The Cold Springer - Week of November 4th, 2018
Sunday, November 4th, 2018 - All Saints Day, Holy Baptism
The Invisible String
Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen. The Collect for All Saints Day
When my mother died, just over a month ago, Meredith and I wondered how we would talk about it with our toddler. The last thing we wanted to do was beat around the bush or speak in vague religious terms. What we did want to do, however, was address the cycle of life and the inevitability of death while being true to our faith, believing that somehow Gramma Suzy was still with us.
Let’s face it, how on earth were we supposed to do that? If you want to talk yourself into a theological wormhole try starting a conversation with a two year old about faith and death. I got through about three or four “Why, Dadda?”s when I began to question my own faith. Meanwhile, Meredith - the prudent parent - had consulted another more reliable oracle: Google.
There she discovered two books that have helped us wade through these rather murky waters. The first is called Lifetimes. This book tells about beginnings and endings throughout the natural world, from insects to trees to fish and people. It teaches children (and reminds parents) that dying is as much a part of living as being born.
The second book is The Invisible String. This is a fabulous tale about two young children who are scared awake by a thunderstorm. To pacify the anxious youth their mother introduces them to the invisible string, just as her mother did to her.
She explains that people who love each other are always connected by a very special string made of love. Mom says it unites their family, when the kids are sleeping, from the bedroom to the living room. From there the children wonder how far the invisible string can stretch (around the world and even to heaven) or if it goes away when people are mad (“Never. Love is stronger than anger, and as long as love is in your heart, the string will always be there.)
The book winds its way towards an understanding that every person, even those who have died are united by love, a very appropriate truth to encounter on the Feast of All Saints, which we will celebrate tomorrow.
This week, in the “About” section of our bulletin I wrote these words: “Jesus’ purpose on earth was to bring us to the understanding that we are united to God and one another, a reality that we will know fully at the time of our death. In light of this, the Feast of All Saints also serves as a day to acknowledge that we - the living - are united by faith and the power of the Holy Spirit to those who have gone before and even those who will come after us. This is the Communion of Saints.”
Yours in Christ!
The Reverend Jesse Lebus
This week in Children’s Chapel the youngsters will hear the Godly Play story about the Ten Commandments. It is called the Ten Best Ways to Live - a helpful way to consider these foundational elements of our faith. In this lesson the list of 10 commandments is separated into two parts times. The first is the “Love God” portion: 1) Don’t serve other gods. 2) Make no idols to worship. 3) Be serious when you say my name. 4) Keep the Sabbath Holy. The second section is called “Love People.” 5) Honor your parents. 6) Don’t kill. 7) Don’t break your marriage. 8) Don’t steal. 9) Don’t lie. 10) Don’t even want what others have. Love God and Love people.
After number 7 the teacher may say: “You know, when people get married they think they will be married forever. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out.” This is a reality that the Episcopal Church acknowledges. No one wants that to be the case, of course, but we don’t condemn it either.
Elements of Faith
In response to the recent shootings in Pittsburgh, and the scourge of anti-semitism that is taking place even on Long Island, our students will be making cards of support. Each student will make one card for the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, as well as a card for the Kehillath Shalom Synagogue in Cold Spring Harbor.
Kehillath Shalom has suffered no attacks, but we must let our neighbors know that we support them. As our Bishop, Larry Provenzano, wrote to clergy this week: “Acts of love must answer acts of hate. The example of Jesus in the Gospel and our baptismal covenant - to respect the dignity of every human being - call us to act in love and respect and in solidarity with our Jewish siblings and neighbors across Long Island and Brooklyn.”
Because this week we do, in fact, have a baptism, the Elements of Faith class will return to the sanctuary as soon as they have completed the cards.
Sunday, November 18th
Familes, this is our November Family Friday, but it's on Sunday! All families are welcome to join our Rector and Curate and their families for cider pressing (and drinking) at the Rectory. Food, drink and Fellowship! This is a repeat event and a ton of fun. If you are coming, please bring snacks.