pan into the fire.

From the Book of Common Prayer, pg. 855

Q. Who are the ministers of the Church?
A. The ministers of the Church are lay persons, bishops, priests, and deacons.

Q. What is the ministry of the laity?
A. The ministry of lay persons is to represent Christ and his Church; to bear witness to him wherever they may be; and, according to the gifts given them, to carry on Christ’s work of reconciliation in the world; and to take their place in the life, worship, and governance of the

Re-gathering Protocol: Please join me in thanking the Protocol Team, Leann Torgerson, Dave Baldwin, Kim Eichner, Jackie Grove, and Dawn Wheatley, for all their work in developing a substantial safety protocol for when our time to re-gather comes. The document was finalized on our end this week and sent to the Office of the Bishop for feedback and approval.



Pastor's Blog

Seek Holy Wisdom and Divine Grace

Dear Ones,

The date of September 11 carries the dreadful memories of pain and violence. On September 11, 1973, General Augusto Pinochet, supported by the CIA, lead a coup d’ état against President Salvador Allende in Chile, leading to many years of violence and oppression.

On September 11, 2001, we heard the horrific news of the terrorist attack on New York City and the Pentagon. Many of us can tell with exact details where we were and what we were doing when we heard about it. The shock left us confused, broken, bereaved, and enraged. Our hearts and spirits were crushed.

On 9/11/2001, we, in the United States, experienced a fragility and vulnerability never known before. Such desolation moved many of us to drink from the deep wells of our spiritual traditions. There were silent vigils and prayer services. In our pain and confusion, we opened ourselves to Divine wisdom.

Today, in our COVID-19 pandemic time, the prophetic call for Racial justice, the lack of courage from our nations’ leaders to the well-being of people over profit – it edifies us to seek Holy Wisdom and Divine Grace.

Pastor's Blog

How do I love during this time of COVID-19?

From Fr. Eliacín

Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. – Romans 13:11

Dear Ones,

It is my constant prayer that love, faith, and hope to be with you every day. Love is what sustains us and mobilize us as followers of the Way of Jesus. In the Epistle reading for this coming Sunday, Romans 13:8-14, St. Paul reminds us that love is what we owe one another. St. Paul’s and Jesus in the Gospels present us with a perfect love – a verb, an active performance of seeking wholeness and well-being for the other.

“Owe no on me anything, except for love one another…” 
While the commandment to love others is always at the core of our discipleship, it is also a constant demand. Just like God’s love is not a stale love, but new and fresh for us at every moment in our lives, so is the demand to love others. The commandment to love one another asks that we always seek to love intentionally at this moment in my life:

How do I love during this time of COVID-19?

How do I love during this time of the prophetic call for racial justice in our country?

“Love does no wrong to the neighbor…”
Christian love is not a passive posture. It is a generator, a live-wire that propels us to lively name and resists evil, seeks and serves Christ in all persons, and strives for justice and peace in respecting every human being’s dignity. In sum, by actively loving, we craft the experience of the Kingdom of God for others, in which we can all have life abundantly.

So… in times of lies and manipulations, love speaks truth.
In times of violence toward black lives, love proclaims that Black Lives Matter.
In times of perversion of religious symbols and language for oppressive purposes, love calls us to the liberating words and actions of Jesus.