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Ascension 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.
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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic all public services and programs at the Church of the Ascension have been cancelled until further notice. See the postings on this page for information about our online services on YouTube and ZOOM.
For further information, see the rector's recent message to parishioners and community friends.
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It is difficult if not impossible for me to imagine the depth of the desolation of Jesus’ disciples, friends and followers on this day, particularly perhaps after night had fallen. They lost a beloved leader, under circumstances which seemed to negate entirely his message. He had died a cruel and degrading death at the hands of the Romans with the connivance of the established powers of their own nation.
In one sense, Good Friday is probably considered the darkest day of the Christian year. After all, we commemorate the crucifixion, and the Church traditionally observes the day with a solemn three-hour service, and with fasting. However, it is also part of the “Triduum” or three great days extending from Maundy Thursday to Easter Eve…
Feet are strong — each foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Feet are also sensitive — from a harmless tickle to a fractured toe or heel spur. All this said, feet tend to get a bad rap. Because of this stigma we tend to hide our feet and are protective of them, which brings me to the reading from John.
Of course, you get what you need exactly when you need it! And I need Psalm 70!
After six and half decades on Planet Earth, I am approaching 70. And for the first time in my life, I am experiencing Evil — bad people & bad situations. I quote Psalm 23 a lot. I feel I walk through a valley of the shadow of death.
“‘While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.’ After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them.”
That certainly sums up the head fakes of Holy Week, doesn’t it? Just when I think I have the light, believe in the light, am ready to become a child of the light, Jesus goes and hides.
These verses in Isaiah just don’t sit right with me. We associate these verses with the Christ, and as such I am faced with my call to act as Christ. Quite frankly I have a hard time with this. I get hurt; I get angry; I want to fight and retaliate. But that’s not how I am called to act.
Natural Systems Theory tells us that all institutions are at risk, by their very nature, of eventually subsuming the original mission. Self-preservation becomes the priority – no matter how earnest and selfless the mission of the institution may have initially been. Could Jesus be aware of this? Would he have us resist such systematic change?
The language of discord and conflict pervades our current social landscape, and the readings for today seem to echo these themes. All of the subjects — the Psalmist, Jeremiah and Jesus — are set in scenes filled with danger and opposition. The dangerous opposition is from within their societies, from their compatriots.
The Disney movie Lilo and Stitch takes place in Hawaii, and uses the refrain that “Ohana means family, and family means that nobody gets left behind or forgotten.” Sisters, friends, little blue aliens who love to sing Elvis songs: everybody works together to help save the day. People look out for each other, and lift each other up…
It’s a small leap to see the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in a metaphorical light: faith in their God protecting them from the fires of sin and corruption. It’s also not a huge leap from there to some of the fires burning around us today: racism, sexism, homophobia — hatred of all kinds. And, of course, the most combustible fuels to fires like these are lies, ignorance and fear.