Worship Schedule

DayTimeService
DayTimeService
Sunday8:00 amHoly Eucharist Rite I - Chapel
Sunday9:00 amChristian Formation
Sunday10:15 amGlad News/Sad News
Sunday10:30 amHoly Eucharist Rite II - Sanctuary w/Music
Monday6:00 pmCentering Prayer and Study
Wednesday12:15 pmHoly Eucharist with Healing Ministry

St. Lukes Blog

St. Luke's

St Luke's Episcopal Church
170 Councill St
Boone, NC 28607
828-264-8943

Parish Administrator

Transfiguring Disquietude

The Transfiguration (9th Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 11)–Year A
The Rev. Cynthia K. R. Banks
August 6, 2017

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The Kingdom of Heaven

The Eighth Sunday after Pentecost—Proper 12—Year A
Ms. Anna Shine
July 30, 2017

Video

The weeds and the wheat, the devil and the Lord of the harvest

The Seventh Sunday after Pentecost—Proper 11—Year A
The Rev. Cynthia K. R. Banks
July 23, 2017

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Revenge is Not the Way

The Third Sunday after Pentecost—Proper 7—Year A
The Rev. Cynthia K. R. Banks
June 25, 2017

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The labor and the harvest

The Second Sunday after Pentecost—Proper 6—Year A
The Rev. Cynthia K. R. Banks
June 18, 2017

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This HATE has got to STOP!

Trinity Sunday—Year A
The Rev. Cynthia K. R. Banks
June 11, 2017

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Jesus will not leave us orphaned

Easter 6—Year A
The Rev. Cynthia K. R. Banks
May 21, 2017

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Jesus and The Relational Way

The Rev. Cynthia Banks--Easter 5—Year A        (video link)

Acts 7:55-60

Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16

I Peter 2:2-10

John 14:1-14

 

John 14—oh, what a beautiful passage. Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places …” In the King James, it’s many mansionsIn my Father’s house are many mansions…” Good stuff. Rich images. Dwelling places, mansions, places to abide, places of presence. In God’s home, presence is spacious.

Jesus continues, “If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.” This is so tender, so hopeful, so reassuring. Jesus reminding his followers that he’s told them that he is preparing a place for them, and that he himself will take them to himself, so that in that glorious place where he has planted his presence, there his followers will be also.

This is intimate. Taking someone to yourself is intimate. And Jesus reminds them further that they know the way to that place, to that space where he is going. In the years they have spent in his presence, they have garnered some skills, they have gained some capacities to see and perceive and know the way that leads to this place that Jesus himself inhabits.

And this is so hard for us because we, in our flesh and blood material existence, think physical place, physical realm, physical time. But this is mystical language. This is the language of all the realms, and those include the physical realm but move far beyond it into realms that are objectively real, but beyond our objective, rational minds and imaginations. It’s Thomas, good ol’ keep-it-real Thomas, who gives voice to our confusion.

Thomas said to [Jesus], “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way? Lord, we don’t know this place where you are going. And if we don’t know this place, how can we possibly know the way. We don’t know the destination, and frankly, Lord, after the events of tonight, we’re not even sure of  our starting place. Our google maps app is not going to help us here. How can we know the way???

 And then Jesus drops down into the deep, deep waters. Hold on to your hats because he’s dropping us into the kind of mystical truth that will blow our minds and quicken our hearts. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Okay, in these words of Jesus, what’s the phrase that gives you fits? (pause) No one comes to the Father except through me. And why does this phrase give you fits? (pause) That’s right, because it sounds exclusive, because it makes it sound like the only way to access God is through Jesus. And well, what do we do with all the people of all the other faiths? What do we do with all the other ways of knowing God? And what do we do with there being many mansions and many dwelling places in this spacious home of God? And off our minds are running down the rabbit hole with a thousand questions.

But let’s hit the pause button here. Context, context, context. What is the context of Jesus saying these things to his disciples? Jesus and his closest friends are sharing supper on the night before he will be crucified. Jesus knows that everything is falling apart. He knows he’s about to be betrayed by one of his inner circle, and he knows he’ll be denied by one of his closest friends and followers. He’s washed his disciples’ feet. He’s shown his love for them and made clear that this is the kind of love they are to show one another. They’ve shared bread and wine. The night feels heavy. The disciples are rattled. This is the energetic atmosphere into which Jesus is speaking these words.

Jesus is not trying to spin out a systematic theology that deals with who’s in and who’s out of the kingdom; Jesus is trying to reassure his disciples in a more Julian of Norwich kind of way—“Friends, it’s all about love, always and forever it’s about love, and all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”

And there’s a subtle shift that happens over these verses, and it centers on the word translated as “know.” When Jesus first tells his disciples that they know the way, this knowing is really about what can be perceived with the senses; it’s more about skills and capacities and garnering knowledge; there’s some definition to this kind of knowing. And Thomas isn’t so sure of his knowledge. It’s like EOG’s and EOC’s are coming (that’s End of Grade and End of Class tests for those of you not living this reality right now), and Thomas fears he’s forgotten everything he knows.

But when Jesus answers Thomas, he says that if Thomas knows him, i.e. Jesus, then Thomas knows the Father, but this kind of knowing is a different word in the greek. It’s intimate knowing, it’s the word used to convey the Jewish idiom for the most intimate of relations between a man and a woman. This is knowing that is intensely, intimately relational. And what comes next shows us how hard this is to grasp.

 Philip said to [Jesus], “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied. Expose it to our eyes, give us some proof. Prove this God thing, give us some facts, Lord, and it will be enough for us.

And Jesus goes right back to relational, intimate knowing. “You know me from dwelling with me, from communing with me, from being with me. Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but this is about God in me, Philip. Trust me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, and if you can’t trust what I’m telling you then trust me because of the things you’ve experienced with me and in me and through me.” Again, it’s a relational kind of knowing.

 But back to this darn “No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

 When you hear “Father” in this context, what do you see? (pause) Old white grandfatherly guy with long flowing white beard. And who is the “me” here? Yes, it’s Jesus, but this is John’s gospel; this is the gospel of “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh and dwelled among us.” This is the gospel of the Incarnation, God made flesh.

There is no getting to our Divine Source, which is what “pater,” “Father,” means, there is no getting to our Divine Source without understanding that Divinity dwells in our flesh. God is insanely, intimately, relational with our human flesh. That’s what Jesus icons for us.

There is no getting to Divinity somewhere out there without understanding that Divinity dwells so richly in here, dwells so richly in this earthen vessel called humanity.

And you can’t discover this Divinity in the abstract or in the realm of show-me facts; you can only discover this Divinity in the intimacy that comes when you dwell with another, abide with them, commune with them, live with them, set up household with them.

It’s in living our lives with God-made-flesh, in Jesus, in one another, that we discover the Source of that merciful, compassionate, steadfast, unfathomable Love that companions us in our dying and in our rising.

Jesus isn’t teaching his disciples about exclusion; he’s teaching them about the intimacy of relationship with the Divine. Jesus, God—they aren’t an idea; as we discovered last week, they are a portal, a passage, a channel carrying us into the Love that moves beyond words and expresses itself in the flesh.

It’s a little unnerving to think of God dwelling that intimately with us. No wonder Thomas wants to resort to a spiritual maps app and Philip to provable facts. Working it out in relationship is always the harder row to hoe.

Coming to the Divine Source in this way will always be the way of dying and rising, it will constantly ask us to search out a deeper truth that is discovered as we seek to live in alignment with this creative Divine Source, but dwelling in this most intimate of relational spaces with Divinity itself—this truly is the complete, the full, the abundant life that Jesus both describes and promises us.

So, all this mystical teaching, what does it have to do with us and our lives? Well, we can dismiss this passage as exclusionary teaching that has no power to touch us, OR, we can leap with all our heart into the relationship that Jesus is inviting us to know, with all our heart and soul and mind and yes, body.

We can fret about not having our directions in the spiritual life all laid out by every turn and landmark, we can yearn for proof that our senses will accept, OR we can take the lover’s leap that is more intuitive that logical.

And like the disciples, maybe we do a little more trusting—maybe we trust, that even though we may not quite grasp this teaching today, maybe we trust that there will come a time when our hearts will simply know that which our minds struggle to conceive, and in that conception, hidden in the deeper places of our hearts, in that intimate conception, we truly will be born anew. Amen.

The Rev. Cynthia K. R. Banks

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Boone, NC
May 14, 2017

The Lord is My…Portal!

The Rev. Cynthia K. R. Banks–Easter 4—Year A                      (video link)

Easter 4—Year A
Acts 2:42-47
Psalm 23
1 Peter 2:19-25
John 10:1-10

Any guess as to what Sunday this is? Ah, Good Shepherd Sunday. On the 4th Sunday of Easter, we always get some portion of John 10, and in John 10, Jesus is doing his darnedest to respond to some of his critics who were challenging his authority to heal. In John 9, Jesus has just healed that man born blind. He’s dealt with all the “who sinned this man or his parents” questions (to which he responded, “Neither”). And he’s talked about what makes us truly blind, and the religious leaders, who felt in the know, are getting agitated, “Surely we are not blind, are we?”

What if that response by the Pharisees, what if that wasn’t a response with attitude, but was an actual, earnest question. Could we be blind? Could we really be missing the boat? But we’re supposed to know better—oh no, surely we’re not blind to what really matters, are we?”

It’s interesting, but Jesus doesn’t respond by pulling out his C.V. and  comparing his bonafides; he doesn’t recite a litany of those under whom he’s studied; he doesn’t share a bibliography of all the books he’s read—all things I’m tempted to do when challenged. No, he just launches into extended metaphors, designed to pull his listeners in deeper where they might hear something that they’ve not yet been able to hear.

In this year’s passage, we get the part about sheepfolds and shepherds, bandits and thieves—juicy stuff. The first part you can sort of follow. You’ve got your basic sheepfold with a gate. The shepherd enters by the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. Your thieves and bandits don’t go through the gate—they’re sneaky—they climb in by another way. The sheep follow the shepherd because they know that voice; they don’t follow strangers because they don’t know those voices.

We can follow this. We might even be able to identify some of the thieves and bandits who steal our attention and distract us from those things that truly matter—the drive for power or esteem or affection or security or control, or the litany of lack that keeps us running on that wheel, round and round and round, never stopping to rest in the sheepfold or breathe deep of that good fresh air out in the pasture.

There are so many voices calling out to us in our culture; it’s easy to miss the voice of the shepherd. As it was in the beginning, is now, and shall ever be. The text tells us, “Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.” Again, the “them” are those who are wrestling with the fact that Jesus has raised their consciousness about their blindness. Do you ever like it when someone raises your blind spot to your awareness? I don’t, and my first stop is always going to be defensiveness. Seeing the truth of what is being pointed out to me, that comes a little further down the road. So, images, stories, metaphors—they help to lower those defenses and can often provide just enough distance for me to look at myself.

But, metaphor #1 didn’t work to lower those defenses with Jesus’ listeners. So, Jesus has to try again. So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before, thieves and bandits; sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”

Jesus is the gate. It doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, does it? The Lord is my shepherd—oh, that’s lyrical. The Lord is my gate, not so much. What does this even mean?

So, when you hear gate, what comes to mind? (pause) Something to keep something in, and something to keep something out. When you hear gatekeeper, what comes to mind? (pause) A block. Someone who’s going to keep me from getting where I want to go. Someone who might protect me. Or, someone who’s trying to protect someone or something, and won’t give me access. It’s an access-mediator. Who in this room likes gatekeepers? Really, be honest now. Most of us, deep down, we don’t like gatekeepers. So, to hear that Jesus is the gate—this starts to stir up some not good feelings and associations, and it definitely lacks the emotional impact of “the Lord is my shepherd.”

Part of this is a problem with translation. The word in greek is θύρα, and it doesn’t actually mean “gate;” it means “door,” as in “entrance,” as in “passage way,” as in “portal.” Oh, now we’re cooking. I love portals. Portals are passages to other dimensions, other worlds—think Narnia, or the drama Once Upon a Time or Dr. Who or Harry Potter. Portals are magical and mysterious, luminous and liminal. I can totally warm up to magical and mysterious, luminous and liminal.

Jesus is the passage way, the entrance, the portal to another life. And what kind of life? “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” Jesus came that they/we may have ζωή life, full and whole and complete life, and have it, not just abundantly, but have it exceeding abundantly, over and above, περισσός—exceeding some number or measure or rank or need—this is abundance that is, literally, off the charts.

Wow, that’s really different than the connotations of gates and gatekeeper.

What if we don’t look at this passage as describing who Jesus is going to keep in or out of the either the sheepfold or the pasture, but instead, look at Jesus as a portal to life that is full of grace and overflowingly abundant?

What if we don’t look at Jesus as a bunch of metal attached to hinges, but instead, think of him as a passage that carries us into a space we aren’t currently living in. A space where we are so full that all that’s described in the Acts passage doesn’t seem like a pipedream, but becomes the natural outpouring of what flows when we are living the abundant life. A space where all who trust in this life are together and hold all things in common and sell all those things that possess us freeing up resources and energy to distribute to all, as any have need. No merit system here, no worthiness criteria, just need. This abundant life overflows into their prayers and the way they break bread together, in their eagerness to go deeper into this life, and in their commitment to be in communion with one anothercommunity we would call it today. This abundant life is glad and generous, full of heart, eager to praise, with a sense of having grace and joy with all people. And this abundant life that flows from the heart of God is so daggone attractive, so compelling that day by day, people are added to the community; day by day, people are being made whole, being “saved” in church talk. Five times “all” or “everyone” shows up in this passage from Acts. It’s full and inclusive and expansive.

What if we understood that Jesus is the portal into this kind of life?

Do we believe it’s possible? Do we trust that this can in fact happen? Or do we dismiss it as a naïve fantasy? Why are people more drawn to see Jesus as a gate or gatekeeper, than to see Jesus as a door and portal into the abundant life?

What might shift in us if we understood him in this new way? After all, we do share in his life, we are the body of Christ, so what changes in us if we see our role, not as gates and gatekeepers, but instead see our lives as portals, passageways, doors into the abundant life? How might this abundance take root in our lives, and what fruits might it manifest? What outward and visible signs would people see in us that would reveal this inward and spiritual grace? What would shift in our relationship to resources and possessions? How might we view those in need and our connection to them? What would it look like if we saw those in need, not as a problem to be fixed, but as the natural place where love and life flow from the wellspring of life that is exceedingly abundant within us? What wonders and signs might be done at our hands? How might awe come upon us and everyone we meet? Where might our devotion carry us?

On this 4th Sunday of Easter, we’re three weeks into the season, and the fog is starting to clear. Resurrection life isn’t just something that happened to Jesus, but it’s something that’s happening to us. It’s time to move through the portal, to jump into mystery, to cross the threshold, to experience illumination.

How we view Jesus carries us places. Don’t make the mistake of thinking he’s confining; he’s been dying, and rising, to transport us into that life that is more than we can ask or imagine.

All we have to do is follow his voice, and he will take us where we so long to go.

As we make this passage and travel in this way, soon we will discover this abundance rising up within us, and like magic, our lives themselves will have become that cup that is running over, not because it’s what we set out to do, but because life this full just has to be shared. Amen.

The Rev. Cynthia K. R. Banks
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Boone, NC
May 7, 2017

Breaking open our narratives

The Rev. Cynthia K. R. Banks–Easter 3—Year A                              (video link)

Easter 3—Year A
Acts 2:14a, 36-41
Psalm 116:1-3, 10-17
1 Peter 1:17-23
Luke 24:13-35

Are you feeling that Easter joy yet? Some of you “yes”? Some of you “no”? Well, if you’re a “yes”, then you are way ahead of the disciples and the Church. If you’re a “no”, you are right on target because the Church has, once again, taken us right back to that same day.

It takes time to come to terms with resurrection life. Very few of us leap there as soon as it happens. We spend a lot of time letting go, dying in spiritual language; why on earth would we think we can rise on demand? Sometimes it happens, and our world turns back into life on a dime, but most of the time, it’s a slog; it’s slow; it’s painstaking; it’s halting; it’s fits and starts.

So, let’s see what we can glean from Luke’s gospel today.

Now on that same day two of Jesus’ disciples were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, and this isn’t just your normal chit chat, this talking is the kind of talking you do when you are keeping company with another, the King James translates it as “communing.” And discussing, this is the kind of exchange you have when you are throwing thoughts and ideas back and forth as you are seeking to understand something, seeking to make sense of something. This is the kind of keeping company and throwing things back and forth you do when you are trying to make sense of a broken heart.

While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. Their eyes were prevented from knowing him. The phrasing here is that same word we encountered last week in John’s gospel when Jesus was talking about retaining another’s sinsholding fast, seizing on something and refusing to let go. They had locked onto something that kept their eyes from seeing; they just couldn’t perceive the One in front of them, like they absolutely could not recognize him. What had they locked onto that kept their eyes from seeing and their heart from perceiving? Hold on to that question.

And Jesus said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?”

They stood still, looking sad. That question stopped them cold. Incredulous, one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?”

He asked them, “What things?”

Oh, that did it. Then, the floodgates opened and out poured the story. You know how it is when there is a story inside of you that just has to get out, that has to get told, and all the details come tumbling out, sometimes faster than you can get the words out, sometimes faster than the listener can take in, sometimes faster than a brain can order what it’s saying or hearing.

Here’s what they said,  “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.”

Breathe. This was the story they told. This was the story they were throwing back and forth to each other before the stranger came alongside them. This was the story they had been running through their mind and through their heart for three days. This was the story they had locked onto, and this was the story that kept them from recognizing what was now unfolding right before their eyes.

Part of that narrative was about their expectations. They had a certain image of who Jesus was and who he was supposed to be and how his trajectory was supposed to unfold. A prophet mighty in deed and word; they had hoped that he was the one they’d been waiting for who would redeem Israel. But it had all gone horribly wrong. It had ended in death; it had ended with their hopes being dashed. Nothing can get a narrative shaped in our head like crushed expectations.

When things don’t turn out as we expect, our world spins out of control, and our brains scramble to make sense of it, to find some pattern.  It doesn’t even matter if it’s an inaccurate pattern or a bad pattern; we just need a pattern to get our world back in control, to get it set back right, even if that right is now full of darkness and pain.

And just when their brain had settled on that grief stricken pattern it all shifted again. You can almost hear the exasperation in their voices, Now, some women have astounded us. They went to that tomb; he wasn’t there; they saw a vision; some angels told them he was alive; some of us went to check it out; it was just as the women said, and they didn’t see him.” And the brain officially goes into freakout mode. What pattern can you fit this into? No wonder the two disciples were throwing this story back and forth trying to make sense of it. Heck, they were just trying to form these events into a narrative, period!

Even been there? Ever been on that rollercoaster trying to make sense of events that don’t make sense? Expectations dashed? Expectations raised? Expectations changed? Expectations shattered? Expectations exceeded? Even if the plummeting turns to rising, it’s still change, and it still feels like the world is spinning out of control, and it still feels like we have just left the tracks, and where will this end? And so, we work and work and work to form the narrative.

And yet, and yet, that narrative we construct, it can keep us from recognizing the life that is in fact happening right now, right before our eyes. The narrative they constructed, they laid hold of it, they seized it, and it kept them locked from being able to recognize that Love had come again and Life was in their midst.

Jesus sets about helping them to soften their narrative, to expand it, to widen it. Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. He went back through the whole narrative and pointed out all the things that would allow them to see him.

But sometimes our narratives get pretty fixed. When our brains seize on a story, it’s hard to override that and let our heart dare to see something beyond the story we are telling ourselves. Our hearts are indeed slow to trust when they have been broken.

And ultimately, the two couldn’t relinquish their story. Not even Jesus’ masterful reinterpretation could set them free.

Jesus was about to give up. As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But the two disciples then did the most ordinary thing—routines embedded deep within their being compelled those two disciples to compel Jesus to stay with them. Sometimes, what our minds cannot grasp, some deeper place in our soul conspires to get us to see. Sometimes, it is our routines, our traditions, our norms of hospitality and civility that get us where we need to go.

They urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.

They couldn’t recognize him in the story, but they knew him in the breaking of the bread. They knew him in that mystical moment that is beyond our narratives. They knew him in that wordless act that spoke everything their hearts needed to know. Then their eyes were opened, and they knew him, they knew him.

 And this opening is deep and hard. It’s the kind of opening that happens by dividing or drawing asunder, it’s a thorough, rending opening, all the way into the depths of the soul that awakens our deep desire to learn and understand. Their narrative had to be rent to let the truth of his Life and Presence penetrate into the deepest regions of their soul, then they knew him—their heart knew him, their mind knew him, their body knew him, their soul knew him. And once they knew him, he didn’t need to stand before them.

They didn’t need the story because they had the experience.

After he vanished, they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” Once that experience of his Presence opened and penetrated into their heart and soul, then they could make sense of that burning in their heart, that nascent, kindled fire of recognition, and then, the big story, the big narrative that holds all of our stories made sense. God created us and all that is. God loves us and all that is. Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again. We die with him; we rise with him. Death no longer has dominion over him, or us.

That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. Their companions had had their own experience of resurrection. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then the two told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

All of this raises questions for us on this 3rd Sunday of Easter.

What narratives are we running that we might need to release in order to experience the resurrection life that is right before our eyes?

Where is bread being broken in our normal, ordinary experiences when we least expect it, and is that breaking of the bread penetrating down into our hearts and souls, opening our eyes to see resurrection all around us?

Where are our narratives in need of some reworking, and with eyes now opened to see, can we allow them to expand, can we allow our narratives to live and breathe and flex to match the resurrection reality that is constantly drawing us into a bigger life. It’s not that our narratives are bad; to be human is to form story and tell story, to ourselves and to one another and to the generations to come. The problem comes when we fix that narrative and it settles like concrete, unchanging, and things are forever the way our narrative says they are.

If today shows us anything, it’s that the story is always getting bigger; there is always more to learn, there is always more to see; there is always more to open to, always. And so often, it won’t be our minds that take us there, but the burning in our hearts when we experience him in the breaking of the bread.

So, tell the story you have to tell, but don’t cling to it. Lay it down long enough to encounter the stranger around the table, in the breaking of the bread. Then, with your heart kindled and your soul ablaze, set about seeing everything with fresh eyes, open to the life that is beckoning you forward. Then watch, as the threads of your story are rewoven, knit together with the Risen Christ, and rejoice as a whole new chapter begins. Amen.

The Rev. Cynthia K. R. Banks
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Boone, NC
April 30, 2017