7:30 a.m. – Holy Eucharist, Rite I (In-person only)

10:30 a.m. – Holy Eucharist Rite II (both in-person and online via FB & YouTube)


7:30 a.m. – Holy Eucharist, Rite II (In-person only)

9:00 p.m. – Compline (online via FB)


12:05 p.m. – Healing Eucharist, Rite II (In-person only)

9:00 p.m. – Compline (online via FB)

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Sunday, March 12, 2023

The Third Sunday in Lent

 March 12, 2023

John 4:5-42

In 1970, when I first came to Montgomery as a new bride, conflicts over Civil Rights were still fresh wounds. Unrepentant Klansmen in their white robes still solicited donations in the Bypass median at Norman Bridge Road. This Connecticut Yankee by way of California was aghast. Like the Samaritan woman, I felt alien. In my dealings around town, people often couldn’t understand me, and wonderful Southern idioms went over my head. A friend at work had to translate, for example, after she saw my wedding photo and exclaimed, “Y’all favor!” Everywhere, I felt in violation of unwritten rules of behavior that no one had taught me. The phrase stranger in a strange land came to mind often. For me, Southern politeness and hospitality eventually cut through the North-South dichotomy, paving the way to warm friendships and a long, happy life here. For the Samaritan woman, it was Jesus Christ.

Jesus, as He so often does, simply ignores the divisive social and cultural norms that divide people. Tired and thirsty, He sits by Jacob’s well and asks the first person who comes along for a drink of water. That this person is a woman, and a Samaritan one to boot, means nothing to Him. Accustomed to being scorned and ignored by traveling Jews coming to the well, she is surprised at being addressed by a man, a Jew. He answers her concerns with the promise of eternal life, but His language is too ambiguous for the woman, bogged down as she is by identity politics. In fairness to her, “living water” (10) usually referred to fresh water flowing in a stream, as opposed to that in a well, which could become mossy or moldy. But even His promise of eternal life (14) goes over her head, as she dreams of never again having to walk to the well, draw up the heavy bucket, and lug her water back home. Still the woman argues about where to worship God (19-20), another human-created division between groups. I can imagine poor Jesus getting exasperated. Finally, He cuts to the chase: “The hour is coming and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth” (23). The hour is now here. We don’t have to search or to wait for the kingdom of God any longer. In other words, forget female/male, Syrian/Jew, and all other human divisions. “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (24) God’s spirit is already within us!

Even without fully understanding the divine spark within her, the Samaritan woman inspired other Samaritans to turn to Jesus. As individuals, each of us can also become a source of reconciliation and hope for the world. We can use the same message today as we confront political polarization, sexism, racism…all kinds of alienation from others. The time is coming and is now here.

Karen Funk