Go Deep This Lent: Seek Your Eternal Soul
“Your True Self is who you are, and always have been in God…. The great surprise and irony is that ‘you,’ or who you think you are, have nothing to do with its original creation or its demise. It’s sort of disempowering and utterly empowering at the same time, isn’t it? All you can do is nurture it.”
—Richard Rohr, from Immortal Diamond
The smudge of ashes across the forehead is such an arcane thing. It may even be hostile to the sensibility of one who hears the words, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” Do you think you are dust? Do you ever consider the possibility? To be reminded of our mortality feels like someone is pointing toward a failed aspect of our personhood, as if to say, “You are king no longer.” The ashes are a mark of the fraud of our life, the sad realization that our kingdoms don’t come and our will is not done—at least in any lasting way. The open secret, because it is in fact a fully known reality, is that we are ash and to ash we shall return.
So what does this mean? Why does it matter? Is a life lived with the specter of our mortality regularly remembered any better than a life lived running from the eventuality of death? I have been contemplating Ash Wednesday as I read Richard Rohr’s latest book Immortal Diamond. In it he wrestles with the distinction between what he calls the False Self and the True Self. The False Self is that aspect of us that seeks to carve out our own kingdom. It is the piece of us that seeks to etch our name in the rock of progeny, profession, wealth, and pedigree. Rohr argues that lying to our False Self is an important component of life; that it helps us establish partners, build community, cultivate meaningful work, and preserve and pass on our institutions. And then, he argues, as we grow up spiritually, we give all of this away in exchange for our souls, our True Selves.
This is why Ash Wednesday matters. It is a yearly re-entry into a conversation about our souls, which is to say, about our eternal relationship with God. That is the point of Lent. Lent is the season to consider how we are walking with God, for how we are walking with God now sets the pace for how we will walk with God for eternity. To live the liturgical rhythm, as I have said before, is a spiritual discipline. Here is the pattern: Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany together make up the season of incarnation. They include about one quarter of the calendar year and are about how we live, move, and have our being in this world. They are the time when we consider issues of justice and equity today in the world as it is. Then we move to Lent, beginning with Ash Wednesday, which is the season of considering our soul and its eternal relationship with God. Lent, Easter, and Pentecost constitute three quarters of the calendar year, and Rohr might call them the time when we focus on our True Self—that is, our eternal soul.
And so, I invite you to come to one of the Ash Wednesday services. This Lent, step into the exquisite calibration of the soul that takes place when you contemplate your life against death. This is an action that produces union with the Holy Spirit. Jesus destroyed death, but he only destroyed death by entering into it fully. He exposed the lie of death, and in doing so revealed to us the reality of our eternity and the truth of the reign of God. He punctuated the point with resurrection. The cycle of death and resurrection cannot be understood or entered into without a serious ownership over death. For Christians this begins with a smudge on our head on Ash Wednesday. Our False Self rejects this death, because to admit death points to the fraud of our aspirations. The True Self applauds death because it embraces the greater greatness of God and our inclusion in God’s Kingdom.
Rohr says it this way: “Our False Self does not let go easily. But that doesn’t mean the False Self should be attacked or eliminated. In time, it will reveal itself for the false wizard that it is. If you go out after it directly, it will only disguise itself further, while you in the meantime get to feel quite virtuous. It is like giving up candy for Lent. It might affect your willpower, self-image, or waistline, but your soul will be largely untouched” (Immortal Diamond, p. 45).
Go deep this Lent. Seek your eternal soul. Take on something impactful in your life. One way to do this is to join one of the “Animate Your Faith” groups. These groups will seek Christ and grope for insight around the big questions of God, Religion, Jesus, Salvation, the Cross, the Bible, and Church. I believe our personal commitment to Lent this year is a critical part of this time of incubation at Epiphany. How we do Lent sets the tone for how we invite people to the Kingdom-of-God life at Epiphany once our buildings are complete next fall.
Go deep this Lent. Carve out the time. Give up something to make the room. Contemplate death as a way to see resurrection and as a side benefit glimpsing the eternal beauty of your soul as it is seen by God.
Have a Heart—It Took a
Even if there had been time Sunday night to name and thank all the people who had a hand in a making Have a Heart a hit, no one would have been able to hear above the convivial roar of the crowd. Here are the folks responsible for bringing off a very fun evening for all who attended. We have you to thank for the good company!
If you couldn’t attend and would like to add your support to Epiphany’s Service and Outreach projects, please click here to donate online.
Youth Group, who helped with everything from set up to child care
Margaret Conn, Jeannine Jones, Lucas King, Maria Philip, Tieran Sweeny-Bender, Olivia Williamson, Ben Wilt, Sam Wilt
Sock Hop décor and gym transformation
Susan Elek (the Art Director!), Ann Beck, Charissa Bradstreet, Linda Bush, Terry Carlisle, Patty Chemnick, Karen and Bill Forbes, Janet Hoehne, Carmen Hoffman and Bob Shupe, Liz Larson, Ann Lockhart, Linda Maxson and Toby Miller, Karen Michaelsen, Maria Philip, Eileen Riley
For loaning us Christmas lights, thanks also to Susan Elek, Mary Anne Howard, Ken Gladden, Alice Foreman, Carmen Hoffman and Bob Shupe
For Sunday’s lunch and balloon delivery, thanks to Darlene Hermes and Ron Lee
Rob and David Holversen
Master of Ceremonies
Sound and Music
Children’s Pajama and Movie Party
Elizabeth Walker, Margaret Conn, Charissa Bradstreet
Food and Drink
Doug Rosen (provided pulled pork and smoked salmon at cost), Ann Beck, Diana Bender, Holly Boone, Charissa Bradstreet, Linda Bush, Sue Cary, Susan Elek, Mike and Barbara Evans, Bill and Karen Forbes, Nicki Grover, Janet Hoehne, Liz Larson, Ron Lee, Ann Lockhart, Julie Moberly, Sherilyn Peterson, Eileen Riley, Trish Wallis Stone, Louis Sweeny, Tieran Sweeny-Bender
Ann Beck, Patty Chemnick, Liz Larson, Ann Lockhart, Karen Michaelsen
Craige Blackmore, Cliff Burrows, Bill Forbes, Dwayne King, Tim Schmuckal, Louis Sweeny
Donors to the Silent Auction
Jamie and Anthony Balducci and Cameraderie Cellars, Inez Black, Lael Blackmore, Holly Boone, Charissa Bradstreet, Linda Bush, Terry and Diane Carlisle, Steve Clemons, Sandra Darling, Epiphany Parish, Alice Foreman, Ann Hofius, Rob and David Holversen, Bill Hoppin, Amy King, Liz Larson, Jim Marlow, José Luis Muñoz, Brad Neary, John and Laurel Nesholm, Dinny Polson, Dorothy Strong, David Weatherford and The Ruins
Barbara Evans, with timely help from Laura Blackmore, Diana Bender, Tieran Sweeny-Bender, and Anna White
Donors to the Cork Pull
We had lots of bottles of wine but were able to capture names only from a few of our donors: Al and Margie Einstein, Nancy and Ed Emerson, Sue and John Cary, Cory Carlson and Rhoda Altom, Bill Wurts
Donors to the Raffle
Anna White and Cliff Burrows, who donated the Luc restaurant certificate
Guy and Betty Falskow, Susan Spencer, George Briggs, and Donald and Anne McKay (from the Parish at Parkshore), who donated the case of wine and also several bottles to the Cork Pull
Service & Outreach foodies, who will prepare a meal for Pete and Chantal Melin
Raffle Sales and Drawing Team
Karen Forbes, Lael Blackmore, and youth ticket sellers
Post-Event Clean Up
Anthony Balducci, Ann Beck, Charissa Bradstreet, Linda Bush, Terry Carlisle, John and Sue Cary, Patty Chemnick, Susan Elek, Karen and Bill Forbes, Liz Larson, Ann Lockhart, Linda Maxson and Toby Miller, Brad Neary, Eileen Riley
Protecting Our Musical Investment
The Noack Organ at Epiphany Parish
This article was written in 2008 when I was Interim Director of Music. It seems appropriate, in the period anticipating our new chapel organ, to repeat it as informative for the parish. —TF
In 1997 a pipe organ was installed in the Church at Epiphany Parish from one the leading American organ builders, thanks to the informed foresight of the parish leadership at that time. This instrument continues to be a major addition to the rich variety of pipe organs of the churches, universities, and concert halls in the Pacific Northwest.
The instrument is built with mechanical key action; that is, there are mechanical linkages from the keys on the manual and pedal keyboards to the pipes of the organ. The fact that many European organs built with this type of key action still play after more than a hundred years has proven that the Epiphany instrument will last infinitely longer than a pipe organ whose playing action is dependent on electro-pneumatic assists. This mechanical action also allows the player significantly more control over the speech of the pipes. Playing an instrument with a fine mechanical key action is somewhat akin to spending time in conversation with a very interesting person!
In 2007, as the Epiphany organ was passing the tenth anniversary of its installation, we investigated the condition of the mechanism of the instrument. Normal use for this period of time pointed to the need for adjustments. The parish authorized the best possible solution: bringing the organ builder to Seattle to spend some time on the organ’s ’10,000-mile checkup’! Fritz Noack arrived in early February 2008 and spent an intensive three days with the organ. He stayed with the Fosters, and we enjoyed many hours of reminiscing about the past! *(see personal note below.) Fritz examined linkages between keys and pipes and made adjustments where necessary; pipes were checked and cleaned, and the organ enjoyed a tuning. The parish should continue to be proud of the investment in a major musical instrument, recognized by the musical community as one of the foremost organs in the Pacific Northwest.
The Pasi Organ at Epiphany Chapel: Ensuring the Future
At the completion of the Church and Chapel renovation, a new instrument will be installed in the Chapel. The current and original Chapel organ, installed in 1919, was examined, and it was determined that a total rebuild of the instrument was not a prudent use of funds. The current organ has given almost 100 years of service, but the cost of a rebuild of the instrument would be a large percentage of the cost of a new instrument.
Our new instrument is being built by Martin Pasi Organ Builders, whose workshop is located near Tacoma in Roy, Washington. Pasi is Austrian-born, and trained with the noted Rieger Organ Company, overseeing numerous installations both in Europe and the US. Martin continued his work in Montreal with the Karl Wilhelm Company, then in 1986 he moved to Tacoma to work for Paul Fritts Organ Firm as a pipe maker. Pasi opened his own organ company in 1986. Epiphany’s organ will be his Opus 25 and joins a prestigious array of instruments, including a 75-stop organ in the Roman Catholic Co-Cathedral in Houston and at the Yale University Institute of Sacred Music. The Epiphany Chapel organ will have all the tone color possibilities as our Noack organ in the church, just on a smaller scale, and will be constructed with the similar mechanical key action as the church organ.
Investigate Martin Pasi’s website to see his instruments spread across the US (pasiorgans.com).
Personal note: during my graduate studies in the mid 1960s at the New England Conservatory in Boston, I served Christ Church, Andover, Massachusetts as Organist-Choirmaster. At that time, Fritz Noack had just begun his own organ company, and his shop was located near the church. Fritz and his very musical wife sang in the choir, and we occasionally babysat their two young children. Our friendship and professional admiration for Noack and his work have continued through the past four decades to the present time.
+TABLE: Back by Popular Demand!
You are invited to join other parishioners for planned potluck meals in homes or other communal locations. These fellowship groups provide an informal setting for members to become acquainted, sharing their background and experience and developing enduring relationships. Each group will be limited to eight (or so) adults (singles, couples and families), meeting approximately once a month. Families with children will be matched with other such families.
Release Forms Needed for ALL Children 18 & Younger
New year… New construction… New database… New release forms…
Parents and Caregivers,
Please help us start the year off right by filling out a Release Form for each child who attends Epiphany. We know that these forms aren’t a lot of fun to complete, but they are vitally important in the case of an emergency and extremely helpful in making sure that our records are accurate.
- Print it out, complete it, and give it to either Elizabeth Walker or Laura Sargent or return to Christie House Office.
- Complete it on your computer, save it, and email it to Elizabeth at email@example.com or Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Pick up a paper copy from the Christie House office or back of Church on Sunday, and return it to the Christie House office.
We would like to have a complete form for every Epiphany child aged 18 and under by February 28.
Many thanks and please let us know if you have questions,
—Elizabeth Walker and Laura Sargent
An Update from the Building Team
The next couple of weeks are going to be focused on asbestos abatement in the Parish Hall, mostly in the crawlspace beneath the first floor. The abatement contractor, Performance Abatement Services, assures us that their top concern is the safety of all parties, their workers, and everyone who lives, works, or goes to school in the area.
There is signage up announcing the abatement work and identifying the work zone. The work zone is sealed off so that all of the material that is being abated is contained within it. Additionally, in accordance with regulations, the air both inside and outside the work zone are monitored continually. No special procedures are required of anyone except the PAS workers.
We expect that the abatement work will be completed, including inspection and the clearance to resume other work activities, around February 27.
The Next 100 Years Building Team Ed Emerson, Laura Blackmore, Bob Barnes, Jim Marlow, Ben Bradstreet Contact the Building Team at email@example.com
Parish Prayer List
Sunday Lectionary Corner
February 15, 2015
Sixth Sunday after Epiphany
2 Kings 2:1-12
2 Corinthians 4:3-6
Upcoming Events in the Life of Epiphany
February 15: Adult Forum – Fasting
At 10:45 am in the Church, Doyt will share about the historical and spiritual significance of fasting—just in time for Lent.
February 16: OFFICE CLOSED
In observance of Presidents’ Day, the office will be closed on Monday the 16th.
February 17: Mardi Gras Pancake Dinner
This is a party and youth fundraiser! Come and support the Youth Pilgrimage Fund by buying a ticket (in advance, if you can) to the Mardi Gras pancake supper in Christie House at 5:30 pm. You’ll find great people, tasty food (bacon and King Cake!), and Mardi Gras music—the perfect event for families! Tickets are $5 for children, $10 for adult, available after church on February 8 & 15, or at the door.
February 18: Ash Wednesday
Lent begins in less than two weeks with the imposition of ashes. Come to either the morning or evening liturgy, followed by the Sacrament of Reconciliation at both, and/or Noonday Prayer and Contemplation. Click here for times and locations.
February 19: Animate Your Faith Series
There is still time to sign up to join the Animate Your Faith series. It’s $20 to register, and you can pick the morning session or evening session. This week, there is no evening session because of Ash Wednesday, but it will resume on February 25. Click here for more information.
February 19: How to Listen to Classical Music
In four interactive one-hour sessions, Jim MacLean will offer some basic information along with time to listen to selected musical pieces. Participants are encouraged to bring their own favorite pieces to discuss with the group on Thursdays, February 5, 12, 19 & 26, at 6:15 pm in the Christie House Library. If you miss one, it’s okay; drop in at any session!
Events Down the Road
February 22: Adult Forum – Rude Sermon Q&As
Have you ever left a service wondering what the sermon had been about? Have you ever heard a sermon so eloquently and sublimely given that you just wanted to hear more? Has your mind ever wandered into a particular theological crevasse during a sermon and you got trapped? However you relate to a sermon, now is your chance to ask any question you want (no matter how rude!) and enter into the fullness of the preachers theological reflection by joining us at 10:45 am for RUDE Sermon Q&As. We will meet in the Christie House library to talk with the preacher.
February 25: Worship in the Style of Taizé
Taizé is a quiet service of meditation, reflection, silence, readings, and music in which all are encourage to participate as the spirit moves them. Join Epiphany Choir in worshiping in this unique way at 7:30 pm in the Church. Free and open to the public.
February 28: KAIROS Palestine – A Call to Action in a Moment of Truth
The Mideast Focus Ministry at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle has joined forces with Kairos USA to offer a dynamic one-day workshop to explore the Palestinian Christian community’s urgent appeal to the global Christian community as expressed in the Kairos Palestine document. The day will include lectures, small group discussion, 7 action-focused workshops and a packet of materials. Buy tickets here.