Seek Inconvenient Relationships, Be Humble Unto Them
A Reflection by the Rev. Doyt L. Conn, Jr.
I wrote an article a while back about my daughter Margaret’s experience going to a healing service with a bunch of soccer friends at a charismatic church in Shoreline. All were injured. All were up against long recoveries. All were looking to get back on the field as quickly as possible. And sometimes things work like that. I believe in miracles. But mostly they work within the guardrails of human biology as set forth by the Kingdom of God. Mostly people heal with time, physical therapy, and good habits. That is the case with Margaret.
And yet along the way she has developed a friendship with a soccer colleague who now regularly invites Margaret to these charismatic services. They are interesting to Margaret, at least that is her response to me when she gets home and I ask, “How was the service?” And she says, “Interesting.” So I probe a bit. Most recently “interesting” turned out to be a service where some elderly women came up to her and her friend and surrounded them and started to pray over them. Margaret went with it, as one should do if one is going to go to a charismatic prayer service. And in the course of their prayers they announced that these young women would become great Christians. Margaret’s friend was thrilled by the blessing and determined to live into the reality… Margaret, well, she wasn’t so sure. And I asked, “Did you express your doubts to your friend?” And she said, “No. She was too happy about the prophecy, so I didn’t want to get in the way of that.” And I said, “Then it seems like the prophecy has already been fulfilled in you.” She gave me a smile.
When you scrape it all away at the end of the day, it is all about relationship. It is not arguing about the reality of a prophecy or the efficacy of a healing. Nor is it about full understanding or perfect action. It is about being there. It is about going there (wherever there is) with a friend. It is making space for someone else’s moment. That is the Christian life.
So how do we reach through our opinions and perspective and context to sit in relationship with people who don’t run in our circles or mirror our beliefs? Not easy, not easy at all. It takes real effort to regularly put yourself in situations where you are with someone who holds a different worldview or comes from a radically different context. Think about it… how often do you accidentally and repeatedly find yourself in a situation like that? The only option is intentional acts of inconvenient relationship creation.
I have found that by tutoring at the Madrona K-8 school. It is not easy. On the first day of tutoring my student (a third grade boy) when assigned to me, looked me up and down and then announced, very loudly, that he had been given the worst tutor ever! It went down hill from there. Now I sit with him in the principal’s office to do our tutoring session… every week. I love this kid, and I am hopeful, so hopeful for him and his life. He, on the other hand is not too enamored by me. This relationship work is humbling.
Psalm 149:4 says it this way: “The Lord takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with victory.” It means getting out of the way of your self on behalf of the needs of the other. And more than that, if we are to be a people who heal the world, it means intentionally finding relationships that are inconvenient, and then humbling ourselves to these relationships.
It might be easier to go skiing, or read a book, or up-date your Facebook page. Yes, it is easier to do those things, but it will never be as rewarding. Consider creating some inconvenient relationships and serving them with a humble heart. It will prove the Lord’s victory.
New Forum Starts This Sunday
Faith in the Shadow of Grief
March 12, 19, 26, April 2, 9
Christie House Library
Carmen Hoffman and Meridith Nelson
Faith in the Shadow of Grief Sundays, March 12 through April 9, at 10 am (Christie House Library) The goal of this 5-week session is to support and guide you on the sacred and scary path of loss in an atmosphere of confidentiality and safety. If you would like to join us, please contact one of the clergy or Carmen Hoffman at email@example.com.
This Sunday Evening
5 pm – In the Chapel
Evensong will be sung by the Sopranos & Altos of Epiphany Choir, including
music of American composer Craig Phillips and English composer George Dyson.
The Anglican tradition has produced a vast collection of choral repertoire written for
treble voices, inspired and influenced by the strong tradition of boys’ voices.
6 pm – In the Chapel
Organist and Director of Music, St. Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle, Kleinschmidt is a
graduate of Oberlin College and the Eastman School and has performed
extensively throughout the United States and parts of Europe. Michael joined
the Cathedral staff in 2015 after serving in a similar position at Trinity Church,
Copley Square, Boston, and Trinity Cathedral, Portland, Oregon.
GALA FUNDRAISING DINNER AND CONCERT
Prominent musicians, Tekla Cunningham, violinist, Nathan Whittaker, cellist and Henry Lebedinsky, harpsichordist will get the evening started with a chamber concert in the Chapel. Next, we will move to the Great Hall for a catered, sit-down dinner. The evening will conclude back in the Chapel with the Epiphany Seattle Music Guild Cabaret.
$100 per Ticket • Limited Seating
Go to Epiphany Seattle Music Guild webpage epiphanymusicguild.org to purchase tickets online.
Reminder – Safeguarding God’s Children
Saturday, March 18 • 10 am–noon • Christie House Library
Safeguarding God’s Children is a training program for the Episcopal Church designed by the Church Pension Group to make our churches as safe as possible for our children and youth and those who work with them. The training is designed to raise awareness concerning issues of sexual and emotional abuse and to provide tools for prevention that we can all use to protect our children from harm, promote safety, and bring healing.
The training is required for everyone who works with children or youth at Epiphany, but strongly encouraged for all members of our parish. It is also required of all staff and vestry members.
If you have any questions about Safeguarding God’s Children or you would like to sign up for a future training, please contact Laura Sargent, Youth Group Convener.
Vacation Bible Camp Registration is Under Way!
Click here to download PDF of VBC Brochure.
Spring Pilgrimage to Canterbury
The Spring Pilgrimage to Canterbury is just around the corner. The group will be walking 100 miles over 9 days between Farnham and Canterbury England engaged in mindful walking, spiritual practice, and enjoying the beauty and comforts of the Surrey and Kent countryside. On return we will be leading the Adult Forum, but while we are gone, we will be posting our photos and stories to share. We would like to see your comments and keep in touch with you. Go to https://gjmwalks.wordpress.com/ to stay in touch.
Please Join Us – Affinity Gathering
Affinity groups are mixers meant to foster connections with people who have common interests, backgrounds or experience. The next Affinity Group is for Medical Professionals. If you’re a doctor, nurse, CNA, physical therapist, administrator, or other medical professional, please join us in the Fireside Room next Saturday, March 18, any time between 5:30 pm and 7:00 pm. If you know someone who shares this category with you, invite them, too! Snacks and beverages will be provided.
Make a Note…
Annual Epiphany Women’s Retreat
Friday, April 21 – Sunday, April 23, 2017
St. Andrews House, Hood Canal
“What is trying to be born?”
Facilitated by Emily Linderman, M.Div.
CELEBRATING LIFE IN THE RESURRECTION: A Workshop on Planning the Celebration of Your Life through Faith, Hope and Love!
Sat. March 25 – Bloedel Hall, Saint Mark’s Cathedral, 9:00 am-2:30 pm
It is a painful irony that when we are grieving a loved one, we are also called upon to handle so many details. In my experience, a little bit of guidance is a welcome relief. I am always sad when someone tells their family not to “make a fuss” when they die. When you die, take my word for it, there will be a fuss.” – The Rev. David Marshall, St. Dunstan, Shoreline.
Join Bishop Rickel, Dean Steve Thomason, Rev. Marshall and other clergy for pastoral perspectives and practical advice on funerals and memorials. Time for Q&A at round table discussions. All participants receive the Diocese’s Life Planning Manual. Cost: $20. Sign up on line: www.celebratinglifeintheresurrection.eventbrite.com.
Sunday’s Lectionary Corner
Second Sunday In Lent
Romans 4:1-5, 13-17