Grace Church | Red Hill is deeply rooted, boldly inclusive, and fully committed to the well-being of the earth and all living things.
This Coming Sunday: March 24
We will worship together this Sunday, March 24 at 10:30 am at Grace Church, Red Hill. It is the Third Sunday in Lent.
Please keep the Charlottesville School System students, teachers, and administrators in prayer as they cope with the threat of gun violence on students. In a thoughtful statement reflecting the principles of solidarity, Superintendent Rosa Atkins said, "I think we all have to keep in mind a threat against one student, no matter what the ethnicity, is a threat against all of our students and a threat against our teachers and our community." Please pray for the law enforcement agents as they work around the clock investigating the threat's credibility and origin. And please pray for the person(s) who made the threat.
On Wednesday, 3/27 Caleb Hendrickson, a PhD student in religious studies, leads a discussion on the topic: “Jesus Renewer of Creation.” Here is the reading. We will meet at my home at 214 Cameron Lane.
In Lent, we turn to God in all dimensions of our lives as we wipe the ashes of death off of our foreheads and reorient ourselves to God’s way of life. I offer these reflections as an invitation to walk for any amount of time and distance that you can manage and to regard walking as a Lenten spiritual discipline.
Tuesday, March 19: Walking slows us down to the humble speed of 3 miles an hour—the average human speed of walking. Rebecca Solnit writes, “I like walking because it is slow, and I suspect that the mind, like the feet, works at about three miles an hour” (Wanderlust, 10). I would add that the senses join the feet and mind in thriving at that speed. At three miles an hour, you can see the wide 180-degree spectrum and notice movement, variations of light and color, the height of buildings and trees. You can hear a car horn, the drum of a woodpecker, the tussle of squirrels in the underbrush. You can smell the cherry blossoms, street food, saturated soil; you can touch the pavement or ground with each step, and, with the hand, the smooth edges of the crosswalk button and the tree bark’s rough contour. Life happens more readily, more immediately, more deliberately when you walk.
In his book, Three Mile an Hour God, Kosuke Koyama, who taught at Union Seminary in New York, observed: “Love has its speed. It is an inner speed. It is a spiritual speed. It is a different kind of speed from the technological speed to which we are accustomed. It is “slow” yet it is lord over all other speeds since it is the speed of love. It goes on in the depth of life, whether we notice or not, whether we are currently hit by storm or not, at three miles an hour. It is the speed we walk and therefore the speed the love of God walks.”
When you walk today, God will be matching your pace, giving you life, and filling you with love.
Dear God, you who are present in the depth of my life, match my pace this day and pour your love into my senses that I might be fully alive. Amen.
The season of Lent derives its name from a Germanic word that means the lengthening of days. During Lent, the church practices the disciplines of fasting, almsgiving, prayer, and repentance—all of which seek to bring forth new spiritual growth in the longer and warmer days of spring.
During past Lents, I have focused on fasting and on Tuesdays, would send you a short essay to encourage keeping a fast day. This season while the days lengthen, I will reflect on walking.
While it’s not one of the traditional disciplines of Lent, walking as a spiritual exercise has all kinds of antecedents: Pilgrimages, crusades, journeys, missions. On the Tuesdays of Lent, we’ll explore aspects of walking that relate to new growth in our spiritual lives and explore how walking might make us more aware of ourselves and bodies, the world around us, and the animating being at the center of it all.
We will also pursue a number of other Lenten disciplines:
On Wednesdays in Lent, March 27 and April 10, we will rediscover another ancient use of Lent, a time of catechetical preparation for baptism. Those persons to be baptized in Eastertide and all of us will have the opportunity to dive deeply into elements of Christianity. Caleb Hendrickson, a PhD student in religious studies, leads the second session on Wednesday, 3/27; his topic: “Jesus Renewer of Creation.” And on Wednesday 4/10, the Rev. Emily Rowell Brown and I will offer a session on the theology of the cross. Each session will be held at 214 Cameron Lane from 7:15 to 8:45 pm.
On the Sundays in Lent, GC|RH will walk with Jesus in the wilderness and follow him in his peripatetic ministry in Galilee. And we join him as he journeys to Jerusalem where the Roman and Jewish authorities send him to the cross to quash his movement.
The church has identified Lent with Earth’s orbit of the sun within the solar system’s multiple movements. In Lent, we experience that movement of seasonal change and the Jesus movement of transformation. In the lengthening days, we follow Jesus through the violence, abuse, supremacy unleashed by the principalities and powers and with Jesus find our footing in restored, healed, green, new life.
This semester Emily Wright was a guest artist in UVA's Dance department. The work she created with students is being presented as part of their spring concert March 28-30 at 8 pm. Tickets available here.
Hey y'all! Just wanted to make sure everyone knows about the new GoFundMe to support Asylum Seekers Shannel and Maritza as they take big steps toward independence. The goal is to fundraise 6-month's living expenses each so that they have a cushion when they start working and can move toward financial self-sufficiency. They are very close to getting their work permits now and Maritza will be moving out of Smash and Lindsay's house really soon when they put their house on the market. Please help spread the word to your networks! https://www.gofundme.com/independence-for-asylum-seekers
Grace Youth Group is planning a Civil Rights Tour this summer and we'd like to put an invitation out to the Grace Church community to see whether there is any interest in making this a church-wide, intergenerational trip. We plan to spend two days each in Birmingham, Selma and Montgomery, from June 8th to the 14th. The goal of the trip would be not just to see historical sites, but to trace this history into our lives today and these places to the places where we live. We hope the trip will be particularly rich in light of the work of our racial justice small groups this past year. Talk to Kate Lichti (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you're interested.
Every Wednesday at 9:10 am, we host a time of contemplation at Good Shepherd, Hickory Hill at 960 Monacan Trail Road/Highway 29.
On the Tuesdays during Lent, I invite you to walk. For those who are walking, planning to walk, or even imagining walking, here are some thoughts and a prayer:
Tuesday, March 12: While reading Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust: A History of Walking, it occurred to me that walking could be explored as a spiritual resource. That’s no great discovery. Walking has been the mode of transportation within the spiritual practices of pilgrimages, missions, and crusades. And, while we may use the notion of a spiritual journey in a more metaphorical way, at its heart, it implies the act of walking. (I don’t think one imagines going on a spiritual journey riding a scooter or driving a Prius.)
I hope these reflections will be an invitation to walk for any amount of time and distance that you can manage and to regard walking as a spiritual discipline. In Lent, we turn to God in all dimensions of our lives as we wipe the ashes of death off of our foreheads and reorient ourselves to God’s way of life.
To speak of God’s “way” implies movement and its essence. And both are embodied in walking. Solnit would say that when we walk, we align the mind, the body, and the world, “as though they were three characters finally in conversation together” (p. 5). When you walk this day, experience that alignment between your mind, body, and world and, with each breath and each step, that holy alignment with the One who generates and animates all living things.
Dear God, give us the energy and intention this day to walk. And as we walk, direct us to your way, the way that brings harmony, balance, and alignment. Amen.
Please keep Willard Taylor, Ted Burns, Kirsten Wittkowski, Federico Flores, Gene Corrigan, the family of Gloria Kia-Noury, the family of Lois Erdman Farrell, and the Charis Community (Dominique, Mark, Anna, Eric, Claire, Shanel) in prayer.