Saturday, April 15, 2017

Holy Saturday




But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
"The Lord is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in him."
   
 -  Lamentations 3:21-24


Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
    
 - John 19:40-42




http://www.lectionarypage.net/YearABC_RCL/HolyWk/HolySat_RCL.html

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday



What is truth?

Nikolai GeChrist and Pilate ("What is truth?"), 1890.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontius_Pilate#/media/File:What-is-truth02.jpg



A Joint Holy Week and Easter Message from the Archbishops of Armagh

The Most Revd Richard Clarke & The Most Revd Eamon Martin


“The truth will set you free.”  John 8:32
At the core of the trial of Jesus, Pontius Pilate asks a question, self–servingly and flippantly, “What is truth?” Pilate scoffs at Jesus’ idea of bearing witness to the truth. From Pilate’s position of power, truth is optional, inconsequential even; truth can be defined how one wants.
In many ways it seems as though the same attitude to truth prevails in the world of today. People talk of being “economical” with the truth, of “mis–speaking” instead of “lying”, and of “fake news” as the news that is inconvenient. The truth, the whole truth about the past can be covered up, manipulated, revised and presented to suit the agendas of the powerful today. But truth matters infinitely. Christians must not be content to keep silent in a world where truth has almost become a disposable commodity – occasionally of value, but capable of being twisted or discarded when awkward, disturbing or embarrassing.
Humanity searches for answers to the truth about our identity and purpose – who are we, where do we come from, how should I live, what is right, what is wrong, what happens when this life is over? For Christian disciples the answers to these questions are ultimately to be found in the dramatic events of the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ. It is Truth that is at the heart of the story of Holy Week and Easter. Jesus Christ goes to the Cross because he is the embodiment of Truth, betrayed by grubby ambition and squalid self–interest. The Resurrection is the ultimate vindication of the Truth that the God who is Love will in the end prevail over darkness, hatred and suffering.
The great German theologian and martyr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, preaching in Berlin as Hitler was coming to power, reflected on Pontius Pilate’s question, “What is truth?” He said that although we may ask for the truth, there is also a Truth that is asking for us, seeking us out. We may live in a miasma of half–truths and untruths, but the Truth that is Christ himself is challenging us, on a daily basis, to take our place at his side in the name of unconditional truth and of absolute integrity.
In these weeks, we have an opportunity to delve deeper into the mystery of the Passion and Resurrection of Our Lord and allow ourselves to be taken over by the Truth who seeks us out. In opening ourselves up to Jesus who is “the Way, the Truth and the Life”, we can courageously face the truth of our own lives, and become people who live by, and bear witness to the Truth.
May God in Christ bless you all.
+Richard                                                              +Eamon
Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh           Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Holy Week & Easter schedule at the convent

These services will be in our new chapel.


The Holy Saturday Liturgy will be at noon in the convent oratory next door. We also have several daily office services on a special schedule - call or email if you're interested in the times.

For Maundy Thursday this year, we will be going out to various parish liturgies in the area.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

My Song Is Love Unknown - music for Holy Week





1 My song is love unknown,
my Savior’s love to me,
love to the loveless shown
that they might lovely be.
O who am I, 
that for my sake
my Lord should take 
frail flesh, and die?

2 He came from his blest throne
salvation to bestow,
but men made strange, and none
the longed-for Christ would know. 
But O my friend, 
my friend indeed,
who at my need 
his life did spend.

3 Sometimes they strew his way,
and his strong praises sing,
resounding all the day
hosannas to their King.
Then “Crucify!” 
is all their breath,
and for his death 
they thirst and cry.

4 Why, what hath my Lord done?
What makes this rage and splite?
He made the lame to run,
he gave the blind their sight.
Sweet injuries! 
Ye they at these
themselves displease, 
and 'gainst him rise.

5 They rise, and needs will have
my dear Lord made away;
a murderer they save,
the Prince of Life they slay.
Yet steadfast he 
to suffering goes,
that he his foes 
from thence might free.

6 In life no house, no home
my Lord on earth might have;
in death no friendly tomb
but what a stranger gave.
What may I say? 
Heaven was his home;
but mine the tomb 
wherein he lay.

7 Here might I stay and sing,
no story so divine;
never was love, dear King!
never was grief like thine.
This is my friend, 
in whose sweet praise
I all my days 
could gladly spend.


Hymn #458  Hymnal 1982

via http://www.hymnary.org/text/my_song_is_love_unknown/fulltexts 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Psalm 51 meditation: Allegri's Miserere



Psalm 51:1-18    Miserere mei, Deus

1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your
                            loving-kindness; *
    in your great compassion blot out my offenses.

2 Wash me through and through from my wickedness *
    and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions, *
    and my sin is ever before me.

4 Against you only have I sinned *
    and done what is evil in your sight.

5 And so you are justified when you speak *
    and upright in your judgment.

6 Indeed, I have been wicked from my birth, *
    a sinner from my mother's womb.

7 For behold, you look for truth deep within me, *
    and will make me understand wisdom secretly

8 Purge me from my sin, and I shall be pure; *
    wash me, and I shall be clean indeed.

9 Make me hear of joy and gladness, *
    that the body you have broken may rejoice.

10 Hide your face from my sins *
    and blot out all my iniquities.

11Create in me a clean heart, O God, *
    and renew a right spirit within me.


12 Cast me not away from your presence *
    and take not your holy Spirit from me.

13 Give me the joy of your saving help again *
    and sustain me with your bountiful Spirit.

14 I shall teach your ways to the wicked, *
    and sinners shall return to you.

15 Deliver me from death, O God, *
    and my tongue shall sing of your righteousness,
    O God of my salvation.

16 Open my lips, O Lord, *
    and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.

17 Had you desired it, I would have offered sacrifice, *
    but you take no delight in burnt-offerings.

18 The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit; *
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

(Thankful to http://www.bcponline.org/ for making the psalm text available online.)


To read more on the Allegri Miserere or to read the Latin text of the psalm, you can go to the site where I first listened to this particular recording of the setting:
http://www.plough.com/en/topics/culture/holidays/meditations-for-lent/allegris-miserere-for-lent

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?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

a Bach love song to coffee


Ah! How sweet coffee tastes,
more delicious than a thousand kisses,
milder than muscatel wine.
  Coffee, I have to have coffee,
  and, if someone wants to pamper me,
  ah, then bring me coffee as a gift!

http://www.emmanuelmusic.org/notes_translations/translations_cantata/t_bwv211.htm



Who knew Bach wrote a cantata/comic opera about coffee?

Via Wikipedia, an outline:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schweigt_stille,_plaudert_nicht,_BWV_211 

Better yet, however, are the lyrics to the previous song, which the father berates his coffee-addicted daughter, and she responds:

3. Recitative B S
Schlendrian (which apparently translates "stick in the mud")
     You naughty child, you wild girl,
     ah! When will I achieve my goal:
     get rid of the coffee for my sake!

Liesgen
     Father sir, but do not be so harsh!
     If I couldn't, three times a day,
     be allowed to drink my little cup of coffee,
     in my anguish I will turn into
     a shriveled-up roast goat.

http://www.emmanuelmusic.org/notes_translations/translations_cantata/t_bwv211.htm - Lyrics via Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Boston, I kid you not (no pun intended). However, most sadly, this particular cantata is not on their performance list this year. 

Fortunately for Liesgen, Happy Goat Coffee is a thing.



NPR: How can you tell if your goat is happy? (original photo source)

You're welcome.