Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Actually, I Don't Think This Is That Big Of A Tragedy

It certainly says something about the transient nature of art:

Anti-graffiti crew accidentally paints over Banksy art

Episcopal HQ's Spiritual Message Of The Week, Part Three

Another missive designed to salve the soul with spiritual insight and religious import:

Office of Government Relations of the Episcopal Church calls for comprehensive immigration reform

What The Heck Was That Uniform?

Those who attended the dedication service for the "Field of Flags" last Sunday noticed that I was attired a little differently.  Since 2002, I've served as a civilian chaplain to merchant seamen in the ports and harbors of New England.  While we generally wear civilian clothes when conducting this ministry, in official capacities we are to wear the contemporary version of the traditional uniform.  [Even though I think it makes me look like "the Orkin Man."]

Sometimes it's easier to refer to those whom I serve as members of the "merchant marine", as that now-disused title is more familiar than any contemporary one.  [Also, the "Department of Transportation Maritime Administration" is a bit of a mouthful.] This sometimes leads to a second question:  What's the difference between the "merchant marine" and the United States Marine Corps?  That's an easy one.

These are members of the USMC:

These may be considered members of the merchant fleet:

See, that was easy.

[Marines are served by the Chaplain Corps of the U.S. Navy, by the way.]

More fun: Play "Spot the Rector" in the photo below.  Hint: Don't look for eyeglasses.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Celtic Blessing

It may have something to do with today's weather, but this seemed apt:

“May the blessing of light be on you, light without and light within.

May the blessed sunlight shine upon you and warm your heart till it glows,
Like a great peat fire, so that the stranger may come
and warm himself at it, as well as the friend.

And may the light shine out of the eyes of you,
like a candle set in the windows of a house,
Bidding the wanderer to come in out of the storm.

And may the blessing of the rain be on you - the soft sweet rain.
May it fall upon your spirit so that all the little flowers may spring up,
And shed their sweetness on the air.

And may the blessing of the great rains be on you,
that they beat upon your spirit and wash it fair and clean,
and leave there many a shining pool, and sometimes a star.

And may the blessing of the earth be on you - the great round earth;
May you ever have a kindly greeting for people you pass
as you are going along the roads.

And now may the Lord bless you, and bless you kindly.”

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Fourth Sunday Of Easter

This week Peter does more than preach the Word, John of Patmos is shown the eternity that is present in belief, and Jesus answers yet another snarky question.  All this plus the literary quality found in the mushrooms of the Delphic Oracle.

The lections may be found here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Something For Earth Day

Actually, Mrs. Rector and I planted it earlier this week, but still, I offer the Rectory a Buddleia, also known as "the Butterfly Bush".  It appears in the photo next to the juniper we planted right before the ground got hard in November.  [According to Celtic folklore, junipers chase away evil spirits.]

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Feast Of Anselm Of Canterbury

I can't recall if this is Earth Day or Secretaries' Day. It may be neither; it may be both. It may, for all I know, be Earth Secretaries's Day. Or "Keep your secretary green Day" or "Make your secretary mow your lawn Day" or something equally obtuse.

I do know that today is the Feast of Anselm, and that's much more important to me and to the development of our faith than any other, er, "holiday".

Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury and one of the most profound thinkers of the Middle Ages, died on this day in 1109, around the age of 76. He is considered the third greatest theologian of Western Christianity, alongside Augustine and Aquinas.

Anselm attained this status for his argument that faith is the precondition of knowledge (credo ut intelligam), for his "satisfaction theory" of the atonement ("No one but one who is God-made-Man can make the satisfaction by which Man is saved") and for his ontological argument for God's existence.

The latter simply recognizes that, if there is no God, there could be no rational discussion of God's existence. In other words, one cannot make an argument that dismisses the existence of something that doesn't exist.

In addition to his academic work, Anselm was also politically important in seeing that the English church played a greater role in its society and served as one of the checks on the power of the king.

Almighty God, you raised up your servant Anselm to teach the Church of his day to understand its faith in your eternal Being, perfect justice, and saving mercy: Provide your Church in every age with devout and learned scholars and teachers, that we may be able to give a reason for the hope that is in us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How To Make Church Services Shorter

It's easy. All you have to do is work through the following set of modest proposals:

1. Eliminate the music - This way about 15-20 minutes will be cut from the liturgy.

2. Eliminate the sermon - Really, who cares about this? That's another 10-12 minutes gained.

3. Reduce the number of people coming forward to receive communion - After steps 1 and 2, this becomes real easy.  Perhaps mass excommunication would be the best way to complete this, as it sometimes takes thirty whole seconds for one person to receive the Body and Blood of Christ.  Think of the time saved!

4. Eliminate announcements - After steps 1, 2, and 3, when the congregation has been reduced to about 6 or so, and there is no one to do anything anyway, announcements will be unnecessary.

You see, it's simple. It's not evangelism or even a valid way to live the Gospel, but at least you don't have to waste time on a Sunday morning.  Y'know, salvation is great and all, but we all have important things to do on Sundays.  Hmmm, maybe we can build a drive-through communion window with an automatic wafer launcher....

Or we can have a real church with real music, the proclaimed word of God, a growing population, and a greater number of things with which people may become involved [of course, that means announcements]; all for the investment of just 70 minutes a week.

Personally, I think it's an easy choice to make.

We Have A Winner

Meg M. wins the official Christ Church No-Prize for recognizing the photo reference in this posting from last week.  Here is the explanation, courtesy of Hollywood:

I'll Probably Pray That Day Anyway

Federal judge: National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional

Monday, April 19, 2010

Makes Me Wonder What I've Been Eating All These Years

Are there really "Earth-unfriendly" vegetables?

My photo for Earth Day, which is sometime this week. I don't really keep track of this "holiday". It seems designed for folks who don't dig, plant, nurture, or even ramble through woods. [Not to mention fish or, yes, I'm going to say it, hunt.]

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Third Sunday Of Easter

Well, that didn't take too long, did it? Just got back from the consecration and thought you might want to know tomorrow's lections, which may be found here.

This week, Paul gets knocked down, four elders get knocked down in Revelation, and Jesus has a cook-out [and what a cook-out it turns out to be]. All this plus The First Breakfast.

[Above is the "Galilean Boat", as was discussed in the Biblical Archaeology class.]

I'm Attending The Consecration Today

An event such as this is great for the preaching, the music, to revel in our liturgical tradition, and, not the least, to witness the most remarkable of collection of, um, "creative" vestments you ever saw.  Some examples from the past may be found below.  I'll offer a full report on Sunday.

[The photos are courtesy of Bad Vestments.]

Friday, April 16, 2010

In The Category Of Bizarre E-Mail

This message arrived from a source unknown in reference to a subject unknown. Obviously, it is a mis-addressed e-mail meant for another rector in another parish somewhere in Anglicanism, but I'm delighting in its mondo obscura:

"Organicsally functioning out of neighbors helping one another to what about the Christian Acountant is the way the inquiiry should evolve. At that point, if I can help please whistle."

This may be my new mission statement. Although, it kind of makes me afraid to whistle....

[I'm awarding an official Christ Church No-Prize to the person who gets the photo reference.]

For Baseball Fans, Or Indians Fans [Same Thing, Really]

Feller's Opening Day no-hitter turns 70

Tomorrow Is The Day...

...for the new bishop's coronation consecration.  Information for those attending or participating may be found at the link provided below.  We have a banner in the procession, the Presiding Bishop will, naturally, be in attendance, and the preacher is Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Prize laureate [and a former seminary professor of your rector's.  Yes, I'm a name-dropper.  I learned it from my ordained colleagues.] 

All this plus it's free!

Click here for information.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I Took A Walk Today

Yeah, I know that's not big news for most people, but I haven't actually taken a purposeful walk since before my tendon injury nine weeks ago. I got as far as one half mile and without much support from the cane.

Anyway, a poem popped in my head while I was strolling. It's William Wordsworth's "The Tables Turned" [I think; it may have a slightly different title. What am I, an English teacher?]

UP! up! my Friend, and quit your books;
Or surely you'll grow double:
Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks;
Why all this toil and trouble?

The sun, above the mountain's head,
A freshening lustre mellow
Through all the long green fields has spread,
His first sweet evening yellow.

Books! 'tis a dull and endless strife:
Come, hear the woodland linnet,
How sweet his music! on my life,
There's more of wisdom in it.

And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!
He, too, is no mean preacher:
Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your teacher.

She has a world of ready wealth,
Our minds and hearts to bless--
Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,
Truth breathed by cheerfulness.

One impulse from a vernal wood
May teach you more of man,
Of moral evil and of good,
Than all the sages can.

Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;
Our meddling intellect
Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:--
We murder to dissect.

Enough of Science and of Art;
Close up those barren leaves;
Come forth, and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives.

Episcopal HQ's Spiritual Message Of The Week, Part Two

Another missive designed to salve the soul with spiritual insight and religious import:
Michelle Obama, Jill Biden visit Haitian diocese's quake survivor camp

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Second Sunday Of Easter

This week Peter and the disciples learn to question authority all on their own, John of Patmos begins his notorious book of scripture, and the disciples in the Gospel of John test the locks. All this plus the infamous nightclub fuses.

Remember that we are holding our usual 8am service at Christ Church and joining with the pilgrims at Roxbury Congregational Church at 10:30am. I'm preaching at both services.

The lections may be found here.

Easter Saturday

We thank you, heavenly Father, that you have delivered us from the dominion of sin and death and brought us into the kingdom of your Son; and we pray that, as by his death he has recalled us to life, so by his love he may raise us to eternal joys; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Episcopal HQ's Spiritual Message Of The Week

Another missive designed to salve the soul with spiritual insight and religious import:

Episcopal Church urges Census participation

God: 0
Jesus: 0
Holy Spirit: 0

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Photo: Raphael Says "Bienvenida"

Please Note The Venue

This Sunday we will meet at Christ Church at 8am for the Celebration of the Holy Communion.

However, please remember that we will be meeting at Roxbury Congregational Church at 10:30am for a shared liturgy with our pilgrim friends.

I will be preaching at both services. The title will be "St. Thomas and the Nightclub Fuse". [That's all I have so far; I'll write the rest of the sermon on Sunday morning. It'll be a corker.]

Easter Friday

Almighty Father, who gave your only Son to die for our sins and to rise for our justification: Give us grace so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness, that we may always serve you in pureness of living and truth; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Staffordshire Hoard To Be Featured On National Geographic

Although I guess the channel is now known by the trendier name, "Nat Geo".

At any rate, the Staffordshire Hoard, that load of gold and jewels discovered in the middle of an English field by a fellow with a simple metal detector, a find that was spoken of in the final session of our Lenten series on Biblical Archaeology, will be featured on Sunday on the Nat Geo channel at 7pm.

Details may be found here.

Easter Thursday

Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ's Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Easter Wednesday

O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Memorable Holy Week For These Kids

Participants in an Easter egg hunt at a park found a body Saturday morning, police said.

Easter Tuesday

O God, who by the glorious resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light: Grant that we, who have been raised with him, may abide in his presence and rejoice in the hope of eternal glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be dominion and praise for ever and ever. Amen.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Archaeological News

More about the Staffordshire Hoard found here.

New Written Language of Ancient Scotland Discovered

Graveyard of the Atlantic gives up ghost

Rosslyn Chapel was haven for bees

The 99% of the British Museum not on show

Easter Monday

Grant, we pray, Almighty God, that we who celebrate with awe the Paschal feast may be found worthy to attain to everlasting joys; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Photo: Church Sign II

We Now Return To Posting

As you know, or have figured out, Holy Week is of such importance and just plain busy-ness that writing new posts just isn't done. Also, it's good to have the weekly schedule kept at the top of the page since we average, at the rectory alone, about 6-8 calls a day asking about our Holy Week schedule.

That doesn't mean things haven't been happening, though. In archeology alone, something in which a whole bunch of parishioners are now knowledgeable and interested, we have a number of things to relate. There's also a silly sign to note. Maybe even a commentary of two, once I recover from the effect of too many spoken, read, composed. or sung words during the past week. A day or two in the workshop or surf casting on the Sound cures that pretty quickly. Not to mention dealing with the effects of the Nor'easter on the house that Mrs. Rector and I have down on the Connecticut coast. [I'm thinking of launching the boat in the basement, but it may not be beamy enough. The boat, that is.]

Anyway, thanks for the great Holy Week and the welcome response from those who chose to attend even the weekday services. I'll have some attendance figures later.