Scattered thoughts on this mornings office … (more…)

I have to admit, I’ve never been all that interested in William Tyndale. (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.

I’m going to have to stop quoting Sam Portaro’s “Brightest and Best.”  But I can’t resist quoting from the last two days readings.  Yesterday was the day we commemorate Lawrence, a deacon martyred in Rome in 258 CE.  The emperor Valerian had him arrested and held for intensive questioning.  He wanted to plunder the riches of the church.

Laurence assembled the sick and poor among whom he had spent the church’s funds and presented them to the emperor saying, “These are the treasures of the church.”  For his impertinence he was roasted alive on a gridiron (and became the patron saint of cooks!). (more…)

Today is William Reed Huntington Day in the calendar of Lesser Feasts and Fasts for the Episcopal Church.  And I have, once again, started using Sam Portaro’s “Brightest and Best:  A Companion to the Lesser Feasts and Fasts” for a supplemental reading following Morning Prayer (or “Matins” as it is called in “The Saint Helena Brevary” that I started using late last month).  I was reminded (again) of how thought provoking his writing is.  He addresses the divisions and unity of our church this way in today’s reading:

… this dynamic tension between foundational principles and necessary change lies at the heart of all life.  When Jesus offers prayer for unity, his embrace is inclusive:  “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word” (John 17:20).  Jesus prays for everyone on all sides of every issue.  The oneness for which Jesus prayes is not a unity to be achieved, but a unity already extablished.  Not our ending place, but our beginning place; not what we work for, but what we already are.  In the acknowledgment of our essential oneness, we are freed to move into our respective differences.  The loving unity for which Jesus prays is the loving unity of siblings who grow up in the profound knowledge of their essential union with one another, a union that does not confine, but rather encourages and allows them to be the very different people they are …