Monday, December 26, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Friday, December 16, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Today I observed my Advent discipline by keeping all four of the daily prayer offices. Doing pretty good about observing abstinence from working on the computer except during daylight hours.
Reading: Benjamin Franklin did not like "aliens" - non-English immigrants. Did you know that? He was especially down on the Germans, particularly those who were taking over Pennsylvania, which, he declared, was founded by the English and here come the Germans with their language and customs messing everything up.
Very interesting. So leave one country hundreds of years ago because of being treated as aliens in one's own land only to do the same to others not like oneself who come to that new land for the same reasons our English forebears did. I guess the apple really does not fall far from the tree.
I am really starting to see a theme to this Advent even in the magazine articles I read.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
I usually choose a discipline of scripture readings, devotional readings, and art to help me make that empty space in which God can take up residence, at least for awhile, until I fill that space up again with junk.
My Advent discipline this year is different from other years. Inspired by the Practicing Prayer group at my church, Grace Episcopal in Norwalk, Connecticut, I pledged to go without internet or computer from dark until full light each night and morning. This includes doing work on the computer - bulletins, sermons, etc.
Of course, I forgot my pledge, but mi esposo did not. He asked me about it last night at 8 p.m. as I sat down to do some computer stuff. And so, I finished what I was doing, hit "send" and walked away until 6:45 this morning.
And that was hard. When I get bored I head straight for the computer. Being bored is code for I don't want to do any other things that I might be doing, especially tending to my spiritual life. Last night I got out my 8 1/2 by 11 spiral school notebook, which I use for journaling, and began to write. Then I prayed compline and went to bed. This morning I began with journaling three pages of stream of consciousness stuff - mostly about a weird dream about being at a conference in England with Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury doing a series of talks, talks, talks - and then read Morning Prayer, did my exercises, made my tea, fed the dog, and then it was full light and I went straight to the computer to check emails!
Of which there were two. One of them "junk mail".
This discipline, or rule of life for Advent, includes no checking email or social networks on my iPhone. Meanwhile, the iPhone of mi esposo kept blinging every time he got mail and it was all I could do to not automatically reach for my own phone and check if I had anything.
So, this morning, my question is this: I'm an old person. I didn't grow up with electronic media except black and white television and the radio and a telephone on a party line (which means one line for several households!). So while I have grown accustomed to - some might say overly dependent on - the computer, it won't be quite so cutting as it might to a 20-something year old.
So I ask, if there is anyone who is has grown up totally connected who is reading this blog, what would it be like for you to totally unplug for, say 12 to 14 hours every night?
Of course, older people may also answer this question!
Blessed Advent to all, and to all an unplugged night!
Monday, November 28, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
earthly sovereign, and then enlisted in the service of Christ, is also the day of the
Armistice which marked the end of the First World War. On it we remember thosewho have risked or lost their lives in what they perceived as the pursuit of justice and peace."
Sunday, November 6, 2011
The person I named in my sermon was my music teacher in junior high school. When I was older I learned that he had become a woman, at a time when that was just not done. She lost her job and never worked as a teacher again because of being true to herself as God had intended her to be.
When I looked her up online I found this article. My music teacher was more of a hero than I had thought. She wrote a book titled A Handbook for Transsexuals.
When we were kids in Mr. Grossman's music classes, we made fun of him. He was a little, round man who wore patent leather Italian shoes that came to a point at the toes and he had a way of conducting that was eminently mockable for ten and eleven year olds. We had no idea what we were doing.
In my sermon this morning I credited Miss Grossman for giving me the gift of bravery.
Paula Grossman died in 2003, eight years ago. Thank you, Miss Grossman.
Rest eternal grant unto her, O God, and may light perpetual shine upon her.
May her soul, and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Arise, shine, for your light has come, *
and the glory of the Lord has dawned upon you.
For behold, darkness covers the land; *
deep gloom enshrouds the peoples.
But over you the Lord will rise, *
and his glory will appear upon you.
Nations will stream to your light, *
and kings to the brightness of your dawning.
Your gates will always be open; *
by day or night they will never be shut.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
1 In the second year of King Darius, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came by the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest: 2 Thus says the LORD of hosts:These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the LORD's house. 3 Then the word of the LORD came by the prophet Haggai, saying: 4 Is it a time for you yourselves to live in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? 5 Now therefore thus says the LORD of hosts:Consider how you have fared. 6 You have sown much, and harvested little; you eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and you that earn wages earn wages to put them into a bag with holes.
7 Thus says the LORD of hosts:Consider how you have fared. 8 Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored, says the LORD. 9 You have looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? says the LORD of hosts. Because my house lies in ruins, while all of you hurry off to your own houses.
It is said that St. Francis of Assisi had a vision of Jesus as he prayed in the ruins of a church, San Damiano, outside Assisi. In the vision Jesus said, "Francis, go and repair my house which, as you can see, is falling into ruins."
Francis thought Jesus meant him to rebuild the church of San Damiano, so he rebuilt it. However, as his life of poverty developed, he came to understand that Jesus had no asked him to restore ruined buildings but to rebuild the Body of Christ, the Church writ large. Francis was asked to rebuild and renew Christianity.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus says, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit."
Do you notice he doesn't say the dead wood is pruned. He says that the branches that bear fruit are pruned so they will bear more fruit. The dead branches are simply removed.
Today all Christian communities, of whatever denomination, are being asked by Jesus to rebuild - not our crumbling buildings which no one can afford, but Christianity itself. What are the dead branches in our Christian life? Where we have born fruit, how are we being pruned in order to bear more fruit?
In our Episcopalian churches we are being challenged by dwindling worshipers, dwindling revenues, increasing costs to keep open our huge, honking buildings built to the glory of God. More important, however, much more important, we are being challenged with how, or even if, we have preached the Gospel, the Good News of Christ to date, and how we can preach that ancient Gospel today.
What would be Good News for a person in their late teens, early twenties, who have bought the message from our U.S. American culture that individualism is supreme, that whatever seems right to an individual is moral and that the only immorality is to judge another's moral relativity? Who has bought into the religion called consumerism, which teaches them that the only sin is being in debt.? Who has bought into a definition of abundant life that does not seek transcendence nor the public good, but to buy whatever you want so long as you can afford it? Who are driven to heavy drinking and unbounded sexual activity and at the same time purport to have no regrets? Who have, until the Occupy Wall Street movement, been politically uninterested?
The poor we always have with us because we do nothing to change the circumstances of our culture and our society to make poverty impossible. The sick, ditto. The oppressed, I regret to say, in increasing categories. But what of those who today believe they have no need of the Gospel of Jesus, that God love unconditionally, that God became one of us that we might be joined, reconciled, to God because we can't do it for ourselves, that the beloved Child of God, Jesus, died and descended into hell to bring up those who have been condemned?
And would good news for the rich be the same as good news for the poor, the lost, the sick, the oppressed, and the current generation of emerging adults who have drunk the Kool Aid of individualism and consumerism?
And what about those of us who are already baptized into Christ's body, those of us who call ourselves Christians, what is our Good News? Our Good News is the same as it was for St. Francis: Go and repair my house which, as you can see, is falling into ruins.
That which we see as disaster - the pruning of our finances and people, the burden of our buildings, the cutting out of dead wood - is our Good News, done so we might go out and rebuild the true house of God: Not Christianity itself, but the restoration and reconciliation of all humankind to one another, to creation, and to God>
How will we do that? WILL we do that? Or shall we continue to wring our hands over what once was? By all means, sit in ashes and weep, and then, get up, rise, and walk.
Haggai 2:1, 4-5
In the second year of King Darius, in the seventh month, on the twenty-first day of the month, the word of God came by the prophet Haggai, saying: Yet now take courage...take courage all you people of the land, says the LORD; work, for I am with you, says the LORD of hosts, according to the promise that I made you when you came out of Egypt. My spirit abides among you; do not fear.
Do not fear. Get up and walk. Get up and get to work.