Friday, August 31, 2012

Psalm 45




45  Eructavit cor meum


1
My heart is stirring with a noble song;
let me recite what I have fashioned for the king; *
    my tongue shall be the pen of a skilled writer.


2
You are the fairest of men; *
    grace flows from your lips,
    because God has blessed you for ever.


3
Strap your sword upon your thigh, O mighty warrior, *
    in your pride and in your majesty.


4
Ride out and conquer in the cause of truth *
    and for the sake of justice.


5
Your right hand will show you marvelous things; *
    your arrows are very sharp, O mighty warrior.


6
The peoples are falling at your feet, *
    and the king's enemies are losing heart.

7
Your throne, O God, endures for ever and ever, *
    a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom;
    you love righteousness and hate iniquity.


8
Therefore God, your God, has anointed you *
    with the oil of gladness above your fellows.


9
All your garments are fragrant with myrrh, aloes, and cassia, *
    and the music of strings from ivory palaces makes you glad.


10
Kings' daughters stand among the ladies of the court; *
    on your right hand is the queen,
    adorned with the gold of Ophir.


11
"Hear, O daughter; consider and listen closely; *
    forget your people and your father's house.


12
The king will have pleasure in your beauty; *
    he is your master; therefore do him honor.


13
The people of Tyre are here with a gift; *
    the rich among the people seek your favor."


14
All glorious is the princess as she enters; *
    her gown is cloth-of-gold.


15
In embroidered apparel she is brought to the king; *
    after her the bridesmaids follow in procession.


16
With joy and gladness they are brought, *
    and enter into the palace of the king.


17
"In place of fathers, O king, you shall have sons; *
    you shall make them princes over all the earth.


18
I will make your name to be remembered
from one generation to another; *
    therefore nations will praise you for ever and ever."

Psalm 45 is said to be a song prepared for the celebration of a king’s wedding, perhaps King Solomon marrying a daughter of Pharaoh. Our lectionary appoints the psalm for this coming Sunday, September 2, in response to the Old Testament reading from the Song of Solomon, but only the verses in blue above. One looks at the blue verses and wonders, “why only these?” A partial answer might be that the responsive psalm would otherwise be too long. The cynic’s observation is that some of the omitted verses have hints of violence that are politically incorrect (inexplicably so in our society that happily wages two endless wars at once, rotating troops in and out ad infinitum, and contemplates opening additional fronts while whining that it can’t afford health care for its citizens). An additional answer may be that the allusions are meant to be at least obliquely to Jesus (which is not unusual in Christian treatment of the Old Testament), in which case only the more peaceful, and masculine, verses are suitable.

Regardless of the lectionary linking of the psalm to the Old Testament reading and the Christian worship setting in which it is used, there’s no reason to ignore that the psalm is almost obsequious in its fawning flattery of the king. If we look through the Book of Psalms we observe that this is not all that uncommon; nor should we be surprised considering the absolute monarchy during which some of the psalms were written. We might even expect such in Solomon’s era: he began as a humble servant of the Lord, but had such a reign of tyranny and fear, even selfishness, lust and greed, that upon his death David’s United Kingdom of Israel and Judah dissolved, so hated was Solomon in some parts of the land and by some of the people.

History is History and Facts is Facts.
TW+
  

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Farmers, Gardeners & Christians


Proper 17    The Sunday closest to August 31
Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good
things: Graft in our hearts the love of your Name; increase in
us true religion; nourish us with all goodness; and bring forth
in us the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,
for ever and ever. Amen.
This lovely collect from the Gelasian (c.a. 750 AD) and Gregorian Sacramentaries and our early prayerbooks has been called an image of the gardener or farmer: the fruit of good works brought forth by God who plants, nourishes and continues to care. Marion J. Hatchett (Commentary on the American Prayer Book) says that the address might better be translated (from the Latin) “God of virtue whose is all that is best,” and the next to last phrase “nourish what is good in us.” Both of those seem better theologically. Cranmer apparently added “true” before “religion,” reflecting religious controversies of the sixteenth century. 
The term “true religion” brings guardedly to mind the controversies of our own day, both religious, and secular that are religiously based; also brings to mind the paragraph in our earlier Prayer for the Whole State of Christ’s Church --
We beseech thee also, so to direct and dispose the hearts of all Christian Rulers, that they may truly and impartially administer justice, to the punishment of wickedness and vice, and to the maintenance of thy true religion, and virtue. --

-- wisely deleted and reflecting an established state religion with a power and authority in government that we should in no wise wish to have laid on us in America today. And of which the electorate might well be wary in an era of creeping political/religious certitude and extremism, when the notion of “true religion” is frightening, threatening, ominous: the specter of any religious extremist rising from his knees with set jaw to go forth and do the will of God. Some of which can be discerned as the nation moves toward November 6, 2012. Even in America the religious source and certitude of political leaders does, can and may make a difference in a nation founded on something about unalienable Rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Religious extremism does not see those Rights as all that unalienable.

In any event, the collect heralds the gospel of lovingkindness and good works that we shall hear from the Letter of James over the next five Sundays.

May the Lord nourish what is good in us. 

TW+

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Isaac and Jacob


What was it like, what did we get? Ominously dark, angry Bay, churning like unto chaos, hurricane surge lapping up close to W. Beach Drive in low areas down front, blustery wind and gusts. Little rain. 

Still a hurricane making landfall at this moment. May some drought areas be blessed by rain as Isaac moves inland. And let all the people say -- Amen.

Speaking of Isaac -- Abraham, Isaac and Jacob -- this coming Sunday morning we begin five Sundays of reading through the Letter of Jacob -- 

ιακωβος θεου και κυριου ιησου χριστου δουλος

Jacob God and Lord Jesus Christ slave 

Hebrew Yaakov to Greek Iakobou translates through several language strains to the English names Jacob, James and Jack. James is said to be the Anglo-Saxon strain of Yaakov and Iakobou that emerged nearly a century before the King James Version in the 1525-26 New Testament of William Tyndale, reportedly first to translate the Bible direct from original Hebrew and Greek into English and print it. So, Greek original, it’s the Letter of Jacob, translated to us as the Letter of James -- Tyndale had it "Iames."

One of my favorites.
TW+

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Grumpy


Suffering Fools Not Gladly

Isaac. An American meteorologist goes to Cuba to monitor and report a hurricane: ice is broken and more can happen. Politicians run scared of their shadows, but relations with neighboring humans should be based on national interest and what's right, not dictated by angry exiles. If we can be friends with Germany, Japan, Vietnam, we can have a decent relationship with Cuba again after this past half-century.

Some folks never change. A recent conference reminded that some people are criminally overbearing. In the extreme case of insufferable obnoxiousness capped by thick, dense and dim of wit, one can’t help thinking of going for a rope. Suffering fools not gladly. Next time: pass, give it a miss.

Though made a scapegoat and unwelcome in Tampa, Todd Akin is not the problem but the symptom: he knocked the scab off the fester, so stuff him back in the box before people wake up. A pack of certitudinous men making laws for women makes as much sense as popes and bishops decreeing the purpose and rules of sex in marriage. There’s no difference in oppressive religion, an oppressive state, an oppressive institution; but nobody has power and authority except as their subjects and electorate tolerate. Which in every case comes to the problem: whoever gives them power. 

ITR, some Eagles have turned in their medals.

All the online news sites allow comments on their reports and articles, just scroll down and stupidize. NYT, TWP, CNN, Yahoo! Most comments and back & forth are shallow and indicative of Zero Base. Get a life. 

Taliban: evil, judgmental, fundamentalist tyranny beheading 17 people at a party for music and dancing. Every society has its evil, judgmental, fundamentalist political fringe element, including ours. Not quite as extreme yet only because we haven’t given them control yet. 

Besse Cooper, age 116, has it right: avoid junk food and mind your own business.


TomBubba

Monday, August 27, 2012

Don't Shoot


Don’t Shoot
After an electrical outage left us without power for a dozen or more hours one day some years ago, my mother insisted we have a generator installed and the three of us share the cost. Resembling an HVAC compressor beside the house, it’s a big, ugly thing with a one-cylinder natural-gas-driven engine like a car motor that, despite its size, only handles a couple of rooms -- kitchen and appliances, one other room and one HVAC system. It comes on within a few seconds of the electricity going off; and for maintenance turns itself on and runs for a minute or so about once a month. It’s helpful for power outages plus gives us options when there’s a hurricane in the Gulf, before, during and after. 
October 1995 when Hurricane Opal came in, we had boarded up early morning and departed for Tallahassee, driving thirteen hours in the bumper-to-bumper traffic nightmare, finding overnight shelter there only in the parking garage of Tallahassee Medical Center. The next morning I phoned my neighbor Bill to ask if my house was still here. It was, no damage, but scroungy seaweed and debris a couple feet thick from St. Andrews Bay bottom, and two of the neighbors’ docks broken to pieces and deposited in my front yard. Huge azaleas and a cedar tree in the lower part of the yard killed by the wind and salt water. We wouldn’t plant that close to the Bay again, and haven’t. 
Hurricane Ivan in 2004 gave us greater damage: the high wind toppling an enormous hickory tree that was here over a hundred years ago, before the house was built. Falling, the hickory tree hit the front of the house, requiring the front porch area to be rebuilt. When Ivan struck, Linda, Kristen and I were in Atlanta for my prostate cancer treatment, returning the next day to a neighborhood that was without power for several days. When we arrived home, my mother had paid a “drive-by-contractor” ostensibly from Louisiana, to cut and remove the hickory tree, and told him that she was staying at my sister’s house. That night we had a few candles lit, but the neighborhood was in total darkness, no moon. Late evening a car drove up slowly, parked beside the house, and a man got out and closed the door quietly. Thinking he might have a car problem and need help, I watched from upstairs; but he moved to a first-floor window of my darkened house, obviously thinking nobody was home. When I opened my upstairs window and shined a flashlight on him, he fled to his car and drove quickly away. A gunshot through the window where he was standing and intending to enter would have stopped him permanently and satisfied my rage of the moment, but it would have left me with a shattered window to board up, and he was still outside, and castle law would not likely have held for me, and a flashlight proved just as effective.
Even in the darkness I identified the car, a 1995-96 era Chevrolet Caprice sedan. For absolute certain, it was the “contractor” whom in my absence my mother had paid to remove the hickory tree and told that she would not be home. He didn’t realize that someone else would be home.
Looking back, despite my anger that someone would purpose to enter, burglarize and possibly trash my home, the inclination to shoot was best not done. Not a good newspaper headline or TV story. “Priest ...”. And it could have been the basis of lifelong regret.
With a generator running, the house will not be dark next time.
TW

Sunday, August 26, 2012

ruach elohim


For seasonable weather, and for an abundance of the fruits of the earth, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy.

A tradition of our Church is the Prayers of the People as part of the Liturgy of the Word during Holy Eucharist. The prayers may take any form at all, from the sets written in the prayerbook to prayers offered extemporaneously by members of the congregation, as long they include intercessions for the Universal Church, its members, and its mission, the Nation and all in authority, the welfare of the world, the concerns of the local community, those who suffer and those in any trouble, and the departed. 
As part of our Sunday morning services of Summer Eucharist meant to be educational and experiential for our congregation, we have tried a little bit of nearly the range of possibilities. This morning, as summer draws to a close for us, we are returning to The Book of Common Prayer, with Form II selectively printed in the worship booklet. 
Our summer has been extraordinarily wet and rainy; but this could be counted a blessing, especially considering the extreme drought across much of the country. And so our liturgy as prepared for today does not include the petition for seasonable weather. With iHurricane Isaac in the Gulf of Mexico now, however, we shall add that! 
All this brings a couple of things to mind. One is the TV evangelist turned presidential hopeful some years ago, who hinted personal credit for having prayed a hurricane away from the east coast of the United States. The other is my own day at a diocesan commission meeting with the bishop on Tuesday, October 3, 1995, when Hurricane Opal was way down off Mexico and the bishop opened our session with a prayer that Opal would continue its course into unpopulated areas of Mexico. Observation and experience might suggest that ruach elohim the Wind of God is not in the storms, or is in them mischievously, even capriciously. We needn’t go there at the moment.
As well as prayers, those with commonsense will be keeping an eye on Isaac’s track forecasts, which keep shifting significantly.
TW+    

Theological rationalization of course is that erratic hurricanes are part of the natural order and that where we humans choose to live is part of our godly free will.   

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Saturday before Isaac


Hurricane Isaac has its eye on us. My tracking maps update every three hours, and the projected landfall point keeps jiggling east and west, currently into our neighborhood Wednesday, August 29 about 2 a.m. with 90 mph winds. Anything can happen between now and then, but it bears watching, and clearing the yard of potential flying objects.

Coffee, black with a couple twists of the pepper mill, fragrant.

Tomorrow, Sunday morning, will be special. Guest preacher is Holy Nativity parishioner Jane Burkett, who is studying at Nashotah House Theological Seminary in Wisconsin. One of my relatives went to seminary there and in fact is buried in the cemetery there. Jane found his grave for me a couple years ago. Looking forward to welcoming Jane home and to our pulpit. 

Our new kitchen is finished sufficiently that coffee will be made there instead of across the street in the office/parish house. The entire space is air-conditioned now, and cushions are on the window bench seats in the corridor leading to Kids Kingdom. Lots of finishing touches going on.

Great hymns tomorrow. “Ye Holy Angels Bright” for openers. “Gloria, Gloria, Gloria” for our Praise Song. “How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place” responds to the 1 Kings lesson about Solomon bringing the Ark of the Covenant into the Temple and welcomes the Gospel reading. “Alleluia, Sing To Jesus” (tune Hyfrydol) with the verse, “Alleluia, Bread of Heaven” closing out our five-week series of Gospel readings from John chapter 6. We’ve eased back into the prayerbook for Prayers of the People and Eucharistic Prayer, but still the Nicene Creed sans filioque. 

Ignoring political nonsense this morning.

TW+

Friday, August 24, 2012

Throwed Rolls


Some weeks ago we received a letter from the bishop to all clergy inviting and encouraging us to attend a one-day health conference at diocesan Camp Beckwith. Linda and I decided to come, in part because, starting at 9:30 a.m. and lasting until 6:00 p.m., it would necessitate coming over the day before and staying two nights. We stayed at the Quality Inn in Foley, Alabama at a bargain $62 per night, and are reckoning this was our summer vacation.

Held in Beckwith's bay-front building (which we didn't know existed) the conference will help us give increased attention to health matters of diet and exercise and to continued vigilance about weight. Ending the conference, the last two hours, the bishop had a “called clergy conference” to discuss and lay down policies and procedures regarding the adoption by General Convention 2012 of a liturgy for blessing same-sex unions. The bishop is an uncommonly patient man: if some of these sailors were in my ship I'd call the assignment office in Washington. 

Anyone who knows me knows my main reason for going anywhere is to check out the local food, from lobster and clams in Rhode Island early in Navy years fifty-five years ago, to the sushi in Yokohama our years in Japan, to bringing home a dungeness crab Friday evenings in San Diego, to the annual Oktoberfest those years in Columbus, Ohio, right up to last night and this morning. Our habit for the past thirty years when in or through Foley was The Gift Horse Restaurant, a classy buffet in an place built in 1912 to be The Foley Progressive Club, for concerts, dances, and other cultural events. But checking online for their hours turned up reviews for the past two or three years with consistently dismal reports, so we skipped it. Madge mentioned Lambert’s Cafe, one of a small chain called “The Only Home of Throwed Rolls.” Checking my iPad showed it ranking #1 of 60 Foley restaurants. We ate there Wednesday evening, an adventure. Apparently there’s usually a wait up to two hours, but we arrived early and were shown right to a table. It’s a rowdy place, a waiter wheeling a two-tier cart around shouting “hot rolls,” and throwing a grapefruit-size roll at anyone who raised a hand. If you don't catch yours, let it roll across the floor, he's about to toss you another one. Delicious and yeasty, but white bread is not on my list, so only one. Our menu arrived and we ordered catfish and chicken-fried round steak. More servers came round, one serving apple butter or molasses on your roll. Others with huge pots of fried okra, which they spooned onto your napkin to munch while waiting for your meal, or black-eyed peas, potatoes and onions, tomatoes and macaroni. Our meals were enormous, resulting that there was enough in the go-boxes for catfish and chicken-fried steak breakfast yesterday. Again, an adventure. There are three Lambert’s Cafe locations, the other two in Missouri. 

Thursday evening we tried the #2 rated restaurant in Foley, Fish River Grill. Shrimp, huge and fantastic, and oysters. Turned out to be about sixteen enormous oysters, superb, so much that half of them spent the night in the refrigerator, to be heated in the motel microwave for breakfast this morning. If that place were on Beck Avenue in St. Andrews the waiting line outside would be longer than Hunt’s Oyster Bar. Plus, about seven o'clock a singer with guitar lit up, the image of Johnny Cash.

My iPad has a National Hurricane Center icon on the desktop, and we’ve watched Hurricane Isaac, increasingly less and less threatening to our area, shifting slightly west with every updating. This morning’s 5-day cone has it coming in right where I’m sitting in Foley, Alabama at this moment drinking coffee and writing my blog, Isaac making landfall next Wednesday at two o’clock in the morning. But by then, the way it keeps shifting to the left, our friends in Texas may be in for it. Maybe some of the drought area will get rain. Anyway, batten down, Phyllis and Sonny.

Tom

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ark of the Covenant


From 1st Kings chapter 8, our Old Testament lesson for Sunday, August 26 completes our summer Bible Story of the Adventures of Samuel, Saul, David and Solomon. In this episode, about 960 BC, Solomon’s Temple has been completed and King Solomon has the Ark of the Covenant moved to the Temple, into the Holy of Holies. There it will remain until the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple in 586 BC. 


In Sunday’s chapter, once the Ark is placed in the Holy of Holies, the space fills with a cloud, dazzling bright with the presence of God, so thick and bright that the priests cannot remain in there to do their work. Solomon then offers his great prayer praising God who is too great to be confined to one space. Solomon’s prayer concludes asking that God hear the prayers of the people when they face the Temple and pray.

In our liturgical tradition, the psalm that follows the first reading, the Old Testament lesson, is meant to respond to the reading in some way. The connection is often a bit far fetched, and in our Summer Liturgy we have not been reading the appointed psalm, which is optional in any event. This Sunday, though, Psalm 84 is appointed, and it fits beautifully. We will be singing a paraphrase of Psalm 84, “How lovely is thy dwelling place, O Lord of Hosts, to me.” The tune is the very lovely and singable Brother James’ Air. As we will already be on our feet singing the hymn, it will serve as both our Gradual Psalm responding to the O.T. story and our Sequence Hymn anticipating the Gospel.  

Our Old Testament adventure ends here, and starting on Sunday, September 2nd the Lectionary takes us wandering off elsewhere. As for the Ark of the Covenant, what happened to it in 586 BC and after is a mystery that has long been the subject of great speculation, inquiry, discussion, and searching. Lost, it has never been found.

TW+ 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bread of Life


This coming Sunday is the last of five Sundays in which our gospel reading is from John chapter 6, the so-called “Bread of Life Discourse.” It is an intriguing read for any number of reasons. Some that interest me --

The semeia (signs) of miraculous feeding of five thousand and of walking on water are part of a hypothetical “signs gospel” pointing to who Jesus is: for those present in the story, the prophet foretold by Moses; for John’s audience, the divine One come down from heaven.

The feeding account in John is different from that in the synoptics. In the synoptics, where all three accounts are close to identical, the feeding is one of a series of eucharistic feedings in which Jesus takes and blesses and breaks and gives the bread -- not so in John, whose agenda is different: the feeding is semeion, a sign.

Jesus identifies himself, his body, his message, his being, with the manna, bread from heaven, that God gave through Moses to the Israelites in the wilderness.

Jesus identifies himself with I AM, the name or self-identification that God spoke to Moses from the burning bush. John chapter 6 includes several of these ego eimi, I AM instances that are spread through John’s gospel and central to John's agenda.

During the time of our readings from John 6, I have enjoyed the liturgical, worship, opportunity to sing some of the church’s “bread” songs, including “Break this Bread,” “I Am the Bread of Life,” and “Break Thou the Bread of Life, Dear Lord, To Me.” Our chancel choir has helped make the five weeks a rich time. Liturgically also, we have used eucharistic prayers that speak of the Bread of Life. We’ll close it out this Sunday with the hymn “Alleluia, Sing To Jesus,” in which one verse begins “Alleluia, Bread of Heaven.”

TW+

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Go Gators Go Blue


In the News?

Augusta Admits First Women Members
Another barricade falls. Next?

Congressman Scolded After Skinny Dip In Sea of Galilee
He’s in saintly company. John 21:7

Prince Harry Parties Unrecognized in Las Vegas
Might as well, he’s not going to be king anyway.

Rep. Todd Akin ... 
Abysmal ignorance hides behind the cloak of stupidity. 

Ukrainian Commission Wants To Ban SpongeBob
Apparently SpongeBob is gay.

Pakistan Mentally Disabled Girl, 11, Arrested And Jailed For Blasphemy
In America it would be for flag burning. Battle of the great minds. 

iHurricanes: The “I” Jinx
Reduce hurricane violence by skipping the Evil “I”
13th floor syndrome 

Florida Gators Open 2012 Football Season at No. 23
FSU at No. 7, can’t stand it. 
Wearing my Gamecocks cap for Amy this season except Oct 20


2012 Associated Press Preseason Poll


Rank
Team
Pts
1
USC (25)
1445
2
Alabama (17)
1411
3
LSU (16)
1402
4
Oklahoma (1)
1286
5
Oregon
1274
6
Georgia
1107
7
Florida State
1093
8
Michigan
1000
9
South Carolina
994
10
Arkansas
963
11
West Virginia
856
12
Wisconsin
838
13
Michigan State
742
14
Clemson
615
15
Texas
569
16
Virginia Tech
548
17
Nebraska
485
18
Ohio State
474
19
Oklahoma State
430
20
TCU
397
21
Stanford
383
22
Kansas State
300
23
Florida
214
24
Boise State
212
25
Louisville
105

Others receiving votes: Notre Dame 83, Washington 55, Auburn 53, North Carolina 32, Utah 30, Georgia Tech 25, Brigham Young 22, Tennessee 15, South Florida 11, Baylor 9, Texas A&M 5, UCF 4, Missouri 3, North Carolina State 3, Cincinnati 3, Houston 1, Louisiana Tech 1, Mississippi State 1, Northern Illinois 1

Florida 23/FSU 7, can’t stand it. Michigan 8 Go Blue. Auburn head football coaches will be getting fired for a while, all it takes is a couple losses to Alabama, there’s the door, here’s the boot, and out on your BeeYouTeeTee. 

Season opener Big Blue versus Crimson Tide. Here’s the tune, remember the words, stand up and sing:


Hail! to the victors valiant 
Hail! to the conqu'ring heroes 
Hail! Hail! to Michigan 
The leaders and best!

T
UFlorida ’57
UMichigan ’63 

Monday, August 20, 2012

School Days



We had a happy ten-thirty worship service yesterday with the Children's Choir, and all the kids and their backpacks, and a wonderful back-to-school Altar arrangement, good hymns and good scripture, an old time Sunday School Bible story about Solomon and the Lord, and a Gospel about Jesus as the Bread of Life. It was a riot.

Something the Rector does from time to time that is always fun is having all the children come up inside the rail and join him around the Altar for The Great Thanksgiving, which is the Eucharistic Prayer. Standing behind and watching the children is a trip, they enjoy it so, and sometimes it’s possible for me to snap a picture. The last time I did so was Pajama Sunday, and the little boy right in front of me had a head of hair that looked like he’d just got out of bed. 

Our ten-thirty service yesterday was the Blessing of the Backpacks, and while the major morning rainstorm seemed to dampen attendance, there was still a respectable crowd of children and backpacks. My thought was to have the children come back up during the Offertory and join me at the Altar, but there was still a huge pile of Backpack Ministry backpacks piled against the Altar after the children took their own backpacks away, so it wouldn’t have worked, it wasn’t possible for the kids to crowd up to the Altar.

They seemed to love it anyway. During the prayer for blessing the backpacks, the backpacks all got sprinkled with Holy Water from the River Jordan; and seeing that we were praying God to bless the children too, they all got mightily sprinkled as well. This generated shrieks and giggles and all the children waving their hands and jumping up and down for more sprinkling -- which they got -- and then picked up their backpacks and marched out behind the Children’s Cross as the congregation sang “I Am the Bread of Life” and we went on to hear from Jesus in the Gospel according to John, chapter 6, the “Bread of Life Discourse.”

It was enormous fun. May God bless each and every one of them as they start their new school year throughout Bay County this morning. Amen!

Tom+
  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Backpack Sunday


Our ten-thirty worship this morning is our annual “Blessing of the Backpacks.” Everyone who is starting school, students, teachers, children, young people, adults, bring their backpacks and lay them before the Altar, symbolizing the offering of our year to God and praying God’s blessing on us as we go forward. A happy event, it may be a riot, children will sing, Scripture will be read, including that most apt Bible Story in which Solomon prays for wisdom and a godly sense of ethics; some aged priest no doubt will try to be the center of attention from the pulpit, God love him. The Mass will be said and That Most Holy One who claims to be the Bread of Life, even the great I AM, will be broken and shared.

It will be a holy occasion. In the midst of the excitement, one of the most holy parts of it will be the offering and blessing of the backpacks that we will use in our Backpack Ministry this year. Once again, Holy Nativity will participate in the local ministry of filling backpacks with food for schoolchildren who have nothing to eat at home, so that they may take home with them when school lets out each Friday, a backpack loaded with food for their weekend. Agape, chesed, the lovingkindness of God in Jesus Christ does not get any warmer than this. I bid you come.

Tom+

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Anarchist Times


The Anarchist Times



During Ramadan, Pakistanis dodge tax collectors. During Lent, Americans should refuse to file 1040s. 

FRC shooting suspect had 15 Chick-fil-a sandwiches in a bag, FBI says: weapons, corpus delecti evidence against the cows’ vicious EMC campaign, or his lunch. 


Egypt’s Mursi moves to stifle opposition. The generals are surprised? Too thick to have a coup scenario ready to implement.

U.K. threat to Ecuador a ‘big mistake’. Yep. Assange? Swap an apology for custody, send him to Sweden to face sexual assault charges, everybody hug, say “peace” and down to the pub for a few pints. Talk of charging an Australian with treason against the U.S. is beyond stupid. Justice in Sweden, then exile to Oz. 


Anti-Putin Stunt Earns Punk Band Two Years in Jail. Four legs good, two legs bad. All are equal, but some are more equal than others. Four legs good, two legs better.

In Israel, speculation rises of pending attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Continued Israeli manipulation of US politics.


GOP VP nominee is for cutting government spending. His work history since college? Government paychecks.

Anarchist Party dream ticket 
Alfred E. Neuman for President 
H.L. Mencken for Veep.

T