Wednesday, October 18, 2017

hymn for the beloved physician

I'm working on my sermon for tonight's Eucharist and contemplating the words of this hymn alongside scripture and commentary.  Thought I'd share it for your prayer as well.

From thee all skill and science flow,
all pity, care, and love,
all calm and courage, faith and hope:
O pour them from above!
Impart them, Lord, to each and all,
as each and all shall need,
to rise, like incense, each to thee,
in noble thought and deed.

And hasten, Lord, that perfect day
when pain and death shall cease,
and thy just rule shall fill the earth
with health and light and peace;
when ever-blue the sky shall gleam,
and ever green the sod,
and our rude work deface no more
the handiwork of God.

--Charles Kingsley, 1819-1875
The Hymnal 1982 #566

Readings for the Eucharist on the Feast of St. Luke:
Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 38:1-4,6-10,12-14
Psalm 147 or 147:1-7
2 Timothy 4:5-13
Luke 4:14-21

The Collect

Almighty God, who inspired your servant Luke the physician to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of your Son: Graciously continue in your Church this love and power to heal, to the praise and glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Monday, October 2, 2017

not again

Went walking late this afternoon. Have some lovely photos. May share them later.

On my way to the car, I noticed the flag was at half staff. Hadn't seen it before.  I wondered which of the latest disasters it was for... so many lately. Thought of all the people dealing with the aftermath of the hurricanes and earthquakes.

I hadn't read the news - yesterday was so very full. 

I read it a while ago. Started to post something on Facebook, but what is there left to say. Why? I've asked that. No good answers. Contributing issues, naturally. But after all is said and done, I'm left with grief for all those people and their families and loved ones. I'd like to ask when it will stop. Never? But what little we can do, we must. Meanwhile, we grieve and we pray - and we seek wisdom.

considering the lilies

The reading for Evening Prayer tonight is one of my favorites, one I've gone back to over the years.

Someday I'll have to tell the story of its impact on me during my junior year abroad; it's too long for today. Suffice to say that I had been coming upon that passage with its "do not be anxious" (RSV translation) to the point that I was asking God, "Are you trying to tell me something?" Apparently so, and when I suddenly needed it, it was there. And right. So when I came upon it while praying Morning Prayer today, I just kept on reading into the Evening Prayer passage in advance.

It's our sabbath day - which is to say, our day of rest, our day "off," so to speak, so I will go out soon to consider the lilies and the birds of the air. Quite literally. Walking outside can be really good prayer time for me, and just being among green living things renews my spirit. I am profoundly grateful to be able to do so and to have a lovely afternoon in which to do it. I'll come back to this passage tonight, giving thanks and asking to hear it even more deeply. 

May the Lord help me - and all of us - to grow in trust and thanksgiving for that promise of steadfast presence, no matter what.

Matthew 6:25-34

 ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

 ‘So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

(Thanks to for the text!)

Sunday, October 1, 2017

this is how you do it - Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria's full speech about racism

I wish all our leaders - no, make that all of us - could be that clear. Racism is pervasive. And it's not all right. It's not just an opinion. It's evil.

Episcopalians: This is from our baptismal covenant. It goes well with the General's speech.  I've probably posted it before, but I'm posting it again because I think we need to go back to it (and the rest of our promises) on a regular basis.

CelebrantWill you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving
your neighbor as yourself?
PeopleI will, with God's help.
CelebrantWill you strive for justice and peace among all
people, and respect the dignity of every human
PeopleI will, with God's help.

It will be a long, long time, unfortunately, before we're rid of this scourge. Those of us who are white especially bear the responsibility here. It's seeped into our pores through the images we've ingested since birth, and we're all just going to have to do a lot of work on ourselves and our world over the long haul. As with most everything in life, and especially in our life in Christ, we need to be persistent.

There's one more thing from the baptismal service that is particularly apt for this.

CelebrantWill you persevere in resisting evil, and , whenever
you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?
PeopleI will, with God's help.

May God give us courage, wisdom, insight, energy, and love to move forward together.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

a nerd alert at morning prayer

I should do some more work on my sermon this evening, but as my brain cells seem to have taken an early night, I am going to share with you a bit of nun nerd-dom instead.

This morning's first reading at Morning Prayer was 2 Kings 6:1-23.

There is a point at which the king of Aram and his army, hunting for the prophet Elisha, surround the city in which he is staying while everyone is asleep.

When an attendant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. His servant said, "Alas, master! What shall we do?" He replied, "Do not be afraid, for there are more with us than there are with them." Then Elisha prayed: "O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see." So the LORD opened the eyes of the servant, and he saw; the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. When the Arameans came down against him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, and said, "Strike this people, please, with blindness." So he struck them with blindness as Elisha had asked. Elisha said to them, "This is not the way, and this is not the city; follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek." 

And all I could think of was this:

These aren't the droids you're looking for.

Just now I was hunting for a picture of Elisha and the Arameans, and I came across this blog entry: Obi-Wan Elisha. Apparently I am not alone. 

Off to set the lights for Compline momentarily. I don't think I'll run into any stormtroopers in the process, but you never know.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

prayer for sheltering

Over the past weeks with their hurricanes - and now an earthquake - I have been praying with a line from a hymn: Oh, spread thy sheltering wings around...

My first day of my novitiate field education placement at Common Art, St. John's, Bowdoin Street, on September 12, 2001. Liz, the priest in charge, is an artist. Two blocks from the State House, the anxiety was almost palpable. Following our service, Liz had us all draw prayer mandalas as we held this disaster in our hearts. I can still envision mine. So much to pray for. So many lives impacted. And I learned there that art, no matter the purely artistic quality thereof, can express prayers of the heart when words will not suffice. It complements the prayer of silence.

And so I made another. Great art it is not. But it is prayer. It is prayer I can come back to.

Oh, spread thy sheltering wings around...

Around those in immediate danger.
Around those preparing to face it.
Around those numb with shock.
Around those wild with grief and loss.
Around those frantic to find missing loved ones.
Around those who have found them injured or dead.
Around those standing in the wreckage looking for hope.
Around those working to heal, to repair, to comfort.
Around those seeking a way forward for themselves or for their communities.

Lord, shelter them in the midst of the storm.
Let them know your presence, so very near even now.

Oh, spread thy sheltering wings around...

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

haiku against horror

More bad news today.
Kyrie eleison.
I have had enough.

Wind, flood, fire, fury;
Catastrophic potential.
Death rides a pale horse.

Storm-tossed, not sinking;
weather-beaten, we still trust.
You are our anchor.