WITNESSING THE POWER OF GOD: a more interesting way to live
I wonder if we don’t believe in miracles is it possible to know the power of God? Can we live the enthusiasm of our Lord if we don’t expect much from him? If there isn’t a chance that TODAY God might change things, or unexpectedly break into our lives in a real, exciting, mind altering, life reorienting way, can we be excited about our faith, our religion, our church, and the future of all things? I wonder.
Given the culture we live in, it might be easier to trust in cause and effect. School teaches us to consider ourselves trained as scientists. This molecule bumps into that molecule, the wind shifts, and the embers float, the fire burns your house and not your neighbors; and that is normal cause and effect stuff regulated by chaos theory or quantum mechanics or some other theory of science, all of which is random. There is no purpose. That is what the atheist would say- just a random set of events taking place in your life, and then you die. Some joy may come from doing something good, but equally, joy may come from doing something self-centered and naughty. Chance is chance, random is random, and the goodness can only be judged from your point of view. That is a life that is hard to get excited about. Even if it is true, I’m not sure it is worth believing. Even if it is true, I’m not sure it is a thought process worth pursuing. If you were to really scratch its profundity I think it would be terribly depressing, leading quite possibly to despair.
The alternative is that there are miracles. There are the miracles of totally unexpected things breaking into your life. And there are the miracles of things slowly and beautifully growing from hardship, loss, or suffering. The wonder of the miracle is the reality that you are seen and cared about by a source, a force, and a power outside yourself. That is the first, core, fundamental insight of the miracle: that there is something outside yourself. The second is that this force cares about you. The third is that you can know this force personally and intimately. And finally, that there is reciprocity in the relationship. Miracles are interactive.
I believe in miracles. I have experienced miracles. I have witnessed a woman healed from pancreatic cancer against all odds. I have asked God for clarity and a miraculous insight came to me in prayer, or by words from books, scripture, friends, or even, at times, through strangers. I have even heard from God through a sign on a billboard once when pursuing a job in southern California. And I have also been used by God to participate in miracles, to be a word of encouragement and connection to the mystical Body of Christ in the lives of others. When I was in Dubai during my sabbatical, Desmond and I were swimming at the hotel pool one evening, and I met a man. He was an American and had come to the hotel to work through his father’s unexpected death. Currently he was working in Qatar and could not attend his father’s funeral. We stood there in the pool that night, and after the story was told, we held hands in the water and prayed. “God sent you to Dubai,” he said through his tears, and I agreed.
Here is the bottom line, today is the day you are going to encounter a miracle. Today is the day! Because you believe there is a God out there that knows you, loves you, cares about you, and is interested in your life and what you do, today is the day you will experience a miracle. That is exciting! That is a cool way to live. It gets us outside of ourselves and into the bigger, more interesting flow of the world—or as we like to call it around here, life in the Kingdom of God.
Sunday is the day when we bring these miracles sparked by God back to God. Worship is our thank you. It all fits together: God loves us; God acts; we respond in love or with love; and we say thank you. This pattern exposes us to the exciting power of God, and living in the stream of this power puts fire in our bellies and enthusiasm in our words and deeds. That is a rhythm worth living. It is interesting and exciting, and it is the very point of being. Join me by owning the power of God and seeking to see the miraculous in the world around you.
Weekly Evening Prayer Begins on Wednesday the 23rd
Beginning this week, we will have weekly evening prayer on Wednesdays through the fall at 5:30–6 pm in the Great Hall. This beloved service is from the Book of Common Prayer, intended for daily use in Christian life, and incorporates themes of pardon, peace, protection during the coming night, eternal salvation, and unity with Christ in the communion of saints. Each weekly service will include a homily or witness from a lay preacher. All are invited to participate; it’s a lovely way to end the day!
Keep checking the website for certain Wednesdays when Evening Prayer will not be held, particularly the day before Thanksgiving, and dates around Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Cub Scouts at Epiphany
Cub Scouts has been part of the Epiphany community for 92 years. It is open to boys in Grades 1–5. Our local pack meets on the Epiphany campus every other Monday from 7–8:15 pm. Meetings begin in the Epiphany School’s ball court or gym and then move to the Great Hall of Epiphany Parish, where boys split into grade specific dens. A Cub Scout progresses from rank to rank (Tiger, Wolf, Bear, and Webelo), learning new skills as he goes. Each of the ranks and awards in Cub Scouting has its own requirements. Cubs learn by doing. They learn to tie knots, set up a tent, shoot a bow and arrow, and cook a meal on a campfire. They might build a birdhouse, hike a trail, visit a fire station, do a science experiment, or talk to a policeman on duty. Cubs are a family-focused activity. Parents are encouraged to participate with their son. Our first information session for this new season will be Monday, September 28, at 6:30–8 pm in either the ball court or gym, depending on weather. I hope you and your son can attend. More information will be provided. If you have any questions, please email me.
Parish Prayer List
Sunday Lectionary Corner
September 20, 2015
Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
Wisdom of Solomon 1:16–2:11
James 3:13–4:3, 7–8a
Upcoming Events in the Life of Epiphany
This Week at Epiphany
September 19: Safeguarding God’s Children
Anyone wanting to work with children or youth this year are required to go through the Safeguarding God’s Children training, a program 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. Our next training is this Saturday, September 19, at 10 am until noon in the Christie House Library. Contact Laura Sargent to register.
September 19: YWCA Apartment Clean-Up
Join the crew that beautifies vacant apartments at the YWCA transitional housing facility every month to get them ready for new families. We will meet at the location at 9 am and work until noon. Read more here or contact Ann Beck to be added to the volunteer list.
September 20: Acolyte Information Meeting and Training
We are looking for new acolytes! Acolytes carry the cross, torches, and the gospel book during processions and help with communion. Anyone entering 6th grade or older is eligible to participate. Join Doyt and Diane after the 11 am service in the Great Hall to hear more details and sign up. Contact Diane Carlisle with questions or to RSVP.
September 20: Stories from the Youth Pilgrimage
Join the Rev. Kate Wesch, Elizabeth Walker, and returning Youth Pilgrims at 10 am in the Fireside Room to hear about their recent trip to the Holy Land. For a preview, enjoy the stories on the pilgrimage blog: epiphanyyouthpilgrimage.wordpress.com.
September 24: Monthly Teen Feed Dinner
Every fourth Thursday, Epiphany’s Teen Feed crew gathers at a church kitchen in the University District to cook their famous enchiladas for young people living on the streets. We would like to invite everyone to participate in this wonderful ministry! Contact Ann Beck to get on the volunteer list and sign up for dates to help out.
September 24: C.S. Lewis Minyan Begins
Discuss the works of theologian and author C.S. Lewis with our resident Lewis enthusiast Jonathan Roberts on Thursdays at 8:30–9:30 am in the Christie House Library. This fall, they will be reading Lewis’ classic Mere Christianity. Contact Jonathan if you would like to participate.
Events Down the Road
September 27: Adult Forum – Wondering What to Do Until Christ Returns?
In this forum, Steve Clemons and Ben Bradstreet will introduce the apostolic letter to the Hebrews with an overview of who wrote it, who was it written for, why was it written, and when was it written. In addition, this introduction will include a theological framing of Hebrews and its relevancy for Christians today. Join us at 10-10:45 am.
September 27: Newcomers Reception
If you’re relatively new to Epiphany and would like to spend some time getting to know our priests and other parishioners, join us for a reception at the Conn residence after the evening service at 6–7:30 pm. Beverages and appetizers will be available. RSVP here.
September 20–26: World Week for Peace in Palestine & Israel
If you are passionate about Palestine/Israel relations, here’s your opportunity to join with the World Council of Churches and global supporters to pray for peace. Find out how to be involved here.
October 3: CareTeams Training with Samaritan Center
CareTeams volunteers offer practical, emotional, and spiritual support to people affected by HIV/AIDS and other life challenges. Join a CareTeam and make a difference! Click here for more information on the Samaritan Center, or click here to download the CareTeams flyer.