From the vicar:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Could this past Sunday’s Collect for Lent 3 have been any more poignant and timely? I have been praying it every day this week, and I commend it to you. It has been most reassuring and calming when I have been tempted to feel stressed by all the changes and chances of life, with the coronavirus seemingly taking over life as we know it.
Repeating the Collect or praying and meditating in a way that is meaningful to each of us can be helpful as we think about the day by day, and even hour by hour news that threatens to rob us of our peace and provoke us to fear, if we let it. An intentional, committed prayer life can bring us back to our center, which is none other than Jesus.
During times like this, we might occasionally see humanity at its worst, but more often we see humanity rise to the occasion, showing extraordinary love, generosity, and selfless acts of service to the community. Another prayer we might consider could be something like this: “Lord, pour out your Holy Spirit upon me that I might be filled with your love and empowered with strength, and then show me, oh Lord, how and where I might joyfully, with great love, serve others in need.”
Friends, “social distancing,” is not meant to be social isolation and disengagement. Rather, we need to reach out to one another with calls, emails, and texts, especially to our elderly, alone, or physically fragile neighbors and friends, now more than ever.
An added bonus is that as we dwell less on our own distress, and intentionally show loving concern for those in worse circumstances than our own, we will spread an ameliorating kind of contagion—an antidote to depression, loneliness, and panic—that will inspire others to do the same. Thankfully, many of the news stations are featuring stories of those who are making a difference in the lives of others in our communities.
As your priest and pastor, please know that I love you and pray for you every day and throughout the day. We are in unknown territory. As Americans, we are not accustomed to dealing with the kinds of crises people in other lands have to deal with—starvation, drought, fleeing from their homes with what they can carry on their backs due to terrorism, turning them into refugees, with no place to call home.
On 911, I lived in Alexandria, Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC. I’ll never forget when the Pentagon was hit. It happened minutes after I drove past it, having just picked up a friend at Regan International Airport. As we earlier drove toward DC, there were not many cars on our side of the highway. But on the other side, cars were bumper to bumper heading out of DC. My companion and I wondered what was going on. We found out in the airport. Someone with a cell phone, yelled out to everyone in hearing distance, “We have to get out of here—the Trade Center in New York has been hit by a terrorist plane and Washington is next!
We got out of there as soon as we could and turned on the radio. It seemed as if all Hell had broken loose. Then we, too, were in the bumper to bumper traffic fleeing the City. I was no sooner back at my apartment, having turned on the news, when the second tower was struck and I watched, as no doubt you did, as it dissolved into powder. It wasn’t long until I heard a loud boom, felt my windows shake, and saw a flash of light that lit up the sky. The Pentagon had been hit. The sirens began. I will never forget it.
Everyone remembers where he or she was on 911, especially those who were directly affected by injury or death of a loved one, or lasting injury or sickness, and those of us who were close to the action.
But never in my lifetime had I seen the best of humanity, the “Godness” in Holy Other, as people volunteered tirelessly, with the churches in New York City and in DC and the surrounding areas, opening their doors 24/7, ministering to rescue workers, medical teams, and volunteers who tirelessly gave of themselves to minister to others.
What an encouragement! What a show of God’s Grace! What a balm to disaster, death, and destruction! We did it then, and we can and will do it now! Down through the centuries, God’s people have risen up and have shown the love and sacrifice made possible through the power of Jesus’ Resurrection. Praise be to God!
As followers of Jesus the Christ, we are his hands, his feet, his voice, his mind, and his heart on this Earth. That is why we are called “The Body of Christ.” It is more than a metaphor—it is a literal reality. And as we step out and become “Little Christs” to our family, friends, neighbors, and community of faith, we will see Jesus walking among us, providing strength, encouragement, healing, and yes, even miracles!
By the way, one of the lessons I learned after spending time doing a pastoral internship in East Africa, Kenya to be specific, is that in an environment of constant need, poverty, illness, famine, and corruption in government, among the people of faith, Jesus showed up in ways I had never seen. So, I also learned that those who suffer the most often have the strongest faith, and miracles do happen!
By now you are probably aware that all worship services throughout the Diocese of Albany, as well as in many other dioceses, have been cancelled until further notice. In an effort to keep us engaged with one another, Christ Church will offer every Sunday morning, a service at 9 am on the Christ Church Facebook page. You don’t have to be a member of Facebook to link into the service. You can also view the service by going to our website: www.ccehny.org where a link to our service will also be posted. Other worship opportunities are also available on the Diocesan website: www.albanyepiscopaldiocese.org , and click on “Worship Resources During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” where you will find a Sunday worship service at 11 am, Daily Morning Prayer (weekday) services, and a link to the Book of Common Prayer.
For those who do not have computers or Smart Phones, the sermon, readings, and bulletin will be mailed out Monday morning, and you will receive a personal call from me to check in and pray with you. I will be sending you other links for numerous resources: helpful information, many other opportunities for worship, and excellent devotional materials.
May the Peace of God which passes understanding fill your hearts and minds with the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, and the Blessing of God Almighty, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit be upon you and those you love, this day and for evermore. Amen.
In the Love of Jesus,
The Rev. Eileen Weglarz, Vicar
PS For any need, please feel free to call my cell phone: 914-602-9622. If I can’t answer immediately, leave a message and I will call you back as soon as possible.
From the pulpit
May 31, 2020—The Rev. Eileen Weglarz
May 24, 2020—The Rev. Eileen Weglarz
May 17, 2020—The Rev. Eileen Weglarz
May 3, 2020—The Rev. Eileen Weglarz
April 26, 2020—The Rev. Eileen Weglarz
April 19, 2020—The Rev. Eileen Weglarz
April 12, 2020—The Rev. Eileen Weglarz
April 10, 2020—The Rev. Eileen Weglarz
April 9, 2020—The Rev. Eileen Weglarz
April 5, 2020—The Rev. Eileen Weglarz
March 29, 2020—The Rev. Eileen Weglarz
March 22, 2020—The Rev. Eileen Weglarz
March 15, 2020—The Rev. Eileen Weglarz
March 8, 2020—The Rev. Eileen Weglarz
March 1, 2020—The Rev. Eileen Weglarz
February 26, 2020—The Rev. Eileen Weglarz
February 23, 2020—The Rev. Eileen Weglarz
February 16, 2020—The Rev. Eileen Weglarz
February 9, 2020—The Rev. Eileen Weglarz
February 2, 2020—The Rev. Eileen Weglarz
January 26, 2020—The Rev. Eileen Weglarz
January 12, 2020—The Rev. Eileen Weglarz
January 5, 2020—The Rev. Eileen Weglarz
Read Sermons from 2019