Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Second Sunday In Lent

This week Abram receives his inheritance, Paul receives his imitations, and Jesus de-triangulates some communication from Herod. All this plus what I learned about making something that isn't into something that is at the fishing expo.

The lections may be found here.

[Above is a photo of two sides of a Herodian coin.]

Medical Update

While the Friday storm disrupted the initial appointment, it appears that surgery may not be necessary. Plus, I now have a much more fashionable cane.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

About Cancellations

In December, I was asked if we were going to have the Christmas Pageant, since the weather was awful that day. We held it and it was great.

Last week, I was asked if we were going to hold the Shrove Tuesday pancake dinner, since the weather was awful that day. We held it and it was great.

Today, I'm being asked if we will hold the Biblical Archeology class Thursday night, since the weather may or may not be awful.

Are you discerning a pattern?

It will be held in the parish hall on Thursday beginning at 7pm. If you prefer not to travel on a stormy night, no worries, as much of the information will be repeated during the remainder of the course. If you can't make it, I'll see you next week at the same day and time.

[In northeastern Ohio, we learned that if we canceled things due to bad weather we would have to hold all of our Christmas and Lenten events between late May and mid-Sept. It's best just to follow the calendar and work with what we have.]

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I Was Googlerized

A few weeks ago I was looking for an icon of Sts. Timothy and Titus to highlight the posting about their feast day. In addition to icons, our friends at Google directed me towards this fellow, a "space scientist" with an interesting name.

I actually think he looks like a space scientist. Me, I always wanted to be a rocket surgeon.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The First Sunday In Lent

This week the Israelites learn what to share with God, the Romans learn that words mean something, and Jesus provides some "learnin'" for the devil. All this plus the beguiling George Clooney and demonic Bluetooth.

The lections may be found here.

The Rite Of Christian Burial

The Burial Office will be read for Isobel Teater at Christ Church on Wednesday, March 3rd at 11am.

Give to the departed eternal rest
Let light perpetual shine upon them.
May her soul, and the souls of all the departed,
through the mercy of God,
Rest in peace.

Lenten Wave #3

The Windhover
by Gerard Manley Hopkins

To Christ our Lord

I CAUGHT this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing, 5
As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird,—the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion 10
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!

No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.

Hopkins was one of the most interesting of the English-language poets of the early 20th century, chiefly for his word choice, lyrical verses, and use of punctuation to set off the meter.  It is thought that his familiarity with the Welsh language is what influenced the poetic application of the English.  What also makes him interesting is that he is actually a late 19th century poet, but most of his poetry wasn't discovered and popularized until forty years later.  He was also a Roman Catholic priest of the Jesuit order.

The Windhover is simply about observing a kestrel hawk in flight; with the narrative shifting to allusions of the Resurrection the poet marks how what appears to be common may reveal beauty.  Whether it is a familiar bird in flight, the sludge that polishes brass, or dead embers dropping from red hot wood, the common will always reveal the uncommon; or a simple rabbi will become the knight, or chevalier, through whom the human race may live in beauty.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Photo[s]: Japanese Rice Field Art

Farmers create these large displays using no ink, paint, or dye. Instead, different colored rice plants are precisely arranged in the paddy fields. As summer progresses and the plants shoot up, the detailed artwork emerges.

Lenten Wave #2

“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone-we find it with another.” - Thomas Merton

Back when I taught Comparative Religion to students at a boarding school, Buddhism was a popular form of spirituality. There were a number of books that used the Buddhist perspective as their framework, the themes were becoming common in popular entertainment, and many of the returning graduates would speak warmly of their college conversion to something they described as Buddhism.

None of it was really Buddhist, of course, just the veneer of a religion, enough to satisfy the transient spiritual curiosities of young people. When we were in the final weeks our course, and looking at the commonalities between all religions, many of my students were visibly disappointed to realize that all religions speak of community as the ideal forum for spiritual inquest. A couple resisted the idea altogether. What made ersatz Buddhism so attractive to them was that it looked like something that was entirely personal; entirely individual. It served as a spiritual barrier between themselves and the rest of the world.

Thomas Merton, a Roman Catholic monk who studied with Buddhist monks, knew more than anyone else in the 20th century about the commonalities between the two, and wrote extensively of it. As a hermit, he also knew the limitations of solitude. As scripture makes clear repeatedly, and as Merton saw through his own experience, what Jesus offered was a radical redefinition of community. The Newer Covenant, in all of its glory and responsibility, was dependent on the mutuality of its adherents. Certainly, we may learn more of God by learning more of others. Just as certainly, we may find more portions of the Kingdom in our own existence if we work together, especially with those with whom we have little in common.

Hey, It's Not Just Romans Who Do This, Newspeople

Sky New presenter Kay Burley was forced to make an on-air apology after mistaking a Roman Catholic symbol on American vice president Joe Biden's forehead for a 'large bruise'.

Best quote: "Later Miss Burley admitted: 'I know I'm a very bad Catholic. I know I should know that today is Ash Wednesday and that's why he'd got ash across his forehead. I've said three Hail Marys, everything is going to be fine.'"

Apparently, she has a rather weak grasp on what the "Hail Mary" is about, too. I'm not sure "lapsed" is the most accurate adjective to describe her spiritual understanding.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lenten Series: Biblical Archaeology

This series offers an overview of the history, techniques, important sites, discoveries, and future expectations in the field. Our particular interest is in examining how continued discoveries are helping to refine our understanding of sacred literature and the earliest Christian Church. We will include in our discussion the leading personalities of archaeology as well as gauge recent knowledge granted through new developments in genetic and marine archaeology.

The courses will be offered at 7pm on Thursday evenings beginning on February 25th and continuing until March 25th. The outline of our discussions is provided below.

Session #1:
Prophetic Dreams, Bandits, and Mummies

An overview of the science of archaeology, both its traditional techniques and those developed in the technological age. Of course, no study of this field is complete without an appreciation of the original “amateur archaeologists” [aka explorers, soldiers, crooks, thieves, pirates, and con-men] who were the first to appreciate what could be learned about the past with nothing more than the application of a shovel [or firearm]. We will also appreciate the unique, and sometimes controversial, relationship between Biblical archaeology and other disciplines within the field.

Session #2:
Pillars of the Arcane

Much of what we know and understand about scripture, beyond the work of translators and etymologists, is gleaned from the work of Sir Leonard Woolley, Max Mallowan, Kathleen Kenyon, and William F. Albright, who took the discipline away from the treasure hunters of "crypto-archaeology" and coordinated it with the scientific approach developed by the early Egyptologists. We will also view maps and a list of discoveries of Biblical places, not to mention visit the increasingly technological world of diggers and squints.

Session #3:
The Great Discoveries

A review of the major discoveries of the past two hundred years that have either reconciled or challenged Biblical beliefs.

Session #4:
The Recent Discoveries

A review of the latest events and discoveries, including those not yet made as of the writing of this post.

Next Fundraiser, We Hire Ricochet

Ricochet, (”Rip Curl Ricki,”) the Surfin’ for Paws-abilities SURFice dog, who raised almost $20,000 for charitable causes in the last six months, and more notably has been inspiring millions of people with her YouTube video, will be accepting a Dogswell "Wag" award....

Lenten Wave #1

He sent no angel to our race
of higher or of lower place,
but wore the robe of human frame
himself, and to this lost world came.

...For us baptized, for us he bore
his holy fast and hungered sore,
for us temptation sharp he knew;
for us the tempter overthrew.

For us he prayed; for us he taught;
for us his daily works he wrought;
by words and signs and actions thus
still seeking not himself, but us.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This Brings Back Fond Memories

Lake Erie Frozen over

When I was in high school, my buddies and I would regularly drive our cars [rather, our dads' cars; sorry, Dad] out onto Lake Erie, sometimes as far as a couple of miles, where we would hold slipping and sliding races, "do donuts" until the axles were imperiled [again, sorry Dad], and generally misbehave like typical Midwestern boy/men.

Don't try this today, kids. Ice was thicker back then [or something].

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shrove Tuesday

Pancakes and Sausages in the Parish House from 5:30pm until 7pm. All are invited, all are welcome. Also, all you can eat.

[Yes, the Pancake and Sausage Fest is still on. It's just a little snow, after all. What else are you going to do? Watch the curling competition?]

Many thanks to the members of the Altar Guild and the members of the kitchen crew for serving the "orphans of the storm" who enjoyed fortifying pancakes, sausage, and dessert. Special thanks to Norma Went of blessed memory as we recall her long service in this particular ministry.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Rap I Can Understand. But Funk?

Sorry, your honor, but funk is a bass player's dream.

Brazil mayor bans funk, rap music as Carnival begins

For those not funky, I give you the following to click and watch:

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Last Sunday After The Epiphany

This week, Moses reveals his true face to God, Paul directs the Corinthians to show their true faces to one another, and Jesus enables the veil to be set aside forever. All this plus what happens during prefect selection month.

The lections may be found here.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Haiti Benefit A Rousing Success

I have to admit it was not the most practical of ideas. It was what some of my colleagues would call “liminal”. The notion to gather a collection of amateur and semi-professional musicians to perform at a free concert on a Sunday afternoon already devoted to the Super Bowl and all of its ancillary celebrations, let alone expect people to return to the parish just a few hours after morning services on such a day, was not, on paper, the best idea we’ve ever had. Maybe there’s something to be said to paying more attention to liminal ideas.

On the Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, eight musicians, ranging from amateurs to semi-professionals to a familiar performer in our area, gathered at Christ Church at 4:00 in the afternoon to offer a church filled with eager listeners an eclectic collection of music. This they did for free, donating their time and talent so that the concert would serve to raise money for Episcopal Relief and Development’s work in Haiti. A couple of musicians, Martin Meyer and Fawn Segerson, even brought their CD’s for sale, donating 100% of the purchase price to ERD.

Among the parishioners from Christ Church who contributed were Judith Kelly, with Jack Rowland, Christ Church’s music director, accompanying on organ, opening the benefit concert with a couple of selections from West Side Story, followed by keyboardist Greg Cava accompanying his daughter Emma, who displayed her remarkable vocal talent with some American standards, not to mention an easy rapport with her audience. Mike Patterson, a frequent worshipper at Christ Church and participant in our Sunday Bible Group, surprised many with his easy and soulful manner with guitar and voice. Martin Meyer, along with a chorus of his family and their friends, covered a Springsteen song best remembered from the days shortly after September 11th, and treated the audience to an original work that was delicate and beautiful. Greg and Marty also provided all of the considerable audio equipment and know-how that was required for the event.

For long-time members of the parish, the biggest treat of the evening was the performance by Fawn Segerson, who grew up at Christ Church, was a member of our choir and youth group, and used to serve us as a substitute organist. As Fawn has now recorded two CDs of her original work, and regularly performs in Manhattan, she brought the concert to its peak with her bright attitude and great professionalism. The evening was made even more special as Fawn’s former piano, organ, and vocal teachers were all present for her performance.

Of course, it wasn’t just parishioners who performed, as we had the participation of friends of the parish Kelly Ruscoe, an up-and-coming guitarist/vocalist, Anne Martindale, a local attorney who performed some classic lounge tunes, and Shrdlu Ashe, one of the best-known musicians and music teachers in our area and a favorite in a surprising number of venues throughout the county.

At evening’s end, the free will donation to Episcopal Relief and Development’s efforts in Haiti totaled over $7000. The benefit concert was a great opportunity for Christ Church members and friends to offer their talents to the community, to open the parish’s doors to those unfamiliar with our church and its mission, and to give an evening’s musical diversion to those who would not necessarily describe themselves as football fans. The concert concluded with the performers and the audience joining in singing “Amazing Grace”.

The concert’s spirit was best captured by the refrain heard from many who attended the post-concert reception in the parish hall, “We should do this more often”. Amen to that.

[Thanks for the traffic, Karin.]

Check out the slideshow [edited by our own Sharon Benedict] here.

Friday Photo: Fiberglas Garden

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Desire Affirmed, Communion Denied

Only in the Church can a body seek full communion and instead receive an "affirmation of their desire." Goodness, it sounds positively salacious. Apparently, their "desire required further exploration." By "relevant authorities", no less. Oh, my stars and garters. Pardon me while I swan over the divan.

Church of England says no to full communion with breakaway entity

[No offense to Episcopal Life and its editors, but, technically, the Church of England didn't say "no". As is rather typical, they didn't say anything other than that they would "explore" the issue and decide later. Much later. Like, after it's no longer an issue worth attention.]

Above is a photo of Rowan Williams, the leader of the Church of England, in his "White Druid" vestments. Yes, he's a member of the Order of the White Druids. It's a long story. I just thought it was a good photo of him.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


I'm too tired to say much other to recognize the great participation of the musicians in tonight's concert. All were generous of their time and talent. Everyone had a good time. We also raised a remarkable amount of money for Episcopal Relief and Development, of which more will be said soon.

I especially want to thank Barbara and Ted Dratch. They were in church for the 8am Eucharist, with Barbara serving as lay minister. They came back for the 10am service, with Barbara serving as the healing minister, and they returned for the 4pm concert, with both serving as the hospitality minsters.

For this, they are awarded this month's Order of St. Barnabas the Encourager.

This just in: We raised $7150.00 this evening for ERD's work in Haiti. Yep, you read that right.

Below is a video of me performing with my band:

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Haitian Benefit Concert [Updated]

Christ Church, Roxbury Ct.
Sunday, February 7th
4 p.m.

Featuring the Musical Talents Of:

Judith Kelly
show tunes

Kelly Ruscoe
guitar favorites and originals

Ann Matindale
vocals with piano

Greg and Emma Cava
jazz favorites

Shrdlu Ashe [with Mike Patterson]
guitar and harmonica

Marty Meyer

Fawn Segerson
vocal and piano originals

While free to the public, there will be a collection for Episcopal Relief and Development's ongoing work to re-build more than 200 Haitian schools. Those who wish to contribute online may do so here.

The Fifth Sunday After The Epiphany

This week Isaiah both seeks yet finds himself unworthy of the holy commission, Paul acknowledges to the Corinthians that he was unworthy of apostleship without God working with him, and Peter finds himself unworthy of his non-electric fish finder. All this plus what happened when AJ got differentiated.

The lections may be found here.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Photo

I was a little disappointed at how bland the color seems, even with a digital camera. However, the day was overcast and the vividity of the coral and fauna was not at its best.

This was taken last year at the Palancar Reef. This little fellow was pretty fast, as I learned when I tried to follow him.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Feast Of Cornelius

Cornelius the centurion is referred to in chapters 10 and 11 of the Acts of the Apostles. He was the first gentile that we know to be converted to Christianity. His conversion by Peter causes the apostle to issue one of the most remarkable statements in the history of world religion and marks the point when Christianity begins its significant theological departure from Judaism in the practice of evangelism: "Truly I see that God shows no partiality." In other words, and for the first time in history, a religion exists that is not for or by one single culture, but is open to all regardless.

[A centurion was a soldier who was in charge of approximately 100 troops. The modern equivalent would be a captain in the army or United States Marine Corps.]

O God, by your Spirit you called Cornelius the Centurion to be the first Christian among the Gentiles; Grant to your Church such a ready will to go where you send and to do what you command, that under your guidance it may welcome all who turn to you in love and faith, and proclaim the Gospel to all nations; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Feast Of Anskar

Saint Anskar, (September 8, 801 – February 3, 865), was the Archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen known as the "Apostle of the North" and is the patron saint of Scandinavia.

A native of France, Anskar devoted himself to a spiritual life while still a boy after seeing a vision of his deceased mother with the Virgin Mary. In his twenties he became a missionary, first to Denmark and then Sweden, where he met with mixed success among the native pagan population. In 831 he was appointed archbishop. Political divisions of the Frankish lands and the sack of Hamburg by the Danes dealt him severe setbacks in the early 840s. Later, he was able to establish amicable relations with certain Scandinavian monarchs and succeeded in establishing a number of churches. He died in Bremen in 865.

Anskar is remembered on the Episcopal Church calendar as his ministry serves as a reverent connection between Anglicanism and Swedish Lutheranism [the latter sharing a belief in the "apostolic succession" of bishops, a theological point not shared in the rest of Lutheranism].

Almighty and everlasting God, you sent your servant Anskar as an apostle to the people of Scandinavia, and enabled him to lay a firm foundation for their conversion, though he did not see the results of his labors: Keep your Church from discouragement in the day of small things, knowing that when you have begun a good work you will bring it to a fruitful conclusion; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Stay Away From Constable Gray

Having lived in Scotland, I have to say it was never quite so "law and order" as it now appears to be.

Man fights ticket for blowing nose

I'll Just Rent A Car Next Time I'm There

City council issues 'inclusive' taxi driver licence applications... in BRAILLE

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

They Should Be Kept In A Zoo

Fire in Houston blamed on inflatable gorilla

For Some Reason, I Want One

The Artillery-Grade 600 MPH Pumpkin Cannon

What The Heck Is A Coracle?

I get asked this from time to time and always mean to post something about it. The best answer to the question comes from Peter Badge, the chairman of the Coracle Society [yes, it's a real thing]. A photo of a contemporary coracle, although made from traditional materials, is used in the weblog header.

"Coracles have been in use in the British Isles from pre-Roman times. Whilst their prime use is for the purposes of transport and fishing, it has been recorded that they have been used both militarily and by the security forces. There is clear evidence that Wellington used them during his campaigns in India. In the same country last year an Indian newspaper showed a photograph of an Indian coracle being used in the pursuit of a dangerous criminal.

Coracles are to be found, not only in the British Isles and Ireland, but can be seen in India, Vietnam and Tibet. Until very recently they were to be found in Iraq and reports, currently unverified, exist of them in Norway and close to Chernobyl.

Coracles have not been seen in Scotland for 150 years but they were in use in Ireland until the late 1940's. They are, however, principally to be found nowadays in three West Walian rivers, namely: The Teifi, The Towy and The Taf. Here they are used for net fishing, with the net being held between two coracles which drift down with the current, taking a salmon or sewin at restricted times of the year. All these coracles, however, have to be licensed. Their numbers are dwindling rapidly. There remain traditional coracle builders on the Severn at Iron-Bridge and Shrewsbury. In its hey day, towards the end of the last century, there were more coracles to be found on the River Severn than on any other river in the British Isles. The principal use of these coracles on the Severn at Iron-Bridge was as a ferry as there were very few bridges over that river in the area and the locals resented having to pay a toll on the famous Iron-Bridge. At Shrewsbury they were used principally for rod and line fishing. There is also a tradition of coracles in North Wales and they were to be seen until the 1950's in the Llangollen section of the River Dee.

Coracles are distinguished from other river craft by their weight, construction and propulsion. The coracles are traditionally made of willow or ash laths and covered with calico or canvas impregnated with pitch and tar or, more recently, bitumastic paint. They weigh between 25 and 40 pounds and so can be carried on the shoulders of the coracle man who frequently, in the case of the fisherman, would walk 5 - 10 miles before drifting down with the current. They are invariably propelled with a single paddle held in two hands over the bow, executing a figure of 8 movement. Fishermen use a similar stroke but with one hand only over the side of the craft, permitting the holding of the net in the other. The Coracle Society actively seeks to preserve and protect the tradition of old coracle makers and users, of whom there are few. It also exists to encourage a new wave of coracle makers who are increasing in numbers and are very much the product of the excellent coracle making courses which were held at the Bewdley Museum and are currently held at the Greenwood Trust in Iron-Bridge."

Yes, coracle people can be a little serious about their hobby.

The reason it's employed as the title of this weblog is because of an ancient Celtic story about three men who set out on the Irish Sea in a coracle to see where it would take them, confident that God would guide their apparently random and rudderless journey. This story is one that is often offered to illuminate the experience of peregrinatio, the Celtic Christian version of a spiritual walkabout.

Since I don't know really know what any day's topic will be, and as this weblog seems to wander some, it seemed like a good title.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Feast Of Bridget

Bridget (aka Brigid, Bride, or Bridey) of Kildare was born around 450 into a Druid family, and was the daughter of Dubhthach, the official poet to the king, a position of considerable social importance and political influence. At an early age, inspired by the sermons of St. Padraic [or Patrick], she decided to become a Christian and eventually took vows as a nun. With a group of like-minded women, she established a convent at Kildare. Bridget was later joined by a community of monks, as pre-Roman Celtic Christian evangelism [there's that word, again] was based on coeducational monastic houses. [Celtic monks and nuns did not include chastity as one of their holy vows and, as such, were permitted to live together in community, marry, and procreate. Roman Christianity, which would become the standard in the British Isles a century of so after the death of Bridget, would forbid such normal and sacramental relations between ascetic men and women.]

Kildare was a pagan shrine where a sacred fire was perpetually burning, and Bridget and her nuns, instead of extinguishing the fire, maintained it with a Christian interpretation. This was the evangelical practice of the era as Druidism gave way to Christianity with rare opposition, as the Druids understood their own beliefs were of a transient nature, recognizing in Christianity a completion of their beliefs.

As an abbess, Bridget participated in several Irish councils, and her influence on the policies of the Church in Ireland was immeasurable. She is thought to have died in the year 525. On the Irish calendar, this is the first day of spring, thus this date was assigned as her feast since her name, in both the druidic and Christian traditions, represents new beginnings.

Above is a cross made of rushes, called a "Bridget's cross", as she once wove such a devotional for a dying man.

I find her official Episcopal Church collect to be prosaic, but here it is:

Everliving God, we rejoice today in the fellowship of your blessed servant Brigid, and give you thanks for her life of devoted service. Inspire us with life and light, and give us perseverance to serve you all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

From February's Newsletter

[This is actually the version that was to appear in the newsletter. I think I gave Sharon the draft copy. Well, it's not that different, I suppose. ]

My niece Amanda arrived today. She grew up with us and our relationship has always been more like that of parents and child than uncle, aunt and niece. Although we speak on the phone or “text” nearly every day, I haven’t seen her for over three months and I forget how much a young person can mature in so short a time. Her visits are always a bit of a tornado. Although she is the most travelled of her siblings, she has never learned the art of travelling light. Her arrival always reminds me a little of Hannibal crossing the Alps. For a 5 foot, 2 inch, 100 lb. woman, she carries what appears to be 8.5 times her body mass in luggage.

This is her first trip to Roxbury since she was 11 years old. Since I spent a decade at so many churches, and her visits to my places of work so rare, she remembers only bits and pieces of them. For example, she remembers the view from the bell tower at Trinity Church in Hartford, or the elevator at St. James’ in West Hartford. She always enjoyed driving through the covered bridge in West Cornwall on the way to another Trinity Church. She remembers the children of the summer Bible school at St. Paul’s in Huntington/Shelton. Of Christ Church, she remembers ringing the bell, marveling that it wasn’t electronic. She rang it again today, and I had one of those moments that come quietly. It’s a moment that parents, even surrogate parents, know well and hold close; a combination of pride, contentment, satisfaction, happiness and things I can’t yet articulate. Suffice it to say, I’m glad she’s here and looking over what will be her home away from home. And I’m glad for the quiet moments when I realize this particular type of happiness.

I’ve come to associate that feeling with the season of Lent, a church season that evokes the contentment often realized in quiet contemplation. Other seasons have more vibrant coloration and seem louder. While in contrast it may seem rather dour, Lent captures the moment just before sunrise; often the most fruitful time for prayer and meditation. The Incarnation and subsequent Epiphanal inspiration have occurred, now Jesus urges his immediate and subsequent followers to take time to pray and hold a close conversation with God, a process that enabled him to clearly articulate his message, radically organize his ministry, evade temptation, and find that place of communal contentment.

During this season, we will offer opportunities at Christ Church that will deepen the meaning of the season. On Ash Wednesday we will offer two services, one beginning just ten minutes after Noon, and the other at 7pm. A course in Biblical Archaeology, free and open to the public, will be offered on Thursday evenings beginning on February 25th. This class will look into the ways in which the past informs present practices and where great poetry meets the trials and triumphs of history. In addition, I’m looking for volunteers willing to open the church at 5:30 pm on weekdays, beginning on the 18th, to help me read Evening Prayer or simply have a few moments to sit in quiet and do nothing but abide. This way, our Celtic foundation will be evoked as we practice this one simple aspect of devotion.

Especially, we will cherish the quietude that is always a feature of Lent. While we often hope to hear God in the great events of our day or at moments of high drama, the Almighty is most often heard in those quiet moments, alone or with family and friends, speaking in that still, small voice that we hear only when we are prepared to listen.

[In the photo above, Amanda is posing with one of the stars of the MTV series "Jersey Shore". Yeah, I don't know either except the things that she does for Citibank...oy, let me tell you....]