All posts by Rachael Clark

Fifth Sunday of Lent–The Rev. Karen C. Barefield

Ezekiel 37:1-14
John 11:1-45

In the name of the one, holy and living God:
who was, and is, and is to come. Amen.

Jesus wept.

This past week I came across a picture of the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
Standing in front of the wall was Pope Francis.
The upper part of his body was bent forward;
his right hand was outstretched, touching the wall…perhaps placing a folded piece of paper with a prayer written on it in one of the cracks between the massive blocks of limestone.

The Western Wall is sometimes called “The Wailing Wall,” or the “Place of Weeping.”

Standing behind the Pope some 10 or 15 feet was a Jewish man, patiently waiting, watching… as the Pope prayed.

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Fourth Sunday of Lent — Dr. Joel Marcus

Gospel: John 9:1-41

Collect: Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world: Evermore give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


 The story of the man born blind in John 9 is one of the most artistic compositions in the Gospels. John loves to set up a story as he does here: to show Jesus confronting a single representative individual with his incomparable claims about his own person. Think of Nicodemus in chapter 3. Think of the Samaritan woman in chapter 4. Think of Doubting Thomas and Mary Magdalene in chapter 20. And then think again about our story of an unnamed blind man in chapter 9. Continue reading

Third Sunday of Lent, Yr A–The Rev. Karen C. Barefield

John 4:5-42

O God of mercy, lead us into the way of all truth,
comfort us in our sorrow
and bring us to life everlasting. Amen.

The day was unbearably hot…
the sun directly overhead…
the heat was absolutely oppressive at this noon hour,
even the scorched earth begged for just a drop of water.

At this hour there are no locals to be found.

All the women know to come early in the cool of the new dawn to draw their water for the day.

And all those who missed the morning cool will just have to make do until evening when the sun begins to set and loses its heat once again.

However, one woman – a Samaritan woman – specifically chooses this time to come to the well.

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1st Sunday of Lent, Yr A– The Rev. Karen C. Barefield

Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7
Matthew 4:1-11

In the name of the one, holy and living God:
who was, and is, and is to come. Amen.

I have heard the story told that there is a village somewhere on the African continent where if someone in the village commits a crime, that person is brought into the center of the village while all the villagers gather around them.

And then the villagers proceed to tell this person all the good things about them.

They embody an infusion of love to counteract the destruction of sin.

Today, on this first Sunday of Lent, we hear the story of Jesus being led into the wilderness by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil.

But let us remember that before entering the wilderness, he is first claimed as God’s beloved at his baptism.

Just as we have been! Continue reading

Ash Wednesday, Yr A–The Rev. Karen C. Barefield

Joel 2:1-2,12-17
Psalm 103:8-14

In the name of the one, holy and living God:
who was, and is, and is to come. Amen.

Blow the trumpet in Zion!
sound the alarm on my holy mountain.
Blow the trumpet in Zion;
sanctify a fast;
call a solemn assembly;
gather the people. (Joel 2:1; 2:15)

On February 7th Bishop Anne sent out a Lenten letter, which began with this passage from Joel.

I will not read her entire letter but do want to share some of it with you…in part because she is our bishop, and I think it’s important to hear what she has to say…and in part because she speaks so clearly with spiritual wisdom and guidance for these times:

“Dear People of God,

“Lent is fast approaching. And I use the word fast intentionally.

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Fifth Sunday After Epiphany — The Rev. Karen C. Barefield

Isaiah 58:1-12    
Matthew 5:13-20

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our Strength and our Redeemer. Amen.

“You are the salt of the earth….
You are the light of the world.”

What if we read these words not as a challenge or a demand but as a promise?!
Not “you better be the salt…”
or “you must be the light,”
but “you already are.”

You already are the salt of the earth.
You already are the light of the world. Continue reading

Third Sunday After Epiphany — The Rev. Karen C. Barefield

Isaiah 9:1-4                                                  
Matthew 4:12-23

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our Strength and our Redeemer. Amen.

“When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee.
He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea,
in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali….” (Mt 14:12-13)

Of the four Gospel writers only Matthew includes these geographical details.

Jesus moves his residence from Nazareth to Capernaum to fulfill the prophecy in Isaiah:
“There will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.” (Isaiah 9:1)

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The Holy Name — The Rev. Karen C. Barefield

Numbers 6:22-27                                                        
Philippians 2:5-11
Luke 2:15-21

In the name of the one, holy and living God:
who was, and is, and is to come. Amen.

“The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
the LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.” (Num 6:24-26)

What a delightful way to bring in a new year…with blessing and peace.

While today is New Year’s Day, it is also the day we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Name.

Holy Name…that means Jesus, of course. Continue reading

Christmas Day — The Rev. Karen C. Barefield

Titus 3:4-7
Luke 2:8-20

In the name of the one, holy and living God:
Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifying Spirit. Amen.

“Mary treasured all these words
and pondered them in her heart.” (Lk 2:19)

This one line of today’s scripture invites us to engage a holy pause…
a pause for which I am grateful.

The chaotic, busy, noisy hubbub of Christmas preparations,
which at Wal-Mart began before Halloween this year,
have subsided, at least for an hour this morning… as we gather to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

A birth, perhaps chaotically engaged as Mary and Joseph travelled to Bethlehem while nine months pregnant and then scrambled to find a place – ANY place – to actually give birth to Jesus and lay down for a rest. Continue reading

Christmas Eve — The Rev. Karen C. Barefield

Isaiah 9:2-7
Luke 2:1-14

In the name of the one, holy and living God:

in whom we live and move and have our being. Amen.

In those days when Barak Obama was President and Donald Trump was President-Elect, and while Pat McCrory served as Governor, some immigrant farmers were working in the fields, and an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people; to you is born this day a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord….

Do not be afraid. Continue reading