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“Fools for Christ”
by Fr Bruce Swinehart
Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. (1 Corinthians 3:18-19)
It’s hard to feel hopeful these days. Every day we’re confronted with a new natural or man-made catastrophe, or the threat of one. Hurricanes, floods, wars, mass shootings, racial tension, nuclear annihilation, refugees… One of my friends said, “all my news alerts should come with a trigger warning.”
As the level of chaos rises throughout the country and around the world, so does our anxiety. But what do we do when the needle is already pegged at “orange?” It’s easy to get carried away by feelings of anxiety, fear, anger, powerlessness and hopelessness – they can possess us like demons if we’re not careful. They can overwhelm our conscience and cause us to think and do things that we would not normally think or do, so that we unconsciously participate in the escalating spiral.
The “wisdom of this world” encourages this response. It stokes the fires that cause us to find others to blame for our own distress, to dehumanize them, to turn them into scapegoats and to seek revenge.
But Paul tells us, “the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God,” and therefore “we should become fools so that we may become wise.”
Our Christian vocation is to do what appears to be utterly foolish in times like this: to have hope in Christ. To bear public witness not only to evil, injustice and oppression, but also to those places where God’s kingdom is already breaking into this world. Rather than defending and protecting our hearts, to let them be broken open by suffering with those who suffer. And then acting to relieve their suffering and to do whatever we can to prevent more suffering from entering into the world. To follow our conscience even though the world tells us that we are crazy, stupid, or both. To behave as if everything we do really does make a difference, because we don’t rely on our own power, but on the power of God’s transforming love.
The Russian Orthodox tradition has a special name for a particular kind of saint, yurodivyi, which means “Fool-for-Christ.” These are people who sometimes took on and then exaggerated the foolishness with which the world saw them, so that they could more effectively expose the evil in it. The Orthodoxwiki.org website lists 45 such saints who have been honored with this title, including St Paul himself. What an honor it would be to be counted among them!
UPCOMING AT AND AROUND ST. MARY MAGDALENE
(click on event title links for details)
- Feast of St. Francis and Animal Blessing, Saturday, October 7, 5:00pm
- Sunday Worship Services, Sunday, October 8, 8:00am (no music) and 10:00am
- Adult Formation Hour, Sunday, October 8, 9:00am
- Reception for Brenda Carter and Carter Lustig, Sunday, October 8, 11:00am
- Centering Prayer, Tuesday, October 10, 9:15am
- Vestry Meeting, Tuesday, October 10, 6:30pm
- Men’s Discussion Group, Wednesday, October 11, 9:00am
- Choir Rehearsal, Thursday, October 12, 7:00pm
Feast of St. Francis and Animal Blessing
Join us at 5:00pm on Saturday, October 7, for the annual Blessing of the Animals. All pets are welcome!
The fall season of adult education sessions concludes at 9:00am on October with a final presentation and discussions on King Henry VIII, Thomas Cranmer, Queen Elizabeth 1, and Richard Hooker. These are not only the four most important figures in the founding of our Anglican Tradition in the English Reformation, but much of our own Episcopal theology, worship, and values can be traced back to them. Spencer Carr and Janet Poley will lead.
CROP Hunger Walk – SMM Is Walking!
The SMM community is fundraising and walking in solidarity with all those who hunger. Let’s meet at Ozo Coffee (1015 Pearl Street) at 1:15 pm. From there we will walk to First Congregational Church (1128 Pine Street Boulder) to register, hand in donations and begin our walk together. Donations are accepted online here
or you can give cash/check donations to youth at the 10am service on October 8th and 15th. For questions contact Sue Crowley.
Safeguarding God’s Children Training
If you are a new volunteer and you work with children on a regular basis we need you to come to this training from 9am to 1pm on Saturday October 21! Volunteers who are up for renewal can come as well or you can renew training online. Your certificate is due for renewal every 4 years. Light breakfast and lunch provided. Please RSVP to this event. Contact Sue Crowley
or Niles Oien.
How the Soul Heals
On October 31, 2017 from 9am-3pm,
The Rev. Peter Fritsch, presenter and author, will teach us how to regain trust in one’s intuition and instinct while drawing closer to God. $50 suggested donation at the door. Contact Amy Newell-Large.
All Souls Day
We will celebrate All Souls Day at both services on Nov. 5th. To honor the memory of your loved ones, before the service you are invited to bring memorabilia or photographs to place on a special altar we will have prepared at the front of the church. Contact Chris McMamara.
Women’s Treat Day
All women of St. Mary Magdalene are invited to a Women’s Treat Day from 11:30a-5:00p on Sunday, November 5 at the church. This fun gathering includes high tea after the service and a session on the mind/body/spirit connection with Rev. Sally Bowersox, Episcopal priest and founder of the St. Benedict Health and Healing Ministry. Free child care will be provided upon request. RSVP online
or use the sign-up sheet on the table near the parking lot entrance. Contact Courtney Gambrell.
SMM Book Club
Our next book is The Light Between Oceans
by M. L. Steadman. Janet and Bob Poley will also host this meeting. at 7pm, Friday, Nov. 10. Respond to Janet Poley. This thrilling story is a profound exploration of morality, love and fear. Read the review here>
Outreach Party Sign-Ups Continue!
We had a very successful Party Sunday, with people signing up for more than $4500 in parties. Even with that only three out of the 23 events are currently full. So for the next several Sundays, someone (usually me) will be there with the sign up sheets that still have spaces so anyone can continue to sign up. I also expect to have initial letters to those who have signed up ready to distribute, with their lists of what they signed up for and how much they owe, if they didn’t pay last Sunday. Contact Bill Andrews for more information.
Bake Communion Bread!
Would you like to bake communion bread? The recipe is simple – making and baking takes about a half hour on Friday evening or early Saturday morning. Deliver the bread to the church before 10:00 am Saturday. It is nice too if you present it at the offertory on Sunday morning, but not necessary. This is a wonderful expression of service and care for your church family! Find the recipe here!
Contact Janet Poley to volunteer.
CONNECT WITH SAINT MARY MAGDALENE
Worship Service Times
The office will be closed
Monday October 9.
Priest in Charge Hours
Sun Afternoon-Mon – Sabbath
Tues-Thur – Office Hours
Fri-Sat – by appointment
To submit an announcement for the church calendar, Parish News, website, and bulletin, contact the church office
no later than 12:00pm on the Tuesday prior to desired publication. Please limit announcements to 50 words or less. If more information is needed, a document can be linked to the announcements with a full description.