Wednesday, February 15, 2017

sermonating with bug eyes

Another sermon, more intense prayer required. The news and the texts alongside each other are just wild. Is the news a distraction? A must-deal-with item? Do I laugh or cry? How do I preach without getting political? Where do I even start among so much?

Here are some excerpts from the texts for this coming Sunday:

Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written,
“He catches the wise in their craftiness,”
and again,
“The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise,
that they are futile.”
So let no one boast about human leaders.  (1 Cor 3) 

(Yes, this is church leadership, but still...)

Do not resist an evildoer.
and
Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.  (Matt 5)

The Leviticus passage, too, offers a wealth of possibilities.

Now this Russia business - a year's worth of contact, a Russian sub hanging out off our shores, and more.



Seriously...


As I was celebrating the Eucharist this morning, I suddenly heard the words of Eucharistic Prayer B anew and had a sudden wash of peace even in the midst of the turbulence echoing in the back of my mind from the waves of bad news coming out of DC.

We give thanks to you, O God, for the goodness and love which you have made known to us in creation; in the calling of Israel to be your people; in your Word spoken through the prophets; and above all in the Word made flesh, Jesus, your Son. For in these last days you sent him to be incarnate from the Virgin Mary, to be the Savior and Redeemer of the world. In him, you have delivered us from evil, and made us worthy to stand before you. In him, you have brought us out of error into truth, out of sin into righteousness, out of death into life.  (BCP p. 368

Anamnesis... None of this is new to God. We didn't make ourselves worthy first in order for him to come to us. The Incarnation didn't happen in the midst of all being well. Corruption? Treason? God knows about it. God can work despite it, and has, and will. And so we can have real hope. Not cheery optimism. Hope.  As it says in Hebrews, "For we have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul."

https://twitter.com/SistersOfStMarg/status/831859361572073472

And so, in peace, let us pray to the Lord, saying, "Lord, have mercy."

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Feast of the Presentation of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple


Today we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation, a day in which we hear about Mary and Joseph bringing the baby Jesus to the Temple as required for first-born sons by the law. They came with two pigeons to sacrifice - not much, but what was required for those without means. What a surprise it must have been to have the elderly Simeon and prophet Anna praise God and speak of the child to the people around as well as to them!  I would love to meet Anna, especially, and hear the story from her perspective.
On this feast day at the convent, we celebrate the profession anniversary of one of our sisters, which adds another special note.

And, lucky me, I got to celebrate - which also means I got to wear my favorite chasuble with the amazing embroidery.


I found a blessing and dismissal for this feast on the Church of England at  http://www.oremus.org/ (marvellous site worth your support). They are not from their Book of Common Prayer (1662 version, still in use!) or from Common Worship (their modern language version).  I think The Promise of His Glory must be a sort of Enriching Our Worship, English style, though far more traditional. Fortunately, this blessings and dismissal lend themselves well to being sung, as we prefer to do on feast days.


THE DISMISSAL

9The president may say THIS BLESSING.
Christ the Son of God, born of Mary,
fill you with his grace to trust his promises
and obey his will;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be upon you and remain with you always. Amen. [8]
10
MinisterGo in the light and peace of Christ.
Thanks be to God.

You can find this and the rest of their liturgy here as well, including a couple of post-communion prayer options.

I also found a nice solemn blessing from Common Worship on the C of E website, but it might have required my passing out a copy to everyone so they could come in properly with the Amens. (Yes, the sung tone really does cue you, but early in the morning, extra help is always nice.) 


It's on the very last page of this pdf document.

one last view of the baby Jesus for this liturgical year

Where's the baby Jesus? I swear he was here just a moment ago...

With or without liturgy, we rejoice with Simeon and Anna and Jesus' parents today as we remember that moment and seek to incorporate it into our own lives.

May the One who was presented in the Temple be so welcomed into the heart of each one of us.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

link to a scene that made me cry

but a good one

screen shot from video beginning

video of detained Dulles passengers finally allowed to reunite with family

countering the insanity + contact info links for politicians

This has been an incredible week. The post I started earlier in the week to express my outrage has gotten left in the dust as one event succeeds the next.

This ban preventing people - permanent residents of the US, refugees, and everyone in between - from entering the US - even people in transit - is one of the most appalling things I've heard of. And the stories... Holding a woman and children for 20 hours at Dulles, cuffed and without food, is the least of the stories I've seen. I can't watch a video; it's too much. Yes, we have a right to protect our borders. This, however, is insanity on a number of levels.

Here's a good summary from yesterday - good information in it, even if it's a bit behind the news now.


Washington Post on Twitter: "Annotated: The Trump administration’s executive order on refugees and immigrants https://t.co/tncUtUy7Yp" or https://mobile.twitter.com/washingtonpost/status/825353247011569665

I just read an update saying that green card holders would no longer be affected by this, but the backtracking isn't more than a start. I almost wonder if they did an overkill declaration at first in order to make us more willing to accept the lesser version thereof.

backpedaling a bit? but most still in place...

It is time to act in whatever way we can.
Call. Write. Email. 
It makes a difference.


Here is contact information for the US Senate and House of Representatives.

https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

https://www.senate.gov/general/resources/pdf/senators_phone_list.pdf

http://www.house.gov/representatives/

Here is what those from the Northeast have had to say so far:
Here’s what all 33 N.E. members of Congress think about Trump’s immigration order (Boston Globe)


To write or sign petitions addressed directly to the White House:
https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/

By (top)Cezary p(bottom)UpstateNYer - here and here, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37794073 


And pray. 

I haven't been much for praying for our government till this year. I never imagined it would become a focus of intercession in this way. But I find myself asking just how much more we can take of this - and it's been just over a week.

Fr James Martin, SJ, has a good reflection on praying with this anger.

Prayer and other forms of action will be essential in the days to come, one flowing from the other and back again.

Ora et labora.

I'm off to an interfaith rally in Boston on Tuesday. It's through a group with which I'm not familiar - MCAN - but I learned of it from an Episcopal priest of this diocese, as it's being held at the Episcopal cathedral.
"MCAN (Massachusetts Communities Action Network) is a a federation of community improvement organizations across Massachusetts working for social and economic justice by putting our religious faith values and our democratic values into action."

Description: People of all faiths and shared values are welcome to join a press conference this Tuesday condemning the hate filled Presidential Orders of the past week. The faith community of Massachusetts is standing together calling for the state to be a place of sanctuary and solidarity. We applaud our Mayors who have come out in support of all of our neighbors and will be calling on the Governor to stand with us as well.

It's a small thing, but small things add up.

yes, indeed
Boston Common Women's March 1-21-17

Monday, January 23, 2017

can't keep quiet - mission and music for the women's march


About that march... Several people have wondered what it was all about. Here's the official mission statement.

OUR MISSION
The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us - immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault - and our communities are hurting and scared. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.
In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women's rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.
We support the advocacy and resistance movements that reflect our multiple and intersecting identities. We call on all defenders of human rights to join us. This march is the first step towards unifying our communities, grounded in new relationships, to create change from the grassroots level up. We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society. We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all.
HEAR OUR VOICE.

And, via NPR, some music for the mission:  http://www.npr.org/sections/allsongs/2017/01/23/511186649/a-flash-mob-choir-at-the-womens-march-turned-this-unknown-song-into-an-anthem



why I marched: baptism, compassion, and justice


Women's March, Boston Common 1-21-17

From our baptismal service:

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
being?
PeopleI will, with God's help.

-- Book of Common Prayer p. 305 (or http://www.bcponline.org/)

This looks different over time - indeed, day by day. This year brings me a new way of living it out.


I made a few hats, too. (None of these, though.)

When was I last in a march, I wonder?

I recall a candlelight vigil with the sisters in 2003 in hopes of staving off another invasion of Iraq.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1

I recall a demonstration against apartheid when I was in college. I skipped psych class (and I wasn't a class skipper) to stand with others near the shanty town built next to the Beinecke Library. We were so excited when Archbishop Desmond Tutu sent us a word! I found some old pictures online, as a matter of fact, and am grateful to the alum who shared them:



I recall a Take Back the Night march in Ann Arbor, MI a year or two earlier. Looked online and found that the organization still exists (http://tbtnannarbor.org/). As a signboard I read this weekend phrased it, "I can't believe I'm still protesting this ----." OK, I can believe it. I just wish I couldn't.

Mostly, however, I've written and called my representatives, signed petitions, and learned - too slowly - to speak up instead of smoothing things over that really needed not to be smoothed over at all.

Sometimes you need to make noise.
Boston Public Garden 1-21-17

I wonder if that is changing.

Yes. Yes, it is.
Let's make it better.

Boston Common 1-21-17

What will this year bring?

more of this? more than this, certainly

Yes, we can. Together. All of us.

Snowflakes, unite!


If I am going to live the promises I made in my baptism alongside my community's historical concern for women and children, it seems to me that more may be required in the days ahead.

I might note that there were quite a few concerns expressed Saturday, climate change among them. I am beginning to learn more about that, too.


Talk about something that will affect us all, or at least anyone who is going to live a while longer. I plan to.

Marching. Praying. Writing. Calling. Networking. Listening. More listening. Reading. More praying. Work I can't yet envision. Prayer that is listening and listening that is prayer moving into action.

Jesus may be calling me out of my sycamore tree.
(A sycamore tree would have been very handy on the Common on Saturday. Some of us are too short to see over 175,000 people. However, all the good trees were taken, as you can see.)


I will, with God's help.

Join me?