Saturday, May 31, 2014
I never get to post my son's music stuff any more now that he's playing in places where they don't record video very often, but here's some great stuff from some of his former colleagues. This is a combo made up of musicians who play with the Rialto Youth Jazz Orchestra in Atlanta. They are a group of very fine players.
Friday, May 30, 2014
One of the things that happens when the day is misty and drizzly is the formation of droplets on all the flowers. This lovely and almost glowing little impatiens greeted me this morning, reminding me of the Shakespearean soliloquy I had to memorize in 9th grade:
"The quality of mercy is not strained - it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath."(Portia's speech in The Merchant of Venice)
Enjoy your weekend.
O gracious Father, who openest thine hand and fillest all things living with plenteousness: Bless the lands and waters, and multiply the harvests of the world; let thy Spirit go forth, that it may renew the face of the earth; show thy loving-kindness, that our land may give her increase; and save us from selfish use of what thou givest, that men and women everywhere may give thee thanks; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
Almighty God, whose blessed Son our Savior Jesus Christ ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things: Mercifully give us faith to perceive that, according to his promise, he abides with his Church on earth, even to the end of the ages; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
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,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Support us, Lord, all the day long, until the shadows lengthen, and the evening comes, the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over, and our work done; then Lord, in your mercy, give us safe lodging, a holy rest and peace at the last. Amen
(From the New Zealand Prayer Book)
Monday, May 26, 2014
In the U.S., today is Memorial Day, the day we remember those who have died in service to our country (in contrast to Veteran's Day, in which we thank those who currently serve or who served in the past).
In honor of the day, and to offer prayer for the dead, here is the Introit from Morten Lauridsen's beautiful modern requiem Lux Aeterna.
O Judge of the nations, we remember before you with grateful hearts the men and women of our country who in the day of decision ventured much for the liberties we now enjoy. Grant that we may not rest until all the people of this land share the benefits of true freedom and gladly accept its disciplines. This we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Sunday, May 25, 2014
O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Saturday, May 24, 2014
Friday, May 23, 2014
What I do want to say on this Friday is that I am more aware than ever of the gifts that have been given me through my ministry as an ordained person over the last few years. Some of them have been immediately recognizable and apparent, while others have taken a while to mature and to show themselves. I give thanks for all who have walked with me and guided me and taught me so much, all of which has helped make me ready to be where I am now and in the future as well.
I've always prided myself on being an enthusiastic learner. I have always loved books and school and I am almost embarrassingly nerdy about enjoying conferences and clergy days and other gatherings in which I am exposed to new information and get to be around other people. Still, I can be resistant when it comes to learning new things. Because in certain arenas, learning something new may suggest that one has something to learn, and that can be uncomfortable to someone who wants to appear "together" and knowledgable and wise. So it's a delicate balance, learning and being wise and knowledgeable, being competent and yet open to new ways of being and doing. Adopting an attitude of being open, of course, is always wise, and doesn't take away from what one already knows. But I have sometimes found the way through all of those layers to be a little challenging.
On the other hand, birthdays sometimes help in this regard. Recently I had a birthday, and although it wasn't one that ends with a zero (that's next year, thank you very much), I am taking the opportunity to try to be both older and wiser, which somehow frees one from some of the need to know all the things. I am trying to be happy knowing what I know, recognizing that much of it is truly valuable, although the fact that lyrics to many an anthem from the 60's and 70's (summer's here and the time is right for dancing in the street!) seem to be indelibly stuck in my brain gives me pause for just how much room there's going to be for more weighty information going forward. What I know is helpful and how I can build on that will be delightful for me and for those with whom I wander in this transitory life.
Further to the timing of this reflection, I now have a date for moving to a new house in a new city where I've already been working for six weeks in a fantastic church. And so, having announced this to the world, I begin the deliberate work of physical transition, packing up and closing down one home while preparing to settle in to another. I imagine that in future days, I'll want to post about some last things, last impressions and last experiences, from this place I've called home for nearly three years.
So that's what I'm thinking about today. As I stand in this place of both looking back and looking forward, I give thanks for all my teachers, those who taught me officially and overtly as well as those who taught me occasionally and even by accident and sometimes against my will. I give thanks for my experiences, knowing that even the awful ones have been transformed (thank you, Jesus) into something life-giving and that the fantastic ones are precious gifts from God. I give thanks for my mistakes, for they have often taught me the most.
And I give thanks for all of you who journey with me here, who encourage me and laugh with me.
Enjoy the weekend.
Thursday, May 22, 2014
The other week, my family and I went on a walk along the James River here in Richmond. I was fortunate to be positioned in a place where I could watch this prothonotary warbler gathering materials for its nest in a tree stump beside the walking path. The bird flew to the river bank, picked up some moss, and brought it back to the stump, hopping in through the top, then placing the nesting material in the nest, then popping out through a knothole.
After the bird finished working on the nest, it perched on a nearby branch to sing for a while.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
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.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
This is a spotted sandpiper. Easy to see how it got the name. I took this photo last week at the James River, which flows through Richmond VA. Apparently this is a fairly common type of sandpiper, but this was my first sighting of one. It's always exciting to see a new bird for the first time!
All God's creatures ....
Almighty God, in a rude and barbarous age you raised up your deacon Alcuin to rekindle the light of learning: Illumine our minds, we pray, that amid the uncertainties and confusions of our own time we may show forth your eternal truth; 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 Alcuin, most important figure in the Carolingian renaissance, here.
Monday, May 19, 2014
Sunday, May 18, 2014
Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant us so perfectly to know your Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his steps in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Saturday, May 17, 2014
Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring is getting a lot of attention this year because this is the 100th anniversary of the first performance (well, last fall was). But my favorite Stravinsky piece has always been Petruschka.
This is the piano version, three movements that are not transcriptions of the original ballet but new pieces based on the ballet, played by Juja Wang. The piece is very athletic (perhaps appropriate for a composition about a naughty puppet!) and the camera angles give you a great look at her technique.
Stravinsky wrote the piano version for Arthur Rubenstein in 1921, ten years after he composed the symphonic version. He wanted to write something that would be very difficult so that Rubenstein would like it. Stravinsky himself found it more than a little difficult to play.
The three movements are: "Danse Russe;" "Chez Petruschka;" and "La semaine grasse."
Friday, May 16, 2014
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Almighty God, we entrust all who are dear to us to thy never-failing care and love, for this life and the life to come, knowing that thou art doing for them better things than we can desire or pray for; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Moses said, "Show me your glory, I pray." And he said, "I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you the name, 'The LORD'; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But," he said, "you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live." And the LORD continued, "See, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock; and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen."
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
I went out to the pond last Saturday to find some new ducks there. I first noticed a large, very dark, full-grown duck. Beside it was something that looked like a balled up bag or something. And then I saw a little mallard duckling's head pop up beside the balled up something.
Fortunately, I had my camera with me and via the zoom lens discovered that the balled up something was actually a large fuzzy yellow duckling.
I watched them for a while and got closer to see that the large black duck was iridescent - black and blue and green all together. I'd never seen such a duck. (I looked it up when I got home and discovered that it is a Cayuga duck.)
All this was very curious until a man came along and explained that he had brought the ducks to the pond that morning. He said that the black duck had been living in a barn for a year. The large yellow fuzzy duckling would grow to be a white duck, and the mallard baby was one of several that he brought. (I expect that the fuzzy yellow one was someone's Easter present.)
The others had already followed the mother mallard, who had lost all but one of her babies last week, into the drainage pipe where she sleeps at night. He said that the ducklings were cheeping in their box and when the mother duck heard them, she began quacking herself and then the ducklings could hardly wait to get out of the box and run to her - all but the one who chose to stay close to the yellow duckling.
Family is what you make it. I hope they will all like their new home.
This is another day, O Lord. I know not what it will bring
forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be. If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely. If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly. If I am to lie low, help me to do it
patiently. And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly.
Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit of Jesus. Amen.
Monday, May 12, 2014
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.
Sunday, May 11, 2014
As any of us who have ever been in school know, “compare and contrast” is a typical way of coming to grips with a wide variety of subjects. It is both a learning tool and a tool used to measure what one has learned. We may have written or read essays in which two philosophers or philosophies are compared and contrasted. Or two musical styles or two historical figures. How are these similar, and how are they different, and what do those similarities and differences tell us?
O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people: Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Saturday, May 10, 2014
Friday, May 9, 2014
Thursday, May 8, 2014
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Monday, May 5, 2014
Grant us, Lord, the lamp of charity which never fails, that it may burn in us and shed its light on those around us, and that by its brightness we may have a vision of that holy City, where dwells the true and never-failing Light, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
|7||Gracious and upright is the LORD; *|
therefore he teaches sinners in his way.
|8||He guides the humble in doing right *|
and teaches his way to the lowly.
|9||All the paths of the LORD are love and faithfulness *|
to those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
|10||For your Name's sake, O LORD, *|
forgive my sin, for it is great.
Sunday, May 4, 2014
O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Saturday, May 3, 2014
Two songs played by three great musicians: Bela Fleck (banjo), Edgar Meyer (double bass), and Zakir Hussain (tabla) at a Symphony Orchestra of India concert in 2013.
The first song, by Hussain, is Bakar (springtime). The second, by Fleck, is Happy Drum Drum Monkey Girl. What a treat to see these masters play.