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Happy Easter!

Dear St. Stephen’s Family and Friends,

Listening to the Passion According to Matthew this morning read so beautifully by our team, I wondered what part of this story touches you the most? For years now my favorite part has been Jesus’ time in the garden and his dialogue with God and with himself about pitting his will in a challenging conversation with God’s will. Jesus clearly knows what God’s will is, but wonders if there isn’t another way that might not involve his death. And finally he simply says, paraphrased, “not mine, but Thine” and events unfold that lead to his crucifixion.

Jesus encourages us to follow the will of God. It’s not the easiest presence to grasp. Perhaps God speaks directly to you? Perhaps God speaks to you through others? Perhaps God’s voice is quiet at times in your life. More often, like Jesus, we pray, listen, and then act in accordance with what we think God has in mind and in heart for us driven always by God’s love for you and me. I don’t know how I’d do in the garden. So far God hasn’t asked. I’m grateful. Happy Easter!

Love and Blessings,

Alvin

Living the Life of the Overwhelmed

Dear St. Stephen’s Family and Friends,

The book is called THE SHAPE OF LIVING:  Spiritual Directions for Everyday Life by David Ford.  His premise is simple; we live in an age in which the experience of being overwhelmed occurs more and more.  Some of that has to do with the constant onslaught of information through various social media outlets and tools of the trade as in cell phones, laptops, television and more.  Yes, we can all hit the off button.  But, frankly, most of us don’t.

But being overwhelmed isn’t just about input.  Other ingredients can include work demands, family demands, personal struggles, financial pressure, health concerns, political anxiety, and the list goes on and on.  Increasingly we see more and more of what we do or don’t have any control or power over in our lives.  Ford’s belief is that the measure or sense of being overwhelmed isn’t going to go away and because of that reality we are called to develop a different way of living spiritually that takes this reality into account.  I’ll come back to this topic and this book over time but for today simple the question:  Have you ever been overwhelmed?

A friend asked me this past week if I was Ok?  She said I looked frazzled.  I said I was fine and by the time I got back to my apartment realized that her perception was accurate.  I’m overwhelmed.  Many of you will have advice for me once you read on, but I’m not looking for advice.  I’m fully aware that taking on too much and needing to let go are two spiritual practices in constant need of attention if I’m to find a creative and spiritual way to live the life of the overwhelmed.  Unpopular practices like discipline become, nonetheless, critical if you or me plan to find the necessary balance for the full life that Jesus promises us (full not meaning a full calendar of activities).  Jesus seeks us in order to help us find the balance.  More on David Ford’s thoughts on living the life of the overwhelmed after Easter!  Until then, bring your whole self to Church on Sunday and bask in the love of Jesus for you.

Love and blessings,

Alvin+

Holy Week Schedule

Palm Sunday ~ April 9

8:00 AM         Holy Eucharist

10:00 AM       Family-Friendly Holy Eucharist


Maundy Thursday ~ April 13

4:30 PM         Child-Friendly Service with Foot Washing & Last Supper

7:00 PM         Foot Washing & Holy Eucharist


Good Friday ~ April 14

4:30 PM         Child-Friendly: Stations of the Cross

7:00 PM         Solemn Prayers and Veneration of the Cross


Holy Saturday ~ April 15

8:02 PM         The Great Vigil of Easter

at the Cathedral of St. Paul (134 W. 7th Street, Erie, PA) 


Easter Sunday ~ April 16

8:00 AM         Holy Eucharist with Traditional Hymns

10:00 AM       Alleluia Service: Family-Friendly Holy Eucharist with Festival Music

  •  Easter Egg Hunt follows 10:00 AM service  –  * * Please bring your own Easter Basket! * *

 

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