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Reflections – Welcome

The following are occasional reflections of St. Ann’s clergy or special visitors to our parish.

Sacred Dreams

The Rev. Kate Salisbury, Associate Rector, January 14, 2018

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

From the Address Delivered by The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, August 28, 1963.

This Sunday the Bible offers us its dreamers – those who see in the dark. We read the call of Samuel who hears God say his name in the middle of the night. In the gospel, Jesus recalls Jacob’s dream of angels ascending and descending a ladder.

Dreams are sacred. They may be as close to the Holy Spirit as we come and it is often the role of the prophet to articulate them.

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Winter Sojourn

The Rev. John Denaro, Rector, January 4, 2018

T.S. Eliot’s poem The Journey of the Magi begins this way:

A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.

The heavy snow swirling in the bitter cold wind today, just days before the fast approaching Feast of the Epiphany (January 6), gives this verse a particular poignancy. Eliot’s famous poem is a surprising and at times haunting meditation on the experience of the “wise men from the East” who are led far from home along a difficult path to an encounter with the Christ child. In the third and final stanza of the poem, we learn that years later these sojourners are still puzzling over the impact and meaning of what they witnessed. I encourage you to read (or re-read) this challenging and very moving poem in its entirety.

Throughout the fall, Fr. Craig Townsend invited us to think of our journey of faith as a life-long pilgrimage with God and to find parallels to our own experiences in those of biblical sojourners and generations of spiritual pilgrims.

Epiphany marks the end of the Christmas season and ushers in a season of light. As we hear about the magi in Matthew’s gospel on this Epiphany Sunday and pause with them to take in the wonder of God made manifest in humankind, may it inspire more than questions, but hope and new insights for the next phase of our continuing journey and the next chapter of our unfolding story at St. Ann’s.

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Hope Springs

The Rev. John Denaro, Rector, December 22, 2017

Things have turned around just overnight. There will be more minutes of daylight today than there were yesterday, thanks to the arrival of the winter solstice. Hope does truly spring eternal, and very particularly with the arrival of the promised gift of God in the One who comes – and is coming still – to save us and usher in a new era of abiding, enduring peace the world has never needed more.

You are invited to join us for a very full day on Sunday through which we’ll move from expectation to celebration, starting with Advent IV morning services at 9:30 am and 11:15 am, and continuing with the Family Christmas Eve service and pageant at 4:00 pm, picking up again with caroling at 9:00 pm, immediately followed by our Festival Eucharist of the Nativity at 9:30 pm.

O come, o come, one and all!

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Navigating Darkness

The Rev. Kate Salisbury, Associate Rector, December 15, 2017

She,
In the dark,
Found light
Brighter than many ever see.

She,
Within herself,
Found loveliness,
Through the soul’s own mastery.
And now the world receives
From her dower:
The message of the strength
Of inner power.

Langston Hughes

This Sunday the Church celebrates “Rose Sunday,” a bright spot in the often penitential season of Advent. Our liturgical color shifts from blue to pink for just this week and we turn our attention to Mary as she bursts into song – the Magnificat – upon learning God’s plan for her.

This poem by Langston Hughes was not written about Mary. It’s titled Helen Keller. Deaf and blind, Helen took a leap of faith holding the hand of her teacher, Anne Sullivan, who was herself visually impaired. Together they navigated darkness to open a new way of life for themselves and others. Mary, Helen and Anne share the faith that God has a vision for us, even if we cannot yet see it ourselves.

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The Holy Unexpected

The Rev. Kate Salisbury, Associate Rector, December 1, 2017

Advent begins this Sunday.  It is the first season of the Church year.

The prophet Isaiah is read nearly every Sunday in Advent and sets much of the tone for the season. Beleaguered by war and foreign occupation, Isaiah longs for a renewed sense of God’s presence.  “Oh! That you would tear open the heavens and come down!” he cries.  “You are the potter and we are the clay.”

At the outset of winter, nature begins to looks stark. The air is cold. Only a few leaves cling to the trees.

And yet Advent encourages us to perceive these changes not only as loss, but as a preparation for something new. This season carries us through the longest night of the year to a miraculous birth.  Advent is a season to practice hope, and to prepare ourselves for holy – and wholly unexpected – ways of knowing God.

 

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