Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
Rublev's Icon of the Trinity
This is the welcoming table of God's presence. I hope that each of you get to spend some time there this weekend.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
In our sorrow, breathe hope;
In our hurts, breathe peace.
Spread the joy of your love in us,
to all the nations of the world.
Go forth in the blessing of God who is
the Creator of all,
our Redeemer and
our Sustaining power. Amen.
Peony Season in New Harmony
The peonies in New Harmony this year have been beautiful. This "old fashioned" flower has a lovely scent which is not overwhelming. There is a Peony Farm in New Harmony and they ship the peony buds all over the world. Once the buds bloom they are no longer able to ship them and they open the farms for picking. It is amazing to see the variety of peonies. Most of the peonies in town are white, pink, and deep purple. I have a parishioner who has a deep red peony which is beautiful. Next spring come to New Harmony to see the peonies!
The Parish House is coming along - some of the siding is up in the front. It will be painted white with blue trim. There are so many decisions to be made right now but everyone is getting excited. The contractor says we might be in by the end of July.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Tomorrow I am preaching at our SW Deanery Confirmation service in Washington, IN. I was doing some research for the sermon and came across this quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.
"There was a time when the church was very powerful. It was during that period when the early Christians rejoiced when they were deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed in. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Wherever the early Christians entered a town the power structure got disturbed and immediately sought to convict them for being “disturbers of the peace” and “outside agitators”. But they went on with the conviction that they were a “colony of heaven,” and had to obey God rather than man. They were small in number but big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be “astronomically intimidated.” They brought to an end such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contest. Things are different now. The contemporary church is often a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. It is so often the arch supporter of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent and often vocal sanction of things as they are."-- Dr.Martin Luther King Jr., “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” in A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings of Martin Luther King, Jr., edited by James Melvin Washington (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1986), pg. 300.
This quote reminded me of some of the things that Philip Newell is teaching at the Benedictine Retreat this week. Newell teaches that the doctrine of creation was "watered down" (my word, Newell used the word, "neutralized") when Christianity was legalized by the Empire. Irenaeus (Bishop of Lyons, c. 202) wrote that creation is not ex nihilo (out of nothing); rather, God created all that is out of God's self. Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of John, the beloved disciple of Jesus. If all that is created is out of God then we bear the DNA of God in a particular way in our own DNA. This has serious implications for our interactions with each other - implications that go way beyond the current cultures of making war, terrorism, and fundamentalism. Of course the Roman Empire would not want people to believe that each person created bears God. How then could we separate ourselves into the exclusive groups or good and evil, believers and non-believers (infidels). What if we ALL honored this DNA of God in ourselves and others? This is very radical stuff but it resonates within me as the truth that will allow us to stop destroying each other and ourselves. Perhaps the greatest problem our world faces is "religious fundamentalism." Fundamentalists found among Christians, Muslims, or Jews (and many other sects) see the world and people in very exclusive ways. Certain people must be excluded so that we can know who we are.
Julian of Norwich, the 14th Century mystic and writer says that "we are made OF God." Being made of God has huge implications for my life and I am just beginning to reach into those implications as I write this...
This is the view from my backyard. This has been one of the most beautiful seasons of Spring that I have known in recent memory. The greens are particularly wonderful. This is a fallow (so far) field where wild mustard has grown up. They may plow it up to plant soybeans later but for now it is radiant! the Wabash River (the tiny slice of blue in the green) is now full to the edges from the rain we had last weekend. Katie and I ride the golf cart down to see it in the evenings.
Monday, May 3, 2010
We are now "under roof" and moving along. We are all beginning to get a sense of what the new Parish House will look like and how radically different it will be from the old one. There is so much space in the new building and we are getting excited. More pictures perhaps even tomorrow if they put the round windows in at the top of the hall!!
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Friday, April 2, 2010
It is so hard to believe that I just met Jesus, the teacher, last night. All afternoon yesterday I tried to think of something that I could take to the Passover meal. As I started out the door, the "ruined" white fabric was there where I had left it the day before. I grabbed it thinking it would be a perfect table covering for the meal. I met Mary of Bethany at the market and helped her finish the shopping for the meal. When she saw the cloth she was delighted.
We finished our preparations just in time. Jesus and his other followers came in. Everyone was talking and excited. I felt a bit out of place - I had just met most of the people and they seemed to know each other so well. Meeting Jesus was extraordinary! He was kind to me and when it came time to serve the meal, he seemed delighted with the white cloth. We all gathered together in the room to share the meal. Jesus was like a rabbi. He taught us, he served us and he washed the feet of some of his disciples! I have never been served by a man. I felt shy and somewhat bewildered. I didn't know whether to accept the bowl of food he gave me or give it to one of the men in the room. But it was clear from his eyes that he meant it for me and he served everyone.
The meal became quite somber after a while. Jesus began to talk about betrayal, and he talked about his death. I wanted to run to him and tell him that I would protect him. Mary seemed so peaceful. She told me about her brother who had died and been brought back to life by Jesus. Lazarus seemed fine to me, and so, I thought, perhaps this is the way it will happen with Jesus. But I was wrong.
The women cleaned up after Jesus and the disciples left. We were quite tired and so we pulled down the mats for sleeping. We talked a long time and I listened to the stories the women told about Jesus. Finally my eyes would no longer stay open. The next thing I knew Mary was shaking me awake. "They have arrested Jesus! Come on, we must go and find everyone else. We need to stay together. The authorities may come for us next." I was scared but I remember thinking that it would be okay...Jesus would save us. One of the women grabbed my cloth from the table where it had been left as we ran from the room. We found the other disciples and that was the beginning of the longest day of my life.
Jesus is dead now - crucified by the Romans. The emotions of this day have been a turmoil. We thought surely Pilate would release him and when that did not happen something inside of me broke apart. How could this man, who I had just come to know, be put to death? I saw him come out with the cross over his shoulder. He had been beaten and thorns woven into a crown were stuck into his brow. The woman with my cloth ran to him and wiped the blood from his eyes with the cloth. I thought of the woman in my store who refused the cloth because a drop of my Jewish blood had contaminated it. A Roman soldier shoved her away from Jesus and she fell but we ran to help her up. Her eyes found mine in sorrow. She said, "I'm so sorry, I have ruined your cloth." I held her as I told her it was alright. Some day I will tell her the story of the cloth.
Jesus is dead. Joseph, a friend of the disciples is going to Pilate to ask for Jesus' body. The sun is getting ready to set and we must get his body down from the cross and into the tomb before sundown. I don't know where the disciples are, but I am here at the cross with the other women. Jesus' mother is here too. Why did this happen? What will we do now? I do not want to leave these friends...