What a beautiful sight!I was not anticipating being able to use the Chapel this morning.When I walked into Bethany House this
morning, my eyes feasted on this beautiful sight!Thank you, Pete, for making this happen!And thank you, Alice, Bonnie, Sandra, and
Liz, for the cleaning, planning, and pruning that you've done!
As I was driving toward West Liberty this morning (while praying the Jesus Prayer and asking the Lord to fill us with his Spirit and his love), I witnessed one of the most beautiful sunrises I've ever seen. The orange-ness of the sun interspersed in the clouds (seemingly bouncing along on the hill tops) was a sign of the sure and certain hope we have in Jesus. It was as though the Lord was offering his benediction (good word) on the day that he made, on his people as they go about their activities in that day, and especially on the work he's given us to do!
So often, as I drive to work or go about the tasks of the day, my eyes are focused on whatever is front of me. Sometimes my eyes are even downcast, out of weariness, fatigue, and even disappointment. Not this morning!!! My eyes were fixed upon "the hills (and above) from whence cometh my help"!!! The deeper I entered into communion with Jesus (through the Jesus Prayer and his work of art in front of me), the more I wanted to express my joy and gratitude for all that he's done and all that he's going to do!
The prayer just flowed out of me (I suspect that the Holy Spirit was interceding for me with sighs that are too deep for words - see Romans 8). I prayed that all of us at MAMA Church would find deeper intimacy with the Lord in our times of daily prayer, that we would learn to dance with joy in his presence, and that our hearts would be made tender and open to his every desire. In other words, I prayed that we would enter more deeply into our love affair with the God who loves us more than we can ever understand!
May your day be blessed with his presence, his love, and his joy! And, may his Son-shine fill you to overflowing!!!
"The vicar of MAMA Church is committing larceny!" (Well, something like that.)
The logo above (C4SO) belongs to the Diocese of Churches for the Sake of Others (one of our sister dioceses in the Anglican Church in North America). But the meaning behind it (and the logo itself) is just too good not to share! It's a reminder to us of the way in which our love for Jesus should reach out, spread, and grow. It's a reminder that none of what we're doing with MAMA Church (or at Bethany House) is for us. It's all for Jesus and for the people who will meet him through us.
Tomorrow night (August 27) as we meet at Bethany House for Evening Prayer, study, and fellowship, we'll begin looking at ways we can become a Church for the sake of others. Indeed, "Becoming a Church for the Sake of Others" will be the theme of our vocational discernment process. In the first phase of our discernment process we will examine the "lay of the land" with regard to the mission field in which the Lord has placed us. In the second phase of the process we will examine ourselves, asking the Lord to show us how we can become the mature disciples he needs us to be (no matter who we are, there's always room for growth). And, in the final phase of the process, we will examine MAMA Church, asking the Lord to help us create a community that forms mature disciples.
If at all possible, please make plans to join us for this exciting time of vocational discernment. Yes, there will be some heavy lifting and some extra reading. But we need to know the work that the Lord is calling us to undertake.
It’s just two days after MAMA Church’s first Mass at Bethany
House and a wall has been knocked out, a dead tree has been felled, and we’re
getting geared up to begin our vocation discernment (at Bethany House, of
course) this Thursday evening!It would
seem the Spirit is moving us along!
Yes, we gave
God the glory today (August 23, 2015) as MAMA Church celebrated Mass
for the first time at Bethany House (our home in Mount Sterling)!
Today's Mass (and the delicious potluck and wonderful fellowship that
followed) marked the culmination of nearly two years of searching,
praying, and discerning.
time we began to think that Bethany House would only be a dream...and
then God showed us what only he can do! After having given up on the
purchase of this house, we suddenly received word that the asking price
had been lowered. We then received word that the family who owned the
house wanted to help us by lowering the asking price still further! How
could we not see God's hand in that?!
There's a good deal of
cosmetic work to be undertaken on Bethany House in the weeks and months
to come. There will be painting, rearranging, the knocking out of a
wall, the addition of air conditioning (no vestments for the vicar today
because of the heat and humidity!), cutting down of some trees
(precariously overhanging the house and/or blocking the view from the
driveways onto the busy street), among many other things.
importantly, though, we now have a space into which we can invite those
who are in need of Jesus (no matter how that need presents itself)! We
are blessed to have life teachers, lay counselors, and care givers in
our community. Indeed, God has provided for our every need through the
gifts and talents of those who have come to be brothers and sisters of
Mary and Martha of Bethany. And we know that it doesn't stop with our
needs. We know that he will send us from this house into the streets of
The brothers and sisters of MAMA Church are brimming with joy to invite
you to Bethany House for a celebration of the Holy Eucharist followed by our very
potluck!!!(You don’t need to bring any
food, however!We’ll have plenty to go
around!Just come and join us!)
Bethany House is located at 408 Levee Road, just across from the MCHS
football stadium (there’ll be a small sign in the front yard to help you find
us).Mass will begin at 10:30am (with
plenty of singing and praying) and dinner will follow immediately!
We do hope you can join us for this joy-filled day!
received a call from Pete Pederson this morning, informing me that
Bethany House is ready for us to take occupancy! We can now proceed
with the plans we made this past Sunday: We will be gathering at Bethany
House this coming Sunday (August 23) at 10:30am rather than at the
Herald & Stewart Chapel.
will pray the morning office and then engage in my favorite activity (a
Church potluck - more details to follow)! To quote the old Gospel
song, "What a day that will be!"
“There is always the danger that we
may just do the work for the sake of the work. This is where the respect and the love and the
devotion come in – that we do it to God, to Christ, and that’s why we try to do
it as beautifully as possible.” –
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
It's Sunday night. I celebrated Mass this morning, slept this afternoon, spent some time with my beloved, stepped onto the little vicarage deck to look at the stars (no stars tonight, just clouds) and listen to the crickets and peepers. All in all, I'm feeling very sentimental and nostalgic.
There is so much wrapped up in my heart these days: The call to patiently minister to men who've done very bad things, the call to help create a religious community in Mount Sterling, the desire to live as fully as I can, the desire to find and spend time with friends who are fellow travelers, and the tug to remember the things dearest to my heart.
Each of these informs the others. There's no such thing as compartmentalization of our lives. How we respond in one area always effects the others. How we dream, hope, and pray regarding one of these areas causes differences in the others.
Isn't this how we create the legacy we leave behind? Isn't this interaction of areas within our lives the acting out of our personalities and the making real of who we are day by day? Isn't this the sharing of our souls and the gift of friendship in tangible terms?
How else can we show ourselves to others? How else can we share what's most deeply within us? Jesus tells us that unless we are like a seed that falls to the ground and breaks open, nothing of his love and grace can come forth from us. So, isn't our willingness to share our quirkiness, our laughter, our memories, our hopes and fears, and our concerns the way we allow ourselves to be broken open for the sake of friendship and love?
I think I will dream well tonight because I've tried to make my love for you more real, more present. For some reason, my heart swells the more I share from it, the more I try to empty it. Please pass it on! Father Todd
The evangelistic aim of the Christian life (fed and nourished by the adoration and worship of Jesus) is to so live and move for Jesus that others are brought into our gravitational pull. Little by little, the orbits of their lives are changed because they are attracted to Jesus in us. The pull of his love, reaching through us, is strong enough to alter the course of any life.
I’ve seen this little saying pop up quite a bit
lately: “We will never change the world by going to Church.We will only change the world by being the Church.”I couldn’t disagree with it more.Like so much within evangelical
Protestantism, it sounds great at first...until we start thinking about it.What this little saying advocates is putting
the cart ahead of the horse. It
supplants our first vocation as Christians with something that can only follow
later. Our first vocation as Christians
is worship and adoration of the God who created us, redeemed us, and is
sustaining us.In particular, our first
vocation is wrapped up in offering ourselves in worship - by going to Church -
and receiving Jesus in his Word and in his precious Body and Blood.Only then can we "be the
Church".Only then - filled with
the Word and the grace of Holy Communion - can we go forth with and in the
Presence of Jesus for the sake of the world.
“Jesus has made himself the Bread of Life to give us life. Night and
day, he is there. If you really want to grow in love, come back to the
Eucharist, come back to that adoration.” (Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta)
From the vicar... Do we know where we are lacking? Have we seen our blind spots? Are we aware of our shortcomings? Have we experienced our oversights and omissions? There are two voices wanting to tell us about them (and a third that wants us to ignore them and pretend they don't matter). The enemy of our souls wants to show us our shortcomings so he can beat us up. The voice in our head wants us to pretend we don't have any shortcomings. But Jesus alone wants to talk with us about them and help us with them. Which voice are you listening to? The enemy and that voice within us don't want us hanging out with God's people. Jesus does. Which voice are you listening to? Father Todd