Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Night Prayer

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. 

Collect for St Ignatius of Loyola

Almighty God, from whom all good things come: You called Ignatius of Loyola to the service of your Divine Majesty and to find you in all things. Inspired by his example and strengthened by his companionship, may we labor without counting the cost and seek no reward other than knowing that we do your will; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

Monday, July 30, 2012


A little refreshment on a hot day.

I had to take the Charity: Water link off my blog for a while because their website got hacked or something.  I think the problem has been resolved, and I plan to put the link back on my blogroll to the right soon.  This is a reputable, worthwhile organization that has received a grant to pay its administrative expenses so that all donations to the organization go directly to fund the work of bringing clean water to people in developing countries.

In the meantime, visit their blog directly (click here) and watch the video they did for the anniversary of the death of Rachel Beckwith, a 9-year old girl who wanted to give a party to raise money to help fifteen people through a Charity: Water project. After her tragic death, Rachel's family kept up the work and instead of raising $300, more than $1.2 million was given to Charity: Water in Rachel's honor.

There's a lot of negativity out there in the world these days. It gets discouraging.  So, remember stories like these. These stories are about life, real and abundant life.  That's the business God is in.  The business of abundant life.

Collect for William Wilberforce

Let your continual mercy, O Lord, kindle in your Church the never-failing gift of love, that, following the example of your servant William Wilberforce, we may have grace to defend the poor, and maintain the cause of those who have no helper; for the sake of him who gave his life for us, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Today's Gospel from John was the famous "loaves and fishes" story. The miraculous feeding of the 5,000. Jesus has compassion on the people who are in the wilderness, and interestingly has them sit down on an area of lush grass (in the wilderness!). He knows what he is going to do (Jesus in the Gospel of John always knows everything, which is not necessarily obvious in the other Gospels; John makes the point specifically, however, at several points in the narrative). And yet he asks Philip where he thinks they could buy bread for all these people.

The wonderful sermon I heard today focused on that line. Jesus was asking Philip to use his imagination - to imagine what God can do, to be prepared for God's abundant riches. Perhaps he wanted to see if Philip would say, as did Abraham on another wilderness mountain, that God will provide.

We don't really believe that God will provide, however.  Oh, God will provide grace. God will provide mercy. But what are we going to eat? Where are we going to live? How are we going to live? Do we believe that God will provide those things? Is that naive, or worse, irresponsible? Are we to sit on the curb and wait for provision to land in our laps? This is a struggle, isn't it?

So here's my prayer.

This week, Lord, help me see your provision of the things necessary for life. Help me use my imagination to enlarge my narrow view, to expect to see your hand at work in the world around me, and to recognize you and your wonderful, surprising ways.

Collect for the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Saturday Bonus: 10 Things that Delight Me


Check out this fun new blog - Ten Things that Delight Me!  My list (which of course changes regularly, and it's hard to limit oneself to ten, so if you're not on it, you'll probably be on the next one) has just been posted. Take a look and create your own list and email it to Bob Solon (instructions are on the blog) and help spread the delight around!

The history of this project is that one of the guys who brought us Lent Madness (Tim Schenck - enjoy his blog Clergy Family Confidential) started a Ten Things that Annoy Me blog.  Meanwhile, fellow Lent Madness Celebrity Blogger Heidi Schott resurrected a post on Facebook that she had written two years about about twenty-five things that delight her.  She noted that delighted lay people are more fun that annoyed clergy. Then The Rev. Robert Solon took up the challenge and created the Ten Things that Delight Me blog. One thing to note is that both clergy and lay people are delighted and both are annoyed. Some people even posted on both blogs. 

Anyway, perhaps you'd like to post your annoyances. I enjoy snark as much as the next person. But these days I have grown weary of a lot of things, so I chose to play on the side of delight. Take a look and then play along!


Saturday Morning Video: Draw Simon's Cat!

In this video, we get to watch Simon Tofield draw Simon's Cat!  If you go to the YouTube channel for "Simon's Cat Extra!" you can also see the Simons drawn by fans and sent in to Tofield. See those here. I know you'll want to practice at home so you can send in your attempts as well!

By the way, I also downloaded two Simon's Cat games my iPhone.  One is a music game in which Simon meows out tunes (and you can do free play or try to match the tune Simon meows) and in the other game you try to make Simon throw leaves, balls, etc. onto the hedgehog's spines while the hedgehog is distracted.  Saturdays are for playing games, right?

Thursday, July 26, 2012


I took this photo on the platform of the 14th Street subway station in Manhattan. It's part of a larger installation called "Life Underground," which consists of all sorts of little figures and creatures around the station doing all sorts of things, from sleeping to sweeping to working to standing on piles of money. This one, of course, depicts the story everyone's heard about the alligators or crocodiles that live in the sewers.

Lately, I've had some weird dreams. I'm not someone who remembers dreams or who does much analysis of them. I know the basics. Our subconscious is working out all sorts of things in our dreams. Many of us dream that we are caught in our underwear or worse, that we show up at an exam unprepared, that we are flying or falling or being chased by monsters or that we went back home.

Many of us have recurring dreams. The one I remember most is when I dream that I open a door of my house and discover a whole new wing. Or even that my old house has turned into a whole new house. I love those dreams (more bedrooms! more closet space! a new kitchen!) and understand they may be associated with one's subconscious wrestling with the potential discovery of new skills (or vocation!) or opening new chapters in one's life. So even though I'm not much of a dream interpreter, I do pay attention when I'm dreaming about new rooms in my house.

What's your favorite recurring dream?

Collect for the Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Almighty God, heavenly Father, we remember in thanksgiving this day the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary; and we pray that we all may be made one in the heavenly family of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A few words on the Feast of St James

Today is a big day in Spain. Particularly at the Cathedral of St James in Campostela in the northwestern part of the country, the shrine of the Apostle James.

The tradition is that the body of James, after his death at the hands of Herod, was taken by boat from Jerusalem to Campostela, and for that reason James is one of the most popular saints in Spain.  He is a local saint. People flock to the Cathedral, which on this day will be full to bursting with pilgrims who have walked for perhaps hundreds of miles on the path known as El Camino de Santiago, the Way of St James.

While there are a number of routes a pilgrim might take, beginning in Spain or France or Portugal or Poland or even England, traditionally a pilgrimage begins at one’s home and ends at the pilgrimage site (be it Santiago de Campostela or Canterbury or Taize or Lourdes or wherever).

Such was in fact the way of St James himself. He started his journey in his hometown, leaving his father in the boat with the nets and following Jesus from there to who knows where. 

James was clearly a character. He and his brother John were intimates of Jesus; along with Simon Peter, he was among the inner circle. Only this inner circle was present with Jesus at both the Transfiguration and the raising of Jairus’ daughter. Only these three were with Jesus in the Garden during his agonizing time of prayer before his arrest.  Only these three received special nicknames from Jesus - Simon became Peter the Rock, and James and John were called The Sons of Thunder.

James and John wanted to be first. It may have been their mother who asked Jesus for them to have special places beside Jesus in the kingdom, but they clearly did not object to her plan. They clearly were with her when she approached Jesus, for his answer was to both the mother and the sons:

You don’t know what you are asking, mother. And sons, are you able to drink the cup I am about to drink?

 The mother was silent. The sons replied, we are able. And so they were. Even though Jesus cautioned all of his disciples that the last would be first and that they were to be servants, not masters, James was indeed the first of the Apostles to die for Jesus. James wanted to be first, and he was, and probably not in the way he and his brother and his mother envisioned.

The pilgrim knows not what awaits on the Way. The pilgrim keeps her eyes on the prize, keeps his gaze leveled on the destination, which is somewhere near the heart of God. The journey is a huge part of the pilgrimage of course, but equally so the destination. It is the focus on the destination that keeps one going through whatever sloughs of despond or hills of difficulty and valleys of humiliation stand between home and there.

The way is a costly way.  In the last few days we’ve heard stories of people shielding one another from bullets in Aurora and a university agreeing to pay a huge fine in addition to losing future revenue because it did not shield the innocent from evil. 

The way was costly for the prophet Jeremiah and for Simon Peter and James and Stephen the first martyr of all, and the way was costly for Jesus.

Pilgrims sometimes undertake arduous journeys to show their devotion. Perhaps they go on their knees to a shrine. Perhaps they walk for hundreds of miles, only stopping to sleep by the road. Perhaps they give away all their possessions before embarking. Perhaps they give up their lives along the way.

While most of us will not be so called, and some of us may even be given the opportunity to make a more joyful pilgrimage to some lovely shrine, we must remember that the way is still costly, or it is not The Way. The way still requires sacrifice and discipline. We will never know, as we leave home, what we will find on the way to the heart of God.

But we do know what we will find at our destination, and it is nothing less than salvation.

Collect for St James

O gracious God, we remember before you today your servant and apostle James, first among the Twelve to suffer martyrdom for the Name of Jesus Christ; and we pray that you will pour out upon the leaders of your Church that spirit of self-denying service by which alone they may have true authority among your people; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Someone Else's Sermon for Mary Magdalene

While doing some internet reading of sermons, essays, and in the wake of the Colorado shooting, I happened upon Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz Weber's sermon from yesterday on the Feast of Mary Magdalene.  If you don't know Bolz Weber, you should.  She is the missioner who started the House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado, and a fresh and relevant voice.

She makes several points in her sermon, which is both in praise of St Mary Magdalene and also a lament for the violence done in Aurora, including holding up for us the spiritual practice of just showing up (something Mary Magdalene was really good at!) and singing in the face of evil and death.

Anyway, rather than writing about Mary Magdalene and/or Colorado today, I simply commend Nadia's sermon to you.

Read it at her blog "Sarcastic Lutheran" here.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Riding the Wave

Part of the Berlin Wall, now in Battery Park City, Manhattan
I was one of those college and graduate school students who felt the need to read all of the assignments plus the extra recommended reading. I worried that I would miss something.  This work ethic did not drop off as I went along--in fact, I went in the opposite direction from that of many students.  I became more dedicated instead of starting off with a bang and gradually tapering off.

I wouldn't say I was ever obsessive about it, though.  I looked around and saw others who felt they could only take one or two classes at a time because they had to master everything as they went along and they simply didn't have the capacity to do that in four or five classes simultaneously.  That was never me.

I tended to think that if I just did all the reading and went to the classes and participated in the discussions, things would fall into place. I didn't have to totally understand anything as soon as I encountered it. Things would fall into place.  I called it riding the wave. Just getting in the groove of the subject and going with the flow, to throw around a few cliches. Much, if not all, would be revealed in due time and understanding would dawn upon me at the right moment.  And, for the most part, except, say, in the case of statistics, that was true.

Today, I am trying to remember that "work ethic."  Because I'm struggling with so many "topics" being presented to me right now.  Penn State. The Colorado shooting. Syria. Drone warfare. Spain's economy. Not to mention my own denomination's recent General Convention with its pages of resolutions, the various happenings and issues in my parish (including my to-do list), and stuff going on in my family.

I simply cannot master all of these "subjects" as I go along. I will become overwhelmed and paralyzed.  So I need to ride the wave again. Just keep going, staying on top instead of going under, believing that at least some of these will come together, still keeping up with the conversations but not obsessing about each detail.  Not all of these things are negative or bad--I don't want to suggest that my church's General Convention was at all negative, because it wasn't. It's simply that there is a lot to digest now that it's over.  Nonetheless, I know that time must pass before it becomes possible to engage in meaningful reflection. I know that just as David had to lament Saul and Jonathan before he could go on, so too we need to do some grieving and letting go, collectively and individually, before we rush to sum things up or cover them over.

I know, too, that I need to look for God, to see what God is doing in these places and with these people, so that I can join with God in God's work as best I can.

Of course many of these happenings in the world near and far will never make sense. They cannot be understood, much less "mastered." Understanding may never dawn upon me. But I simply cannot ignore them or pretend they do not exist or affect me.  They will become incorporated, integrated into my life and into the fabric of the various communities of which I am a part.

And so I will do what I can. Read, listen, reflect, grieve, engage in conversation, look for God, and pray.

Especially pray. Lord, have mercy.


Collect for St Mary Magdalene

An enlargement of Picasso's Bust of Sylvette on the campus of NYU

Almighty God, whose blessed Son restored Mary Magdalene to health of body and of mind, and called her to be a witness of his resurrection: Mercifully grant that by your grace we may be healed from all our infirmities and know you in the power of his unending life; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

New at the Pond

We give thanks for new life wherever we find it.

We have a new family at the pond - a mother mallard and five ducklings! 
One of them keeps getting out of line. 
Perhaps her name is Madeline.

Collect for the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on our weakness, and mercifully give us those things which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Saturday Night Video

This is a great song by Neil Young played by Young and an all star cast (including Bruce Springsteen, Max Weinberg, John Fogarty, Nils Lofgren and Michael Stipe).  Young is known for his social commentary (Ohio, Welfare Mothers, Cortez the Killer, etc.) Enjoy this live show, but hear the bite.

"Rockin' In The Free World"

There's colors on the street
Red, white and blue
People shufflin' their feet
People sleepin' in their shoes
But there's a warnin' sign
on the road ahead
There's a lot of people sayin'
we'd be better off dead
Don't feel like Satan,
but I am to them
So I try to forget it,
any way I can.

Keep on rockin' in the free world,
Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world,
Keep on rockin' in the free world.

I see a woman in the night
With a baby in her hand
Under an old street light
Near a garbage can
Now she puts the kid away,
and she's gone to get a hit
She hates her life,
and what she's done to it
There's one more kid
that will never go to school
Never get to fall in love,
never get to be cool.

Keep on rockin' in the free world,
Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world,
Keep on rockin' in the free world.

We got a thousand points of light
For the homeless man
We got a kinder, gentler,
Machine gun hand
We got department stores
and toilet paper
Got styrofoam boxes
for the ozone layer
Got a man of the people,
says keep hope alive
Got fuel to burn,
got roads to drive.

Keep on rockin' in the free world,
Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world,
Keep on rockin' in the free world.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Lighthouse Break

Cape Lookout, NC

Collect for Stanton, Bloomer, Truth and Tubman

Public Art on The High Line, NYC

O God, whose Spirit guides us into all truth and makes us free: Strengthen and sustain us as you did your servants Elizabeth, Amelia, Sojourner, and Harriet. Give us vision and courage to stand against oppression and injustice and all that works against the glorious liberty to which you call all your children; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The least of these

St Mary's Catholic Church of the Byzantine Rite, East 15th Street, Manhattan
Yesterday's Gospel reading for the Daily Office is the famous one from Matthew (Matt. 25: 31-46) we tend to label "the least of these." Jesus indicates a coming judgment into which people will be sorted into two groups - those who fed, clothed, cared for, visited the least of these and those who didn't. His point is that caring or not caring for the least in society (the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, the hungry and thirsty) is the same as caring or not caring for Jesus himself.

Who among us is not convicted when we read this passage?

As I read this passage yesterday morning, I thought about the homeless people I passed on the street in Manhattan last week.  I thought about the people who are calling our church in record numbers this week (in the relentless heat) for assistance. I thought about the sad, sad story of sexual abuse by a man employed by Penn State.

I continued to think about it all day. At first I was dismayed about those I had not helped. Then I remembered some whom I did help. I found myself all over the map, emotionally.

While I was able to help a guy get some lunch one day in New York, and I authorized discretionary funds this week to be given to house a family for a few days until their long-term housing comes through, I always live in the tension between caring too much (and driving myself crazy) and caring too little (so I won't have to think about it). It's easy to get discouraged. There is always so much need. And we find ourselves playing judge (does this person deserve help?) even though it's clear in the Scriptures that Jesus is the judge, not us.  And that none of us deserve anything.

I don't think it's bad to live in this tension. I don't think we need to resolve the tension so we will feel better. There are times when we have the capacity to feed and clothe and visit and there are times when we don't. We don't have to single-handedly save the world. That's Jesus' job. What's important is that we don't stay in the place of "can't" for too long. Others can take up the slack when we can't.

So long as we don't always think others will help. We have to make space for others to work with God to care for God's people (again, we don't save the world ourselves), but that doesn't mean we don't do our part.

And what is our part? Some folks work on changing underlying systems. Some folks just hand out a cup of water. Both are needed. Both are showing love and care.

I expect it's most important to try to keep these verses in mind and let them stay there - to encourage me and also to convict me. Jesus identified with the least of these. Serving them is how we serve Jesus. Let me always remember that, Lord, as I discern daily what that looks like in my life wherever I am.

Collect for Macrina

Mosiac from All Saints' Ukranian Orthodox Church on East 11th Street, New York NY

Merciful God, you called your servant Macrina to reveal in her life and her teaching the riches of your grace and truth: May we, following her example, seek after your wisdom and live according to her way; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Two Points of View

Morning Prayer for Knowledge of God's Creation

Almighty and everlasting God, you made the universe with all its marvelous order, its atoms, worlds, and galaxies, and the infinite complexity of living creatures: Grant that, as we probe the mysteries of your creation, we may come to know you more truly, and more surely fulfill our role in your eternal purpose; in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Another funeral today. Another opportunity to feel that tension between grief and hope, between sadness and joy. Another opportunity to remember the promise of eternity.  To remember and name the promise that love is stronger than death and love heals everything.

All we go down to the dust and yet even at the grave we make our song: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Collect for Bishop William White

Tower of The Chapel of the Good Shepherd at The General Theological Seminary, New York

O Lord, in a time of turmoil and confusion you raised up your servant William White, and endowed him with wisdom, patience, and a reconciling temper, that he might lead your Church into ways of stability and peace: Hear our prayer, and give us wise and faithful leaders, that through their ministry your people may be blessed and your will be done; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Resistance is Futile: a photo essay

Father and daughter feet

Mother and son feet

Ballerina feet

A family of feet

Running feet

Standing still feet

Feet getting wet anyway

Playing, observing, accompanying feet

Feet that splash

Exploring feet

Deliberate feet

Feet just passing through

Happy feet

The most joyous feet in the world

I took these photos at a small water feature at The High Line park in Manhattan while I was sitting on a bench nearby having breakfast. Almost no one of any age could resist walking in the water.  Some just walked through without stopping, while others stopped to remove shoes to walk, hop, and splash. It was simply irresistible!

For the desert people of the Hebrew Bible, salvation was often likened to springs of water flowing out of the temple or out of Jerusalem, or mists of water rising up from the desert sands. Water is lifegiving. Our feet seem to know this instinctively.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Drama, Drama Everywhere

Texts for the 7th Sunday after Pentecost

I just spent a couple of days in the City that Never Sleeps, where there are nearly non-stop musical and theatrical offerings (and not just the kind you buy tickets for).  Where there is plenty of dancing in the streets (to quote St Martha of the Vandellas) and over-the-top spectacle.

Spectacle is nothing new. The 3000 year old story of King David's ecstatic dancing in a special and interesting costume before the Ark of the Covenant as it is brought with fanfare, accompanied by crowds and a kind of first century BC marching band complete with castanets, into his new capital city, while one of his wives looks on from her window in derision, is the stuff of Broadway.

And the story of Herod's birthday party gone awry, that began with a lovely dance and ended up with a gruesome presentation of John the Baptist's head served up on a platter sounds like a scene from The Game of Thrones.

And, of course, neither of these dances is the expression of simple joy. The Ark of the Covenant had been captured by the Philistines in battle, and David had recovered it and is bringing it back to his own town in which is surely meant to be a dramatic display of his power.  Herodias' dance is meant as a lavish display of Herod's vitality and his generosity as a host as well as a powerful political ruler in a country that distrusts him. These displays are carefully calculated and expected to yield results.

Which they did, although not quite the results anyone expected.  Michal left David soon after this story, and Herod would be positively haunted by John's death.

As I witnessed among the throngs in Times Square, we are drawn to spectacle, just as we are drawn to power. Spectacle is created and power easily wielded by those who have the means and a certain kind of talent.  Jesus himself was involved in spectacle, the kind that then drew and still would draw gawkers and sell tickets.

Where is God in these stories? Is God just going along for the ride on or in the Ark of the Covenant? What did God think of David's dancing - was it pleasing to God, even if it was not pleasing to Michal? I can imagine what some Broadway writer might come up with, but what are we to make of it? The Ark ended up captured again, or lost or destroyed, perhaps when Solomon's Temple itself was destroyed four hundred years after David's reign.  And that was the end of the Ark.

But that wasn't the end of God.

And what about John the Baptist? His death is an eerie foreshadowing of Jesus' even more ignoble death, which also comes in the midst of the spectacle of competing displays of power.  Prophets who come in to shake things up, who speak the truth to power, end up dead. They are too dangerous to live.  But the end of John the Baptist was not the end of his message of repentance and the promise of salvation. It lived on in Jesus, who took up the standard when John was imprisoned, who moved the story forward.

Jesus was put to death in a gruesome way, too, but that wasn't the end of him. The death of God's anointed was not the end of God.

The world is full of these displays of power and corruption, of posturing and politics. The world is full of death-dealing and betrayal. It always has been. These stories are timeless.

But so is the story of the God who redeems even these horrors. That story is timeless, too. The world is full of death-dealing, but God is full of life.  God takes the horror and turns it into hope. God says: that Ark is not God, and the world of corrupt power is not the Kingdom.

Death does not have the last word in God's story.  The Ark may have been destroyed, and John may have been beheaded, and Jesus may have been crucified, but God brings new life out of death and destruction.

Things end up differently than the world expects. Things end up differently than even we expect because of, as Paul puts it so beautifully, the riches of God's grace.  All things, the blood and gore and grief and disappointment and loss are all gathered up into the resurrected one who assures us that God's plan is for salvation, not for death. God's plan is for live, not for savagery and meaninglessness.

That doesn't make pain and disappointment disappear, of course. Knowing that God's ways are not the world's ways does not mean that we will not feel brutality keenly. In fact, we ought to feel brutality keenly, and be moved by our grief and horror to stand up, in God's name, for those who are brutalized, and not to stand aloof like Herod's dinner guests.  We ought to feel grief at loss, and sorrow at destruction, and horror at savagery, and also to be moved by our love of God and neighbor to work with God to call such things out, even if it costs us.

Jesus died brutally, like John before him. And God raised Jesus to show the world that God's ways are life-giving ways, not death-dealing ways.  That God's power is nothing like the power people lust after in our world.

Jesus suffered and we will suffer.  But God redeemed that suffering and will redeem us and our suffering, too. We keep telling this story because it's true and timeless.  We tell it so that we might find the courage to do the things we know are right.

And we tell it and keep telling it not because it's exciting, but because it is such very, very good news.

Collect for the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your people who call upon you, and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Saturday Morning Jazz

I've been in New York City for the last couple of days, listening to some jazz, courtesy of my son and his colleagues who are participating in a jazz improv workshop at NYU.

This is one of my favorite jazz pieces - "Take Five" by Dave Brubeck.  This video is from 1966. Still a great song.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Lighthouse Break

Bald Head Island, NC

Friday fun

I'm in New York City for a couple of days. The presenting excuse is that my younger son is here, participating in a jazz workshop at New York University. It's quite easy to come here by train from Virginia.

Like many people, I love New York. I lived and worked here for a few years after college. One thing I noticed almost as soon as I arrived... I still walk like a New Yorker, weaving and darting through the sidewalk traffic to get where I am going.

That said, I'm exploring parts of the city (as New Yorkers call Manhattan) with which I am less familiar or which did not exist when I lived here 30-odd years ago.

I've really enjoyed the esplanades along the Hudson and East Rivers in lower Manhattan. And those avenues call for strolling and occasional bench sitting to enjoy the views of the water full of all sorts of boats.

I also appreciate how much more green space there is, and how well kept most of them are. There are so many flowers (full of bees!) and shrubs and trees, offering visual respite and shade. There are still a million pigeons, and a fair amount of horn honking and such, and there are all the usual crowds everywhere, but there are many pockets in which to rest and recharge.

Of course, I worked here during the famous garbage strike followed by transit strike, and I lived across the river in New Jersey, but Manhattan seems to me to be a more livable place now.

Morning Collect: For Peace

Almighty God, kindle, we pray, in every heart the true love of
peace, and guide with your wisdom those who take counsel
for the nations of the earth, that in tranquillity your dominion
may increase until the earth is filled with the knowledge of your
love; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with
you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for
ever. Amen.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Morning Collect: For the Unity of the Church

The Lady Chapel at St John the Baptist (Roman Catholic) Cathedral, Savannah, GA

Almighty Father, whose blessed Son before his passion prayed
for his disciples that they might be one, as you and he are one:
Grant that your Church, being bound together in love and
obedience to you, may be united in one body by the one Spirit,
that the world may believe in him whom you have sent, your
Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in
the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Headlong

Brown pelican about to do a nosedive.

Collect for St Benedict of Nursia

Almighty and everlasting God, your precepts are the wisdom of a loving Father: Give us grace, following the teaching and example of your servant Benedict, to walk with loving and willing hearts in the school of the Lord's service; let your ears be open to our prayers; and prosper with your blessing the work of our hands; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Phos hilaron

O Gracious Light Phos hilaron

O gracious light, pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven, O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!

Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light, we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of Life, and to be glorified through all the worlds.


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