St Alban’s Episcopal Church
Bolivar, Missouri
Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Feast of St John of the Cross Advent gift-giving to those in need
John of the Cross
John was one of the most famous of the Spanish mystics, and a theological and spiritual poet. The Church celebrates him today. The quote above is one of John’s most famous: “In the evening of life we shall be judged on love alone.” But, of course, he didn’t mean anything sentimental – or “sweet”, but something strong, something difficult, something enduring.

Here’s a Christmas poem by John of the Cross. You may have to read it a few times to “get” it, But do. It’s even better in Spanish. It isn’t by the cross only that we are redeemed – but also by the incarnation.
Now at last the destined ages Their appointed course had run,
When rejoicing from His chamber Issued forth the Bridegroom Son. He embraced His bride, and held her
Lovingly upon His breast, And the gracious Mother laid Him
In the manger down to rest. There He lay, the dumb beasts by Him,
They were fitly stabled there, While the shepherds and the angels
Filled with melody the air. So the feast of their espousals
With solemnity was kept; But Almighty God, an Infant,
In the manger moaned and wept. So the bride at her betrothal
Did the bridal gifts arrange; But the Mother looked in wonder
At the marvelous exchange. Man gave forth a song of gladness,
God Himself a plaintive moan ;Both possessing that which never
Had been hitherto their own.
John of the Cross1542-1591

Episcopal Relief and Development
There are many opportunities for you to assist the hundreds of families in Kentucky, Tennessee and Illinois whose lives have been shattered by deaths and by destruction of so many homes and even whole towns. Climate change is real – and deadly. A December tornado of this magnitude is horrific. We can protest climate inaction, and should, but we also want to assist those who are affected by it. One agency that I know to be entirely trustworthy is Episcopal Relief and Development. They get immediate information from Churches and clergy in an affected area as soon as a tragedy like this occurs, and can quickly channel funds to assist. There is more information on our Facebook page. You can also contribute by going to our website – and clicking on the giving portal. From there you can designate a gift for tornado relief which we will forward to ERD.

Share Your Christmas
You might go to out Facebook page for another reason, too. There are photos of the mountains of food that have been contributed to SYC this year! Every family will receive food, as well as gifts for each member of the family from birth to as old as anyone happens to be! Debra Beal and I filled nearly all the bags yesterday with all rest of the gifts you brought and some that came from the angel trees in town. She will finish shopping this morning. If anyone can come to St Albans before noon today we will need help mostly in taking the filled bags to the Assembly of God church gym where all the Wednesday and Thursday distribution will take place, and organizing the bags by number.
The distribution itself is done extremely efficiently, and with respect for each family. They drive up to the side of the building where all the gifts are loaded into their car – They never have to come inside and be “seen.” Anyone who can help for an hour or two Wednesday (8-4) or Thursday (8-1) will be welcome! Just come in the side door and ask where St Alban’s table is!



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