The Episcopal Church at Yale is one of the oldest university Chaplaincies in the country (established on October 23, 1869). ECY is a ministry of the Episcopal Church to students, staff and faculty at Yale University. We seek to encourage and nurture members of the Yale community in the faith of Jesus Christ and to communicate in the academy of higher learning that the religious quest is relevant and essential to the educated mind. We do this by exploring both ancient and contemporary forms of prayer and common worship, facilitating stimulating discussions of the scriptures, and fostering a common life of fellowship and service.
A Message From Our Chaplain, The Rev. Bruce Shipman: A New Semester, A New Season
Dead of winter. A good term that describes these January and February weeks in New Haven. And yet: life is stirring beneath the surface of winter’s landscape and we believe that spring will come. That belief makes winter a lot easier to take, and serves as a reminder that what we believe makes a difference to how we live and how we deal with the ice and snow!
Preparation for spring and the resurgence of life is the point of Lent ( LENgThening days ), and at ECY we observe the start of the forty day fast with the Ash Wednesday liturgy at Dwight Chapel on Wednesday, March 5, at 12.30 P.M. A quartet from the choir will accompany the service, and ashes will be administered to those who wish to receive them. This solemn reminder of our mortality – remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return – takes place in the context of the Eucharist, where we are fed with spiritual food that joins us ever more deeply to Christ Jesus and to one another.
The forty day fast is modeled on Jesus’ own fast in the wilderness immediately following his Baptism, in which his refusal to bow down to the evil powers of this world which corrupt and destroy the creatures of God is the model for us as we strive to “get in shape” for the life that is before us. In the secular world there is much talk these days about “detoxifying” and fasting for reasons of health. The Church has always extolled fasting as both a physical and spiritual practice, and how we observe the forty days is worth thoughtful attention. I do commend to you the Monday night Bible study at Luther House ( Job ) and the Tuesday afternoon offering of Evening Prayer at 5.30 at the Crown Street office ( during academic term ). Think about life giving ways to share yourself with others. Remember that you are becoming what – or whom – you truly love. Augustine wrote, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you, O Lord.”
Spring break occurs right during Lent, and I ask your thoughts and prayers for those of us going on the Holy Land Journey with the Tree of Life group. Michael Nestler, Isabelle Erb and Joshua Bruner will be joining me from ECY, and we look forward to talking about our experiences when we return. What we will experience both of the ancient stones and today’s living stones is bound to add meaning to our observance of Holy Week and Easter. Jesus, who reigns from the cross, summons us to follow him as instruments of peace and reconciliation.
Spring is near. Believe it! Invite others to join us as we prepare for the Feast that is the heartbeat of our faith, the day of which George Herbert writes, “Can there be any day but this, though many suns to shine endeavor? We count three hundred, but we miss: there is but one, and that one ever.”