Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Looking Up

The rotunda in Grant's Tomb in Manhattan.

Morning Prayer for the Right Use of God's Gifts

Almighty God, whose loving hand hath given us all that we
possess: Grant us grace that we may honor thee with our
substance, and, remembering the account which we must one
day give, may be faithful stewards of thy bounty, through
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(BCP 827)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Evening Prayer: For Aid Against Perils

Be our light in the darkness, O Lord, and in your great mercy 

defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love 
of your only Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. 

(BCP 123)

Morning Prayer for Prisons and Correctional Institutions

Lord Jesus, for our sake you were condemned as a criminal: Visit our jails and prisons with your pity and judgment. Remember all prisoners, and bring the guilty to repentance and amendment of life according to your will, and give them hope for their future. When any are held unjustly, bring them
release; forgive us, and teach us to improve our justice. Remember those who work in these institutions; keep them humane and compassionate; and save them from becoming brutal or callous. And since what we do for those in prison, O Lord, we do for you, constrain us to improve their lot. All this we ask for your mercy's sake. Amen.

(BCP 826)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Morning Prayer for the Poor and Neglected

Look with pity, O heavenly Father, upon the people in this
land who live with injustice, terror, disease, and death as
their constant companions. Have mercy upon us. Help us to
eliminate our cruelty to these our neighbors. Strengthen those
who spend their lives establishing equal protection of the law
and equal opportunities for all. And grant that every one of
us may enjoy a fair portion of the riches of this land; through
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(BCP 826)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Collect for the Tenth 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 27, 2013

Saturday Morning Music Video: The Battle of Evermore

When I was in high school, the great British rock band Led Zeppelin released their fourth album.  Many of us of a certain age considered Led Zeppelin to be the best band ever. (With apologies to The Beatles.) Many of their songs would be featured on a soundtrack of my teenage years.

Despite their later reputation as a forerunner of the heavy metal genre and serious hard rockers, Led Zeppelin was also heavily into acoustic/folk and Celtic music and some of their best tracks are characterized as folk-rock.

The Battle of Evermore, one of those folk-rock songs, was a track on Led Zeppelin 4. The music was written by Jimmy Page, the band's prodigiously talented lead guitarist, while he was messing around with a mandolin he borrowed from the band's bassist, John Paul Jones. Singer Robert Plant made up some lyrics to go with it. They wrote the song in one sitting, and they recorded it as a duet sung by Plant and Sandy Denny (an English vocalist with a major drug problem who died in 1978).

We didn't hear much from Led Zeppelin after they broke up in the late 1970's but in 2007, Robert Plant released an album with Alison Krauss, who came to fame with the Nashville bluegrass group Union Station. Krauss is a singer and fiddler. This was an unusual pairing, but they won a Grammy award (album of the year) for their album "Raising Sand." The two went on tour to support the album in 2007 and 2008. Not only did they sing songs from their new album, but they re-imagined a number of old Zeppelin songs.  This clip is from a show they did in Nashville, Tennessee in 2008.

It's a live video with all the downsides of a live video shot with someone's hand-held camera, but it captures the song nicely, I think, with the Celtic percussion and the still strong voice of Plant (I would have figured he'd blown out his vocal chords by 1980) and Krauss, while not Sandy Denny, does a nice job with her part.  I'm a big fan of Krauss, too. The only thing missing from this recording is the use of the hurdy-gurdy, which is featured on some earlier Page/Plant recordings from the 90's.

Finally, if you remember much about Led Zeppelin, you know that they kind of had a thing for Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings. There seem to be a couple of allusions to LOTR in this song, including a note that "the ringwraiths ride in black." Ah, the 1970's. But whatever.  Enjoy.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Morning Prayer for Towns and Rural Areas

Lord Christ, when you came among us, you proclaimed the kingdom of God in villages, towns, and lonely places: Grant that your presence and power may be known throughout this land. Have mercy upon all of us who live and work in rural areas [especially ___________]; and grant that all the people
of our nation may give thanks to you for food and drink and all other bodily necessities of life, respect those who labor to produce them, and honor the land and the water from which these good things come. All this we ask in your holy Name.

(BCP 825)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: The Battle of the Blue Crab

I came upon this blue crab on my beach walk last Saturday. He let me know he was ready to fight me, waving his claws, making a big shadow, and spitting in my general direction.

I didn't know crabs could spit.

(you can click on the picture to make it bigger)

Morning Prayer for Cities

Heavenly Father, in your Word you have given us a vision of that holy City to which the nations of the world bring their glory: Behold and visit, we pray, the cities of the earth. Renew the ties of mutual regard which form our civic life. Send us honest and able leaders. Enable us to eliminate poverty, prejudice, and oppression, that peace may prevail with righteousness, and justice with order, and that men and women from different cultures and with differing talents may find with one another the fulfillment of their humanity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(BCP 825)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tuesday Afternoon Flower Photo: Sweaty Passion Flower

This is a passion flower, also known as the maypop, although I think passion flower is a much better name.

I took this photo in the heat of the day, so it is interesting to me to see the droplets on the petals. I guess it is a sweaty passion flower.

Morning Prayer for the Good Use of Leisure

O God, in the course of this busy life, give us times of
refreshment and peace; and grant that we may so use our
leisure to rebuild our bodies and renew our minds, that our
spirits may be opened to the goodness of your creation;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(BCP 825)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Love and Death: Some Thoughts on Mary Magdalene's Feast Day

We all know the story of Mary Magdalene, of how she stood at the foot of the cross as Jesus died and then came back to find the tomb empty in all four Gospels, of how she conversed with an angel (or some angels) and how the disciples didn't believe her story, how she was the first to see and talk with the risen Lord. We read the encounter between Jesus and Mary from John's Gospel today and also on Easter.

Then there are other stories of Mary Magdalene. She is generally described in all the Gospels as one of the women who followed Jesus and perhaps provided for him and his ministry. She is specifically described in Luke and Mark (in the extended ending) as a woman from whom seven devils had gone out, presumably having been exorcised by Jesus. Other than that, no details.

This lack of information didn't stop some of the early Church fathers, however, from conflating Mary Magdalene with any woman in the Bible who was called a "sinner," and those early Church fathers also seemed to consider sexual sins as the only sins that were (could be?) committed by women. Before long, Mary Magdalene was widely accepted to have been a prostitute, sort of the opposite of Mary the Mother of Jesus, the Virgin.


So, anyway, two of the Gospel stories tell us that Mary Magdalene was cured of some kind of serious demonic possession and all of the Gospels tell us that she not only followed him generally but that she was there at the bitter end, after the male disciples had deserted Jesus, standing at the foot of the cross. And they all tell us that after his death, she could not stay away but returned to the tomb to minister to his body. She did not expect to see anything but a dead body, of course. Hers was not a story of hope (nor is hope the story of any of the disciples) but of faithful devotion.

That devotion must have been in response to having been healed by Jesus. If she had seven devils, whatever that even means, she must have been incredibly, mightily afflicted.  And so her healing must have been a mighty experience. And her response is the kind of devotion that kept her with him throughout the unimaginable horror of his excruciating death and hurried burial. She accompanied him faithfully throughout his ordeal and beyond. Her love and devotion to him was as strong as death, to be sure.

And this is what I like about the story of Mary Magdalene. Jesus made her whole, bringing her back from the grip of something that had taken over her life, and her response was to stay with him no matter what. She shows us resolve and strength and power that is all borne of gratitude. In a way, to give the early Church fathers the benefit of the doubt, this is why she was conflated with the woman/sinner who washed Jesus feet with her tears because she was so grateful for the forgiveness that she had received. A person who has been forgiven the most shows the most gratitude, Jesus told Simon the Pharisee. Mary wasn't that woman, and she wasn't any more of a sinner than any of the rest of us, but she does show that the person who has been healed of the most serious affliction is the person who will respond with the most devotion.

Mary Magdalene shows us what the strongest kind of bond that a human can have with another person looks like. Not even Mary the Mother of Jesus is shown to have this kind of bond with him in the Bible. And that bond is not shown as spectacular or bombastic but simply unswerving. Love is as strong as death for us humans.

But for God, love is stronger than death. As much devotion as Mary Magdalene shows Jesus, Jesus shows us all even more and stronger love and gives us reason for a hope that none of the disciples, nor Mary his mother, nor Mary Magdalene knew.

Mary Magdalene's last scene is her announcement to the disciples: I have seen the Lord. He is risen!

And therein lies our own hope of salvation, born of unswerving love by God. Even if we have not needed to be cured of some mysterious affliction, we all have need of salvation because we and our world are broken.  And because of love, that salvation is ours. May we, like Mary Magdalene, respond with faithful and unswerving devotion, too.

Morning Prayer for Schools and Colleges

O Eternal God, bless all schools, colleges, and universities
[and especially ___________], that they may be lively centers for
sound learning, new discovery, and the pursuit of wisdom;
and grant that those who teach and those who learn may find
you to be the source of all truth; through Jesus Christ our
Lord. Amen

(BCP 824)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Basket of Summer Fruit

This is what the Lord GOD showed me -- a basket of summer fruit.

(Amos 8:1)

Today's Old Testament reading from Amos starts out with this beautiful line.

But it gets worse. God tells Amos to prophesy to the people that they are under judgment and will come to destruction because, among other things, they sell the needy for a pair of sandals.

Which makes me think of the terrible building collapse in Bangladesh a few months ago and other stories about those who work long hours for little money to make designer clothing for us to wear.

We have been given so much. Witness the beauty of these luscious peaches. Go to the market and look at the ripe tomatoes and the plump grapes. Go outside and hear the birds sing in the morning and the tree frogs sing in the evening. Look at the sky and look at a loved one and marvel at the gifts we have been given.

We do not need to grasp at more and more, pushing aside the weak and vulnerable so that our desires may be satisfied. We have already been given everything if we will but have the eyes to see.

Collect for the Ninth 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 20, 2013

Saturday Morning Video: Jesus Toast

I've posted this one before, but it's just so funny, I thought it was time for us to watch it again.

BTW, Nick's dad is a friend of my husband's. I didn't realize this until recently. Also, Nick and Brian were in the recent movie Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Josh Whedon. I saw it in New York on my last trip there. And yes, Nick is mildly Episcopalian.

Friday, July 19, 2013

To Market, To Market

I picked these babies up at the very nifty Old Farm Truck market in Lively, Virginia this afternoon. I think they'll make a delicious and colorful tomato sauce for my pasta dinner tonight.

I'm so happy that God created pretty tomatoes.

Morning Prayer for the Unemployed

Heavenly Father, we remember before you those who suffer
want and anxiety from lack of work. Guide the people of this
land so to use our public and private wealth that all may find
suitable and fulfilling employment, and receive just payment
for their labor; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(BCP 824)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Prayer, or What I'm Up To

So, you may have noticed that there is a pattern and method to my morning prayer postings here over the last few weeks.

If you haven't noticed, I won't keep you in suspense about what I am up to: I decided simply to work my way through the prayers in the BCP (The 1979 Book of Common Prayer for use in the Episcopal Church to be exact) pretty much in order. During July 4th week I did skip ahead to use the national prayers section, but otherwise, I simply started at the beginning of the "prayers and thanksgivings" section and am posting the prayers in order.

There are a couple of reasons for this. One, I just wanted to do this systematically for a change instead of skipping around. It helps me remember just what is in the prayer book.

And two, I was interested in seeing what might come up through this exercise that I thought might be the work of the Holy Spirit.

Sure enough, a couple of people complimented me on choosing the prayer for those who suffer for the sake of conscience on Monday morning after the trial of George Zimmerman was concluded this weekend, an event that has provoked a lot of strong feelings among the people I know.  But I didn't choose that prayer for that day. It simply was the one that was up next.

But it was appropriate, for sure.

I love our prayer book. We have so many wonderful prayers, some which were written for this edition of the book but many that are much, much older. Some of them date back to the 16th Century. I love that people have been praying these prayers together for hundreds of years. And I love that our newer prayers address our more modern (and post-modern) concerns as well.

And I love how the Spirit moves through our lives and in our world. To a certain extent, there is nothing new under the sun, and so we are beset by the same kinds of unhappy and even tragic events as well as the same kinds of joys as people have been experiencing for ever. Prayers that may have been written and prayed with a particular event in mind in another age are still appropriate for the events of our own time.

So I invite you to "play along at home." Now that you know that we are working our way through the BCP, I hope you will take note of the prayers you didn't know and also will take a little time to wonder and connect the prayer posted with what's going on in the/your world. Maybe there's not a connection today or tomorrow; maybe you'll find a connection another day. Or maybe the prayer will be just what you need just when you need it.

As always, comments are welcome any time.  Thanks for praying along with me.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Now the Day is Over....

night is drawing nigh.....

Morning Prayer for Social Justice

Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so
move every human heart [and especially the hearts of the
people of this land], that barriers which divide us may
crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our
divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(BCP 823)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Collect for Those Who Suffer for the Sake of Conscience

O God our Father, whose Son forgave his enemies while he
was suffering shame and death: Strengthen those who suffer
for the sake of conscience; when they are accused, save them
from speaking in hate; when they are rejected, save them
from bitterness; when they are imprisoned, save them from
despair; and to us your servants, give grace to respect their
witness and to discern the truth, that our society may be
cleansed and strengthened. This we ask for the sake of Jesus
Christ, our merciful and righteous Judge. Amen.

(BCP 823)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Deeply Wailing

There's already lots of commentary out there on the proceedings and verdict in the case against George Zimmerman.

I don't want to read them yet.

I don't want to understand yet.

I just want to wail against the injustice and the hatred that infect us as a society. I just want to cry out that our world is broken and we are ruled by fear and that we continue to learn nothing.

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Collect for the Eighth 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 13, 2013

Saturday Morning Video: Splash Party!

This is great fun! These ducks didn't know what to do in the water at first and couldn't wait to get out. And then something kicked in and they had an all-out splash party!


Friday, July 12, 2013

Morning Prayer for Those in Armed Forces of our Country

Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and
keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home
and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly
grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give
them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant
them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(BCP 823)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

There's always enough

(This is a repost from July 11, 2012)

Today is the feast day of St Benedict of Nursia, the early 6th century monk who is most famously known for writing the Rule of St Benedict, a book of precepts for people living together in community under the authority of an Abbot. While Benedict didn’t really set out to start a religious order, he is considered the founder of Western monasticism.

The rule organizes the Benedictine’s day into regular periods of prayer (both communal and private), sleep, spiritual study, and manual labor. Work and pray, work and pray, labora et ora, goes the day of the Benedictine monastic.  Many people have adopted the Rule, or some version thereof, not only monks and nuns but also just regular people who want to be more intentional about their life in God and turn to the Rule for guidance and inspiration. Some of them become associates of a Benedictine house somewhere even though they don’t live in it. They follow the rule at home: work and prayer, prayer and work.

Benedict originally just wanted to flee the world. He was disgusted by the politics, culture, and manners of the day in Rome, where he was studying as a young adult. He fled to the mountains to live a simpler life. But even there he found the world intruded upon him too much, and he moved into a cave.

It’s not clear how he came to live in a community, after all of that. But it is interesting that his overarching theme for his Rule was moderation. Not too much of this or of that, not too restrictive and not too lenient. Not just work, but also study. Not just prayer, but also welcoming and caring for guests. Not too much being alone, but also being in community not only with the other monks but with the people of the land around the monastery, too.

Work and pray. Prayer and work.

Meanwhile, Jesus says, you can’t be my disciple if you don’t give away all your stuff.

Which of course makes us think of monks like Benedict.

Most of us, however, do not want to give away all of our stuff. We would prefer not to follow this prescription of Jesus. We would make his pronouncement to be a metaphor, perhaps.

But the Benedictine monks got it. Following Jesus and renouncing their worldly goods did not mean that they lived in abject poverty, that they didn’t have beds to sleep in, that they didn’t have food and wine to nourish their bodies and books to feed their minds and souls.  They had access to all of those things, even if they did not own any of them.

But going further, the Benedictine way is not about owning or not owning stuff.  It’s about living in community and being content that the community itself can provide what is needed. The monks farmed or made bread or wine or kept bees and made honey and they shared what they had with the community around them. They owned nothing individually so that they would not become attached to worldly goods, but they didn’t do without!

We tend to think: Jesus says give away all my stuff, and I just can’t do that because what would I live on then? How would I provide for my family? Is Jesus asking me to be homeless and to live in total poverty?

That’s because we think of ourselves as individuals who live in family units of three or four or two or five.

We don’t think: Jesus is asking us to let nothing get in the way of our relationship with God and to trust that we don’t have to own stuff and things in order to live a meaningful life.  We don’t think about living in a much larger community than just our immediate family; we don’t think about how a community can provide for itself, how we can be part of a generous community that has more than enough (God always provides) so that it can share its abundance with strangers and neighbors without fears about scarcity.

That’s where we get so tripped up. We fear scarcity and we hang on to our stuff with all we’ve got. We are rugged individualists who work for what we have. The monastic life sounds like communism to many American ears.

And because of that, we miss the beauty of the Benedictine way. We miss this simple fact: we are all family, brothers and sisters in Christ, and we are charged with loving one another and loving God. We are not charged with loving our stuff. Communities are always filled with resources. People in community have gifts to share, and when they are not afraid of scarcity, then they can be generous with their gifts and resources. And all will be filled. All will find that they can have what they need.

Benedict showed that such an attitude is best achieved by living an intentional life of work, study, hospitality, and prayer.  Prayer and work, work and prayer. Living in the rhythm of work and prayer helps us let go of our fears and our grasping and encourages us to become part of a true community that shares and supports and freely gives away everything, knowing that there will always be enough.

Such a community is not utopia. The monks had their quarrels and fusses. But they always lived as if there would always be enough, not only for themselves, but for everyone around them.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we would, too?

Morning Prayer for Church Musicians and Artists

Stained Glass Window of King David at St Stephen's Episcopal Church in Oxford, NC

O God, whom saints and angels delight to worship in
heaven: Be ever present with your servants who seek through
art and music to perfect the praises offered by your people on
earth; and grant to them even now glimpses of your beauty,
and make them worthy at length to behold it unveiled for
evermore; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

(BCP 819)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Drips and Drops

These vines drive me crazy at home. The tendrils wrap themselves around my roses and the thorns are sharp.  A coating of raindrops makes them quite lovely, though.

Morning Prayer for Monastic Orders and Vocations

O Lord Jesus Christ, you became poor for our sake, that we
might be made rich through your poverty: Guide and sanctify,
we pray, those whom you call to follow you under the vows
of poverty, chastity, and obedience, that by their prayer and
service they may enrich your Church, and by their life and
worship may glorify your Name; for you reign with the Father
and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

(BCP 819)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tuesday Afternoon Bird Bath

Birds splashing it up in the fountain at the Korean War Memorial, Washington DC

Morning Prayer for the Unity of the Church

O God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Savior,

the Prince of Peace: Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the
great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions; take away
all hatred and prejudice, and whatever else may hinder us
from godly union and concord; that, as there is but one Body
and one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith,
one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all
of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth
and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and
one mouth glorify thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

(BCP 818)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Receiving Resurrection

Detail from a stained glass window in St Stephen's Episcopal Church, Oxford NC
This is Mary Magdalene in the garden being greeted by a somewhat ghostly looking Jesus (not pictured, as they say in magazines and yearbook).

She looks so serene. This must not be from the Mark version, for that Mary Magdalene did not see Jesus but only the angels, and she, along with the other women, ran away terrified.

This woman is not terrified. She is interested, curious, open despite her previous posture of grief, which is only hinted at here.

Today we did a funeral for a well-loved 90-year old from our parish. I knew her pretty well - she was the first parishioner whom I went to visit, on my second day of working here. I saw her many times after that - at dinner, at lunch, at her apartment. She talked with me about her funeral, about her age and the fact that she wasn't going to live forever. It didn't bother her at all, the thought of her death, other than the fact that she loved her life. But she was not terrified or even afraid of death.

Resurrection is of course at the heart of our faith and is obviously the most awesome thing that there is, outside the incarnation of God in the person of Jesus. But for this Mary, and for my parishioner, there is no mysterium tremendens in the thought of it, no fear and trembling at the awesomeness of God. I hope I shall be as open and curious and ready to receive resurrection as as this lovely Mary is, when Jesus comes to take me to himself.

Morning Prayer for the Parish

The Tower at Bruton Parish Church, Williamsburg VA

Almighty and everliving God, ruler of all things in heaven and earth, hear our prayers for this parish family. Strengthen the faithful, arouse the careless, and restore the penitent. Grant us all things necessary for our common life, and bring us all to be of one heart and mind within your holy Church;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(BCP 817)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Collect for the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit, that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Saturday Morning Video: Flight

This fantastic video shows hummingbirds (and a few others) flying and hovering as filmed with a very high speed camera. You all know how much I love birds and am fascinated with how they fly, so you can imagine how much I like this video!


Friday, July 5, 2013

Friday Afternoon Fountain Break

It's a hot day! Here's a cooling fountain. 

Morning Prayer for Courts of Justice

Almighty God, who sittest in the throne judging right: We humbly beseech thee to bless the courts of justice and the magistrates in all this land; and give unto them the spirit of wisdom and understanding, that they may discern the truth, and impartially administer the law in the fear of thee alone; through him who shall come to be our Judge, thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

(BCP 821)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The New Colossus

This is the poem that is engraved on the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor. It was written by Emma Lazarus in 1883 and placed on a bronze plaque on the statue's base in 1903.

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

-Emma Lazarus

Morning Prayer For Sound Government

O Lord our Governor, bless the leaders of our land, that we
may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to
other nations of the earth.
Lord, keep this nation under your care.

To the President and members of the Cabinet, to Governors
of States, Mayors of Cities, and to all in administrative
authority, grant wisdom and grace in the exercise of their
Give grace to your servants, O Lord.

To Senators and Representatives, and those who make our
laws in States, Cities, and Towns, give courage, wisdom, and
foresight to provide for the needs of all our people, and to
fulfill our obligations in the community of nations.
Give grace to your servants, O Lord.

To the Judges and officers of our Courts give understanding
and integrity, that human rights may be safeguarded and
justice served.
Give grace to your servants, O Lord.

And finally, teach our people to rely on your strength and to
accept their responsibilities to their fellow citizens, that they
may elect trustworthy leaders and make wise decisions for
the well-being of our society; that we may serve you
faithfully in our generation and honor your holy Name.
For yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as
head above all. Amen.

(BCP 821)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Cow Itch Vine

It's still raining.

This is a trumpet vine. When I was a girl, we called it "cow itch vine." Supposedly one may experience a rash from contact with it. I wouldn't know - I've never touched one. I guess I learned that lesson without having to learn it the hard way - for once.

Morning Prayer for Congress or a State Legislature

O God, the fountain of wisdom, whose will is good and
gracious, and whose law is truth: We beseech thee so to guide
and bless our Senators and Representatives in Congress
assembled (or in the Legislature of this State, or Common-
wealth), that they may enact such laws as shall please thee,
to the glory of thy Name and the welfare of this people;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(BCP 821)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Two Poems about Hippopotami

Detail from a stained glass window at St Stephen's Episcopal Church, Oxford NC

The Hippopotamus

Behold the hippopotamus!
We laugh at how he looks to us,
And yet in moments dank and grim,
I wonder how we look to him.

Peace, peace, thou hippopotamus!
We really look all right to us,
As you no doubt delight the eye
Of other hippopotami. 

Morning Prayer For the President of the United States and all in Civil Authority

O Lord our Governor, whose glory is in all the world: We commend this nation to thy merciful care, that, being guided by thy Providence, we may dwell secure in thy peace. Grant to the President of the United States, the Governor of this State (or Commonwealth), and to all in authority, wisdom and strength to know and to do thy will. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness, and make them ever mindful of their calling to serve this people in thy fear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

(BCP 820)

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Bee's Knees

I love how bees carry pollen around on their legs. 
Here's one that was enjoying my lace cap hydrangea last week.


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