Have you ever played the online game where you match pairs of Mahjong tiles? Sometimes, no matter how long you stare at the screen, you can’t find any available matching tiles. You think the game is over. Then you press the “hint” button and discover one or more pairs that you missed, and the game continues.
This week commemorated the conversion of Paul, the great evangelist of the early church whose letters are the oldest writings in the New Testament. He started out persecuting Jesus’ post-Resurrection followers but completely reversed course and began proclaiming the gospel after Jesus appeared to him in a bright light while Paul was traveling to Damascus.
Sometimes conversions are like that. We experience a mighty revelation or epiphany in dramatic fashion, as Paul did.
More often, we experience smaller insights or “aha” moments in our lives. We suddenly understand something in a new way or feel called to try something new.
Sometimes we’re searching for a new direction or understanding or meaning in our lives, without success. That’s when it’s time to hit our spiritual “hint” button – to call on the Holy Spirit for help. Opening our hearts to the guidance of the Spirit can open our eyes to new patterns and possibilities.
Where might the Holy Spirit be guiding you this Epiphany season?
A note from The Rev. Michael Muller, Rector
St. Peter's Episcopal Church
Our 2nd "Got Faith" series of talks ended last night with a celebration of Holy Eucharist. We now will go back to the rhythm of a weekly celebration of the Word of God (Bible Study in a liturgical setting) and a monthly Eucharist. The pattern we will follow is:
In my previous call there was a stained glass depicting the Resurrection and it always struck me that it had some message about the future. Perhaps something can be seen in the depiction of the three figures - The Saviour, St. John & St. Peter.
A heartfelt thank you to everyone who helped with Saturday’s Celebration of Life service for Elizabeth Van Dine. I ask your continued prayers for Deacon John and his family.
This Sunday, our Gospel reading will describe Jesus’ call to some of his first disciples. Jesus continues to call disciples, asking us to discern how we can show God’s love to the world and join God in the work of justice and compassion.
Within our church community, how might God be calling you to participate in the work of St. John’s? Perhaps you’d like to use your cooking or baking skills for coffee hour or the Saturday Luncheon Socials. Maybe you’d like to help establish and maintain our new “pledge garden.” Maybe you’d like to serve as an usher or lector or on the vestry or in the choir.
For those interested in serving as an acolyte, eucharistic minister (who can serve the consecrated bread and wine during Communion) or eucharistic visitor (who can take the consecrated elements to someone in the hospital or elsewhere), I will lead a training on Saturday, Feb. 11, at 1:15 p.m. at the church.
Please let me know if you are interested in attending the training or would like to talk about other ways you might serve at St. John’s.
January 6 marks one of the major celebrations in our church, when we remember how wise men from the East followed a star to locate and pay homage to baby Jesus in Bethlehem. An epiphany is a revelation or manifestation of the divine. On this day, we rejoice at the manifestation of Jesus to the foreign Magi, demonstrating that the incarnate Word came into the world for all people.
This Sunday, I hope you will join us as we celebrate Epiphany and welcome Deacon John’s great-granddaughter Phoenix into our congregation through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. We’re also expecting a guest appearance of the three Magi!
As we contemplate the divine light that is Jesus, and the starlight that guided the wise men, let us also consider how we might share the light of Christ that is within us. One opportunity comes this Saturday, when St. John’s will provide the meal for the Saturday Luncheon Social. (If you can help, please let Sharon Liparini know at Sharon.Liparini@gmail.com.)
Our light also can shine brighter when we join in ministry with other light-bearers. This Wednesday, I invite you to attend a 7 p.m. prayer at service at St. John's with Bible meditations as we host members of St. Peter’s in Mountain Lakes and Church of our Saviour in Denville as part of the Got Faith? Christian formation program. This year, we also will continue to work with members of these and other congregations in supporting the Afghan refugee families in their resettlement.
I can’t wait to see how else St. John’s will spread light through our community in 2023.
I wish you all the joy of the Magi and look forward to seeing you on Sunday.
Articles are posted by the Communication team, Rev. Sharon and others.