Dry Desert
He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna... in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
Deuteronomy 8:3

Updated: Apr 7

The following prayer came across my social media newsfeed this week. I found it particularly moving and wanted to share it with the St. Paul's community.


I've linked to the original blog post with the prayer and included the prayer in its entirety below. I'm offering up this prayer this week, and I hope you'll join me.


"Fiercely Listening, a prayer" by Pastor Katy Stenta


God

sometimes I think about

how much of my job

is listening to those

who are hurt


Sometimes I pray about

all those without ears to hear


Those who are quick to judge

or center themselves

or say, if they had just…


So…


I think about how often Jesus just sat

and listened, really listened

and validated people’s pain,

and then called them by name.


Sometimes I think about

how much of the community’s job

is listening,


Fiercely listening to those

who are unheard, or drowned out our ignored


Fiercely listening

who are hurt,

without judgement

or agenda

…just listening fiercely

to those who have been

especially hurt

and then I

try to practice

that fierce listening

taking to heart

the cries of injustice

opening my ears to hear

and my heart to be melted

Help me to do my job I pray.


Amen.

Updated: Mar 28

Did you know that (almost) all the bishops of the Episcopal Church met last week? There was a House of Bishops meeting at Camp Allen in Texas. It was their first in-person meeting since COVID-19 first hit!


(By the way: the name “House of Bishops” is less like Game of Thrones’ House Lannister and more like the U.S. Congress’ House of Representatives.)


Women Bishops attending the House of Bishops Spring Gathering. Photo by Frank Logue.

Our bishops meet twice a year as the House of Bishops to pray, share resources and information, and discuss important topics. This year, they released two pastoral statements about timely issues.


Here in Connecticut, Bishop Ian and Bishop Laura sent these statements to the leadership this week. Ideally, clergy and lay leaders are supposed to disseminate these within our parishes.


(Fun fact about the Episcopal Church in Connecticut: the Dean of our cathedral, the Very Rev. Miguelina Howell, is one of the chaplains to the House of Bishops!)


Statement on Ukraine


The first a statement about the conflict in Ukraine, including a statement of the bishops’ prayers. Click to download it:


Statement_on_war_in_Ukraine_FINAL
.pdf
Download PDF • 168KB

Resolution on Gender Identity


The second is a resolution of support for transgender and non-binary people and their families. The bishops urge everyone in the Episcopal Church “to create safe spaces and shield all people form harassment based on gender identity.”


Flying the Pride flag, as we decided to do year-round, is only a first step toward creating such spaces. As we head toward Southington Pride’s second annual celebration, I urge you to really think about how we, as a St. Paul’s community, will take up the bishops on their urgent request.


This second resolution is much shorter, so I’ll include the whole text here, as well as the link to download the official statement.


Resolution adopted by the House of Bishops:


In light of the baptismal covenant’s promise to see Christ in all persons, and the recent and any actions by elected officials in Texas, Alabama, Arizona, Idaho, Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan, Missouri, Florida, Arkansas, Ohio, North Dakota, Mississippi, South Dakota, Nebraska, Indiana, South Carolina and any other states, municipalities, and school districts targeting transgender children and their families, we, the Bishops of The Episcopal Church gathered at Camp Allen, Texas, in March 2022, voice our love and continued support for all persons who identify as transgender or non-binary and their families. We decry legislative initiatives and governmental actions targeting trans children and their families. We urge all in our Church to create safe spaces and shield all people from harassment based on gender identity.


Resolution_adopted_by_HOB_FINAL
.pdf
Download PDF • 116KB

Moses was taking care of the flock for his father-in-law Jethro, Midian’s priest. He led his flock out to the edge of the desert, and he came to God’s mountain called Horeb. The Lord’s messenger appeared to him in a flame of fire in the middle of a bush. Moses saw that the bush was in flames, but it didn’t burn up. Then Moses said to himself, Let me check out this amazing sight and find out why the bush isn’t burning up.


When the Lord saw that he was coming to look, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!”


Moses said, “I’m here.”


Then the Lord said, “Don’t come any closer! Take off your sandals, because you are standing on holy ground.” He continued, “I am the God of your father, Abraham’s God, Isaac’s God, and Jacob’s God.” Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God.


-Exodus 3:1-15 (Common English Bible)

  • Didn’t Moses grow up in Egypt? How does he end up in Midian?

  • Why is Moses afraid to look at God?

  • What are some other stories where God calls someone to do important work?

Do you ever read a Bible passage and wish you could know more about it?


One of the things I love about the Episcopal Church is that academic study of the Bible doesn’t threaten our faith—in fact, it can be a tool to deepen or strengthen it!


It can be difficult to find reputable sources on the scriptures that shape our tradition. Many websites have shallow or misleading information that doesn’t match our theology or our understanding of God’s expansive, all-encompassing love.


When I was in seminary, I worked on a project called Yale Bible Study. Using videos of Yale professors talking about Bible passages, YBS provides study guides, discussion questions, and other resources. Oh, and it’s all free!


This week, I hope you’ll take a little time to look through Yale Bible Study’s resources. As a starting point: here’s the lesson on the Burning Bush passage from Exodus. (This reading is appointed for today, the Third Sunday in Lent, in our lectionary.


With my colleagues, I put together a lot of the Discussion Questions and Additional Resources sections on this website. I also wrote some of the Study Guides. It was really fun to find these resources, but the process underscored for me just how much incorrect information about the Bible is online.


If you have other reputable resources for online Bible information, please share them with me!


(And remember: I still do work for Yale Bible Study as the host and producer of the Chapter, Verse, and Season podcast, which is another resource for reliable information about the Bible.)