Rebirthing God... what can we learn from Celtic Christianity??

Christ as the Light of the world is reflected in all Creation. JP Newell writes, " We are invited to pay attention, to see the Light that is at the heart of this moment and every moment, to know that we are full of Light, and can shine."  Poet Mary Oliver says we are to love the Light, and keep giving ourselves to it: 

When it's over, I want to say: all my life

I was a bride married to amazement. 

I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. 

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world. 

(Rebirthing God: Christianity's Struggle for New Beginnings) 

I invite you to observe a Holy Lent....

I read these words from the prayer book on Ash Wednesday at the Next Door Shelter on Polk Street and I repeat them here to invite you to enter a time of self-reflection in the forty days leading up to Easter. In this age of interminable access through electronic communication, are you able to unplug for a few minutes each day to reconnect with God and with yourself? The Christian walk is all about training the heart to follow Jesus' example and teaching. But we don't have to go it alone. Check in with God on a daily basis and surrender your life to God's will. This is all that is required for transformation to occur. 

Perhaps you have a morning ritual that you practice before you start your day. Some of my favorite Lenten companions for a quiet morning reflection are Martin Smith's "A Season for the Spirit: Readings for the Days of Lent," "Lent and Easter Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen," and "Wondrous Encounters, Scriptures for Lent," by Richard Rohr. A new favorite resource of mine is the "Pray As You Go" app for smartphones. Each day there is sacred music, a Scripture reading, and a guided reflection on the passage. 

Here at Trinity†St. Peter's we are reading a book for Lent that challenges us to move our attention away from the shifting sands of traditional mainline Christianity to embrace a new vision. "The Rebirthing of God: Christianity's Struggles for New Beginnings," by John Philip Newell is rooted in ancient Celtic Christianity yet it addresses realities that are immediate to us. In particular, care and advocacy for the environment and our relationship with the multiplicity of faith traditions in our globalized society are addressed. The Celtic love of the natural world and prioritizing of praxis above dogma lead us to new insights that can help us to find God in confusing times. 

---Faithfully, Pastor Trish+ 




Some people are born with good sense and the instinct to do what is right. Then there are others who basically need to be hit up the side of the head with a two-by-four. Our man who brought Jesus to the Gentiles, St. Paul, was of the latter variety. Never happier then when he could clap irons on a poor, benighted Christian and drag him or her back to Jerusalem to be tortured into recanted their faith, Paul had to be ejected from his horse and temporarily blinded so that God could get his attention. "How do you like me now, Paul??" God said. Well, not really. More like "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" 

Then as quick as he lost it, Saul regains his sight and is converted from an enemy of Christ to Christ's chief supporter. Without Paul, Christianity would still be just another Jewish sect. His dramatic conversion recalls the line from the hymn, Amazing Grace: "I once was blind but now I see." John Newton, the Anglican priest who wrote these words, had his own amazing story of conversion. Once the captain of a slave ship, God spoke to him during a terrible storm at sea. Leaving the slave trade behind him, Newton was ordained a priest in a humble, country parish and devoted the remainder of his days to serving Christ. The movie "Amazing Grace," is about William Wilberforce, who spent 40 years introducing legislation to end slavery in the British Parliament before it passed. John Newton is also a character in that movie. 

The opportunity to "turn over a new leaf" and return to God is open to all. Like the father of the Prodigal Son, God waits for each one of us with open arms: Even running out to meet us. Is God trying to meet you today?? 

2015 is here!!! Happy New Year!!!

The twelve days of Christmas are ticking down and we move into the Epiphany season and beyond. Like the wise men who sought the Christ child in the manger, we too are called to seek Christ in order to fulfill our baptismal vows. How will you do that in 2015???  One way that we can help is by inviting  you to the kitchen.  According to the first letter of your last name, you will be invited to help out in the kitchen each week after coffee hour and the potluck lunch. 

A's and B' are up in January!  Rubber gloves and aprons are optional. 


Celebrating the real Santa Claus

The real St. Nicholas is far more interesting than the denizen of the North Pole we have all come to know. Born in Turkey, his parents died when he was a boy. He used his inheritance to feed and clothe the poor and became known for his devotion to Christ. He became the Bishop of Myra and continued to be known for his generosity. In an age when girls without dowries were often sold into slavery, he anonymously provided bags of gold for three penniless girls. The Dutch tradition of putting clogs out on December 5th and receiving gold-covered chocolate coins stems from this. Today, St. Nicholas is remembered especially in the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, with its focus on serving children in Israel/Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. In addition to two hospitals and four outpatient clinics, the diocese sponsors ten schools in the region.