Create in Me a Clean Heart O Lord… and Renew a Right Spirit Within Me!
Ash Wednesday, March 1st, marks the beginning of our Lenten journey. At all of our services on this day we will be invited to a Holy Lent, we will recite Psalm 51 and the Litany of Penitence as we commit ourselves to journeying with Jesus to Jerusalem, the cross and beyond. “Create in me a clean heart O God, and renew a right spirit within me” is a portion of Psalm 51, a Lenten hope, and our Lenten theme for this year.
Lent is a time to draw closer to God by doing what is both counter cultural and counter intuitive: Rather than avoid the darker parts of ourselves we reflect on what gets in our way and offer it back to God. The key is that we offer, and God is the one who transforms.
This is not the Christian equivalent of New Year’s resolutions. As one homiletics professor characterized it, we are NOT “chinning ourselves to the bar of righteousness!” Lent is not a time for more will power or better self-help. Rather, it means looking directly at our sin, what separates us from God, and choosing an action that will bring our darkness into the light every day so that the Spirit might transform it.
This transformation process, God cleaning our hearts, takes our wounds and our sins, processes them and renews a right spirit within us. Edward Hayes, a spiritual writer, tells a wonderful story of such a transformation and notes that our sins and our wounds can become our greatest strengths when we do Lent.
A mighty Samurai came to a holy monk and asked him to teach him the meaning of heaven and hell. “I cannot teach you about heaven or hell because you are much too stupid!” The monk replied. The Samurai’s anger was kindled and he grabbed the hilt of his sword.
“Besides that you are incredibly ugly!”
Incensed, the Samurai drew his sword and raised it threatening to strike. “That is hell!” whispered the monk.
The Samurai lowered his sword and fell to his knees before the monk. “And that is heaven.” retorted the monk. (from St. George and the Dragon)
As Hayes notes, it might be having been teased as a child, shame about some mistake as an adult, or pain from some loss in life, but we all have wounds which we live out in “hell.” But when they surface we can acknowledge that they separate us from God and from our true selves, face how they take hold of our lives, and offer them to God. In doing so, Hayes teaches, our wounds move toward healing and become our greatest strengths, for then we begin to “glow in the dark” as Spirit transforms.
Thus, our Lenten prayer, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Wishing you all a holy and blessed Lenten season!
Emmanuel Offerings during Lent
Soup Suppers: Cinema, Culture, and Covenant
Enhance your Lenten journey by joining us for Cinema, Culture and Covenant… a good movie, lively discussion and yummy soup supper. Sign-up in the entry-way, undercroft or by calling the office. Questions, talk to Christy.
Saturday, March 4 “Bedazzled” 4 PM – 6:30 PM
Saturday, March 18 “St. Ralph” 4 PM – 6:30 PM
Thursday, March 23 “St. Ralph” 6 PM – 8:30 PM
Sat, April 1 “As it is in Heaven” 4 PM – 6:30 PM
Thurs, April 6 “As it is in Heaven” 4 PM – 6:30 PM
Sign-up in the Undercroft or Entryway.
Walk to Jerusalem
“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” ~ Proverbs 16:9
You are invited to join in helping our congregation walk to Jerusalem while you also get moving to increase the health of body, mind and spirit with prayer and meditation. Developed by the Parish Nurse Program at St. John, Providence it is good for us and a lot of fun. Sign up today in the undercroft and receive a passport for logging your miles/time/steps and a Walk and Pray Meditation Booklet.
Sign up now at www.lentmadness.com and get to know some inspiring individuals who have gone before us in our faith. Each day you will receive an email telling about 2 different saints. You decide whose story is most compelling and then cast your vote. Fashioned after “March Madness”, the winners make it to the next bracket where they are paired against a different saint and ultimately, the Golden Halo of 2017 is decided. Or follow the progress on the bracket chart in the Undercroft.
We are excited to announce to those who are unable to attend Church on Sundays, most of our sermons will be recorded and available online from our website.
How do you get there?
You just go to the Church Website below and it will take you directly to the links of the currently available online sermons. www.episcopalcoosbay.org/our-sermons/.
Emmanuel Preschool Receives $5,000 grant from the Coquille Tribal Community Fund for new Playground Equipment
The Mission of the Coquille Tribal Community Fund – The Coquille Tribal Community Fund is dedicated to providing assistance to organizations that make lasting contributions to the communities we serve. We believe through this spirit of giving we allow our communities to grow and prosper.
These are the 7 areas of focus of the Coquille Tribal Community Fund:
• Public Safety
• Historic Preservation
• Problem Gaming
• Arts & Culture
On February 24th, Nancylee Stuart and Christy attended the Coquille Tribal Community Funds Award Banquet for the recipients of the 2016-2017 grants.
With the Community Fund they have clearly put this value into action. This year’s grants totaled $361,962 and since 2001 the Coquille Tribal Community Fund has given away $5,867,827. The impact of these gifts on our community is staggering and includes a wide range of recipients that will benefit the many in our community. We are grateful for their generosity and the care and financial support they offer their neighbors.
At our last Vestry meeting, along with the regular order of business, we held a “Mini Retreat” to bring the three new members on board and up to date with the continuing mission of Emmanuel’s Covenant of Ministry. The new members were impressed with the “Guidelines for Respect”. We have attempted to follow these guidelines and encourage members of Emmanuel Parish to follow the same in order that we might truly honor each other as sisters and brothers in Christ. `
Yours in Christ, Pamela Chaney
GUIDELINES FOR RESPECT
In keeping with the intent of this Covenant of Ministry, dated 8-2014, the Rector and Vestry of Emmanuel Parish will attempt to follow the Guidelines of Respect listed below. In addition, whenever possible, they will encourage members of Emmanuel Parish to follow the same Guidelines in order that we might truly honor each other as sisters and brothers in Christ.
1. If you have a problem with me, come to me (privately).
2. If I have a problem with you, I will come to you (privately).
3. If someone has a problem with me and comes to you, send them to me. (I’ll do the same for you)
4. If someone consistently will not come to me, say, “Let’s go to Christy together. I am sure she will see us about this.” (I will do the same for you.)
5. Be careful how you interpret me-I’d rather do that. On matters that are unclear, do not feel pressured to interpret my feelings or thoughts. It is easy to misinterpret intentions.
6. I will be careful how I interpret you.
7. If it’s confidential, don’t tell. If you or anyone comes to me in confidence, I won’t tell unless: a) the person is going to harm herself/himself, b) the person is going to physically harm someone else, or c) a child has been physically or sexually abused. I expect the same from you.
8. I do not respond to unsigned letters or notes.
9. I do not manipulate; I will not be manipulated; do not let others manipulate you. Do not let others manipulate me through you. I will not preach “at you.” I will leave conviction to the Holy Spirit (she does it better anyway!)
10. When in doubt, just say it. The only dumb questions are those that don’t get asked. Our relationships with one another, at the end of the day, are the most important things so if you have a concern, pray, and then (if led) speak up. If I can answer it without misrepresenting something, someone, or breaking a confidence, I will.*
* The “Guidelines for Respect” come from the Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel, Bishop of the Diocese of Olympia who first saw them in an article by Church of the Nazarene pastor Charles Christian.