A reflection by the Rev. Doyt L. Conn, Jr.
You may remember the story of Nicodemus in the Gospel of John. He comes to Jesus at night and Jesus says to him: “ Very truly I tell you, no one can see the Kingdom of God without being born from above.” To which Nicodemus responds, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born again?” The answer is no, nor was that what Jesus was talking about. What he was talking about is birth number 3.
I visited Tucker Greene, the fourth child of Courtney and Coleman, the day after he was born. They set him in my arms, and I just sat there with him, holding him. There is nothing, to my mind, more beautiful and profound than holding a newborn baby. There is an aroma about that hints at their lingering connection to God. Yes they were born, but this is only the first birth.
The second birth comes a little while later, when the child begins to become him/herself. They individuate as their consciousness begins to emerge. Peter Rollins in his book The Idolatry of God says it this way: “In the weaning process the infant discovers that he cannot have what he wants. It is at this point that what he cannot have takes on a symbolic significance beyond the mere satisfaction of a need. In other words, the “no” that he is confronted with turns what was previously an object that satisfies basic needs into an object of venerations” (p. 30). From that time forth the connected baby starts to become an autonomous ego, driven it seems, to retrieve that which was lost at the dawn of his consciousness. This gulf, this chasm, is what old time theology calls original sin. It is that thing that drives us to reconnect with that from which we feel separated. It is that internal voice that says, “Go get it, it will make you happy, and then everything will be good in your life.”
And so we go and get it, whatever it may be. It may be wealth, fame, status, intimacy, children, fitness, beauty, religiosity, intelligence, power, property and the list goes on. And we know that even when we get it, it doesn’t actually fill the void. So we redouble our efforts and always to no avail. What Nicodemus had set out to get was information, smarts, if you will. He was a scholarly man and a member of the Sanhedrin. He knew the Law better than anyone, and yet the void still gaped in front of him. Then he heard Jesus, and while a member of the Sanhedrin should never sit at the feet of a man like Jesus, Nicodemus was willing to do so to learn. Learning was Nicodemus’ idol. That is what idols are, that which we pursue with relentless drive to capture and then use to fill the void. Idolatry is anything we believe will fill the void left at our second birth.
Jesus says the only way that void is filled is through birth number 3. This final birth is the one that smashes the illusion that there was ever a second birth. Birth number 3 completes us by returning us to that connection we had, and others saw, at our first birth. Birth number 2 does give rise to our conscious, which is the gift given humanity so we can freely engage God. Love lives only by the nutrients of freedom. Love needs mutuality. And so God loves us into being at birth number 1. God loves us enough to give us our freedom at birth number 2. And finally, God invites us to smash the imaginary void that comes with individuation at birth number 2, to return to union with the divine. This is what happens at birth number 3.
That is what Jesus is talking about when he is talking with Nicodemus. No one can see the Kingdom of God (that is the world where God lives) unless they are born a third time. What does that look like? Jesus goes onto explain: “Those who trust in me are not condemned, but those who do not trust are condemned already, because they have not trusted in the name of the only Son of God.” He concludes by saying: “Those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”
When the deeds we do are fueled not by our drive, but for God, we become born again, time number 3. These deeds may be exactly the same deeds you are doing today. My prayer for you is that they move from actions done to fill the void, to actions done in thanksgiving to God.
May 13 from 10 am to 3 pm
Saint Mark’s Cathedral * 1245 10th Ave. E
Come one, come all! It’s the annual celebration of the community of the Diocese of Olympia. There will be a ceremonial ground-breaking for the Capital Campaign construction. Carnival games, cathedral tours, food trucks-and much more! Fun for all ages, whatever the weather! For more information go to https://cathedral-day-2017.eventbrite.com.
Celebration of Life
The Reverend John P. (Jack) Gorsuch
That Jack Gorsuch, the sixth Rector of Epiphany, from 1968 to 1985, will be remembered in a celebration of his life on May 20th at 3:30 in the church.
Planning Our Upcoming Pilgrimage
May 21 at 12:15 – 1:30 in the Fireside Room
Epiphany has begun planning our next pilgrimage to the Holy Land! The dates of the trip are December 27, 2017 – January 9, 2018 which coincides with Orthodox Christmas. It includes three nights in Nazareth and 8 nights in Jerusalem. On May 21 we are holding an information session for those who are seriously considering joining this pilgrimage. We will meet in the Fireside Room from 12:15 – 1:30 pm, just after the 11:00 service. At that time we will talk about what to expect as part of a pilgrimage and how participants can prepare and contribute to a rich shared experience. Additionally, we will review the itinerary, associated costs and payment schedule, and discuss details that need to be arranged prior to departure. You don’t have to commit to the pilgrimage during the meeting, but we will provide registration paperwork so that you can register as soon as you have made a decision. During Sundays in May, Charissa Bradstreet will be available at an information table during the Everybody Hour to answer questions and to collect names of people who are curious. If you would like to join this pilgrimage, please try to prioritize the information session on May 21. Thank you!
Hommage à Duruflé
Soloists and Orchestra
Joseph Adam, organist
Sunday, May 21 at 5 pm
A Celebration of the music of Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986), among the most important French composers of the 20th century.
Messe ‘Cum Jubilo’ for tenor and bass voices with organ; Solo Organ Works; and Requiem.
The Requiem was completed and published in 1947 and dedicated to the memory of the composer’s father. The work will be performed by Epiphany Choir, soloists Kathea Yarnell and Martin Rothwell, string orchestra, and organ. Nearly all the thematic material in the work comes from Gregorian chant melodies from the Mass for the Dead. This opulent and mystical work is among the most-performed early 20th century masses.
The Requiem will be offered as a memorial to family and friends of Epiphany Parish; names as requested will be listed on the program.
A reception follows the concert in celebration of Tom Foster and his retirement from Epiphany.
This performance is made possible by the generous financial support of the Epiphany Music Guild. As a result, this concert is presented without charge.
Go to Epiphany Seattle Music Guild webpage epiphanymusicguild.org for more information.
Duruflé Requiem, a memorial to family and friends
Sunday, May 21, at 5 pm will be a very special evening of music and a special occasion for the parish.
The beautiful Duruflé Requiem was completed and published in 1947 and dedicated to the memory of the composer’s father. The work will feature Epiphany Choir with orchestra and soloists Kathea Yarnell and Martin Rothwell.
This work was selected specifically to be offered as a memorial to family and friends of Epiphany Parish. Tom will be directing this work in his final Epiphany Seattle Music Guild concert. He is the founding visionary of the guild and has provided years of dedicated service to the parish. We will celebrate his time with us at Epiphany at the reception immediately following the concert.
If you would like to memorialize a departed loved one in the program for the Requiem, please complete the form below and return to the parish office by May 14.
Phone #: _______________________________________________
I wish to be acknowledged in the concert bulletin,
in memory of: ____________________________________________
Click here to download the Requiem Memorial form.
Epiphany Seattle Music Guild
“Bringing the classical music of Seattle to the sacred spaces of Epiphany”
Dear Epiphany friends,
In the late 1890’s my grandmother was a little girl who desperately wanted a piano. Her blacksmith father was short on money but not on ingenuity. Spurred by her love of music, he fashioned an “octave” of different lengths of iron attached to a fence which — after chores and school– she played for hours and sang. Years later they were able to purchase one of those behemoth pianos that came across the plains by rail to northern Oregon. She taught herself to play the piano and the foot pump organs that were the modest little instruments of the rough hewn churches of the day. When not teaching school during the week, she made the rounds– leading music in churches around the small towns of the John Day River valley. Frequently she would play after church at the family home while neighbors would gather to sing with her. Her youngest sister and brother were stationed on the hill behind the farm house to run to tell their mother how many chickens to prepare for the inevitably required Sunday dinner for these occasions. Music was a gift and a celebration. Goldie Van Bibber Putnam inspired subsequent generations with a love of music and her generous community spirit.
On May 21st, there will be an Epiphany Seattle Music Guild concert in the church featuring the 1947 Requiem of Durufle and will be offered as a memorial to family and friends of Epiphany Parish. Please join me in supporting and dedicating this concert to those who have and continue to inspire us in our lives.
Reflections on Resurrection
by Amy Griffin
The Women of Epiphany gathered at St. Andrew’s House for their annual retreat on April 21-23. Following Holy Week and Jesus’ resurrection, we were invited to contemplate and share how this cycle of life, death, and rebirth plays out in our own lives. With close to 20 women at the retreat, this was an intimate opportunity to both reflect on our own resurrection as well as hear other women’s stories. Whether it was walking the labrynth, gathering for morning prayer, socializing over afternoon tea, or singing songs around the campfire – it was a time of both joy and deep reflection. A special thanks to all who organized this event – especially Ann Lockhart, Karen Forbes, Emily Linderman, Kate Wesch, and Ann Beck. This was a transformational experience for me and I look forward to next year’s gathering!
Women of the retreat
The view form St. Andrews
Scrapbooking Affinity Group
Do you have boxes of photos and memorabilia you’ve been meaning to organize? Now is your chance! Please join us at 5:30 PM on Saturday May 20 in the Fireside Room for an evening of scrapbooking and fellowship. All are welcome, whether you are an accomplished scrap booker, want to organize a box of photos, work on journaling, or just come see what it’s about! Please contact Jessica Yates, (206) 931-5119, email JRYates@live.com.
May 24 at 7:30 pm in the Church
The worship tradition known as Taizé began many years ago in the ecumenical French monastic community of Taizé. It is a quiet service of meditation, reflection, readings and music. The experience finds its true meaning in the participation of all assembled by focusing and deepening our faith through the power of prayer. Therefore, everyone is encouraged to participate as the Spirit moves them, whether that be in song, prayer, or quiet meditation. The service is led by Schola Choir and the Choristers.
The liturgy that has developed around the Taizé community is primarily for the worship of God, but it is also meant to quiet the soul. This quietness does not happen at once, but gradually during the worship through the repetition of the words of the music, many periods of silence, and the slowly spoken readings – all so that we may have a deep, quiet calm in our hearts. Then we may be still and at peace in the presence of God.
Vacation Bible Camp
Vacation Bible Camp (VBC) at Epiphany is a place for all ages to experience God’s love in a safe and welcoming environment. Activities include Bible storytelling, crafts, games, chapel, music, and service.
Information and online registration at epiphanyseattle.org/vbc.
Saturday, May 13
On Saturday, May 13, join your neighbors at the Madrona Mayfair! The parade lines up at Al Larkins Park at 9:15 am and proceeds, led by Charles the Clown and the Seattle Firefighters, to the Madrona Playfield. There will be all manner of entertainment for children, including bouncy houses, pony rides, face painting, and balloons. There will be lots of food, too, including popcorn provided by Epiphany! Come meet our neighbors, donate to the playground for Madrona School, and enjoy a fun Saturday morning. If you would like to help with the popcorn, please contact Todd Foster at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday Lectionary Corner
Fourth Sunday of Easter
1 Peter 2:19-25
Parish Prayer List
Click here to view Prayer List.