an encouraging word
from our Bishop
have an uncanny ability to domesticate everything they touch.
even the strangest things
unfortunately, it is suffering or threat
could happen that
you love is suddenly in the grip
takes a few
know has just been rendered unsure and dangerous. You realise
Cannot Be Forced
Beauty enjoys a profound and ancient autonomy.
True beauty is from elsewhere, a pure gift.
It cannot be programmed nor its arrival foreseen.
It never falls simply into
the old patterns of what
is already there nor is it frivolous or burdened
with leaden solemnity.
Frequently, beauty is playful like dancing sunlight, it cannot
be predicted, and in
the most unlikely
scene or situation
can suddenly emerge.
This spontaneity and playfulness often
subverts our self-importance
and throws our
plans and intentions
Without intending it,
we find ourselves
coming alive in
a sense of
The pedestrian sequence
of a working day breaks,
a new door opens
and the heart
recognizes the silent
majesty of the ordinary.
we never notice,
friends and love,
emerge from their
and stand out in their
true radiance as gifts
we could never have
earned or achieved.''
- Beauty -
The Invisible Embrace
to read more quotes from O'Donohue's works ....
.... THE SERVANT KING ....
In the rich tradition of our Anglican Faith we have come to the end of yet another Church year. Today is the Last Sunday after Pentecost or the Sunday Next Before Advent. On this day we celebrate the Reign of Christ - acknowledging that Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords.
In the richness of our Anglican faith, we, in the Anglican Church, will celebrate Christ the King - for he is the King of Kings and Lord of lords. Yet, our GospelReading for today, taken from the rich well of Scripture Readings known as the Revised Common Lectionary, does not present us with a King, but of a man, from Nazareth, known as 'garbage town' is being treated as a common criminal, standing before Pilate. He has been betrayed by one of his own disciples ....
Pilate asks him "Are you a King?"
Jesus responds, "Did you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?"
"Am I a Jew?" responds Pilate.
Jesus then states "My Kingsom is not of this world."
And, by golly, he is right!
Ford Madox Brown's painting above of Jesus washing the feet of Peter captures the incredulous look on the faces of each of the disciples. They are perhaps unwilling or simply unable to believe just what it is they are seeing unfold right before their eyes. However, it is that incredulous look on the face of Peter that captures it all. It is just unbelievable. He is bewildered ... even disgusted. The painting truly captures that moment.
At first Peter refused to allow Jesus to wash his feet. John's recording of this incredulous moment is telling. We are again invited to eavesdrop on their conversation. First we need to understand the context.
Jesus and the disciples are celebrating the Passover. They are gathered around the table sharing in the Passover Meal as they remember their deliverance out of Egypt. We remember this meal as the 'Last Supper'. Jesus rose from the table and laid aside his outer robe and took a towel and put it around his waist. Most likely because of what he was doing next. Then he poured water into a ewer and began to wqash the feet of the disciples and to wipe them with the towel which he had put around himself. He came to Simon Peter.
Peter said to Jesus, 'Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"
Jesus answered him: 'You do not know what I am doing, but you will understand afterwards."
Peter said to Him: "You will never wash my feet."
Can you hear their voices? In the confines of what we now call the Upper Room, something very different is being played out. Something so incredulous, so beyond belief that Peter is adamant that Jesus will never wash his feet!
We can't really understand this. None of us. In our own ambitious ways, our need for recognition and control and power and prestige we cannot even begin to understand. "My kingdom," Jesus states, 'Is not of this world." That moment in that Upper Room, that began with a meal, becomes something of a lesson, a lesson in humility, for these ambitious and competetive disciples who left their jobs, their families, left everything to follow this man they called 'Rabbi, Teacher, even Master'.
Still considering context, Luke's Gospel sheds some light on what may have been going on here. Remember the room is charged. Soon Judas will leave their company to betray Jesus to the authorities for 30 pieces of silver. Shortly after this time in the Upper Room it will be Peter who will deny, deny, deny that he ever knew Jesus.
But it is Luke to tells us that while Jesus celebrated the passover meal, taking bread and after giving thanks giving it to the disciples, and in the same way, he passed the cup, saying that they were signs of his body and blood, a new covenant. But we are told, as Luke descibes it calmly that 'a dispute arose among the disciples about which one of them was the greatest'.
We also know from Mark's Gospel how James and John had at some point earlier approached Jesus asking to sit at his right and left hand. In Matthew's Gospel it is the mother of these two brothers who approached Jesus. The other ten disciples were 'indignant' with them about this, a polite way of saying the others were outraged at this request. So we know that the disciples were in competition with one another.
In Jewish culture of the day, it was the custom to wash your feet upon entering the house of another. Usually the homeowner would have a slave do this for his guests. To wash feet was the 'office of a slave' and not something a Rabbi would ever do. It was unthinkable for a Rabbi to do such a thing.
And so there it is. Twelve disciples gather around their Rabbi, sharing in the most important celebration in the Jewish calender and they are arguing among themselves and jockeying for positions of power and prestige ... all motivated by pride - each most likely thinking they are the greatest one among them. Even Peter, in Ford Madox Brown`s wonderful painting is not a happy camper, as Jesus kneels before him, holds Peter`s foot in his hand and washes Peter`s feet.
I like William Barclay`s explanation of what may have been going on here. "Now Jesus little company of friends had no servants. The duties which servants carried out in wealthier circles they must have shared among each other. And it may well be on the night of this last meal together they had got themselves into such a state of competitive pride that not one of them would accept the duty of being responsible for seeing that the water and the towels were there to wash the feet of the company as they came in. Jesus saw it; and Jesus mended that ommission in the most vivid and dramatic way`."
He Himself, did what none of them was prepared to do. And then Jesus said to them: "You have seen what I have done. You call me your Master and your Lord, and you are quite right; for so I am; and yet I am prepared to do this for you; and surely you don't think that a pupil deserves more honour nthan a teacher, or a servant than a master. Surely if I do this, you ought to be prepared to do it. I am giving you this example of how you ought to behave towards each other."
Like I said earlier, we can't comprehend or understand this. We want the recognition, the position, the place, the power. All of us. No exceptions. We enjoy the prestige of our 'high' positions and places of power and influence.
Just the other day, there was a great and wonderful service of ordination. The Cathedral was filled to capacity. The richness of our Anglican Tradition was there for all to participate in. In the great procession, led by layreaders, followed by clergy, canons,archdeacons, bishops and archbishops, it was truly a wonderful worship experience ..... and of course the family and friends of those to be ordained to be deacons and priests.
And yet, we see church communities and church committies, and various forms of the rich tradition of Anglicanismbeing ripped apart because people are filled with a sense of power and of their own importance.
And yet, we have this image of Jesus, the One who today, on the Last Sunday after Pentecost, the Reign of Christ Sunday, when we worship Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords, and wom,through the writing of John's Gospel, we "see" kneeling in front of his disciples, washing their feet in an act of humility. A Servant King?
"I am giving you this example of how you ought to behave towards each other."
- The Tears of Grief at the Altar of Memory -
THE HOLY GOSPEL OF MATTHEW 25 : 1 - 13
Glory be to thee, O Lord
"Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went
to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish
took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.
As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept.
But at midnight there was a shout, 'Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.'
Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise,
'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise replied, 'No! there will
not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.'
And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready
went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut.
Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, 'Lord, lord, open to us.'
But he replied, 'Truly I tell you, I do not know you.'
Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
Praise be to thee, O Lord.
There’s a day waiting for you in your life when unwelcome news will breach your boundaries,
whether through the measured sentences of an obligated physician or through the cold
earpiece of technology, news of illness to you or a loved one will arrive.”
John O’donohue, Irish poet, mystic, philosopher, and priest.
November’s the month we pause to remember. On the first Day of November we remember the Saints who have gone before us. Many of them martyred. The Church is built on spilled blood. First built on the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Secondly, Built on the blood of the martyrs. Built on the blood of the faithful, who choose death rather than deny Christ as Lord of their lives.
On November 2nd , for those of the Anglo-Catholic tradition, the deaths of the faithful departed are remembered. A complicated and controversial doctrine. Simply put, and I apologize for stating it perhaps too simply, it’s the praying for a person’s soul as it passes through Purgatory.
On the 11th day of November, the 11th, month, on the 11th day, at the 11th hour, the Nation, this great country of Canada, where we enjoy life,and health and safety,and all that is beautiful in the lives of God's people, made as we are in the image of God, we pause even only for a brief moment in time to remember those who have died in the great wars.
While on vacation recently up in Ontario, after the wedding of our niece Amy & her husband Isaiah, we took the opportunity to visit some very dear friends who live in Ottawa. They asked us what we would like to see while visiting their beautiful city, the Nation’s capital.
We asked to visit the National War Museum. It was a sobering experience to walk through somber exhibitions of the various great wars and lesser wars, if there can be such a thing. To read of the courageous and frightened Canadian soldiers who fought, many were wounded, in many different ways, and many died,their bodies laying where they fell. There was a great silence in the halls of the exhibits as people from all walks of life moved slowly and silently, whispering as they went from one exhibit to another.
Each exhibit depicted events beginning with the war of 1812 right up to Canada’s present day involvement in Afghanistan. The Museum profiles the human side of war. It also chronicles the devastation of war's effects on families, communities and countries. Through four galleries the museum narrates the events of war, the devastation of war,and perhaps the necessity of war to stop an evil. It also depicted how Canadian military involvement in these wars shaped the development of this country, both at home and on the world stage.
As we moved slowly and quietly from exhibit to exhibit, there was an older gentleman, old enough to be a 2nd World War Veteran justing sitting. He was sitting in front of a great display of the 2nd World War. His hands were clasped and his eyes were closed. First thoughts were that he might be sleeping. On closer inspection it was obvious he was praying. He sat there, unmoving, hands clasped, quietly, in reverent silence, with eyes closed in prayer for a very long time. One wonders what thoughts were travelling through his mind as perhaps the display took this gentleman back 'somewhere' in time.
There was one very special place there that our friends wanted us to see. It is a room away from all the other exhibits. It took us several tries to find this place. The first thing you see stepping into the room, built like a bunker, is a small window. There is a half-wall just below the window on which two people sat when we arrived. They were quietly looking at the tombstone. They just sat there. Looking at the tombstone. It was a tribute to all the ‘unknown soldiers’ who lay where they fell in the theater of war and their bones nourished places like Flander’s field to one day produce an abundance of bright blood red poppies. I wondered what thoughts might be in their minds.
The sunlight shines through that small window I spoke of. And at the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month, the sun lines up directly with the window and shines its light directly upon that memorial tombstone. The light shines bright in the darkness of war. As we took a seat on that half-wall I could not help but think of all those mothers and wives who had received telegrams informing them that their husbands and sons and daughters would not be coming home from war.
Walking through the long halls of the War Museum some words of John Donohue came to mind. I couldn't have given you the full quote that particular day word for word, but the idea was fresh in my mind. Having had the ardous task of notifying parents, on several different occasions, that their child had been killed in an accident I always found O'Donohue's words, not so much comforting, but gained a strength from the truth and reality of his words Again I quote:
"There’s a day waiting for you in your life when unwelcome news will breach your boundaries, whether through the measured sentences of an obligated physician or through the cold
arpiece of technology, news of illness to you or a loved
one will arrive.” John O’donohue, Irish poet, mystic, philosopher, and priest.
Thank God, that we as Christians, listening to the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, we know that were are to "keep awake" for none of us know the day or the hour when our Lord Christ will return. Each Sunday, is for the Christian a day of remembrance.
Lest we forget ....
A Season for Everything under Heaven
A wise man once penned some famous words. Maybe you have heard them. "There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven." The author of these wor ds of wisdom understood that within the human enterprise, ( although we like to think we have ), we re ally have no control over times and changes that are part and parcel of life.
One activity which sustains me during those stressful times, especially those challenging occasions when the sense of having no control over times and changes of life is really intensified, is my running. It is an activity that lends itself to every season. Running helps keep me sane.
This Thursday we enter into the season of Fall. We call it the Autumn Season back in Ireland. During this summer of rain, the blessing of all the rain was how the trees were just bursting, filled to overflowing with succulent green leaves and the grass underfoot was a brilliant shade of green all summer long that for an Irishman does the soul only good.
The Fall Season gets underway with the running of 29th Fall Classic Road Race. It looks like a record crowd with registration. It begins a season of special events for the Capital City Roadrunners Club. In November, the Club organizes the one and only Metric Marathon, and in December we have the "Not-the-Honolulu-Marathon, and its definitely not Honolulu temperatures. Both events are "fun" events always with a good turnout of runners - especially in December, the more winter-like the better it is.
As the green leaves give way to the reds, yellows and browns, that make Autumn a feast for the eyes, and as the days are cooler, and the hot, humid days of summer are but a memory, Autumn - the Fall reminds us that indeed seasons come and go and with it we grow older.
As the years pass, and the passing the big 60 mark earlier this year, without fanfare, and given the nature of what I do, one of the things impressed on my soul, at the deepest level, is the reality that life is fragile. For many, life is but a caged treadmill. You work, eat, sleep, then repeat.
I have learned that all the striving in the world as the search for success unfolds can come to naught in but a second. It is essential to learn to strive for the important things of life. There are many experiences in life that cannot be easily explained. There are many disharmonies and anomalies that the human mind cannot unravel. Many people go after schemes, taking advantage of others as they strive to get ahead. How they live with themselves must be another scheme.
For me, as a running reverend, the world around me is God’s handiwork. For me, God is Artist. Each Season brings to the eternal canvas great works of beauty that feed the soul as they provide a spiritual feast for the eyes. I love Autumn.
As Dr. George Sheehan, that great running philosopher, pointing out how Shakespeare got it wrong, and noted that the real question is ‘to play or not to play’ and what better way to ‘take up arms against a sea of troubles’. As I play in God’s wonderful garden, cultivating a spirituality, which is very different from some of the rigid religious practices we all have encountered, I believe God is in control.
That God is in control of my life, even in those times when I clearly know I’m not, helps me keep a balance on what is often a razor’s edge of uncertainty.
That God is in control of my life, helps me deal with those things, both large and little that happen in life and that I did not ask for or order, but that God has ordered all things, placed all things in their proper order, a season for everything under heaven.
That God has ordered all things helps me accept that when things happen, and they will and they do, they are in fact appointments, God’s appointments. Even though I cannot always, most always never, understand them, or even anticipate them. But the world is ordered by God. God is a God of order not of chaos. Winter will always follow Autumn. The moon will rise just as the sun will set. Night follows the day or is it the other way?
And so it is my goal to enjoy the life I have been given. To enjoy life fully. I’m not going to trouble myself with unrealistic goals, unnecessary worries, amass anxieties, but know and accept the measure of my human capabilities. This involves being prudent in all my ways. This involves a certain honesty in humility.
In cultivating my spirituality, within the measure of my capabilities, knowing that God knows my full potential, for I am created in the image of God, ( and each one of us is God’s work of art ), I seek to live life meaningfully, purposefully, and joyfully, maybe even doing a little song and dance sometime before sharing the sermon! Maybe being more purposeful in play. Not taking life too seriously.
To live meaningfully, purposefully and joyfully, means intentionally tasting, touching, seeing, smelling, feeling those good things of life, family and friends top the list. For this life is fleeting and the changes and chances are such that life’s enjoyments are often gone, the moment lost, before we have taken the time to fully acknowledge and appreciate and enjoy them. Also, entering the sixth decade of life, the ever advancement of the aging process reminds me to enjoy those good things of life and to offer thanks for them, except maybe for the white hair.
Of course, for the Christian, the challenge of the Christian life is to be able to give thanks in all circumstances of life, accepting all things, as appointments with God. Perhaps this idea is best stated in the solemn vows couples exchange in marriage, "to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health ...." Only we share that solemn vow with the Creator God.
In cultivating my spirituality, and running through not only the seasons of the year, but also through the season of life, from my days of foolish youth through more mature years, I have asked God to be the center of my life. As a Christian, the center of my life is Jesus Christ.
And so I place God, in Christ, at the center of my life. At the center of my work. At the center of all my activities, including, and especially so, my running. My spirituality takes time out for play - play renews my soul, my mind and my body. I enjoy running. It gives me a sense of freedom. It nourishes my soul.
In cultivating my spiriuality, I seek to be content with my lot in life - after all it is divinely appointed. It’s not always easy as many things seek to bring discontent. It is through daily prayer and praise, through daily devotions and Scripture reading that I seek to reverently trust in the Creator God. For in all of life’s mysteries and puzzles, in all the enigmas of this fleeting life - all life in this world - God’s world - all life is under God. God as made all things and we are made in God’s image.
Thus, cultivating my spirituality, it finds its fullest expression that it is only with God at the center of my life, my work, my activities, that helps me make some sense of life, and so endeavour to live life fully, to be freed from that caged treadmill, and to fully experience the good things in life, and trust completely in God in the difficult times of life.
The last word goes to Dr. George Sheehan, who was an inspiration for those of us who joined the running boom in the 1970's. He set the bar high and removed the barriers of age, and introduced a generation to the notion we need to play. Not only could he run, but he could write. Listen to a passage taken practically at random from Running and Being, it involves finishing a race, and the exhilaration of the 'race' to the finish line. As you read, I trust you are enjoying your life, for it’s the only one you will have. Sheehan wrote these words in 1978:
"Only in another season in heaven will I relive that finish. An impossible quarter-mile sprint and then holding on to the man I had just beaten so I wouldn't fall down. Hearing his heart pounding against my ear and my own beating in unison. Knowing only that and a world suddenly filled with friends saying nice things to an aging man who felt ageless in autumn."
On The Road to Emmas
* Minnie Estabrooks
Rod Langis *
Barb Langis *
Alexa Kaye *
*Darlene Losier *
Mary Lou Graves
March 5th, 2010
4:30 - 7:00pm
Welcome & Introduction -
7:15 - 7:30pm
7:30 - 8:00pm
8:00 - 8:15pm
Introduction of Presenters
8:15 - 9:30pm
Friday Night Prayers
March 6th, 2010
Breakfast - 8:00 - 9:00am
- 9:00 - 9:30am -
9:30 - 11:30am
- 12:00 - 1:00pm
- 1:00 - 2:00pm
2:00 - 4:00pm
- 4:00 - 5:30pm
- 5:30 - 6:30pm
6:30 - 7:00pm
7:00 - 10:00pm
- TBA -
BCP - Compline
March 7th, 2010
8:00 - 9:00am
Worship - Eucharist -
9:00 - 10:00am
10:00 - 11:00am
Wrap up - small group evaluations
11:00 - 12:00am
times and format subject to change.
Click here for
March 5th-7th, 2010