At the end of the summer I went backpacking with some friends, new and old. We were on the trail for four days, which meant that we had to carry all the food we were going to eat, the beds in which we were going to sleep, and all the clothing we would need to meet the varied weather conditions of the trail. We hiked up and across two passes in the Cascades, beginning near Darrington and finishing at Holden Village, on Lake Chelan. It was an amazing walk, full of breath-taking views, colorful foliage, numerous water falls, one terrifying traverse, and delightful conversation.
I carried three kinds of gear on our hike.
The first kind of gear I carried were things I used all day, every day. Boots, fresh pairs of socks for each day, water bottles, a sleeping bag, and a pack to carry it all in. I carried warm clothes for the evenings and food for meals and snacks. These things were all critical: if any of them were missing, my excursion could have become dangerous.
Another kind of gear I carried were things that had to be carried even though they don’t get used. One prays that they won’t get used. But one carries them anyway. This included for me rain gear and a first-aid kit. I took some teasing for choosing to carry an umbrella. But it is lightweight and it makes hiking in the rain a completely different (and better) experience for me.
The third kind of gear I carried was stuff that turned out to be unneeded and that might have been left behind by a more experienced hiker. I didn’t realize that long distance hikers often don’t change their clothes every day: apparently hygiene standards are a bit more lax on the trail! I also didn’t realize that my caloric intake would be much more predictable than I’d anticipated. I carried a lot of food out onto the trail: enough for four days! In the end, I brought back about half of it. That was several pounds of food that I carried on my back all day, every day, up and down the Cascade mountains, only to carry it back home and shove it back into the pantry!
What did I learn from this?
We all carry a lot of “gear” through life. We carry thoughts, emotions, habits, and instincts. Sometimes I look at the spiritual giants around me and think, “Wow: how can they get away with carrying so little?” Just as an experienced hiker learns to lighten her load – to carry less stuff and to only carry what is necessary – so do we learn to lighten our spiritual lives. Guilt and fear are heavy burdens that can seem important for our safety and well-being. But Christ invites us to shed those weights. Love and gentleness are lightweight things, like helium balloons, that often seem to carry themselves. Spiritual disciplines, habits like daily prayer, attending church, and giving, can feel heavy at first. But with time they settle into their places and, like a watch or wedding ring, are reliably present and helpful without feeling burdensome.
Jesus invites us to come to him, that he will give us an easy yoke and a light burden. Life means walking up some pretty steep paths at times. Knowing those slopes are ahead, I want to carry the lightest possible loads even when the path seems flat right now.
The forgiveness we find in Christ is an invitation for us to travel light.
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November 26 at 10 am in the Great Hall Great Hall
Don’t miss this forum for all ages! We will have supplies to craft and to create ways to observe and reflect on the season of Advent at home.
Choral Evensong for the Feast of Christ the King
November 26 at 5 pm in the Chapel
Sung by the Epiphany Choir
An evening of song and prayer in a sacred place.
Christmastide Flower Fund
During our Christmastide services, we decorate our church with evergreens and poinsettias. You can remember a special person or event in our Christmas bulletins donating to the Epiphany Parish Flower Fund. Perhaps you would like to acknowledge the birth of a baby, a marriage or a loved one now departed.
Download form here.
YWCA Shelter Families thank Epiphany!
Thanks to the generosity of so many of you, our Thanksgiving Basket team delivered 49 whole Thanksgiving meals to the YWCA. These meals are being delivered to families in the East Cherry YWCA apartments and many other YWCA apartments in the Central District and elsewhere in Seattle. Check out a photo and a handwritten thank you note from one of the families!
Advent Day of Quiet
December 9 from 11 to 5 pm
Step away from the holiday busyness and into a holy space of quiet reflection for a time of prayer, listening, creating, and feeding your soul for a few hours or the whole day.
Pray, play with art supplies, and simply be quiet. Feel free to come for part or all of the time; drop ins welcome. Lunch and snacks provided.
Contact Diana Bender (email@example.com or 206-459-9140) for questions or to register.
11 am – Orientation to Day of Silence in Fireside Room
Noon-12:30 – Lunch available in Fireside Room Kitchen
1:30 pm – Guided meditation with Pieter Drummond
5 pm – Evening Prayer in the Great Hall
– Chapel will be open for prayer with Taize´ music and the Labyrinth.
– The Icon Room will be open for silent prayer.
– The Fireside Room will have couches and tables with art supplies and prayer exercises.
– The Garden Room will be open as a quiet space for journaling and relaxation.
Feel free to come for all or any part of this experience.
Please help make the holidays brighter for families living in YWCA shelter housing. As in previous years, Epiphany will help in two ways:
1. We adopt 30 YWCA families, providing two presents (approx. $40 each) per child and a $50 Safeway grocery card for a holiday meal. Half of the families have one child and half have two. You can adopt one or more of these families by emailing Sherilyn Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org and telling her if you have a preference for one or two child families. She will get you the specific family details. The gifts need to be wrapped and delivered to church with the grocery card by the start of the 11 am service on Sunday December 10. You will see an Adopt-a-Family Tree in the Church starting Thanksgiving weekend. The ornaments on that tree simply have a reminder about how to adopt a family but you do not need to take an ornament. Just email Sherilyn. If adopting a family is more than you can take on yourself, consider teaming up with others to adopt a family together!
2. There will also be another YWCA Giving Tree in the Church starting Thanksgiving weekend which will have ornaments on it, each specifying a gift for a child or teenager. These gifts need to be delivered unwrapped to church by the start of the 11 am service on Sunday, December 10. These gifts are for children that move into shelter housing so close to the holidays that they are not yet part of the Adopt-a-Family program. The December 10th deadline is important to allow us to transport the gifts to the YWCA in time for them to organize and distribute the gifts.
Thank you all for your generosity. We at Epiphany are blessed in so many ways. We can share our blessings with those less fortunate.
Last Sunday after Pentecost: Christ the King
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
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