Saturday, May 26, 2007


Pentecost 2007 * Acts 2:1-21 * John 14: 8-27

The Reverend Kirk Alan Kubicek, Saint Peter’s at Ellicott Mills, Maryland

Greater Works Than These

Imagine that I have a group of children up here sitting on the carpet with me. I hand each one of them an Oreo. They begin eating them. Suddenly one after another says, “Hey, there’s no filling in this one….” “There’s no filling in mine either!”

So I say to them, “That’s because last night I opened up each cookie and licked all the filling out of each one!” “Ewwww…yuk!!!” they all cry out.

And then I tell them that really what I did was scrape it all off with a knife and placed it between two cookies. But that the reason I did that was to make the point that life without the Holy Spirit would be like Oreos without the filling – yukkie and not much fun at all.

For weeks now Jesus has been promising the disciples that when he leaves them on day forty after Easter, the Ascension, that he will not be leaving them alone but will be sending an Advocate, the Holy Spirit who will “teach you everything.”

Then on day forty, Jesus ascends. The disciples become the church. They are on their own. They lock themselves up in a room somewhere in Jerusalem. They have an election for a new disciple. Then they must have committee meetings, or debates over what Jesus did and said and what they should be doing while they wait for something to happen.

Sure sounds like the church: elections, committee meetings, endless debates, and waiting, just waiting for something to happen.

Then on day Fifty, Pentecost, something happens – all heaven breaks loose! The sound of a Mighty Wind fills the house, tongues of flame appear landing on everyone, and suddenly they all begin telling others the good news of Jesus, and illegal resident aliens from all over the ancient world can all understand what is being said.

Some suggest the disciples must be drunk. Just like Kurt Vonnegut says, “Leave it to a crowd to see the wrong end of a miracle every time.”

Yet, to this day there are Christians who experience this outpouring of the Holy Spirit every day. They call themselves Pentecostals and constitute the fastest growing group of Christians in the world right now! They live life like a package of double stuffed Oreos every day! Why? How?

First, they understand that Baptism is Pentecost for each and every one of us – as it says on page 298 in the Book of Common Prayer, “Holy Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body, the Church. The bond established in Holy Baptism is indissoluble.” That is, it is forever!

Next, Pentecostals know what we have talked about before – that if in our Baptism we become the Body of Christ, and when he comes up out of the water Jesus hears a voice, that voice now says to us what it said to him: You are my Beloved; I am well pleased with you!

Furthermore, Jesus says, the world will know you are mine and I am yours when you do the things I do, and greater things than these. This is his promise.

Which is why in our Baptism we make promises, and on Pentecost we renew those promises, because they are meant to shape our lives in such a way that we can truly do greater things than Jesus.

These promises include reading the Bible together, weekly corporate worship, tithing, daily prayer and study, seeking and serving Christ in all persons, striving for justice and peace for all people and respecting the dignity of every human being.

It means becoming a community of Christ’s peace, his Shalom – an inclusive embracing community that excludes none that takes seriously our single destiny, namely, the care and management of all of God’s creation, everyone and everything therein.

All of this must constitute what being perfect just as Jesus is perfect means, which is another instruction he gives to us.

To have a holy ghost of a chance of fulfilling these promises we make we need to open ourselves to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit – we need to become Pentecostal ourselves. We need to let every day be Pentecost. We need to let that Holy Spirit be the filling in the Oreo cookies of our lives so that we can in fact do the things Jesus does, and greater things than these.

If we allow ourselves to become a Pentecostal people, at the end of the day, when this life comes to its natural end, we will hear the same words spoken to us in our Baptism said to us once again: You are my Beloved; I am well pleased with you!


Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Baccalaureate Class of 2007

Glenelg High School, Howard County, Maryland

I want to thank you for taking the time to be with one another, and for inviting me to spend a few minutes with you tonight. Truth be known, I should be sitting down out there and listening to you, because you are the future of this country and the world. In one sense, that is what tonight is all about – taking time to reflect on just how you will take your place in the future of the world.

Not long ago one of America’s great authors died – Kurt Vonnegut. You may have read one of his books by now. Maybe you never will. But few people know that one year back around 1980 or so he preached a sermon in an Episcopal Church in New York City – Saint Clements’.

You all have heard that much of my life revolves around music. I play the drums, the guitar, I write songs, I sing. I have been doing these things all of my life. So you will understand why I found what Vonnegut had to say really spoke to me.

He began by saying that the one good idea we have been given so far is to be merciful – which of course has everything to do with how we treat other people. Being merciful includes things like working for peace and justice for all people and respecting the dignity of every human being.

Vonnegut went on to say, “Perhaps we will get another idea that good by and by – and then we will have two good ideas. What might that second good idea be? I don’t know. How could I know? I will make a wild guess that it will come from music somehow. I have often wondered what music is and why we love it so. It may be that music is that second good idea’s being born.”

It is hard to understand how I might love hearing Amy Winehouse singing “They tried to make me go to rehab but I say no, no, no…” nearly as much as I enjoy listening to the Mahler Ninth Symphony – but I do. Winehouse and Mahler take me to different places and open my mind to new and different truths. That is the mystery and power of music.

So rule number One as you move on to the next stage of your life is pay attention to music. Listen to it, play it, sing it, dance and move to it, relax to it. Let music move you to new and wonderful ways of looking at and living life. Music is definitely at the center of the life of the Spirit.

Here are a few other things to keep in mind as you head off to more school, a job, the military, or working the family farm or business.

1) You have been incredibly cared for and taken care of here at Glenelg High School, and in fact every step of the way from elementary school to this moment. You will learn to appreciate this later if you have not already, but you have experienced the best possible teachers, coaches, music and arts directors, administrators, and perhaps most importantly, the custodial, cafeteria and engineering staff. An entire team of people have worked literally day and night to get you ready for the next stage of your life as well as meet your most immediate needs of a clean building, warm food, heat, a functioning septic system (!), manicured fields of play, equipment that works and is reliable, a new music wing, computers that work (most of the time), etc. Add to that, of course, every minute of their waking and sometimes sleepless lives your parents have taken care of every conceivable need driving you places, letting you drive places, helping with your homework, cheering at games, coming to concerts, not to mention giving you, just giving you, food, clothing and shelter. So always remember wherever you go, You Have Been Cared For with Love.

2) Always remember to say “Please,” and “Thank You.” Nothing will get you further in life than good manners, asking for things in a polite way, and always remembering to say “Thank You.” Most of the world’s most Holy books, Torah, The Bible and the Koran are essentially about giving thanks for all we have been given and living life with an attitude of gratitude, an attitude of Thanksgiving. For practice in this you can begin with the above mentioned parents, custodial staff, teachers, coaches, administrators, classmates, etc. Take time over the next few days to say, “Thank you” to those who have made a difference in you life here.

3) Take some time each day to be quiet and still. Even if it is only five or ten minutes, you will come to appreciate it. Perhaps before your day begins, sit in silence, breathe quietly, listen to the sound of your own breath. Feel the presence of something bigger and beyond your self. Some people will call this prayer, others will call it meditation, let’s just say it is a quiet time to reflect and to collect or recollect oneself. A time to be aware of who you are, with no one else and no other ideas, thoughts, appointments, assignments and any of the other background noises of life to get in the way. You are so precious. You are so essential to the life of this world. Be still and know that you are one with all creation: creator and created, subject and object, alpha and omega, yin and yang, one with the great Tao. It has always fascinated me that the same word in Hebrew that means Breath means Spirit. The same word in Greek that means Breath means Spirit. Spend time with the Spirit of life every day. Be still, breathe quietly, say and do nothing once or twice a day.

4) Don’t forget to vote. Democracy is a precious and valuable gift. It only works when you take the time to participate in the process. What you think matters. Your participation matters. This is one way in which you literally participate in history. Register, and vote: every two years at least you will have the opportunity. Don’t forget to vote.

5) Finally, I leave you with some wisdom from a rabbi who was a contemporary of Jesus. Rabbi Hillel once said: If I am not for myself, then who is for me? If I am for myself alone, who am I? And if not now, when?

Hillel was a wise soul. Although it can be said that the spiritual life is one that looks out for the needs of others, unless one takes care of one’s own needs, there is no self to care for others. You need to take care of yourself. No one else can do that for you. Rest when you need rest. Eat three good meals a day. Exercise is good for the mind as well as the body. Take care of yourself because no one else can take care of you. If I am not for myself, then who is for me?

But at the same time, in our culture it is all too easy to look out only for oneself. Be all that you can be. Buy all that you can buy. Consume all that you can consume. These are the messages our society delivers through advertising and peer pressure. The person who does not look out for the needs of others, especially the needs of the needy, is no person at all. There is a story told about a man who built more and more barns to hold all the stuff he collected, bought and gathered. After building very many barns and filling them all, he had a party. The problem was, he had spent so much time building barns and gathering things into the barns that he had no friends. So at the party he said to himself, “Self, we have certainly done a fine job!” A voice came to him saying, “Self? You are no self! Look at you all by yourself. You have all this stuff and no one with whom to share it. You have all this stuff, and tonight you shall die and what good will it all be? You are no self, but a fool.” If I am for myself alone, who am I?

And if not now, when? When will we grow up? When will be take care of ourselves? When will we look out for others? Oh, I’ll get around to it someday, we say. There will be time enough for that, we say. Later dude, we all say. When we take time each day to be still and quiet, we become aware of just how precious each day, each moment of each day, really is. If we know this, if we really really know this, it changes everything. It changes everything we do or say. It changes how we take care of our selves and relate to others. It changes who we are. It makes us into a self instead of a fool. If not now, when?

When I was your age, which I know must seem like a long time ago, I had a button on my jacket that said, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” That is what this day is about. That is, in the end, what every day is about. I have seen you and your classmates play football, lacrosse, basketball, soccer, volleyball, and field hockey. I have seen you sing songs, play instruments, paint paintings. I have seen you write essays, solve problems, do experiments, enter science fairs. I have seen all the wonderful and marvelous things you can do. I have seen how well you can do them. I have seen the spirit in which you are capable of doing it all. Know that this is just the beginning. Each one of you has a special and unique contribution to making this world a better place – you are an important part of this puzzle we call life.

So remember: Listen to music. Know that you are cared for and loved. Say please and thank you. Take time each day to be quiet and still. Don’t forget to vote. And remember, If I am not for myself, then who is for me? If I am for myself alone, who am I? If not now, when?

By the way, because of all the wonderful things you and your classmates have already done, teh world is already a much better and more beautiful place. I thank each and every one of you, and urge you to keep it up!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

The Ascension


Salute the last and everlasting day,
Joy at the uprising of this Sunne, and Sonne,
Yee whose just teares, or tribulation
Have purely washt, or burnt your drossie clay;
Behold the Highest, parting hence away,
Lightens the darke clouds, which hee treads upon,
Nor doth hee by ascending, show alone,
But first hee, and hee first enters the way.
O strong Ramme, which has batter'd heaven for mee,
Mild Lambe, which with thy blood, has mark'd the path;
Bright Torch, which shin'st, that I the way may see,
Oh, with thy owne blood quench thy owne just wrath,
And if they holy Spirit, my Muse did raise,
Deigne at my hands this crown of prayer and praise.
John Donne

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Our Holy Babysitter of Shalom

13 May 2007 * Easter 6C

John 14: 23-29 * The Reverend Kirk Alan Kubicek, Saint Peter’s at Ellicott Mills, Maryland

Our Holy Babysitter of Shalom

There would be three observations I would like to make about this lesson from John on this Sixth Sunday of Easter Season. It is the Sunday before the Feast of the Ascension – the commemoration of what I like to think of as the birth of the church since with Jesus leaving after 40 days of resurrection appearances the disciples are at that point on their own.

So the lectionary is anticipating Jesus leaving and gives us a reading from what is known as “the Farewell Discourse” in John’s gospel. In the gospel Jesus is addressing issues of his leaving the disciples the next day, Good Friday, when he was crucified by Pontius Pilate, suffered death and was buried. Now it is being applied to the Ascension, forty-some days later, and more particularly is meant to address what might be interpreted as his conspicuous absence to this day.

Point number one: the church always reinterprets scripture. There is no single reading of scripture. As the letter to the Hebrews so eloquently puts it, “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and discerning the intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

That is, God’s word is not dead and static, rather it is instead living and active and thereby always new! There are always new ways of reading the texts in new contexts and new situations. This is precisely why I love studying the Bible – not to find out “the truth” as if there is only one reading and one truth, but to find the new “living and active” truth in God’s word today. It has always been a fundamental aspect of Judeo-Christian culture to reinterpret scripture.

Secondly, what this portion of John’s gospel means to convey to Christians in all ages at all times and in all places is that Jesus does not leave us alone – he sends an advocate, the Holy Spirit. Now the word for Spirit in Hebrew is ruach, and in Greek is pneuma – and in both biblical languages these words mean breath and wind as well as spirit. We cannot see our breath as it comes in and goes out. We cannot see the wind. We can see the effect of the wind as it moves trees and messes up our hair, but we cannot see it, yet we know it is there.

So, suggests the Bible, it is with the Spirit of God, the Advocate, the Holy Spirit – we cannot see it. Jesus wants us to know he never leaves us alone – the Holy Spirit is always in our midst wherever two or three are gathered in Jesus’ name. This Holy Spirit is kind of like our spiritual babysitter taking care of us while Jesus is off doing other things. So point number two is: we are not alone. The Holy Spirit is present for those who are attentive to its moving in and out and all around us. It is this Holy Spirit that will teach us “everything.”

That is an awful lot – everything! Wow! Yet, point number three sharpens everything just a bit. Point number three rests with one more thing Jesus leaves us, something that seems to summarize this “everything” the Spirit will teach us – Peace. Now we all know that this is not just calm, quiet, stillness and tranquility. But it does have a lot to do with concord, harmony, the end of war, reconciliation and freedom from strife. It is a Peace that surpasses all understanding. It is helpful to know that the word Jesus really uses is Shalom. Shalom in the Bible is a wonderfully fruitful word. In fact, I would even assert that when John the Baptist speaks of our bearing fruit worthy of repentance, he is talking about Shalom. Shalom is the very essence and at the very center of all biblical Hope – it takes a cluster of words to express the richness and depths of its meaning: love, loyalty (to God), truth, grace, salvation, justice, blessing, to name but a few.

Shalom is nothing less than the dream of God, described by the great African-American poet, theologian and mystic Howard Thurman as “a friendly world of friendly folk beneath a friendly sky.” Or, as we heard Isaiah recently proclaim a world where we study war no more, turning our swords into plowshares, and our spears into pruning hooks.

When Jesus gives us his peace (“my peace I leave with you”) this means the sum total of his entire life, death and resurrection as a means to reconciling the world – the whole world, so that unity may overcome estrangement, forgiveness heal guilt, and joy conquer despair.

That is, in giving us the gift of Shalom, Jesus is giving us work to do. Earlier in this same fourteenth chapter of John Jesus says, you will “do the works that I do; and greater works than these will you do, because I go to the Father.” That is, Jesus leaves so that we can get on with doing greater things than he does.

Do we understand this? Probably not. But with the teaching of the Holy Spirit, which like the word of God is living and active, there is a chance, just a chance mind you, that one day we will let ourselves be blown on by the wind and breath of the Spirit. There is a chance we will hear God’s Word in a new and enlivening way. We will hear something new in God’s word that has not been heard before and may never be heard again!

I recall walking along a stream bed with a friend who is an artist – a painter and a sculptor. Gerald Hardy had literally excavated a silted-in stream bed in his back yard, restoring it, recreating it, as a living, running stream. As we walked up-stream stepping carefully from rock to rock in the midst of the water, Gerald stopped. He leaned over. He pointed to a colorful fall maple leaf that had with the water adhered itself to a rock in the midst of the flowing stream. “That will only be here today,” Gerald said. “Tomorrow it will all be different.”

Reinterpret the Word of God. Be attentive to the movement and teachings of the Holy Spirit. Become an instrument of Christ’s Shalom – an instrument for the healing of the world so that God’s dream may one day come true – a friendly world of friendly folk beneath a friendly sky. Know, my sisters and brothers, that tomorrow it will all be different! Amen.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Musica animae (Music of the Soul)

Musica animae (Music of the Soul) – Steven Sametz

On Friday evening, April 27, I heard a choral concert of the Lehigh University Choral Arts in the Zoellner Arts Center, Bethlehem, PA. This was a few days after the tragedy at Virginia Tech. It featured Musica animae, by the Choral Arts director, Steven Sametz; the Stravinsky Symphony of Psalms; and concluded with the Faure Requiem, dedicated to the students, faculty, administration and families of Virginia Tech. Obviously conceived as a program long before the events of April 2007, altogether there could not have been a more fitting musical offering for the lives lost and disturbed by the campus shootings earlier that week. The surprise of the evening was Musica animae, a work that in its performance finds ways to embody our search for and experience of The Holy.

Musica animae was commissioned in 2006 by The Princeton Singers. It is scored for multiple choirs, low strings, handbells, harp,tuned crystal water glasses, and vibraphone. It is based upon two texts of wonder: a saying of Jesus from the Gospel of Thomas, and the words of the 5th century writer, Ambrosius Theodosius. There is a companion piece, Bedazzled, for electronic violin and orchestra.

Paraphase of Logion II from the Gnostic Gospel to Thomas: “Let him seek and cease not ‘til he finds, and when he finds he will be troubled, and when he has been troubled, he will marvel and he will reign over the All.”

From Commentrium Insomnium Scipionis (Commentary on Cicero’s “the Dream of Scipio”), Lib. II, 3, Ambrosius Theodosius Macrobius: Thus it is that in this life every soul is seized by musical sounds. For the soul carries into the body the memory of music which it knew in heaven and thus the soul is captured by musical charms. So it is that no human heart may be so cruel, so bitter that it not be held by the affections of the Source of all delight.

“The combination of these texts,” writes Sametz, “seems to me to hold the certainty that life is to be lived in concert with the Divine, even when we must search through trouble to discover what was there all along.”

The multiple choirs are massed on stage, in the rear balcony, and lining the outside aisles of the entire concert hall. The handbells were stationed throughout the concert hall, with the remaining instruments in front of the stage in the orchestra pit. The effect for those sitting in the auditorium seats is that of 360 degree antiphonal-surround sound. The vocalizations combined with the orchestrations created a total atmosphere of the mystery of and honor for the Divine. It could be imagined that this very well may be what music sounds like in Heaven. The listener is transported outside of oneself into a realm of pure musicality and spirit.

Talking with some of the performers afterwards, it immediately became evident that from their positions onstage it sounded like random notes and sounds. I assured them that from the audience’s perspective, the total effect was powerfully transcendent and sounded freely intentional without force or pretense. It was simply and humbly beautiful.

It was then that I was struck by the power of the musical metaphor vis a vis the texts themselves. Indeed, I am informed by a Jesuit sensibility that says we come from Love, we return to Love, and Love is all around. Musica animae communicates this and then some. But isn’t it true that the search for the Divine is often so distracted that we do not see the part we play in the expression of the Divine? That is, each performer was faithfully doing their part in communicating Musica animae to a sold-out auditorium, but had difficulty sensing how it made a harmonic whole. Isn’t this in itself a sort of metaphor for our participation in the expression of the Divine in this world? Often when doing our part faithfully and well we labor under the mistaken idea that it just is not coming together the way things ought to. Yet, it is so important for us to carry on despite not necessarily being able to see or hear how all the parts come together to make the music of the soul. It is in just this way that Musica animae can bring to the listener a deepened sense of hope that the Divine, The Holy, is indeed all around. We have only to listen with the ear of our heart to find ourselves “held by the affections of the Source of all delight.”

Musica animae, by Steven Sametz, both in its performance and in its hearing manages to present the listener and performer a sense of our participation in the Divine's eternal presence.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Heaven On Earth

From an upcoming edition of The Writer's Almanac on NPR....FRIDAY, 11 MAY, 2007
Listen (RealAudio) | How to listen

Poem: "Heaven on Earth" by Kristin Berkey-Abbott from, Whistling Past the Graveyard. © Pudding House Publications, 2004. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

Heaven on Earth

I saw Jesus at the bowling alley,
slinging nothing but gutter balls.
He said, "You've gotta love a hobby
that allows ugly shoes."
He lit a cigarette and bought me a beer.
So I invited him to dinner.

I knew the Lord couldn't see my house
in its current condition, so I gave it an out
of season spring cleaning. What to serve
for dinner? Fish—the logical
choice, but after 2000 years, he must grow weary
of everyone's favorite seafood dishes.
I thought of my Granny's ham with Coca Cola
glaze, but you can't serve that to a Jewish
boy. Likewise pizza—all my favorite
toppings involve pork.

In the end, I made us an all-dessert buffet.
We played Scrabble and Uno and Yahtzee
and listened to Bill Monroe.
Jesus has a healthy appetite for sweets,
I'm happy to report. He told strange
stories which I've puzzled over for days now.

We've got an appointment for golf on Wednesday.
Ordinarily I don't play, and certainly not in this humidity.
But the Lord says he knows a grand miniature
golf course with fiberglass mermaids and working windmills
and the best homemade ice cream you ever tasted.
Sounds like Heaven to me.

Friday, May 4, 2007

In Memoriam - Helen Sunderland

Helen Sunderland


John 11:21-27

Our story, of course is about two sisters, Martha and Mary, whose brother Lazarus has been lying dead in a tomb for four days. The sisters were friends and one could even say supporters of Jesus and his disciples. As soon as Lazarus took ill they had sent for their friend who had frequently demonstrated a remarkable healing ministry. Jesus delays going, and is even discouraged by his disciples from going since it would mean heading into dangerous territory.

The sisters faithfully sit shiva at home with friends and neighbors, several days of mourning with family and friends, when word comes to them that Jesus is finally at the edge of town on his way. Martha was always the more assertive of the two, so she heads out to the edge of town, meets Jesus and lets him know in no uncertain terms how disappointed they are that he did not come sooner.

No matter how I try to imagine this scene, I can hear Martha virtually screaming in desperation, “Jesus, if only you had come when we called for you….if only….if only…” and trailing off into uncontrollable sobbing.

Jesus, it turns out, is quite adept in dealing with an “if only” kind of world. And Jesus has some startling news for Martha: “Your brother will rise again.”

In the world of Martha, Mary, Lazarus and Jesus there were many who believed that on the day God’s anointed would walk into Jerusalem all of the dead would rise again. There was belief in a resurrection on the last day, the day of the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God.

This is where Jesus really gets Martha’s, and I hope our, attention. “I am the resurrection and the life….do you believe this.” At which point Martha becomes the first person in John’s Gospel to acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ, God’s anointed one.”

I don’t know about you, but at times like this I find myself feeling a lot like Martha. I want to shout at God in Christ, “If only….If only you were here our sister Helen would not have died.” And I suspect one of John’s reasons for telling this story in just this way is to remind us that it is OK for us to come together and be sad, even mad to lose one so close and so dear – a mother, a grandmother, a sister, a widow of some thirty years. Having spent more than a century among us, it is we who have grown fond of her presence, her love, her laughter as a permanent fixture in the fabric of our lives. We are the ones who share some of the sadness of the two sisters.

But like them, we see our sadness turned to joy: they at the moment Lazarus walks out of the tomb, we knowing that today marks the homecoming to new life Helen so richly deserves.

We are, of course, also here to celebrate and rejoice in a life faithfully lived. Helen’s was a remarkable presence among us. Had Martha been born in 1905 I can imagine her learning to drive shortly after World War II and continuing to do so to the age of 97 like Helen! Like Martha, Helen looked after others’ needs, helping others without never a cross word. When I think of Helen several images come to mind. Helen and Eddie sitting together at Holy Communion. Helen driving to the church and coming into the office to pay her pledge. Helen’s One Hundredth Birthday Eucharist. And Helen directing me to the closet to bring out the shoe box, tied with string, which held the corporal, candles and cross for home communion in her apartment at The Heartlands. Her sense of reverence and the Holy could always be sensed behind her slightly mischievous but always joy-filled smile. In the end, she knew Jesus as well as Martha knew Jesus, believing he is the son of God who is coming into the world. We celebrate One Hundred and Two years of faith in the love of God in Christ Jesus.

Helen’s faithfulness to Saint Peter’s and even more so to the Lord she so loves, and who knows her as his Beloved, can be seen as both legendary and at the same time to be as natural as breathing or simply walking to and from the communion rail week in and week out, year in and year out.

How intriguing it would be to attempt to calculate how many miles Helen has walked simply to receive communion over the past 100 years. If you were then to include the number of miles traveled to get to and from the church as well it might stretch from here to Los Angeles, or even here to the moon.

And then one might speculate as to just what it is that inspires one woman such as Helen, who, when factoring in the kinds of inconveniences and stumbling blocks life in this world deals us, to keep walking walking walking toward her Lord and her God? It is, of course, no less than the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and a willingness to follow that Spirit.

It is fitting that it is still Easter Season. It is fitting for the Paschal Candle, the Light of Christ, to be burning right beside Helen. It is fitting for the church to be decked out in Gold and White for Helen’s homecoming. Helen is already face to face with the one she so faithfully worshipped, followed and obeyed. She knows in a whole new way that Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life! She now drinks from the fountain of the water of life freely and without payment. She even now is feasting on rich food, well aged wines on the mountain of the Lord of Hosts!

“It will be said on that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited. Let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

Let us stand here in this place, where Helen has stood so many times before us, and turning to page 496 in the red Book of Common Prayer, let us in the assurance of eternal life given in baptism, proclaim our faith saying together the Apostle’s Creed….