July 2012

This might have been how I should have ended last Sunday’s sermon (David’s Sin).  I ran across it today in Celtic Daily Prayer (it’s Ignatius of Loyola day in their calendar, and this was linked to the brief biography there):

O God,
I cannot undo the past,
or make it never have happened! (more…)

Is anyone else as shocked as I am that King David is known as a hero of the faith?  I mean, give me a break.  There’s really no getting around how badly he messed up.

He’s at war.  His eye falls upon the wife of one of his officers.  I imagine he’s something like a major in our world.  David lusts after his wife, he takes her, and he tries to cover it up.

When that fails, he arranges to have the officer murdered.  And he doesn’t seem to care about collateral damage.  A lot of other people die so that his death can seem to be of natural, or at least war related, causes.

It’s hard to think of anything much lower than this. (more…)

It’s summertime.  For many of us, this is a time for vacation and renewal.  This may not be true if we make our living in agriculture or in tourism.  But I think it’s true for many of us.  And it’s probably true for our congregations.  Our “program” year often starts in September and ends in May.

I read some time ago that Americans, on average, sleep an hour less each weeknight than experts recommend, and half an hour less on weekends.  By the end of the year, we are short two full weeks of rest.  (And how can you tell if you are sleep deprived?  They say that if you need to use an alarm clock to wake up on time, you are!)  Americans spend more time at work than any other industrialized nation and have less vacation time too.  I’m told that the vacation times we give most workers in this country are illegal in Europe!

There’s an image in T S Eliot’s “Burnt Norton,” the first of his “Four Quartets,” that sticks in my mind.  Down in the half-light of the London Underground, people are running busily to and from work.  And he talks about them being like stray scraps of paper, blowing in the wind. (more…)

I was reading this morning what Benedict says in his rule about the cellarer (the person in a benedictine community who distributes needed goods to members).  How mundane (and necessary)!  Benedict says that the cellarer is “to perform the duties of the office calmly” and that “necessary items are to be requested and given at the proper times, so that no one may be disquieted or distressed.”  I found myself thinking about Jesus, healing on the sabbath.  Is it right to do good or to do wrong on the sabbath?  The sabbath is a good thing.  But it can be used as an excuse to do harm, to refuse to help someone in need because we are following the rules.  How one gives the necessities of life (a good thing also) similarly can be done in ways that are healthy and helpful or in ways that cause harm to others.  Again, fussy rule keeping can be an excuse to harm others rather than to help them.  Joan Chittister suggests that the person with a Benedictine spirit “learns to err on the side of largesse of spirit.”