Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The New Bishop-Elect of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has elected a new bishop. As part of the process, candidates were given four questions to answer. Here is the link to the questions and answers. I am particularly taken by the answer to question #4, as follows, from the now Bishop-Elect, the Reverend Dorsey W.M. McConnell:
4. How might you respond if a person who was not a Christian approached you and said, “Why would I want to be a Christian?”
“Years ago, when I was in your position, a friend warned me to think very carefully before becoming a Christian. He said it would ruin my pleasure in my own sin, and I have since found he was right. And there are other consequences as well. It will seriously hamper your self-centeredness and your pride. It will make you love people you don’t even want to like, forgive people you have every reason to hate, and help people without any thought of gain. And it will bring dozens, hundreds, even thousands, of additional family into your life, who don’t look or talk or think like you — brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters. Since most of us can’t manage the ones we already have, that is also something to think about.
“Of course, there are huge advantages. You will finally know who you are and why you are on this earth. You will find endless mercy, limitless grace, compassion without ceasing, love beyond bounds. You will experience real joy, again and again. You will have an abiding sense of God’s care for you, and you will never again depend on the kudos of the world. After years of trying to create your own universe and run it (which never goes very well), you will be released from the endless task of proving your self-worth. You will discover that serving Jesus Christ will use every fiber of your being, every cell of your creativity, talents you never knew you had, in pursuits you never would have imagined. In short, you will discover the grace and truth of God in this life, and in the age to come, life everlasting.”

My response? I intend to memorize this response and make it my own. What do you think?

Friday, April 20, 2012

I hate it! Who thinks this is a good idea?!

I completely and totally hate, hate, HATE the new blogger. I HATE IT!!!!!!

Who out there thinks the latest changes are a good idea? If so, WHY?!

And don't give me that "it's free so why are you complaining" stuff. I still hate it.

And where the heck is my old dashboard? It worked perfectly well. Now it's gone.

Bloody heck.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I find myself wanting to organize as if I were packing to move.

This is a metaphor for something. It calls up the energy I had yesterday after writing my profile on the soon-to-be-launched website Fresh Springs Retreats.

I try to intellectualize it, figure it out, and it defies that effort.
Sit with it.
It may never make sense.
It may simply make itself.
Whatever "it" is.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Is Advent coming early?

I've opened a new blog. Don't know exactly where it's going yet. I've been wanting to open one for some time. Today I knew what I wanted it to be. Like you, I'm wondering how it will unfold. Much like my life in ministry - where is it going? What will it be like in a year? Maybe this blog will be the one where I track that movement. Maybe Julian House Retreats will be part of what my ministry will be like in a year.

Something is moving. I wonder what it is.

I have friends out there in blogland for whom there seems to be no movement, or even backward movement. I think something is up. Something is happening. Wait. Watch. Listen. Maybe Advent is coming early.

Now, how does one resolve the mystic with the lover of Formula 1 Grand Prix racing?! Maybe it needs no resolution. Maybe the clash is in the assumption that the mystical is "up there" somewhere. My experience is the mystical is very grounded and down to earth. Wait. Watch. Listen.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Bible Project

Well, I have been reading the Bible straight through from the beginning, since sometime in January, as have many of our parishioners. I've completed through 1 Chronicles chapter 26. Oh my word, all those names, genealogies, lists of people organized for the idealized kingdom of David. I am faithfully reading through all of this, even though my brain becomes tongue-tied trying to imagine how some of the names are pronounced. I'm committed to this. It meant something to the person who wrote this, so I will honor that. And oh, my brain!

Of interest: evidently the chronicler decided to leave out the story of Bathsheba. Since we don't read much from the chronicles during our three year cycle of readings, I had no idea. So far, the chronicler seems more interested in the organization. Any story elements are there to support the organization. OCICBW...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Christ is risen! HAPPY EASTER!

The Day of the Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus ben Joseph, of Nazareth, the Christ.

Catching up on sermons:

Good Friday

Great Vigil of Easter

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Holy Saturday

The whole world is silent.
Lest we think this is just another Saturday,
Hustling, bustling, business as usual
After the day before,
The day Our Lord died,
We begin the day with prayer.
"O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."
This is a day of rest.
As we labored and prayed and worshipped and mourned in the week past,
so, too, did our Lord labor and pray and worship,
suffer and die.
Last night, in death, he labored on.
He went down into Sheol seeking the dead.
He broke the gates of Hell. He shattered the chains.
He took Adam and Eve and all the dead by the hand.
He spoiled Hell's victory and set all souls free.
Now, today, he rests.
Today, the seventh day of creation, he rests.
So, too, may this day be a day of rest for us all...
...including clergy!

To the clergy,
If our preparations for the feast to come,
The vigil tonight,
The feast tomorrow,
Are not complete,
Let them be.
Do no more.
Let our worship take care of itself.
All shall be well.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday 2012

If only Jesus were a little less perfect; a little more human.
If only the gospelers left evidence of Jesus saying things he wished he hadn't said,
said the wrong things,
did the wrong things,
made mistakes.
If only evidence were left in the scriptures,
of Jesus sinning, as we sin.
Maybe then I would know there was use for me, in ministering in his name.

I think,
I think maybe Jesus did sin.
I think, maybe,
only because he did sin
and had to be forgiven,
does his resurrection have meaning for me.

Holy Week Journal

Last night: Maundy Thursday, "maundy" from a word meaning commandment. Jesus gives us the new commandment, to love one another, so people will see how much God loves them.

Grace Episcopal Church and Iglesia Episcopal Betania (Bethany Episcopal Church) continue their life together by sitting down to supper. The tables are set up in the church, in the shape of a "T" cross. During the supper we hear the story of the Passover, from Exodus 12:1-14. After supper, we hear the gospel of John 13:1-17, 31b-35, of how Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, to show them HOW we are to love one another and all people. We are to become servants of all people. We are not to behave any more highly than our master, Jesus, who, as a slave, washed the disciples' feet.

After, a child reads the words of the institution of the Last Supper from 1Corinthians 11:23-26. We say our prayers for the world, confess our sins, are forgiven, and pass the peace with one another. We hear again the story of the last supper, bless the bread and wine, and share the body and blood of Christ.

The scriptures say, of the disciples after the supper,
"Then they sang a hymn and went out to the garden to pray.
Despues de cantar los salmos, salieron al monte de los Olivos."

So the people begin to read the psalms that would have been traditional after such a supper: 113 through 118. As they pray these psalms together, in both English and Spanish, the altar guild is busy stripping the church of all ceremonial religious items. The tabernacle, in which the bread and wine is reserved for taking to the sick, is emptied - Jesus is not there. They are placed on the side chapel altar and draped. On Good Friday, at the evening service, all of these remains of consecrated bread and wine will be consumed.

On Good Friday morning, the children will come together from Iglesia Betania, Iglesia San Lucas y San Pablo Bridgeport, and Grace, for the Walk to Easter - a pageant from Palm Sunday to the Resurrection, in which all the children participate. Meanwhile, the adults will meditate on the Seven Last Words of Christ.

I wonder how many people realize what was done 2000 years ago, which we remember, which we re-member, relive, every year? It is now a cliche to say that without taking part in the Holy Week services, including the Great Vigil of Easter Saturday night, Easter Day service is just another Sunday service.

All I can say is, no adult who comes on Good Friday morning to the Walk to Easter remains unchanged as the children take up the cross, lay it on their shoulders, and together walk to the tomb. And what they see there will have to wait for another post.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Holy Tuesday

Clergy renewal of ordination vows, preceded by a stations walk from the cathedral to the capital building.

On such a holy day, I deleted yet another creepy "anonymous" comment from the previous post. I wonder what it's like inside the head of the trolls on the internet who troll for blog posts on which they can leave demeaning screeds. If it takes time for you to see your comment on a blog post, it is due to these people for whom I feel terribly sorry because they are so full of anger, and I have to preview all comments in order to filter them out and leave them voiceless because their comments are creepy. Sadly, while I protect readers from them, I'm assaulted by their hit-and-run maneuvers while I am determining their comment must be deleted. And I'm sure the trolls are well pleased that I feel assaulted by their words. That's their whole point.

It's not true that, while sticks and stones may break my bones, words can never hurt me. I learned that when I was a child. It's a lie.

Today we pray in opposition to the death penalty as we walk the stations of the cross through the streets of the capital city of this state. While I'm walking I shall remember the web trolls and whatever it is in them that compels them. I pray Peace for them, for you, Anonymous, that you may stop needing to leave scary comments on blogs all over the world. God's Peace.