A Word From Our Bishop

        Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts     A word for Jan. 9 from Bishop Alan M. Gates   Dear people of the Diocese of Massachusetts,   I want for a moment to share a word as we draw towards the end of this week– a week in which we have been shaken, infuriated, and appalled.   We are shaken by the violence and hatred that played out before us at our nation’s Capitol. We are infuriated by the incendiary, reckless, and seditious rhetoric of leaders, including a sitting President of our nation, in stoking that violence and hatred. And we are appalled by the larger realities of turmoil and bitter division in our nation which this week’s events do not allow us to deny.   Bishop Gayle Harris, in remarks at an ordination she was conducting on Wednesday evening, reminded us of Abraham Lincoln’s famous application of the words from Matthew’s gospel: A house divided against itself shall not stand. [Matthew 12:25] This house, our nation, is bitterly divided, and as Bishop Harris said Wednesday, “We cannot continue in this way, cannot continue with the violence, hatred, and demonization of one another, which is certainly not of Christ.”   Among the numerous evils thrown into high relief by the attack on our Capitol building, we cannot avoid calling out its manifestation of racism and white supremacy. From the Confederate flag carried boldly through the Capitol, to the scaffolding and noose constructed on the plaza outside, to the indisputable contrast between the way invading rioters were treated Wednesday and the way non-seditious protesters have been treated at other points throughout the year past–there is simply no denying the ugliness of racism before us. The work of anti-racism to which we have recently re-dedicated ourselves as a diocese is urgently upon us.   In the past few days many expressions of dismay and outrage have included some version of the cry, “This is not who we are!” I understand this cry as an expression of aspiration: “This is not who we aspire to be.” “This does not represent the values we espouse.” But if we are to move forward as a nation with determination and hope, we cannot begin with a categorical denial–“This is not who we are!”–which is manifestly not true. Rather, we must look ourselves in the mirror and say, “This is part of who we are; let us repent and change.”    The brilliant Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg puts it this way: “Don’t let people who like the approximate status quo drive the narrative … to be about a few bad apples. We know what they say about the bad apples. We have to talk about the barrel. The orchard. The seeds that were planted. And the soil in which they were sown.” [Instagram post 1/7/21]   Another rabbi long ago spoke endlessly about seeds and soil. We know from our rabbi, Jesus, that God blesses the vineyard which is tended with justice and love. Perhaps all those parables of seeds and vineyards were inspired by this verse from the prophet Hosea:   Sow with a view to righteousness; reap in accordance with kindness; break up your fallow ground; for it is time to seek the Lord until he comes to rain righteousness on you. [Hosea 10:12 – NAS]   Links to the messages we have received this week from the Most Rev. Michael Curry can be found on the diocesan and Episcopal Church websites:   https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/2021/01/08/presiding-bishop-calls-country-to-face-painful-truths-meet-abyss-of-anarchy-with-healing-love/   https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/2021/01/08/presiding-bishop-joins-other-ncc-leaders-in-call-for-trumps-removal-from-office/   I commend to you those messages from our Presiding Bishop. I bid your prayers for our nation and its leaders. I invite you, with me, to rededicate yourself to the urgent work of both peace and justice, in our personal lives, our communities, and the structures of our land.   May we, indeed, “sow with a view to righteousness, and reap in accordance with kindness.” May the Holy Spirit, who descended upon Jesus at his baptism, and ours, descend upon us now with the grace and courage we need.   Yours in Christ, +Alan The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates     Find this message on our website here.    

St. Luke’s Advent Message

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Dear Friends:

As we get older, each passing year seems routine; much repetition and few surprises. And yet, when we sit back, this passing year has brought us new changes and challenges.

Global competition escalates, among “old enemies,” not only economically and politically, but also increasingly militarily. Disarmament now seems an old dream. Geo-political realignment is real. Migrants and refugees continue to seek havens, not only for better opportunities but for survival. In reaction, many a country has closed its doors, proclaiming raw nationalism and isolationism as the best policy. Barbed wires have replaced welcome signs; armed guards succeeded welcome with open arms. The earth, our fragile island home, is showing alarming signs. Extreme climate changes are devastating our natural order, with torrential rain falls, fires that consume mountains; arctic centuries old arctic ice is melting, the sea level is rising, not just in Venice.

In 2019, we have observed the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the enslaved Africans in North America. The gulf between the rich and the poor is growing ever deeper and wider among nations and within them, including the United States. 1 % versus the rest Is all too real. Globalism seems to have been replaced by tribalism. “God helps those who help themselves” sounds a cruel slogan.

What, if anything, are we doing to combat these challenges? How do we envision a better place, a better time? Where do we find inspirations? How do we raise children so that they may aspire toward a better future for themselves and beyond?

Hope is always born of despair; light of darkness. The world has endured hardships, wars; nations once defeated emerged as champions of peace. Children, our own or not, are a source of tangible hope. We support them by sharing their hope. A sixteen-year-old Swedish school girl has become the voice of conscience, while adults continue to allow the environment to be devasted by our own greed and neglect.

Advent and Christmas are the season to renew our deepest hope, we begin anew. During Advent, we begin anew, while preparing for the coming of the Prince of Peace, born of parents who were refugees to escape from King Herod who was going to kill all children born in Judea, the poorest of the Provinces of the Roman Empire. Hope can triumph over despair; light overt darkness; love over hate, life over death.

Our children are thriving. John is an engineer west of Boston. He continues to live at home to spend all his earning on his car hobbies. Jamie graduated from Wellesley in May as a major in art history. After working briefly at MIT’s Media Lab, she is now working at MFA (Museum of Fine Arts) in Boston. Both love their work.

Nancy continues her study to become a trainer of new Montessori School teachers, who would work internationally. This year, she studied in Spain, England and Japan. She plans to go next to South Africa before concluding her training.

Jim continues his full-time teaching at Wellesley, while serving part-time as Rector at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Hudson, Massachusetts. He spent his sabbatical from the College in spring in Japan. He had planned to travel the country, especially to Nagasaki to continue his research on Takashi Paul Nagai, a radiologist and a hibakusha, a Roman Catholic convert and a pacifist. But he stayed in Tokyo to relish what it has become since he lived there as a boy. Tokyo is now a vibrant city, well managed, clean with many young people from all around the world, while preparing to host the Olympic Games next year. Crime rate in Tokyo is the lowest of all metropolises of the world. No guns on the street. Police officers carry them now after the Occupation Army told them to after the end of the World War II, but seldom used, except for practice.

As we usher in a new year, we bid farewell to the passing year with gratitude, rather than with remorse. The coming of the Prince of Peace at the year’s conclusion brings us the greatest hope for the reign of God who created us, forgives us and redeems us.

                                                              Love to you all, from Boston,

                                               Jamie, John, Nancy and Jim

We love St. Luke’s: Logan’s Story

This week, we would like to introduce you to Logan, a young man raised at St. Luke’s who currently serves as our treasurer. Logan will let us know what it means for him to be part of our faith community by answering just 4 simple questions…

St Luke’s: So, Logan, how long have you attended St. Luke’s?

Logan: I have been attending St. Luke’s for almost 37 years; since I was an infant.

St Luke’s: What makes St Luke’s such a special place for you?

Logan: It’s been the only constant in my life so it’s the place I truly call home.I grew up here celebrating most major milestones in my life.One of my most cherished memories was watching my grandparents exchange their wedding vows for their 40th wedding anniversary when I was six.My grandfather ended up passing away only days later.

St Luke’s: What do you wish more people knew about St Luke’s?

Logan: You don’t have to be super religious or have a strict set of beliefs. All you need to do is come and enjoy a loving community of people from all generations.Also that building that looks so interesting from the outside is really interesting on the inside as well!

St Luke’s: Last question, Logan: If you could choose just one word to describe St Luke’s, what would it be?

Logan: Resourceful!

You don't have to be super religious or have a strict set of beliefs. All you need to do is come and enjoy a loving community of people from all generations!