Friday, August 31, 2012

Where the rubber meets the road.

The appointed Eucharistic reading for the celebration of Sts. Aidan and Cuthbert is taken from Paul’s Letter to the Romans:
 
We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.
 
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord.  Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. (Rm. 12: 6-13).
 
There are times in our families and in church families when we forget that everyone, each member of the family, has his or her certain gifts.  Paul reminds us that each person has their part to play in order to make the body whole.  Then Paul exhorts us to “love one another with mutual affection.”  That is where the rubber meets the road in life. I know that in my own life I often fall short of this.  I also know that sometimes Church communities fall short of this because they are made up of people like me, sinners, who from time to time fail to be Christ-like. 
 
Paul is telling us that as the body of Christ, the Church, we must decrease and Christ must increase. When I decrease and Christ increases in me, it becomes less about me and more about Jesus. If I increase and Jesus decreases, the Church becomes more about my ego and emotions and less about the Good News of Jesus, and that is a short route to chaos and the Evil One's favorite road map.  We must listen to others as Christ listens to others.  We are called to talk to others as Christ talks to others.  We must see others as Christ sees others. Sometimes this is hard, and, to be sure, sometimes familiarity breeds contempt. Nevertheless, that is the goal that God has set for us, God asks that our love be genuine just as Jesus’ love is genuine. When we fall short and sin hurting the Body of Christ, let us seek Christ's forgiveness and the forgiveness of those whom we have harmed resolving to build up the Body of Christ as Jesus would have us do holding fast to what is good and loving one another with mutual affection.
 
Let us pray on the celebration of Sts. Aidan and Cuthbert:  Everliving God, you called your servants Aidan and Cuthbert to proclaim the Gospel in northern England and gave them loving hearts and gentle spirits: Grant us grace to live as they did, in simplicity, humility and love for the poor; through Jesus Christ, who came among us as one who serves, and who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
 
CALENDAR REMINDERS
 
Family Fun Night, tonight at 6 p.m. Bring a game and snacks to share.
 
The new Adult Scripture Study starting in September for 6 weeks, the Kerygma study on The Lord's Prayer during the 11 a.m. hour.
 
The 4th Annual Art Show at St. Augustine’s.  This year’s theme is “Peace.”
 
THE PRAYER LIST: Please remember everyone on our Prayer List, especially for Shannon Elliott, the family of Charlie Fric, Steve, the family of Ella Boyer, Sherman, Gladys, Kendall, Seth, all of those suffering because of Isaac, our Bishop Suffragan Elect, Jeff Fisher, the clergy of this Diocese, and the vestries and Bishop’s committees of this Diocese.
 
Your servant in Christ,
 
Fr. Chester J. Makowski+
St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church
Galveston, Texas 77550

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I will sing to the Lord!

One of the appointed Psalms for today is Psalm 13; the Psalmist prays:

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me for ever?
   How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I bear pain in my soul,
   and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God!
   Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
and my enemy will say, ‘I have prevailed’;
   my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.
But I trusted in your steadfast love;
   my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
   because he has dealt bountifully with me.

We trust in God’s steadfast love, even in the midst of pain, because of God’s immeasurable love for us as expressed in the Incarnation, God dwelling with us as one of us in the person of Jesus Christ.  Even as we suffer and death comes to us, we lived with the blessed assurance that God, in the person of Christ, knows our suffering because he has experienced.  Moreover, Christ rose from the dead, the first fruits of the new creation.

Today, I ask your prayers for Charlie Fric and his family, his wife Cindy and daughter Victoria, his 2 sisters and brother.  Charlie was at UTMB awaiting a double organ replacement, but he had a turn for the worse.  This morning we committed his soul to Almighty God with the Ministration at the Time of Death.  Let us pray for Charlie and his family: Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant Charlie. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming. Receive him into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light. Amen.

CALENDAR REMINDERS

Family Fun Night, this Friday at 6 p.m. Bring a game and snacks to share.

The new Adult Scripture Study starting in September for 6 weeks, the Kerygma study on The Lord's Prayer during the 11 a.m. hour.

The 4th Annual Art Show at St. Augustine’s.  This year’s theme is “Peace.”

THE PRAYER LIST: Please remember everyone on our Prayer List, especially for the young woman who was injured by falling debris from a balcony during Art Walk Saturday night, Shannon Elliott, who is a friend of Tammie Taylor’s.  We continue to pray for Steve, Sherman, Gladys, and the family of Ella Boyer.

Your servant in Christ,

Fr. Chester J. Makowski+
St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church
Galveston, Texas 77550

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo

Today is official feast day of St. Augustine.  He was born 13 November 354 in North Africa, about 45 miles south of the Mediterranean, in the town of Tagaste  in Numidia (now Souk-Ahras in Algeria), near ancient Carthage (modern Tunis), and he died on this day in 430 at the age of 75 where he served as bishop, the city of Hippo. 

Many times we forget what an impact North Africa had on Christianity.  Not only was our own Augustine from North Africa, but so were other notables, including: Tertullian (160–225), Clement of Alexandria (150-215), Origen of Alexandria (185-254), Cyprian (died 258) and Athanasius (296-373), and many of these are considered to the Early Church Fathers, and their writings are studied today in seminaries.  That study is known as Patristics (from the Latin word for father, “pater”).

During the Patristic period, the Church was in the midst of growth. People of differing views who were impacted by Jesus tried to work out what the life, death and resurrection of Jesus meant, how to best explain it, and how to remain faithful to what had been handed down to them from the Apostles and their successors. It was a period of struggle and disagreement. It was during this time that the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed are developed.  What united us as a people of faith?  What was essential to believe?  The Church, with the aid of Augustine, worked its way through it being faithful to what the Apostles handed down as the genuine teaching of Christ. 

As Augustine wrote, “the Church is a hospital for sinners.”  None of us is perfect, far from it.  It is only the grace of God that redeems us and makes us whole.  As Augustine knew from his own life experience, we are weak creatures, always searching, but “our hearts are restless, unless they rest in you, O God!” 

Let us pray:  Lord God, the light of the minds that know you, the life of the souls that love you, and the strength of the hearts that serve you: Help us, following the example of your servant Augustine of Hippo, so to know you that we may truly love you, and so to love you that we may fully serve you, whom to serve is perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. 

THE PRAYER LIST: Please remember everyone on our Prayer List, but especially we pray for Charlie Fric, who is double organ transplant at UTMB, as well as for his wife, Cindy, and their daughter Victoria. Let us pray for the young woman who was injured by falling debris from a balcony during ArtWalk Saturday night, Shannon Elliott, who is a friend of Tammie Taylor’s.  We continue to pray for Steve, Sherman, Gladys, and the family of Ella Boyer.

CALENDAR REMINDERS

Family Fun Night, this Friday at 6 p.m. Bring a game and snacks to share.

The new Adult Scripture Study starting in September for 6 weeks, the Kerygma study on The Lord's Prayer during the 11 a.m. hour.
 
The 4th Annual Art Show at St. Augustine’s.  This year’s theme is “Peace.”

Your servant in Christ,

Fr. Chester J. Makowski+
St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church
Galveston, Texas 77550

Friday, August 24, 2012

St. Bartholomew, Apostle

Today the Church honors and remembers St. Bartholomew, an apostle.  All that we know about him with any certainty is that he was one of the 12 Apostles. His name means "son of Tolomai" and scholars believe he is the same as Nathanael mentioned in the Gospel according to John, who says that he is from Cana and that Jesus called him an "Israelite...incapable of deceit." Tradition has it that he preached in India and Greater Armenia, where he was flayed and beheaded by King Astyages.

Let us pray:  Almighty and everlasting God, who gave to your apostle Bartholomew grace truly to believe and to preach your Word: Grant that your Church may love what he believed and preach what he taught; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.  Amen.

CALENDAR REMINDERS

This Sunday we celebrate our patron saint, St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, and our 128th Anniversary!  This is our annual homecoming event.  Spread the word, and don’t forget to bring something to share for the meal after the Eucharist.

Please remember everyone on our Prayer List, especially the family of Ella Boyer, the family of Barbara Brunkhorst, all of those who are ill and especially Lee Runion’s mother, Steve, Emily, Gladys, and all of those who are travelling.

"Our hearts are restless until they rest in you, O Lord.” St. Augustine.

Your servant in Christ,

Fr. Chester J. Makowski+
St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church
Galveston, Texas 77550

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Cry from the Depths of the Heart


One of the appointed Psalms for today is Psalm 130, and it is a true cry from the depths of the heart:
 
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.
   Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
   to the voice of my supplications!
If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
   Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you,
   so that you may be revered.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
   and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
   more than those who watch for the morning,
   more than those who watch for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord!
   For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
   and with him is great power to redeem.
It is he who will redeem Israel
   from all its iniquities.

No doubt we all feel like this from time to time.  It is the dark night of the soul, when we feel God so distant from us.   We can experience this when we fall short of what God expects of us, when we fall short of our own expectations of ourselves.  Our souls long for intimacy with God; we long for absolution, for forgiveness.  God is abundant in mercy, always ready to take us back no matter what our offenses are.  The Psalmist knows that strength of God’s love for us.  We have experienced that love in Jesus Christ, God with us.

Let us pray:  O Lord, I turn to you in sorrow and repentance.  Receive me again into the arms of your mercy, and restore me to the blessed company of your faithful people; through him in whom you have redeemed the world, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen.

CALENDAR REMINDERS

Clean-up Day at the Church, Saturday, 25 August 2012.

The Feast Day of St. Augustine will be celebrated on Sunday, 26 August starting with Eucharist Rite II at 9 a.m. We will have the Blessing of the Backpacks as well, and a luncheon after the service.

New Adult Christian Education Series starting September: Lord, Teach Us To Pray: Six Studies on the Lord’s Prayer from the Kerygma Series.  This study will be led by Jillian Bain on Sundays and by Tammie Taylor on Mondays.  Please join in this wonderful study of God’s Word.

The Roots of Christian Mysticism, a 3-Year Course of Study, Year 1, September 8, 2012 -May 4,2013,Houston,Texas.  This 3-year course offers a unique opportunity to explore, in depth, the history of Christian Mysticism. It is structured and taught by leading scholars and practitioners and focuses on the key figures of the mystical tradition. Classes will be held 1 Saturday a month for 9 consecutive months at the Dominican Sisters Spirituality Center, 6501 Almeda (at Holcombe), Houston, Texas. Annual tuition is $225.

Art in and Around St. Augustine’s:

         The 4th Annual Art Show—this year’s theme is “Peace”. 

          Art Walk at St. Vincent’s House on 25August, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Please remember everyone on our prayer list, especially, the family of Ella Boyer, the family of Barbara Brunkhorst, Sherman, Emily, for the health of Lee Runion’s mother, Steve, Gladys, for all of those who are traveling, and for all those who are about to start anew school year.

Your servant in Christ,

Fr. Chester J. Makowski+
St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church
Galveston, Texas 77550

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Our Help Is in the Name of the Lord!

One of the appointed Psalms for today is Psalm 121, and the Psalmist prays:
 
I lift up my eyes to the hills—
   from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
   who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
   he who keeps you will not slumber.
He who keeps Israel
   will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
   the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
   nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all evil;
   he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
   your going out and your coming in
   from this time on and for evermore.

Today has been one of those days for us at St. Augustine!  Sherman Boyer was involved in an auto accident and is in the hospital for observation.  Ella Boyer, who has been ill and at the VA Hospital in Houston, died early this morning.  A friend’s mother, Emily, underwent surgery and is in ICU. There was also another death recently, of a friend from a former parish, Barbara. People are in the midst of pain and grief, and I am sure that there is more.  You know the events in your life. 

It is during times like this that the Psalmist’s prayer hits home.  “From where will our help come?”  The Psalmist is quick to answer, “Our help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!”  We are in God’s hands come what may, come when it will.  The Lord watches over our comings and goings.  God is ever faithful, even suffering with us, grieving with us.  In the end, through God’s grace, relief will come.  Amen!

CALENDAR REMINDERS

Clean-up Day at the Church, Saturday, 25 August 2012.

The Feast Day of St. Augustine will be celebrated on Sunday, 26 August starting with Eucharist Rite II at 9 a.m. We will have the Blessing of the Backpacks as well, and a luncheon after the service.

New Adult Christian Education Series starting September: Lord, Teach Us To Pray: Six Studies on the Lord’s Prayer from the Kerygma Series.  This study will be led by Jillian Bain on Sundays and by Tammie Taylor on Mondays.  Please join in this wonderful study of God’s Word.

The Roots of Christian Mysticism, a 3-Year Course of Study, Year 1, September 8, 2012 -May 4, 2013,Houston,Texas.  This 3-year course offers a unique opportunity to explore, in depth, the history of Christian Mysticism. It is structured and taught by leading scholars and practitioners and focuses on the key figures of the mystical tradition. Classes will be held1 Saturday a month for 9 consecutive months at the Dominican Sisters Spirituality Center,6501 Almeda (at Holcombe), Houston, Texas. Annual tuition is $225.

Art in and Around St. Augustine’s:

          The 4th Annual Art Show—this year’s theme is “Peace”. 

          Art Walk at St. Vincent’s House on 25 August, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Please remember everyone on our prayer list, especially, the family of Ella Boyer, the family of Barbara Brunkhorst, Sherman, Emily, for the health of Lee Runion’s mother, Steve, Gladys, for all of those who are traveling, and for all those who are about to start a new school year.

Your servant in Christ,

Fr. Chester J. Makowski+
St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church
Galveston, Texas 77550

Monday, August 20, 2012

St. Bernard of Clairvaux: Abbot & Reformer

Today the Church remembers and honors Bernard of Clairvaux who was born into a noble family in the Bordeaux area in France in 1090 and died on this day in 1153. 

Bernard was the third of a family of seven children, six of whom were sons. At the age of 9, Bernard was sent to school at Ch√Ętillon-sur-Seine, run by the secular canons of Saint-Vorles. Bernard had a great taste for literature and devoted himself to poetry. His success in his studies won the admiration of his teachers.

After the death of his mother, Bernard resolved to embrace the newly established and very austere institute of the Cistercian Order. He persuaded his brothers and several of his friends to follow his example, and in 1113, Bernard with 30 noblemen, presented himself to the Abbot at Citeaux.  After his novitiate, Bernard made his profession in the following year. His superior soon after, seeing the great progress he had made in the spiritual life, sent him with 12 monks to found a new monastery, which became known as the Abbey of Clairvaux. Bernard was appointed abbot and began that active life which has rendered him the most conspicuous figure in the history of the 12th century. He founded numerous other monasteries, composed a number of works and undertook many journeys for the honor of God.

Let us pray:  O God, by whose grace your servant Bernard of Clairvaux, kindled with the flame of your love, became a burning and a shining light in your Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and walk before you as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

CALENDAR REMINDERS

Clean-up Day at the Church, Saturday, 25 August 2012.

The Feast Day of St. Augustine will be celebrated on Sunday, 26 August starting with Eucharist Rite II at 9 a.m. We will have the Blessing of the Backpacks as well, and a luncheon after the service.

New Adult Christian Education Series starting September: Lord, Teach Us To Pray: Six Studies on the Lord’s Prayer from the Kerygma Series.  This study will be led by Jillian Bain on Sundays and by Tammie Taylor on Mondays.  Please join in this wonderful study of God’s Word.

The Roots of Christian Mysticism, a 3-Year Course of Study, Year 1, September 8, 2012 -May 4, 2013,Houston, Texas.  This 3-year course offers a unique opportunity to explore, in depth, the history of Christian Mysticism. It is structured and taught by leading scholars and practitioners and focuses on the key figures of the mystical tradition. Classes will be held1 Saturday a month for 9 consecutive months at the Dominican Sisters Spirituality Center, 6501 Almeda (at Holcombe), Houston, Texas. Annual tuition is $225.

Art in and Around St. Augustine’s:

         The 4th Annual Art Show—this year’s theme is “Peace”. 

          Art Walk at St. Vincent’s House on 25 August, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Please remember everyone on our prayer list, especially, the family of Corlie Jackson whose mother died recently, the family of Barbara Brunkhorst, for the health of Lee Runion’s mother, Steve, Gladys, for all of those who are traveling, and for all those who are about to start a new school year.

St. Augustine’s College officially becomes St. Augustine’s University, Raleigh, North Carolina: The name change of Saint Augustine’s College to St. Augustine’s University which is building upon a 145-year legacy of academic excellence.

Campus signage has been updated, major construction projects are in progress and the new branding package is complete. Cosmetic updates will continue throughout the academic year. University administrators have been hard at work preparing for not only the physical change, but also the shift in mentality that is required when any significant organizational change is implemented. “It’s more than just a name change” became a mantra of faculty and staff and drilled home the declaration that Saint Augustine’s University will not be business as usual.  

"The expectation is that students will return to campus and know that something is different," states President Dianne Boardley Suber. "The change is not only aesthetic, but also in mindset. Moving to the next level will require commitment from students, faculty and staff and I am confident that we will rise to the challenge. We have the right people, in the right place and this is the right time.”

St. Augustine’s University will expand its programs for nontraditional students to include students seeking a four year degree that includes online courses and expanding off-site access to campus programs. The University has established Centers of Excellence that will serve as the anchor programs of a St. Augustine’s University degree.

The Center for Forensic Discovery (forensic science, forensic accounting, and forensic psychology) and the Center for Applied Medical Sciences are two signature academic programs that are expected to enhance and expand students’ marketability for a global workforce. The third Center of Excellence will be the Center for Athletic Facilities and Sports Management. This center affords students a unique concentration in the operational and administration aspects in the world of professional, collegiate and leisure sports. Graduates from this center would have the competitive advantage to secure positions in the “front office.”

An additional center of excellence being considered is the Center for Athletic Scholarship and The University will move towards offering its first master's degree program as early as 2014. The Physician Assistant (PA) Master’s Degree Program will focus on training PAs for rural and other underserved communities.

About St. Augustine’s University: It was formerly St. Augustine’s College, established in 1867, is a 4-year historically black college in Raleigh, N.C. With an average annual enrollment of 1,500. The College offers 27 undergraduate degree programs in five academic divisions. St. Augustine’s University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Your servant in Christ,

Fr. Chester J. Makowski+
St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church
Galveston, Texas 77550

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Church Community: Sometimes It's Messy

One of the appointed Psalms for today is Psalm 102.   A portion of it reads:

Let this be recorded for a generation to come,
   so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord:
that he looked down from his holy height,
   from heaven the Lord looked at the earth,
to hear the groans of the prisoners,
   to set free those who were doomed to die;
so that the name of the Lord may be declared in Zion,
   and his praise in Jerusalem,
when peoples gather together,
   and kingdoms, to worship the Lord. (Ps. 102: 18-23)

Someone recently sent me an article by a Presbyterian minister, Mark Sandlin, who is on a leave from life in the church.  He writes: “I’ve been away from church for two months now and I have to say, I am more at peace than I ever have been. My faith is stronger than it ever has been. My family life is healthier than it ever has been. My desire to seek out God and follow the teachings of Jesus is stronger than it ever has been.  I do not want to go back to Church because life outside of Church is better. It just is. There’s no dogma complicating the path to God. It is more than refreshing to escape the games church-folk play with the intent of establishing control and ‘rightness’ on their part; it is life-giving to escape it.”

I think that from time to time everyone feels the same way. Certainly one gets discouraged by the political maneuverings in the Church, but the “go it alone/it’s between me and God alone” attitude is commensurate with the narcissistic relativistic attitude that is so prevalent in our nation today. 

Jesus lived out his public ministry, and his death and resurrection, with a community that had its own problems—

         “We want to sit and your right and left when you come to power (James and John);”

         “These others may betray you, but I never will (Peter);” Only to utter a little later on, “I do not know the man!”
 
         “If only you would have come sooner, my brother, Lazarus, would not have died (Martha)”.

          And then there was the ultimate, “And you Judas, betray me with a kiss.”

         Talk about a community with people trying to assert their own agenda!

The Psalmist reminds us that we are all called to gather together and to worship the Lord.  The fact that we are created in the image and likeness of God and that God is Trinity tells us that community is essential to our lives.  Sure, sometimes people will rub each other the wrong way.  To be sure, we get worn down with the various agendas individuals are trying to push in the Church.  We are a broken people in desperate need of grace.  However, rejecting the Church community is a rejection of Christ, whose body the Church is.

A break, yes, totally rejecting the Church community, no.  I am happy to say that eventually, the minister went back.  He wrote:  “I’m going back, even though I honestly don’t want to, because my time away has given me a little perspective on the disease behind the problem and I can promise you it will not change because of outside voices. The change must come from within, and I, for one, still believe the Church is redeemable. I just hope it’s not too late.”

The Good News is that you and I have been redeemed by Christ; therefore, the Church has already been redeemed by Christ.  We just have to live into that redemption; we have to die to self and let Christ increase in us. We have to accept the gift freely given.

Let us pray:  Gracious Father, we pray for your holy Catholic Church. Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in any thing it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ thy Son our Savior. Amen.

CALENDAR REMINDERS

Bishop’s Committee Meeting this Sunday after the Eucharist.

The Feast Day of St. Augustine will be celebrated on Sunday, 26 August starting with Eucharist Rite II at 9 a.m. We will have the Blessing of the Backpacks as well, and a luncheon after the service.

New Adult Christian Education Series starting September: Lord, Teach Us To Pray: Six Studies on the Lord’s Prayer from the Kerygma Series.  This study will be led by Jillian Bain on Sundays and by Tammie Taylor on Mondays.  Please join in this wonderful study of God’s Word.

The Roots of Christian Mysticism, a 3-Year Course of Study, Year 1, September 8, 2012 -May 4, 2013, Houston, Texas.  This 3-year course offers a unique opportunity to explore, in depth, the history of Christian Mysticism. It is structured and taught by leading scholars and practitioners and focuses on the key figures of the mystical tradition. Classes will be held 1 Saturday a month for 9 consecutive months at the Dominican Sisters Spirituality Center, 6501 Almeda (at Holcombe), Houston, Texas. Annual tuition is $225.

Art in and Around St. Augustine’s:

         The 4th Annual Art Show—this year’s theme is “Peace”. 

         Art Walk at St. Vincent’s House on 25 August, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Please remember everyone on our prayer list, especially, the family of Corlie Jackson whose mother died recently, for the health of Lee Runion’s mother, Steve, Gladys, for all of those who are traveling, and for all those who are about to start a new school year.

Your servant in Christ,

Fr. Chester J. Makowski+
St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church
Galveston, Texas 77550

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Splendor of God's Creation

The appointed Psalm for today is Psalm 105.  The Psalmist prays:

O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name,
   make known his deeds among the peoples.
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
   tell of all his wonderful works.
Glory in his holy name;
   let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Seek the Lord and his strength;
   seek his presence continually.
Remember the wonderful works he has done,
   his miracles, and the judgments he has uttered.   (Ps. 105: 1-5).

I love the mountains!  When Mary and I have a chance for a little time off, we go to higher elevations.  In the mountains, I experience the majesty of God; I revel in God’s might and splendor.  You and I see God’s wonderful works in creation around us, and God’s creation is an expression of love.  The beauty we encounter reminds us that we are not alone.  It reminds us that God desires to be in a relationship with us.  God’s gift of beauty uplifts us and makes our hearts glad.




Those of you who may be beach people no doubt have the same experience when you witness the beauty of God’s creation.  Give thanks for the Lord is good!

Let us pray:  Almighty and everlasting God, you made the universe with all its marvelous order, its atoms, worlds, and galaxies, and the infinite complexity of living creatures: Grant that, as we probe the mysteries of your creation, we may come to know you more truly, and more surely fulfill our role in your eternal purpose; in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

CALENDAR REMINDERS

Bishop’s Committee Meeting this Sunday after the Eucharist.

The Feast Day of St. Augustine will be celebrated on Sunday, 26 August starting with Eucharist Rite II at 9 a.m. We will have the Blessing of the Backpacks as well, and a luncheon after the service.

New Adult Christian Education Series starting September: Lord, Teach Us To Pray: Six Studies on the Lord’s Prayer from the Kerygma Series.  This study will be led by Jillian Bain on Sundays and by Tammie Taylor on Mondays.  Please join in this wonderful study of God’s Word.

The Roots of Christian Mysticism, a 3-Year Course of Study, Year 1,  September 8, 2012 -May 4, 2013, Houston, Texas.  This 3-year course offers a unique opportunity to explore, in depth, the history of Christian Mysticism. It is structured and taught by leading scholars and practitioners and focuses on the key figures of the mystical tradition. Classes will be held 1 Saturday a month for 9 consecutive months at the Dominican Sisters Spirituality Center, 6501Almeda (at Holcombe), Houston, Texas. Annual tuition is $225.

Art in and Around St. Augustine’s:

         The 4th Annual Art Show at St. Augustine’s.  This year’s theme is “Peace”. 

         Art Walk at St. Vincent’s House on 25 September, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Please remember everyone on our prayer list, especially, the family of Corlie Jackson whose mother died recently, for the health of Lee Runion’s mother, Steve, Gladys, for all of those who are traveling, and for all those who are about to start a new school year.

Your servant in Christ,

Fr. Chester J. Makowski+
St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church
Galveston, Texas 77550

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

St. Mary the Virgin: Pure Discipleship

Today the Church honors and celebrates Mary, the mother of Jesus.  The New Testament speaks of Mary. We read about her in Luke’s Gospel, especially in the first chapter where read about the Annunciation when the Angel Gabriel told her she would be the mother of the Most High, and then when she goes to visit Elizabeth who is with child with John.  Mary sings her song at that meeting, which is the appointed Gospel reading for today:

 "My soul magnifies the Lord,
    and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
   Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
   and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
   from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
   he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
   and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
   and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
   in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
   to Abraham and to his descendants for ever." (Lk 1: 44-56)

Mary is the perfect disciple, and she has much to teach us.  She says “yes” to God even in the midst of unknowing.  She trusts in God even when she is uncertain about the future.  She remains faithful to God even when the world around her is not.  She stands with Jesus at the foot of his cross.  She is the lowliest of God’s servants, whom He exalted to be at seated Christ’s right hand—she is the Ark of the New Covenant, the Theotokos (“God bearer”).

Let us pray:  O God, who have taken to yourself the blessed Virgin Mary, mother of your incarnate Son: Grant that we, who have been redeemed by his blood, may share with her the glory of your eternal kingdom; through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

CALENDAR REMINDERS

Seaside Seniors, this Thursday, 16 August in Sutton Hall.

Bishop’s Committee Meeting this Sunday after the Eucharist.

The Feast Day of St. Augustine will be celebrated on Sunday, 26 August starting with Eucharist Rite II at 9 a.m. and a luncheon after the service.

New Adult Christian Education Series starting September: Lord, Teach Us To Pray: Six Studies on the Lord’s Prayer from the Kerygma Series.  This study will be led by Jillian Bain on Sundays and by Tammie Taylor on Mondays.  Please join in this wonderful study of God’s Word.

The Roots of Christian Mysticism, a Three-Year Course of Study, Year 1,  September 8, 2012 -May 4, 2013, Houston, Texas.  This 3-year course offers a unique opportunity to explore, in depth, the history of Christian Mysticism. It is structured and taught by leading scholars and practitioners and focuses on the key figures of the mystical tradition.  Classes will be held one Saturday a month for 9 consecutive months at the Dominican Sisters Spirituality Center, 6501Almeda (at Holcombe), Houston, Texas. Annual tuition is $225.

Art in and Around St. Augustine’s:

         The Fourth Annual Art Show at St. Augustine’s.  This year’s theme is “Peace”. 

         Art Walk at St. Vincent’s House on 25 September, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Please remember everyone on our prayer list, especially, the family of Corlie Jackson whose mother died recently, for the health of Lee Runion’s mother, Steve, Gladys, and for all of those who are traveling.

Your servant in Christ,

Fr. Chester J. Makowski+
St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church
Galveston, Texas 77550

Monday, August 13, 2012

Jeremy Taylor, Bishop & Theologian



Today the Church remembers a bishop and theologian from the 1600s, Jeremy Taylor.  He was born in Cambridge, England in 1613, the son of a barber.

Taylor went to Cambridge as a student, and he was ordained a priest at the age of 20.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud, recognized the intelligence Taylor possessed and took the young priest under his wing.   

Taylor was a Fellow of two Cambridge colleges and he also served as chaplain to King Charles. When the Puritans came to power, Taylor was placed into prison. After the Restoration, in 1661, he became Bishop of Down and Connor in Ireland.

He is known for his writings, and John Wesley was quite fond of them.  Here is a sample of Taylor’s writing:

As our life is very short, so it is very miserable; and therefore it is well that it is short. God, in pity to mankind, lest his burden should be insupportable and his nature an intolerable load, hath reduced our state of misery to an abbreviature; and the greater our misery is, the less while it is like to last; the sorrows of a man’s spirit being like ponderous weights, which by the greatness of their burden make a swifter motion, and descend into the grave to rest and ease our wearied limbs; for then only we shall sleep quietly, when those fetters are knocked off, which not only bound our souls in prison, but also ate the flesh till the very bones opened the secret garments of their cartilages, discovering their nakedness and sorrow.  (Taken from Rules and Exercises of Holy Dying).


He died on this day in August of 1667.

Let us pray:  O God, whose days are without end, and whose mercies cannot be numbered: Make us, like your servant Jeremy Taylor, deeply aware of the shortness and uncertainty of human life; and let your Holy Spirit lead us in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

THANK YOU TO BOB NEWDING for the gift of the Wedding Plant, a cutting taken from his own parents wedding in November of 1939.  This plant has been blessed, and each time we have a coupled who is married at St. Augustine’s, they will be given a cutting from this plant.

CALENDAR REMINDERS

Seaside Seniors, this Thursday, 16 August in Sutton Hall.

Bishop’s Committee Meeting this Sunday after the Eucharist.

The Feast Day of St. Augustine will be celebrated on Sunday, 26 August starting with Eucharist Rite II at 9 a.m. and a luncheon after the service.

New Adult Christian Education Series starting September: Lord, Teach Us To Pray: Six Studies on the Lord’s Prayer from the Kerygma Series.  This study will be led by Jillian Bain on Sundays and by Tammie Taylor on Mondays.  Please join in this wonderful study of God’s Word.

The Roots of Christian Mysticism, a Three-Year Course of Study, Year One,  September 8, 2012 - May 4, 2013, Houston, Texas.  This three-year course offers a unique opportunity to explore, in depth, the history of Christian Mysticism. It is structured and taught by leading scholars and practitioners and focuses on the key figures of the mystical tradition.  Classes will be held one Saturday a month for nine consecutive months at the Dominican Sisters Spirituality Center, 6501 Almeda (at Holcombe), Houston, Texas. Annual tuition is $225.

Please remember everyone on our prayer list, especially, the family of Corlie Jackson whose mother died recently, for the health of Lee Runion’s mother, Steve, Gladys, and for all of those who are traveling.

Your servant in Christ,

Fr. Chester J. Makowski+
St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church
Galveston, Texas 77550