Thursday, May 31, 2018

Asking for your Prayers

This will be A very brief post this morning.  If you pray, and know the power of prayer, I would ask your prayers for a sister-Blogger and faithful saint who has been battling advanced stage cancer throughout this year.  She was hospitalized and is in need of Divine unction.
O God of heavenly powers, by the might of your command you drive away from our bodies all sickness and all infirmity: Be present in your goodness with your servant, that her weakness may be banished and her strength restored; and that, her health being renewed, she may bless your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Thank you, and I hope to share a good report.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

"What Rosanne Said..."

I would have much rather shared thoughts on an another topic, but again, our national attention is being wrested away by the media outlets infested by the thin-skinned.  For all that's occurred over the past twenty four hours, our biggest national story for the moment is Ms. Rosanne Barr, and what she tweeted.  If we could see past our collective national amnesia, we might recall that throughout her public life, Ms. Barr has been a crass provocateur with the ability inflame the sensibilities of all sides of the sociopolitical spectrum, and one who on occasion has had brief flashes of funniness.  In the 1990's, she tweeked many in middle America with her bad rendition of our National Anthem where she ended the off-keyed performance by spitting, scratching, and feigning to adjust a protective cup.  From her farm in Hawaii, she called for the public decapitation of Bankers following the Banking meltdown of 2007-08.  She had also once inflamed members of the Jewish community as she boasted of being a pall bearer at her Grandmother's funeral while she was considered ceremonially unclean.  So, when the volcano that is Rosanne experiences an eruption such as the other night, we shouldn't be at all shocked.  
"and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks." Ephesians 5:4 (NASB)
What does bother me in all of this is is the growing sense of selective indignation that seems to fall solidly along ideological lines.  In other words, the way we've become "Balkanized in our Butt-Hurt".  Many of those who are now baying for the banishment of Rosanne were themselves, chortling with joy over Ms. Michelle Wolf's shtick just a few weeks ago. But don't think I'm giving Rosanne a pass in all of this; I found her little twitter bit to be equally distasteful, unfunny, and unhelpful.

The Ad hominem attacks in Ms. Barr's tweet storm were base, crass, and unsettling.  I do hope that this was, as she confessed, done under the influence rather than typed with a clear head.  Yet this said, we're demanding that one woman be silenced as we celebrate the vicious, venomous verbal assaults of another woman.  This is a cognitive dissonance of the first order.  Our demands for civil decency must be nonpartisan.

Love one another my friends.  

Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day

From the Book of Common Prayer, 1928 Edition:
"ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, in whose hands are the living and the dead; We give thee thanks for all those thy servants who have laid down their lives in the service of our country. Grant to them thy mercy and the light of thy presence, that the good work which thou hast begun in them may be perfected; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord. Amen."
This beautiful prayer, found in the 1928 edition of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States, was excised from their 1979 prayerbook, along with other prayers for members of our Armed Forces.  Perhaps, this was fed by the Liberal animus towards all things military which was so prevalent in those post-Vietnam days of the late 1970's.  Perhaps it was a result of that unpopular war that the crafters of the new prayerbook intentionally left it out.

The morality/immorality of war is a discussion for another day, yet, we have an obligation to remember those who answered the Republic's call in the time of struggle.  So today, we pause to remember the Blacksmith who fell at the Battle of the Brandywine.  We recall the carpenter who fell in Maryland in the Battle of Bladensburg, the clerk who fell at Marye's Heights, and the iron worker who fell on a beach in Normandy.  From Camden to Kandahar, have given their last breath, answering the call.  This is why we stop on the last Monday in May to remember them.  

Tuesday, May 15, 2018


I'm going to busy prepping for a three week teaching engagement over the next few weeks, so the site may get a little quiet.  I will be posting the lesson outlines as they're completed.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Some Saturday Reverie

From the Book of Common Prayer, A Collect for Saturdays:
Almighty God, who after the creation of the world rested from all your works and sanctified a day of rest for all your creatures: Grant that we, putting away all earthly anxieties, may be duly prepared for the service of your sanctuary, and that our rest here upon earth may be a preparation for the eternal rest promised to your people in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Saturdays had a certain magic to them when we were kids.  It was a time of innocence when you could get up at 7:00 AM, have a few bowls of your favorite sugar-packed breakfast cereal, and enjoy a few hours of Cartoons.  How things have changed from those 60's & 70's Saturday mornings.  The networks no longer air cartoons, and any parent who would deign to allow their children to eat sugared breakfast cereals are held up to a certain level of scorn.  Back then, Saturdays (along with Sundays) were a day off for a majority of Americans.  True, people worked on the day, but these would typically be those employed in the retail/food sectors, or those providing vital health & safety services.  Today, Saturday is just the day that follows Friday as our economic realities have morphed over time.  Yet for all the changes, there is one fact that has not changed, and this is the fact that today is the day before Sunday.

Saturday precedes Sunday, and though this might sound like a Captain Obvious type aphorism, it has application.  Tomorrow will be a day to worship of the Almighty for many.  Followers will gather at their respective places of worship for prayer, praise, proclamation, and to celebrate.  As an Anglican Deacon, I will be proclaiming the Gospel, leading saints into corporate prayer and public confession, and bidding those saints peace as they go forth, "rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.  All of these aforementioned things were never met to be entered into in a casual manner.  Rather, they've always have meant to be approached thoughtfully and deliberately. This is why today's Collect exhorts us as it does.

Rather than being a cryptic call to a seventh day sabbatarianism, the prayer exhorts the very opposite.  The writer is calling those who'll be in the house of the Almighty tomorrow, to take the time to prepare today.  We pray that by "putting away all earthly anxieties" (through laying or cares and burdens at the foot of the cross), that we would be prepared for the service of the sanctuary tomorrow.

This isn't the exclusive command for the clergy, far from it.  All who enter into a heart of worship tomorrow will be engaged in that "service of the Sanctuary".  Our participation in corporate worship is our service.  This is why we are called to take time today, that we might make His praise glorious tomorrow.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Thursday Evening Reverie -- "Jackson's Song"

This song hit the American Airwaves in 1974 and had been considered a Christmas song since then.  Yet for me, in November 2014, the song rose again in my soul when Jackson joined us on a Saturday Evening in Stafford Hospital.  I can't listen to it without welling up or getting a lump in my throat.

Ascension Day

From the Book of Common Prayer:
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.
Today marks the Feast of the Ascension in the Western Christian Calendar.  This 40th day after Easter, is when The Christ lighted off the Mount of Olives to take His place at the right hand of the Father.  Scripture records other Ascensions, notably that of the Prophet Elijah.  But unlike those other ascensions, this one would be accompanied by the witness of Angels as recorded by Saint Luke in his Acts of the Apostles:
"9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven." Acts 1:9-11 (ESV)
For the Apostles and the others, this moment was the capstone on a whirlwind 44 days and a period where they saw their Master institute a new commandment.  They saw Him arrested and die on a cruel Roman cross.  They witnessed His resurrection from the grave and along with 500 other witness, saw him repeatedly over the proceeding 40 days.  Now, on a mountaintop, they saw Him disappear from the physical realm and enter a realm outside of time and space.  They stood gobsmacked, trying to apprehend what they'd all witnessed.  Here in this moment two men, clearly Angelic, echoed the words of their Master and promised that the Christ who left their realm would someday return to it in the same dramatic fashion.

This day stands to remind us of some powerful truths.  It recalls the day when Jesus, having completed His mission to redeem fallen humanity, returned to his home realm and rightful position, seated as the Son of the Most High God.  Though Scripture doesn't explicitly state it, I suspect that all of Heaven erupted into a cry of triumphal joy.  But it doesn't end here.  There is, as the late Paul Harvey would say, a "rest of the story".

In a moment known only by the Godhead, Christ will once again rise from His throne and enter back into our sphere.  As the historic creeds remind us:
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.
I invite you to reflect today.