Services at AscensionAscension is a welcoming, diverse, and inclusive community of people who gather to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ, to give praise and thanks to God through the beauty of worship, and to love and serve God and our neighbors.
- Regular Worship Schedule
- Sunday 9am: Holy Eucharist at Side Altar
- Sunday 11am: Holy Eucharist in the Church with sermon, music & choir
- Sunday 7pm: Service of Meditations and Sacrament, including chant, interfaith readings and communion
- Monday – Friday: 6pm at Side Altar
We'd like to hear from you!
From our Pulpitby The Rev. Elizabeth G. Maxwell
Ash Wednesday This sermon was delivered by The Rev. Elizabeth Maxwell on Ash Wednesday, February 10, 2016. You can read the scripture for Ash Wednesday here.
“Let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us….” Easier said than done! How can we “lay aside” our sins, and what is “the race that is set before us”?
We are but six days away from the Crucifixion. Caiaphas, high priest, has persuaded the Pharisees that by executing Jesus they will keep the Romans at bay. And so now it is just a matter of time. Another human atrocity — the worst atrocity ever — is about to be committed.
“I love thee, O Lord, my strength” These are words of joy — they leap out to me, and I am smiling as I open my arms to receive them. This is God! Perfect love! Love has always been important to me. Knowing and understanding love is a lifelong project. As a child I used to watch adults and wonder what love was. Perfect love. How I longed (and still long) to give and receive perfect love. Of course, as I am working in my classroom, I sometimes forget about love and God…
M.F.K. Fisher remembers a time when, on Maundy Thursday, there was in Aix-en-Provence a kind of fiesta of reposoirs, or Altars of Repose:
Chapels that were forever otherwise closed to the lay public were open that day…. In the small convents and monasteries the whole main altar, with, as I remember it, no candle or flame burning, was turned into a wall, a solid wall, of the most beautiful flowers that could be found….
Today’s lesson from Daniel is the tale of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego that seemed so fantastical in childhood. As an adult, I have to wonder, “Why risk being hurled into a fiery furnace when you could just pretend to worship the golden calf?” The unfortunate truth is that it’s rarely the most attractive option. The passage commands us to leave the safety and security of where we are. To be strong. To risk being unpopular. And even to suffer. Examples abound.
Lent is a time of reflection and absolution of one’s sins; however, the forgiving of sins is only accomplished through faith in the Lord and acceptance of Christ’s words as those of God. These three passages poignantly speak to elements of the Lenten “contemplative process.”
In John, scribes and Pharisees bring before Jesus an adulterous woman. Rather than condemn her, Jesus defends her as he says to those who brought her, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And all the men walked away and Jesus bid her to go and not sin again.
“He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
Today’s Gospel reading is perhaps understood best in the context of the preceding chapters. John announces the Incarnation immediately, and then throughout his early chapters illustrates Jesus’ dual nature as both God and man. In John, Jesus announces that he is the Messiah, that he has come to save the world, and that we must be reborn of the spirit through him. Since he is also Joseph the carpenter’s son and he breaks the Sabbath laws, his claim to be from God confuses most and threatens many.
“Membership has its privileges; membership has its price.” These words from a sermon this past year accurately portray faith’s dual nature. The price of faith is the constant testing we must overcome in our daily existence. I have experienced many tests in my relatively short lifetime: unemployment, betrayal, rejection and the difficulty of forgiving those who have trespassed against me. After my adult baptism, I had hoped the testing would abate. No such luck.
“Almighty and most merciful God, drive from us all weakness…”
Obedience, never a word with which I am particularly comfortable, is what is asked for. God has made a promise to Abraham that he will give us eternal life, greater than anything that we can imagine, if we obey him.
The people of Israel following Moses through the desert had a very difficult time grasping this concept. Even after the parting of the Red Sea and the manna and the other marvels that God performed, they greedily disregarded these acts of love. They took it for granted and wanted more.