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“Then they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold doves; and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. He was teaching and saying, ‘Is it not written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations”? But you have made it a den of robbers.’ And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him; for they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching.” -Mark 11:15-18

Social justice. Equality. Caring for and healing the poor, the sick, the outcast. Everything Jesus did and ordered us to do more. Driving out the money changers from the temple was and is His hallmark of righteous anger. I am convinced, and galvanized, that Jesus is there at all the Occupy sites, and He stands with you all.

May your souls rest in God alone. You are the blessed and you will bring the Kingdom to Earth.

Peace

Chris

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“‘But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, “Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?” And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” For many are called, but few are chosen.’” -Matthew 22:11-14

I am impressed and inspired by the sermons that I have heard and read today, particularly after learning that Martin Luther did not like to preach on this Gospel, calling it the terrible Gospel. My favorite one, at least in the title, came from Bishop Stephen Lane of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine, titled “God’s grace demands a response”. I also heard a wonderful sermon from Fr Paul at St Peter’s Episcopal Salem that was summed up by the proclamation that empires have come and gone, but the Kingdom of God has been a constant, thus we should abandon the golden calf, or the bronze bull, and embrace God’s call for the love of our neighbor and God.

In Rev Nash’s sermon, she speaks to the anxiety that we feel, and the focus that we have on the not so pleasant outcome of the silent man who was not wearing the wedding robe. I can certainly relate to her words. I have yet to be able to overcome that banal anxiety in my journey, and I know that it keeps me from serving God to the fullest. Sometimes I feel like I am dangling on that precipice of faith, that edge of feeling the need to keep everything in my purview, as opposed to trusting that God will provide what we need. Some days my faith feels like a gamble, despite the ways in which I do see God in so many things. Perhaps I classify my faith as a gamble some days because I not willing to accept the challenge that my faith puts forth to me.

Regardless, I know what God has called us to do is the right thing to do. I want more who are called to listen and do it, even if it is just a small step. We are not here to serve ourselves, we are here to live and love in community and share our gifts. I will proclaim that message in the streets, on the social media airwaves, and I will reflect that message in my daily life. Then, perhaps, just perhaps, I will let go of the edge of that precipice and fall into the bounty of God’s love and my faith.

Peace

Chris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.” -St. Francis of Assisi

“‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” – Matthew 5:5

Prior to Wednesday, I had not been to the Taize service at St Peters in quite a while. This week, I decided that if I was going to go, I was going bring my little guy Renard (pictured upper right) to the service with me. Normally he and I don’t go out without my wife and my other little guy Fernando (see my gravatar and my header photo) unless I am taking him to the vet, so I was hesitant. I worried openly that it would be stressful for him. My wife made a very good point, telling me that if I was nervous or stressed about him being that way, he would be that way for sure. So we suited up, got in the car, and went to the church.

Arriving at the church, I scooped Renard up out of his car seat and carried him into the chapel at St Peters. One of the perks of having chihuahuas is that they are easy to carry. Both of my boys are bigger than most chihuahuas, not overweight mind you just with bigger frames, but 8.8 pounds is still quite manageable! The folks at the service were delighted to see us, especially delighted to see Renard! Before the service, Fr Paul asked us to come up to the front and he gave Renard a blessing and Renard was totally fine with it! For about the first 20 minutes, Renard looked back at the doors, I think he was wondering when my wife was going to show up! Once the music started, he seemed very interested in our music director Joe and he seemed to like the music. I was singing the songs and massaging him, which seemed to work out well for both of us. We were both pretty chill.

The pinnacle of the service was during the last song, Surrexit Christus, as I was singing he looked up at me and gave me kisses. The simple affirmation that he was comfortable and even perhaps enjoying himself. And so was I.

Our pets are a gift from God. We should always, always remember to treat them as such.

Peace

Chris

I’ve got Good News!

“He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.’” -Mark 12:41-44

“Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.” -Mark 10:21-22

“‘But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, “Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?” And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” For many are called, but few are chosen.’” -Matthew 22:11-14

“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.’” -Matthew 20:16

Today, I have Good News! God has given us the free will to determine whether we are chosen, whether last or first, rich or poor. We simply need to decide to serve God, not wealth and greed, and put on our wedding robes of conversion. I have said it before here and I will say it again, we all have gifts that we must share for the spread of the kingdom. Indeed, it can be harder for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for us to change, but all things are possible with God’s help.

Look at the man who was shocked and went away grieving: As one priest pointed out during a sermon I remember quite well, that was not necessarily the end of the story. In fact, the man had to return to his home to sell all of his possessions, if in fact that was what he did! Of course he was shocked, wouldn’t you be? Remember, in the first part of that interaction he was overwhelmed with joy that he had kept all of the commandments! Yet faced with the greatest commandment, to love God and his neighbor, not his possessions, he was given a teaching he has not heard before perhaps. A teaching that we can see in the books of the prophets has been lost, that Christ was sent to restore. This man was called, and perhaps, just perhaps, he put on his wedding robe of conversion and was chosen. Not because God forced his hand, but because he asked God for help, and truly wanted His help.

Lastly, look no further than the story of St Ignatius for inspiration. He found that when he thought and read about serving God, he was overwhelmed with a inner joy. When he thought and read about his current path as it was, he felt empty pleasure. Perhaps empty pleasure is the outer darkness, the weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Something to consider and pray upon.

Peace

p.s. – the title for this post was lifted from Twin Peaks, totally random, but it works

Early church!

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.’” -Matthew 18:20

As my church nears the end of the year, the big transition period, I find myself dwelling on our 8am Rite I said service. We really do have three services in three languages, each with a different liturgy, Elizabethan English (our 8am Rite I), Contemporary English (our 10am Rite II), and our Spanish service (our noon service). That line-up of services is a tall order for any priest, and we currently have two plus an assistant!

Our 8am Rite I said service is, like most I would imagine, the one that carries the lowest, but most consistent, attendance. We are fiercely loyal in our attendance for the most part. It also occurs to me that we are the most likely service to be targeted for change. Continue Reading »

Commuting with God

Over the last month and a half or so, I have disciplined myself to a commuting regimen of sacred music. I ride the train into work, so I have the blessed luxury of taking time to think, pray, read and write during my commute. At least, I do when I don’t have to work on the commute. Anyhow, my regimen has consisted of the Taize Community Choir’s album Songs of Taize – O Lord hear my prayer, always starting with Bless the Lord, in the morning. I find that listening to Taize music before I get to the office puts me in a very faithful mindset, and focuses me to pray on any of the challenges I know I will face.

The commute home has generally consisted of a Mass in one form or another, or a few hymns and then a Mass. Lately, I have been quite fond of Quire of Voyces’s Latin Mass album, which begins with the Missa Pange Lingua. The Kyrie begins with the opening verses of this blog’s namesake hymn, and proceeds into a beautiful Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei. I usually make it through a Mass and a half before I arrive at the train station. On the flip side, when I listen to Bach’s Mass in B Minor, I think I barely make it through all of the different parts of the Gloria! 🙂 However, not too long ago I loaded Bach’s Mass in B Minor and Vivaldi’s Gloria into my car’s CD player, so I am never without sacred music when I am on the road!

Would love to hear from my readers on what you listen to!

Peace

Chris

Great post, awesome blogger, you should subscribe!

Growing up with God

Continuing in my research of the different religions (and denominations) I today heard Pastor Robert Rutherford (a Universalist) talking about what his belief in God meant to him, and what he thought of humanity.

Robert: This a $100 dollar bill. What’s it worth?
Crowd listening: $100.
Robert: (screws up the bill in his hand) Ok. Now what’s it worth?
Crowd listening: $100.
Robert: Really? (spits on the bill and some of the people listening laugh) Now what’s it worth?
Crowd listening: $100.
Robert: It’s still worth $100 dollars? (drops the bill on the ground and stomps it with his foot) Now what’s it worth?
Crowd listening: $100.
Robert: Excuse me just one moment while I go to the restroom so I can p*ss on it. (people laugh) I won’t. But if I did, and I brought it back dripping, what would it be worth?
Crowd listening: $100.
Robert: $100. Did…

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