Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sermon: B Last Pentecost Proper 29 King of kings 25 November 2012

2 Sam 23: 1-7; Ps 132: 1-13; Rev 1: 4b-8; JOHN 18: 33-37

Grant, O God, that all may be brought under the most gracious rule of your Belov’d Son, King of Kings AMEN

Chip our seminarian, who defines a providential gift as a Field Ed person, is graciously being our parish musician this morning. He was a good sport about giving me apt travel music, from Messiah, “King of kings and Lord of lords, and he shall reign forever.” Some of the music for Jesus as King and Lord, is some of our most familiar and favorite, even if on careful word-checking, we’re less enthusiastic about some of the ideas that go with such august positions as King of kings. The kingly images in music are ones that have leapt out at me this week, rather than visual ones.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Meditation for November 25: The Feast of Christ the King

Praying with our Roman Catholic sisters and brothers and Anglican sisters and brothers in New Zealand

Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The collect for today follows the formal pattern of the collect, employing an invocation, a petition, an aspiration, and closing with an ascription. This pattern can inform our private prayer as it enlivens our corporate prayer each week. This Sunday, as a result of accords passed at Vatican II, is one of four in the church year, when we will be praying exactly the same collect as our Roman Catholic sisters and brothers. It will be a prayer across the world for unity and hope.

Down under in New Zealand, Anglican churches will pray similarly and powerfully:

Almighty and eternal God, you have made of one blood all the nations of the earth
and will that they live together
in peace and harmony;
so order the course of this world
that all peoples may be brought together
under Christ’s most gentle rule; through Jesus Christ our Lord
who is alive with you and the Holy Spirit,
 one God now and for ever.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sermon: B Thanksgiving 22 November 2012

Joel 2:21-27; Psalm 126; MATTHEW 6: 25-33

You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God. AMEN.

Happy Thanksgiving. Jesus says, “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 God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” On this day, of all days, it’s a toss-up whether I find this sentence condescending, sexist, or just plain objectionable—surely infuriating, “Don’t worry about what we’ll eat”—so who’s cooking for you today? Just as Jesus scolded Martha for not just listening after she’d provided, served, and cleaned up for him, and commended Mary for listening, so also I find it hard to take to be scolded for worry over a meal on Thanksgiving. Maybe Tina’s calm, but I’m always up late making pie, pealing apples and potatoes, writing, and up early to stuff the turkey, so that even if I get home from church latish, we’ll still eat at a reasonable time. Who picked this reading anyway—someone with household help, or a subservient, non-working wife? I suppose one doesn’t need to add worry, but there sure is a whole lot of work on this day for many women—now many people: driving, shopping, visiting, flying, chopping, waiting, baking, cooking, eating, cleaning, and celebrating: so how not to worry about it all coming out right?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sermon: B 25 Pentecost 28 Proper 18 November 2012

1 Sm1:4-20; Cnt. Sg Hh; Heb10:11-13[14-18]19-25; MK13:1-8

Grant us so to so hear, read, learn, mark, and inwardly digest all holy Scriptures that we may ever hold fast the hope of everlasting life.

This favorite and most effective of all collects was written for Reformation Sunday celebrating, encouraging, and urging the reading and studying all holy Scriptures, especially in English. However, today’s Markan last two sentences: “For nation will rise against nations, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.” are not ones we’d like to do any of those five kinds of analytic work on. Our choice would be to omit them totally, brushing them off as hyperbole, exotic extremism, or just silliness.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Meditation for Sunday, November 18, 2012: “The End of the World This Week?”

The readings from both the Epistle (Hebrews 10:11-25) and the Gospel (Mark 13:1-8) point to the end of the age, the Day of the Lord, with apocalyptic language — blood, war, earthquakes, and famine.  I must admit that the end times have never been of much interest to me, but then again, as a white male middle class economically secure American living in New England, why would it? Life is, for the most part, pretty good, and I’m in no hurry for it to end. Our earliest ancestors in faith lived lives of physical labor, were viewed with suspicion by their neighbors and were often persecuted. The end of time must have had some appeal, since suffering would be ended, the persecutors would have to answer God for their actions, and life would then be lived with Jesus. Who am to not give the topic at least some thought?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sermon: B 24 Pentecost 27 Proper 11 November 2012

Ruth 3: 1-5, 4: 13-17; Ps 127; Heb 9: 24-28; MARK 12: 38-44

On this Remembrance Day, For those who were killed in battle,
For those who gave up their lives to save others
For those who fought because they were forced to,
For those who died standing up for a just cause
For those who said war was wrong,
For those who tried to make the peace
For those who prayed when others had no time to pray
For those creatures who needlessly die
For those trees that needlessly are slaughtered
For all of mankind Let us quietly pray:
May [your] God hold them in peace/ May Love flow over the Earth and cleanse us all/ This day and for always. AMEN.

This is Marianne Griffin’s poem for Remembrance Day. I’ve been in England around this time several times recently, and in buying and wearing a poppy, I’ve mused about Remembrance, Armistice, or Veterans’ Day, our anti-war climate, and our virtual ignoring the 11th, whatever it’s called. This year, its observance gives many people a welcome recovery from politics, however we as individuals, a state, or nation, felt about the results. In having tomorrow off, not as a day off for voting, but to observe this occasion we’d rather omit, we also see the darkening chilling of our days. We also hear about the widow’s mite, her giving two coins, all she had, and know too stewardship is in the wind.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Meditation for Sunday, November 11th

“Unless the LORD builds the hours, their labor is in vain who build it.”

Oh hear now how the proud claim, “I built that!” —

smug in abundance, demanding of praise,

no credit to the carpenter,

anonymous hands bought and bruised to raise

temples of conceit on the habitat

of the wild, the poor, the stranger.

“Unless the LORD builds the house,

their labor is in vain who build it.”

The tests and triumphs of mere mortal rule,

at best, may imitate a discerned

intent of our one Creator,

at worst, displace eternal gifts un-earned

with fleeting fragile robes consumed as fuel

to warm bare greed’s known successor.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hurricane Sandy: A message to readers who need assistance

If you need help, contact - Home. You can also apply via smartphone at, or call (800) 621-3362 or TTY (800) 462-7585.

People will continue to need assistance for months. If you want to help, you can volunteer or donate cash to the Red Cross. You can also give to Doctors Without Borders, Occupy Sandy, or to The Episcopal Relief and Development's Hurricane Sandy Response Fund

Image by NOAA and the Naval Research Lab.

Prayer for the victims of Hurricane Sandy

Let us pray for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, as well as for those who have died in war, famine, and other disasters.

Let us also do God's work, not only in prayer, but in service by volunteering, as well as by donating to organizations, such as the Red Cross.

Song for Athene

Alleluia. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.
Alleluia. Remember me, o Lord, when you come into your kingdom.
Alleluia. Give rest, o Lord, to your handmaid who has fallen asleep.
Alleluia. The Choir of Saints have found the well-spring of life and door of paradise.
Alleluia. Life : a shadow and a dream.
Alleluia. Weeping at the grave creates the song: Alleluia.
Alleluia. Come, enjoy the rewards and crowns I have prepared for you.

Sermon: B The Sunday after All Saints’ 4 November 2012

Wis 3:1-9; Ps 24; Rev 21: 1- 6a; JOHN 11:32-44

I sing a song of the saints of God, I mean, God helping, to be one too. AMEN

We celebrate All Saints’ Day today, even after All Saints’, and so we think about All Souls’ as well. All Hallows Eve was part of the observance of feast days, by starting the feast at sunset the previous Eve, as we do on Christmas Eve and Easter Eve, which we call a Vigil. Calling that lead-in service Eve, it’d be, Christme’en or would it be Christmaseen or Eastereen—nope, yet we do mark these three major church Holy Days the night before. All Saints in our world is far less observed than its Evening beginning, Hallowe’en, as Christmas is less celebrated liturgically than its Eve. All Souls for us is an extended prayer observance for people, unlike the ones remembered on All Saints, who according to Wikipedia “have attained the beatific vision in Heaven.” Since all Christians are understood to be saints of God, it’s odd that we almost divide people on these two days between famous and common. The church’s distinction is between those in Heaven and those not yet in, but since we don’t hold to a concept of Purgatory or other sort of holding cell or pit, that difference doesn’t make much theological sense.

Friday, November 2, 2012

As a Southwestern transplant, I’ve never liked the darkness of Boston winters. I’ve learned, however, that with the fading light comes a wonderful surprise. When it starts getting dark earlier, I look up at the evening sky. Instead of focusing on the encroaching darkness, I lose myself in the beautiful ombrĂ© of twilight. Where one week deep turquoise slides into teal then into pale blue, the next may bring navy fading into cobalt into peacock and finally into the yellow-white that marks where the sun slipped below the horizon. The Epistle says ‘I saw a new heaven.’  Raised in big sky country, the autumnal evening sky is a new heaven. Just as God makes all things new, so the evening light returns, first brightening the morning, then the evening again, in an endless cycle of beginnings and endings, of Alpha and Omega.