God Does NOT Take A Vacation

The Reverend Robby Vickery
Behold, he who keeps watch over Israel *

shall neither slumber nor sleep; (Ps.121:4)

 

I’m glad that God does not take time off from being God.  We need his “keeping watch over [us].”  But, we do need times of holy rest (Sabbath). I pray that you slow down your busy life some this summer.  Some folks try to slow their lives down in the summer by skipping community worship.  This is spiritually self-defeating. Consider taking part in MORE worship this summer.  God is found easier when God is intentionally sought, privately and corporately (i.e. in community).  As I keep quoting my seminary prof, “If you want to know God, walk with those who walk with God.”

Even if you are out of town on Sundays, God still shows up at faith communities gathered wherever you are.  Go!  Debbie and I were on vacation with other family on May 18 in Park City, Utah.   A web search quickly revealed that St. Luke’s Episcopal Church was about 3 miles from our hotel with a 10:30 service.  Yes, they did things a little different than we do them here at St. Michael’s, but the liturgy was still quite familiar and nurturing.  Jesus was clearly there in Word and Bread and Wine.  I remembered you, the people of St. Michael’s, in my prayers that day, as I hope you remembered me in yours.

After the service at St. Luke’s there was a nice coffee hour with lots of refreshments. Debbie and I got something to drink, shared a wonderful big chocolate chip cookie, and found that the church was “typical” in that no one greeted us, an obviously visiting couple. Debbie struck up a brief conversation with one person, and we retreated to the parking lot, reminded once again of the importance of all congregational members intentionally seeking out brothers and sisters in Christ who seem to be “outside” the community.  This is a ministry for all of us, not just the clergy and greeters.

I hope you get some serious Sabbath time this summer.

32. For the Good Use of Leisure

O God, in the course of this busy life, give us times of refreshment and peace; and grant that we may so use our leisure to rebuild our bodies and renew our minds, that our spirits may be opened to the goodness of your creation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.  (BCP p. 825)

The Rev. Robby Vickery

In His Presence

Thoughts from the Associate Rector …

Be still and know that I am God

Psalm 46:10

The use of prayer beads helps bring me into contemplative prayer, thinking about and being mindful of praying, of being in the presence of God by use of mind, body, and spirit. The touching of each successive bead is an aid in keeping my mind from wandering, and the rhythm and repetition of the prayers lead me into stillness and peace.

I pray using what is known as an Anglican Rosary that for me symbolizes the repeating cycles of time … days, weeks, seasons, years. My prayers, which move around the circle of the beads, are grounded in my Christian spiritual pilgrimage through time, following Christ. The Anglican Rosary is made up of beads divided into four groups of seven called weeks. I think of the four groups as representing spring, summer, fall, and winter and of the seven beads as the days of creation, the days of the week, the seasons of the church’s year based on Jesus’ life (Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost). Between each week is a single bead called a cruciform bead, reminding me of the central role of the cross in my life and faith. The initial bead, right after the cross, is my invitation to prayer as well as my conclusion.

There are many rosary prayers available – a favorite of mine is Julian of Norwich’s prayer with its assurance that “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well”. You can find Celtic prayers, the Jesus Prayer, and many others, all adapted for use with a rosary.  I’ve put copies of some of these prayers on the table in the entryway.  And here is a link with prayers and other resources. You can, of course, also use your creativity; a friend of mine uses her rosary to count her blessings, naming a blessing for each bead.

The Rev. Janne Alro Osborne

How Long Since You Nurtured Your Mystic Side?

Robby here

Being of an engineering temperament/mind set, the mystic part of me is not primary.  However, it is there in all of us, including me, and needs to be nurtured.  I was struck by the following when I came across it recently.  It is by St. John of the Cross, a famous 16th century Spanish mystic.

If you want, the Virgin will come walking down the road pregnant with the holy, and say,

“I need shelter for the night, please take me inside your heart, my time is so close.”

Then, under the roof of your soul, you will witness the sublime intimacy, the divine, the Christ taking birth forever, as she grasps your hand for help, for each of us is the midwife of God, each of us.

Yes, there under the dome of your being does Creation come into existence eternally, through your womb, dear pilgrim - the sacred womb in your soul, as God grasps our arms for help; for each of us is His beloved servant never far.

If you want, the Virgin will come walking down the street pregnant with Light and sing. . . .

Robby Vickery

Some Good Borrowed Thoughts

Robby hereThe quotes below are from the Right Rev. Rob Wright, Bishop of Atlanta, to “THE Conference” at Camp Allen this past weekend.  It was a time of great nurturing, and several of our staff and Vestry were part of the 200 in attendance.  Bp. Wright was born of biracial parents who placed him in an orphanage.  He opened by saying:  I am a commercial for God’s grace.  [RV:  Am I?  Are you?  Our baptismal contract says that we will be with God's help.]

God put big in the whale, busy in the ant and annoying in teenagers.

The only thing interesting in religion is God.

God wants us always expecting something; we’re always in Advent.

Quoting Jimmy Bartz (former Episcopal chaplain at UT): “God is wildly active outside the church.”

Quoting Bp. Tutu of South Africa:  “We are missionaries or we are nothing.”

We have two passports: one for this world; one for the next.

Quoting Phyllis Tickle (famous author/lecturer on religious issues):  “The church holds a great rummage sale from time to time.”

Our work is to discern, among competing priorities, what is expendable and what is precious.

Robby Vickery

Our Companion Diocese: Southern Malawi

June 12-29 I am blessed with the opportunity to do something I have wanted to do for a while, to visit the Diocese of Southern Malawi (southeast Africa) which has long been a partner of the Diocese of Texas in global mission. Many of you may remember when the then Bishop of Southern Malawi, James Tengatenga, preached at St. Michael’s.

I will be part of an 8-person team from our Diocese which will spend a week in Blantyre, Malawi, each of us living with a host family. We shall visit an orphan and senior feeding program, water wells, literacy programs, schools, and gardening programs in the area. We shall join in their Sunday worship services.

 

The second week we shall learn more about the culture and geography of Malawi. I am particularly interested in visiting the Diocesan Seminary as Bp. Tengatenga indicated that they would be open to my teaching there as part of a future sabbatical.  This trip can be a “scouting out” of that possibility.

Please keep the people of Southern Malawi, the seven other “pilgrims,” and me in your prayers.  On the home page of the Diocese of Southern Malawi I cannot help but note that Malawi was evangelized in 1861 in response to Dr. Livingstone’s call for such.  Bp. Mackenzie led a team there, but the bishop and most of his team died of malaria within a year.

Our Hymn 529 puts it well:

            Join hands, disciples of the faith

            What e’er your race may be!

            Who serves my Father as his child

            Is surely kin to me.

Robby Vickery

Holy Week … Holy Easter …


The Great Vigil of Easter Saturday, April 19 at 8:30 pm 

We light the new fire outside and then process into the church led by the Paschal Candle, the light of Christ. We listen to the stories of God’s great acts of salvation and respond with songs, psalms, and hymns. Holy Baptism is celebrated and the first Eucharist of Easter concludes this ancient and very meaningful service.

Childcare is available for those in kindergarten or younger.

 

Easter Day April 20 at 7:45, 9:00 and 11:00 am; 6:00 pm

All Easter Day services are celebrations of the Holy Eucharist.

9 am is our “Children’s Festival” and our Music Team leads hymns and songs.

At 11 am, the Chancel Choir leads our singing with hymns and anthems and everyone sings “The Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah. 

Children are invited to bring their mite boxes and flowers to decorate the cross.

No Sunday School.  Nursery is available during 9 & 11 am worship.

What’s Going On at St. Michael’s?

click these links to read current ministry news

as well as general information about each area of ministry

CHILDREN’S MINISTRY all about Sunday School and more
Nell Dale to be honored at Heritage Dinner
YOUTH GROUP = THE EDGE so little time … so much fun
ADULT Classes and Groups Books for Wednesday Group, Seekers’ Blog …

VESTRY including financials February summary …

OUTREACH: serving our neighbors  Books for Del Valle Elementary, Community Garden …

Gather for dinner with other Christians

PRAYERS, STEPHEN MINISTRY & RECOVERY Names of candidates for baptism at Great Vigil …

Special Opportunities

DON’T MISS OUT ON THESE GREAT EVENTS!   

 

Family Movie Night: Finding Nemo

Saturday, April 26

Dinner begins at 6:30pm and the movie will begin shortly after dinner. $5 per person, with a $20 max per family.

Bring comfortable pillows, blankets, and chairs for a cozy movie viewing experience.

Everyone is welcome!

***

Camp Allen Fishing Fifth Annual Parish Retreat at Camp Allen

May 2-4, 2014

Food, fun, & fellowship in the Piney Woods.

All parishioners welcome. Please sign up in the church entryway and contact Rachel Ham for further information.   

***

Vacation Bible Camp:

Workshop of Wonders

June 9 – 13 2014

Come and join Rivet, our busy worker ant, and build your relationship with God.  Sign ups for children, youth and volunteers available in the church entryway or online.  You may also contact Lesley Margerrison for more details.

“You are the God who works wonders”  (Psalm 77:14)

 

Save the Dates – Mark you Calendars!

  • Church Office is closed April 21
  • SMEDS (our Day School) Garage Sale is April 26
  • Family Movie Night is April 26
  • Our annual Parish Retreat at Camp Allen is May 2-4
  • Sharing Faith Dinners will be held Thursday, May 15
  • Heritage Award Dinner honoring Nell Dale is May 31
  • Vacation Bible Camp is June 9-13

Holy Week & Easter 2014

 

Palm Sunday April 13 at 7:45, 9:00, and 11:00 am; 6:00 pm 

We gather in Courtyard for Liturgy of the Palms followed by Procession  and Holy Eucharist. Bishop Harrison is with us at11 am as presider and preacher and will celebrate confirmation.

Sunday School begins after Procession. 

Nursery as usual.

 

 

Maundy Thursday April 17 at 6:30 pm

We remember Jesus’ command for us to love one another by footwashing and prayer during our simple Communion Service; we conclude with the Stripping of the Altar and leave in silence.

 

Good Friday April 18 at 6:45 am, noon, and 6:30 pm

At 6:45 am We begin this holy day with a group walk of the Stations of the Cross

At noon we gather for the Good Friday Liturgy with dramatic reading of John’s Passion Gospel, sermon, music and prayers reflecting upon Jesus’ redemptive death on the cross.

Following the service you are invited to join in a group walk of the Stations of the Cross.

At 6:30 pm we gather for The Good Friday Liturgy with the Chancel Choir and guests presenting Heinrich Schütz’ Johannes-Passion. 

Children (three years and up) and Youth gather in the Parish Hall for age appropriate activities focusing on Stations of the Cross. Nursery is available for infants and toddlers. Following the service you are invited to join in walking the Stations of the Cross. 

 

The Great Vigil of Easter Saturday, April 19 at 8:30 pm 

We light the new fire outside and then process into the church led by the Paschal Candle, the light of Christ. We listen to the stories of God’s great acts of salvation and respond with songs, psalms, and hymns. Holy Baptism is celebrated and the first Eucharist of Easter concludes this ancient and very meaningful service.

Childcare is available for those in kindergarten or younger.

 

Easter Day April 20 at 7:45, 9:00 and 11:00 am; 6:00 pm

All Easter Day services are celebrations of the Holy Eucharist. 9 am is our “Children’s Festival” and Music Team leads hymns and songs. At 11 am, Chancel Choir leads our singing with hymns and anthems and everyone sings “The Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah.Children are invited to bring their mite boxes and flowers to decorate the cross.

No Sunday School.

Nursery is available during 9 & 11 am worship.

 

Holy Week begins this Sunday

Palm Sunday April 13 at 7:45, 9:00 and 11:00 am; 6:00 pm 

We gather in the Courtyard for the Liturgy of the Palms followed by  the Procession and Holy Eucharist in the Worship Space. Bishop Harrison is with us at 11am as presider and preacher and will celebrate confirmation.

Sunday School begins after Procession.  Nursery as usual.

Click here for schedule of Holy Week worship services.