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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.
Regular Worship Schedule
- Sunday 9am: Holy Eucharist at Side Altar
- Sunday 11am: Holy Eucharist in the Church with sermon, hymns & Ascension choir
- Sunday 7pm: Service of Meditations and Sacrament, including chant, interfaith readings and communion
- Monday–Friday: 6pm at Side Altar. Church open for prayer and meditation 12–3pm.
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Earlier this year, I had the great privilege of attending the ordination of our former parishioner Christopher Montella to the sacred order of priests. The Sunday following his ordination, Christopher preached as well as celebrated his first Eucharist.
He proclaimed the love of God through Jesus beautifully, and included a reference to Ascension as his first glimpse of what it means to see Jesus in others.
Today’s readings about “Susanna” and “The Adulterous Woman” lead me to reflect on the oppression of women through the ages and up to the present. The readings also stimulate thoughts about social justice and injustice. Susanna chooses to sacrifice her life rather than submit to sexual assault by two depraved elders; “The Adulterous Woman” is also being judged and is saved by Jesus from being stoned to death.
Hearing Jesus’ words, the crowd believed he had to be either a prophet or the Messiah. Unaware of Christ’s birthplace or lineage, the chief priests and Pharisees argued that Scripture clearly states that the Messiah would be born in David’s city, Bethlehem, and that no prophet had ever been born in Galilee. Alas, there were no birth certificates! Sound familiar?
We acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God — but do we really understand what that meant to Jesus and what it means to us in our relationship with Jesus? As he courageously sought to make himself known in the temple in Judea, can we then unite ourselves in spirit with Jesus? Do we have the strength of conviction and a strong enough commitment to Jesus to overcome our fears and prejudices?
Am I ever stiff-necked? Words like “haughty” and “rigid” come to mind. Not me, right?! But do I often find myself looking at someone on the subway and thinking: Why doesn’t she lose some weight? What was he thinking with that hairdo? And break from my routine or change my plans? Not easily.
In today’s section, Jesus explains that he is the Son of God. This relationship is very interesting, and confusing: Jesus can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees his Father doing. He is distinct from the Father, as he is the Son, but he is not autonomous. While Jesus can’t do anything by himself, he does have a will of his own.
My third great grandmother, Elizabeth (Lizzie) Ellerman left Germany with her four children after the death of her husband in 1855. Her family sailed for New Orleans to find a new way of life. The eleven week voyage was tedious and tragic, with Lizzie losing her daughter, Anna, along the way.
Find the center in quiet and stillness where you are not experiencing the world as good and evil. Where you do not judge, where you are not dominated by fear of or fear for. In this stillness let go of good and evil, judgment and fear. Find God in yourself and have compassion for the snake when it appears.
Lent can get a little heavy. But there’s a secret that can lighten it up. Just like the one Gabriel announces to Mary. Out of the dreary Nazareth sky comes an angel, no less, fancy-talking about how she, little Miss Nobody, is going to be the mother of God.
Many years ago, I worked on a therapeutic team on a psychiatric unit in a small hospital in Massachusetts. The head psychiatrist would reply, when we reported on what the patients were telling us, “It’s not what they say, it’s what they do.” I have relied on that wisdom to name my own resistances and to understand others’.