We pray for the gifts of ministry

On Sunday May 6th we heard “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.” Last Sunday, May 13th, we heard “You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last….” And today, May 20th, we hear, “[Father] as you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.” The speaker in each instance, of course, is Jesus. He is speaking to those who gather around him—in every age—to hear what he is saying. He is speaking to us.

As the Sunday Morning Forum gathers (9am PDT) at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Palm Desert, CA this Sunday morning we will wonder aloud with each other what this means in 21st century America, in our lives, and in our common life. We will also pray for each other. Having heard something about who and whose we are and knowing that we are sent into the world to “bear fruit that will last” we pray for each other:

O God, we pray for the gifts of ministry. Inspire our minds with a vision of your kingdom in this time and place. Hear us, O Christ.

Touch our eyes, that we may see your glory in all creation. Hear us, O Christ.

Touch our ears, that we may hear from every mouth the hunger for hope and stories of refreshment. Hear us, O Christ.

Touch our lips, that we may tell in every tongue and dialect the wonderful works of God. Hear us, O Christ.

Touch our hearts, that we may discern the mission to which you call us. Hear us, O Christ.

Touch our feet, that we may take your Good News into our neighborhoods, communities, and all parts of the world. Hear us, O Christ.

Touch our hands, that we may each accomplish the work you give us to do. Hear us, O Christ.

Strengthen and encourage all who minister in your name in lonely, dangerous and unresponsive places. Hear us, O Christ.

Open the hearts and hands of many to support your Church in this and every place. Hear us, O Christ.

O God, we praise you for the depth of your love for the world revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. We thank you for choosing and sending us to reveal by our word and example your steadfast love: making some apostles, some  prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers to equip your people for the building up of the Body of Christ. Bless us in our words and works that your Name may be glorified, now and for ever. Amen.

Litany: The Book of Occasional Services, 2003, excerpted, p. 246, Collect, p. 237 adapted

I welcome you to join us (who have more questions than answers and who have love to share). Consider becoming part of the Forum. Have questions but can’t attend? I encourage you to leave your questions here and I’ll answer as best I can. ~dan rondeau

Introducing Hovak Najarian

Updated: June 6, 2017

Many of you know Hovak Najarian as a regular worshipper at St. Margaret’s. I am pleased to introduce you to (Dr.) Hovak Najarian. From 2011 Hovak has introduced us to artists, art techniques, and art history in an effort to keep us growing in the knowledge and love of the Lord.

After receiving his MA in Art at Columbia University Hovak and his wife, Margie, spent 3 years in Normal, IL on the art faculty of Illinois State University. In his own words, “We soon found that natives of Florida and California were no match for winters in Illinois.”

In 1966 Hovak and Margie relocated to Southern California when Hovak accepted a teaching position at College of the Desert in Palm Desert. He retired in 1994 and was honored with the title Professor Emeritus from College of the Desert. Again, Hovak: “During that time [1966-1994], I was Chair of the Art Department for many years, returned to Columbia University and completed my doctorate, and with Margie, raised three wonderful sons.”

In his retirement Hovak continues his own creative work, and, has been an active participant in the Sunday Morning Forum and a regular contributor to this blog. Hovak is active in St. Margaret’s and in the Armenian community in the desert which gives him a unique perspective to share. As we journey together I expect to learn more about art, art history, art as an expression of faith and art as a shaper of faith. Let us hear what the Spirit is saying. ~Fr. Dan

What do you know about faith within the chaos? Maybe more than you think.

Remember? The week began with a story about Jesus walking on the water. Before heading into the weekend and the next (lectionary) story let’s take one more look at Matthew’s account of Jesus and Peter and water and storm and … faith. Let’s take another look at what it could mean to us, far removed from that night and the Sea of Galilee, but plenty acquainted with chaos. I commend this reflection about our Gospel Story to you:

In Matthew’s Gospel, the story of Jesus walking on water morphs into a story of Peter walking on, then sinking into, the same water. It begins as a statement about Jesus’ authority; for Jesus’ contemporaries had learned from scripture that such mastery over the waters is God’s accomplishment. When Peter tells Jesus to call him, too, onto the lake, the story transitions into an illustration of what it looks like when people express faith in Jesus. Read the entire post: Matthew 14:22-33: Faith within the Chaos

I invite you to also check out St. Peter is walking on the water by Luis Borrassa in our Art & Music category.

Please make the time to leave a comment or two. Please get a conversation started as you consider this reflection on an ancient story which has a lot to say to us 21st Century citizens.

Faithful Doubt: Easter 2A

While WorkingPreacher.org presents material addressed to preachers the rest of us can benefit from these reflections, too. After all, in an exhortation attributed to St. Francis, we are encouraged to “Preach the Gospel with your whole life, use words if necessary.” As you consider faith and doubt (or skepticism) in the story of Thomas expand your thinking and read the post Faithful Doubt on WorkingPreacher.org. Here is a sample from the article and the link:

So I wonder, Working Preacher, how many of our hearers imagine this to be true: that doubt is not the opposite of faith but an essential ingredient? That hardboiled realism is an asset to vibrant faith? That they can bring their questions and skepticism, as well as their insights and trust, to their Christian lives? That they are among those blessed by Jesus for believing without seeing? And what difference would it make if they knew this? If they saw themselves, that is, like Thomas, as model disciples prepared and blessed for faithful mission in the world? Read the post: WorkingPreacher.org.

Hear what the Spirit is saying is a Sunday Morning Forum at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Palm Desert, CA. All are welcome to attend. The forum begins at 9:00 am in the Meyers Classroom on the lower level of the church. The only prerequisite for participation is a heart open to hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.