Thursday, December 27, 2012

Apostle & Evangelist -- Saint John

John, the son of Zebedee, with his brother James, was called from being a fisherman to be a disciple and “fisher of men.” With Peter and James, he became one of the inner group of three disciples whom Jesus chose to be with him at the raising of Jairus’ daughter, at the Transfiguration, and in the garden of Gethsemane.

John and his brother James are recorded in the Gospel as being so quick to anger, wanting to avenge the their Gospel message, that Jesus nicknames them “Boanerges,” which means “sons of thunder.” They also appear ambitious, in that they sought seats of honor at Jesus’ right and left when he should come into his kingdom. Yet they were faithful companions who were willing, without knowing the cost, to share the cup Jesus was to drink. When the other disciples responded in anger to the audacity of the brothers in asking for this honor, Jesus explained that in his kingdom leadership and rule take the form of being a servant to all.

Tradition would identify “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” and if this is the case, then he clearly enjoyed a very special relationship with his Master, reclining close to Jesus at the Last Supper, receiving the care of his Mother at the cross, and being the first to understand the truth of the empty tomb.

Saint Luke, in his Acts of the Apostles records John’s presence with the Apostle Peter on several occasions: the healing of the lame man at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, before the Sanhedrin, in prison, and on the mission to Samaria to lay hands on the new converts that they might receive the Holy Spirit.

Church tradition contends that John later went to Asia Minor and settled at Ephesus, where he had the care of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, until her death. Under the emperor Domitian, he was exiled to the island of Patmos, where he experienced the visions recounted in the Book of Revelation. Irenaeus, at the end of the second century, writes that Polycarp, bishop of the Church at Smyrna, recalled in his old age that he had known the apostle while growing up at Ephesus. It is probable that John died there. He alone of the Twelve is said to have lived to extreme old age and to have been spared a martyr’s death, though he suffered the martyrdom of exile.

Adapted from Lesser Feasts and Fasts (1980)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Adventus Interruptus

From Saint Matthew:
"A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more."
I have to confess that this week has left me numb.

While soldering on Thursday, I learned that a longtime friend lost her 18 month fight against pancreatic cancer.  Then like all of you, I turned on the news only to see the hell that was unleashed on the lambs of Sandy Hook.  

Wendy and I became acquainted at my first job after retiring from the Air Force.  Truly an amazing soul; she was that person who could light an entire room simply by crossing its threshold.  She cast an infectious joy and even when having to confront a weasel of a first husband, her spirit was indomitable.  It was as though the old saying "You can't keep a good woman down" was penned for her.

Early in 2011, Wendy experienced an event while flying from Colorado.  Several of us advised her to go to the emergency room after developing what we suspected to be a blood clot.  This visit revealed the terrifying news of the cancer yet it probably extended her life.

She fought bravely over the coming months and obtained a quiet abiding faith in the Almighty, whom she knew was sustaining her through the body-wracking procedures fighting the cancer that was battling for her body.  But at 1:15 on Thursday morning, she exchanged her battered body for light eternal in the presence of the Almighty Triune Godhead.  For Wendy, we pray:
Almighty God, we remember before you today your faithful servant Wendy; and we pray that, having opened to her the gates of larger life, you will receive her more and more into your joyful service, that, with all who have faithfully served you in the past, she may share in the eternal victory of Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
*   *   *   *   *
Yesterday, we all learned of the hell that was unleashed on the quiet town of Newtown, CT.  I refuse to call this a tragedy.  I tragedy is when a child is lost to an accident or sudden illness.  Hell is when a son of Belial murders a classroom full of kindergartners, his mother and other adults before taking his own life.  Babies, whose entire lives were in front of them were wrenched from this world in an unthinkable fury.

My prayers go up for every family that has been touched by this horror.  My prayers also go up for this Republic that it would see the misery that's be wrought by this post-christian experiment.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


From the Scrolls of Isaiah:
"The LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test. Then Isaiah said: "Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good."
Isaiah, like Jeremiah, was a Prophet at low ebb in Judah's history.  Enemies were at the gates and they were being ruled by a wicked, idolatrous king.  Even at a time like this, Advent's hope bursts fourth.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wednesday Morning

From St. John's Gospel:
"There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world."
Jonah bar Zechariah, John, the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth, John the Baptizer;  Described by the Christ as the greatest man born of woman but least in the Kingdom of Heaven.  He was like a flaming arrow that was shot high into the dark night.  He died at the hands of a sniveling coward of a king who had him decapitated only to save face before his fellows.

Like his slightly younger cousin, John's birth followed an angelic announcement but where Jesus was born to a fair young virgin, John was born to aged parents and to a mother who was heretofore unable to conceive.  He was destined to live his adult life as an ascetic, someone who's appearance might strike fear into the hearts of polite folk.

In the days preceding the public ministry of Christ, his voice thundered across the Jordan Valley, speaking to rich and poor, Jew and Gentile alike; calling them to public repentance and to a Baptism that would be a public emblem of that repentance.

Do we hear him speaking to our lives in this season of preparation and examination?  His words call us to repent, and to ask "Would we be ready to meet the Christ if His second Advent were to be fulfilled today?"

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


From the Book of Malachi:
"See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight-- indeed, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? 
For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the LORD in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years."
A read through Malachi, the "Italian Prophet", is to see a book that is full of the language of Advent.  Whether his is writing of the coming Baptizer who'll blaze the trail for the Messiah or the coming of the Lord himself, the language can't be clearer. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

On a Misty Morning in Advent

Reverie as the Caffeine kicks in...  On Jordan's Bank, the Baptist's Cry:

Sunday, December 09, 2012

On the Second Sunday in Advent

From the Book of Common Prayer (1928):
BLESSED Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
In this current season of Christ's Second, man succumb to the temptation of using the Washington Post, Matt Drudge, "Rapture Ready" or even Jenkins and LaHaye as their means of knowing the times.  Though some of these sources are more earnest than others, they can't provide us with the means to discern, nor will they ever be a path to becoming "wise unto salvation".

It's in Holy Scripture that we see the unfolding of Christ's first coming and with it, along with the Holy Spirit's illumination, we might discern His second Advent.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

An Advent Meditation from Celebration Anglican

Toby Larson, Vicar of Celebration Anglican in Fredericksburg, VA shares an Advent Meditation Here...

Friday, December 07, 2012

Friday Reverie

On a Fair Friday in Advent

From the Book of Jeremiah:
"The days are coming,' declares the LORD, 'when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David's line; he will do what is just and right in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness."
What a promise!  Jeremiah served the Almighty and ministered to the people of Judah at a time when the glories of David and Solomon were stories of past glory.  The kingdom was long divided and Israel to the north had been shattered by the Assyrians.  Judah now was on the verge of falling to the armies of Babylon.  In the midst of all this bad news comes this prophecy of hope; A righteous ruler will arrive on the scene and Jerusalem will be safe and secure.

Many (if not most) today are sensing a similar dread as they skim The Drudge Report or listen to the news.  We seem also to be living in a time of despair where our rulers are evil atheists and our enemies are at the gates.  Yet the promise made 2,600 years ago is ours to hold onto in Advent.  Our deliver is coming!

There is hope in Advent!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Starlight Serenade

The Feast of St. Nicholas

From the Book of Common Prayer:
Almighty God, in your love you gave your servant Nicholas of Myra a perpetual name for deeds of kindness both on land and sea: Grant, we pray, that your Church may never cease to work for the happiness of children, the safety of sailors, the relief of the poor, and the help of those tossed by tempests of doubt or grief; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Very little is known about the life of Nicholas, except that he was the bishop of Myra, on the southwestern coast of Asia Minor in what is now Turkey, and that he suffered torture and imprisonment during the persecution under the Emperor Diocletian. It is possible that he was one of the bishops attending the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in 325 (though he is not in any of the early lists of bishops present at the Council). Tradition holds that he was a defender of orthodoxy against Arianism. According to one legend, he was censured by the emperor Constantine after he dealt Arius a blow to the head during a session of the Council of Nicaea, his patience having been sorely tried by Arius’ behavior during the Council.

He was honored as a saint in Constantinople by the late sixth century by the Emperor Justinian, who in 580 dedicated a church to Nicholas in that city. His veneration became immensely popular in the West after the supposed removal of his body to Bari, Italy, in the late eleventh century (the three ships in which his relics were brought from Myra to to the seaport of Bari play a role in the Christmas carol, “I saw three ships come sailing in on Christmas Day in the morning”). In England almost 400 churches were dedicated to Nicholas, and there have perhaps been more churches and chapels dedicated to him throughout the world than to any other saint.

Nicholas is famed as the patron of Russia and Greece, the guardian of virgins and poor maidens, the protector of travelers, sailors, and merchants. He is also the patron of many towns and cities, including Bari, Venice, Freiburg, and Galway. In modern times he is perhaps best known as the protector and benefactor of children. One of the best known of the legendary narratives which demonstrate Nicholas’ love for God and for his neighbor is the story of his provision of dowries for three unmarried young women. The story is told that the father did not have money sufficient for their dowries, so on three successive nights Nicholas threw a bag of money through an open window, thus providing dowries for the man’s three daughters and probably saving them from lives of shame and prostitution.

adapted from the Oxford Dictionary of Saints, and the St. Nicholas Center

Wednesday, December 05, 2012


From the Mark's Gospel, Chapter 13:
Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It's like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. "Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back--whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!'"
Today as we consider Christ's first Advent, we have the luxury of of seeing it in hindsight. In our rear view mirrors, we see a wind-up of three or four millennia before the incarnate Son of God burst upon the human scene.  Though this is true and many actions of this Advent were set in motion early on, very few saw it coming and fewer still were proactively waiting its appearance.  Outside of shepherds "keeping their folks by night", and saints like Anna and Simeon were all but blind to the baby born in Bethlehem.

In the season Christ's Second Advent, it is also possible for us to have such an earthbound focus that we're lulled into a walking spiritual coma.  Its for this reason that our Messiah calls for our spiritual alertness. 

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

Comfortable Words

From Isaiah 40:
"Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins."
I'm coming to see Advent as a season of solemn joy and expectation, a time of "happy seriousness".  This is especially true for me in the season of Christ's second advent when I consider that seeing God will be the pinnacle of our existence.  Yet at the same time, there will be that reckoning when I stand before him, talents in hand to give my report.

Monday, December 03, 2012

On a Sunny Morning in Advent

From Genesis 3:15:
"And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel."
Advent's seeds, though envisioned in the depths of eternity past, were fist scattered in fragrant Eden moments before Adam and Eve were evicted from paradise.

Believing in the omniscience of the Almighty, I have to believe that even in the deepest mists of the cosmic past, the Trinity that saw the coming rebellion of angels saw that the the chief usurper Lucifer successfully entice our first parents.  With this knowledge, They already had a plan to pay the price for the couple's disobedience and redeem humanity from the dark night of eternal death.  Which brings us back to this promise in Genesis 3.

Our first parents, standing in the presence of deity and feebly trying to hide behind irritating fig leaves have not only lost their home, but were silently beginning to die.  Yet in this, Eve was promised that one of her progeny would face down the progeny of this serpent, defeating it once and for all.

Mel Gibson gave us a powerful, albeit extra-biblical, image of this encounter in his "The Passion of the Christ".  In this, Jesus after encountering a viper in Gethsemane, stomps its head and destroys it.  The true encounter would occur some hours later on the brutal Roman cross.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

And Advent Begins

From the Book of Common Prayer:
ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.
In spite of the yard displays that are visible from space, the plethora of pre-christmas sales and the like, it isn't Christmas.  No, its Advent.  Its the first season on the Church Calendar and that period where the Christians consider the three comings of Christ.  These being His first coming to a foul stable on a cold night in Bethlehem, His coming into the lives of all who fall at his feet in repentance, and that final coming when He'll break onto the world's scene suddenly and finally.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Ephesians 2:4-5:
"But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved."
It's a rare gift for one to truly have a grasp on their own fallenness.  Many of us who have been redeemed tend to loose sight of from where we were redeemed from and the pitiful state we were in when we were scooped from the "miry clay".  I respect those who have that true sense of themselves and know the depth of their depravity but I also grieve for them when I see that sense become a hindrance for their experiencing the joy of their salvation.  For these folk, I'd like to offer up some encouragement.

We all were born broken, with fallen natures that genetically predisposed us to be alienated us from the almighty.  Within this alienation we became masters of our own destinies, choosing paths and actions that were sinful and not God honoring.  But for those who've embraced God and called by His sovereign will, this nature has been rectified and these choices forgotten.  And now when we approach the presence of the Almighty He no longer sees us as we once were, but sees us as clothed in the arms of His son, the Christ.  Spiritually, we stand before the Holy Father, wrapped in the arms of the Holy Son.

Because Jesus is worthy, and its in His arms we stand, we can stand before the Almighty.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Feeling this one Tonight

Obama as Messiah?

This morning, many are laughing off Jamie Foxx's divine attribution to the president as satire.  But apparently, there's a measurable portion of people within our republic who are beginning to believe this as absolute fact.  Though I'm not about to run to a mountaintop and wait for the parousia over this development, it has raised my attention.

All orthodox Christian views of the end times, be it pre-, post-, a-, millenium;  pre-, mid-, post- tribulation, et, al teach of one who would raise himself up to stand against the Almighty and the people of God, the final antichrist.

Saint John tells us that that there are many "antichrists" and I believe that a study of history would reveal that there have been many such personalities who've appeared on the human stage.  I believe too, that when the Almighty brings the epoch of time and space to a close, that there will be one such person on the scene.  He will exist at a time when technology will allow him to speak globally, at once to the people of earth.  He will have the resources (PR and otherwise) to make him appear indeed as a savior of humanity, saving us from ourselves.  He'll have an innate charisma that will allow him to sway great groups of people and will seem a "uniter".

Am I saying that Barrack Hussein Obama is this man?  Not for a moment.  Would I imply that he possesses attributes of this "willful king"?  Absolutely.

We are now two generations removed from a "Christian America".  Many of the churches that were pillars of the historic faith now worship the trinity of Big Government, Abortion and Hedonism.  A growing majority of Americans represent themselves as "spiritual, not religious" (Neopaganism).  This troubled sea of humanity, though at war and alienated from the Almighty, has an aching vacuum within that cries out to worship something or someone.  This creates a recipe for cosmic disaster.

This is how the final Antichrist will rise to power.


I failed to see just how dusty this blog has become.  I suppose I could blame it on any number of things.  Anyhoo, its time to dust off the keyboard and climb back into the seat.

Thoughts on what's transpired over the Summer and Fall...  I was very disappointed, though not surprised, at the results of the campaigns and election.  With its predictable Orwellian verve, the American Socialists ran on bread & circuses, hedonism, prenatal infanticide, and a strawman "war on women" while the Establishment Republican party kneecapped candidates with true vision.  In November, the choice was down to either Alinskite Marxist or a candidate that many who simply "hold their nose and vote" for.  And, when one needed to show little more than a pizza coupon as identification to vote, the way was paved for potential voter fraud of epic proportions.

So, like apostolic Christians, we pray for Nero because scripture compels us to.  We pray that his heart would be animated by the Holy Spirit and his will be conformed to the Will of the Almighty.  We pray that any dreams or plans that run contrary to the will of God be defeated and come to nothing.

*   *   *   *   *

Advent is approaching and its my hope to share reflections on this season of preparation.  

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

On another hot July 4th, in the days before the rise of the cult of Gaia, men of courage, honor and faith gathered together to give their ascent to this Creed.  We remember them and it today...

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

On November 6, 2012, we have the opportunity to renew these vows.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Holy Saturday II

The shadows are drawing long on Holy Saturday.

Holy Saturday

From this morning's Gospel reading:
When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, "Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, `After three days I will rise again.' Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, `He has been raised from the dead,' and the last deception would be worse than the first." Pilate said to them, "You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can." So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.

The day that had been was like few ever experienced on this blue orb circling the sun. Outside the city walls of Jerusalem, a cosmic collision of the temporal and eternal took place, affixed to a cruel Roman cross. In the eyes of some, it may have appeared as the death of a desperate hope of throwing off the yoke of Imperial Rome. To others, it represented the messy death of a wide-eyed Sophist. Still to others, it appeared as the timely demise of a troublesome meddler who was bent on usurping a culture and religious system. Irrespective a body, now still and lifeless, hung between heaven and earth. The eyes that stare in from outside of our timeline saw something completely apart. To these eyes, there on Golgotha's hill hung the only propitiatory offering that could satisfy a Holy and Just God. Just moments prior, this God-man suspended above the earth cried out "Tetelestai"! The debt for sins ancient and future were paid. The God-man then stepped out of our timeline and willingly yielding his life back into the hands of the Father.

Those who were devoted to the decedent now had approximately three hours to see to the matter and in doing so, would render themselves ceremonially unclean for the coming feast Yet in their devotion, they sought the body of Jesus who might have otherwise been cast into the burning garbage dump outside of the city walls, gehenna. Instead of becoming food for carrion, the remains of the Christ were lovingly laid in a rich man's tomb.

Now, on the next day, the Jewish priestly aristocracy was nervous. They knew that in spite of the Christ's resounding declaration, that this was far from over. With the Roman governor's approval, the tomb was sealed with the signet of Imperial Rome. This seal was a dire warning to would be hoaxers that should they attempt to steal Christ's remains, they would suffer the same fate as the one lying on the other side of the stone.

From the standpoint of the Apostolic band, this had to be a crushing day. One of their own had handed Jesus over to the authorities and was now dead by his own hands. Their "class president" made a profanity-laced denial of their Master and was now living with the disgrace. The rest were hiding somewhere in the city, for fear that perhaps after the feast, they would be next.

Yet, we soon learn just how one day changes everything.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Good Friday II

I didn't deserve this... Thank you though. Help me to live in the light of so great, so perfect of gift

Good Friday

Praying this Morning's Collect:
Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Were the weather on that dire day anything like the weather experienced in Jerusalem this afternoon, it would have been clear with temperatures in the mid 80’s. This would certainly been warm enough to take the chill out of the air experienced before dawn when St. Peter made his fireside denial. So its no wonder that that St. Luke, physician and keen observer of history, made specific reference to the preternatural darkness that descended over Jerusalem for three hours. Perhaps, as it is in the case of modern executions, this was the LORD's way of closing the curtain in order to shield creation from the agony of its creator. Perhaps. What is known however is that the very icon, or expression of the inexpressible God was now suspended between earth and the heavens. The very fact that the Christ was still alive at this point was its own miracle.

Jesus had now been awake for close to thirty hours. During this, he had suffered crushing emotional distress to the point that the capillaries feeding his face ruptured, allowing holy blood to leech out of his pores. He had been pummelled and beaten in the facial areas to the point that most did not recognize him. At the hand of the Roman cohort, he received a brutal beating that few survived. Then, after carrying a 100 pound plus beam out of the city, he was then nailed to a Roman cross. (And we whine over a paper cut?)

Suspended, He endured the mocking of the many, ranging from those sharing his fate, to those in the religious establishment. The one who could have mustered heaven's power to shatter the earth into space dust, simply interceded for his tormentor's forgiveness. Naked, he was robbed of all his rightful heavenly splendor as the sins of humanity fell on his shoulders with the force of a pile driver. In the midst of this agony, he sensed the absence of the Heavenly Father as he quoted Psalm 22.

Some point before 3:00 PM, Christ raised himself on the nails that impaled his hands and declared "It is finished!" Moments later and rising on the nails one last time, he commended his spirit into the Father's hands. What did Mary or John see? What did the other women observe? Whatever it may have been was punctuated by the violent shaking of a planet in mourning.

Perhaps God cried...

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Wednesday in Holy Week

From this morning's Gospel:
At supper with his friends, Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, "Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me." The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. One of his disciples-- the one whom Jesus loved-- was reclining next to him; Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, "Lord, who is it?" Jesus answered, "It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish." So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, "Do quickly what you are going to do." Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, "Buy what we need for the festival"; or, that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

St. John paints an interesting picture of the unfolding betrayal. Of the eleven faithful disciples, only St. Peter and the evangelist are initially aware of that Judas, the man from Kerioth, is about to betray the Master. In fact, the remaining nine seem to thing that the Teacher has sent their brother out on a charity, or chow run. No, this was hardly the case.
Judas, according to Matthew's account, had in fact already agreed to throw the master to his enemies and was paid well for the deed. Now, he simply had to work out the logistics of making sure that Caiaphas's goons would make it to the garden in time to collar the Christ.

There are volumes of apologetic works explaining or conjecturing just why Judas betrayed the Master but in truth, these are little more than thin whitewash. Both scripture, and Judas' own conduct would tell us a different story. Mr. Iscariot was motivated by the same things that tweak fallen humanity today: greed, recognition, fleeting fame, the list goes on.:

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Tuesday in Holy Week

From this morning's Gospel reading:
"Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say-- `Father, save me from this hour'? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name." Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again." The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, "An angel has spoken to him." Jesus answered, "This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself."

So much had happened in a few dozen hours; a man dead four days was walking among the living, the words of Zechariah 9:9 had been fulfilled and now the voice of God the Father was rolling like thunder. Doubtless, many of those gathered in Jerusalem for the passover may have sensed in their hearts that they were on the cusp of something epic, something that was paradigm-shifting. Yet for all of this, the Christ is standing center stage, with a heart that grows heavier with each beat.

A heavy heart is not an enviable possession and I have to confess that I have been living through a season of heavy heartedness for some time, but this thought isn't about me and I digress.

What weighed on Christ's heart? Was it the knowledge that in less than 72 hours, he would become the recipient of 15 hours of hell on earth? Was it knowing that the city where he stood would be leveled and her residents the recipients of imperial genocide? I suspect that what was occurring at present was certainly a cause for sorrow. At this point, the city was swelling and surging as pilgrims filled Jerusalem in preparation for the Passover. The lion's share of those coming for the Lamb of Passover would ultimately reject the Lamb of God.

Friday, March 09, 2012

A Homily for a Friday

A tip or the Beret to Joy and Bill Moeller for sending this one to me.

How to Grow a Church

(Blogger's Note: This is a "re-write" of a piece that was begun yesterday. Upon examination, it had a bit too much "punch-in-the-face" factor, so I've begun take two on the essay.)

My thoughts this week have orbited around the Church. Not just Celebration, but the church as a whole. In my approaching half century, I've had a relationship or been an active member of fourteen churches. Granted, this number is probably higher than average due to twenty years of military service and the requisite military moves. I suspect that you too, gentle reader, have had a relationship with a few churches. Each of these churches had their own distinct flavors, ranging from Irish-American Roman Catholic, to primitive mountain-folk Pentecostal and not surprisingly, each had their admirable qualities. Conversely, Many of them had undesirable qualities that adversely affected them and in some cases, led to their demise as a faith community.

If we were to consider all of the churches in our lives, the thriving/successful along with the dysfunctional/dying ones, our minds quickly draw a series of questions. What makes the thriving church thrive? Or, what's at the root of a dysfunctional church's decline and death?

I'd like to state from the beginning, that I don't believe in gimmicky, pop-wisdom methods for growing churches. It doesn't take a "rockstar preacher" or earplugs to build a successful, thriving church. Conversely, churches don't decline and die because they don't employ the latest multimedia tools, tips and tricks. No, let me say emphatically, that the reasons for either growth or decline are found solidly within the pages of Holy Scripture. We don't grow sustainable churches by becoming a disciple of Barna Research Group or Aping the latest thing that Willow Creek or Lifepoint is attempting, nor do we kill a church by not hanging on every word of a certified church planter.

Let's close this installment by getting one fact straight from the start; we don't build churches, period. The Church is being built by Christ Jesus, who in addressing St. Peter said:

"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

More good stuff to follow.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Sandra Fluke is no Hero

OK, Let me tee this up for you with a little exercise in imagination.

Suppose you're a recreational golfer, someone who regularly hits the links. You really dig golf and enjoy a day out on the links with your partner. There's so much to love about the game; the warm breezes, the vibration that travels up your arm when you have a well-hit drive and the sound of that little titleist as it drops into cup. Then, there's the nineteenth hole, relaxing after the round over a crisp Reuben and a beverage. But, there're expenses associated with this recreational activity. True, you don't buy clubs every day, buy you've got to be kept in balls, tees, greens fees and the like. Sure, these aren't exorbitant but they do add up over time. But since this is your recreational activity of choice, you've counted the cost and play on.

Now, suppose you and your partner decide that your golf outings are a fundamental right that should be underwritten by others including those who like Mark Twain who consider golf "a good walk spoiled". Enter Stage Left, Miss Sandra Fluke.

The Socialist left in their never-ending parade of victims and grievances introduced us to Sandra Fluke Rather than present a poor and downtrodden woman, they (knowingly or not) created a poster child for subsidized recreational sex.

You are by all estimations Ms. Fluke, a mature adult. You need to be paying for your own recreational activities to include sex outside the bonds of marriage.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Double Standard?

Taking in the news this week, I caught the story of how New Mexico hairstylist Antonio Darden publicly announced that he would withhold his tonsorial services to Governor Susanna Martinez over her stand on homosexual marriage. As I read this piece in the paper (Yes, I still read print journalism), my mind wandered back to a story about three years ago concerning another New Mexican business owner, Elaine Huguenin.

Ms. Huguenin and her husband, who operate a mom n' pop photography business were approached by a pair of lesbians wishing to have their commitment ceremony captured on film. This broached the couples religious beliefs and to wit, they politely informed the women that they would be unable to photograph the event. Shortly thereafter, the couple were slapped with a $6,000 fine levied on them by the New Mexico Human Rights Commission.

Now for the question of the morning: Will we see this same commission levy a similar fine against Mr. Darden for his clear case of discrimination and denial of services against Ms. Martinez?

OK, its the Catbird's turn to beef. If there's a law on the books that bars "Discrimination" against an individual over "gender equality" issues, that law needs to be enforced uniformly, or it needs to be struck down and those penalized by it must be compensated. I know that there are those who will give a thousand tortured reasons why these cases are are different, but they are identical.

OK New Mexico, Fine Mr. Darden or cut the Huguenin's a check.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Meanwhile, over at Bad Vestments...

Tip of the Zuchetto to the elves over at Bad Vestments...

Question: If minimalist composer Phillip Glass decided to build a Cathedral, what might it look like?

Friday, February 03, 2012


The term "Middle Class" has been buzzing around the airwaves like those green flies around sterecore cani. I'd like to discuss what each side of the debate would have as the future of these enigmatic denizens of Surburia Majora would become.

Stay tuned....

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Launching Anno Domini 2012

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it… And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of [fn]the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.