News & Resources: Spiritual Spot


Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

You'll find here occasional writings, a few rants, and hopefully some insights too, about Christian discipleship, the Episcopal Church, and on faith community's life at the Parish of the Epiphany in Winchester, Massachusetts. At the Epiphany we understand ourselves to be "a welcoming Episcopal community, united in God, called to seek and serve Christ in all persons, and to transform the world with love and generosity."

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  • January 19, 2017 1:55 AM | Anonymous

    Greetings from Jerusalem!

    I've learned that everyone comes on this trip for different reasons. For some, it is an opportunity to travel somewhere new. For others, it is an educational experience on history, persecution, and religious conflicts. For many, it is the pilgrimage they've wished to do their entire life.

    Similarly, everyone had different hopes about what they would gain from this trip. People were driven to travel this far for reasons such as finding clarity or purpose. Some hoped to have great stories to bring home, while others wanted spiritual guidance and truth. Maybe some just came to buy beautiful gifts for loved ones. But everyone hoped to receive something new.

    What we gained was much greater than anything we could have imagined. 

    Our group has become close in ways I never expected or hoped for, and not just because a stomach bug traveled through us within the first few days. We have shared deeply moving and personal experiences together - which we may never experience again in the same way. We all were overwhelmed by the looming Israeli barrier (the separation wall) that divides and traps Palestinian villages. We all were surprised by the humor and kindness found in the local "cousins" we met here, especially because of the adversity they face. Daily, we all laughed, prayed, and cried in solidarity. 

    We also bring home the wisdom of how to take action. As Solomon Owayda spoke about during our last evening, we must combat the discrimination we witnessed through small steps. By focusing on making a difference in the life of one person at a time, we can make ripples of change. Each small step affects the big problem at hand. 

    As we depart from the Holy Land, we are reminded not to take sides, but to be pro-peace for everyone, and to channel our emotions into direct action. Despite the differences in what each of us hoped for, the connections made and lessons learned greatly exceeded expectations. This is truly a trip none of us will ever forget.

    Amy Wade

  • January 17, 2017 1:58 AM | Anonymous

    Later today Amy Wade will write a more substantial reflection, but I thought a little update would be good. 

    We are thriving here. Sadly, Roger Nelson is not doing so well. His bronchitis just isn't dissipating the way we all hoped, despite excellent medical care. Still, he presses on with us when he can. We're sorry that so much of the trip for him has required him to rest. 

    Today is a kind of free day. Each of us can explore the old city, or do whatever else isn't already on the itinerary. Several of us are walking 6 miles into West Jerusalem to take in some of Marc Chagall's windows (if you've seen one of his windows haven't you seen them all?)...I'm glad for the walk and it's a beautiful day.

    Tomorrow we'll start at the Mount of Olives and make our way to the "tear drop" church. Many of you know of our Palm Sunday tradition at the Parish of the Epiphany of making chicks to commemorate Jesus's lament over Jerusalem, "how often I would have gathered you under my wing the way a mother hen does her chicks"--so we'll replicate that here and admire the exquisite mosaic depicting that biblical scene at the tear drop church. Then, in the afternoon, we'll take the bus to Jericho to have lunch at the Qumri's home. 

    Thursday we'll arise very early to do the stations of the cross, and we're already preparing for that culminating devotional act, asking the Crucified and Risen Christ to come near to us so that this pilgrimage might be for us both a renewal of faith and a confirmation of God's great desire to bring life out of death. 

    We are praying for you and we are grateful for your prayers for us.

    Faithfully in Christ


  • January 14, 2017 2:47 PM | Anonymous

        Today I cried. I am not one that openly cries and I am especially not someone to admit that I cried publicly. Maybe it is the exhaustion of waking up before 6 am everyday or it could be the side effects of the terrible stomach bug that has been rampaging through our group. But no I don't believe that is it, those are just petty excuses.  Today I cried because I witnessed something that tore my heart open. Walking along the separation wall between Palestine and Israel is an agonizing experience. I have seen pictures on the internet and have even done projects about it in school. I thought I was mentally and emotionally prepared to experience the wall in person. But boy was I wrong. Those pictures you see on the internet do not do it justice one bit. The pictures are all so one dimensional, you see the wall, see the graffiti and think to yourself, “ wow that’s terrible” and then go back to your daily life, instantly forgetting what you saw. When you look at the pictures you don't see the whole story. 

    First off there is the sheer size of the thing, it is massive and zig zags throughout Palestinian land (mind you that this is Israel’s wall yet it is built exclusively on land that belongs to the Palestinians). There are outlook posts every 100 ft with IDF soldiers menacingly looking down on you. But that isn't even the worst of it. 

    When you are walking along the wall you get to a point where you see a house, a house that is surrounded on all three sides by this intimidating structure. This house used to be right on the main road of Bethlehem but that road is now a dead end because of the occupation wall. When looking at pictures of the wall on the internet you don’t see the struggle this wall brings to the people of Palestine. How it basically traps them in what is the world's largest open air prison. In one swift move the IDF can cut off all the roads leading to and from Bethlehem, making it nearly impossible for those people to go to work or school outside of the city. You may see some pictures of the graffiti but only a select few. You don’t see the scribble near the bottom of the wall that says “made in the USA” nor the one that says “from the cradle to the grave.” 

    But the most important thing you don't see when looking at pictures of the wall is hope. The hope that one day there will be a Palestinian state. Hope that one day Palestine and Israel can peacefully coexist next to each other. On the internet you don’t see the local Palestinians always smiling and laughing. You don’t hear the locals sarcastically making jokes that maybe Trump will be the one to fix this problem (haha). You don’t see the sign on the wall that says “Wall Street” or the graffiti that says “Space invaders against borders.” 

    Hope and love are the most powerful tools the Palestinians have to fight against the occupying Israeli force. And that is what brought me to tears. The fact that even after all of terrible things that have happened to the poor people of Palestine they still remain so vigilant and hopeful. That in the end, after all of this struggle, they still have the hope they will finally be able to have a place they can truly call home.     

    Peace and Love, 

    Joe Owayda 

  • January 13, 2017 1:22 PM | Anonymous

    We have not been able to write the way we hoped. The truth is a terrible virus has infected the group and literally 75% of us have been doubled-over with stomach flu. Thankfully it's a short-lived setback, but it has hampered our ability to stay up late praying or writing.

    We left Nazareth this morning and went south into the heart of the West Bank, we stopped in Taybeh, the only 100% Christian village in all of Palestine. We're staying at a family-run hotel nearby the family-run brewery and winery. The Khourys have Boston roots!

    Mark Kowalewski, the dean of the cathedral in Los Angeles, wrote this to his congregation, and I wanted to share it; it captures well my own sense of connection with all of you at Epiphany. Pray for peace. Thomas.

    Yesterday morning I watched the sun rise over the judean desert- the place where Jesus spent 40 days in fact I g and prayer before he began his ministry. Today we are off to the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized. 

    As I go to these holy sites know that you are in my prayers and thoughts. As I continue on this pilgrimage and seeing the places where the events we read about in the scriptures happened I'm gaining new insight into our Lord's life. I invite you today to find a place of silence in your heart and enter your own pilgrimage inviting the Lord to show you New possibilities.

  • January 10, 2017 10:08 PM | Anonymous

    Good morning (at least it's morning in Jerusalem),

    We leave shortly for the Galilee. We'll keep silence throughout breakfast and on the bus until we reach the Judean desert where we'll celebrate the Eucharist (Martin Smith will preach and preside). Yesterday was our first full day in the Holy Land. We began with a view from Mt. Scopus, here in Jerusalem, to get the lay of the land. From there we visited Herodion, the palace King Herod built for himself south of the city (this was a new site for many of us). A spectacular treat was lunch in a Palestinian Christian family's home (the chicken was cooked in a clay oven with a mud seal--the mud was caked on by Penny Shaw and Gloria Korta). At the end of the day we got toured our neighborhood; later in the evening some of us walked in the old city. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; may they prosper who love you.  

  • January 09, 2017 2:47 PM | Anonymous

    Dear Friends,

    Tom Mousin led our closing circle tonight by teaching us the first part of the round, "open my heart." We are safe and sound at St. George's Pilgrim House in East Jerusalem. Everything about the travel worked just fine. We're tuckered out, but ready for whatever this will be.

    Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.


  • December 21, 2016 8:42 AM | Anonymous

    KEEPING ADVENT, Wednesday, December 21, 2016

    Matthew 18:1-5

    At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child, whom he put among them,and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

    Celebrate a child.

    Sometimes the small details in a story reveal much. We are told that Jesus answers a question posed by the disciples by calling a child, and then putting that child amongst them. Take note that the child had to be called. She had to be called because she was outside the circle of adults with whom Jesus was engaged. She was outside the circle of recognition and respect, just as a woman would have been, just as a tax collectors would have been, just as the sick would have been.

    So many of our preparations this season are devoted to making it a special time for children. Today, the invitation to celebrate a child is an invitation to look beyond the circles of love and respectability we create for ourselves, many of which already include children. Whom might we call, beyond our circles, beyond our communities, and beyond our walls? 

    We are hearing so much about what it means to be great these days. As is so often the case, Jesus turns our gaze elsewhere, and invites us to see and celebrate true greatness in  those whom the world has dismissed.

    Click here for the calendar:   http://thomasmousin.wordpress.com

    Contact information: tmousin@gmail.com

  • December 20, 2016 7:03 AM | Anonymous

     KEEPING ADVENT  Tuesday, December 20, 2016

    Luke 1:26-38

    In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

    Say, "Yes."

    The scripture for this past Sunday's devotion was Matthew's account of the coming of Jesus Christ, told from Joseph's perspective. Mary said not a word.

    Today, we hear Luke's account, and it is Mary who receives the word from the angel Gabriel. Even though Mary speaks, we often portray Mary as a submissive servant of the Lord, a vessel without voice or authority. Most of those portrayals  have been made by men.

    Women who have heard this story bear witness to truth: Mary chose freely to be a servant of God. She could have said, "No." Instead, in the line of great prophets who preceded her in bearing the Word, she said, "Here am I."

    I like to think there was considerable silence between the time of Gabriel's declaration and of Mary's assent - a pregnant pause, if you will.

    God does not force us into new life kicking and screaming. God waits, holding the divine breath, for us to say, "Yes." Where is God inviting you to utter that word today? You can take as much time as you need to answer.

    Click here for the calendar:   http://thomasmousin.wordpress.com

    Contact information: tmousin@gmail.com

  • December 12, 2016 9:21 AM | Anonymous

    KEEPING ADVENT, Monday, December 12, 2016

     Hebrews 13:2

     Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.

     Show welcome.

    The guest towels are out. I am ready to welcome guests. I am not sure I am as ready to welcome strangers, or even unexpected guests. But guests may yet approach tonight. 

    Apparently, there was an innkeeper who scrambled one night - finding extra hay for a manger, a blanket, and maybe even a towel in which to wrap a newborn. Whatever he did, welcome was made.

    I wonder if the parents of the child told him  the story of that night, reminding him of what had been done for him. For certainly he knew how to welcome the stranger. Certainly he knew how to make room at the table for those who always had been turned away. Certainly he knew how to take a towel, and getting down on his knees, show welcome.

    We can too.

    Click here for the calendar:   http://thomasmousin.wordpress.com
    Contact information: tmousin@gmail.com

  • December 11, 2016 5:28 AM | Anonymous

    KEEPING ADVENT  Sunday, December 11, 2016

    Matthew 11:2-6

     When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.’

    Light three candles.

    On this Third Sunday of Advent we add the light of the pink candle. This particular Sunday is sometimes referred to as Rose Sunday, or Gaudete Sunday - a day in the midst of Advent to rejoice in anticipation of the coming of the Savior. 

    Of course, the circumstances of our lives don't always point us in the direction of joy. That was certainly the case for John the Baptist, who had looked with eager longing for the coming of the Messiah. Now John is in prison, and he has his doubts. There is no reason to be joyful in the dank isolation of a prison cell.

    Jesus sends John a word and it is this:  Hear and see. All that you hoped for is happening. Beyond the prison bars and in the midst of the hurts and hate in this world, there is yet another reality: lives are being healed, fulfilled, and changed.

    We light three candles today. Some of us may have reason to rejoice. Others of us may have reason to doubt or to fear. All of us, however, are invited to hear, and by the light of three candles to see that beneath us, around us, and in all of us, Jesus Christ is bringing about new life.

    Light three candles. See. Hear.

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