Saturday, May 28, 2016

Saturday movie: Cats and Boxes (featuring Simon AND Simon's cat)

This is great fun. Before watching the latest Simon's cat video about the cat finding a box, Simon explains what he was after for making the video and an animal specialist explains why it is that cats love boxes and also gives ideas about making boxes enriching for cats. I will have to make Bella and Sally one!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Friday Music Video: Bartok and Lang Lang

Lang Lang plays Bela Bartok's Piano Sonata (first movement, allegro moderato) with verve. This piece was written in 1926 when, supposedly, Bartok wrote a lot of piano music.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Nearly wordless Wednesday: bath time

Sanderling bathes in the incoming tide. (Sadly, this is not a recent photo. Need to remedy that.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tuesday night prayer

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.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Collect for Copernicus and Kepler

Today we celebrate Copernicus and Kepler as a lesser feast. Here's the collect for the day:

As the heavens declare your glory, O God, and the firmament shows your handiwork, we bless your Name for the gifts of knowledge and insight you bestowed upon Nicolaus Copernicus and Johannes Kepler; and we pray that you would continue to advance our understanding of your cosmos, for our good and for your glory; through Jesus Christ, the firstborn of all creation, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Trinity Explained! (Maybe?)

I have posted this before, but it's worth seeing again. On Trinity Sunday, we celebrate the Doctrine of the Trinity, which nobody really understands (and doesn't need to, really).


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Caturday napping

At some point, I bought three cat toys that were "birds" made of felt, with a feather or two, and the usual white polyester stuffing. They have rotated around with other toys as not particularly favorite UNTIL one of them starts losing the stuffing. THEN it becomes the favorite toy. 

There was a blue one that got down to a mere scrap that I was finally successful in throwing away (Bella particularly likes to check the bedroom trash can to see if any of her toys are in there, no matter what shape they are in). Now the orange one is going the same way.

I guess the old saying is true, that you don't know what you've got until it's (almost) gone.

It's a misty, cool day here. Good day for a nap with your favorite lovey.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Some thoughts on Pentecost

Some years ago I went to the small Theater in the Square in Marietta, Georgia, to see the one-man performance of The Gospel of John in which the actor Brad Sherrill dramatically recited the entire Gospel by himself. Certain seats in the front rows were designated by the actor to be the place where he would go when Jesus interacted with certain characters in the story.

I happened to be sitting in the seat where he would be encountering Philip. I didn’t know this when I sat down, but I was rather pleased at the beginning of the performance when the actor stopped in front of me and said, “Follow me.” I glowed with a bit of pride, as if Jesus had come to me himself.

It was a little less exciting when he stood in front of me sometime later and asked me, “How are we going to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” I suddenly felt put on the spot. Thank goodness he walked away to deliver my answer that six months’ wages would not buy enough bread to feed the 5,000.

Then he got to Chapter 14 and stood in front of me and said, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’” And I wanted to jump out of my seat and fall onto my knees and ask forgiveness. 

Oh, I was convicted. It was as if Jesus himself stood in front of me, looking me in the eye and saying, Penny, have I been with you all this time and you still do not know me?

It’s as bad as when Jesus, who said I am the way, the truth and the life, stood in front of Pilate who asked him, “What is truth?” My mother had a phrase she used to describe people who, shall we say, had trouble staying on the up and up. "He wouldn't know the truth if it were standing right in front of him." Yeah, that was me.

A poet-friend and member of St Bartholomew’s, Atlanta, Kendall Lockerman, wrote a poem a few of years ago about Pentecost, and in it he ventures that “Pentecost... is the day when the Holy Spirit came down to roost on the heads of the apostles and the Holy Spirit set their hair on fire. The apostles appeared to know from the very beginning that dealing with the Holy Spirit was going to be weird....The Holy Spirit is as weird now as she ever was. Rock on, that.”

Life accompanied by the Spirit is often unsettling. Jesus’ work itself was unsettling - eating with sinners and outcasts, touching women and lepers, doing unauthorized things on the Sabbath, preaching love and forgiveness, turning things upside down, relentlessly providing abundance through ridiculous amounts of wine and bread and fish. First century weirdness, that.

In our day, this time of constant noise and distraction, a time when it is not cool to go through the day with a sense of wonder but rather to be a pessimist, ever ready to get into it with people who don’t agree with us, it can be hard to discern the work of the Spirit, which is more likely to present with a lot more subtlety than people with their hair on fire. Karoline Lewis, a New Testament professor at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, says that Lutherans call the Holy Spirit “the shy person in the Trinity.” Our rector here likes to quote Parker Palmer that the Spirit is like a deer that can be scared off by people crashing through the woods looking for it.

Nonetheless, Jesus is right. The Spirit is with us all the time and does the kind of work that turns the world upside down.  But always for love and always for reconciliation. The Spirit kindles a flame and leads us by that light, as Paul says in his letter to the Romans. 

When I think of our friend who has been in Greece helping with the refugee crisis there, I know it was the Spirit that led him to get on a plane and bring his skills as both an EMT and a lawyer to bear on that roil of human suffering. When I read about families both Palestinian and Israeli who get together to listen to one another’s stories about their loved ones who have died in the never-ending conflict there and vow to work for peace, even though they're supposed to be enemies, I know it is the Spirit that is at work there both to spur on and to comfort. When I think of our own parishioners going even into solitary confinement to bring communion and love into the Richmond city jail, I know it is the Spirit that prompts them to go and share love and also to find the Spirit already at work among the incarcerated.

So my prayer for you and for me today as we celebrate Pentecost is that we continue to look for the Spirit’s work kindling the flame of love, leading us toward each other in reconciliation, which may well be right in front of our eyes. The Spirit has been with us all of this time. May we have the eyes to see.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Collect for The Ascension

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.


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