So, since Tuesday (Monday morning was taken up with getting my prostate biopsied, and I allowed myself to be wounded the rest of the day, and Sunday was, of course, the Day of Pentecost) I have been praying the collect for proper three daily.  And it’s bugged me.  If you are not familiar with it, the collect goes like this:

Grant, O God, that the course of this world may be peaceably governed by your providence; that your church may joyfully serve you in confidence and serenity; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

It’s a nice thought.  I guess there may even be times and places where this collect will be true.  I’m just not sure I know any of them. (more…)

Ok.  So I’m back from my (CREDO 2) conference in Virginia, and trying to get back into the swing of things.  And for me that includes reading the daily offices (out of the St. Helena Breviary).  So I’ve been reading today about Dunstan (who was born in 910 C.E. and died in 988 C.E.).

This morning I read the commentary from Brightest and Best (where it was commented that when clergy travel without their collars they often annoy people who want them “belled like a cat” so that they know their normal, every day lives are being interrupted by an emissary from the spiritual life).  And I’ve been thinking since about the sacred and the profane in Benedictine thought (more…)

I’ve always had a bit of trouble with the story of Noah’s drunkeness (one of the readings in today’s lectionary).  The flood’s over.  He plants a vinyard.  He makes wine.  He gets drunk, and passes out naked in his tent.  His son, Ham, goes in and sees him naked.  This is apparently a terrible crime.  He tells his brothers.  This is admittedly a bit disrespectful.  Noah’s behavior is seemingly praiseworthy (from the point of view of the biblical writer).  Ham’s son Canaan is condemned to slavery for his behavior.  It just doesn’t seem right. (more…)

We heard God’s covenant with Noah and all living flesh today in our reading from the Hebrew Scriptures.  And at first I was contrasting, as I read about how Noah was given all flesh to eat (excepting the blood, the life, which belongs to God), I was contrasting this in my mind with the garden, where Adam was given all the plants to eat.  It was only after the fall that people were no longer vegetarians.  Eating meat was not part of God’s original plan for us.

And even here, the blood, the life, belongs to God.  Human life blood, if taken, is singled out for special retribution.  But all life blood is God’s.  It is all talked about together in the same context.  And God’s covenant is made with all flesh, Noah and his descendants and all living creaatures.

So, we can eat animals.  But their lives always belong to God.  They are in this sense sacred.  And their welbeing is part of our care as God’s stewards of creation.  They are not just for our use (and abuse) as we see fit.  They have their own place with us in our covenant with God.

Ok.  At this point, I’m pretty clear that I misunderstood what Scott Cairns was saying about sin. (more…)

I’m guessing it takes me a couple of months for new things to start seeming “normal” to me.  At least that seems to be my experience in using the daily office.  When I switch my practice, which I’ve done a few times over the years, it seems to take a couple of months of daily use for the new norms to feel normal. (more…)

For my Advent discipline this year I’m going to be reading “God With Us” (Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas), Edited by Greg Pennoyer and Gregory Wolfe.  It features daily writing for Advent (and for feasts through Epiphany) by such writers as Scott Cairns, Emilie Griffin, Richard John Neuhaus, Kathleen Norris, Eugene Peterson and Luci Shaw.  I’ve already done some browsing.

The major question for me was whether to wait for Advent and live through the season day by day with the book, or to start tomorrow (and maybe be able to use what I’m reading in the week ahead.  I’m pretty sure at this point I’m going to start tomorrow, hoping that I can use some of what I’m reading with my congregation in a timely manner.  (We’ve already got our second reading for our early service on I Advent set up to use an excerpt from Neuhaus’s piece for that day.  I’m hoping it will inform my sermons.

So far, I really like what I’ve seen.  I’m looking forward to using this as a daily reading (maybe in conjunction with Morning Prayer).  I have to thank my wife, Anne, who found this and bought this for me.  There are some wonderful advantages to having a librarian in the family!

As you might gather from the title, it’s geared towards discovering the meaning of the incarnation (Jesus’ birth) in our lives.

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…)