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
O God, the source of all health: So fill my heart with faith in your love, that with calm expectancy I may make room for your power to possess me, and gracefully accept your healing; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
I've been under the weather for the last few days and haven't been inspired to post. But I'm on the mend and the kitties are helping. Here's Bella making sure she models good sleep habits.
O God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity: Grant us the fullness of your grace, that we, running to obtain your promises, may become partakers of your heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Almighty and most merciful God, we remember before you all poor and neglected persons whom it would be easy for us to forget: the homeless and the destitute, the old and the sick, and all who have none to care for them. Help us to heal those who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow into joy. Grant this, Father, for the love of your Son, who for our sake became poor, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP 826)
Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the hours of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this life may rest in your eternal changelessness;through Jesus Christ our Lord.Amen. (BCP 133)
We thank you, heavenly Father, for the witness of your apostle and evangelist Matthew to the Gospel of your Son our Savior; and we pray that, after his example, we may with ready wills and hearts obey the calling of our Lord to follow him; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
I heard this show on the radio and couldn't wait to see the actual video. Warning, these are spiders so if you have arachnophobia, this might not be for you. But, bottom line, this is both amazing and funny.
O God, your unfailing providence sustains the world we live in and the life we live: Watch over those, both night and day, who work while others sleep, and grant that we may never forget that our common life depends upon each other's toil; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Today is the feast day of Hildegard von Bingen, abbess, musician, writer, and visionary. She was a truly fascinating and important person in the Middle Ages. Read about her here.
Hildegard's music features distinctive and soaring fifths - movement up (and down) the musical scale in great leaps. Here is O vis aeternitatis:
Power of Eternity you who ordered all things in your heart, through your Word all things are created just as you willed, and your very Word calls forth flesh in the shape which was drawn from Adam. Power of Eternity Power of Eternity.
Look down, O Lord, from your heavenly throne, and illumine this night with your celestial brightness; that by night as by day your people may glorify your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
12A Song of CreationBenedicite, omnia opera Domini Song of the Three Young Men, 35-65 One or more sections of this Canticle may be used. Whatever the selection, it begins with the Invocation and concludes with the Doxology. Invocation Glorify the Lord, all you works of the Lord, * praise him and highly exalt him for ever. In the firmament of his power, glorify the Lord, * praise him and highly exalt him for ever. IThe Cosmic Order Glorify the Lord, you angels and all powers of the Lord, * O heavens and all waters above the heavens. Sun and moon and stars of the sky, glorify the Lord, * praise him and highly exalt him for ever. Glorify the Lord, every shower of rain and fall of dew, * all winds and fire and heat. Winter and Summer, glorify the Lord, * praise him and highly exalt him for ever. Glorify the Lord, O chill and cold, * drops of dew and flakes of snow. Frost and cold, ice and sleet, glorify the Lord, * praise him and highly exalt him for ever. Glorify the Lord, O nights and days, * O shining light and enfolding dark. Storm clouds and thunderbolts, glorify the Lord, * praise him and highly exalt him for ever. II The Earth and its Creatures Let the earth glorify the Lord, * praise him and highly exalt him for ever. Glorify the Lord, O mountains and hills, and all that grows upon the earth, * praise him and highly exalt him for ever. Glorify the Lord, O springs of water, seas, and streams, * O whales and all that move in the waters. All birds of the air, glorify the Lord, * praise him and highly exalt him for ever. Glorify the Lord, O beasts of the wild, * and all you flocks and herds. O men and women everywhere, glorify the Lord, * praise him and highly exalt him for ever. III The People of God Let the people of God glorify the Lord, * praise him and highly exalt him for ever. Glorify the Lord, O priests and servants of the Lord, * praise him and highly exalt him for ever. Glorify the Lord, O spirits and souls of the righteous, * praise him and highly exalt him for ever. You that are holy and humble of heart, glorify the Lord, * praise him and highly exalt him for ever. Doxology Let us glorify the Lord: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; * praise him and highly exalt him for ever. In the firmament of his power, glorify the Lord, * praise him and highly exalt him for ever.
These are my new kitties - Sally (b&w) and Bella (buff)! It's been hard to get a photo of them because they are a whirlwind of activity much of the time. Here they are finally zoning out after a half hour of serious play time. They're not litter mates but are the same age - about 2 and a half months old. Sally is a little shy and reserved and Bella is just all over the place.
Sally was a street kitty, found alone, and needs to feel safe and secure. Bella came to the shelter with two brothers and is used to rolling around with other cats. With the help of a counselor at the shelter, we started with Sally and tried to match her up with several other cats to see if she was interested. (I wanted two so that they could be buddies, especially on those days when I work long hours.)
Sally wasn't much interested in any other cats until Bella came in. Then she perked up, got out of her bed, and came to investigate. Within five minutes, they were "parallel playing" and within fifteen, they were reaching out to each other through slats in a bench.
In two days, they have become like litter mates. Playing, sleeping, rolling around play-fighting, ambushing one another, etc. Sally is still liable to find a sheltered or soft spot to lie down and Bella is liable to try to climb the chimney, but I think they are going to make a good pair.
We were so saddened by the loss of our Miss Kitty earlier this year, and I had a little trepidation about getting another pet, but these two are just adorable and hilarious, and I'm glad I am able to give them a good home. You can expect to see more posts about them, if I can ever get them to slow down.
In 1970, I and every teenager I knew, the boys in their bell bottom pantsand the girls in their crochet hats,flocked to movie theatersto watch fictional Radcliffe student Jennifer Cavilleritell her Harvard boyfriend Oliver Barrett,when he tries to apologize for yelling at her, that “love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Oliver repeats this line to his estranged fatherat the end of the movie,after Jennifer has died of leukemia,although most of us didn’t hear him say itover our loud snifflingat the beautiful, dramatic sadness of it all.
Ah, how romantic this Love Story was!
Anyone who’s ever been around teenagers knows that saying “I’m sorry” is a difficult task.Saying “I’m sorry” and actually meaning itis well nigh impossible.In recent days, instead of saying “I’m sorry,”several purportedly grownup peoplehave gotten into fights while cruising at 35,000 feet,demanding that airplanes full of peoplebe landed RIGHT NOWbecause someone has reclined the seat in front of them.
No wonder we all loved the line “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”We don’t want to say we are sorry.We don’t even want to BE sorry.We want to be spared discomfort.Especially the discomfort of admitting that we are wrong.
So, if saying sorry is that difficult, then saying, “I forgive you,” is nearly unthinkable.After all, when we forgive,doesn’t that mean that we are letting someonerun over us?
Doesn’t that mean that we are saying what they did was OK and signal to the offender that he or shecan just keep treating us badly -can just keep reclining that seat or cheating on us or hitting us?Doesn’t it mean that the offender gets off scot freewhile we are stuck with our anger and hurt and humiliation?
So not only do we want never to say we are sorry, but we also want never to say I forgive you.That’s the most uncomfortable thing of all.It seems just too costly.
Yet Jesus says we are to forgive. So perhaps like Peter we try to make some rulesaround forgiveness. Mine might go like this:IF you say you are sorryand that you will never do this to me againand you make it up to me, THEN I will consider saying that I forgive you.Although I might not actually forgive you,because I might just want to hang onto my resentment for a whileso I can bring it up again later.
Oh, how we love to hang on to our resentments. At least I do.I can still recount in detail so many hurts and betrayals,from 1970 right up to last week.I want to hang on to thembecause for some ridiculous reason I think that letting those resentmentstake up significant real estate in my soul will somehow make those who have hurt mesuffer.
If I just hang on to it, they won’t get away with anything.
And what about when people won’t even say they are sorry? How can we even think of forgiving someonewho isn’t penitent?
And what about whole groups of people, a generation or an ethnic groupor an entire country?
No, forgiveness is too costly.
The thing is, though, it’s not nearly as costly as refusing to forgive.
Because as Anne Lamotte, among others, have said: Refusing to forgive is like drinking rat poisonand then waiting for the other person to die.
The one who suffers the most is the one who cannot forgive. The one who hopes to retaliate, get revenge, punish -that person is a prisoner,bound to an identity as a victim,with a hole in the heart where love is supposed to be.
In the mid 1990’s, after decades of racial strife and abuse in South Africa under the system of apartheid,Nelson Mandela, was elected president.People expected Mandela to be full of fireto retaliate against thosewho had imprisoned him for 27 years,perhaps to unleash a bloodbath fueled by a lust for revenge. Instead, Mandela invited his former jailer to attend his inauguration as a VIP guest and asked Desmond Tutu to chair the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in hopes that telling the bitter, ugly, painful truth in front of God and everybody would be the way forward for the country. Perpetrators would admit to the terrible things they had done. Victims and their families would name their pain and humiliation. The hope was that this would be a way for the country to heal. So the people would tell their stories, and perhaps they would admit their wrongdoing or their humiliation or their pain or their regret. And then we would all see what happened.
And what happened was that many people forgave. They wanted to end the cycle of violence; they wanted to be free of resentment and hatred; they wanted to move forward and not stay stuck. And so, many expressed regret, and many forgave.
We know, Tutu said, that forgiveness is the only hope, the only way forward.
Also in the 1990s, a small group of Israelis and Palestinians, each of whom had lost a close family member in the never-ending conflict in that region, got together to form the Parents Circle Family Forum. They wanted to stop the wave after wave of death. They wanted to work for peace. They wanted to heal the holes in their hearts left by the senseless killing of their family members. And so they got together to talk, because even though they were supposed to be enemies, they had something important in common: the death of a child, a spouse, a parent. And they knew that hating Israelis or hating Palestinians would not bring back that child or spouse or parent but would instead ensure that more people would suffer as they had. And so they work for reconciliation. Once, during a time of heavy fighting, some of the Palestinians from the group went to the Israeli Red Cross in Jerusalem to donate blood for Israeli victims while their Jewish friends slipped into Ramallah to donate blood there for Palestinian victims. People were shocked that they would donate blood to the enemy. But their work is about forgiveness, relationship, love. Reconciliation is the only way forward for them.
In 2006, the world watched in near disbelief as members of the Amish community in Nickel Mines Pennsylvania attended the funeral of the man who had shot and killed five children and injured several more before turning the gun on himself. Some went to console the widow and the parents of the gunman after they had heard the news. Media reported parents telling their children that they should not hate the man but should forgive just as Jesus forgave from the cross those who crucified him. The mother of the gunman now goes every Thursday to help care for one of the victims who was left severely disabled. Reconciliation is the only way forward.
If you Google “forgiveness stories,” you will find many examples of people who decided to forgive rather than to be chained to misery and resentment. Sometimes they will say they forgive so that they can move on. They forgive even if no remorse has been expressed. They just don’t want hatred to take up the room in their hearts, hearts as Bishop Tutu puts it, that are supposed to be made for love.
And so it is not forgiveness that is too costly, it is the refusal to forgive that eats away our souls. Jesus knew this and so he said, forgive, forgive, forgive.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences. That doesn’t mean we must allow ourselves to be abused. Forgiveness isn’t saying it’s ok to hurt me. Some relationships can not be continued. But forgiveness allows us to move into health and away from victimhood.
Look around at the world today and see the havoc wreaked by hatred and resentment. See the large scale violence. See the personal violence. See the blood, the contorted faces, the fights, the rubble.
And then look around and see what happens when people forgive. Look at people who love, even though they may still have pain, and see them be able to grow and to live and give life to others. See the beauty, the peace. See what happens to people who find themselves forgiven, how they show the world what love really looks like.
And look at yourself in the mirror and say, I forgive you, too. That might be really hard, but you won’t be sorry.
Postscript: In 1972, there was another movie we all went to see. Ryan O’Neal, who had played Oliver Barrett in Love Story, was in that one, too. His co-star, Barbara Streisand, says to him in one scene, Hey, love means never having to say you’re sorry. And he looks at her and replies: That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.
O God, because without you we are not able to please you, mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
This is the Women's Table fountain on the campus of Yale University. It was designed by Maya Lin (a Yale graduate who also designed the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, DC) and was commissioned in 1989 to commemorate the 20th anniversary the university becoming co-educational. Lin, however, made sure to make note of the women who were a part of Yale in the years before 1969, including those who studied fine arts and nursing there in the 19th century.
The fountain is situated just outside the beautiful Stirling Library.
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 our Lord. Amen. (BCP 99)
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 of 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. (BCP 99)
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. (BCP 100)
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. (BCP 828)
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. (BCP 827)
Grant us, O Lord, to trust in you with all our hearts; for, as you always resist the proud who confide in their own strength, so you never forsake those who make their boast of your mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Almighty God, whose Son had nowhere to lay his head: Grant that those who live alone may not be lonely in their solitude, but that, following in his steps, they may find fulfillment in loving you and their neighbors; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP 829)