Showing posts from 2012

The Prayers that Reverberate in My Soul

From the night service of Compline, The Book of Common Prayer 1979

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep.

Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love's sake.  Amen

Psalm 139:7-12
Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? 8 
If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. 9  If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, 10  even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast. 11  If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night’, 12  even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.

'Tis the Season

Do we really need to make "it" magical for our children?
When "Its" very reality is grounded in that sacred holy place (that some call magic) already?


Expectant Hope
Already but not yet
Longing for

Eager expectation
A new life
New year
Joyful concern
Inward dwelling


Sometimes there is no choice but to wait.  Nothing can be rushed and any earlier would be too soon.  This season of Advent, like every other but unlike any other, swirls on in sursum blue.

A color best compared to the deep blue of the sky with the sharp glimmers of the stars--better if the night is cold and crisp and the air unmarred by lights of our making.

So, here we are...tapping our fingers and dancing about on inpatient feet.

Are we there yet?  Not yet.  Still waiting.  But in the waiting we look upwards and outwards to the stars.  They glimmer with promise and perfection.

And they smolder from within, like the breath and the heart.

Such beauty, it cannot be contained or held.  And, despite its perfection it is incomplete.

And arms waiting, empty, and the donkey plods on toward…

When We Are Kings--A Sermon for Christ the King Sunday

Within our context, kings and kingdoms may seem relatively fantastical.  Renaissance festivals, royal weddings, and symbolic monarchies are about all most of us know of kings.  If we have small children in our lives, we may spend time with royal prince and princesses as we engage in their imaginative play.  Princes fight dragons, princesses twirl...and the script is one in which there is always a happy ending.  Christ the king becomes the sanitized version of this happy score--crowned with an ever larger and more elaborate crown.  
But, in many ways this “crowning of Christ” was a politically daring act.  For, in 1925 when Pope Pius XI created the feast of Christ the King, he did so as a very public check upon Benito Mussolini who had declared for himself  “earthly supremacy”.  The pope’s work and words served as a reminder that true supremacy is not of this earth and that Mussolini is not, and would never be, the king of creation or the alpha and the omega.  The feast day was also int…

Podcasted Sermon

So, if you want to hear the last sermon I preached (the one posted here) you can get it on i-tunes for free...I'm not sure how long it will be up, but you're more than welcome to take a listen for now.

The Cost of Our Wants

I can't stand listening to myself preach--kind of freaks me out with an "I sound like that!" feeling.  But, you may not have that same aversion.

Or you which case feel free to scrub it from your i-tunes memory faster than I can recite the opening acclamation.

A Rerun--Would that be Excessive?

So...last year around this time I posted a reflection on the sentiments that may be driving what seem to be excessive gift giving.  As we gear up for yet another holiday season I thought it deserved a rerun!

Click here to read it again, or for the first time!

 This was taken last Christmas...and we are still grateful for every last one!

The 24th Sunday in Pentecost, When Our Wants Take Precedence over the Needs of Others

Sermon for Propers 27B 
Ruth 3:1-5; 4:13-17 Hebrews 9:24-28 Mark 12:38-44
The Essential Things
They are those we try not to notice...
The gleaners in the fields.
Impoverished widows scraping by.
But why, why do we avoid their eyes?  What is so difficult about noticing these people?  
The ones standing at the crossroads, holding signs.  “Homeless veteran, anything helps, God bless”, or “kids at home, need money for food”
The ones removing items from their cart as they realize it’s going to cost too much.  
I realize, I realize that in closing my eyes, in looking away and pretending not to notice...that I feel ashamed.  That somehow I know that I have more than I need, while others, others have less, far less.  
I don’t want to look.
But, I have no choice in the matter.  Stopped at this red light, this moment is captured and I remember that he was lying with his head cushioned by the sign he had been carrying.  Resting, I hope, and not hurt.  We kept driving, on our way to an appointment and running…

The Day After Feels a Bit Closer to the End of Days

My state defeated an amendment filled with hate and instead filled out the ballot in love.  Every state with LGBT marriage on the ballot voted for equality and love.  Love wins.  Of course, we always knew it would--but then again, it also seemed like such an impossible possibility.

I'm not sure whether I need a retreat or a REALLY big party.  There is something about feeling a bit closer to the Kingdom of God that makes me long for that heavenly neighborhood of love, mercy and compassion, where crying and pain will be no more, and where there are awesome coffee shops and bookstores and where ALL of the folk I love live nearby.


There are certain cultural customs that I've always held a tad bit of disdain trick or treating for Halloween.

When I was a kid we didn't have any neighbors to trick or treat at--living in the middle of a field pretty much limited the door to door knocking options.  So, my mom would drive us from relative's home to relative's home (maybe going to 5 or 6 houses total...which took all night).  There was a decent amount of candy but it wasn't that big of a deal--and was mostly centered on showing relatives our costumes.

When we lived in Maine, during seminary and residency, we actually got a few trick or treaters--I would buy candy and we would gleefully sit outside ready to hand out handfuls.  15 or 20 kids would trickle by over the course of the evening--all in costume, all of whom were at an age to enjoy the excessive sugar consumption but not so old that I wondered where they had parked the car.  It was a fun way to feel like a part of our neighborhoo…

Proper 24B, On Suffering

To link up to the readings for this Sunday, click here
Propers for the Sunday closest to October 19th Job 38:1-7Hebrews 5:1-10Mark 10:35-45The Same Coin

Recently we’ve been watching the PBS series “Call the Midwife” at our house.  A mini series based on the autobiographical account entitled “The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times”, by Jennifer Worth of her time spent serving as a nurse and midwife in the slums of East London.  The most recent episode detailed Jenny’s growing friendship with a disabled veteran of World War 1.  Initially revolted by his chaotic and filthy living conditions, she swiftly discovers that her patient’s life has been a rich one--chronicled by love and profound loss.  Disabled by war, he has outlived his wife and children, all of whom were victims of war.  Yet ,in the midst of his horrific losses, he demonstrates to Jenny the great gift that is love, he has lived fully and cherishes the fact that he HAS loved over the knowledge that he has also lost.…

Abstaining, from Facebook

Jon Stewart gives me hope and a laughThe best way to become sick of pumpkin is to "forget" that your wife doesn't like pumpkin pie and that your son won't eat squash and then bake an entire dish of tofu pumpkin custard.  Taking a nap sucks, not taking a nap sucks too.When you only get to preach once or twice a month it's challenging to figure out WHICH of the points you want to make.Friendly grandpa types wearing "vote yes"  (to amend the constitution to only acknowledge marriage between one man and one woman as valid) create in me a combination of cognitive discord and despair.  Temporarily disabling one's face book account makes it really obvious how reliant I've become on face book for "keeping up" with people I care about.It also allows me to continue to love and respect people who have are suffering from a temporary, and election season induced, form of insanity.   The prospect of my first solo retreat fills me with excitement and…

Various Christian Leaders Unite to Defeat Marriage Amendment | News | Alexandria News

Various Christian Leaders Unite to Defeat Marriage Amendment | News | Alexandria News

My .2 seconds of fame...of course, they didn't catch the moment when I had to explain to a colleague the difference between loving, mutually respectful, relationships and prison violence.

Seriously people, I think tsking and shaking one's head in amazement that anyone even went THERE is appropriate.

Fighting the Frump

Women's clerical wear doesn't exactly exude "high fashion" and the best I'm able to say of most of it is, well, it's not AWFUL.  I'm so glad the Garrison Keillor and crew get the plight of the ordained woman!  So, without further ado...

"As God Intended" A Post in Which I Get Sucked into the Vortex

Recently, a friend posted on facebook her deep sorrow about the “vote yes” adds.  She noted that the adds not only attack same sex couples but all relationships in which the couple does not have children for whatever reason.  In response one of her “friends” indicated that because gay and lesbian folk cannot have children “as God intended” that this is clear indication that same sex couples should not be allowed the right of marriage.  In response (yes, I got sucked into the vortex) I wrote: 
“My wife and I have beautiful son who we truly believe is a gift from God. When we say our "God Blesses" at bedtime with him he gives thanks for "Mama, Mommy and Ay-Ay" (His name isn't Ay-Ay, it's just what he calls himself!) We clearly had help in his conception--the same kind of help our straight friends who have twins got (and at the same fertility clinic). Many couples can't have children "as God intended"--in fact neither could Abraham and Sarah, that…

Jesus For President, Proper 20 Year B

Yesterday, at a local festival I saw a man wearing a brown hooded sweatshirt that said “In the world, not of it”.  Now, this reference to the letter to the Romans directly addresses the tension that we as Christians often find ourselves facing.  We are called to be in the world yet we are also called to hold ourselves apart.  We are a people of God, yet we live in this world.    
Now this tension is not new to us, and as the early Christian communities formed they found themselves wrestling with how to live their lives as Christians.  It’s hard to imagine, but early Christians were a tiny minority and were surrounded by the monolithic and oppressive Roman empire.  So, as we read the letter of James, we need to picture a small Jewish Christian community that faces intense external pressure.  But, this letter, while it does concern itself with calling this community to stand as a voice against the dominant culture, is mostly concerned with the reality that these early Christians weren’t …