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The winter is gone...

"Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.” Song of Solomon Our Old Testament reading for Sunday is from the Song of Solomon (2: 8-13), sometimes called the Song of Songs, and is often read at weddings. The whole passage expresses a breathless, boundless, and yearning love that one person seems to have for another. Our passage has often been tapped into as a metaphor for Christ’s love for His Church, as well. What I see in the Song’s whole ethos is something that is often missing in the way that we speak, think about, or act toward each other in the world today: with optimism born of love. The promise of an end to a long winter (how ab

You have the words to eternal life

…Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6: 68-69 You have the words of eternal life. John 6: 56-69 essentially reveals how the 12 apostles were selected, in John’s telling. They are the ones who remain after Jesus has talked to his many disciples and followers about eating His flesh and drinking His blood; the others walk away for good. Jesus’ way is not the easy way; not easy to understand, not simple to live into, a life that calls us to deny ourselves sometimes. The desert fathers told a story. A group of monks as

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14; Psalm 111; John 6:51-58 There is a law below the Mason-Dixon Line that says if you sit down for dinner, you must have bread. Seriously, at least two or three southern states have in their constitutions that you must, under penalty of death or possible imprisonment, serve bread at the dinner table. Well, maybe not, but it was certainly a hard and fast rule at my mother’s house growing up. She was a wonderful cook and made biscuits and bread from scratch. But when there was not enough flour or something she would have those Pillsbury canned biscuits, you know, the one’s you hit on the edge of the counter to pop it open ... or even plain Wonder bread with butter … .but

Eat my flesh and drink my blood

Jesus says, in John 6, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” What is Jesus saying? For some, Jesus seems to be excluding life from those who do not believe in the power of Eucharistic action. Or, more generally, those who don’t believe in Jesus himself are not part of His promises. We are reminded, in next week’s readings, that even many who followed Jesus could not accept Jesus talk about eating his flesh and drinking his blood. So, what are we to make of it?! I don’t think that we, as Christians, need to believe that faith in Jesus is the only way to connect with God. Muslims, Jews, and Buddhist persons, among oth

Living the life of Jesus, not just imagining it

“Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil…Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4: 26-27, 29 Paul’s letter, written at the end of a life that had seen a powerful conversion from persecutor to proclaimer of the way of Jesus, gives us sage and holy advice in an uncertain time. Resist, Paul would tell us, the urge to tear down those with whom we disagree. Build up; speak truth in love, and beware of pride (my ancient curse), lest we speak our own truth and not that of Christ. We need a life of congruence in o

Congruence...living Christ in life, inside and out

Ephesians 4:25-5:2 Those who believe that Paul is the author of the Letter to the Ephesians also hold that the Apostle was probably writing the letter at the end of his life, while imprisoned in Rome. He had been persecuted (run out of various places, stoned at least twice, beaten many times) during his life of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ’s love. But in spite of all that he had seen, heard, and experienced, Paul trusted that Christ was calling the Christian community to live in a profoundly different way, what the Rev. Dr. Eugene Peterson calls a ministry “of congruence.” Congruence, in the Christian life, means that one is attempting live in one’s spiritual and actual life what Je

There is one Body and one Spirit

“…to measure of the full stature of Christ.” Ephesians 4: 13 The more I listen to different cross sections of folks these days, the more I realize how divided a people we truly have become! The gulfs between us should come as no surprise to anyone who has been listening in recent years and not just to the news. We have fallen, Christian communities being no exception, into a very troubling “us” and “them” mentality. Ephesians 4: 1-16 is as timely and powerful - given the hurdles that block our coming together - as it was when Paul wrote it some 2,000 years ago. Forgive Paul’s lack of punctuation here: “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the hope of your calling, one