Monthly Archives: March 2018

A Thursday Reflection 3.29.18

When a person is studying the history of Christian liturgy, you spend some time on the texts of what is called the “Gothic Missal.”     FYI: The Gothic Missal is the only surviving source of many rites and commemorations that characterize the specific liturgical tradition of late antique and early medieval (Merovingian) Gaul” – taken from www.brepolis.net.  In simple English, what we’re reading are the texts of services and specific prayers going back to the Church community in what would someday become France.

As Anglicans, we “pray what we believe.”  So as an uplifting Easter message, allow me to share with you the prayer of that ancient community so many, many centuries ago, as they gathered in vigil in the darkness before each Easter morning in anticipation and celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection.  Why is this feast of such importance?  What do we articulate in prayer?  Read on:

O Almighty God

Hear your people

who are this day met to glorify

the Resurrection of your Son Our Lord;

And guide them from this festival to eternal gladness from the exulting joys of this solemnity to the joys that have no end.

For this is the day of man’s Resurrection,

the birthday of eternal life;

in which we have been satisfied with your mercy in the morning

in which the Blessed One who comes in the name of the Lord and who is our God,

has shone upon us.   AMEN

 

A blessed Easter to Each of You!!!!

A Thursday Reflection 3.22.18

Rumor has it that “Spring” has arrived.  At least from the cosmic and meteorological relationship of our “island earth” and its angle to the sun, it is now spring.    And yet I see snow, and feel the cold.  Even Abby, the most snow enthusiastic speed demon, sort of mumbles under her breath as she chugs over hard old snow that isn’t fun to race through anymore.

We’re all tired of the winter.  It cannot die soon enough.  We need to feel the warmth (and not just the pale chilled brightness of a “winter sun”).  We need to be able to don light jackets, walk in the park, on the tracks, in the woods or on town sidewalks.  We need to throw a baseball, catch a Frisbee, ride a bike, or play fetch with our family canine companions.  I want to trade in jeans and six layers of sweatshirts for a tee shirt, shorts and sneakers!  I would love to feel young again – one more time!

The feelings that Spring raises up in me each year are “sacramental” – by which I mean that those rites and events are “outward signs of an invisible spiritual reality” – for those of you who remember the catechism’s definition.  And I am not merely speaking of trying to feel better about myself as if I could relive my adolescent years.  I would NEVER want to relive those years.  (I suspect most of us, if we’re truthful, would admit to that.)

This is more than about physiology or psychology.  It is about “life in the spirit.”  It is about, as the Greek Orthodox say: “being divinized.”  For believers, the events we will celebrate in our HOLY week bring to mind that in Christ, life (true life, life eternal) is ever given to us – ever young for us.  We arrive at Easter reminded that the feast is not about sunshine and warmth and flowers and color and the “stuff” of the season’s change.  Easter is about even more than the resurrection of the Incarnate One who “lived and died for us and our salvation.”  It is a reminder that in Him, we all rise to new life.  We are, in him, ever young – ever entering into the springtime of a spiritual forever.  And the cold pale death of spiritual winter will ultimately have no hold over us.

A Thursday Reflection 3.15.18

It’s the “Ides of March” (and not a good day to be a Roman politician with autocratic aspirations), but I’m going to think back only a week or so rather than 2000 + years.  What lessons did I learn or questions do I now ask in light of the meteorological events of March 2018?
You certainly learn something about friendship and neighborliness when it comes to needing to use the shower of another or that they will share a hot cup of coffee or tea with you in close quarters when you haven’t bathed in days!
I know that we were all “mildly” inconvenienced by the loss of power for those days – and have nothing to complain about if we compare ourselves with people in the Caribbean who are still without power or homes months and months after the hurricane.
I also know that this year marks 70 years since this country pulled off the great rescue of  millions in a city in winter peril (the city of our “enemy” – cf. the Berlin Airlift), yet we still seem impotent to care for our own citizens who have suffered from last summer’s storms aftermath!  Why?   And systemic poverty in this land?  Why?
I learned that greater is not always better than fewer:  e.g., two Nor’easters are not better than one.  Also, I struggle with the math in this question:  Why is it that two good legs walking vivacious, snow-loving dog are of less value than one good leg + one herniated disc + one cane + one back brace?  Isn’t “4” always better than “2”?
For that matter, why is the proportion of joy of a dog loving a raging snowstorm always in direct reverse proportion to her “daddy’s” desire to go out and walk her in it?
Curious how the tenor of news never seemed to change: power came back on and we find out that we’re still shooting, hurting, abusing one another, and that peace which the Lord promised (“…which passeth all understanding…”) seems so, so far away in this time of social and political agitation.  Jesus warned that “the poor you will always have with you…,” but it seems that in spite of our collective and communal wealth, those suffering from poverty increase.
A last reminder and question: When will we learn to not put all our faith in our technology?  Nature scoffs at our hubris.  Try to contact anyone when the power is gone, you or they don’t have access to a cell phone (or remember the number), and the roads are blocked with downed trees.  One learns how small we really are – and how much we all need each other.
John Donne:  “No man is an Island.”  (16th Century)
Hillary Clinton:  “It takes a Village”   (20th Century)

Me:      So when will we finally get it??    (yesterday)

– Fr. Joe

A Thursday Reflection 3.1.18

You would think that it would be easy to create a weekly reflection during the season of Lent. After all, why not condemn this sin or that sinner (and the media gives us so many from which to choose) and point out the flaws in those all around us?

Ever sit in a room at night typing, as I am doing right now? An interesting thing occurs. You sit in the light and stare out a window into the darkness (you know: where all those sinful persons, places or things live) and yet the strongest image you will encounter is your own reflection!

It is an understatement to point out how pathetic this world of ours has become and how steeped it is in self-righteous hypocrisy from those all too ready to judge and condemn others with whom they disagree. If Lent has become an opportunity to practice the Christian disciplines of prayer, fasting and giving to charity, and so many refuse to do so or feel they are above such quaint customs, well, I can look for those types of hard-hearted individuals and expose them. Could I not? And yet, when trying to see beyond my window this evening, all I can see is my own reflection.

As I look to expose the weaknesses in my sisters and brothers, why is it I can’t see beyond the one staring back at me?

– Fr. Joe