Good Sam Blog

The “E” Word

by The Rev. Dr. Steve Danzey

It’s time we talked about the “E” Word. No, I don’t mean “e-mail” or “e-commerce.” I’m referring to a word that gives many of us the heebee-geebees (how’s that for a word choice?): Evangelism. In spite of all our fears and the many ways the word is abused, “evangelism” is a good word. Simply put, it means “to share good news.” This Sunday evening we have a wonderful opportunity to do evangelism and do it really well—sharing the good news about God’s love made known to us in the birth of Christ and the unique way our Good Samaritan community lives out our faith.

When I say doing evangelism really well, here’s what I mean: Sunday afternoon at 5 pm, we’re inviting our community to gather in our space to sing carols and songs that are as much a part of our culture as they are the Christian faith itself. Who doesn’t love a fun carol sing-along? Included in our gathering will be—you guessed it—food. Cookies. Dozens of cookies. Christmas cookies! And hot chocolate and cider. St. Nick will appear at some point to give out chocolate, too. Do I have your attention yet???!!!!

I encourage you to be here and bring your friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers this Sunday afternoon. Not only will it be a great community building event, but an opportunity to share the unique way we live out the Good News through fellowship, song, and hospitality. Based on the response so far, we’re anticipating quite a few folks from our Preschool and the community at large. Come a little early to grab a cookie or two and something to drink before we begin singing. And if you see someone here you don’t know, introduce yourself to them and let them know that they’re always welcome here at Good Samaritan. Just showing up and giving the gift of hospitality makes you an evangelist. It’s just that simple and easy!


Fr. Steve+

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The Deacon’s Corner: Advent Memories and Longing

by The Rev. Kathryn Ballinger
Maybe we can never go back in time and recapture the feelings and anticipation of childhood Christmases. Maybe the memories are sufficient to sustain us. But there are moments when the wonder and awe and beauty sweep over us and we again experience the delicious anticipation of a child. We are swept up again with the wonder of cold starry nights, candlelight, and music. Our souls are lifted up, and we experience a spiritually “thin place” where we experience the nearness of the Holy and deep longing. Such was the evening of Lessons and Carols on December 2. Advent is a “now” experience as well as a historical event. Since the coming of Christ goes on forever, there is always an Advent going on. We are the people of Advent. Therefore we can see all the characters of the Advent that was “then” in our Advent which is “now.” Where in our lives is John the Baptist, provoking us to become aware of new things happening in our lives? Where is Zachariah in our lives, not immediately open to what is new? Where is Elizabeth, so ready to appreciate the coming of the Lord? Where is Joseph, so gracious when all was so strange? And Mary, where is she in us, trusting and welcoming the word in her heart? For where we find Mary in ourselves, there we find Christ being born in our souls. All of us are called to incarnate the seed of Christ.

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On a Journey with Jesus

by the Rev. Dr. Steve Danzey

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you—it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, on your body.” –Anthony Bourdain

I’ve been a fan of the late Anthony Bourdain’s travel episodes since they first appeared. If you’ve seen them you’ll know what I’m talking about; each episode not only described the place but also the people, the food, the culture, and what it felt like to be a person living in that place—a place not just to visit but to experience. “The journey changes you—it should change you,” he wrote. The same can be said of the Christian journey—it changes you, it should change you.

On Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent, I described the Christian year as a journey with Jesus—a journey with him through his birth, baptism, ministry, passion, death, and resurrection. I also invited the congregation to a year of intentionally leaning into that annual journey the Church has given us, and to begin it together this week.

I hope you will join your parish family in worship, study, and serving as much as possible over the next few weeks as we journey through this Advent season and prepare to celebrate Christ’s birth. Our journey continues after Christmas as we move into the season of Epiphany. Beginning January 6 and concluding on February 3, we will unpack the baptismal covenant and prepare for Bishop Greg’s visitation on February 10. Using the curriculum “I Will with God’s Help,” we’ll dig deep into each component of the baptismal covenant each Sunday at 9:15 am. I encourage every parishioner to consider making a formal renewal of your baptismal vows at the bishop’s visitation. This formation series will prepare you for that. The series also serves as preparation for Confirmation or Reception into the Episcopal Church. I’m also asking new members or those considering membership to attend this class as part of their introduction to the parish. Forms for renewal of baptismal vows, Confirmation, Reception, and new member registration (with an explanation of each) will be available next week. I’m particularly excited about this series as it will be something we do together to deepen our faith.

After the bishop’s visit and continuing through the season of Lent, we will continue our journey on “The Way of Love.” Inspired by our Presiding Bishop, The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, this Sunday morning series will explore practices that help us on the journey of Love. Bishop Curry writes:

“Before they were called ‘church’ or ‘Christian,’ this Jesus Movement was simply called ‘the way.’ Today I believe our vocation is to live as the Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement. But how can we together grow more deeply with Jesus Christ at the center of lives, so that we can bear witness to his way of love in and for the world? The deep roots of our Christian tradition may offer just such a path.”

Each session will focus on a particular Christian practice, with some time for reflection and practical application. We’re working, too, on activities and events during the week to follow up on what we’ve been learning about and discussing on Sundays.

As Bourdain points out, the journey is not always comfortable. Sometimes it does hurt or break your heart. But there is also joy to be found on the journey, and companions who make the journey worthwhile. As I said on Sunday, our spiritual journey as Christians is not an aimless wandering. Although there are many twists and turns, our journey is toward God, which makes both the destination and the journey itself worthwhile.

– Fr. Steve+

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Advent Adult Formation: Journeying the Way of Love

For the season of Advent, we will offer three sessions to prepare for Christ’s coming by moving through the first two chapters of Luke and exploring how to put our faith in action. We’ll also discuss taking on or living more deeply into at least one of the Christian disciplines each week.

  • Advent 1, December 2 – The Annunciation: Saying “Yes” to the Journey
  • Advent 2, December 9 – The Birth of John the Baptist: Journeying with Community
  • Advent 3, December 16 – The Birth of Jesus: Journeying with the World (Special guests from La Iglesia Episcopal de la Resurrección in Mt. Vernon will attend.)
  • Advent 4, December 23 – No adult formation this Sunday.

Contact Fr. Steve Danzey with any questions.

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The Deacon’s Corner: Butterscotch Days

by The Rev. Kathryn Ballinger

I love fall! It is my favorite season. The air is so clear, the sky so blue and the changing colors are breathtakingly beautiful.

Driving down the Woodinville-Duvall Road, you wind down through a canopy of old trees, and when the sun shines through the branches, the leaves glow a stunning butterscotch. It takes my breath away as I drive through the dappled light. I know soon enough the leaves will fall, and the skies will turn grey and heavy. The butterscotch trees will turn into black branches covered in moss and will become the creepy trees right out of a Harry Potter story.

But for now, I ponder where all the beautiful red, orange, and yellow hues come from. How do the trees do it? Yes, I’ve researched the science of it all. It’s very interesting and pretty amazing. But it doesn’t explain the wonder and awe I feel. My heart leaps up with all this majesty and glory.

God created the universe out of love, and it is full of his love, beauty, and truth. The very DNA of the Trinity is in all created matter from astro to quantum physics. Contemporary theologians and scientists are coming to similar conclusions. Speaking in different times and using religious language, mystics have been saying the same things.

God is not separate from his creation. St. Ignatius in the 16th century wrote: “All the things in this world are created because of God’s love, and they become the context of gifts so that we may know God more easily and make a return of love more readily.”

So as fall fades and we head into longer darker days, I will remember the butterscotch days and give thanks and praise to the God who loves us.

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Advent Season

There are four weeks in Advent, and it is the preparation for Christmas.

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