Saturday, October 27, 2012

Meditation for October 28: “Oh Taste and See”- But How?

Google “Blind Bartimeaus, son of Timeaus, a blind beggar…sitting by the roadside” yelling at Jesus and at least 40,000 entries will pop up. Mark’s account of the event and Jesus’s response — “Go; your faith has made you well” heals the sin-sick soul and yet we know not to expect dramatic acts like this.

Or should we? How? The Psalmist has an answer: “Taste and see that the LORD is good; happy are they who trust in him!” (34:8). I remember the first time I heard the hymn “Taste and See” (LEVAS). I heard it sung vigorously, bodies in motion, in a cathedral on the island of St. Thomas, a cathedral built for the Anglican Church by freed slaves. It sets my soul in motion — still.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Meditation for Oct. 21: -- “Who would be a servant leader?”

Who would chose to accept Jesus’ description of a new kind of leader – servant leader and follow that pattern for their life? Can we give up control and practice authority? Are we willing to stop putting “women in binders,” and share authority? God appears to Job in a whirlwind and speaks with authority. The Psalmist uses similar a similar image in Psalm 104:4 declaring: * “You make the winds your messengers and flames of fire your servants.” The collect for Sunday offers a pattern for servant leadership as well, praying that we  …may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of your Name…

Theologian Frederick Buechner offers a 21st century version of today’s calls to servant leadership: “The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” That shifts our thinking and begs this question, can our faith inform not so much what we do, but who we are

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sermon: B 20 Pentecost 23 Proper 14 October 2012

Job 23:1-9, 16-17; Ps 22: 1-15; Heb 4: 12-16; MK 10: 17-31

Loving God, grant that your grace may always precede and follow us. Amen.

The days are getting shorter, the nights longer, and the readings minatory (again.) There is a tone of increasing desperation and self-accusation. “But as for me, I am a worm and no man, scorned by all and despised by the people. All who see me laugh me to scorn; they curl their lips and wag their heads, saying, ‘He trusted in the Lord’ let him deliver him; let him rescue him, if he delights in him.’” Perhaps this seems more comforting, “The Almighty has terrified me; if only I could banish in darkness, and thick darkness would cover my face.” Maybe, since this is less personal, not in the first person, this sounds less frightening: “The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” None of this is comforting, and none sounds particularly hopeful, and there’s the Mark reading to come.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Meditation for Proper 23 - October 14th: “Who can be saved?”

Who among us has not, at least once, like Job, railed to God about the unfairness of life, complained about an apparently undeserved trouble, as if our own good deed ought to exempt us from difficulty or entitle us to an uninterrupted stream of obvious blessings?

Mark’s follower of all the rules, recipient of many of those obvious blessings, was also so seduced by and reliant on possessions that he could not forfeit them even to secure eternal life.
Who can be saved?
All. For with God all things are possible – mercy and grace for all who but ask -- demonstrated through Christ’s presence among us, acquainted with our need, ready to heal even the blindness of the 1% crying, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” into the void created by their own abandonment of trust in the Lord.

Sermon: B 19 Pentecost 22 Proper 7 October 2012

Job 1: 1, 2: 1-10; Ps 26; Heb 1: 1-4, 2: 5-12; MK 10: 2-16

This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice…   AMEN

Again this Sunday, as we race towards the end of this long teaching season of Pentecost, we hear readings with ominous testing and more testing. Additionally, it’s a bustling season of many things going on. Look around to see much loved creatures with their faithful humans, so it must be St. Francis Day. It’s also Dignity’s 40th Anniversary of Solidarity Sunday; we join their celebration of their work and progress. It would be a fine Sunday like Paradise, if all experienced welcome, here and throughout their lives, work, and worlds.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Hildegard von Bingen

A fine Study Guide for Episcopalians about Hildegard of Bingen is available here. This includes both material from Holy Women, Holy Men and additional research. She is recognized on our Calendar of Saints on Sept. 17 and this Sunday will be made a Doctor of  the Church in the Roman Catholic Church, only the 4th woman so honored. 
Our website also lists links to some of her music available on line as well.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Meditation for Sunday October 7th: Seeking & Finding Unconditional Love

Ah, Job, no doubt of his integrity
while certain of his blessings, fresh with vows
of faithfulness and works of charity,
flush with the love of his generous God!
His obedience stood up to the loss
of goods and servants and even offspring,
no sin of the lips, no curse did he toss
into his well of naked suffering.
To love and to be loved with one’s whole self,
a yearning children know and adults hide,
shroud in rules, dusty scrolls on a shelf,
to veil hearts hardened in the to and fro
of risk and error wandering, contracts
masquerading as the holy union
of created partners drawn to compacts
of unconditional love responding,
receiving, rejoicing in its one Source.
Naked as Job, innocent as children,
a trust no mortal sunders in the course
of jealousy or trial -- one true gift:
  for a soul once bound to God, no divorce.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sermon: B 18 Pentecost 21 Proper 30 September 2012

Esth 7:1-6,9-10;9:20-22; Ps 124; Jms 5: 13:13-20; MK 9: 38-50

Our help is in the Name of the Lord, the maker of Heaven and Earth. AMEN.
Today we include Michaelmas in our observance and thinking. It’s odd though to have the story of Esther on the same day as Michaelmas, the first being the Purim narrative, a Jewish celebration usually observed in March—and its attendant cookies available at the picnic—and September 29, yesterday, was St Michael and all the Angels. It’s jarring to have asparagus-spring-fertility matched together with and pumpkins-autumn-fruition together, and nearly St. Francis (to come next week and here.) Maybe, seasonal constants don’t shape your day, but they do underlie the Church’s wheel of time, nature’s time, and light patterns in which we live and grow. Also, it’s election time, and elections cross both nature’s wheel of time and our church and personal commitments to decency. Today’s lections each have a structuring, almost echoing, commitment to some sense of decency.