The Rev. Joseph H. Hensley, Jr., Rector of St. George’s Episcopal Church in Fredericksburg, Virginia shares this reflection at a live stream Celtic Evensong worship service on April 16, 2020.
The Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation has developed an online retreat called ‘Holy Interruptions’; a time to pause, center, and refresh in the presence of the Holy.
Please join the Rev. Areeta Bridgemohan on Saturday, April 25, 2020 from 9 am -12 pm for a guided experience of this retreat via Zoom. Sign up by filling out the form below. If the form doesn’t display correctly, please click here.
After you register, watch for an email from Rev. Areeta with information on how to login for the Zoom call and other helpful information for your personal preparation. Please note that registration closes at 5 pm on Friday, April 24.
Click here to learn more about the retreat or if you’d like to participate in the retreat on your own time.
This online retreat is free of charge, freewill donations to Shalem are welcome.
As part of our 300th Anniversary celebrations, our rector, Joe Hensley is challenging us to read the whole Bible by May 1, 2021 to ground our 300th celebration in faith. It is not too late to join! We have a suggested reading program (analog or digital) so that we can do this together (over 90 St. Georgians participating with new people still joining).
A weekly email from Rev. Joe provides encouragement and guidance for the readings. And anyone with questions is invited to attend our adult formation session (held virtually) on Sundays at 10 am. You can watch via Zoom Conference Call. Visit https://zoom.us/j/392738239 or dial 929.205.6099 and enter the meeting ID: 392 738 239.
Contact Joe Hensley if you are interested in participating.
Click here for a pdf of the reading schedule for the year.
The following is Rector Joe Hensley’s monthly opening message from our weekly e-newsletter the St. Georgian. If you’d like to receive our weekly e-newsletter, sign-up here.
Greetings beloved St. Georgians,
Continuing the “Way of Love” (https://episcopalchurch.org/way-of-love) with this month’s newsletter message, I invite us to reflect on our “worship.” According to the description in the Way of Love: “we gather in community weekly to thank, praise, and dwell with God” as followers of Jesus in the Episcopal Church.
Some Biblical terms for “worship” originally meant to physically fall down in a posture of submission such as kneeling or prostration. We stand more often these days (although kneeling is still a fine option), but worship is still about humbly submitting to God’s authority and love. Our gathering is not just for peace and comfort. We gather to collectively offer ourselves to God as a “sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving,” that God might make us holy.
Ancient worship involved the literal sacrifice of animals. Today we make other sacrifices to be in church, and it is work. We may feel like falling down by the time we find a parking spot, walk across streets, up the church steps or elevator and get situated for an opening hymn which we may struggle to sing. We listen to sometimes difficult Bible readings. We offer the first fruits of our hard-earned money. Why go to all this trouble?
When we fall down before God in community, we stumble into grace. We accept that God is God and we are not. By listening to ancient stories that are not about us (but which connect with our stories) and singing songs that we would not have chosen, praying words that we did not write, gathering with strangers, we move from being self-centered to God-centered. That opens our hearts and possibilities for new life.
During Lent, you may notice that when I preside at the altar, I am not lifting up my hands as I usually do. Priests have many options for what to do with their hands at the altar. I encourage our clergy to do what feels meaningful to them. The different hand motions add to the celebration. During Lent, though, I am doing less with my hands (some actions are required in the Book of Common Prayer) as a sign that it is God grace and not my doing which makes the sacrament holy. Why? In a season when we simplify our worship in many ways, I felt an invitation to still my hands and open my heart.
How might God be inviting you to “fall down” in worship this Lent as a way to open your heart? As we stumble into grace together, may God make us holy in service to the larger story of God’s saving and redeeming love.
Your rector and brother in Christ,
On Wednesdays at noon during Lent, the Micah Downtown Churches invite you to join in worship and lunch. Young Adult Chaplin the Rev. David P. Casey, O.P. will provide the sermon on March 11 at Shiloh Baptist Old Site. Our Rector, the Rev. Joseph H. Hensley, Jr. is preaching at the Presbyterian Church on April 1.
March 4: Fredericksburg United Methodist Church, 308 Hanover St., Fredericksburg, VA
March 11: Shiloh Baptist Church (Old Site), 801 Sophia St., Fredericksburg, VA
March 18: St. Mary Catholic Church, 1009 Stafford Ave., Fredericksburg, VA
March 25: Christ Lutheran, 1300 Augustine Ave, Fredericksburg, VA
April 1: The Presbyterian Church, 810 Princess Anne St., Fredericksburg, VA