Saturday, January 31, 2015

Caturday! Let's Eat!

Sally is a little fuzzy here but you can see how much these girls are growing. Bella is not only fluffy but also pretty solid. Sally is much more sturdy, too, than she was when she first came home.

Here they are when they were babies:

Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday Music: In Paradisium

Mom died a month ago today.

This is the last piece in Maurice Durufle's Requiem, In Paradisium. Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Robert Shaw conducting.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Morning Prayer for Stewardship of Creation

O merciful Creator, your hand is open wide to satisfy the needs of every living creature: Make us always thankful for your loving providence; and grant that we, remembering the account that we must one day give, may be faithful stewards of your good gifts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

BCP 259

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Dancing Willet

Willet (a solitary shore bird) has just landed - but hasn't gotten the wings back into place. 
What lovely creatures they are.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Prayer for the Morning

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.

BCP 461

Monday, January 26, 2015

Some thoughts about following Jesus

(On the occasion of the last Sunday in our nave before a year-long renovation begins.) The readings are here.

Sometimes I can overthink things. Something rises through my heart into my head (hey! I think I should move to Richmond!) and I get all excited about it (yeah, Richmond! I really like that church!) and I imagine all kinds of ways to live out that new idea (new challenges and growth! new opportunities and friends! the River! cool restaurants! thank you Jesus!).

And then — I start thinking. Wait, I don’t really know a lot of people there. Besides, I’m comfortable where I am. What if I move and then don’t like it? Am I rushing into something? What if it doesn’t work out? What will I do then?

And then I start backing away. Maybe I should just wait a while on this. Maybe God isn’t actually calling me to move to Richmond. Maybe I should ask some people - probably about thirty - what they think, give me the pros and cons. Especially the cons - I should really listen to that because sometimes I get carried away with the pros. 

And then my enthusiasm gives way to fear. Fear of failure and more than that, fear of the unknown. I don’t know how this is going to turn out. Maybe I shouldn’t take a risk…….

I wonder what was really going on in James and John and Simon and Andrew’s hearts and heads when Jesus came by and said to them, as if an alarm clock had gone off: OK! It’s time! Follow me!

Something made them get right up and follow Jesus. They clearly didn’t overthink it. They didn’t seem to need to weigh the pros and cons, make contingency plans, form a committee, wonder if it is going to be safe, discuss the possibility of taking a more cautious approach. 

They didn’t know what was going to happen when they left their old way of life behind. They hadn’t even seen any of the miracles yet. And yet they followed immediately, because Jesus says it’s time! Follow me! 

So they do. That must have taken a lot of courage.

We don’t ever know exactly how God’s call to us is going to play out. Jonah was disappointed after following God’s call. He didn’t want to go to Nineveh in the first place. And when he finally did go, he didn’t like it that the people repented. 
So he just sat there, mad that things worked out for the Ninevites and their animals and for God - a win-win-win! 

Yes, he followed, reluctantly, but he didn’t thrive despite the success of his work.

The fishermen had no idea how their call was going to play out, either, when they got up and left their nets and their dad in the boat to follow Jesus. 

But we do know. 

We know that the story of the fishermen is going to include mistakes, failures, and incomprehension. 

And we know that the story is also going to include mountaintop experiences. We know that the lame are going to walk, the hungry are going to be fed, the blind are going to see. We know that Jesus is going to bring new life in surprising ways and in the unlikeliest of places. 

We know that the beautiful and amazing will arise not just on the mountain but in the wilderness; not just in the Temple but in a roadside ditch; not just among friends but among strangers and even enemies. 

The story is going to end with God keeping God’s promises. I promise you, God said to Abraham. Do not be afraid for I am with you, God said to Isaac. I will be with you and will never leave you, God said to Moses. I am with you until the end of the age, Jesus said to those who followed him then and those who follow him now. Fear not, for I will be with you. Have courage. I’m sending you out to do things you might not think you can do, you might not want to do, but I will be with you, whether you go to another country or just across the breezeway. 

And you will work wonders and see marvels there. You will be made strong for service and glad in praise because I have chosen you.

This is our story, too. It is a story that begins with risk-taking and ends with salvation. And the part in the middle? God is with us all the way, always ready to do a new thing in a new place. 

So let us get up and leave this boat and follow, because it is time.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

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.


Sally plots . . . 

while Bella explores.

(Great. Now she can jump all the way up onto the counter.)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday Music: Prime Directive

An oldie but goodie from two years ago. My son and his friends play Dave Holland's Prime Directive at Georgia State University.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Collect For Joy in God's Creation

Brown-headed nuthatch salutes the sun

O heavenly Father, who hast filled the world with beauty: Open our eyes to behold thy gracious hand in all thy works; that, rejoicing in thy whole creation, we may learn to serve thee with gladness; for the sake of him through whom all things were made, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Morning Canticle: A song of creation

12    A Song of Creation    Benedicite, omnia opera Domini 
          Song of the Three Young Men, 35-65 

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. 

I    The 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. 

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.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

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 17, 2015

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A reading from the Prophet Isaiah

When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the LORD will answer them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive; I will set in the desert the cypress, the plane and the pine together, so that all may see and know, all may consider and understand, that the hand of the LORD has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.

(Isaiah 41:17-20)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Morning Psalm

Psalm 46

1 God is our refuge and strength, *
a very present help in trouble. 
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved, *
and though the mountains be toppled into the depths of the sea; 
3 Though its waters rage and foam, *
and though the mountains tremble at its tumult. 
4 The LORD of hosts is with us; *
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
5 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, *

the holy habitation of the Most High. 
6 God is in the midst of her;

she shall not be overthrown; *
God shall help her at the break of day. 

7 The nations make much ado, and the kingdoms are shaken; *
God has spoken, and the earth shall melt away. 
8 The LORD of hosts is with us; *
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
9 Come now and look upon the works of the LORD, *
what awesome things he has done on earth. 
10 It is he who makes war to cease in all the world; *
he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear,
and burns the shields with fire. 

11 "Be still, then, and know that I am God; *
I will be exalted among the nations;
I will be exalted in the earth." 

12 The LORD of hosts is with us; *
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Ecce, Deus

Canticle 9 The First Song of Isaiah 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 *
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 the 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 11, 2015

Back in the Saddle

They say that when you fall off a horse, the first thing you should do is get back up on it. I actually fell off a horse in my younger days, and I found that to be good advice. Get back on and don't let fear and dread get the best of you.

I've also taken a fall metaphorically in the last few weeks. Two weeks ago today my mother began to die, which was a shock even though we knew she couldn't live for ever. We buried her ten days ago. I came back to the office last Monday but today was my first day in church since Christmas Eve.

It was a beautiful day, the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord. I was honored to baptize two baby girls, both of whom were not only beautiful but thoroughly engaged in the process of the baptism. One of them looked at me a lot with a look that seemed a combination of curiosity (what, exactly, are we doing here and why is water dripping off my nose?) and knowingness (this is a holy moment, isn't it?). The other was caught by the shiny silver bowl in which I had poured the water. She leaned over toward it to get a better look. (I have had this experience before with an adorable little girl who wanted to reach into the font herself, which I was happy to help her do!)

It is always a privilege to welcome a child into the household of God but it was especially wonderful today on my first day back in church. It felt like home, the kind of home that is different from my childhood home, a home that bursts through the boundaries we often put up in and around our own homes and says, "Hey, everybody, come in! There is a place for you here! You are loved here! Come here and be fed. Come here and rejoice. Come here and cry. Come here and heal. You are sealed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism and marked as Christ's own, forever. In this home you will find comfort and also you will find that you are going to be changed through being part of this community. But do not fear that transformation. It is meant to help you become who you were made to be."

This is what baptism is about. It undergirds my life and my ministry. Thanks be to God.

Collect for the First Sunday after the Epiphany

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.


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