home | weekly bulletin | parish blog | community | ministries | history | links | contact

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Recipe: St. Lucy’s Coffee Cake

Baked by Fr. Curtis and served at our parish coffe hour on Easter Day.

St. Lucy's Coffee Cake


Beat til creamy 1/4 cup butter. Beat in 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar, followed by 1 egg and 2/3 cup milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

Mix Together 1 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon cardamom and some raisins. Then combine with above.


Combine 1/4 cup sugar and 1/3 cup flour. Mix together and cut in 2 Tablespoons butter. Then, with a fork, stir in an egg yolk til well blended. Spread over the top of the cake mix before baking.

Bake at 370 degrees for approximately 25 minutes.

Sermon by the Rev. Curtis Metzger,
Easter Sunday, April 8, 2007

Easter Day: Year C

Acts 10: 34-43
Psalm 118
Colossians 3: 1-4
Luke 24: 1-10

The Lord is Risen! [He is risen indeed!] Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! Whew! Ain’t it fun to say that again? You know, I think we should turn that into some kind of saying--like when someone who plays a sport has a bad spell and then recovered they say “he got his game back.” I think we should have a Christian saying, something like, “Yeah, Joe was going through a bad spell, but he got his Alleluia back!” Alleluia is the word of praise that evokes joy and confidence and centeredness in God. And after Lent, that is what we have achieved--a deeper sense of our alleluia--our belonging to God--and full of unending praise.

This morning is the exclamation point to the whole journey. Today we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. After 3 days in the tomb, he breaks forth and destroys death once and for all. I can see Death gloating over his conquest--looking at the pretty little chrysalis of that “caterpillar-y” human all wrapped up in his shroud--and Death just snickering in the corner. Ah, but little did he know this human butterfly would soon break forth and ruin his party.

Now, are you ready for a little feminist theology? This story in Luke that was read this morning is a wonderful testimony to the devoted love of a handful of women who were determined to do the ritual embalming. Can you imagine what they were saying or thinking on the way to the tomb? “Do you think the soldiers will roll away the stone so we can do our job?” “Why did all the disciples abandon the Teacher in his time of need?” “What will we all do now--go back to Galilee?” Then they encountered the angels who told them Jesus had risen. There is another story in the Gospel of John where Mary Magdelene encounters Jesus outside the tomb and initially thinks he’s the gardener until he calls her by name (there’s a whole other sermon in and of itself!)

These women, eyes all swollen from days of crying, numb from grief, are startled out of their stupor to behold what they dare not dreamed. These women were the first witnesses of the resurrection. Mary Magdelene was chief among them--the woman who had been forgiven so much. She got the honor. There is a great little part of this Gospel that was not read this morning. It goes on to say:

(11)But these words seemed to them [the male disciples] an idle tale, and they did not believe them.

Well, ladies, seems the battle of the sexes was alive and well back then too. I can just hear the disciples guffawing at these women, “O for heavens sake, the women have gone hysterical again and that is all we need.” . . . And do you know what one of the principle conditions for being one of the apostles was? It was to have been a witness to the resurrected Lord. Funny how the very first witnesses never got to be apostles, eh? OK, that’s as far as I’ll push that for now; but good food for thought, huh?

Now, about this resurrection stuff--a theology professor of mine put it simply and beautifully when he told me that we Christians don’t believe in the resuscitation of the dead, we believe in the resurrection of the dead. Do you get the difference? Jesus, after the resurrection was recognizable, but different. In the coming weeks we’ll hear about how the disciples experienced those differences in the post-resurrection stories, but needless to say, walking through doors, disappearing suddenly, etc., well that is just plain different than a resuscitated Jesus.

How do we explain that? Well, I don’t know. All we know is that the experience of the resurrected Jesus was so strong for his followers that it started a movement that has continued for 2000 years. As I said on Good Friday, one of the most profound influences of my life was my work in the hospice movement, and interestingly enough, it was there that my belief in the afterlife was profoundly strengthened. There were just so many stories of people close to death seeing loved ones that had already died, or conversely, stories of friends and relatives far from the dying person who had the loved one come to them in a dream or in some other strange vision at the moment of their death. Well, there is just too much that we don’t understand. But from all those experiences, I simply do not question the afterlife. Don’t ask me what it will look like or feel like. I think we’ll all be surprised.

But it wasn’t just simple physical death that was overcome in the resurrection. More importantly, it was the power that Death holds over us and all the death-dealing ways we have a tendency to retreat to. And I’m not a follower of Jesus because of the promise of a heaven. Neither do I think he would want us to follow him for just that reason. No, I follow Jesus because he outlined for us such a glorious way to live. Though we focus on the Passion this past week--the arrest, trial, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection--as the seminal events of Jesus’ life and our Christian faith, they must go hand-in-glove with his teaching and the way he wanted us to live. Because, as he said, the Kingdom of Heaven is AT HAND!

If all we do is with our faith is to parrot back some words about Jesus’ death and resurrection without really appropriating his whole life and teaching as a way to a fuller, deeper way of being alive, then we have truly missed the point. In the words of that great Easter hymn, Hymn 182:

Christ is alive! Let Christians sing.
His cross stands empty to the sky.
Let streets and homes with praises ring.
His love in death shall never die.

Christ is alive! No longer bound
To distant years in Palestine,
He comes to claim the here and now
And conquer every place and time.

Not throned above, remotely high,
Untouched, unmoved by human pains,
But daily, in the midst of life,
Our Savior with the Father reigns.

In every insult, rift, and war,
Where color, scorn, or wealth divide,
He suffers still, yet loves the more,
And lives, though ever crucified.

Christ is alive!
His Spirit burns through this and every future age,
Til all Creation lives and learns his joy,

His justice, love, and praise.

Sermon by the Rev. Curtis Metzger,
Good Friday, April 6, 2007

Today is the day in the church year where we really deal with the reality of death. And, typically, we who call ourselves Christians have learned to snap victory from the jaws of defeat. We call this day Good Friday. Why good? Well, because of course Jesus made his ultimate sacrifice for us and showed us the power of his redeeming love with the ultimate gift of his life. It is his gift of his life--his whole life--that sets us free. This is why this Friday is Good.

Thomas Merton, the great Trappist monk, wrote once, “If we have risen with Christ, we must dare to stand by him in the loneliness of his passion.” Today we enter into that spirit, and even literally when we stand for that portion of the Gospel where it gets close to his death. This is our simple act of standing with him and bearing witness. Some get a little too carried away with identifying with Christ’s sacrifice and do some rather bizarre things. In the Philippines every year some men volunteer to be crucified as a testament to their devotion. It is with antiseptic needles and not to death, but still a bit over the top. I imagine Jesus turning to those who want to suffer like him and saying, “Uh, sorry there’s only room up here for one.” But seriously, the point of his crucifixion is that it was done once and for all. Lord knows we all suffer in life without having to want more suffering. The challenge of our suffering as Christians is to remind ourselves that our Lord suffered too, and in the end redeemed his suffering for us. This, I think, is our appropriate response to suffering--not that we love it, but we redeem it where we can.

As many of you know, I spent a good deal of time working in the hospice movement. I was palliative care chaplain in a major teaching hospital in Vancouver where I cared for the dying and their families on the palliative care unit, and also consulted in the emergency room, the leukemia and cancer units, and the 300 beds dedicated to long term care patients. I saw a lot of death and grieving. I guess if I was going to identify the two most important things that have shaped my theology it would have to be Jesus and dealing with dying. There is nothing like dealing with the end of life to sharpen ones appreciation for life every minute that you live it.

I like to think that Mary, her companions, and John, standing at the foot of the cross were the first hospice volunteers. They dared to stand by him, in the loneliness of his passion. This is the gift of hospice volunteers.

Thirty years ago I attended my first Easter Vigil. It is the service in the church traditionally held the night before Easter and is really the first celebration of Easter. The church I was attending started the service around 11PM. There are many readings (up to 10!) in the first part of the service that outline the history of salvation. Eventually it ends with the Easter Gospel.

I was singing in the choir so I arrived early for rehearsal. I came into the back of the church to wind my way along the side isle to the parish hall, Sunday school and choir rooms. Of course the church had been stripped on Maundy Thursday and was looking terribly bare--for what I could see. It was late at night and there were no lights on--only some street light or something making its way in through stained glass to give me enough light to make my way around. But there was something exciting in the air--literally! I couldn’t see anything, but I knew the altar guild had been busy preparing for the service because when I walked in the back of the church my nostrils were filled with the scent of lilies! And as I caught that wonderful smell, all at once the moment became sacramental. I could not see the resurrection, but I could smell it! My eyes were closed to the reality of what was coming….I was lost in the mournful flatness of Holy Saturday. Ah, but my nose wakened me to Easter. It still hadn’t happened, but I could smell it was coming!

The spirit of this day is somber. We should truly contemplate the horror of Christ’s crucifixion, his betrayal by friends, his own sense of being abandoned by his Father, when he cried out “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me!” But this day, for us, is always in the context of a greater reality--because we know the rest of the story. There is a line in the burial office in the prayer book that sums it up for me very well: “All of us go down to the dust, yet at the grave we make our song, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia! We have put our Alleluia’s away for Lent, right about now, in the midst of his passion, they are beginning to bubble up at the back of our throats. This is a sad day, but it is a good day. My friends, this day is the beginning of the story of our freedom!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Alleluia, it's Easter!

Outside the church, there was a lot of snow on the ground.

Inside, it definitely looked like springtime!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Palm Sunday

Our Palm Sunday procession began in the Undercroft . . .

and wound its way up to the front doors of the church.

The choir sang an anthem, Eat this bread, drink this wine.

Red was the liturgical color.