All Saints Episcopal Church in Chicago

Lauda

The Rev. Emily Williams Guffey
All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Chicago
17 April 2016 • 4th Sunday of Easter, Year C

In the past couple of weeks, as I have gotten to rehearse that psalm1 with the choir, I’ve kind of fallen in love with it. It has stuck with me.

One way it has captivated me is that at the top of the page of music, the composer has written a note – which I think came through this morning – that the musicians should sound “serenely confident”: serenely confident that the Lord is my shepherd, and though I walk through dark valleys, I am not afraid because God is with me. And God is spreading a table before me in the midst of my foes. The Lord guides me and comforts me, guards me, anoints me, and loves me.

What also has captivated me is the little word the composer has added throughout the psalm. This little word, lauda, is Latin for “praise”, and if it had been in the original psalm, which was in Hebrew, it would have been the Hebrew hallel – like “Hallelujah”, “Alleluia”. So the composer punctuates this familiar psalm with joy – joy that bubbles up in response to God’s presence with us, even in our darkest, most hopeless times. Some of the words of praise are bold and jubilant, others soft and yearning, but it is the effervescence that strikes me: the impulse to praise God naturally and frequently.

What does it mean to praise God? In everyday conversation, when we “praise” someone, we’re saying good things about them. But I think that it’s deeper than that.

I looked in my trusty Hebrew dictionary and saw that hallel, “praise”, means to shout with joy…or with wonder…or even in terror. So it’s like a Yayyyy! and a Wow…and a Whoa.

Now bear with me down a short rabbit trail. We’ll come back. See, by mistake as I was looking through the Hebrew dictionary, I saw that hallel looks and sounds a whole lot like this other word, challel. Challel means “to pierce”. This would have a negative connotation – that whatever is pierced would be damaged beyond what it is meant to be, no longer desirable, polluted, broken. I wonder if the fact that these two little words look and sound so similar can help us understand what it means to praise.

If challel is to pierce, then maybe hallel is like it – piercing the air with our shouts of joy or wonder or awe. If challel is to puncture, then might hallel be like it – punctuating our lives with the joy of God-with-us.

If challel is to puncture, then might the punctures in Jesus’ hands and feet have become causes of joy, because they are not the end of his story – just as our wounds, as deep and true as they are, are not the end of our stories.

So, “even at the grave,” as one of our ancient chants says, “we make our song, Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.” So we punctuate this service and so many services with Alleluias all over the place: “Alleluia! Christ is risen!” “Alleluia! Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us!” “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord, Alleluia, alleluia!” (There are some churches where you all would be punctuating this sermon with Amens and Alleluias – but please don’t do that, because it would make me feel uncomfortable!) Because sometimes the Alleluias, the Laudas, bubble up out of us, as if they are the carbonation of our joy that cannot be contained, and there are other times when we might not be feelin’ it and it helps to have those words in front of us because we need to practice. We need to practice joy.

I was walking around yesterday on that glorious day – just like this glorious day – thinking about all this, and when I had an urge to check my phone.

It was a familiar urge, because it had only been five minutes since the last time I checked it. Had I missed a text? Did I have any notifications? Any of those little red circles with numbers in them? What were the numbers? I can’t stand those things – I like to keep the screen neat. But if I’m completely honest, I do like them, because it means that someone has paid attention to me.

When it hit me: I am punctuating my time with an iPhone!

What if every five minutes, instead of checking if someone has paid attention to me, I stop to pay attention to what God is doing. If I noticed that magnolia tree that all of a sudden is bursting with blossoms. If I looked up and out and into the eyes of my neighbor, and realized that I recognize him from the train and around the neighborhood. If I remember that even during all of the tough times, somehow there always has been enough.

Then maybe I would see the table that God is always spreading before me, the green pastures and still waters to which, though hidden, God is always leading me, and in which my soul may find joy and rest. Alleluia, alleluia!

 

1. The choir had sung a setting of Psalm 23, the psalm appointed for the day, by Z. Randall Stroope: 

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. Lauda, lauda!
Through death’s dark valleys, no fear shall I know, Lauda, lauda!
My head is covered with the finest oil, my cup runneth over and over. Lauda, lauda!
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow!
Green pastures, still waters, the Lord provides! Lauda, lauda.
My soul restores, my heart renews. Lauda, lauda!
The Lord prepares me a table, lauda, no fear have I from my foes.
The Lord anoints me, guards me, loves me.
The Lord provides me with a rod and staff, lauda,
They comfort and guide me, lauda, lauda!
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow!
And in the house of the Lord I will dwell forever. Lauda, lauda!

See http://www.zrstroope.com/pdf/Psalm23.pdf for a sample of the music, and here for a sample performance.

 

 

 

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Dear Friends,

 

martinThis Sunday, the Rev. Martin Deppe, retired United Methodist pastor, lifelong activist, and parishioner here at All Saints', will be preaching on Psalm 133, which begins, How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity.

How good and how sorely needed. You will not want to miss his sermon, which I expect to be both balm and challenge for our souls.

Martin has walked with Martin Luther King, Jr., worked closely with Rabbi Abraham Heschel, and advocated for female bishops in the United Methodist Church. Earlier this year, he published Operation Breadbasket: An Untold Story of Civil Rights in Chicago, 1966-1971, which chronicles underreported aspects and strategies of the movement here in Chicago which remain, of course, incredibly important today.

breadbasketOperation Breadbasket is the All Saints' Book Group's selection for September. You are invited to discuss the book along with them on Thursday, September 14, at 7:30pm in the Reading Room.

At this point, Bonnie has been to Michigan, Canada, and Virginia, and this weekend will head to Scotland! Please do reach out to me by email or phone (cell is best) if there is any way I can help you.

I hope this finds you delighting in summer, and I look forward to seeing you soon.

 

Peace,
Emily

back2017Sunday, September 17

Mark your calendars for the annual Backpack Blessing on September 17. PJ Karafiol, principal of Lake View High School, will be the guest preacher, and educators will speak on a panel during the 10am coffee hour.

Once again we will be collecting ONE TON OF PAPER to distribute to our neighborhood public schools. And there is even more up our sleeves to make this the most incredible Backpack Blessing yet...

Want to help make it happen? You're invited to join the planning meetings this Wednesday, August 2, 6-9pm, and Wednesday, August 23, 7-9pm. Contact Emily for more information.

midnightFall Reading List Selected

The All Saints Book Club has defined its reading list through the fall. The meetings start at 7:30 PM usually at the home of a member. The locations and further details are on our Facebook page. Here is the schedule for the next several months:

  • August 10 - "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" by John Berendt
  • September 14 - "Operation Breadbasket" by Martin Deppe (meet in the Reading Room at the church)
  • October 12 - "Saints and Villains" by Denise Giardina
  • November 9 - "The Haunting of Hill House" by Shirley Jackson
  • December 14 - Pick your own poetry book and share favorite poem(s)

For additional information, contact Mike Burke (mebcat@gmail.com)

kellybdWe are very excited that the Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas will be spending a weekend with us this fall, September 23 and 24. Kelly was formerly the Canon Theologian at our National Cathedral. In the fall she will become the first Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School, now located at Union Theological Seminary. We've invited Kelly to spend the weekend with us so that we might again return to our work on confronting racism. Kelly is an amazing preacher and theologian and we are beyond honored that she is making time in her incredibly busy schedule to be with us. Look for more details in the next few weeks on the spirituality and theology that we will be exploring together. 

In the event that you find yourself looking for some interesting summer reading, here are some books she has suggested we investigate: HomecomingThe Color of Law, and one by Kelly called Stand Your Ground. She also suggested that watching 13th on Netflix would be helpful.

Racism is an issue that we are called to confront and challenge and end. It is not something that will just die a gentle death. Our hope is that with our time with Kelly and one another, we may again return to this important work. 

Gardening at 10am

churchschool2010

For the rest of June and July - although Sunday school classes do not meet at 10 during the summer - Atrium I will continue to be open during the 9 o'clock service until the end of July. Atrium I children who attend the 11 o'clock service will be welcome in the nursery during the service.

At 10 o'clock children are encouraged to come help water, weed and harvest vegetables from the garden we're planting to support the Ravenswood Community Services kitchen and food pantry

We're running low on paper and reusable bags for our Tuesday night pantry. Please bring us your extras! 
 
We will be taking donations on Tuesday evenings, M-F 9am-4pm, and on Sundays during church services. Look for the bins by the doors. Thanks for your help!

 Sundays at 2pm

breakersbibleWe are very excited to announce that every Sunday at 2:00 pm, All Saints' offers something new at the Breakers - An Evening Prayer Service! Our first event was Sunday, December 4th, and went marvelously well - we had 13 attendees! Folks are very pleased that there's a Protestant service being offered in addition to the current choices (which are Catholic and Moody Bible.) The Prayer Service itself is printed in large print and in bulletin style with scripture taken each week from the Common Lectionary.

The weekly service starts at 2:00 pm, upstairs on the second floor Meditation Room, and lasts about 15 minutes. Please contact Paul Mallatt if you have questions, or comments at 773-860-4649. When you can, stop by the Breakers (5333 N Sheridan Rd) where the parking is free (for 2 hours), the coffee is hot, and the folks are friendly!

 

Tuesdays 6:15-8:00pm 

RCS is looking for help serving and cleaning up after dinner on Tuesdays from 6:15-8:00pm.

If you're able to volunteer, contact Emily or Operations Manager Parker Callahan, or call 773-769-0282.

helloDo you feel called to create an open, welcoming, hospitable environment at All Saints? Do you like meeting and connecting with people? Join the new Hospitality Ministry! Members of the Hospitality Ministry will help the clergy and vestry create a welcoming culture by greeting new members, engaging new faces at coffee hour, and helping connect new members of All Saints with our various programs.

Interested? Contact Diane Doran or Michelle Mayes. Include "Hospitality Ministry" in the subject line.

Our new Associate Rector, Emily Williams Guffey, is enjoying getting to know everyone in our congregation. Help her put names and faces together by adding yourself to our online directory!

If you are a member of All Saints' and haven't already registered for the directory, please contact our resident web guru Jim Crandall at website@allsaintschicago.org and he will send a user name, password, and instructions.

Join the All Saints' Care Ministry! 

casseroleThe Care Ministry at All Saints' is a quiet one, simply providing meals after a new baby arrives, after surgery, during an illness. Because when life gets complicated, dinner is often the last thing on our minds--but sometimes a meal and visit from a friend is exactly what we need!

If you can provide a meal, give someone a ride, or run an errand once in awhile, please email care@allsaintschicago.org. You'll be contacted when a need arises and you can sign up to help at your convenience.

 

tinaParishioner, Tina Tchen, accepts Bishop Maryann Budde's invitation to preach at the National Cathedral Sunday, May 8. Click here to see the video.

 

Please consider supporting the restoration project of our historic building. To make a donation, click here

1883 Construction web 

This week’s stories of the bell tower: The beams and posts in the bell tower are being filled with epoxy and fungicide to prevent future insect damage and to restore their strength and integrity. Here are some photos of the work currently taking place. Everywhere you see white is where the post or beam is being rebuilt, restored and protected.
 
The blue hue in the photo is from the tarp surrounding the bell tower enabling Ron Young and his crew to continue working in the dropping temperatures.
 
 

Here is a collection of photos of the progress of our 1883 Project. Here is a collection of bell tower photos. Check back often for updates.


Sunday Service Times

8:00 am Inclusive Language Eucharist
9:00 am Holy Eucharist with Choir
10:00 am Children's Church School
10:00 am Coffee Hour
11:00 am Holy Eucharist with Choir

 

Contact Us

4550 N. Hermitage in Chicago, IL 60640 (Directions)

Phone (773) 561-0111

Email info@allsaintschicago.org 

Information about pastoral care.

 

 


Bonnie on Huffington Post

Occasionally Bonnie's sermons are published on the Huffington Post. Here are some links.

Pain. Change. Hope.

November 15, 2015

What Does St. Francis of Assisi Have to Say to Us Today?

October 4, 2015

Wake Up Calls

September 6, 2015

Christmas Reminds Us That We, Like God, Are Human, Too

December 24, 2014

The Deep Sleep of Racial Oblivion: One Pastor's Sin of Omission

November 30, 2014

Pulpit Swap

The Pulpit Swap between St Thomas and All Saints is part of our ongoing effort to bring our parishes closer together as we engage in a conversation about systemic racism and how we can work together to forge new possibilities and outcomes.

Going Home—Changed

Pulpit Swap Sermon By The Rev Bonnie Perry of All Saints Episcopal Church on October 16, 2016.  

When Prayers Go Unanswered

Pulpit Swap Sermon By The Rev Dr Fulton L Porter celebrating at All Saints Episcopal Church on Oct16 2016.