All posts by Reverend Susan Bruttell

The Feast of the Holy Name Jesus Christ

Jesus image

Tell me the weight of a snowflake,”
A coal mouse asks a wild dove.
“Nothing more than nothing,” is the answer.
In that case, I must tell you
A marvelous story,” the coal mouse says.
“I sat on the branch of a fir tree,
close to its trunk, when it began to snow . . .
Since I did not have anything better to do,
I counted the snowflakes settling
on the twigs and needles of my branch.
Their number was exactly 3,741,952.
When the next snowflake dropped onto
the branch – nothing more than nothing,
as you say – the branch broke off . . .”
The dove, since Noah’s time
An authority on the matter,
Thought about the story for a while
And finally says to herself:
“Perhaps, there is only one person’s voice lacking
for peace to come about in the world.”

The day the new year begins is important. Whether the new year begins in late March (the Romans), or the Fall (our Jewish sisters and brothers), it is not the day, but the possibilty of beginning anew that we cling to. And yet, “new year’s resolutions” do not have a high rate of success. Something more than resoultions are needed.
The story of the coal mouse and wild dove invites us to a new way of thinking about ourselves. In this vast fast paced technology driven world, among billions of people, we have a role. We do believe that, some day, peace will be realized in our world; racism and exploitation of people will pass, people will be house, fed and educated. We do not know when this will happen, but we must continue to belileve that our voice, our participation is necessary. In our story that 3,741,953rd snowflake, the addition of “nothing more than nothing” changes everything.
While each person is important, we have been given each other. We do not live and work alone. We belong to a community. Your work, your presence, your voice and gives are an important part of this community – St. Christopher’s By-the-Sea Episcopal Church on Harbor Drive. I thank you for all you have done for St. Christopher’s in times past and look forward to the gifts you will share in the future – the snowflake that you will add to our parish and to our world. “Perhaps, there is only one person’s voice lacking for peace to come about in the world.”
With love,

Holy Lent


“I invite you, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a Holy Lent… ”

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

It has been said that Lent is a time of personal spiritual growth: a time when I give up chocolate
or alcohol or dessert. It is a time when one takes on a certain spiritual discipline: perhaps a
specific study book, or method or frequency of prayer. We often ask one another: “What are you
doing for Lent this year?” And our answers frequently imply that Lent really and truly is all about
me (or maybe you).

On Ash Wednesday, we heard the Lenten Exhortation and prayed the Litany of Penitence. Both
were couched in communal terms. The Exhortation reminds us that it was “the custom of the
Church to prepare … by a season of penitence and fasting”; that it was a “time in which converts
to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism”; and “when those who … had been separated from
the body of the faithful were reconciled … and restored to the fellowship of the Church.” In the
Litany of Penitence, we acknowledge that “we have not loved with our whole heart, and mind,
and strength” that “we have been deaf’ and we confess “our self-indulgent appetites,” “our anger,”
and “our negligence.”

Lent is not so much about you or me as individuals, as it is about us. For the Prayer Book invites
us as citizens and as saints to an observance of a holy Lent not to make us better individuals
(although I hope it does) but to make us more aware of our membership in the Body of Christ,
the Church, and thus more responsible citizens not of a particular nation, but of the world.

Lent, then, is a journey that we take together so that we might observe “with great devotion the
days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection.” It is about us and our relationship with God and to
one another. It is a time when those bonds are to be nourished and strengthened. It is a time to
listen to God and do what God asks. Jesus is the key. He continually tells us that God is heard in
the voices of one another – in calls for help and support, in calls for love and care, healing and

Lent is not all about me. Nor is it all about you. It is about us. And so, I invite you, in the name
of the Church, to the observance of a Holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance: by prayer,
fasting and self denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.

Keep the Faith,
Reverend Susan+

Merry Christmas!


Christmas! Christmas that very special time of year when we join with our loved ones, once again, in sharing centuries

old traditions. Christmas! The very word brings joy to our hearts.

As Christians, we often proclaim that we are Resurrection people; and as we live out the reality of the promise of
Christ’s resurrection, we are. This time of year, we rejoice that we are also people of the Creche.

No matter how much we may have dreaded the rush, the long Christmas lists for gifts and cards to be bought and given
– now that Christmas Eve has finally arrived, there is still the same warm feeling we had as children, the same warmth
that enfolds our hearts and our homes, the same sense of wonder and the same yearning for love.

On behalf of St. Christopher’s church community, the Vestry, the faculty, the staff, the Clergy and myself

May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope;
May you have the spirit of Christmas which is peace;
May you have the heart of Christmas which is love. Amen.