Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thursday Afternoon Bird Photo

A ruby-throated hummingbird sticks out her tongue at any of the other hummingbirds who might dare come to "her" feeder.  (Click on the picture to enlarge.)

Perhaps she is the hummingbird equivalent of the Monty Python French Taunter.

A Collect for Guidance

The Assateague Light House

Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being: We humbly pray you so to guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget you, but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: A dolphin plows the bay

I took this photo on a birding trip in the Chesapeake Bay

Getting Ready for Lent Madness

It's that time of year again. Well, almost. Some of you are aware that I've been involved with Lent Madness, an online devotional and educational scheme about saints, for the last couple of years. I'm at it again this year.

Lent Madness is a single-elimination tournament with four rounds. The object (from the saints' perspective) is to be the last saint standing who will win the Golden Halo.

In the Lent Madness tournament, 32 saints are pitted against one another in a March Madness (that's the annual NCAA basketball tourney for those who aren't in the U.S.) style bracket.  Every day a new matchup is posted and anybody who wants to participate may vote (once!) for his or her favorite saint. A favorite is defined loosely - perhaps you think one saint is just more important than another in the grand scheme of things; or you have a favorite because of your name, country, town, event, etc,; or you are persuaded by the Celebrity Blogger's writeup (this is my favorite way to judge, but I'm biased); or you read others' comments and decide either to go with the saint that looks like he or she is going to win; or you vote for the underdog just to be different. This is definitely not about getting the answer right.

To play, visit every day to see the matchup for that day, read the writeup about the two saints in contention, and vote for your favorite right there on the site.  (There's a "vote" button at the bottom of the writeup.)  The polls are open for 24 hours - from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, so wherever you are, you have a 24-hour window in which to read, decide, and vote.

It's a little bit silly and a lot of fun, not the least because of the online community that forms around Lent Madness. And it truly is educational.  The writers work hard to come up with interesting information to present on behalf of their saints (not just that Saint Jerome was said to have removed a thorn from a lion's paw but that someone actually sells a Saint Jerome doll that turns inside out to become a lion).

In the run-up to Lent, the guys at Lent Madness are putting on Celebrity Blogger week at the Lent Madness blog. As it turns out, today is the day that my Celebrity Blogger profile is up.  So head over to the Lent Madness website (click here!) and check out this year's bracket, read about the bloggers, watch the silly videos Tim and Scott (creator and enabler of Lent Madness, respectively) post, and meet some new people.

It may even make you look forward to Lent!

Collect for the Renewal of Life

O God, the King eternal, whose light divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires incline our hearts to keep your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness during the day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Monday, January 28, 2013

Morning Collect for the Aged

Look with mercy, O God our Father, on all whose increasing

years bring them weakness, distress, or isolation. Provide for
them homes of dignity and peace; give them understanding
helpers, and the willingness to accept help; and, as their
strength diminishes, increase their faith and their assurance
of your love. This we ask in the name of Jesus Christ our
Lord. Amen.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Jesus' Inaugural Address

In the United States, every four years, on January 20th, the newly elected, or re-elected, President of the United States is sworn in by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Sometime after that, the President gives an inaugural address to the nation.  The inaugural address is sort of like the President’s mission statement. In it, he (at least so far it’s been a he) lays out his priorities and vision for his upcoming term in office.

We witnessed, either in person or through news sources, such an inaugural address last Monday.

And in a way, that’s what we witness Jesus doing in our reading from Luke today. This is the first thing Jesus says publicly in the Gospel of Luke.  He has been born and raised and baptized and tested in the wilderness. He has been a regular attendee at the synagogue on the sabbath. And now he speaks to the people as his public ministry is about to begin. He is laying out his priorities and his vision. He’s saying what he is about. This is, to quote my teacher Luke Johnson, Jesus’ inaugural address.

And for that address he picks out a reading from Isaiah. “The Spirit of the Lord has sent me to bring good news to the poor and proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind and to let the oppressed go free and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor to everyone.”

Now, I’ll leave it to next week’s preacher to talk about the people’s reaction to Jesus’ speech, which is significant. For now, let’s focus on what Jesus is saying about himself and about the God who commissioned him through the prompting of the Holy Spirit - and what that means to us.

In essence, Jesus is saying that he came to be an agent of God’s mercy to the downtrodden. He came with the good news that no one is marginalized to God - and to prompt us to see that there are plenty of people who are marginalized to us.  And he came with the news that he, Jesus, has been commissioned by the Spirit in his baptism to be God’s agent. And that the agenda of Jesus is the agenda of God and that that agenda is about release from bondage, about restoration, about healing and wholeness to those who are broken, cast aside, in chains of one kind or another.

And we will see that agenda played out in the story of Jesus’ life and work. He will literally heal the sick and free people from the things that cause them to be marginalized, the things that are broken in them. He will heal people whom the rest of the world considers outcast or at least on the fringes of society. He will not abide by any kind of class constraints or discriminate between Jew and Gentile, male and female, adult and child. He will eat with them and touch them and restore them.

But this address and agenda don’t mean much to us if we cannot re-locate them into our community today. Otherwise they are simply history.  

Nor do they have much meaning if they are only about Jesus. Jesus chose others - his disciples - to assist him in his work and to make disciples of all people.  And we through our baptism are commissioned by the Spirit to join him in his work here and now.

And we ARE joining in that work of being Jesus’ disciples. 

Many of you participate in local ministries to those on the margins in our community through volunteering and supporting FISH and Avalon and PORT. Remember our collections of food at Thanksgiving and toys in December? And we host meetings and will soon begin to host worship for local recovery groups. The Bruton Builders also do hands-on work in our community and beyond.

And in two weeks, we will host the Williamsburg winter night shelter for a week. We as a community will be participating in a new mission of Jesus to feed the hungry and provide shelter to those who have no shelter, to make a determined leap in a new way into the arena of transformational relationship-building.

But you and I know that even with all that we are doing here, there is much more to be done. The level of need in our community and our world is daunting and it can be discouraging. As our deacon Bob pointed out last week in his class between services, what we are doing with the shelter (and indeed with any of the work we do) is only a start. There is always more to be done, but that shouldn’t stop us from doing what we can now.

And you and I know that working with and for Jesus in the community is sometimes scary, too. It’s not easy to stand with the marginalized as a fellow human brother or sister rather than as a patron providing services.  It is not easy to see all the lack and the want and the brokenness. Not only is it hard to jump into the unfamiliar, to try to relate to people who are so different from us in many ways, it’s also not easy to stay with something, to stay in relationship, after the initial excitement has worn off. 

And then there’s this, in anticipation of how the people will react to Jesus’ agenda next week: It’s not easy to accept that God’s grace and mercy are for all people, not just us, and that it is not up to us to define who should be included in that grace and mercy. Jesus is speaking to all of us here in his inaugural speech, telling us who he is and what  he is about, but what he is telling us is that this good news is often meant for those we ourselves have marginalized and look down upon.  That it is meant for those who are enslaved to all sorts of demons and are broken for all sorts of reasons. And that is not easy to hear.

And so while Jesus speaks of comfort to those who are lacking, he also is issuing a challenge to those of us who are not lacking. He is challenging us to look around and see those who are on the margins, to open our eyes and see the downtrodden, to see people who are suffering and to see them differently because of what we know about God’s love for them.

The challenge for us is that if we wish to be attentive to God, then we must be attentive to the suffering of any of God’s people. To look away from their suffering is to look away from God’s concern.  

And so our work is not done, and never will be, until Jesus comes again. But Jesus is clear - he (and so God) is ready to break through any barriers to get to those who are suffering. And so must we be ready to break through boundaries, too, with God’s help, so that the glory of God will shine out in the world.

Collect for the Third Sunday after the Epiphany

Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation, that we and the whole world may perceive the glory of his marvelous works; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Saturday Morning Music: Poem for Carlita

Mark O'Connor is an American composer and violinist. Much of his work is in the area of bluegrass, but he also does some classical work with a distinctly American flavor.  Here he plays his composition "Poem for Carlita" at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall with his pals Yo-Yo Ma (cello) and Edgar Meyer (double bass).

 The three of them recorded two albums together - Appalachian Waltz and Appalachian Journey - which contain both original works and "covers" of traditional music with guest vocalists like James Taylor and Alison Krauss.  This song is from Appalachian Journey.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Afternoon Flower Break

A marigold to brighten up your day.

Collect for the Conversion of St Paul the Apostle

  1. O God, by the preaching of your apostle Paul you have caused the light of the Gospel to shine throughout the world: Grant, we pray, that we, having his wonderful conversion in remembrance, may show ourselves thankful to you by following his holy teaching; 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.

    You probably don't need to read about Paul to know who he is, but if you would like to read some brief scholarly thought on his letters, here's a link to Satucket's page.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thursday Afternoon Bird Photo

A juvenile herring gull absconds with a bite of fish from behind the restaurant.

Collect for the Ordination of Florence Li Tim-Oi

Gracious God, we thank you for calling Florence Li Tim-Oi, much-beloved daughter, to be the first woman to exercise the office of a priest in our Communion: By the grace of your Spirit inspire us to follow her example, serving your people with patience and happiness all our days, and witnessing in every circumstance to our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the same Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 

Read more about Florence Li Tim-Oi here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Boo!

Brown pelicans (wearing their winter yellow heads)

Did I scare you?

Collect for Phillips Brooks

  1. O everlasting God, you revealed truth to your servant Phillips Brooks, 

    and so formed and molded his mind and heart that he was able to mediate that truth 
    with grace and power: 

    Grant, we pray, that all whom you call to preach the Gospel 
    may steep themselves in your Word, and conform their lives to your will; 
    through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, 
    one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 

    Read more about Phillips Brooks, Bishop and preacher (and author of O Little Town of Bethlehem) here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Duck Update

It's been a while since I've mentioned the residents at the duck pond this winter. For one thing, I haven't been over to the pond much since it gets dark so early in the winter. And for another, it hasn't been clear to me until recently just who is hanging around the pond now.

Sadly, the duck with the injured foot hasn't been around for some weeks. I was so happy that he found a companion last fall. But now, she is at the pond, and he is not. So once again, we have a lone duck instead of a couple (or none, as they are all supposed to have flown south for the winter).  She is friendly and if you go and sit on one of the benches in the afternoon, she'll come over to check you out. I'm sure someone is still bringing food, based on her behavior.  Otherwise, she hangs out on the water or the bank until sundown and then she heads into a large drainage pipe for shelter. Which she will certainly need tonight and in the nights to come when the temperatures will plummet to the teens.

Birds of a feather flock together, but there is an imbalance at our pond this year as there was last year, although the players are different. I'm already hoping that spring will come early and the flock will return and my own sense of duck pond community will be restored. I don't really know what the ducks' sense of community is, and what it must be like to be alone for the winter (The Ugly Duckling notwithstanding), but I can't help feeling that she knows something is amiss.

I'm flying south for three days of winter myself - going from the 30's today and tomorrow to the high 60's and even 70 on Friday. It's the annual All State Jazz weekend in Georgia, and I'll be in Savannah with my husband and son where the weather will be nice and warm. I'm looking forward to being with my family and Georgia friends.

Meanwhile, think warm thoughts for my little duck friend.

Collect for Vincent of Saragossa

Northern gannet flies across the Chesapeake Bay.

  1. Almighty God, your deacon Vincent, upheld by you, 
    was not terrified by threats nor overcome by torments: 
    Strengthen us to endure all adversity with invincible and steadfast faith; 
    through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, 
    one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 

    Read more about Vincent here.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Collect for Martin Luther King, Jr.

  1. Almighty God, by the hand of Moses your servant you led your people out of slavery, and made them free at last: Grant that your Church, following the example of your prophet Martin Luther King, may resist oppression in the name of your love, and may secure for all your children the blessed liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. 

    (The feast day for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is April 4, the day that he died. But today is the national celebration of Dr. King, moved from his birth day, January 15.)

Sunday, January 20, 2013


I saw this humpback whale on Saturday in the Chesapeake Bay. Glad I had my camera ready!

Jesus told his mother that it wasn't time for him to show himself at the wedding at Cana. The mother of Jesus (who is only ever called that, never Mary, in the Gospel of John) ignores his protest.  And so he turns water into wine and this is his first miracle (according to John at least). The time is right, his mother is saying. Scarcity has come among the people, and the answer must be God's abundance.

The answer to scarcity is always God's abundance. It's ridiculously abundant. Hundreds of gallons of wine made from bathwater. All of Jesus' signs will be about abundance in the face of scarcity, of poverty, of loss, of death.  All of Jesus' signs will be about transformation. All of Jesus' signs will be windows into the nature and character of God Almighty who made heaven and earth, all that there is, seen and unseen.

And the timing of that abundance is not something that can always be planned out. It's a response to scarcity wherever scarcity exists. The trick for us is to recognize the signs and to recognize the need when we see it to show forth God's abundance ourselves.

Collect for the Second Sunday after the Epiphany

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ's glory, that he may be known, worshipped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Saturday Morning Video: Mission Impossible

The latest from The Piano Guys. This time playing/acting out a Mission Impossible episode - with outtakes at the end. Featuring the violinist Lindsey Stirling, who's pretty agile.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Afternoon Flower Break

I took this photo of fuschia in Omagh (County Tyrone) Ireland. 
It is no wonder that hummingbirds love these flowers. 
They seem very ripe.

Hope this brightens up your January day!

Morning Canticle

A Song to the Lamb (Dignus es)
Revelation 4:11; 5:9-10, 13

Splendor and honor and kingly power are yours by right, O Lord our God,
for you created everything that is, and by your will they were created and  have their being; 
And yours by right, O Lamb that was slain, for with your blood you have redeemed for God,
from every family, language, people, and nation, a kingdom of priests to serve our God.

And so, to him who sits upon the throne, and to Christ the Lamb,
be worship and praise, dominion and splendor, for ever and for evermore.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thursday Afternoon Bird Photo

A couple of Canada geese standing (on one foot!) around in a pond 
at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

This is fuzzy because I enlarged a photo of a group of geese. I liked the symmetry.

Morning Canticle

Glory to God (Gloria in excelsis)

Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly king, almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.

Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father: 
receive our prayer.

For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High,
Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: A Wet Web

Nothing but clouds and rain for the last few days, except for a few minutes of sunshine the other afternoon.  I came upon this on my walk during the break in the clouds and drizzle.

Morning Canticle

The Third Song of Isaiah (Surge, illuminare)
Isaiah 60:1-3, 11a, 14c, 18-19

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.
They will call you, The City of the Lord, 
The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
Violence will no more be heard in your land, 
ruin or destruction within your borders.
You will call your walls, Salvation, and all your portals, Praise.
The sun will no more be your light by day; 
by night you will not need the brightness of the moon.
The Lord will be your everlasting light, 
and your God will be your glory.

Glory to the father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; 
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Now the Day is Over.....

Sunset at the harbor in Beaufort, NC

Morning Canticle

A Song of Praise (Benedictus es, Domine)
Song of the Three Young Men, 29-34

Glory to you, Lord God of our fathers; you are worthy of praise; glory to you.
Glory to you for the radiance of your holy Name; we will praise you and highly exalt you for ever.

Glory to you in the splendor of your temple; on the throne of your majesty, glory to you.
Glory to you, seated between the Cherubim; we will praise you and highly exalt you for ever.

Glory to you, beholding the depths; in the high vault of heaven, glory to you. 
Glory to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; we will praise you and highly exalt you for ever.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Shhh! Miss Kitty is Trying to Take a Nap

This is not a photo from today (as I am in Virginia and Miss Kitty is in Atlanta), but this is exactly the sort of thing Miss Kitty would be doing right about now. It's a grey and rainy day, after lunch and before supper, and so it's an excellent time to pick a good spot on the end of the bed upon which to loll.

As you can see, Miss Kitty is also just ever so slightly annoyed at being spoken to while she is napping.

Happy Monday!

Morning Canticle

The First Song of Isaiah (Ecce, Deus)
Isaiah 12:2-6

Surely, it is God who saves me; I will trust in him and not be afraid.  For the Lord is my stronghold and my sure defense, and he will be my Savior.  Therefore you shall draw water with rejoicing and from the springs of salvation. And on that day you shall say, Give thanks to the Lord and call upon his Name; make his deeds known among the peoples; see that they remember that his Name is exalted. Sing praises of the Lord, for he has done great things, and this is known in all the world.  Cry aloud, inhabitants of Zion, ring out your joy, for the great one in the midst of you is the Holy One of Israel. 

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Unquenchable Fire

I find the readings for this Sunday (read them here) to be very comforting.  Even though that blunt-instrument John the Baptist utters the words that many have read with fear and trembling: "His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."

When I was a child, I thought this meant that some of us are wheat and some of us are chaff, and so you can imagine the anxiety that produced. And, to be honest, many a preacher has encouraged that reading.  But those who do misunderstand the nature of wheat. Perhaps in the South where I grew up, the example of corn might have been more easily understood.  And indeed, elsewhere in the Bible (and in some of our hymns), the example of precious metals and dross is also used.

In other words, it isn't that some people are wheat (or corn kernels or gold or silver) and others are chaff (or corn husks or imperfections present in precious metals) but that all of us are both.  All of us have an essence to ourselves which is precious and good, and all of us have some other stuff that God would like to burn away for ever.  Stuff that makes us less than who we were made to be. Stuff that gets in the way and diminishes us.

And Jesus is coming for the purpose of helping us slough off our chaff, our husk, our impurities and will cast it into the fire so that we can stand before God as ourselves finally unburdened of all that stuff. He came to take all that stuff away and to get rid of it for ever.

And the comfort comes from Isaiah. Throughout that process, which no doubt will be difficult and perhaps painful, God will be with us.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, says God. Even when the waters are up to your neck. Even when you walk through the fire, I will be with you, says God, because I love you.

Because I love you.

Thanks be to God.

Collect for the First Sunday after Epiphany (The Baptism of Our Lord)

Father in heaven, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized into his Name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Music from Our Town

Remember Thornton Wilder's great American play, Our Town? In 1940 it was made into a movie, directed by Sam Wood,  starring William Holden as George and Martha Scott as Emily. The great American composer Aaron Copeland wrote the music for the film.

These are three selections from a suite for piano from the film's music, played by Eric Parkin.  Listening to them makes me acutely aware of Copeland's influence on so many of the musicians I like, including some of the young jazz guys like Taylor Eigsti.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Afternoon Flower Break

Buff Beauty, a hybrid musk rose

We're back to Ordinary Time. And it's dull and wintry most everywhere (in the Northern Hemisphere, that is), so the Friday Afternoon Break series will feature a dash of color these next few weeks until Lent.

Buff Beauty is one of the hybrid musk roses I grow in my Atlanta garden. The blooms start out in this deep apricot color but fade to a soft yellow cream as they fully open.


A Collect for Fridays

Sea nettle (a small, stinging jelly fish)

Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thursday Afternoon Bird Photo

Sanderlings take wing. 

A Collect for Peace


O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom: Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults from our enemies: that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries; through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord; Amen.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Great Egret in Winter

I took this photo last January on Chincoteague Island, Virginia. Many birds gather there for the winter. Great Egrets are not hard to find or identify (the black legs and feet distinguish them from snowy egrets with their yellow feet at the bottom of black legs and darker bill) but it's still a thrill to see one up close.

A Collect for Grace

Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us in safety to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Now the Day is Over....

Night is drawing nigh....

A Collect for Guidance

Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being: We humbly pray you so to guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget you, but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Music for Post-Epiphany?

So, Christmas is over. And now it's just winter.

At lunch today, the Musak was back to Katy Perry and Taylor Swift.  Which made me think:

It seems that now would be a nice time for all those "secular" Christmas songs like Frosty the Snowman or Walking in a Winter Wonderland etc.

Don't you think?

Collect for the Renewal of Life

O God, the King eternal, whose light divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness during the day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Epiphany blessings

The Baby and the Wise Folk, part of a nativity set from Haiti

I spent much of Advent either incredibly busy (which is, of course, not what Advent is about, but a junior priest who oversees children and family ministries in a busy parish has a lot to do this time of year) or sitting in silence or listening to music.

Now that we have come to the Epiphany, the arrival of the Magi at the manger, the manifestation of Christ to the world, the Baptism of Jesus, the end of Christmas (take your pick - the Church sees Epiphany in a number of ways), I find that I don't have a lot to say.  Only that the Epiphany means that now that we have seen the Christ, the love of God come down to be among us, we are supposed to be changed.

So be changed, even though change is hard.  Put yourself in a new frame of mind, one that recognizes and honors the fact that God loves us and wants us to love one another, and let yourself be changed.


Collect for The Epiphany

O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Music for Twelfth Night

This is "Torches, Torches," the 1951 carol written by the British composer (of South African descent) John Joubert and sung by the always wonderful Choir of King's College Chapel.

This version is a little more energetic than other videos I've seen, and the visual with the candles provides the perfect backdrop for the music.

Enjoy your Twelfth Night activities as we prepare for the Feast of the Epiphany tomorrow!

The Twelfth Day of Christmas: I Wonder as I Wander

"I Wonder as I Wander," a song that was "discovered" by John Jacob Niles, played here by Ruth and Steve Smith on hammered dulcimer and guitar.  I love the camera angle that allows us to see just how one plays the hammered dulcimer!

Whatever the murky origins of this song, it is beautiful and, I think appropriate as we approach Epiphany.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


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