Friday, January 8, 2016

psalm verses for an election year

This morning's psalm at the Eucharist seemed particularly appropriate. We're in election season in the US and in Haiti, as well as in other countries around the world. It seems to me that our leadership, current and potential, needs all the prayers it can get. There is certainly no lack of scripture from which to choose, but since this is in today's lectionary, I share it with you. May God guide our choices and bless our leaders with a spirit of peace, wisdom, justice, and compassion.

Psalm 72    

1 Give the King your justice, O God, *
    and your righteousness to the King's son;

2 That he may rule your people righteously *
    and the poor with justice.

3 That the mountains may bring prosperity to the people, *
    and the little hills bring righteousness.

4 He shall defend the needy among the people; *
    he shall rescue the poor and crush the oppressor.

Amen. May it be so.

one of the magi figurines, St. John's, Hingham, MA

And may all kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers, members of congress, town council reps, judges - any and all in authority - remember who, in the end, is the real Lord and King.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

a camel's epiphany

Found something wonderful. Must share.  It's from a literature blog by Dr. Robin Bates. In this post, he shares a poem of his father's, written from the point of view of one of the magi's camels. He introduces it with a reflection, part of which I'm sharing here (follow the link at the bottom to read the rest).

"I like it here
I’m staying with them
As I wanted to stay
In Bethlehem"
camel from St. John's, Hingham

Regardless of where we live and what we do, we can live in love and service.  That, the camel tells us, is how Christ’s love manifests itself in the world. 

There is an implied criticism in the poem of the kings for not having stuck it out with the Christ child–that’s why the camel has to slip away–so perhaps the poem does echo Eliot’s.  We once were in touch with divinity before returning to our normal lives.   Then again, as I said, we all of us lose the vision and must rediscover it.  Again and again. You’ll probably recognize the Biblical allusion in the final stanza but, in case you don’t, it’s Jesus’ assertion (Matthew 19:24) that “it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven.” “Effendi” is Arabic for “Master.”

Fable of the Third Christmas Camel
By Scott Bates
(Editor’s note: The following poetic fragment, evidently an overlooked scrap of the Dead Sea Scrolls, was recently discovered near Jerusalem, stuck to the bottom of an empty bagel can. We offer here an approximate translation into modern English of this invaluable historical document.)
I went all the way
But on the return trip
I gave the caravan
The slip
One desert night
Quit Balthazar
With all his frankincense
And myrrh
And headed out
Across the sand
It was dawn when I came
To this strange land
And found this family
Living here
Without a camel
Because they were poor
So I stayed with them
Carried their hides
Gave all the kids
Free camel rides
Sat with the baby
Worked with the man
Sang them ballads
Of Ispahan
Carried the water
Pulled the plow
Loved my neighbor
Who was a cow
I like it here
I’m staying with them
As I wanted to stay
In Bethlehem
With that other
Family I knew
Which proves Effendi
That passing through
The eye of a needle
Is an easier thing
For a camel
Than a king
Epiphany from a Camel's Point of View

three kings - music for the Epiphany

Sunday, January 3, 2016

interesting MA event - Meet a Muslim Day

Look at this! I wish I could go. but between obligations and the distance, I don't think it's going to work. I will console myself by remembering that I have been on a couple of mosque tours before, including one of the new mosque in Roxbury near the old convent. Now this is the way to work for peace and mutual understanding. If you are near Worcester, MA, go!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Holy Name

At the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow.
Every tongue confess him King of Glory now!
'Tis the Father's pleasure we should call him Lord
Who from the beginning was the mighty Word.

Eternal Father, you gave to your incarnate Son the holy name of Jesus to be the sign of our salvation: Plant in every heart, we pray, the love of him who is the Savior of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
- Collect for The Holy Name - Book of Common Prayer 1979, p. 213.