Rector’s Blog

Rector’s Blog

Mother Barbara’s Blog

An Advent Journey with your Anglican Prayer Beads

As we anticipate the season of Advent, we are standing at a threshold, ready to go deeper into the mystery and presence of God. Intentionally poising our hearts to receive Christ in a brand new way is exciting, a bit scary, and always filled with wonder. We don’t know when or how it will happen, we just know that it will. However, often we miss this opportunity to receive the revelation of Christ, for we become so busy in the…

The essential paradox: Christ the King on the cross

This Sunday we celebrate the Feast Day of Christ the King. We end this liturgical year hearing the story of Jesus’ crucifixion. This has got to be the greatest paradox in all of our Christian faith and narrative. Have you ever wondered how the words “crucifixion of Jesus” are connected to “Christ the King”? What about this association could possibly make sense? In the gospel of Luke, a simple statement announces this dramatic act: Jesus is crucified, set between two…

Coming together as the Body of Christ: A Pastoral Letter

Dear Friends, This week, we as a nation participated in the election of our next president; the campaign was often polarizing, contained hateful language and hurtful rhetoric, and raised legitimate issues. Many of us are bewildered as to how we have arrived at this place of major division among good and faithful people; some are confused at other people’s reaction to the results; some are elated at the results, others are distraught and afraid. Wherever you find yourself, please know…

Resurrection. Restoration. Reorientation.

After 24 hours of traveling from Jerusalem to Shippensburg, I arrived safely home. In the tiredness I feel this morning, and in light of the comments yesterday by others in our group that “I need a vacation from my vacation!”, I realize there’s a significant distinction between restoration, which we often get from a relaxing and restful vacation, and a pilgrimage which has led us to our place of resurrection. In my pondering, I believe restoration or renewal returns us,…

Ready to come home.

This morning I took with me the altar veil (the cloth which covers the chalice and paten) which was made out of Gretchen’s wedding dress. I chose this item to bring from St. Andrew’s, since it represented to me a true understanding of community and communion, the giving of oneself to the greater good and the glory of God. It represented to me so much of what I found as the place of my resurrection: self-emptying, surrender, commitment, and dedication…

Stay close to the cross.

We gathered in the morning light, with the lingering clouds highlighted in a rose hue above the cross which adorns St. George’s Cathedral, and we listened to the instructions of our guide, Iyad, as we headed into the city of Jerusalem to walk the stations of the cross. The various stations are strategically placed throughout the city and many pilgrims traverse the Via Dolrosa. The instructions Iyad offered us seemed to be mere logistical considerations, yet they were much more…

On the move with Jesus.

We were on the move with Jesus these past few days! The evening before, when we saw the 1st century grotto where Jesus must have spent time, either because it was his family’s home or his relatives, something shifted inside of me. I could see it. I could see the reality of what we spoke of in seminary as “the historical Jesus”. This was the real person who played and prayed, who visited relatives, met new people, created his own…

Jesus lived in a cave.

We saw this cave this evening. We’re in Nazareth and after a rather ordinary day of travel and nothing totally remarkable happening or requiring processing, we went down below the convent where we’re staying. My soul is both too silent for words to express my reaction to this sight and also too stirred up to ever be the same. I will need to process this a bit with you as I return, to begin to make sense of what I…

My cup runneth over.

” ….thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” (Psalm 23) There seems to be a common thread being woven through my pilgrimage: surrender. The word I would add today to that core reacquaintance with “the place of my resurrection” would be abundance. My cup runneth over today. Joy and light and love and…

Into the desert we went

This morning we were in the desert (Wadi Qelt) by 6 a.m. to pray and celebrate the Eucharist together. We began our time by praying Psalm 23 together, as we looked out over the desert which appeared to go on endlessly. The beauty was stunning, the view expansive, and the presence of God seemed tangible. We ended the Psalm with the words, “and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever”, and my heart and soul replied “AMEN”. It…

Pilgrimage: Returning to the Place of our Resurrection Part II

So yesterday, I was reunited with a place of resurrection by completely surrendering to God, through my prayers at the Western Wall. It was a powerful opening within me that burst open my awareness of my love of God. Today, we travelled to Bethlehem, which is only 7 miles from Jerusalem. For some reason, the physical distance between these important points in the Biblical narrative are much less than I had imagined. We had the amazing opportunity to arrive at…

Touching a piece of my resurrection

Today I found a part of what I came searching for as a pilgrim. I framed my pilgrimage in John Phillip Newell’s understanding that a pilgrimage is a return to the place of your resurrection. I learned today that the place of my resurrection involves complete surrender to God.  I experienced this release and joy at the Western Wall (previously called the Wailing Wall). This is the only remaining portion of the 2nd temple, which was destroyed by the Romans…
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