Sermons

Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday Music Two-Fer: Amelia and Woodstock




If I had to name the very one singer that means the most to me, it would be Joni Mitchell. She is part of the soundtrack of much of my coming of age world (and by that, I mean while I was in college).

Here is Joni Mitchell singing Amelia, which is certainly one of my favorites, in 1979. The year 1979 was not a fave, but this song was. Somewhere around 1979 I went to a huge outdoor concert in the Orange Bowl in Orlando and this song was playing over the sound system while the show was setting up and I remember thinking, I wish we were going to see Joni Mitchell instead of Fleetwood Mac. (They were great, though. But they were not Joni Mitchell.)

There's a long solo by Pat Metheny at the end and you may want to just stop early on in that. He's great and all, but the point here is Joni Mitchell.  There's just not anyone like her.

The following is, not technically of course but in a way, how it all started. In 1970, Joni Mitchell missed going to Woodstock with her friends Crosby, Stills and Nash. But she wrote a great song about it. Have a listen:



Happy Weekend. Listen to the music, whether it's the wind among among the grasses or on the radio or just in your head. What a gift it was when God made music.














Thursday, July 30, 2015

Morning Psalm



In you, O LORD, have I taken refuge;*
let me never be ashamed.
In your righteousness, deliver me and set me free;*
incline your ear to me and save me.
Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe; *
you are my crag and my stronghold.

Psalm 72:1-3








Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: When Robins Attack



Remembering last spring when I heard such a commotion out the window and saw a tree full of robins eating all the berries off this tree.

They cleaned it out in less than 15 minutes.

Normally, this is what one would expect of cedar waxwings. But this time, every robin in the west end of Richmond was in my tree. It was almost creepy.







But Bella loved it.





























Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Happy Birthday, Tom!



Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband, Tom.

Nothing says, "I'm 64!" like drinking out of a plaid teapot, don't you think?

It turns out that 64 is 1000000 (1 million) in binary. So this is a significant birthday. (Thanks to my math-nerdy stepdaughter, Sarah, for cluing me in to this interesting fact.)

Best of all, in just a few days, Tom will finally join me in calling Richmond, Virginia home base after 40 years in Atlanta.

Marrying Tom was the best thing I ever did. Happy birthday, sweetheart!















Monday, July 27, 2015

Evening Prayer


Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers and mothers, creator of the changes of day and night, giving rest to the weary, renewing the strength of those who are spent, bestowing  upon us occasions of song in the evening. As you have  protected us in the day that is past, so be with us in the  coming night; keep us from every sin, every evil, and every  fear; for you are our light and salvation, and the strength of our life. To you be glory for endless ages. Amen.

(BCP 113)






Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 145:10-19


All your works praise you, O LORD, *

and your faithful servants bless you.


They make known the glory of your kingdom *

and speak of your power;


That the peoples may know of your power *

and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.


Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; *

your dominion endures throughout all ages.


The LORD is faithful in all his words *

and merciful in all his deeds.


The LORD upholds all those who fall; *

he lifts up those who are bowed down.


The eyes of all wait upon you, O LORD, *

and you give them their food in due season.


You open wide your hand *

and satisfy the needs of every living creature.


The LORD is righteous in all his ways *

and loving in all his works.


The LORD is near to those who call upon him, *

to all who call upon him faithfully.











Saturday, July 25, 2015

Caturday! Farmer's Market Edition

 On Saturdays, our church hosts a big farmer's market in the parking lot. It's right out my back gate. There's music (today a pop band featuring a parishioner who is the lead singer and parent of one of our Girls' Choir girls) and dogs and strollers (an adorable baby in sunglasses entertained me for at least ten minutes). And food. Lots of wonderful farm fresh food.








Like these gorgeous eggplants.  (Or is it eggplant because it's a collective food noun?)












Anyway, today, Bella decided to help me with the produce. Here you see her checking a chive for freshness.







Chives need to stand up to a lot of handling. Here Bella puts a chive through its paces.
















So far so good. Bella is now ready to make salad. Here she is getting out the salad spinner. It's going to be delicious!

Happy Saturday!













Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday Music: Uprising with Kneebody



This is Kneebody, a jazz group (I guess you could say that - they play at a lot of jazz festivals etc) from California playing their original song Uprising at the Berklee High School Jazz Festival in Boston last February.

Kneebody is:

Shane Endsley: trumpet
Ben Wendel: tenor sax
Adam Benjamin: keyboards
Kaveh Rastegar: bass
Nate Wood: drums


Enjoy!





Thursday, July 23, 2015

Collect for the Renewal of Life


O God, the King eternal, who 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 while it was day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(BCP 99)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Morning Prayer



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

(BCP 827)





Monday, July 20, 2015

Morning Psalm



But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God;*
I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.
I will give you thanks for what you have done *
and declare the goodness of your Name in the presence of the godly.

Psalm 52:8-9







Sunday, July 19, 2015

Some thoughts about Jesus in the Marketplace



Read today's Gospel from Mark here.

I am something of a news junkie. In the mornings, I listen to the news on my radio app while I get ready for work, and my phone lights up a couple of times a day with a notification of a breaking news story from the Times. 

There’s so much going on in this big wide world, and while I know I couldn’t possibly keep up with all of it, I am deeply interested in trying to stay connected at some level with the world’s events and people and stories.

If I were reading about today’s Gospel in the newspaper, I might find it in the entertainment section. Huge crowds of people are following this guy Jesus around! They are looking for him to come to a place near them, and they rush out to meet him everywhere he goes, they recognize him easily and flock to him, as if he and the disciples were the Grateful Dead.

Or I might read it in the lifestyle and wellness section. The world is so busy, and there are so many things pulling at us from this side and that. Our spiritual leader Jesus reminds us that we need sometimes to get away, to refresh, to rest, to sit down and eat a healthy meal and recharge. (I know that’s right. I’m going to tear out that article and put it on my refrigerator!)

Or the health section. There is a great epidemic and it is widespread. There is so much need - in the cities, on the farms, in villages. Everywhere there are people, there is sickness and despair. People are desperate for healing, and they are helping one another the best they can, volunteering to take their family, friends and neighbors to a place where they might receive help from Jesus who is a great healer.

Heck, it might even be in the education section. Jesus, the teacher, mentor to many disciples, sends them out to teach others and then brings them back to talk about their experiences to help them be better teachers themselvesHe not only teaches the few but also the many. He is that rare kind of teacher who is spurred on by compassion, especially for those who are struggling and scattered because of their circumstances, and his teaching is all about the healing power of love.

I imagine any one of these stories might resonate with you.

But frankly, the part that really jumps out at me from the Gospel today is the word marketplace. “Wherever Jesus went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.”

The marketplace. 

I listen to the marketplace morning report on NPR. I read in the business section about what’s happening in the world of, well, business. For many of us, marketplace is the word that describes the the place that is at the center of the stuff that makes the world (or at least our world) go round. 

In the old days, too, of course, the marketplace was the center of everything. The marketplace was not just where you got your bread and vegetables but also it was the public square, at the intersection of commerce and culture and conversation.

And in this story, oddly enough, that’s where the people brought their sick. Right into the marketplace. Not the synagogue, not the leper colony or other enclave of the unwell off to the side somewhere, not even the village healer’s house. They brought them into the marketplace in every village and town.

For the last week or so, almost every day my phone has lit up with a news flash about the situation in Greece, about the Greek economic crisis, the opinions of the Greek people, the bailout offer from the European community, and everybody’s reaction to everything. This is such a complex situation and I have struggled to understand all the ins and outs of it. But the headline that really struck me appeared in last Saturday’s New York Times, which read: “Greek Financial Crisis Hits Poorest and Hungriest the Hardest. “

That story wasn’t in the business section, though.

But maybe it should have been. This is not the first time I’ve seen a headline reporting that the poor and hungry often suffer while the world is working on something else. 

And so with all this in mind, I am wondering about how Jesus is asking me to see the world around me in light of this story today. I know I am always called to see things through the eyes of faith, but I sometimes have a hard time not compartmentalizing life. I’ve often preferred keeping things in their proper sections like the newspaper does. But life isn’t really like that. All kinds of stuff gets mashed up together whether we like it or not. And probably for the best. I think Jesus belongs in all my categories and not just in one.

And so I am wondering. Maybe the message from the Gospel today asks us all to bring the poor, the hungry, the imprisoned, the sick, the dying, the desperate right into the marketplace, right into the center of things, the place where much of our focus is, and beg for the world’s attention. Maybe the lost, the least, the grieving, the sad and confused should be right there in the center instead of off to the side.

And maybe the message from the Gospel today is that Jesus walks through the marketplace, too, just like we do, and when he does, he leaves healing in his wake. What would the world be like if we all did that, if we all left healing in our wake?

Healing is the thing Jesus was most known for, and from what I can tell, healing is the thing all of us need, in one form or another, at one time or another in our lives. Many of us carry burdens - grief, guilt, anxiety - and some of us carry illness around as well. Life is hard.

The good news is that Jesus is coming to our town, every day, always, to walk through our lives and our world. He brings wisdom and compassion. He has things to teach us and power to heal us. He is the place in which we can find rest. We are his sheep and he is our shepherd who cares for us and attends to us, watching over us, gently bringing us home, gathering us into community - this community - where we are loved, when the world and its ways do their best to scatter and isolate us. 

This is at the forefront of Jesus’ focus and work. Perhaps it should be ours, too.

Because wherever Jesus went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.







Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday Movie: Flashback Friday/Simon's Cat






This is an 8-year old Simon's cat movie, but I still laugh at it because it is such typical behavior, both on the part of Simon and his cat!

Happy Weekend!





Thursday, July 16, 2015

Evening Prayer




O Gracious Light Phos hilaron

O gracious light,
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed! 


Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 



You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of Life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds. 









Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Let's Play!



Copy of the 12th Century Lewis Chess Set 
found on the Isle of Lewis (outer Hebrides), Scotland, in the 19th Century.

I think I would have enjoyed playing chess more with these than the ho-hum set I had as a young person.

How fascinating to see the facial expressions and the clothing for these characters.

Happy Wednesday! Have some fun today.


















Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Lunchtime!


Titmouse has a mouthful!

I love how these little birds eat. They fly to the feeder, pick out one seed, fly back into a tree and bang the seed on the branch to break the shell, eat the seed and then do it all over again. No wonder they stay so thin - exercise as you eat!

All God's creatures . . . 








Monday, July 13, 2015

Morning Psalm


Psalm 25: 1

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul;

my God, I put my trust in you;*
let me not be humiliated,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.









Sunday, July 12, 2015

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Caturday!

Sally: What on earth is that, Bella?

Bella: I don't know, but I have a sudden desire to eat it.


Friday, July 10, 2015

Friday Movie: John the Baptist in Art




The Gospel for this Sunday is the beheading of John the Baptist (Mark's version). In preparation, here's a neat film from the London National Gallery (featuring art historian Jennifer Sliwka and theologian Ben Quash) about John the Baptist in art. This is the introduction, but there are nine more films on the particulars of the art shown here if you're interested in more detail.

Happy Friday! Keep your head about you.



















Thursday, July 9, 2015

Coots


This is a coot.

When I was young, we called old people "coots." As in, "he's just an old coot." I think we mostly referred to males as old coots. Eccentricity intensified the quality of being an old coot. 

Then I moved to Virginia and discovered that there is another kind of coot. I see a lot of them on the water. They don't seem particularly eccentric. 

Another childhood image burst because of a new experience.












Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Monday, July 6, 2015

Morning Psalm




Psalm 1 

1Happy are they who have not walked in the counsel of the wicked,*
nor lingered in the way of sinners,
nor sat in the seats of the scornful! 
2Their delight is in the law of the LORD, *
and they meditate on his law day and night. 
3They are like trees planted by streams of water,
bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither; *
everything they do shall prosper. 
4It is not so with the wicked;*
they are like chaff which the wind blows away. 
5Therefore the wicked shall not stand upright when judgment comes,*
nor the sinner in the council of the righteous. 
6For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, *
but the way of the wicked is doomed.







Sunday, July 5, 2015

Two by Two






He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. 

(Mark 6:7-8)








Saturday, July 4, 2015

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.

Happy Birthday, America!



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











Friday, July 3, 2015

Friday Video: Crazy




The Presiding Bishop-elect of the Episcopal Church, Michael Bruce Curry, preached this sermon at the previous General Convention (2012) on the feast day of Harriet Beecher Stowe. He says we need some crazy Christians.

Love this guy (currently the Bishop of North Carolina). Just like me, he preaches from an iPad. We are so blessed to have this man as our leader for the next nine years. *

*not because of the iPad.








Wednesday, July 1, 2015

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