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Dear St. Luke’s Community,

This coming Sunday we will gather and celebrate the Liturgy of the Palms. We will recite the Hosannas to Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem proclaiming his greatness and then by week’s end we will join in the chorus of ‘Crucify Him’ with an angry crowd bent on avoiding conflict with the ruling Roman Governor and the Emperor he represents.

The wildly shifting of emotions of Holy Week can be dizzying. That’s a good thing. Coming to grips with the fullness of our participation in the life of God means that we will be from time to time faithful vessels of God’s blessing to the world and then confound ourselves by the ways in which we can work against the coming of the Kingdom. The fact of the matter is that it is part of coming to grips with our fallen nature in relationship to God. Just because we might expect to foul up doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t strive for the greater gifts. By the same token, we cannot be too hard on ourselves. Remember the Rock upon which the Church has been built (St. Peter) got it wrong profoundly alongside getting it right in divinely inspired ways.

I hope that we all will be convicted during the journey with Jesus to the cross and through to the resurrection. I pray our convictions will be across the continuum of faith. God permit us to be convicted in both our faithfulness and our faithlessness. Understanding where we stand is the requisite first step in plotting a course to being transformed and becoming agents of God’s transforming love in Jesus.

We may be a mixed blessing when it comes to our faithfulness to the Mission of Jesus in the Church but remember that we are a blessing nonetheless.

Blessed Holy Week!

Peace and Good,

The Rev. Warren Earl Hicks, Rector
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
921 Pleasant St.
Worcester, MA 01602
508-756-1990 (Office)
508-756-8277 (Fax)

Blog Address www.frwarren.blogspot.com


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Dear St. Luke’s Community,

Experts say that it takes 21 days of consistent practice to develop a new habit.

We have passed the halfway mark in our sojourn through the 40 days of Lent and so might be expecting some new habits to have broken out and perhaps some old ones to have evaporated. I do hope that is the case with us as we travel through these great 40 days with Jesus on the way to the cross.

As part of our Lenten Quiet day on February 24th, we spent a great deal of time wrestling with how to be Mary in a Martha world. If you’ll remember that Jesus informs Martha in the midst of her busyness that “she is worried and distracted by many things, there is need of only one thing.” (Luke 10:41-42) I have been wondering if the measure of keeping a ‘Holy Lent’ isn’t simply uncovering ONE thing that will enrich our souls spiritually or that will make a tangible difference in the life of the world and at least ONE of God’s people in it (other than ourselves). Maybe the richness of the gift that is Lent can be found in doing ONE of each of these things.

Specifically I have come to believe in this Lenten season that we have to live out of both/and rather than either/or when it comes to a personal discipline of Lent and a public expression of compassion for the world. Sometimes I’m a bit slow on the uptake, but that seems to be the life of faithful integrity that God is calling us to through the person and ministry of Jesus. By integrity, I mean the integrating of the contemplative and active parts of the Christian life. I suspect that’s a lifelong goal toward which we can only progress and never truly attain completely.

For Christian communities in general and St. Luke’s in particular, I believe that the measure of how we’ve kept a Holy Lent will be found in how we live in an Easter reality. I is my fervent prayer and abiding hope that the keeping of a HOLY LENT will be the blossom on the tree of our common life that will produce the resurrection fruit of compassionate ministry in the light of a newly dawned Easter.

So regardless of how you think “you’ve done” on your Lenten discipline to this point, remember it is never to late to keep a Holy Lent.

Peace and Good,

The Rev. Warren Earl Hicks, Rector
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
921 Pleasant St.
Worcester, MA 01602
508-756-1990 (Office)
508-756-8277 (Fax)

Blog Address www.frwarren.blogspot.com


“Eighty percent of success is showing up.”

Woody AllenUS movie actor, comedian, & director (1935 – )

Dear St. Luke’s Community,

Think what you will of Woody Allen from a personal or artistic standpoint, but this little nugget is at the heart of being able “to do the work you have given us to do, to love and serve you as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord.” (BCP 366). For us to be the Good News People that we are called to be as Christ’s Body in the world, we first have to show up. Another way of putting it is that we need to exercise a ministry of presence. To be really present where we have been called to be is a consistent challenge for those of us who seek to live a life of faith.

One of the accompanying challenges is not to shrink from the world around us. The ministry of presence is not passive. To be really present with the world is to be engaged in it. To be aware of what’s going on about us and to be unabashed in re-presenting ourselves and the Gospel Good News to the world is at the heart of being faithful witnesses. That’s the work of a missionary. By our Baptismal Covenant we have all been called to be active and present in the Mission field.

This past Tuesday the active part of St. Luke’s ministry of presence bore wonderful fruit. Without compromising the confidentiality of the event our proclamation of presence to the neighborhood in our new sign planted a seed around the Healing Service. One of the folks who attended the service told me that she had come because she had seen the sign. With her she brought the concerns of a friend. Because of our willingness to declare our presence without guilt or shame to the passersby on Pleasant St., we had the privilege of being a prayerful presence with and for some of God’s Beloved.

Whoever you are, wherever you are and whatever you do, remember who you re-present. Show up, be present, tell the Gospel truth and leave the results to God.

Peace and Good,

The Rev. Warren Earl Hicks, Rector
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
921 Pleasant St.
Worcester, MA 01602
508-756-1990 (Office)
508-756-8277 (Fax)

Blog Address www.frwarren.blogspot.com

Dear St. Luke’s Community,

Over the course of the past two weeks I have seen the signs of spring mixed in most strikingly with the realities of the winter in which we find ourselves. On Shrove Tuesday, I noticed nearly a dozen robins bouncing around on the ground outside the Parish Hall. It may not be the case here in New England, but in the West the arrival of the first robin of spring is more important than any pronouncement made by Punxatawney Phil. I have not seen those robins so much in the intervening days, but I hear them constantly. Spring indeed cannot be far away.

The second of the most remarkable of signs I’ve seen showing me that Spring cannot be far off is the fact that I was able to watch a baseball game last night. I watched (along with the rest of RedSox Nation) the beloved boys from Fenway fill the seats at City of Palms Park in Fort Myers to watch a 40-year old pitcher work through 19 deliveries to a mixture of the best and youngest that the Minnesota Twins have to offer. It was not ‘mid-season’ form by any stretch of the imagination, but it filled my heart with joy as sure as the first breezes of spring fill my lungs through an open window when I convince myself that it really is warm enough to leave it open (even if only a crack) through the night.

In many ways these two examples are also a part of what makes Lent such a gift to me. The uncertainty of living between the worlds of the Passion and the Resurrection is exciting to me. The uncertainty of what sort of weather the next system will bring is life giving for me. Make no mistake, I like some certainty in my seasons. Summer should always be warm enough for shorts and sandals. Fall should be sweater weather. Winter should make me appreciate hearth and home in a way that other seasons don’t. Spring, however, is most exciting for me emotionally and spiritually, when the next day, the next gift from God, is less certain.

I hope that this uncertainty can open up new ways for us all to appreciate the gift of Lent. Just as surely as summer follows the spring, Easter will follow Good Friday and the fullness of time and the Holy Promise of new and unending life will again be our companion on the Way. That being said, I pray we all be present to whatever the wind blows our way during the rest of Lent.

Peace and Good,

The Rev. Warren Earl Hicks, Rector
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
921 Pleasant St.
Worcester, MA 01602
508-756-1990 (Office)
508-756-8277 (Fax)

Blog Address www.frwarren.blogspot.com

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