Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Top Ten Signs of Resurrection in the Episcopal Church

In preparation for our celebration of Easter, Acts 8 Moment has asked for folks to submit Top Ten lists for Signs of Resurrection in the Episcopal Church.  Here's my submission....

The Top Ten Signs of Resurrection in the Episcopal Church

10. Alcoholics and addicts being saved in the sanctuary as well as in the basement.

9. Social media being used competently to spread the good news and strengthen the Body of Christ. 

8. Senior ladies who, in the midst of change, still love each other, care for the poor, work hard, and go to their closets regularly to pray in secret as they were taught.  

6. The numerous outdoor Palm Sunday processions taking the church in all its quirky splendor to the community. 
Palm Sunday at Christ Church Cathedral, Cincinnati

Ben Campbell
4. A full Catholic Holy Week lineup (with smells and bells), evangelical life transformation groups (with Bible study and accountability), and charismatic healing prayer (with speaking in tongues) all offered in the same congregation.

3. The Rev. Ben Campbell and Richmond Hill.

2. St. John's Family Kitchen. (For a video about it, go to our Diocesan Web Site and click "Launch Media Player" at the bottom of the page)

1. The Easter Alleluia boldly and joyfully proclaimed!

If you'd like to add your own list, send it along to Acts8 using the link below, or put them in the comments below and I'll pass them along.
- See more at: http://www.acts8moment.org/?p=53199&utm_content=bufferf1148&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer#sthash.JVTnBprx.dpuf

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Northwestern Pennsylvania Episcopal Elevator Pitches

Last week the Acts8 Blogforce challenged the church to come up with elevator pitches for the Episcopal Church.  The pitches below were created as part of the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania's strategic planning process. These are shorter than 250 words (since we have very short elevators in these parts), and targeted to a few different groups.

For people who are already ‘churched’ and looking for a home:
Our worship is beautiful, our beliefs are generous and grounded in Scripture, history and present reality, our dedication to the Holy Spirit’s leading is firm, our hospitality is warm – our community has a place for you.

For people who know nothing about ‘church’:
We believe that we need to love God with heart and soul, mind and strength.  The Episcopal Church supports me in doing that in every possible way.  This community warms my heart, nourishes my soul, respects and encourages my mind, gives me a place to exercise my strength – and a nudge when I don’t do these things well.

General audiences
We are a home where strugglers, saints, sinners and seekers can find love, acceptance and restoration. Ritual, community, genuine welcome and the sharing of thoughts and ideas is a way of life in the Episcopal Church.

The Episcopal Church − through worship, fellowship and outreach – is a place of peace and assurance, honest connections with people who care about you, an opportunity to understand the positive directions to which your gifts will lead you and an authentic experience of God acting in the world and in you.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Ezekiel 37:1-14 -- Dry Bones (My Translation)

Below is the translation I put together during a seminary class for the Ezekiel passage of the Dry Bones which is Sunday's Old Testament passage and will be read in some places during the Easter Vigil.  I based it on a  close reading of the Hebrew, using an occasionally vivid translation of individual words or phrases.  Enjoy.

(Wherever "LORD" or "GOD" appears, it represents God's proper name, "YHWH" which is traditionally read as "the Lord".)

Ezekiel 37
1 The hand of the LORD came upon me and it led me out by the Spirit of the LORD. It placed me in the middle of a valley that was filled with bones. 2 Then it brought me over to them and they were all around me.  Wow! There was a great multitude all over the valley and they were oh so very dry.

3 Then he said to me, "Son of Adam, will these bones live?"

I said, "Lord GOD, you yourself know."

4 Then he said to me, "Prophecy to these bones.  Say to them 'Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.' 5 The Lord GOD has this to say to these bones 'Hang on! I am sending spirit into you and you will live! 6 I will give you sinews, grow flesh upon you, and spread skin over you.  I will give you spirit and you will live.  Then you will know that I am the LORD!'"

7 So I prophesied just as I was commanded.  As I was prophesying, there was a sound -- look out -- it was a quaking.  Bones coming together, each bone to its proper bone. 8 I looked.  Truly there were sinews upon them and flesh grew on them and skin spread up over them.  But there was no spirit in them.

9 Then he said to me, "Prophesy to the Spirit.  Prophesy, Son of Adam, and you will say to the Spirit, 'The Lord GOD has this to say "From the four spirits, come, Spirit, and breathe into these corpses."' Then they shall live."

10 So I prophesied just as he commanded me.  The Spirit came into them and they lived.  Then they stood on their feet and were a most bodaciously great army.

11 Then he said to me, "Son of Adam, these bones are all the house of Israel.  Listen to their sayings, 'Our bones are dried up,' 'Our hope has died,' 'We are cut off from ourselves.'

12 "Therefore prophecy and say to them, 'The Lord GOD has this to say, "Pay attention! I am opening your graves and will pull you up out of them, oh my people.  Then I will bring you to the land of Israel. 13 Then you will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and pull you up out of them, oh my people. 14 I will give you my Spirit and you will live.  I will establish you in your land and then you will know that I am the LORD.  I have spoken and I will act."'"  An utterance of the LORD!