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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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This fantastic Old Testament story of poisonous snakes terrorizing the ungrateful Hebrews captures our attention. It has been the subject of numerous paintings, some of which still haunt me from Sunday School days.
How interesting to look at the two readings in this time of #metoo and #timesup. In both Daniel 13 and in John 8, a woman is saved from death, even though each had been accused by high-status men. Daniel confronted the wicked judges directly…
If John were being sly, he might be telling us that Scripture can blind us to God just as easily as it can reveal God to us. Even John seems to take issue with that other book that starts “In the beginning….”
Comparisons to other people lead nowhere good. “Ugh, Jessica is so much better at art and book displays than I am!” “Everyone else’s treats for coffee hour look professional next to my lumpy bread.” Watching people bustling to the gym, getting mad that I have been lazily blowing off yoga class.
In the times of bleakness, despair or desperation we may often wonder: Where, oh where, is God? We become anxious when we think Yahweh is not present. In the Exodus reading, this is what is going on with the people of Israel as they begin to query Moses’s whereabouts.
I have been reading Elaine Pagels’ The Gnostic Gospels and came across Marcion (c. 140), a Christian from Asia Minor, who concluded that the unforgiving God of the Old Testament and the loving God of the New must, in fact, be two different gods. This is definitely a heresy that I can get behind.
This account from John has two interesting elements. First, Jesus states “a prophet hath no honor in his own country.” I interpret this along the same lines of a Portuguese saying I heard a few times when I was doing business in Portugal and the Portuguese-speaking world; loosely translated, “Home grown saints don’t perform miracles.”
Hosea, commonly referred to as the “prophet of doom,” writes: “The Lord has torn us so he may heal us; struck us down so he can bind us up.” The overall message is reconciliation through repentance results in salvation. In the parable from Luke, the Pharisee prays he is righteous, sacrifices, fasts and tithes. He is proud he is not like the “immoral” tax collector. The tax collector, however…
The punishments and rewards depicted in Hosea are horrifyingly “over the top” to our modern senses. But to those ancient civilizations, living among barbaric rulers, those horrors rang with familiarity. Here were God’s warnings in language they would heed. If set in a 2019 Bible, God’s admonitions might center around our concepts of psychological torture and bliss.
So what does the law mean to us? Is it just the Ten Commandments? Some of those, like refraining from murder or theft, aren’t too hard to live by. On the other hand, today we have a bit of trouble with the one about adultery, and the prohibition against “coveting” is pretty hard to stick to in a consumer society.