O God, who before the passion of your only-begotten Son
revealed his glory upon the holy mountain: Grant to us that we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
This coming Sunday, February 11, is the Last Sunday after the Epiphany. Our lectionary readings include two great mystical experiences: Elisha witnessing Elijah’s ascension into heaven in a whirlwind, and the three disciples witnessing the transfiguration of Jesus in the presence of Moses and Elijah, with a voice from heaven declaring, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” For Elisha, Elijah’s ascension became the moment when Elisha took up Elijah’s role as prophet. For the disciples, Jesus’s transfiguration was part of their dawning realization of his true identity and how that knowledge would change their lives.
These transformative mountaintop experiences help to prepare us for Ash Wednesday with its stark reminder (ashes on our foreheads) that we are dust and to dust we shall return. Our biggest struggle with God is letting go of our desire to be in control of everything and literally trying to “be God.” Lent provides us with the opportunity to step back and let God be God, as difficult as that is. If we approach this season with humility, we will be able to be more present, more grateful for and more open to the gifts we have already been given. Holding on to past grievances and inequities, to outdated ideas of who we think we are and who God should be is a form of idolatry. Idolatry gets in the way of a direct, honest and authentic relationship with the Holy One.
Peter, James and John were dazzled and terrified by what they witnessed: Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah, our Savior. Although they may not have understood this foreshadowing of Christ’s Resurrection at the time, they never forgot it. Their experience helped to transfigure them as well. And we too ponder the mystery of their experience and transfiguration on our own lives and vocations.
It was wonderful having Boy Scout Troop 4 join us for the 10:15 a.m. Service of Holy Eucharist last Sunday. The Rev. Canon Claudia Wilson’s great sermon reminded us that when we serve others we are actually serving Christ. And the Penny Social was a terrific success! Thanks to all who donated so much time and treasure to make that such a joyous event.
Our Annual Meeting for 2017 will be held on Sunday, February 25, 2018 at NOON (please note the correction!). Don’t forget to turn in your nomination forms for warden and vestry members. The form is also available on the table in the narthex. 2018 is a pivotal year for us in our renewal process, as well as with building and property concerns, ongoing stained-glass window renovations, fundraising and outreach. It is also our 325th Anniversary as a parish! Please nominate people that you think would serve well as stewards of this great and important parish located in the booming city of Yonkers. Please note that the names of those who have pledged for 2018 (NOT the amounts!) will be listed in the Annual Report for 2017. If you would like your name listed and have not yet made a pledge, please fill out a pledge card on the table in the narthex and put them in the offering plate, or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Reports for our 2017 Annual Report are due by Feb. 15. Please email them to me email@example.com and Jan Valentine firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope to see you this Tuesday, February 13 at 6 p.m. for our Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper—with bacon, sausage, fruit, coffee, and lots of pancakes. Festive attire and healthy appetites are welcome (as well as donations)! Our Ash Wednesday Services of Holy Eucharist with the Imposition of Ashes will be held in the Church on Wednesday, February 14 at noon and 7 p.m.
Please join us for our new lay-led Bible Class beginning on Sunday, 18 February from 9:20 – 10:05 a.m. in the Library with co-facilitators Jen Longley, Carrie Parkey and Tara Seeley. We are thrilled that out of the RenewalWorks research and committee discussion came this great idea for a deeper conversation about the Sunday readings. Please join us!
God knows better than we do what we actually need. That is why asking for God’s will to be done in our lives is so important. With just a few more days left of Epiphany, we pray that Christ, the Son of God, may be manifest in us so that each of our lives may truly be a light to the world.
Blessings and joy,
The Reverend Canon Victoria Sirota