Showing up and Paying Attention
A Reflection by the Rev. Todd Foster
Lent is now well underway, and many of us are well-engaged in our Lenten practices. Some of us are abstaining from chocolate, some from alcohol and sugar, and some are fasting altogether on certain days of the week. Some have more subtle practices, concerned with how they go about being in relationship with others or their stewardship of the earth. Some are practicing a different rhythm of prayer. I spent the beginning of this week on retreat at St. Placid’s Priory in Lacey where, at one service of Morning Prayer, we sang a hymn that spoke of eating less, speaking less, and sleeping less during these 40 days of Lent. Sleeping less? I wonder if sleeping more, in rejection of a world that lifts productivity over health and human relationships, might be the more likely Lenten calling for many of us!
In my cell at St. Placid’s, there was a quotation on the wall from a revelation recorded by St. Gertrude of Helfta. It said:
I require nothing from you
but to come to me empty
that I may fill you.
Sometimes I think of participation in liturgies or different spiritual practices as “showing up.” By this I mean that I do not always enter them with the zeal I was taught as a child. From the pulpit and from my Sunday school teachers, I was taught that my faith practices had to be fervent and heart-felt for them to mean anything. This is what I understood as “worshiping in spirit and in truth.” Because of this, I have often walked around with a bit of a spiritual inferiority complex, because I’m not always “feeling it” the way I understood I was supposed to.
Sometimes I feel a little guilty for “just showing up.”
But I console myself with the realization that showing up, while insufficient to work real change in my life, is a signal to God and myself about my intentions. It is my way of saying, “Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” So when I pray, fast, meditate, or engage in any other spiritual practice, the showing up and doing it is my way of becoming open to God’s activity in my life.
This is the encouragement I hear from St. Gertrude. “Showing up” means that I don’t have to bring fervor and zeal and wisdom to the game in order to effect change. My best efforts at the spiritual disciplines are powerless to accomplish the things I want to accomplish. The Good News of the Gospel is that God is the one who loves me, God is the one who is at work in me, and it is God who will effect change within me. By showing up I am choosing to cooperate with God and telling God, “Here I am!” By showing up I am creating an openness with in my own heart, mind, and body to the work of God.
This weekend, I decided that “showing up” isn’t enough by itself. The other half of the equation is to pay attention. The peace I seek can be mine if, after showing up, I will pay attention. My job is to pay attention to whatever it is that God chooses to do in me, around me, and through me. The promise of God is that I can show up empty, and God will fill me.
Lent is about emptying ourselves, making space for God to do something new in us. Some of us find emptiness through spiritual practices. Some of us are emptied out involuntarily by the vicissitudes of life. The Good News is you don’t have to fill those empty spaces yourself with water-tight theology or ethical perfection or even a perfect trusting faith in God. Just bring that emptiness to God, pay attention, and see what happens.
Guest Preacher Sunday
Fr. Josh Thomas is the Executive Director of Kids4Peace International, a global nonpro t organization that provides interfaith dialogue, peace education, and leadership develop- ment programs to more than 500 Muslim, Jewish and Christian youth in Jerusalem and the US each year. He was previously Dean of the Diocesan School of Ministry & Theology in the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, and he also served as Interim Priest at Church of the Apostles during his time in Sea le. He is a board member of the Alliance for Middle East Peace. Fr. Josh lives in Washington, DC.
Kids4Peace (www.k4p.org), an interfaith youth movement, works to transform divided societies into communities of lasting peace. Working in Jerusalem and the US, the
organization brings together Muslim, Jewish, and Christian youth for dialogue programs, leadership development, and social change projects. The six-year program sequence includes monthly meetings, overnight retreats, and intensive summer programs for youth in 6th through 12th grade. In Sea le, Kids4Peace has also begun a series of outreach initiatives, bringing workshops to religious congregations, schools, and community groups, while also offering programs for the broader community, such as an MLK Day youth empowerment workshop.
If you would like to visit more with Josh, come to a reception at the Chapel at 6 pm.
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Go to https://gjmwalks.wordpress.com/ to stay in touch.
Affinity Gathering – Medical Professionals
Join Us Saturday, March 18
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm in the Fireside Room
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 this 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.
Epiphany Quiet Day for Lent
March 18 – Noon to 4 pm
Spend a few hours here at Epiphany to allow your soul to rest in
this holy place as we enter into the season of Lent. This is our time
to remember the suffering and death of Jesus and to prepare for
the resurrection of the Risen Christ. What does God have in store
for you? How can you apply the actions of Christ into your life?
How will you practice self-control, patience, and faithfulness even
in the midst of your personal trials? Spend some time in prayer,
come sit, read, or meditate in the quiet. Be still and seek God’s
will for your life through guided meditation, Lectio/Visio Divina
exercises, walking the Labyrinth, and inspirational readings. All
We encourage the various small groups of Epiphany and families to
pray and worship together as you contemplate the season of Lent
and what it means to you.
Schedule of Events
– Noon—3:00 pm: Welcome & instructions for the day
– Noon—4:00 pm: Prayer Mandalas, Visio Divina exercises, Labyrinth
in the chapel (until 3:30), full use of the Icon Prayer Room, various
art media, journaling, etc.
– 3:30 pm—4:00 pm: Guided Meditation with Pieter Drummond
Light snacks and beverages will be available throughout the day.
The schedule is self-directed. Come and go as you wish and enjoy
Saturday Morning Prayer Time in the Epiphany Chapel
Every Saturday at 8:30 f0r 30 minutes. Everyone is welcome to join in this time of Epiphany community prayer. If you have questions, prayer requests, or would like to request a healing prayer, show up on Saturday or please contact Robin Mondares by email or call 206-355-7948.
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 * Get your tickets before they are sold out!
Go to Epiphany Seattle Music Guild webpage epiphanymusicguild.org to purchase tickets online.
Annual Epiphany Women’s Retreat
“What is trying to be born?”
Facilitated by Emily Linderman, M.Div.
During Lent, we’re invited to clear away distractions, enter into the holy darkness, and be more fully awakened to the God alive in us and the world. We spend Holy Week close to Jesus, the disciples, and one another as we wave palms, break bread, mourn, and wait for the end of the Sabbath only to find the tomb empty and ourselves both weeping and rejoicing. The holy cycle of incarnate life, death, and rebirth is a sacred part of creation, our lives, and our Christian inheritance. We are never done with our changes.
We will spend this Eastertide retreat together inviting that which is deepest within us to come forth in joy and meet the resurrected Jesus among us. We will ask what is trying to be born in us and our world and what needs to be left in the tomb in order for this new creation to live?
Many of you already know Emily in one of her varied roles at Epiphany. She first came to Epiphany in 2011 as the welcoming face in the office while she was in seminary at Seattle University. Her role grew and changed during the years and she became a valued part of the spiritual life of Epiphany. Emily has a spiritual direction practice on Epiphany’s campus and will begin a yearlong hospital chaplaincy residency in the fall.
Emily grew up in Michigan and has lived in Seattle for nearly 20 years. A lover of poetry, memoirs, her four godchildren, and singing, you can find her Sunday afternoons at Liberation United Church of Christ.
If you have any questions, please contact Karen Forbes 206-779-8509,
Ann Lockhart 206-328-0459, or Emily Linderman 206-601-4196.
If you would like to attend, please fill out this form and return to the Parish Office in person, by mail, or by email at email@example.com.
To pay, you may either include a check with the form (made out to “Epiphany Parish” with “Women’s Retreat” in the memo line) or you may pay online here.
You can purchase a pre-filled basket or fill one yourself with fun things like toys, candy, books, hygiene needs, socks, or learning supplies. 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, April 9, 11:00 am service. Thank you!
AN EVENING OF DUKE ELLINGTON’S SACRED MUSIC
St. Thomas Episcopal Church
8398 NE 12th Street • Medina
In collaboration with the Earshot Jazz Society, this concert includes blues, jazz, gospel and choral works, all drawn from the three “Sacred Music Concerts” composed by Duke Ellington late in his career, and performed around the globe during his lifetime. Deeply spiritual and decidedly nondenominational, these sacred works were intended to be performed in places of sanctuary. This performance combines favorites drawn from all three of the Sacred Concerts and is a rare opportunity to hear an Eastside performance of this great music in a concert that is traditionally enjoyed by sell-out crowds in Seattle.
The $25 per person donation will be collected at the door. For more information about the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, visit: www.srjo.org.
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
“What sacred songs has the Holy Spirit written upon your heart? We’ll sing, pray, and explore this deep treasury of words and music together.” — Michael Kleinschmidt, Canon Musician, Saint Mark’s Cathedral
Join Bishop Rickel and friends for pastoral perspectives and practical advice on planning funerals and memorials. Time for Q&A at round table discussions. All participants receive the Diocese’s Life Planning Manual. Cost: $20, includes lunch and many handouts. Space is limited, please register today at: www.celebratinglifeintheresurrection.eventbrite.com
Sunday Lectionary Corner
Third Sunday in Lent