All Saints Episcopal Church in Chicago

Why Do We Wait

Epiphany 2018
Matthew 2:1-18
Bonnie A. Perry

May the God who creates us....

Please be seated.


Good morning!

I am waiting for the dawn to break bright over the horizon.

I am waiting for the planets to align in some unmistakable astrological sign that will supersede the night, light pollution and catch my attention.

I am waiting for the plates to shift, for the ground to move, shoving me toward a deeper more focused journey of faith and life of action.

What's your excuse? That's mine.

Are you satisfied with your life of faith? Do you believe you have an abiding connection with the holy? Or do you find an anxiousness, a restlessness, an emptiness that you long somehow to fill?

When will that moment come, that point of turning when you decide I've delayed working on this long enough?

This week my colleagues pointed out to me The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's speech, "Beyond Vietnam: A time to Break Silence." His words became a mirror. Listen. Listen to what he preached a year to the day before he was assassinated:

"We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity... Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, 'Too late.'"

I imagine the same could be said about individual lives as well as civilizations. Why do we wait?

Our world is filled with Fire and Fury, down is up, right is wrong, leadership is brinksmanship, fiction is fact, and civility is six feet under.

W.H. Auden's poem, For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio, a piece he wrote as he returned to his Christian faith on the eve of WWII, has some insights for that time which seem appropriate now.

He writes, when explaining why it is the world needs Christ, he says,

We who must die demand a miracle
How could the Eternal do a temporal act,
The Infinite become a finite fact"
Nothing can save us that is possible:
We who must die demand a miracle.

Nothing as it is in this world will suffice, we need God, we need God with us. So it was then, it is now.

So what's it going to take for us as individuals and as a faith community to take the creative, faithful action, to commence on a serious journey that deepens our faith and undergirds a life of thoughtful, hopeful, pragmatic action?

I think of the wise ones of whom we read and sing about this morning. Who were these ones from a distant land, who traveled far to find a baby born a new king?

Auden writes of the Wise Ones in his poem: (offering why it is they want to go on the journey)

The First Wise Man:

To discover how to be truthful now
Is the reason I follow the star.

The Second Wise Man:

We anticipate or remember but never are.
To discover how to be living now
Is the reason I follow the star.

The Third Wise Man:

To discover how to be loving now
Is the reason I follow the star.

The Three Wise Men:

The weather has been awful,
The Countryside is dreary,
Marsh, jungle, rock and echoes mock,
Calling our hope unlawful...
At least we know for certain that we are three old sinners,
That this journey is much too long, that we want our dinners,
And miss our wives, our books and our dogs,
But have only the vaguest idea why we are what we are.
To discover how to be human now
Is the reason we follow the star.

What star would you follow? What sign in the sky would you drop most everything else for and go seeking?

More than anything, I know that I long to be connected with other people. I would go on that long, long journey, knowing that I'm more interested in endpoints and finish lines rather than journey and process, but I'd go on that journey looking for the star if it promised deep abiding connections with others.

More than anything, like many of us, I long to be known and loved for who I am as I am. I am always more likely to go deeper, journey longer and pray harder if I can do it with some other people who care.

I follow that star to be in community, known, loved and making a difference.

Why would you follow the star? What do you need for you to go?

Arise, shine for our light has come.


  1. This Week
  2. Services Times
  3. Contact Us
  4. Sermons
Weekly Message for January 14

Weekly Message for January 14

Dear Friends,    

I hope you can join Susan and me for dinner this Saturday, January 13, at our home (4550 N. Hermitage Ave) from 6 to 9pm. We’ll have awesome food, created by Joe and David Wernette-Harden, lots of wonderful beverages, and free childcare if that will be helpful! This annual January dinner is a great time to hear about the vestry’s plans for the upcoming year, meet new people, and have a tasty dinner at my home. Please do come!
Sunday, January 28th we’ll have our Annual Meeting at 10:00 am. At the meeting we’ll have brunch (again lots of beverages) and our annual slide show. We’ll elect vestry members and diocesan representatives, review our budget for 2018, and honor several wonderful volunteers. On that Sunday, we’ll only have an 8:00 and 9:00 worship service. There will be NO 11:00 service.  
Emily is preaching this Sunday, I’ll be celebrating and our choir and Colin will be creating some great music. Stay warm, hold your loved ones near, and reach out to everyone in need.
All my best,
Please let me know if you are interested in serving on our vestry (governing council) or being a representative of this congregation at or Diocesan Convention in November.
Bags for RCS

Bags for RCS

We're running low on paper and reusable bags for our Tuesday night pantry. Please bring us your extras! 
We will be taking donations on Tuesday evenings, M-F 9am-4pm, and on Sundays during church services. Look for the bins by the doors. Thanks for your help!

Evening Prayer at The Breakers

Evening Prayer at The Breakers

 Sundays at 2pm

breakersbibleWe are very excited to announce that every Sunday at 2:00 pm, All Saints' offers something new at the Breakers - An Evening Prayer Service! Our first event was Sunday, December 4th, and went marvelously well - we had 13 attendees! Folks are very pleased that there's a Protestant service being offered in addition to the current choices (which are Catholic and Moody Bible.) The Prayer Service itself is printed in large print and in bulletin style with scripture taken each week from the Common Lectionary.

The weekly service starts at 2:00 pm, upstairs on the second floor Meditation Room, and lasts about 15 minutes. Please contact Paul Mallatt if you have questions, or comments at 773-860-4649. When you can, stop by the Breakers (5333 N Sheridan Rd) where the parking is free (for 2 hours), the coffee is hot, and the folks are friendly!


Community Kitchen Volunteers Needed

Community Kitchen Volunteers Needed

Tuesdays 6:15-8:00pm 

RCS is looking for help serving and cleaning up after dinner on Tuesdays from 6:15-8:00pm.

If you're able to volunteer, contact Emily or Operations Manager Parker Callahan, or call 773-769-0282.

New Opportunity: Hospitality Ministry

New Opportunity: Hospitality Ministry

helloDo you feel called to create an open, welcoming, hospitable environment at All Saints? Do you like meeting and connecting with people? Join the new Hospitality Ministry! Members of the Hospitality Ministry will help the clergy and vestry create a welcoming culture by greeting new members, engaging new faces at coffee hour, and helping connect new members of All Saints with our various programs.

Interested? Contact Diane Doran or Michelle Mayes. Include "Hospitality Ministry" in the subject line.

Join Our Member Directory!

Join Our Member Directory!

Our new Associate Rector, Emily Williams Guffey, is enjoying getting to know everyone in our congregation. Help her put names and faces together by adding yourself to our online directory!

If you are a member of All Saints' and haven't already registered for the directory, please contact our resident web guru Jim Crandall at and he will send a user name, password, and instructions.

Love on a Plate

Love on a Plate

Join the All Saints' Care Ministry! 

casseroleThe Care Ministry at All Saints' is a quiet one, simply providing meals after a new baby arrives, after surgery, during an illness. Because when life gets complicated, dinner is often the last thing on our minds--but sometimes a meal and visit from a friend is exactly what we need!

If you can provide a meal, give someone a ride, or run an errand once in awhile, please email You'll be contacted when a need arises and you can sign up to help at your convenience.


Donate to The 1883 Project

Donate to The 1883 Project

Please consider supporting the restoration project of our historic building. To make a donation, click here

1883 Construction web 

Fixing This Old Church

Fixing This Old Church

Here is a collection of photos of the progress of our 1883 Project. Here is a collection of bell tower photos. Check back often for updates.

Sunday Service Times

8:00 am Inclusive Language Eucharist
9:00 am Holy Eucharist with Choir
10:00 am Children's Church School
10:00 am Coffee Hour
11:00 am Holy Eucharist with Choir


Contact Us

4550 N. Hermitage in Chicago, IL 60640 (Directions)

Phone (773) 561-0111


Information about pastoral care.



Bonnie on Huffington Post

Occasionally Bonnie's sermons are published on the Huffington Post. Here are some links.

Pain. Change. Hope.

November 15, 2015

What Does St. Francis of Assisi Have to Say to Us Today?

October 4, 2015

Wake Up Calls

September 6, 2015

Christmas Reminds Us That We, Like God, Are Human, Too

December 24, 2014

The Deep Sleep of Racial Oblivion: One Pastor's Sin of Omission

November 30, 2014

Pulpit Swap

The Pulpit Swap between St Thomas and All Saints is part of our ongoing effort to bring our parishes closer together as we engage in a conversation about systemic racism and how we can work together to forge new possibilities and outcomes.

Going Home—Changed

Pulpit Swap Sermon By The Rev Bonnie Perry of All Saints Episcopal Church on October 16, 2016.  

When Prayers Go Unanswered

Pulpit Swap Sermon By The Rev Dr Fulton L Porter celebrating at All Saints Episcopal Church on Oct16 2016.