March 1, 10:00 a.m.

Last Epiphany A*. 2/23/20                                                                St.John's Church

Rev’d Jennifer Phillips                     Ex.24:12-18;Ps.99;2Peter 1:16-21;Mtt 127:1-9

Next door to me when I was 3 to 5, in England, lived a Scottish family, the Berrys, with a daughter, Sandra, just my age. She was my first friend. We played in each other's back gardens, and our parents got on well. She and her family adopted our cat when we emigrated to the States. We sent each other cards for awhile. I only saw her once after we moved away- about eight years later, after they had moved to Scotland and I went for a visit. Then we lost touch with all that distance and time between us. But she will always be my first friend - the person who somehow defined the word friend for me. And I have never forgotten her. A precious memory.

In the Transfiguration story, which echoes the story of Jesus' Baptism, and is similar in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and mentioned in the Second Letter of Peter, Jesus goes up top the mountaintop like Moses, is similarly hidden in a mystic cloud, hears God's declaration of love and vocation, and shines with brilliant light (as did Moses), anticipating resurrection glory. But he doesn't go alone; he takes the senior leaders from his team - Peter, James and John, who become his eyewitnesses, and who overhear the divine message (which is really meant for them anyway). After his Baptism, Jesus went into the desert for a hard experience of being alone and fasting, and then encountering Satan- the tempter who encourages him to shortcut his divine vocation and move into power instead of sacrifice. But now, well into his ministry, he has friends. He has co-laborers. And even though they can be a bit dense and impulsive, fractious, and skeptical, he knows them to be trustworthy and true. It is one thing to loiter awhile with the departed ancestors, Elijah and Moses; it is another to have flesh-and-blood buddies to take by the arm on the downward journey, to talk things over with, and to hand on the work to when the time comes for him to die.

Sometimes Jesus and the disciples seem so utterly foreign to us - in time, in culture. But friendship, we get! People who love each other even when they screw up or misunderstand, who forgive each other and try again. People with whom to chew over the days' events and try to make meaning out of them. People with a variety of gifts and skills, temperaments, and senses of humor. People to eat and pray with over some years together. We've experienced friendship. We know that Jesus couldn't have been truly human without friends.

We human beings have such deep need of one another. We are such a blessing to each other. Those particular people who journey alongside us in our faith, and here in church, don't just happen along by accident. Church is a community, a Communion, convened by the divine energies, called together to become, on a local level, the Body of Christ for the world God has made. In a mysterious way, when we share one Baptism, and when we come together week in, week out, to be fed in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, when we praise and confess and thank and ask help, and tell the stories that remind us who and whose we are, we become soul-friends with these people we really didn't hand-pick. We may not even like all of them. But each is here for our learning. Each supports all us others by her or his prayer and labor and fellowship. On the days we don't feel we need church, likely someone in church really needs us - our familiar face, our voice, our kind word, our intercession to God.

In church, in all communities of faith, faces and times change. New challenges arise. But there is a larger life we share in the Holy Spirit that goes on in continuity. We are woven in, when we are present and when we are absent. We become part of its story, each other's story. We tell the stories of the Scriptures as we are telling and living our own, in one another's company. When the world is rough and rude, we try to have one another's backs. To lift up those who stumble or fall, to comfort and share the load of those weighed down, to believe in those wrongly accused or scorned, to be soul-friends in Christ's name.

In Church, we are all travelers, moving through our lives; some may be here for decades, some for years, some for months, or even a one-time visit. But all are invited by God to be blessed and to bless others. Peter, James, and John are wowed by having their friend and teacher suddenly hanging with the two greatest prophets from Jewish history. It's clear they are excited. They want to preserve the moment, build it a monument, keep it going. Maybe live up there on the mountaintop with those very holy three guys! Oh, and with God just on the other side of the cloud! Maybe Jesus was feeling the same way: "Hey- look at this: I have the two best prophet-leaders in history by my side chatting with me! How good is this? I could manage my work so much better with them helping." But that is not to be. The glow fades. The cloud thins. Ordinary reality returns. Does he -for a moment - think: "Now look at those guys. They bicker, they don't get me, they debate everything. They need a lot of taking care of. I think I'd prefer Moses and Elijah, Dad!" But they are his friends. John, James, Peter, and the others. He loves them. And they are the exact people given to him, drawn by the divine energies to stand walk with him and learn to do the work they share. So down the mountain they trudge together. Back to the rest of the group whom they hope haven't built a golden calf or thrown a wild party while they were away. The heavenly glow fades, but the love, that lasts!


 95 Deerfield Ave
 Westwood, MA 02090

WEEKLY SCHEDULE                          

Sunday Worship: 10:00 a.m. 
Wednesday Eucharist: 10:15 a.m 

This is St. John's Episcopal Church... please click on photo below to see more photos of church life!

This is St. John's Episcopal Church, Westwood MA

Want to check on the readings for a particular Sunday or other day?  Click below to go to the Lectionary page...  all readings available for 2019-2020:

Rev. Dr. Jennifer M. Phillips

Tuesday, February 25, 6:30 p.m.: 

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Dinner @ the MacDonalds:
16 Hawktree Drive, Westwood. Please RSVP to 
Sharonricci897@msn.com if you can come, and if you can contribute fruit, dessert, or drinks. Don't forget to wear a silly hat and/or beads!

Wednesday, February 26:                                                          10:15am Service with ashes                                                                4:00pm Ashes to go Amtrak Westwood                                          7:00pm Ecumenical Service with ashes

Thursday, February 27, 3:30 - 7:00 p.m.:
High School Youth serve dinner @ Epiphany School

Saturday, February 29, 8:00 -10:45 a.m.: 
Middle School Youth help out at the Norwood Food Pantry

Wednessday, March 4, 10:15 a.m.:

Prayer Partners for Lent: everyone is invited on Sundays in Lent 1 or 2 to take a couple of slips from the basket with the names of a parish household. During Lent, try to pray for the people named daily - in whatever way you can, and whether you know them or not. (If you draw the name of yourself or a family member, swap that slip for another, as likely you are already praying for them!)

During Holy Week, send a card, an email, or make a phone call or text just to say you have been holding that household in prayer during Lent and wishing them a joyful Holy Week and Easter. This prayer practice will bless you as well as those for whom you pray!

March 3, 10, 17, 24, 31:  Lenten SOUP AND STUDY Tuesday nights, 7:00-9:00 p.m. in the Rectory. Download and print the free reader at Signsoflife.org

Looking Ahead:

Friday - Saturday, March 13 - 14: (6 p.m. - 3 p.m.):
CityReach overnight for St. John's high school youth at St. Paul's Cathedral to learn about homelessness and to provide warm clothes, lunch, and kindness.

Clothing drive : Now only men's clothing for our             CityReach program. Large and extra large sizes are especially needed. If you don't have clothes at home to donate, please consider buying new white athletic socks, new underwear, and toiletries.There are two big boxes in the narthex for this collection. Thank you!                     

When online shopping with Amazon, please consider supporting St. John's Protestant Episcopal Church by using amazonsmile.  For more information, click the link below.

Christian Discipleship in Action via St. John’s

Come join in:

Oasis Ministrieswe cook and serve a monthly hot chicken dinner to about 60 homeless neighbors at Old West Church in Boston on 2nd Mondays.

Ecclesia outreachwe invite homeless and poor neighbors from Boston to Hale Reservation for a summer picnic and for a Spring bowling afternoon in Norwood. 

Pantry support for the Westwood Food Pantry and the Center for Life elderly housing complex in Mattapan – bring non-perishable groceries to church year round.

Prayer Shawlsknitting group prayerfully makes shawls for people facing illness or crisis.

Eucharistic Visiting members are trained and take the Sacrament, offer healing prayer, and make friendly visits to people who are homebound, in hospital, or other institutional settings.

Speak to Rev. Jennifer if you’d like to put your discipleship to work in one or more of these parish ministries!