May 27, 10:00 a.m.
Trinity Sunday

Pentecost B* May 20,2018                                                               St. John's Church

Rev'd Jennifer Phillips                 Acts 2:1-21;Rom. 8:22-27;Jn 15:26-27; 16:4-15

On this feast we celebrate, in the words of St. Chrysostom, "the cheerful feast of our adoption" in which the Holy Spirit, conveying God's child Jesus Christ to us, enables us to be children of God, and know God as our own beloved parent, whom with Jesus we may call 'Abba'. Love made us, Love desires us, Love will never let us go, and all this we know by the Spirit in us, that same Spirit which was in Christ.

It is said of Episcopalians by some Christians of other flavors that we do not much celebrate the Holy Spirit. It may be true that there are some qualities of the Spirit that are a little scary to us: that boisterousness, untidiness, that effusive overflowing, that profligate invitation and hospitality, that wind that rushes about where it will, that stirring up of energy and passion that might even make bystanders think Christians are drunk with new wine! Sometimes God just doesn't seem to do things like an Anglican: decently and in order! (Witness our Presiding Bishop preaching at the royal wedding yesterday in a way that some dour Anglicans thought a bit over the top. And yet as stern an old Anglican as C.S. Lewis threw up his hands in wonder at what he described as a "world drenched with deity" and found joy at its heart.

In distinction from some of the 'Holy Spirit churches' our Anglican tradition is quite clear from its Catholic and Scriptural roots that the gift of the Holy Spirit is not reserved for a few believers. It is not saved only for the enthusiastic and charismatic of style, or the specially good, or those with just the right understanding, nor even for the mature in faith. Rather, the Holy Spirit has been poured out like wind and fire on the whole Church where it rests on the head of each member and dwells in her and his heart, and that it roams the world spreading the power and life of God abroad uncontainably. 

As the Apostle Paul puts it, "We exult in the hope of the divine glory that is to be ours... Such hope is no fantasy; through the Holy Spirit, God's love has flooded our hearts".(Rom.5:5), and "the Spirit explores everything"(1 Cor.2:10). "The Spirit of God affirms to our spirit that we are God's children; and if children then heirs, heirs of God and fellow-heirs with Christ" (Rom8:15).

The chrism, the fragrant blessed oil of baptism with which we are anointed at Baptism, is the seal of adoption, for we are all adopted children in the blended family of God, grafted onto the lineage of our Jewish ancestors by this adoption, and co-citizens of God's country with all those whom God establishes as God's household. (So said the Apostle Paul.) As adopted children we bear three names, the name of Jesus Christ who like a hospitable mother welcomes us to his table; the name of the Holy Spirit who joins us into one Body and gives that whole Body and each of its members life, will and generative power; and the mysterious unspeakable name of the One in whose image we are made.      

As a newborn child receives from its parents the capacity to become an adult human being and to inherit the family property and history but does not yet possess these until coming of age, so the baptized person receives power to grow into the full stature of Christ and become co-inheritor with Christ of all God's promises which will be fulfilled at the resurrection of the dead. At baptism, we enter a process of growing into the Spirit that is in us, of being shaped and formed by it and conformed to it. At Confirmation we acknowledge our adult collaboration with it. At the Communion Table we are nourished anew  for its work within us.

In the Dutch Antillean islands grow small thorny trees they call Divi-divis which have a wonderful asymmetrical shape, all of them growing in just the same way, shaped by the incessant trade winds blowing from a single direction. Just so, the wind of the Spirit shapes us in God's direction through our whole lives. The Spirit moving on the face of the creation, the Spirit tugging and pushing us through the influences of family and Godparents and friends and our community, the Spirit shaping us from within like a genetic code for our souls, the Spirit pulling us in prayer and yearning, moves us toward God.

This Spirit-wind is not a small tame thing, not to be domesticated. It is vast and fearful, unstoppable and awesome. It blew over the whole face of the earth at its beginning, and God breathed it into the first human, and gives a portion to everything that lives. When we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit we are not as we were before, we are being borne along by a mighty river of power, we are Christ's own forever, we are a new creation, we bear a fearful responsibility, our lives are no longer our own, for ourselves alone.  We are connected to one another and to all others. We are strangers no more.

William Temple, one of the great Archbishops of Canterbury in the era of Word War II wrote: "When we pray “Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire” we had better know what we are about. He will not carry us to easy triumphs and gratifying successes; more probably he will set us to some task for God in the full intention that we shall fail, so that others, learning wisdom by our failure, may carry the good cause forward. He may take us through loneliness, desertion by friends, apparent desertion even by God…. He may drive us into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. …If we invoke him, it must be to help us in doing God’s will not ours…. The soul that is filled with the Spirit must have become purged of pride or love of ease,…. but that soul has found the only real dignity, the only lasting joy. Come then, Great Spirit, come. Convict the world and convict my timid soul."

People of God, as we come to the close of Eastertide,  be mindful of your own baptismal vows and those you have made on children's behalf. Care for creation, treat all with decency in their full human dignity, stand for justice and peace and against evil, deceit, and corrupt powers, be faithful in your attendance in the community of faith and your receiving of the Sacrament, love one another. The Holy Spirit energizes and equips you for this work.  No less a power than the Spirit of the One God oversees, strengthens and judges your faithfulness to those promises, and as you are faithful that same Spirit will fill you full of the fire of deepest joy.  

WEEKLY SCHEDULE                          

Office Hours:  
Tuesday 2:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday 2:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Friday 2:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

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 2017:

Rev. Dr. Jennifer M. Phillips

Tuesday, May 22,
Bible Study ~ 7:00pm

Wednesday, May 23,
Morning Eucharist ~ 10:15

Sunday, May 27, 10:00 a.m.
Trinity Sunday
Worship ~Sunday

Looking Ahead
Saturday, June 14, Noon - 2:45 p.m.:
Annual picnic at North Beach, Hale,  with fishing and boating, for our friends from Ecclesia Ministries. 

Episcopal Young Adult Festival 2019:
Young adults 18-30 have an opportunity to experience a bit of Episcopal General Convention 2019 July 5-13 in Austin, TX with others from around the world and the country - registration deadline May 11, 10 spots open. The cost for the event ranges between $300 and $675 depending on the housing choices. Registration deadline for those traveling to Austin is May 1 and includes five nights of housing, a Sunday morning brunch, General Convention registration, and all Young Adult Festival programming. For more information, contact Kelly at skelly@episcopalchurch.org.

Mark your calendars for our B-SAFE days: July 18, 19, and 20 when we will be serving lunches and offering a Field Trip for 60 or so elementary school children at our partner parish, C.H.S., Mattapan. Speak to Leslie or Emily if you'd like to join us in this joyful outreach. Pictured below: kids having fun at the Capron Zoo.

Christian Discipleship in Action via St. John’s

Come join in:

Oasis Ministrieswe cook and serve a monthly hot chicken dinner to about 100 homeless neighbors in down- town Boston on 2nd Mondays.

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

Tutoring after-school reading and homework help for city children at Church of the Holy Spirit, Mattapan on Tuesday afternoons.

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.

Habitat for Humanity home buildcoming soon, a St. John’s team to help build an affordable home in Westwood.

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

Urban Promise Honduras missioners from St. John’s & CHS travel to learn and work with children at a school in Copan every few years.

Boston B-SAFE summer program our team works during a July week each year to provide meals and a field trip & picnic for this large city children’s program.

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!

Six St. John's volunteers, along with college students from nearby Suffolk & other regular participants, at the end of the Oasis dinner on April 9.