Scattered thoughts on this mornings office … (more…)

I read Psalm 137 this morning at Morning Prayer. It is both moving and disturbing.  The first third of the psalm, roughly, goes like this:

By the waters of Babylong we sat down and wept *
  when we remembered you, O Zion. (more…)

Well, the daily office always gives me things to ponder in my life.  Yesterday, we heard about king Manasseh of Israel in the 21st chapter of II Kings.  He ruled from age 12 (I believe the year before he would have reached his majority – but maybe that’s a later tradition).  I wonder if his mother, or others, set the tone for his rule.  In any case, he ruled until he was 67 – quite a respectable age in those days. (more…)

Well, stuff keeps coming up.  The same stuff.  Isn’t that the way it goes?

In this morning’s gospel (Episcopal Daily Office Lectionary) Jesus says, “Give to him who begs from you, and do not refuse him who would borrow from you.” (more…)

Well, today is Holy Cross Day.  And once again I was struck by Sam Portaro’s reflections.  He recounts a story (from Bishop William Wiedrich) about a conductor, directing a large group of percussionists raising his arms to cue the timpanists.  In the resulting din, he raised his arms again to silence them.  He then told them, “The music is in the drum, not the mallet.  One does not beat the music into the drum; one gently lets the mallet rise off the skin, as if the mallet were pulling sound from the kettle.”

He then continues:

The cross is like the music of the timpani; it is not something one puts on, but rather something that is coaxed out of us.  The wearing of the cross is not an accessory to life, but rather is the embrace of life itself. …Christians bear the cross within, in the daily embrace of all that it means to be human.  To be a Christian [is] to have the fullness of life coaxed out of oneself.

This gives a rather different feel to Sunday’s gospel inviting us to take up our crosses.

It may be of no interest to anyone but me, but I started using The St. Helena Breviary last month.  I am, I guess, still an associate of the (Episcopal branch of the) Franciscans.  I have been for upwards of twenty years.  And for the last several years I have been using the pocket edition of Celebrating Common Prayer – an office book from English (Anglican) Franciscans. (more…)

Our Deacon, Bob Olsen, gave a very nice sermon to commemorate the 8th aniversary of his ordination this past Sunday (and you can hear it here).  I had forgotten he was preaching (I knew it, but I had forgotten to put it on my calendar).  So I also prepared a sermon, addressing how God supplies our needs, as found in John’s account of the feeding of the 5,000, as we ourselves face difficult times.  That sermon follows: (more…)

Roshi posted this poem of his, which he read at a service for House of All Sinners and Saints:

one perfect day (mark 6:53-56)

i walk into intensive care

and see my sister lying under
crisp white sheets.
a dozen beeping monitors gathered
closely around her bed. (more…)

Saw this on on Ian Mobsby’s site (my first time there):

Last Wednesday, Jon Oliver, (author and training Ordinand for Pioneer Ministry on placement with Moot) led our Quest Evening, designed to explore biblical texts and open them up as Stanley Hauerwas says to ‘an interpretative community’.  Well we looked at John 4:1-42 and the Samaritan Woman at the well.

This text is always challenging and beautiful.  It expresses the mission of God to blur boundaries of the sacred in the secular, challenging cultural taboos, and gives us a palpable foretaste of the Kingdom of God.

If you want to see more, look here.

Monday this week (now last week) the office lectionary featured one of, in my mind, the most troubling passages in scripture:  I Samueal 15:1-3, 7-13.  In this passage, God rejects Samuel as king, because God had commanded him, after he defeated the Amalekites, to utterly destroy them:  man, woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.  But Saul didn’t do this after God granted him victory.  He utterly destroyed the people with the sword.  But he took the king alive, along with the best of the sheep and oxen and fatlings and lambs — and in fact, all that was good.  He only destroyed what was worthless.  Taken at face value, this portrays a bloodthirsty, vengeful god (Amalek opposed God’s people on their way to the promised land).  It portrays a god with no restraint, who does not value human life or the rest of creation.  And to reject Saul as king, because he will not follow this dispicable command (though he seems to have slaughtered all the people he could catch except the king) just sort of caps off the whole mess for me.

Who would ever want to worship or follow a god like that? (more…)