Sunday Prayers – 20 June, 2021

All are welcome for our live-streamed service this coming Sunday! The service will begin at 9:30 am, following a time of music for preparation.

The service will be live-streamed to YouTube.

The order of service is available here.

Jesus lulls a storm – Mark 4:35-41

This Sunday is the fourth Sunday after Pentecost. We’re in “Year B” of the Revised Common Lectionary, which sets out what readings we use each week. This year we’ll hear gospel passages mostly from the gospel of Mark, and the passages from the Hebrew Scriptures focus on David and the kings of Israel and Judah. (The psalm each week reflects on the reading from the Hebrew Scriptures.)

Here’s what Sundays and Seasons has to say about this week’s gospel:
Now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation! Now we are in the storm, the boat almost swamped; but Jesus is here now, and when we call him, he will calm the storm. Even the wind and waves listen to him as they would to their creator. We also listen to him and are called to believe in the power of God’s word in him, a power greater than all that we fear.

We use the image of Jesus calming the storm under the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 license. JESUS MAFA. Jesus lulls the storm, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. https://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=48310 [retrieved June 15, 2021]. Original source: http://www.librairie-emmanuel.fr (contact page: https://www.librairie-emmanuel.fr/contact).

Sunday Prayers – June 13, 2021

This Sunday is the Third Sunday after Pentecost. Sunday Prayers will be live-streamed to YouTube. The service will begin at 9:30, after a time of music as we enter into prayer.

The order of service is available here, to help you to fully participate.

Mustard seeds held in the palm of a hand.

Here’s what Sundays and Seasons has to say about the readings we’ll hear this week:
The mustard seed becomes a great shrub that shelters the birds, recalling ancient images of the tree of life. We’d expect a cedar or a sequoia, but Jesus finds the power of God better imaged in a tiny, no-account seed. It’s not the way we expect divine activity to look. Yet the tree of life is here, in the cross around which we gather, the tree into which we are grafted through baptism, the true vine that nourishes us with its fruit in the cup we share. It may not appear all that impressive, but while nobody’s looking it grows with a power beyond our understanding.

A mustard tree

Sunday Prayers – 6 June 2021

Join in the Nativity’s live-streamed Sunday prayers for the Second Sunday after Pentecost!

The service will begin at 9:30 a.m., after some musical preludes. Our service will be streamed to YouTube live, and you can participate as it’s happening! Afterwards, YouTube will process the live-stream, and you’ll be able to attend at your convenience.

The order of service is available here.

Sundays and Seasons offers this introduction to this week’s readings:
A house divided against itself cannot stand. Jesus makes this observation in light of charges that he is possessed. He is possessed, not by a demon, but by the Holy Spirit. We who have received the Holy Spirit through baptism have been joined to Christ’s death and resurrection and knit together in the body of Christ. Those with whom we sing and pray this day are Jesus’ family. With them we go forth in peace to do the will of God.

Sunday Prayers – 30 May 2021 – Trinity Sunday

Join the Church of the Nativity for Sunday Prayers on May 30th! Our new streaming solution has now been set-up, so we will now be streaming to YouTube. Peter will offer music for a few minutes beforehand, and the service will begin at 9:30. It will be visible on YouTube afterwards as well, so if you’re joining in later, that will work just fine. (It may take YouTube a little while to have the video recording of the service listed for later viewing. Just check back on our channel to look for it.)

The order of service is available here.

This Sunday is one of the seven principal feasts of the Church’s year: Trinity Sunday! Our honorary assistant, the Reverend Canon David Linn, will be preaching. Here’s what Sundays and Seasons has to say about this week’s readings.

When we say God is the triune God, we are saying something about who God is beyond, before, and after the universe: that there is community within God. Our experience of this is reflected in Paul’s words today [Note that we won’t be using this reading at the Nativity; you can find it here.] . When we pray to God as Jesus prayed to his Abba (an everyday, intimate parental address), the Spirit prays within us, creating between us and God the same relationship Jesus has with the one who sent him.

Pentecost Prayers – Sunday, May 23, 2021

Our service for the Feast of Pentecost–the sending of God’s Holy Spirit–will be live-streamed to the parish Facebook page on Sunday, May 23rd. The service will begin at 9:30 am EDT, with a few minutes of music beforehand to help us prepare to enter into prayer. (You do not need to have a Facebook account to watch the live-stream.)

The order of service is available here.

An Image of the Day of Pentecost from the Jesus MAFA project.
Pentecost – Acts 2:1-4

Here’s what Sundays and Seasons writes about this feast:
Fifty days after Easter, we celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Crossing all boundaries that would separate us, the Spirit brings the wideness of God’s mercy to places we least expect it—to a crowd of strangers of different lands and tongues, to dry bones, to our weak hearts. Jesus promises his disciples that they will be accompanied by the Holy Spirit, and that this Spirit reveals the truth. We celebrate that we too have been visited with this same Spirit. Guided by the truth, we join together in worship, and then disperse to share the fullness of Christ’s love with the world.

A Coptic icon of the day of Pentecost, showing a dove descending upon the apostles--each with a tongue of flame upon their heads.

Alleluia, alleluia! Come, Holy Spirit, come!

The JESUS MAFA image of Pentecost is used under the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial ShareAlike 3.0 License:
JESUS MAFA. Pentecost, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. https://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=48388 [retrieved May 21, 2021]. Original source: http://www.librairie-emmanuel.fr (contact page: https://www.librairie-emmanuel.fr/contact).

Sunday Prayers – May 16, 2021

This week we will keep the Feast of the Ascension. Our Sunday Prayers will be live-streamed to the parish Facebook page. Our director of music will play from about 9:15, and the service will begin at 9:30.

The order of service is available here.

The Chapel of the Ascension, in Jerusalem.

Here’s what Sundays and Seasons has to say about the readings for this week:
In today’s readings the risen Christ ascends into heaven and his followers are assured that the Spirit will empower them to be witnesses throughout the earth. The disciples are told to not gaze up into heaven to look for Jesus (Acts 1:11); we find his presence among us as we proclaim the word and share the Easter feast. We too long for the Spirit to enliven our faith and invigorate our mission.

This rock, inside the Chapel of the Ascension in Jerusalem, is said to bear the imprint of the final footstep of Jesus as he ascended.

Sunday Prayers – May 9, 2021

Join Canon Matthew, Linda, Peter, and folk connecting online for Sunday Prayers, live-streamed on the parish Facebook page at 9:30 am on May 9th!

(You don’t need to be a Facebook user to stream the video live, or to watch it sometime later.)

Peter will play music for ten to fifteen minutes beforehand, to set the mood for prayer.

The order of service is available here.

In the first reading, we’ll hear about how the Holy Spirit gets impatient with long sermons, and the gospel continues on from last week when Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches.” Here’s what Sundays and Seasons writes about the gospel:

A group of six people of various backgrounds hold hands in a circle.

This Sunday’s image of the life the risen Christ shares with us is the image of friendship. We are called to serve others as Jesus came to serve; but for John’s gospel, the image of servanthood is too hierarchical, too distant, to capture the essence of life with Christ. Friendship captures the love, the joy, the deep mutuality of the relationship into which Christ invites us. The Greeks believed that true friends are willing to die for each other. This is the mutual love of Christian community commanded by Christ and enabled by the Spirit.

Many folk around the world observe this Sunday as Mother’s Day. That can be deeply meaningful for some. It’s also deeply hard for others, and our prayers on Sunday acknowledge both the highs and the lows:

Gracious God, as a mother comforts her child, you comfort us. Bless mothers and mothering people in our lives. Comfort those who miss their mothers, mothers who grieve, those who grieve because they cannot be mothers, and those who have never known a loving mother.

You might be interested to learn that the idea of Mother’s Day didn’t start out as the Hallmark event it has become! In the 1850s, Ann Jarvis and women in West Virginia started Mother’s Day Work Clubs that served mothers who were ill or living in poverty, and their children. One summary by Carol Howard Merritt describes its focus as “hydrating babies, ensuring sanitation, and building hospitals.” During the Civil War, the groups cared for wounded soldiers from the armies of both the United States (North) and the Confederated States (South). Mother’s Friendship Day Picnics began after the war to attempt to forge peace between Union and Confederate loyalists.

To learn more about the history of Mother’s Day in North America, check out this article by Grace Donnelly and Alex Scimecca. For a great overview, visit this page from the United Methodist Women — who are proud to claim Ann Jarvis as one of their own!

Sunday Prayers – May 2, 2021

Join Canon Matthew, Peter, Arlene, and folk connecting online for our Sunday Prayers, live-streamed on the parish Facebook page at 9:30 on May 2nd! (You do not need to have a Facebook page to stream the video live or at a later time.)

While the service begins at 9:30, our director of music will be playing for ten to fifteen minutes beforehand to help us prepare to enter into prayer. The order of service to help you participate fully can be found here on our website.

Here’s how Sundays and Seasons describes the readings for this week:

Jesus speaks with two people in front of grape vines in fruit
from Sundays and Seasons

This Sunday’s image of how the risen Christ shares his life with us is the image of the vine. Christ the vine and we the branches are alive in each other, in the mystery of mutual abiding described in the gospel and the first letter of John. Baptism makes us a part of Christ’s living and life-giving self and makes us alive with Christ’s life. As the vine brings food to the branches, Christ feeds us at his table. We are sent out to bear fruit for the life of the world.

Sunday Prayers – 25 April 2021

A painting from the Mafa Community - Jesus leads sheep, carrying one on his shoulders.

Good Shepherd Sunday!

This coming Sunday is the Fourth Sunday of Easter. It’s often called Good Shepherd Sunday, because the gospel which is proclaimed always comes from the tenth chapter of John’s gospel–Jesus talking about how he is the Good Shepherd.

Our Sunday Prayers will be live-streamed to our Facebook page, beginning at 9:30 am. (There will be a few minutes of music beforehand, to help us prepare for prayer.) You don’t need to have a Facebook account to watch the service.

Join in from home or wherever life finds you! The order of service is available here, to enable everyone to participate.

The image of the good shepherd shows us how the risen Christ brings us to life. It is the relationship between the shepherd and the sheep, one of mutual knowledge and love, that gives the shepherd authority. The shepherd’s willingness to lay down his life for the sheep shows his love.

Sundays and Seasons

[Information for the image used above. JESUS MAFA. The good shepherd, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=48288 [retrieved April 20, 2021]. Original source: http://www.librairie-emmanuel.fr (contact page: https://www.librairie-emmanuel.fr/contact). Used under Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial ShareAlike 3.0 License.]

Second Sunday of Easter – 11 April 2021

Sunday Prayers will be live-streamed to Facebook. The service will begin at 9:30, after some music from our organist, Peter. You do not need to be a member of Facebook to see the live-stream–just click on the link!

The order of service is available here, allowing you to follow along from home.

Easter II has sometimes been called “Low Sunday”–a time when many relax after the busy-ness of Holy Week, and when some folk attend the Church of the Holy Mattress. The truth is, it’s a pretty fabulous Sunday! It marks the end of the Easter Octave (the eight days comprising the first week of Easter, and a celebration of God’s re-creating work in the resurrection). On this Sunday we always hear about Jesus appearing to the disciples, re-gathered in the upper room on the evening of the Day of Resurrection, about the gift of the Holy Spirit, and of Thomas both doubting and believing.

Here’s what Sundays and Seasons has to say about the Second Sunday of Easter.

The apostle Thomas sees the wounds in Jesus's hands.The Easter season is a week of weeks, seven Sundays when we play in the mystery of Christ’s presence, mostly through the glorious Gospel of John. Today we gather with the disciples on the first Easter, and Jesus breathes the Spirit on us. With Thomas we ask for a sign, and Jesus offers us his wounded self in the broken bread. From frightened individuals we are transformed into a community of open doors, peace, forgiveness, and material sharing such that no one among us is in need.