I wonder if you have ever suffered a devastating blow in your life – lost a child, lost a sibling, a parent or your spouse? Have you suffered from a debilitating illness which left you uncertain whether it was better to live or to die? Have you ever suffered from depression? These are just a few situations where our Faith can be put to the test.
Many years ago, I was in charge of a very important and stressful operation running a major crude oil pipeline in Alaska with 500 people working for me and a multi-million-dollar budget. All was going well and I was on top of the world. Then one day, out of the blue, I was told I was fired. Yes, fired for no other reason than my bosses did not like that I had disagreed with an order that I felt was neither best nor safe for the organization – therefore I was the wrong person for that job. My first reaction was not anger, but disbelief and concern for my future and the future of my family.
I gathered up my things and rushed downtown to where my wife was working. She too was shocked but she comforted me and assured me of her love, and the certainty that God was with us. Very soon we found ourselves in our church at prayer.
Over time with support from family and friends and with the deeply felt presence of God, things recovered and we survived the ordeal. I found a new job which led to even better opportunities and brought me new hope and deeper faith. Looking back, I realize that I was very depressed for many months and actually annoyed that the company thought they had softened the blow by offering financial and psychological help that was really worthless. My faith in the Lord was what carried me those days and nights.
This station, number 7, is traditionally where Jesus falls for the second time. It does not appear in the Gospels but has traditionally been observed as a mark of the despair and desolation that humans can experience and demonstrates the heavy weight, sometimes almost unbearable, that we can feel upon our shoulders at such a time. Even surrounded by family and friends, as Jesus was, this weight is more than we can bear. How much more so must it have been for Him knowing that He was to suffer crucifixion and carry on His shoulders the weight of all the sin of mankind. He had probably been flogged. He had been stripped of clothing and humiliated, then forcibly dressed again and forced to march to His death carrying His own cross. This was physical agony on top of mental anguish of a degree that we cannot begin to imagine.
Let us pray:
We adore you O Christ and we bless you, because by your death and resurrection you have redeemed this world. We love you for you compassion and your faithfulness to us sinners. We pray in your name – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Pancake Supper was a great success! Fun, fellowship (and lots of pancakes) were had by all! We raised over $650 at the Pancake Supper that will be used for camp scholarships. The open plate offering on Camp Sunday was for the Diocese to use for camp scholarships, and $1141.00 was raised. Thank you all for your generosity!
At the Lenten Lunches, often there is soup left over. Marilynne Herbster coordinates using these left-overs to provide meals for some of our shut-in members. Peggy and Paul Foerster are pleased to have been able to transport soups to Harvey Cox on two Sundays. Harvey is a member of our Coffee and Conversation class that meets each Sunday between services. Harvey has participated in the class for several years although he is almost totally blind. In the past few months he as been unable to come to church even if there is someone to drive him because his inability to see subjects him to motion sickness when riding in a car. Harvey greatly appreciates the contact with fellow parishioners, through the soup ministry, the eSpear, and the weekly emails from Coffee and Conversation. He is able to read these on his computer using his document camera and enhanced view screen. Although Harvey is well into his 90s, he is still alert and communicative. He is a role model for us as we grow older. In addition, LaRue Acosta has also been part of this ministry, and noted that this act of service fit so well with Fr. Nate’s sermon on February 21st about physical and spiritual nourishment. Please contact Marilynne if you are interested in taking part in this ministry.
Station 6 – Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus – Matthew 25:40
I did not want him to go. I wanted him to stay with me and ignore the rest of the world. The “him” in question was my husband Sam. It was the spring of 1998 and I was seven months pregnant with our daughter. In the space of four hours we had learned that Sam’s father in Ohio was seriously ill, and I had been in a car accident with a San Antonio police officer.
My husband did his best to remain calm, and handle two very bad situations. As he dealt with the hospital staff caring for our daughter and I, he was on the phone, talking to his sister and cousin, trying to find out how bad his father’s condition was. The answer was: very bad. Sam’s dad might not pull through. The critical time was in the next twenty-four hours. Sam was torn.
After I was let out of the hospital the next morning, I made arrangements for Sam to fly to Ohio. He had to fly out of Austin to catch the next available flight, but his dad was hanging on, still stable though in critical condition. I remember driving Sam to the Austin airport, and crying all the way home. I felt so alone, so scared, but I knew that this was the right thing to do, that God would take care of me.
The next day I tried to go to work, but I did not feel “right” and went home. Day progressed into late evening and I knew that something was not as it should be. As things came to a head in a very dramatic fashion, I found myself back at the hospital, being hooked up to all manner of medical equipment and monitors, trying to keep myself calm for my unborn daughter’s sake.
I reached out to a friend of mine, a sister in Christ. I called her, hoping for prayer over the phone, some encouraging words. She immediately came to the hospital. She sat with me while they stabilized me, and the labor contractions were stopped for the second time. She prayed with me over and over. She talked to Sam to let him know that I was not alone, and that our seven year old son was taken care of as well. I later found out that her house had been flooded that day, and she had left a whole team of workers who were ripping up her carpets and drying things out to come and sit with me. I was not a close friend of hers, more of a casual acquaintance. Yet she heeded God’s nudging and came when I most needed it.
Sam’s father pulled through. I was released from the hospital after a few days, still pregnant with a healthy baby. Our life continued on. However I will always be touched by the Godly love my friend showed me. As I had heeded God’s voice and sent Sam to be with his father in his time of need, so God sent me a reminder of His Love when I needed it. God is Good!
The spring trip to Haiti is just around the corner. Next week, our own Keith Earle and community members including our Head of School, Rob Devlin, Lynne Devlin, Robby Devlin, Joe Garza, and Greg Merritt will be traveling to St. Benoit in Mombin Crochu, Haiti. We are commissioning the team during our today’s school chapel and will hold another commissioning at church this Sunday.
While our travelers are in Haiti, we want to ensure that we stay in touch and stay up to date with what is going on. All are invited to connect with our team in Haiti on Palm Sunday in between services at 10:00AM. We will have limited connectivity with them, but will try to video chat and talk with them. You can also “like” the St. George Episcopal Church or School Facebook page for updates. This will be vital in connecting our communities together.
Please keep these travelers in your thoughts and prayers as they journey to Haiti. They are embarking on an incredible journey of service and faith. We look forward to all they bring back with them as we continue this partnership with Father Wilky and St. Benoit.
*Our Haiti Team was commissioned in Chapel on Thursday, 3/10 (see picture) but will receive our blessing again in church on Sunday.
Station 5 – Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus to Carry His Cross – Mark 15:21
Seeing that even Jesus needed his brother in flesh to help carry the heavy, awkward cross reminds me of when I felt the pull between anger and finding forgiveness in the time of my father’s death. It was cruel and unfair to a man who served his brothers and sisters and honored our God. He was killed in a painful way and suffered greatly at the expense of another person’s ill choices and actions. I wanted to feel anger at the unknown person responsible. I knew that both my earthly and heavenly Fathers would want me to forgive and find the goodness I was blessed with.
Being angry took no effort, but to forgive and release the darkness that filled my heart took an enormous amount of discipline. So, I prayed. I sat still. I watched a sunset at my father’s gravesite. I hugged others a little tighter and imagined I was taking a little of their love to fill my dark anger and I went to my happy place, the beach. I soaked in the feeling of being so small in the vast ocean lit by nothing but the moonlight and glorious stars that I imagined were my ancestors from years past. I dug my feet in the cool sand and breathed the salty air. Here my tears tasted the same running down my face as the ocean water that splashed on my face. God’s presence has always been in nature for me and I found it again.
I forgave and I shared this warm feeling with my family so that I could be reminded that anger is not capable of seeing the bright moonlight. I reflected Jesus’s spirit by speaking of His mercy and love to anyone who would hear me. I shared the loss of my father, but in the same breath I would share the goodness that I felt in my heart when I opened my heart to Love. I took the hurt and made an origami flower to wear proudly. I worked to help others in their time of sadness.
When I had a major surgery, I was utterly helpless and was forced to be still yet again due to the intense pain. It was hard to accept the help from my church family and friends, but I tried to be still. I found the discipline I had once before and forgave myself for needing to have a major surgery and embraced those who came to my aide with love. I taught my children how Christians care for one another in times of need. Even on days when the pain cripples me, I feel such joy when I reach out to help others in need. It is a sort of high now. I no longer need to be in the physical presence of that beach to feel the presence of God. All I need to do now is hug someone who is hurting, call a lonely friend or offer a warm meal. Helping others fills my heart and dampens any brewing anger I begin to feel.
Station 4 – Jesus Meets His Mother – John 19:25-27
Today’s devotion suggests that looking into his mother’s eyes gave Jesus the strength to continue on his very difficult path. This may be the case, but, being a mother, I imagine that Mary’s initial human reaction, though held within, was to cry out, “No! No, you are my son – don’t leave me!” But, when her eyes met his, she saw that He was in control, and was reminded yet again that her son was no ordinary man. Though it pained her to see him suffering, to see the blood and sweat dripping from his brow, his face disfigured with swelling, as he limped along the route to Golgotha, the “place of skulls,” she knew that he wasn’t being forced to do anything. Rather, he accepted such torture and ridicule by choice, with dignity, out of obedience to the Father and love for humanity. Upon recognizing this, she, too, was strengthened.
Mary was chosen by God, the Father and Ruler of all creation, to be the mother of the Word Incarnate because of her purity, her obedience, and most of all, her secure and steadfast faith. Though she would have preferred to have the son she bore and raised see her to old age, she obediently accepted God’s word. No matter that this came from the lips of one who had once suckled at her breast, one whom she had consoled through everything from teething to puberty and beyond, whom she had watched grow into a man, even as he was God. Later, I imagine, she was grateful. She was grateful for his thoughtfulness and consideration, and for his love and honor of her. In the midst of bearing his singular burden, he took the time to look to the needs of his mother, to see to her security in old age when he wouldn’t be around to take care of her.
Much later still, even now, in the heavenly realms, I envision beloved mother and beloved son reunited, she standing with her arm around Jesus on one side and her other arm around her surrogate son, John – members of one happy family.
One of God’s commandments is to honor your parents, and our Lord, Jesus, obeyed this. He also showed us, by example, to take care of the elderly, the widowed, and the orphaned. But perhaps the greatest message I hope to impart with you today is that obedience to God, acceptance of His will, and trust in Him is what gives us strength. Remember this when it is you who feels like crying out, “No!”
– by Therese 2/14/2016
We are excited to announce that a Cursillo 4th Day Reunion Group will be meeting at St. George on the first Sunday of every month in the St. Mark Room of the Leadership Center at 9:45 AM. Find out more at our first meeting on March 6.
Come experience the beauty of the Texas Hill Country and the refreshing presence of God at Camp Capers the weekend of April 1-3.
It will be a time to be with your family, friends, and your family in Christ at a peaceful location. The new lodge will hold up to 80 people and has been reserved for us. Come and be a part of this great time to connect with others in the St. George community. All ages are welcome to attend this retreat where we will sing, pray, worship, play and learn. Our theme for the weekend will be “The Joy of the Lord is our strength.” Click here for more information on Camp Capers.
Schedule & Meals
- Arrive and Check-In Friday, April 1 after 6:00 PM.
- Dinner on your own as you drive to Camp Capers.
- Saturday breakfast, lunch, and dinner included in fees.
- Sunday breakfast included in fees.
- Sunday Eucharist at Camp Capers, then depart for lunch on your own as you drive home.
Pricing (Financial Assistance Available If Needed)
- Please make checks payable to “St. George Episcopal Church” and put “Parish Retreat” on the memo line.
- To pay with debit/credit card, please use the PayPal button coming soon. A 3% processing fee has been added for all card purchases.
- Family of One: $94.00 for whole weekend ($50 lodging & $44 meals)
- Family of Two: $138.00 for whole weekend ($50 lodging & $88 meals)
- Family of Three: $182.00 for whole weekend ($50 lodging & $132 meals)
- Family of Four: $226.00 for whole weekend ($50 lodging & $176 meals)
- For larger families, please include $44 for meals for each additional family member. If you require a second room, please add $50 for additional lodging.
- Saturday Only (No overnight): $50 which includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- ***Children under two are free, please don’t count them in your pricing.
Use this form to register your family. There is a lot of interest and we will accept registrations on a first come, first served basis. For general inquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be glad to help you out.