But they can also be comforting, because we know pain and being honest about it can help a process of healing begin. Take Hannah, whom we heard about in the first reading today. Hannah was living through the ending that was her not being able to birth a child which meant that the family line would come to an end. Just let me know.
There were no green pastures in sight and the waters were more like rapids going over a fall, than they were like stillness of any kind. And so, one day, Hannah let it rip on the steps of the temple. Which was not the most pastoral of initial responses. But it was a good example of how the quakes that ran through living rooms then were no better interpreted than they are now.
But then when Hannah explained, Eli got it. She shared her story with him and Eli was willing to receive it. And then Eli did a beautiful thing. He helped Hannah see that there was more to come, that there was hope to be had. Not every story moves that way. There was a new beginning on its way. Something is ending, but something is getting born, and this side of heaven, both of those things are true all of the time. There are those among us who have an earthquake running through their living room right now. And there are those among us welcoming new life right now.
And many of us are trying to integrate either end of that spectrum. And all of that is true out in our world too. The gospel reminds us in these stories that because we are held in hands greater than our own, while things may appear to be an apocalyptic mess, something, someone, maybe you, maybe me, maybe all of us are always trying to be born.
The end is simply never the end. And they said: You will find meaning. What we are invited to do as community of faith is a beautiful thing. Yours, mine, ours — not done. It never is.
And with love no matter at what point in our stories it comes, there is hope to be had. They will receive the greater condemnation. He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.
But even given all of that which has to do with size, this story shows up in almost every curriculum there is from those geared toward the very youngest of us to those geared toward the very oldest. And there are actually portraits of this story that have been painted in various times in history. One artist depicted the widow with a gentle glow around her head as she reached out with the coins. The artist obviously making the statement that there was a saintly quality to her actions.
In this painting, the woman comes forward with a baby in her arms and gives her coins while holding the child. And yet, we know enough to make this story matter to us. Contributions were apparently pouring in! And as we sit here early in the pledge drive, I would imagine there was some relief among those synagogue leaders who were watching that happen.
Who am I to knock contributions coming from wherever they come from, whomever they come from? Such contributions help the sails rise a little higher in support ministry and in support of mission.
But that system was different in ways that need to remain different. In the approach of the temple in that time and that place, everybody saw what everybody else put in and all of the leaders knew all of the details. Giving was a public act which is not in itself an entirely bad thing, but at times giving was a comparative and even competitive ritual. Right there are some major differences from here.
And assumptions undergirded the system so that often, the more given by an individual, the more that person would then receive — more attention, more access, more religious honor and prestige. And theology played in there too. And that perhaps was the most dangerous assumption of all. So enter Jesus into the system. And after commenting on the hypocrisy of the scribes, he decided one day to sit down right next to the place where the contributions were being given. And Jesus, being Jesus, happened to catch a moment when a widow did a very brave thing. Again — to us. And yet, this gospel passage gives us important things to remember, perhaps even to learn.
We will be pushing this congregation to give we you can in support of the mission and ministries of Grace and I am thankful for the people who coordinate those efforts. And yet, I promise that there will be no comparisons made. This is not a competition. The numbers are communal. You give from your place and I give from mine, but what we share is ours. And what keeps all of this in the right place among us is what we heard from the gospel today: we need to also invite each other to give out of our poverties. That invitation might be the most important check and balance of all.
And so we need to have a sense of what it actually means. For some that poverty is financial. Instead, each gift, regardless of worldly size is a sign of Grace being blessed. By the giver. By you. If we far surpass our goal we are still blessed. We are those whose very central act is thanksgiving.
And that thanks runs through Eucharist, and pledge drives too. Our poverties, like our wealths, come in different shapes and sizes and categories. And so what does it mean to give from those places? What does it mean to give while on empty? A story for you that I heard on the radio this week.
Given the anniversary of Armistice Day this weekend, the story is timely. Auto was about twenty years old and a soldier on the front in the war. He had no money. He had given his life for a cause and so there was an absolute poverty of certainty. He was far from home with no money to send, but, Auto had stories to tell. And so Auto collected blank postcards that the army distributed to soldiers.
And while in the trenches, literally in the trenches, sometimes for hours and hours at a time, Auto would watercolor on those cards. And he numbered each card, and addressed each card, and he sent each card. She knew some of what he was experiencing and feeling and got to hold the color and shapes he was seeing. The two were married when Auto came home. And they lived for decades together until she died. Auto remarried and when his second wife found the postcards, she recognized the treasure that they were.
And we all have them to give. Please pour in the largest sums you can into this pledge drive! But there is more to all of this, there always is. Give from your poverty too. And help us help one another do that. If you are in foxhole, share your art. If you are low on health or on hope, tell us and the words you speak from those places will breath something holy among us.
If you are down to one dollar to live on, tell us your story and that will be a gift that blesses Grace Church. These are the gifts that fill the sails. They help get us all where we need to be. The gospel tells us that the little, little bits we offer from our poverties are of unsurpassable value in the eyes of Christ.
In such giving, the Body learns a new way to count, a new way to set sail. Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them. For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.
But let us go to him. When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him. Do you believe this? Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him.
The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there.
Meet the Staff
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me. Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. John Well we have a beautiful passage to reflect on today, which is All Saints Day on the Liturgical Calendar, one of the high feast days of our church.
Martha then went and got her sister, Mary. Mary came out of the house to meet Jesus and many followed her because they thought she was going to the tomb to weep there. Which was also a theological conversation of sorts, just without words. They all went to the tomb and Jesus told them to take away the stone. Martha who had just proclaimed him the Messiah reminded Jesus of the practical reality that Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days and that there would be a stench. And so Jesus reminded her of their earlier conversation. And they took away the stone.
The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Now part of why I love this passage and find it perfect for today is that running throughout the entire story there is this beautiful presence of that which is human alongside of, even woven together with that which is holy. This gospel story is both messy and miraculous all at the same time.
Oh Comely 45 autumn by oh comely magazine - Issuu
And so is life! And so this story resonates in profound ways. There was the death of someone who was brother and who was also friend. We know that story, each of us knows that story of grief and loss.
And in the midst of weeping, there was the embrace of those who had become family to each other. We know that story too. When love meets loss. And I think of the embrace offered them by the Muslim community in that city who raised tens of thousands of dollars to care for their Jewish neighbors, and in their gifts vowed to process forward with them.
I know the story too where we all come together to unbind one who needs to be set free. We know this story, the mess and the miracle of it all, the profound integration of that which is human with that which is holy. And maybe saints are the people who remind us of this. They manage in extraordinary ways to shine light on the messy and the miraculous all at the same time. And saints help hold us in those places, because saints know or at least trust that in those places there is amazing grace to be had.
A few weeks ago I read an article about an extraordinary person. His name was Chiune Sigahara. Soon after arriving in Lithuania in , Sigahara was confronted with Jews fleeing from German-occupied Poland. His country discouraged him from offering what would very literally be life-saving visas.
Day and night, he wrote visas. He issued as many visas in a day as would normally be issued in a month. His wife, Yukiko, massaged his hands at night, aching from the constant effort. Maybe she was a saint too. When the consulate closed, Sugihara had to leave. At least 6, visas were issued for people to travel through Japan to other destinations, and in many cases entire families traveled on a single visa.
After the war, Sugihara was dismissed from the foreign office. Not suprising. Nishri had been a teenager in Poland saved by a Sugihara visa and was now at the Israeli embassy in Tokyo. He saw the life-saving unbinding that was being asked of him. He understood the obligations common to us all and heard in the pleadings of an alien tongue the universal message of pain.
Saints help us decide which of those options to take. They remind us of what is possible when we process together with empathy and love. And they give whatever gift they have to the ones seeking to be unbound. They embrace the neighbors with whom they are faced and offer the gift of presence, joining in the procession that longs to bring us all into miracle. For Sugihara it was handwriting. For Martha it was proclamation. For Lazarus it was allowing himself to be called out and unbound. For Mary it was a quiet embrace and a community that gathered with her.
May there be no other way for us. May that mysterious and potent combination of empathy find its way into our hearts and out through our actions. May we be the saints God is calling us to be. The Rev. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many. I am just back from a week away. Some of that time was vacation, some of it was catch up, some of it was time to read and write a bit.
On the weather front, it was sort of a boring 90 plus degrees every day in Gainseville. And then within the first 45 minutes of driving away from the airport in Grand Rapids we experienced sunshine, rain, hail and some slushy stuff that could have been called snow or sleet or both. While I was away, I had time for some good reads and some good conversations too. Now just so you know, I did spend time floating down a river, time walking and hiking and sitting poolside, during which none of this input was pouring in.
From the left came an article that talked about our current ability and complete lack of ability to connect with each other, with world events, national events, even with our families and things going on in our own back yards. The author explored the gains and losses to human intimacy brought on by modern means of communication and our implementation of those means.
Full discloser: I found this article because it was posted on Facebook. What an awful yet true statement. Hold that. Because then, from the right — a phone conversation I had with someone here at home during which we both shared our frustrations and longings and rants. At the end of that conversation I asked what he thought could help us move forward in any semblance of productive ways. Please hold that too. James and John schemed between them and at one point, they came up and requested the seats closest to Jesus, and not just for supper, for eternity.
So first note is that competitions or claims over who is more deserving of proximity to the Christ? Probably not a good conversation topic ever.
They were competing rather than disciple-ing. And so Jesus invited them back the place he was creating for them all, the way he was opening for them all. Jesus talked about drinking the cup he had been given, the death and resurrection involved with following him, and the self that would be given for others. But we need to regain the ability to discern a more common right and wrong. Through common prayer to stand and offer a common and shared good. But in order to do this, we need to re-hone our skills in some very basic areas of common life.
And we need to be able to receive goodwill, to foster it, and dig beneath the headlines to see who on either side is offering it. Rogers said. No qualifiers there in terms of where you might find them. Always look for the helpers. And you have food, or water, or safety, to share with them — at the very least you have yourself to give and Jesus reminded the disciples of that too.
The flip side is that to be served means to receive the goodwill given by another, to foster it and allow it to flow regardless of who it is coming from. It is very possible that those who believe differently, think differently, live differently, vote differently have something to offer too. We can cry out and stand up for justice and peace and still be able to listen to pain on all sides, fostering goodwill from wherever it happens to flow.
There is a larger good for which we are all longing. Come down and take it up to you. They consecrated his son, Eleazar, to have charge of the ark of the Lord. Direct your heart to the Lord , and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines. And when the people of Israel heard of it they were afraid of the Philistines. There was peace also between Israel and the Amorites. There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he; he stood head and shoulders above everyone else. And they passed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there.
Then he passed through the land of Benjamin, but they did not find them. Whatever he says always comes true. Let us go there now; perhaps he will tell us about the journey on which we have set out. For the bread in our sacks is gone, and there is no present to bring to the man of God. What have we? Hurry; he has come just now to the town, because the people have a sacrifice today at the shrine. For the people will not eat until he comes, since he must bless the sacrifice; afterwards those eat who are invited.
Now go up, for you will meet him immediately. As they were entering the town, they saw Samuel coming out towards them on his way up to the shrine. He it is who shall rule over my people. Why then have you spoken to me in this way? So Saul ate with Samuel that day. You shall reign over the people of the Lord and you will save them from the hand of their enemies all around.
Now this shall be the sign to you that the Lord has anointed you ruler Heb lacks over his people Israel. You shall. For seven days you shall wait, until I come to you and show you what you shall do. Is Saul also among the prophets? Finally he brought the family of the Matrites near man by man, Heb lacks Finally. But when they sought him, he could not be found. When he took his stand among the people, he was head and shoulders taller than any of them. There is no one like him among all the people. Then Samuel sent all the people back to their homes.
But he held his peace.
Now Nahash, king of the Ammonites, had been grievously oppressing the Gadites and the Reubenites. He would gouge out the right eye of each of them and would not grant Israel a deliverer. No one was left of the Israelites across the Jordan whose right eye Nahash, king of the Ammonites, had not gouged out. But there were seven thousand men who had escaped from the Ammonites and had entered Jabesh-gilead. Then, if there is no one to save us, we will give ourselves up to you. At the morning watch they came into the camp and cut down the Ammonites until the heat of the day; and those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together.
So Black Friday is spent in social hibernation, plotting and scheming regarding weighty matters potable and edible. As a 17 year old freshperson away from the comfort of a Miami home, Louisiana cuisine possessed both an insanely exotic appeal, as well as approachable and recognizable aspects to someone from southernmost Florida. In no time at all, I was gumbo-ing up a storm, in an electric wok! This skill stood me in good stead, especially on quiet weekends on campus when cafeteria fare was especially limited and I could put out a couple of wooden crates and lawn chairs and hand gumbo off to girls passing by.
So I thought:. So I came up with this. You do whatever. Otherwise get what they have where you live. Put the oil and flour into a 5 to 6-quart pot a Dutch oven is great if you have one and stir together. Place on the center rack of the oven, uncovered, and cook for 90 minutes, whisking every half hour. All right-thinking Louisianans consider this step to be outright heresy. Embrace and live with it. Decapitate, peel and devein the shrimp. Stash the shrimp in a ziplock bag with a light brine in the refrigerator. Place the heads and shells in a saucepan along with the water, set to boil.
Drop the heat and simmer for 1 hour or until the liquid has reduced by half. Remove from the heat and strain the liquid into a container, discarding the solids. If you only have peeled shrimp, use the turkey carcass to make turkey stock. Let cool to room temperature. Hot stock will gelatinize the starch in the roux too quickly. Once the roux is done it will look like semisweet chocolate , carefully remove it from the oven and set over medium-high heat.
Add the onions, celery, bell peppers and garlic and cook, stirring maniacally for 7 to 8 minutes or until the onions begin to turn translucent. Add the tomatoes, salt, black pepper, thyme, cayenne pepper, and bay leaves and stir to combine. Drop the heat to low, cover and simmer for 35 minutes.
Off the heat, add shrimp and turkey to pot, cover and allow to sit until the shrimp JUST turns pink, about minutes. Toss the bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper and serve with some Louisiana-style hot sauce to provide additional heat to those who like it that way. So needless to say, I was thrilled when I received her story. I love that Mallory can share this recipe with all of us so that we can share in her memories of Mimi. In my big, Irish family, as soon as the clock strikes midnight after Halloween, The Holiday Season officially begins.
And that means feasting. She was special every day, but there was something about the dishes she made for the holidays that really made the wonder of the season dance to life. It took years after she passed away for the holidays to feel special again. She ran the house from her kitchen, a place where some of my earliest culinary memories live: the magical way flour floats through the air like fairy dust when you knead bread, the way cookies rise and brown in the oven, the way the whole house smelled when her signature spice blend was used in anything she made cinnamon, cloves, citrus.
Just a whiff of the cloves, cinnamon, and citrus take me back to those special days I spent perched on a chair at her counter, face smudged with molasses or chocolate, watching her create magic one ingredient at a time. Your family might whine, too. But I promise you, fight the good fight against bland, flavorless cranberry sauce and within a bite or two of this dish even the most grumbly of holiday guests will come around. The bright, aromatic flavors in this dish celebrate cranberries as they were always meant to be enjoyed at the holiday table.
Cook over low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar and combine the spices, juice, and water into a syrup, until the cranberries soften, around 10 minutes. I smash mine down with a spatula toward the end of cooking because my family prefers it more like a sauce; poke at it until you find a texture that looks delicious to you. Now all you have to do is try to keep from eating the whole bowl of cranberry sauce before guests arrive. You can make and store this in the fridge in an airtight container up to a week in advance.
I like mine best after days, when the flavors from the cinnamon and cloves and orange have really bloomed. We have bonded with Joe Garcia over dinner menus, font selections, and menswear. His Boxing Day Brunch is a legendary feast I hope to attend one day. So who could be better to teach us about the perfect wine to pair with our Thanksgiving feast? Without further ado, Joe Garcia….