Year 2021 Will Mark Our 175th Anniversary!
Paul Wanter, Priest: (859) 707-1643
“In the midst of COVID-19 and the pressure cooker of a society in turmoil, a Minnesota man named George Floyd was brutally killed. His basic human dignity was stripped by someone charged to protect our common humanity.
Perhaps the deeper pain is the fact that this was not an isolated incident. It happened to Breonna Taylor on March 13 in Kentucky. It happened to Ahmaud Arbery on February 23 in Georgia. Racial terror in this form occurred when I was a teenager growing up black in Buffalo. It extends back to the lynching of Emmett Till in 1955 and well before that. It’s not just our present or our history. It is part of the fabric of American life.” Read Curry’s full statement by clicking HERE.
Readings for this Sunday: Acts 1:6-14, Psalm 68:1-10, 33-36, 1 Peter 4:12-14, 5:6-11, John 17:1-11
“When the day of Pentecost had come, the disciples were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.”
— Acts 2:1-4
“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As theFather has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’”
— John 20:21-23
“A New Reality”
By Fr. Paul Wanter
I am sure the title of this piece will lead many to expect a reflection on our current world in the midst of this pandemic. While to a slight degree this may be true, for we are facing a new reality, the present pandemic is not the inspiration for this writing. Rather, the new reality which suggested both the title and this refection it is the radical worldview/theology of the earliest Christians. This worldview/theology was an understanding of life as fully lived in Christ, and as empowered by God's Spirit. It is a worldview which even unto now believers, at their best, give varying degrees of assent, as well as to the actions flowing from it. Even at their worst, they pay it some lip service.
Reading or hearing once more the early chapters of the Acts of the Apostles, as we do on a yearly basis during the Easter season through Pentecost, always causes me to marvel at how the power of God’s Spirit and Resurrection faith effected a dramatic change in the lives of Christ’s earliest disciples. Following Jesus’ death, Resurrection and the Pentecostal event, the men and women who had been disciples during his earthly ministry then found themselves faced with a new and awesome truth which they had neither anticipated nor expected — Christ raised from the dead.
Encountering Christ raised from the dead dramatically changed the disciples’ lives in directions that were completely surprising, not least to themselves. In their encounters with Jesus raised, and following the giving of the Spirit, these women and men were stretched to find a new reality for their individual lives, and as the formative community of faith called the church. Reading Acts, it is almost possible to imagine these individuals stepping out of their fears, hesitations and former mind sets much as one steps out of one’s garments at the end of the day. Perhaps this was the significance of the folded cloths in John’s accounting of the Resurrection (John 20:6-7); certainly it lies behind the tradition of christening/baptismal gowns — a new day, a new reality, called for being clothed anew in ways never before considered or envisioned.
As sacred history the account of these earliest disciples, and of the Church engendered into being, is dramatic and stirring. At times I am concerned that the life-giving and empowering faith of that community of disciples formed by the Holy Spirit has been traduced over the centuries, becoming a mere comfort station on the various highways of our lives, or a vehicle for meals on wheels (or web?). Both things are absolutely necessary and highly commendable. They do, none the less, fall short of the imperative of the Gospel. If the Gospel of Resurrection faith is to remain truly a new reality, it is meant to stretch us as well as to comfort us, and to challenge us as well as to affirm us; in the very way we live, and the communities we form.
Surely the power of God to present new realities and new possibilities is not something that only happened once upon a time, but is effectually here for us now. All of us encounter changed realities in our lives every day: some joyful, some sad and some mundane in both senses of that word. Our present situation is mundane, worldwide in scope. I suppose the question for Pentecost, and always, is do we also find the risen Christ’s and the Holy Spirit’s new reality and possibilities in such encounters, even in all the events of our lives? If so, do we step out of our old garments, and into the life God gives us? As Christians we profess a faith and are bound to a God who, and a love which, seeks to renew the face of the earth, even our own faces. It has already been accomplished, and is still being done. Can we not see this ever-ancient and ever-new reality, and claim it? My suspicion is that this is what is meant by living by the power of the Resurrection and in the Spirit — by participating in its vision of life and community.
There is an old maxim based on the common breakfast of bacon and eggs. It asks what is the difference between the bacon and the eggs. It has nothing to do with nutrition, calories, or cholesterol. Please remember this is an old saying: the difference is that the pig is committed, while the hen is just involved. No matter what the new realities we face here and now, life, our lives, and every life lived in Christ, has always required commitment. Better to go whole hog than to chicken out. May we all pray for the discernment and the will to live such lives. Thanks be to God who gives us grace to do so.
In Christ’s love, my love, and my prayers,
“O Holy Spirit, by whose breath, life rises vibrant out of death;
come to create, renew, inspire, come kindle in our hearts your fire.
You are the seeker’s sure resource, of burning love the living source,
protector in the midst of strife, the giver and the source of life.”
— Hymn 502, 1-2 (Veni Creator Spiritus), Rabanus Maurus (c.780-856)
IMAGE: Rabanus Maurus (c. 780 – 4 February 856), also known as Hrabanus or Rhabanus, was a Frankish Benedictine monk, theologian, poet, encyclopedist and military writer who became archbishop of Mainz in East Francia. He was the author of the encyclopaedia De rerum naturis (On the Natures of Things). He also wrote treatises on education and grammar and commentaries on the Bible. In the image, Rabanus Maurus (left) with Alcuin presents his work to Otgar of Mainz (right). The illustration is from a Fulda manuscript, c. 830–840.
For a Spiritual Communion with Homily, led by The Rt. Rev. Mark Van Koevering, Bishop of the Diocese of Lexington, click HERE.
Click HERE for video messages (posted Saturday, March 21) from: 1) The Rev. Amy Dafler Meaux, Danville, Standing Committee President and Mary T. Yeiser, Diocesan Chancellor; 2) The Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church; and 3) The Very Rev. Carol Wade, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Lexington.
Cartoon by Michael Kountouris / Greece / CagleCartoons.com
Our church currently is closed as a precaution against COVID-19, but a plan is pending for reopening. See the online worship options, above, under “Great Place to Worship Online.” Fr. Paul will be posting his homilies on this website, and listen for our tower bell to ring every morning at 10 a.m.
This Sunday is Trinity Sunday. It is the first Sunday after Pentecost in the Western Christian liturgical calendar, and the Sunday of Pentecost in Eastern Christianity. Trinity Sunday celebrates the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, the three Persons of God: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The lector this Sunday is Dan and the altar guild is Darlene. See the vestment colors, the altar colors, the Bible readings and the liturgical calendar by clicking HERE and selecting the date. Note that a date’s numeral color is the vestment and altar color for that day.
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry recently commented on the need to “social distance” ourselves and suspend church services. Read his letter on the topic HERE.
Habits of Grace: An Invitation from Presiding Bishop Curry: “As we learn how to adjust our lives given the reality of the Coronavirus and the request to do our part to slow its spread by practicing social distancing, I invite you to join me each week to take a moment to cultivate a ‘habit of grace.’ A new meditation will be posted on Mondays through May.” Follow the meditations by clicking HERE.
The coronavirus is having widespread effects on our society, economy, patience and faith. For the latest information — and inspiration — regarding COVID-19 from our diocese and Mark Van Koevering, our bishop, click HERE. For up-to-date scientific facts and instructions on COVID-19, see the CDC’s coronavirus page HERE and Kentucky’s page HERE. For the CDC’s guide for churches, click HERE. For the science behind the virus’s origins, click HERE. For the official Federal Government site, click HERE. To see if you will receive a stimulus check, and the amount, click HERE.
For resources from St. John’s, Corbin, about Pastoral Care in the Time of Coronavirus, Talking with Kids about Coronavirus, and Tips for Staying Home, written by Tracey Herzer Huston, click HERE.
Cynthiana has set up a volunteer hotline at (859) 234-5801. Call to ask what volunteers may be needed at this time.
A mural honoring George Floyd near where he died on May 25 has become a prominent visual landmark among the sprawling makeshift memorials at East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis. Cadex Herrera, 45, one of the creators of the mural, is a member of St. John in the Wilderness Episcopal Church in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. Read the full story by clicking HERE.
IMAGE: Cadex Herrera, left, was one of the artists who created a memorial mural of George Floyd near the site in Minneapolis where he died. CREDIT: Xena Goldman.
By Rev. Will Mebane
I am a black man. I spend literally every day of my life looking over my shoulder wondering from where the next glare, taunt, invective, and threat will come my way because I am black. I am a black father. I place my head on my pillow each night praying that my two black sons will not meet their demise at the hands of a police officer drunk with power, or a vigilante living out the dogma of white supremacy.
These concerns may seem illogical to you. If so, then I know you are neither black nor the parent of a black child. My indoctrination to this fear began when I was just a little boy facing severe repercussions should I drink from the water fountain marked “Whites Only” or try to sit on the main level of the movie theater and not in the balcony reserved for blacks. That fear intensified when the KKK began sending letters to our family’s home outlining the fate that awaited me if I continued glancing at white girls in our recently integrated school.
I am a black man in search of peace. However, I know there can be no peace without justice. The institutionalized and systemic racism that permeates every part of American society denies my sister, brothers, wife, children, and me the inalienable rights purportedly guaranteed all citizens of this country. There is no life, liberty, and justice for all in this nation. Not if you are black. Happiness cannot be pursued as long as those sworn to protect and serve deliver with impunity, pain, suffering, and death to black people.
Too many that cloak themselves in the flag, and sing a national anthem that was first heralded as a pro-slavery song, are concerned more about Colin Kaepernick kneeling than about the knee that was in the neck of George Floyd for 8 minutes and 46 seconds squeezing every breath of life out of his black body. Such lynchings might end if more allegiance was paid to the Cross of Jesus than to the “Stars and Stripes.”
I am a black man that has been in search of the land of the free for six decades. My father never found it. His father never found it. My sons will likely not find it in their lifetimes. It’s possible peace that grows from justice can be found. However, it will take more courage than my white sisters and brothers have shown they have. Demonstrations, protests, vigils, and even riots now in streets across America, are indicators that people may finally be fed-up with the virus of racism that infects our healthcare, housing, education, athletics, entertainment, economic, and injustice systems.
A black man offered words more than 50 years ago that have profound relevance for today:
“The time is always right to do what is right. The ultimate measure of a person is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Life's most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?”
“The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.”
“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people, but the silence over that by the good people.”
The Episcopal Peace Fellowship is looking for some more “good people,” as The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. described, to work for the removal of the knee of racism from the neck of America. EPF has space reserved for those seeking peace through justice who have the courage to speak-out, and act against this Spirit-destroying pandemic. No experience is necessary.
Will Mebane is the rector of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Falmouth, Mass.
Leaders from The Episcopal Church have condemned the reported use of tear gas and rubber bullets to clear clergy and protesters from the area around St. John’s Episcopal Church, across the street from the White House, so that President Donald Trump could use it for an unauthorized photo op on June 1. President Trump “used a church building and the Holy Bible for partisan political purposes. This was done in a time of deep hurt and pain in our country, and his action did nothing to help us or to heal us,” Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said. Read the full story HERE.
IMAGE: President Donald Trump holds a Bible as he stands outside St. John’s Episcopal Church, across from the White House, in Washington, D.C., on June 1, 2020. CREDIT: Patrick Semansky/AP.
Bishop Mark Van Koevering: “Together, we can make this vision a living vision that is shared by all. As promised at Special Convention 2019, a Vision Study Guide has been produced to: 1) Enhance our mutual understanding of our common vision; 2) Enable each faith community to put the vision into context locally; and 3) Strengthen our unity as a Church.” Download the guide by clicking HERE.
The Episcopal Church is the United States-based member church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. We comprise 109 dioceses and regional areas in 17 nations. In 2015 we had 1.9 million members, being a part of the Anglican Communion of 85 million followers. The Church of the Advent is a member of the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington. To receive the Diocese’s newsletter, click HERE and stay on the left side of the page.
Our church welcomes all who worship Jesus Christ, yet also those who are exploring their faith or who are asking serious questions about faith in general. You will be welcomed at The Church of the Advent regardless of any religious or personal status. For more information on what we believe, visit episcopalchurch.org. For a video tour (with annotated explanations) of a sample weekly Sunday service, click HERE.
Our mission is to: 1) Restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ; 2) Have a liberating and life-giving relationship with God, each other and the Earth; 3) Love God with our whole heart, mind and soul, and love our neighbors as ourselves; and 4) Focus on the three priorities of evangelism, reconciliation and creation.
We have leased space to Community Action Council to provide a daycare. Contact Melissa at (859) 233-4600 x 1208, or see their website by clicking HERE.
Our hymnal is online, too. The 1982 version can be found by clicking HERE. It's a beautifully organized site.
We love newcomers, so feel free to visit us.
118 N. Walnut St, Cynthiana, KY 41031-1224, USA; P.O. Box 308, Cynthiana, KY 41031-0308, USA
10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Click HERE for our donation link, and remember to choose “Advent, Cynthiana” from the pull-down list that says “Select a fund.” You can set up donations either one-time or recurring. Your contribution will be processed through the Diocese of Lexington’s payment system with ACS Technologies, Inc. on a secure platform.