The Healing of Relationship
I’m a PK – a preacher’s kid – and you may not know this, but PKs can be a very special kind of jaded. The Episcopal Church was the company my dad worked for. That’s when he wasn’t teaching school. Not that my dad’s tenure in the church was all bad. It had its ups and downs like any other work relationship. I suppose if he had been a milkman, I’d have been skeptical of cottage cheese.
In the process of writing this homily, I earned a new respect for my dad’s job. He did this week in and week out for over forty years. Although I’ve had a lifelong career as a writer, this is the first time I’ve written a homily. I volunteered when the opportunity was presented. I mean, I write all the time. Write a homily based on Psalm 51, verses 11 through 18? How hard could it be?
Let this rambling preamble and this terrified demeanor stand testament to how hard it is. I’m sorry now that I wasn’t more attentive and inquisitive and less skeptical. My father passed away in 2015. His cremains sit on a shelf above my writing desk. More than once during the writing of this I looked up and said, “Hey pop – little help?”
I imagine he would have said, “Well, what does it say to you? Tell your own story. Use your own words.” So here it is, as my dad would say, in laymen’s terms:
It’s about relationship. In the words of psalm 51, I see that David has done something wrong. Had an affair with another man’s wife. And in addition to the myriad other ways that particular sin will mess up a person’s life, it has ruptured David’s relationship with God. And David is heartsick and yearning to repair that relationship.
I’ve heard it said that there are only two prayers: help! and thank you! Prayers of the help! variety are transactional: help me out and in return I’ll do thus-and-so. But transactions alone aren’t really relationships. If they were, I’d be in relationships with Wells Fargo and Fred Meyer.
David knows that transactions alone don’t make real relationships, and better still, he knows that God knows this. David didn’t say “I’ll go down to the temple and offer a sacrifice, you’ll wipe away my sins, and then we’ll be square”.
“You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.”
No, David wants a real relationship with God. He wants that particular connection that is built on love, trust, deep understanding, and reciprocal compassion between two individuals.
How many times have we heard it said that relationship is primary in the Kingdom of God?
I always wanted to be close to my dad. But he wasn’t the kind of dad you could get close to. It wasn’t that he was always distant or no fun. He definitely had a sense of whimsy. He could always make us laugh by taking out his teeth, putting a string mop on his head, and playing a feisty old woman. Before meals, he would lead us in singing the doxology in four-part harmony in three different settings: the traditional, then set to “Yankee Doodle”, and then to “Hernando’s Hideaway”.
He was a fantastic priest and teacher. His students adored him as did his parishioners. He was a humanitarian entrepreneur, a man who created social service programs in a place and time when few existed. In Detroit in the 1970s there was no job training program for former prison inmates until my dad created it. There was no after-school program for latchkey kids whose parents worked the late shifts at General Motors and Fisher Body, so my dad created one.
As a father, however, he was something different. He had at least five academic and professional degrees, probably more. He was an unimpeachable authority, not be challenged. He was also quick to anger, deaf to entreaty, and severe with discipline.
You can’t have a relationship with a person like that. A parent-child relationship is more than transactions like, “Mow the lawn and you’ll get Saturday off.” It’s more than just making requests of your dad when you need something. It’s a sharing of the whole of life: Let me share my angers, joys, sorrows, fears, and triumphs with you. Let me apologize to you. Let me give you my broken and contrite heart, and let’s restore each other’s joy. Let me tell you that I love you.
After we were all grown up and gone away, my dad’s memories of what kind of parent he had been troubled him a great deal. He seemed to be always be wracked with guilt, and always willing to discuss what an awful parent he had been. To wit, he seemed to be mourning the fact that he never had a relationship with his kids. But he never asked for forgiveness.
That is until one particular Sunday.
A year before he died, we were in church – St. Paul’s in Port Townsend, to be exact – and we were singing “In Christ There Is No East or West”. He stopped singing and turned to me. “I need to tell you something,” he said. I waited. One Mississippi. Two Mississippi. Three Mississip – “I’m sorry for all that crap I put you through when you were a kid.” And then he began to cry. It was probably only the second time I’d ever seen tears in my dad’s eyes. And I said to him dad, “It’s okay. It was all a long time ago. I know you’re sorry. I forgive you. I love you. And I’ll keep telling you that as many times as you need to hear it — so you don’t forget.”
And there it was. I finally had a real relationship with my dad. It was the best feeling in the world.
And I can only hope that after his pleas, heartfelt apologies, contrition, and finally, absolution, that David felt the same thing, and that if even for a moment he had a real relationship with his heavenly father.
The Service and Committal will be Saturday, March 17 at 10:30 am in the Chapel.
Share Food & Drink During Holy Week!
We have some fantastic food traditions during Holy Week that we hope you can be a part of, regardless of whether you bring a dish to share or just show up. If you would like to help out by sharing a dish at any of the following events, just email Diane Carlisle at email@example.com or call the Parish Office at 206-324-2573.
March 29 | 6:30 pm | Great Hall
The Agape Meal dates to apostolic times and celebrates our Christian love for each other. For this meal, we are asking for:
• Meatless Soup (5 pots)
• Bread & Cheese (3 loaves/blocks)
• Olives (3 plates)
• Fruit (3 plates)
• Grape Juice (3 bottles)
• Red Wine (5 bottles)
NO SWEETS please (saving that for the Vigil!)
Easter Vigil Reception
March 31 | after 8 pm service | Great Hall
After all the Alleluias and bell-ringing at the end of the Easter Vigil service, come to the Great Hall for a grand reception. Please sign up to bring:
• Wine (15 bottles)
• Sparkling Cider, Juice, or Sparkling Water (20 bottles)
• Dessert of the finger-food variety (10 dishes)
• Fruit (10 plates)
April 1 | 10 am | Great Hall
We are throwing open the doors of our church for parishioners and visitors alike. We are planning on serving:
• Quiche or Strata (20)
• Fruit Salad (10 dishes)
• Breakfast Bread (10 loaves)
If there is a special dish you associate with Easter, feel free to bring that too!
Sunday Services – 7:30 am, 8:45 am, 11 am & 5 pm
The Examen: Contemplative Prayer Practice
March 16 at 5:30 pm in the Chapel/Christie House Library
Followed by a simple meal of soup and bread in the Christie House Library.
Psalm Chant Rehearsal
March 17 at 2 pm in the Chapel
March 19 – 23 from 7:45 to 8:15 am and/or 8:30 to 9:30 am in the Chapel
Palm Cross Making
March 21 from 2:30 to 5 pm in the Chapel
March 21 at 5:30 pm in the Chapel
The homilist: Diana Bender
Psalm Chant Rehearsal
March 17 at 2 pm Chapel
Join other men of Epiphany as we learn to chant the psalms in anticipation of
Watchnight. We will chant the Psalms at the begining of Watchnight following the Maundy Thursday liturgy. If you have questions, please email Peter Drumond at
March 19 – 23 from 7:45 to 8:15 am and/or 8:30 to 9:30 am in the Chapel
In preparation for Holy Week, Pieter Drummond is offering a week-long guided meditation intensive every morning in the chapel. Two time slots per day are
available; you may come to one or both. If you have questions, please email Pieter Drummond at firstname.lastname@example.org
Join members of the Altar Guild in the Chapel to make Palm Crosses for the Palm Sunday services. This is a great activity for the kids and adults too!
March 21 at 5:30 pm
According to The Book of Common Prayer, “The Holy Eucharist, the principal act of Christian worship on the Lord’s Day…and Daily Morning and Evening Prayer, as set forth in this book, are the regular services appointed for public worship in this Church.”
On Wednesdays during Lent, we have an Evening Prayer service at 5:30 pm. At these services, we use the daily Eucharistic readings to keep us grounded in the themes of this holy season. We also invite members of the parish to present homilies.
The homilist: Diana Bender
Help YWCA shelter kids celebrate Easter by giving them an Easter basket!
You can purchase a pre-filled basket or fill one yourself with fun things like toys, candy, books, hygiene needs, socks, or learning supplies.
If you make your own please wrap it in cellophane so it will stay intact.
Baskets can be for any age, boy or girl (range $15 – $20). Each basket will make a difference to a child in need. Drop off by Sunday, March 25 at 11:00 am service.
Questions? Contact Sherilyn Peterson, email@example.com or (206) 322-2831.
Donate the the Easter Flower Fund
This Easter Sunday, the highest celebration of our Christian year, you can remember a special person or event by donating towards our Altar Flower Fund. Perhaps you would like to acknowledge the birth of a baby, or a marriage, or a loved one now departed. You may donate towards one or more lilies, but you are not limited to Easter. Any date during the year we can decorate the altar with a floral arrangement on the Sunday closest to that date.
Complete the attached form and send your check to the church office or add it to the collection plate. Remember that during Advent and Lent only greens are used on the altar.
Thank you for your consideration of the Altar Flower Fund.
PLEASE COMPLETE THE ATTACHED FORM AND RETURN
TO THE CHURCH OFFICE BY WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28.
March 21 at 6m in the Christie House Library
Are you interested in bringing Epiphany out into our Community?
Epiphany’s Lay Eucharistic Visitor Ministry brings the service to Park Shore retirement community in Madison Park on Sunday mornings. Many who attend are long-time parishioners of Epiphany who can no longer make it to church but wish to practice their faith in a group setting. If you’re interested in learning more about this wonderful ministry, please join us for our LEV Potluck on March 21st at 6 p.m. in the Christie House Library. No experience required and training is provided – we welcome you!!!! Please contact Amy Griffin (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Vicki Reed (email@example.com) if you’d like to join us or learn more about this ministry.
Marching For Our Lives
If you are planning to march and/or interested in marching with others in the Epiphany Parish/ Episcopal community to support our youth asking for gun reform on March 24th in the “March for Our Lives” Seattle please contact Ruth Anne (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Bailey Kimmel (email@example.com). If we have a group interested, we will have tentatively set two dates for poster making on March 18 and 23.
We Need Your Voice! Voices Wanted!
- If you are interested in participating in a different kind of musical event (with contemporary music) please contact Ruth Anne. One rehearsal only and lots of fun!
- Still have parts open for the Reading of the Passion Narrative at Park Shore on Good Friday @ 10:30 AM.
Please contact Ruth Anne @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are having our Easter Egg Hunt on Holy Saturday! Invite your neighbors and friends to enjoy bagels and then scour the grounds for plastic eggs.
Gather at 9:30 am in the Great Hall for bagels and activities, followed by the hunt. Separate parts of the campus will be assigned to different age groups in the spirit of fun and fairness.
SAVE THE DATE!
Epiphany Vacation Bible Camp
July 9-13, 2018 from 1-4 pm
Registration information coming soon!
Fifth Sunday in Lent
or Psalm 119:9-16
Click here to view Prayer List