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Reflections

Why we need these ashes: An excerpt from Bishop Gayle Harris's Ash Wednesday sermon

...We need Ash Wednesday, the mark of ashes, to remember we are mortal, temporary travellers on the planet, and that we are given stewardship to care for God's creation and each other.We need these ashes.  Our civic discourse is full of appeals to the lowest and most base in us, victimizing victims so that those who think they should be entitled can again feel that they are above others, "true" Americans.  We need Ash Wednesday, the mark of ashes, to remind us that we are to be humble, just as God in Jesus humbled himself to lift us, and so we are to lift others.
Reflections
Reflections

Advent agents of reflected light: A message from Bishop Gates

Advent is often understood as a time of waiting expectantly.  Our scriptures focus on Mary in her faithful pondering and Zechariah in his mute vigil.  Yet Advent is a time not only of waiting, but also of preparing.  Indeed, visions which describe the world which God intends – lion and lamb in reconciled harmony, sword beaten into plowshare – these are visions not only of that for which we wait, but that for which we must work.  Alongside texts recalling the quiet expectation of Zechariah and Mary, we read texts recalling the urgent cry of Isaiah and John the Baptist:  Prepare!
Reflections
Reflections

A message from Bishop Alan M. Gates: Giving thanks for women in holy orders

Forty years ago today the General Convention of The Episcopal Church voted to authorize the ordination of women.  For many of us it is difficult to remember or imagine our church without this expression of wholeness. 
Reflections
Reflections

Lessons from the early church: Presidential election not the biggest story in the universe

Last week, I had the privilege to gather with the other 200-plus Episcopal priests in the Diocese of Massachusetts who attended our annual conference.  We heard from Andrew McGowan, the dean of my former seminary, Berkeley at Yale Divinity School.  He spoke about his research into the early church and how it shapes our prayer book and worship.  Among other things, the early church developed its common life and practice in the face of persecution from the state.  Simply to be a Christian was to be a radical, to resist the power of the dominant narrative of commerce and op
Reflections
Reflections

"Don't be ashamed to be people of love": Presiding Bishop Curry's 2016 Easter message

Find the text of Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry's 2016 Easter message here.
Reflections
Reflections

"Empty tombs": An Easter message from Bishop Gates

My father was always a notorious pack rat.  Some of his collecting fell under the heading of sentimentality – knick-knacks and mementos from his travels or his childhood.  Other items were in the category of thrift – broken things that might one day be fixed, scraps of things that might one day be useful.  So our family basement was always lined with tall metal storage shelves filled with boxes of stuff.  One day some years ago I happened to discover that several boxes on the shelves were actually empty.  I asked my mother why we were storing so many large empty box
Reflections
Reflections

Reflection: Show us what there yet can be

It's a brand new year once more--full of hope and promise, full of anticipation of what it may bring, in our own lives, in the lives of those around us and in the life of the world.  New Year's Day means many things to many people--resolutions, parades, fireworks, champagne, football, to name a few.  In the Episcopal Church, we celebrate New Year's Day as the Feast of the Holy Name.  We celebrate the day Jesus was officially given his hame, which means "the one who saves."
Reflections
Reflections

Christmas wishes, Advent hope: A message from Bishop Gates

Two friends of mine had an online interpretive disagreement about Emily Dickinson’s poem, with its familiar opening lines:“Hope” is the thing with feathers –That perches in the soul – And sings the tune without the words –And never stops – at all – One friend declared that this was an overly sweet sentiment which expressed a weak and wimpy hope, nothing more than a wish.  She advocated a more “robust, muscular hope,” one that leads us forward in more concrete ways.
Reflections
Reflections

Bishop Gayle Harris reflects on the installation of Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry

Bishop Alan M. Gates, Bishop Gayle E. Harris and Bishop Barbara C. Harris participated in the installation liturgy of Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry at Washington National Cathedral on Nov. 1.  The installation of the first African-American presiding bishop was a historic moment for the entire church, and one with great personal significance for Bishop Gayle Harris, who has known Curry since meeting in seminary in 1979.
Reflections
Reflections

Marking Nov. 11 with prayer and gratitude: A Veterans Day message from Bishop Gates

Last week during a family visit I happened upon mementos of my father’s naval service at the end of World War II. 
Reflections