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The Trailblazer

"No Power in Ourselves"- January 7, 2021

Posted 5:59 PM
The News from
St. Dunstan's
January 7, 2021
From the Rector
Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly
in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities
which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts
which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,
for ever and ever, Amen.
The Collect for the Third Sunday in Lent (Year B)
Dear friends,
Yesterday's violent tumult at our nation's Capitol took place on the Feast of the Epiphany, the day on which the Church celebrates the visitation of the magi ("wise men") to the child Jesus in Bethlehem. Epiphany also marks the revelation, or manifestation, of Christ to all the earth. I cannot help but marvel at the uncanny timing of this stark juxtaposition: the ugliest of human behavior, set against the backdrop of God's eternal Light.
As shocking and appalling as the images of yesterday's chaos are (and they are...), they serve as a poignant reminder of just how broken we humans really are. And I believe that this, ultimately, is good news - because it is only when we look at ourselves, honestly and humbly, that we can begin to do the difficult work of healing. To borrow language from the 12 Steps of recovery programs, we first need to admit our own powerlessness and then come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity. If ever we needed to be restored to sanity, it is now.
The Collect appointed for the Third Sunday in Lent (above) states boldly and unashamedly that "we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves." It is only with God's help that we can even hope to get out of our own way. If anything, the events at the Capitol yesterday serve as a corrective to the misguided notion that we have no need of God.
Fortunately, the Feast of Epiphany is not just a one-off moment but rather is the beginning of the Season of Epiphany, the Season of Light, which lasts from now until Ash Wednesday. And if ever we needed to live into this season, it is now. In Epiphany we celebrate our identity as beloved children of God and disciples of Christ: As evil prowls around us "like a roaring lion" (1 Peter 5:8), we must claim that identity for ourselves as we never have before. To that end, I encourage you to explore the symbols and the stories of this season and make them your own. (For suggestions about observing Epiphany at home, please see the box below.)
As we continue to try to get our heads around the pervasive pain in our country, it also is incumbent on us to come together in prayer, solidarity, and mutual support. Please join me at 8 p.m. tonight on Zoom as I lead us in the short service of Compline, the ancient liturgy for the end of the day. (To participate in the service, please use this link; Meeting ID: 754 5686 5769.) Join us tomorrow afternoon for Friday Fellowship, or gather with your fellow parishioners on Saturday for Men's Group or Soul Sisters. Worship with us this Sunday at 10 a.m. as we renew our baptismal vows and recommit ourselves to our call as Christians. Light a candle and - with God's help - shine as the Light of Christ in our hurting world.
As always, I am only ever an email, text, or phone call away if you need to talk. Please remember that you are not going through these difficult days alone, and please stay safe. (For some additional resources for processing yesterday's events, please see the box below.)
Wishing you deep and abiding peace,
The Reverend Patricia Phaneuf Alexander, Rector
"Star Words" and "Chalking the Door"
If you were with us for the Feast of the Epiphany last year, you may remember the children of the parish passing out inspirational "Star Words" to the congregation. (See this link for more information about this lovely tradition.) Just as the magi followed a star to the nearer presence of Christ, we, too, are invited to be guided by our own stars in the year ahead. While we cannot distribute physical stars this year, we still can follow this Epiphany tradition here at St. Dunstan's. If you would like a "Star Word" this year, please just email Patty: She will choose one randomly for you and send it along with a special prayer of blessing for 2021.
Another beloved Epiphany tradition is the "Chalking of the Door" to invite God's blessing into your home (or office) for the year ahead. For information about how to chalk your doors, please see this link .
Resources for Processing the
Events of January 6
For Your Prayers
For healing, strength, and protection:
The United States of America
Members of the National Guard, and Law Enforcement and Emergency Management personnel
Joseph Alfonso, Betty Almon, Nancy Bancroft,
Richard and Florence Banks, Sydney Betz, Anne Bryant, Phil Carroll, 
Wendy and Suzie Coughlan, Bill Darnell, Mike Donnelly,
Walter Douglas, Kenny Farnsworth, Maddie Fennell,
Chip and Karen Gallagher, Katie Greco, Warren Green,
Susan Haight, Barbara Hocker, Fergie Horvath, Isabel Krum,
Joyce Nugent, Pam Plaisance, Curt Shively,
Allison Spaulding, Lina Verville, Don Wasseman, Charlie Wooters,
Anne Zbinden, Hanson, and Katherine
All those impacted in body, mind, or spirit by COVID-19
The Vivanco Family (missionaries in Quito, Ecuador)
This Week at St. Dunstan's
Mornings, M-F: Intercessory Prayer (by phone) 
Each morning at 10 a.m. the Rectors of St. Dunstan's and our sister parish, the Church of the Redeemer, offer Prayers for the Morning by telephone. All you need to do is call our dedicated "prayer hotline" (508.924.1769) and either Patty Alexander or Cricket Park will be on to pray with and for you.
Evenings, M-F: Nightly Compline (by Zoom) 
Join your sisters and brothers from St. Dunstan's and Redeemer at 8 p.m. every evening, M-F, for Compline, the "good night prayer" of the Church. To participate in the Zoom, please use this link; Meeting ID: 754 5686 5769
Tomorrow Afternoon: Friday Fellowship
Join your St. Dunstan's friends for an hour or so of connection and conversation! Use this Zoom link tomorrow, January 8, at 5 p.m.  (Meeting ID: 842 3801 8662) Hope to see you there!
Saturday Morning: Soul Sisters and Men's Group
It will be a spiritual abundance of riches this coming Saturday morning, January 9, as both the Soul Sisters and Men's Group gather for separate Zoom meetings. Please see tomorrow's email for login credentials and discussion topics.
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