THE DOVE March 2012

Lenten Journey

By The Rev. Dr. Jason L. Parkin, Rector

What is there in my heart that you should sue
so fiercely for its love? What kind of care
brings you as though a stranger to my door
through the long night and in the icy dew
seeking the heart that will not harbour you,
that keeps itself religiously secure?
At this dark solstice filled with frost and fire
your passion's ancient wounds must bleed anew.

So many nights the angel of my house
has fed such urgent comfort through a dream,
whispered ‘your lord is coming; he is close'
that I have drowsed half-faithful for a time
bathed in pure tones of promise and remorse
‘tomorrow I shall wake to welcome him.'

Lachrimae Amantis
Geoffrey Hill (1932 - )

Each season of the church year contains some special dynamic that reminds us of just how fiercely God "sues for our love." The promises of Advent that God has not forsaken us, and will come again to bring to fulfillment God's salvation; the headlong plunge into the human experience manifested in the Incarnation; the wondrous unfolding of Jesus' identity and vocation as the Holy One during Epiphany; the absurd joy of new life beyond the tomb on Easter; the unexpected, unearned gift of the Spirit and the opportunity to be driven by it during Pentecost: each season tells us anew of God's persistence, God's hunger for, God's pursuit of the human heart.

Lent is no different. During this holy and poignant time, God sues for our love by calling us back into a deeper relationship, and by nudging us into reflection on who we truly are and how we are walking the road of faith. Although we may associate the words "your lord is coming; he is close" more with Advent than with Lent, one of the recurrent wonders of this season is the growing awareness of just how intimately God is enmeshed in our existence through Jesus, and of the fact that that very intimacy beckons us to self-examination, to prayer, to self-offering, that we might walk ever more closely with God.

‘Tomorrow I shall wake to welcome him." How, during this holy season? Through renewed commitment to prayer and worship? Through some act of sacrifice? Through dedication to a new ministry of service? Through discipline or reading, fasting or generosity?

Let us welcome him who came for us; who empties himself for us; who calls us to be renewed; and who gives us this holy time to be filled with him.

A "Fire and Rain" Service of Healing

Sunday, March 11, at 9:00am

By Father Chris Hardman

I've seen fire and I've seen rain
I've seen sunny days I thought would never end
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I'd see you again.

"Fire and Rain" is one of those wonderful songs written by James Taylor that has helped many people get in touch with their own feelings of loss, and to move toward redemption. I don't imagine that Mr. Taylor intended for those words to be sung in Church, but that is what we are going to do on Sunday, March 11 at the 9:00am service. We are going to sing those words because they can be healing words for us all.

Fire and rain, as you may know, are symbols of the Holy Spirit. This is the very Spirit of Jesus given to us that brings us out of our brokenness and alienation into God's wholeness and new life.

When I lived in Central Florida wild fires would pop up most everywhere this time of year. One particularly devastating fire occurred in the Ocala Forest along a highway that I traveled quite often. For months it looked like a burned and charred mess. But after awhile, if you looked closely, you would begin to see new growth coming out of the darkness. The fire had burned away many of the trees, light began to reach new places, and so new life began to grow.

Sometimes our lives are like that. Sometimes life gets stuck, bogged down, and choked out. And then the Spirit comes and stirs things up and we begin to move and grow again.

That is what we hope will happen in this special healing service. May the Spirit bring "fire and rain" so we might all be transform into what God calls us to be.

Adult Formation for Lent

Our Adult Forum during Lent will look at another aspect of the Spirit's work: bringing us closer to God through prayer. Each Sunday, we will look at a different way of praying that will allow the Spirit to make us what God created us to be - more compassionate people. The Adult Forum is held each Sunday at 10am in the Great Hall and open to all. Father Hardman will present the following topics:
     Lent I ~ Body Prayers
     Lent II ~ The Prayer Book
     Lent III ~ Lectio Divina
     Lent IV ~ On-line Inspiration & Meditation
     Lent V ~ The Labyrinth
     Lent VI ~ The Passion

On Tuesday evenings, Father Hardman leads a special series entitled Reel Spirituality III: Seeing the Bible with New Eyes, which looks at some of the key themes of the Bible in new and challenging ways using popular movies. A simple supper is served at 6pm; class begins at 6:30pm. Dinner reservation required; RSVP here>>>
     February 28 ~ Story of the Bible
     March 6 ~ A Hero's Journey
     March 13 ~ The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil
     March 20 ~ The Tree of Life
     March 27 ~ Jesus' Journey

Participation in Pathways for a Lenten Journey, our on-line Lent prgram, can take place at your convenience - on the train, in your office, at home or while traveling - and can be accessed on your computer, phone, or iPad! Each week, a new topic is simply introduced, with opportunities to delve deeper through mediation, films, music, or activities with younger children.   

"The Mystery of the Child"

A Special Presentation by Dr. Martin Marty
Monday, March 12 at 7:00 p.m.

By now, we hope everyone has registered to attend the special presentation by Dr. Martin Marty, world-renowned scholar, historian, and theologian, on "The Mystery of the Child." If you have not, please do so as soon as possible so that we might know how many people are planning to be in attendance. (Click here to register>>>)  For more information on this wonderful evening, please go to the Holy Comforter website>>>. It is a rare privilege to be able to welcome Dr. Marty to Holy Comforter, and you won't want to miss it!

The Vineyard

We extend our sympathy to:
•  The family of long-time parishioner Fran Powell who died suddenly and peacefully at the age of 102. 
•  Marty McCarthy on the death of his mother, Margaret Ann McCarthy, on January 26 at the age of 95.

Calendar of Events

  • Sunday, March 4 ~ Lenten Evensong, 5:30pm 
  • Sunday,  March  11 ~  "Fire & Rain:" A Special 9:00am Liturgy featuring the music of James Taylor
  • Monday, March 12 ~  "The Mystery of the Child" with Guest Speaker Dr. Martin Marty, 7:00pm
  • Sunday, April 1 ~ Palm Sunday Liturgies, 7:30, 9:00 and 11:15am
  • Thursday, April 5 ~ Maundy Thursday Agape Meal, 6:00pm followed by 7:00pm Liturgy
  • Friday, April 6 ~ Stations of the Cross, Noon; Good Friday Liturgy, 7:00pm
  • Saturday, April 7 ~ Great Vigil of Easter and Baptism, 8:00pm
  • Sunday, April 8 ~ Easter Day Liturgies, 7:30, 9:00 and 11:15am

News from our Directors

Reflections on our Community Life: The Dreamers and Me
by Patti Pateros, Director of Community Life

Music Notes: Lenten Evensong
by Derek Nickels, Director of Music

Formation Principles: And We're Waiting...
by Mary Johnson

Holy Week & Easter at Holy Comforter

This year, Holy Week falls from Palm Sunday on April to Easter Sunday, April 8. During this Week of Weeks, we come to the central events that shape our common faith as Christian people. The heart of the liturgical year is the Paschal Mystery, the dying and rising of Jesus. Our participation in the saving acts of God finds its deepest expression in this great Week. Our celebration of Holy Week is the occasion above all others when we stand before the awesome mystery of redemption, bringing to God all that we are both as individuals and as a community of faith at this moment in our lives.

The rites of this week are based upon sources and practices stretching back to the fourth century in the Church at Jerusalem, and even earlier. On Palm Sunday, for example, we process into church singing a jubilant hymn just as joyous crowds waved palm branches and strewed their garments in Jesus' path as he entered the holy city*. The tone of the day alters soon after, however, as, for the Gospel lesson, we read together the story of Christ's Passion from the Gospel of Matthew. These words carry us into the sacred story of Jesus' life and final days. The entire congregation participates in the Passion story in order that all might remember that, though separated by distance and time from the Jerusalem of 2,000 years ago, we were nevertheless part of the story then, and that the story of God's redeeming work continues in us now. In essence, then, Palm Sunday gives us a concise presentation of all that we will experience in the coming week.

On Maundy Thursday, following a meal in the Great Hall reminiscent of the Last Supper, we wash one another's feet*, echoing Jesus' commandment to his disciples to love one another as he loved them, the mandatus novum, or new commandment, that he uttered while bathing their feet. The liturgy that evening concludes with the solemn Stripping of the Altar as a sign of our humility before God. The sacrament consecrated for Good Friday resides on the Altar of Repose throughout Thursday night, and all are invited to spend time in prayer and meditation through the rest of the evening and the next morning.

On Good Friday, The Stations of the Cross will be offered at 12:00 noon. This simple, ancient yet poignant rite is modeled on a custom widely observed by pilgrims to Jerusalem from the early centuries of the Church to the present day: the offering of prayers at a series of places in that city traditionally associated with Jesus' passion and death. The service will be held at the hour when Jesus was placed on the cross.

The Good Friday Liturgy, at 7:00pm is the most solemn rite of the entire Christian year. It begins in complete silence, and includes the hauntingly beautiful Passion according to St. John, sung to a Gregorian chant tone by members of the choir and the Rector. A time of extended reflection and prayer for God's world also takes place, known as the Solemn Collects. Some of the most ancient prayers from the Church's early centuries, known as the Reproaches, are offered before a simple wooden cross, and Communion is shared from the sacrament consecrated on Maundy Thursday.

And at the Great Vigil-the preeminent celebration of the year, and the first proclamation of the Lord's Resurrection-we begin the liturgy in darkness and light the Paschal Candle, the symbol of the Resurrection and the light that spreads into our lives. The Exsultet, a magnificent chant recalling God's saving presence with humanity, introduces the series of sacred scripture passages, song and psalm that recount the history of God's saving presence in our lives and world. The central proclamation of Easter is that we are buried with Christ in his death and therefore share in His resurrection; and, as a result, the Great Vigil is the preeminent time to celebrate Holy Baptism, as we will do this year. As the Baptisms conclude, the Resurrection is proclaimed: with an explosion of light, great organ fanfare, cries of "Alleluia, He is Risen Indeed," the New Day and the New Creation sing out from every voice under heaven. As one author has said, "At the Great Proclamation, all heaven breaks loose." The table is spread and all are invited to the first Eucharistic feast of Easter.

We share in the celebration of Holy Week so that we might once again find ourselves immersed in God's grace. It is from this week that all the other weeks of our life take their meanings.

Each of the liturgies within Holy Week contains its own unique beauty and power. Please resist the temptation to move straight from Palm Sunday to Easter. Come, take your place in the entire journey: join the crowds that shouted "Hosanna," the circle of friends who shared in that final sacred meal, the throng that saw the Christ be offered up for human brokenness. And then, like the stupefied few who were present for Jesus' rising, rejoice in the dawning of the New Day and the New Creation.

*Please note that, in addition to the inclusion of Stations of the Cross, we will repeat the two significant changes initiated last year. First, the 9:00 and 11:15 Palm Sunday services will begin outside-on the front lawn at 9:00 and in the Columbarium Courtyard at 11:15, weather permitting-for the distribution and blessing of the palms before the procession into the church. In addition, all who wish to have their feet washed by one of the clergy on Maundy Thursday will be invited to come forward at that moment in the service, rather than having one person represent all. If you think you will want to take part in this moving rite, please come prepared by wearing shoes and socks that can be easily removed.

Easter Outreach & Flower Offerings

During the Easter Season, we remember the gift Jesus gave us of new life, and we celebrate our blessings. It is also a time of sharing our financial abundance with those in need. It is the tradition of the parish to give the Easter offering for outreach to help those beyond our parish community.

Our Easter offering this spring will, as in recent years, be dedicated to addressing issues of hunger among children in the Chicago area, and to alleviating suffering and need in a variety of places. Please be as generous as possible as we share our gifts with others.

Your Easter Flower Donation supports the Flower Guild and provides the beautiful flowers that grace our church during the Easter Season. Flowers may be given in memory of or thanksgiving for loved ones. To have your name included in the Easter bulletin, please return your flower offering envelope by April 1.

Please look for the special mailing that will arrive during March containing envelopes for both Easter and flower donations. In addition, Easter offering envelopes will be available in the narthex and parlor.

Family Ministry

by Pastor Heath Howe

Sophie, Eli, David, and I were talking about Lent the other day.  What’s the season really for?  Why give up something?  Why take on something?  How did this all start in the first place?  Mostly, what’s the point?
 
As I ponder and pray about all of this what occurs to me is that Lent is really a time for us to “take a time out.”  To stop.  To pause.  To look at our lives and see where it is God may what to do some cleaning up or some redirecting with us.  We need this time out usually because somehow along the way we have forgotten that our role as Christians is to help bring about the Kingdom of God; a world where simplicity, justice, gratitude, hope, and love reign; where all God’s creation is Whole.  That Kingdom can, believe it or not, happen right now.  It is our role as Christ’s followers, as Easter People, to be a part of its existence. 
 
Whether or not you choose to give up something or take on something is fine. Perhaps God is calling you to simply BE.  Maybe you need to reconnect to what matters to you, to be quiet so you can actually hear not only God but yourself.  That’s fine.  Let the Holy Spirit guide you this season.  Remember you are invited to take a time out.  To stop.  See what needs attention within your life.  Get forgiven and continue to live into the beauty of your humanity.
 
Upcoming Family Ministry Events
•  The Purpose Driven Life: Book Club Meeting Sundays at 10am in the Library
•  “March Madness” Pizza Party [Details TBA]  

Youth Group News

iCONNECT, our 6th and 7th grade youth group, has been busy filling God's Inbox with emails!  They are in the process of deciding what God's email address is and setting up his email account.  As part of their lessons on prayer, they are learning  that God just wants us to stay in touch. And as we all know, email is a fast and easy way to communicate - even with God!

AIM leaders continue planning for the May 5-7 Chicago mission trip for 7th and 8th graders. The group will stay at the Br. David Darst Center in the Bridgeport neighborhood, have a fun evening in Chinatown, participate in a full-day hands-on work project at Good News Partners in Rogers Park, and attend Sunday service at St. Edmund's Episcopal Church in the Washington Park neighborhood.   

WHAM is busy raising money for their June mission trip through the sale of "Kookies for Kentucky," oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip cookie mixes.  The high school group packaged the dry ingredients for the recipes; just add butter, eggs and vanilla, and you have an easy 3 dozen cookies! These lovely little bundles cost $5.00 and make great teacher or hostess gifts; available through the parish office. WHAM appreciates your support!