Saturday, April 30, 2011

This Weekend

Remember that we are participating in one of the two annual ecumenical weekends.  This Sunday we will celebrate the Holy Eucharist at 8am at Christ Church and then join with the members of the Congregational Church at 10:30am.  I'll be preaching at Roxbury Congregational.

The lections for both churches may be found here.

The charity concert will be at Christ Church on Sunday at 4pm.  Remember that we are raising donations to support music therapy programs for returning wounded veterans, so please come.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding Scripture Reading

A few folks asked me what was read this morning at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.  It's portions of the 12th chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, according to the Revised Standard Version [we use the New Revised Standard Version in the American church].  The text appears below.  Interestingly, Romans 12 is scheduled to be read in two parts in our liturgies on August 21st and 28th of this year.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God-- what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." No, "if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

In Other Religious News

Pope John Paul II's body exhumed

Scroll Down And Then Read Upward For Insouciant Comments About The Royal Wedding

Well, that was fun, but now its time for work.  See you on Sunday, everyone.
Oh, dear.  Now all of the news people are making dull-witted comments. 

Upon the Abbey threshold, the bride became the Duchess of Cambridge.
The beautiful horses of the household cavalry. 
Yes, young lady, you've earned the cheers.  Great poise and presence; a model of how the bride at a church wedding should comport herself.  Stand up straight, Wills.
Stand for the crucifix, you saracens.

All papers are now signed and its time for the grand recessional.  Interesting that Wills didn't wear a sword with his uniform kit, as did his father and grandfather.  Probably too hard to kneel with it.
I like that the crowd knows the verses to Jerusalem and is singing them.

Yes, by all means, God save the Queen.

It's a good day to be an Episcopalian.  The couple now repair to the vestry to sign the legal documents with their witnesses.
Great interior shots of the Abbey.

Some familiar prayers now and, yes, all of this may be found in that prayer book in the CC pews.

That over-garment worn by the intercessor is called a cope.  I have worn several over the years at the larger parishes at which I have worked.  They look great, but are rather heavy.
And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?
And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic mills?
Bring me my bow of burning gold:
Bring me my arrows of desire:
Bring me my spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire.
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land.
The men and boys are singing ubi charitas, which we have sung recently at CC, albeit to a different setting.
A sermon by the Bishop of London, I believe, wearing the rochet [white linen over-garment] and chimere [red cassock] of a bishop.

Making a bit more sense than most Anglican clergy, too.
Isn't this wonderfully and unapologetically Christian?  Thank God the open expression of faith may still be found in great occasions.
The reader did not introduce the reading?  Perhaps that is redundant given the liturgical style.  Nice choice from Romans, however.
The binding of the hands with the stole is an ancient gesture, still practiced in one parish in Connecticut.  [Three guesses which one].

And they are married.  Hymn time!  Our musical setting of this hymn is better.
Save for some slight modernization, the liturgy is from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.
And now, the Dean, using our familiar opening verses.  We have a beautiful tradition, don't we?

Now, the Archbishop....
Nice ceiling shot, btw.

Ah, a proper hymn; one sung recently at Christ Church.

Has Elton John ever sung in public before?  Doesn't look like it.
Some idiotic woman on NBC is trying to comment over the lovely Abbey bells.  Do be quiet or I'm shifting to another channel.

Yeah, I'm on CNN now.

Now this is how a bridal procession should be done.  Not with the bride's girlfriends gracelessly lumbering up the aisle as if late for footer.
Katey needs to work on her royal wave.  Plenty of time for that.  She looks refreshingly intelligent for a royal's spouse, so good on you, Willie.
'allo, Queenie.  She always looks great.  The Duke of Edinburgh in what may be a Grenadier Guards uniform.

This stuff always reverts me to a Scottish schoolboy.
The news commentators are more fatuous than usual, it seems.  I keep flipping through channels to no avail.
Called it! 
How'd they get those trees in the Abbey?
Nice hat on the mother of the bride.  Looks like a 33 1/3 LP.

Ah, the clergy.  Nice cope on the Bishop of London and red-lined mitre on the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Here comes Charlie.  Again, bets on Royal Navy uni.
Personal note: My Aunt May was once a member of the household staff at Clarence House.

I just saw a fellow wearing a Glasgow Celtic scarf.  C'mon the Hoops!
I wonder how long it took to polish that Bentley.
William in his scarlet dress uniform as an honorary colonel of the Irish Guards; Harry in his Blues And Royals blue uniform with the earned rank of captain.  I'm guessing Charlie will wear his Royal Navy uni with earned rank of admiral.  The women get to wear hats. 

The Abbey verger is the fellow in the scarlet robes at the entrance.  Most parishes once had the role of verger; nowadays only very large parishes and cathedrals do, especially as its a paid position.

Live Blogging That Wedding Thing

What the heck, I'm up anyway.  Besides, the liturgy is the same as ours and I want to see how they do it.

Two random notes:  The PM's wife is not wearing a hat?  Why miss an opportunity to do so?

Victoria Beckham's hat appears to have antenna.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I confess that I really don't understand 21st century atheism.  I always had respect for philosophical atheists as they could logically argue the development of their world view and place it in historical and sociological context.  [On the other hand, I always found agnostics to be a bit squishy in their thinking; unwilling to intellectually commit to a world view and always passively waiting for proof of belief or disbelief].

However, contemporary atheism is far less philosophical and far more an extension of superficial aspects of psycho-therapy.  For example, a few years ago a body of atheists were hawking an "anti-baptism liturgy" designed to reverse the trauma of infant baptism.  First, it was obvious from the description of the "liturgy" that it was a rather adolescent rejection of parental values rather than a philosophical expression.  Second, if I may wear the hat of an atheistic philosopher*, why would I need to reverse something which does not exist?  The creation of a "liturgy" to counter-act a sacrament would, obviously, mark the power of the belief rather than its absence.  To offer a parallel, if one doesn't believe in demons, one doesn't need an exorcism.

[*As I can find no photo of either Sartre or Camus wearing a hat, I may have to not wear the hat of an atheistic philosopher. Yes, I split an infinitive, but it was for the sake of art.]

It appears that atheism is not to be contained to the merely psychological now, but also to the political, as in the following article:

Atheists Seek Chaplain Role in the Military

A note: This article is found in the New York Times, so viewing it will deduct the number of free views you will have this month from the Times.  At least, I think that's how it works.  Who am I, Lippman?

Clearly, He Had Been Reading The "Gnostic Gospels"

Naked man claiming to be Jesus Christ breaks into home

I'm Not Really Surprised; I Had My 1972 Chevy Impala Stolen In That Same Neighborhood

Plaque in Glenville honoring Superman creators stolen

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Some Things Never Change

China seizes Christians in Easter raid

Things I Didn't Get To During Holy Week

“Rolling Stone” Declares Nashville “Best Music Scene”

I'm not really sure how the 21st century version of Rolling Stone would know this, but there you go...."

Freeze Tag, Red Rover, Wiffle Ball Deemed Dangerous in New Summer Camp Regs
I'm glad I grew up when I did.

NBC scales back their royal wedding coverage 'because William and Kate are so boring'

But Donald Trump isn't?

Scientist: Last Supper Date Mystery Solved

Scientists are always right, at least for a few years. The only people who know more in America are Hollywood actors.

Motorcycle deaths drop, but trend is worrisome

Fewer deaths means fewer newspapers sold. No wonder the Associated Press finds this worrisome.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Holy Week Schedule

Palm Sunday: 8am Holy Eucharist, 10:00am Liturgy of the Palms.

Maundy Thursday: 7:30pm Proper Liturgy including the Stripping of the Altar. The lections may be found here.

Good Friday: The Way of the Cross at Noon and the Proper Liturgy at 7:30pm. The lections may be found here.

Holy Saturday: 7:30 pm The Great Vigil of Easter. The lections may be found here.

Easter Sunday: Music, Celebration, and the Festal Eucharist at 8am and 10:00am, wherein we will learn that the flouting of convention may save lives both temporal and eternal. The lections may be found here.

A Pleasant Reminder

It's Holy Week, which means every waking moment is spent organizing for and officiating at the many liturgies offered at Christ Church this week and ensuring that the members of our extended congregation receive the sacrament. In addition, there are duties I must fulfill at Rumsey Hall School and in preparation for the Wounded Veterans Charity Concert on May 1st. To give one an idea of how busy the next few days will be, when I left for school this morning I said to Jenni, "See you on Sunday afternoon."

So, please don't find me rude if I don't immediately respond to phone calls or e-mails that are not specific to Holy Week, as this is the one time of year when prayer and worship are primary in the lives of parishioners and those others whom I serve as a priest and chaplain.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lenten Wave #40

Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime. - Martin Luther

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lenten Wave #39 [A Bonus Wave For Today]

Bear the Cross cheerfully and it will bear you. - Thomas Kempis

Lenten Wave #38

A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell. - C. S. Lewis

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Is It Just Me?

Or are obituaries getting a little weird lately?


The Other Day, I Had A Hankering For Chicken And Waffles

There are a number of reasons for this. 

1.] It was a warm day and I wanted to be in the water. 

2.] Which reminded me that one of the best meals I ever ate was at a Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles in Long Beach, California after a morning in the cold Pacific.  As I didn't know what time it was [I was only there for four days and kept to East Coast time], it was the perfect place to eat.

3.] At breakfast time, someone on the Roxbury green had waffles on the griddle. [Okay, it was me.] 

4.]  Around noon, someone was cooking chicken. 

5.]  There was a new version of "Mildred Pierce" advertised on some cable channel, and I remember when I read the wonderfully dark Cain novel that Mildred's first restaurant was a chicken and waffle house.  By the way, I'm convinced that James M. Cain, who also wrote The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity, really didn't like people very much.

6.] There's a chicken and waffle house six miles north of my favorite East Coast surf beach, too.

7.]  Chicken and waffles are about to become the new fish tacos.  That is, what was once a form of secret surfer [and blues musician] food, is about to go mainstream.

How do I know this?  Just read this story:

Harlem chef Carl Redding plans protest of IHOP over soul food dish chicken and waffles

Lenten Wave #36

He is not wise to me who is wise in words only, but he who is wise in deeds. - Saint Gregory

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Reminder

Our Lenten Series, which was begun a week before Lent, has now concluded and I want to thank the many, many folks who filled out the ranks during the past several weeks.  We covered a lot of topics and had great fun.  So much so, that I'd like to see this as a regular monthly feature of our common life. 

Let me know about any ideas that you may have.

A Tool Kit For Guitarists In The Military

As we prepare for the May 1st charity concert to raise funds for guitars and basses for wounded veterans, I came across this article from one of my parts vendors.  They've developed a guitar tool kit for deployed soldiers.  Nice, huh?

Lenten Wave #35

Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe. - Saint Augustine

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I've Heard Vodka-Soaked Olives Work, Too

Gin-Soaked Raisins May Alleviate Pain

While You're At It, Some New Politicians Would Be Nice

Members of a central Georgia church plan to gather at gas pumps to pray for lower prices.

You May Have To Be A Space Nerd To Appreciate This...

... or just someone who grew up in the generation that used to watch the Mercury launches in elementary school [It was always a big, big treat to have a TV in the classroom.  Who ever heard of such a thing?], but later today is not only "Yuri's Night", the celebration of the human race's first foray into space, but it is the fiftieth anniversary of that important day in human development.

There is more information at this link.  I also understand that there are two or three celebrations this evening around Connecticut.

Lenten Wave #34

Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for power equal to your tasks. - Phillips Brooks

Monday, April 11, 2011

Lenten Wave #33

Where streams of living water flow
My ransomed soul He leadeth,
And where the verdant pastures grow,
With food celestial feedeth.

Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,
But yet in love He sought me,
And on His shoulder gently laid,
And home, rejoicing, brought me.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lenten Wave #32

Surfing is a special kind of madness, a feeling for the sea, a combination of love, knowledge, respect, fear- instinctive perception gained through repeated contact.”-Tom Curren

What's interesting to me about this quote, in fact, about all of the surfing-oriented quotations, is that one may easily replace the word "surfing" with something related more directly to the life of the Spirit.  For example, "Religion is a special kind of madness, a feeling for God's grace, a combination of love, knowledge, respect, fear...; instinctive perception gained through repeated contact."

See what I mean?

Consider this one, altered from #29:  "For those searching for something more than just the norm, we lay it all down, including what others call sanity, for just a few moments abiding with something larger than life. We do this because we know there is still something greater than all of us. Something that inspires us spiritually. We start going downhill when we stop taking risks."

Beyond all of the odd perceptions of surfing and surf culture, beyond that captured in the bilious ads in surfing magazines and by fashion designers eager to market clothing with a surf cache, are people who wish to quietly abide with nature.  That's it, really.  Others do so with other types of outdoor activities, especially those that don't require much in the way of equipment.  Such hope for this kind of perception can't be achieved without accepting a kind of surrender.  A surfer is just a person with a floating board; not the "lifestyle" or the habits or lingo or attitude usually assigned to them in popular culture.  With that board, the surfer, if he or she is willing to respect the sea, its rhythms and its power, may for a brief time surrender to nature's energy and feel as complete with creation as is possible in the mortal dimension. 

Without question, we do the same thing with our spirituality.  It doesn't require much in the way of equipment, it may be pursued individually or in a community of faith, and, if we let ourselves abide within it and feel its rhythms and its power, we may be in as close a communion with God as is possible in the mortal dimension.  It is also through this communion that we get a glimpse of the eternal promise, or, in the words above, find "instinctive perception gained through repeated contact.”

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Fifth Sunday In Lent

This week Ezekial experiences "dem bones", the Romans learn of the differentiation between flesh and Spirit, and Jesus offers his fourth, and most spectacular, personal teaching.  All this and who has the most fun in the water.

The lections may be found here.

[To be honest, I've always kinda liked the version below, as it looks like something from one of those caption contests.]

Lenten Wave #31

"I wasn't looking for satisfation from sponsorships, waves, or recognition in surfing anymore. My satisfaction comes from knowing God." - Jen Belshaw, Pro Woman surfer

Friday, April 8, 2011

Jesus Watch

Face of Jesus appears on tea towel

Must Have Been Using Different Translations

Women’s Bible study ends with bloody nose and arrest

Lenten Wave #30

There's a wideness in God's mercy
like the wideness of the sea;
there's a kindness in his justice,
which is more than liberty.
There is welcome for the sinner,
and more graces for the good;
there is mercy with the Savior;
there is healing in his blood.

There is no place where earth's sorrows
are more felt than in heaven;
there is no place where earth's failings
have such kind judgment given.
There is plentiful redemption
in the blood that has been shed;
there is joy for all the members
in the sorrows of the Head.

For the love of God is broader
than the measure of man's mind;
and the heart of the Eternal
is most wonderfully kind.
If our love were but more faithful,
we should take him at his word;
and our life would be thanksgiving
for the goodness of the Lord.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

There's No Such Thing As Bad Publicity [I Hope]

Episcopal Church: This Good Friday, let’s celebrate Earth Day

Tonight's Lenten Series

Tonight we discuss the importance of these eggs seen above and trace the connection of a Syrian mountain to the Desert Fathers [and Mothers] and the Lebanese civil war of the 1980's.

Also, the Magdalene in art and history.  See you at 7pm.

Lenten Wave #29

"For those searching for something more than just the norm, we lay it all down, including what others call sanity, for just a few moments on waves larger than life. We do this because we know there is still something greater than all of us. Something that inspires us spiritually. We start going downhill when we stop taking risks." - Laird Hamilton

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Lenten Wave #28

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

- William Wordsworth

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

How About A Prayer Of Thanksgiving For Karl And His Family?

My former student, Karl, lives in the Tallahassee area.  He was the captain of acolytes at an Episcopal Church boarding school when I served as its chaplain.  This is his bedroom as of this morning.  To quote him, three more feet in one direction and his children would have been orphans.  He and his wife managed to crawl out of this unharmed.  Apparently a tornado stopped by and tore off a sizable hunk of a nearby oak., which landed on Karl's roof.

I have not seen Karl since he graduated back in the early '90's, but we have maintained a correspondence.  What really delighted me was that many of my former students sent word to him, via Facebook, expressing their relief that no one was injured.  They even offered prayers.  Looks like all those morning chapel services paid off.

Said Karl to the local news, "You can think of it as a curse [that the house was destroyed], or you can think of it as a blessing [that no one was hurt], and I truly think of it as a blessing."

Wave Meditations

#24 - I've always found surfing competitions too abstract. It's like saying one is going to enter a prayer competition. The activity is insular, dependent on what is identified by the individual as important and what is determined by Nature as possible. I don’t know exactly how you can judge it objectively, as what may appear to the observer as the clumsiest moment in wave riding is actually something of sublime experience to the surfer. I once achieved a life’s dream of actually riding within the tube of the wave, the so-called “green room”. I lasted about three seconds before being nearly crushed by the wave and held on the bottom as if by a giant hand. When I was done coughing up the water, something made more difficult by the fact I was also laughing with joy, I was, according to the quote, the best surfer on the beach. The others, the ones who were able to stay on their boards, might have disagreed, but I know there was no one happier than I was.

In prayer, we offer up what we identify as important and see how it is determined by God. I feel as if all of my prayers are clumsy, yet I always receive an answer. When I pray, whether leading a congregation, or with them, or in those few, quiet moments on my own, I know the happiness that Christians can know. It doesn’t matter what others think, or what I think of my spiritual abilities. God has granted me a way to know happiness and, with others, be lead to being the best Christian I can be.

#25 – I’m a sucker for Hopkins. I liked his poetry before I knew anything of his personal life [he was a Roman Catholic priest who kept most of his poetry hidden until well after his death]. In all of his poems [another was offered as Lenten Wave #3] he meditated on how a confluence of seemingly incongruous things comes together to create a glorious one-ness. It is in this way that we see God in nature and nature in all things.

#26 – This is the last portion of Tennyson’s Ulysses, which is one of the great poetic meditations on age. There is a verse that I regret leaving out, as I think of it more and more often these days:

“…you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done….”

I think of this when I try to spring up on the surfboard like I did even just twenty years ago, or when I now feel the need for a nap on Sunday afternoons. It is a wonderful reminder of what purpose may do for the heart and the soul. It is in that light that this portion of the poem engages us. Ulysses laments that there are so many who feel, “…as though to breath were life….” He strives for purpose, for meaning, for adventure, until the very end. “…that which we are, we are…Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will. To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.” It is a marvelous distillation of Christian purpose, the quest that calls us all, and God’s eternal will for us.

#27 – A favorite of mine since high school, mainly because, after losing a beloved grandfather and a beloved brother when I was still a child, I had occasions to think of death in light of both the graceful language of the burial office and the jarringly ponderous attempts by people to “explain” to a kid what they understood as God’s will. If I had been a more addle-pated child, I would have grown up thinking that what was “all part of God’s plan” actually described the acts of some sort of metaphysical madman. Bryant’s poem, especially when read with John 14:1-6, captures beautifully, again like Hopkins, the manner in which nature reflects the movement of God in our mortality and promised immortality.

Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea!

By only issue with the poet is that he was a little too addicted to exclamation points!
Yes, the parish office and rectory phones were out of commission yesterday and part of today.  All has now been repaired.  Thanks for being patient.

Lenten Wave #27

The Chambered Nautilus by By Oliver Wendall Holmes

This is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign,
Sail the unshadowed main,--
The venturous bark that flings
On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings
In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings,
And coral reefs lie bare,
Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming hair.

Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl;
Wrecked is the ship of pearl!
And every chambered cell,
Where its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell,
As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell,
Before thee lies revealed,--
Its irised ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed!

Year after year beheld the silent toil
That spread his lustrous coil;
Still, as the spiral grew,
He left the past year's dwelling for the new,
Stole with soft step its shining archway through,
Built up its idle door,
Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.

Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee,
Child of the wandering sea,
Cast from her lap, forlorn!
From thy dead lips a clearer note is born
Than ever Triton blew from wreathed horn;
While on mine ear it rings,
Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings:--

Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Lenten Wave #26

From Ulysses, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

...The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles4,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Lenten Wave #25

Pied Beauty by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough; 5
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: 10
Praise him.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Unsurprising Archaeological News

As we surmised in our Thursday class, the "most important find in Christian history" is a fake.

Fake: Seventy metal books found in cave in Jordan labeled most important find in Christian history

The Fourth Sunday In Lent

This week Samuel finds David, sleepers in Ephesus are bid to wake, and Jesus, having now met a curious Pharisee and Samaritan woman, meets a man who may or may not be punished by sin. 

The lections may be found here.

By the way, like its counterpart on the Third Sunday of Advent, Lent IV is known as "rose Sunday", due to its lighter tone and uplifting nature in the midst of what could incautiously be a dour season.

Lenten Wave #24

"The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun"

Friday, April 1, 2011

Some Comments On #22

I’ve always thought the most attractive thing about religion, or about the religious impulse, is that it is inherently absurd. We ponder something that is intangible and invisible; we try to frame with words and symbol that which resists shape; we seek comfort in something that we cannot explain with any apparent coherence. When we try to make it simple, we make it complicated. When we quest for it; it is elusive. When we stop searching, we find it. No wonder there is in every religion a sentiment such as that expressed by Lao-Tzu, the Chinese philosopher, when speaking of his beliefs: “Of course people laugh at the Tao. It would not be the Tao if people did not laugh at it.”

This is what attracted me to the quotation used as Lenten Wave #22. To put it simply, surfing is stupid. When I speak of it, people grant me an expression that is usually reserved for the village idiot in an Irish novel. It is, as the quote says, an “inexplicable and useless urge”. However, once it is engaged with, if not mastery, then at least some sense of confidence, it becomes a way of life.

Unfortunately, it seems for most people participation in the life of a congregation is an urge that is also inexplicable and useless. As we live in an age where atheism is once again militant and, in its own way, evangelical, I find myself expected to defend and apologize for my faith more and more often. Since faith is inherently absurd, I never supply quite the response that satisfies my interrogator. Actually, since the main purpose of 21st century non-theism is to ridicule the believer, perhaps my response does satisfy.

However inexplicable or apparently useless is our faith to others, because we are engaged and confident in it, it becomes for us our way of life; a way that grants us purpose and contentment. I strive to find patience in my work with others, quietness in the midst of worldly noise, reconciliation with things beyond my control, and the opportunities to do some small act of charity, not because of the expectation of some temporal or eternal reward, but because those things inform and enrich my way of life. In the same way that a wave taken at just the right moment and at the right angle can produce a satisfactory, even thrilling, ride, despite the fact that there is no prize offered for it and that, on most days, there is no one to witness it, so our way of life as Christians is borne in the style taught by our Lord in the sixth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel.

Lenten Wave #23

"The idea that an individual can find God is terribly self-centered. It is like a wave thinking it can find the sea." - Sir John Templeton

Jesus Watch

Face of Jesus Christ appears in three-cheese pizza