Categories
Faith Matters

Experience Things As They Are

I have wasted a great deal of time in my life wishing things were different. I have wasted even more time not doing something because I was waiting for something else. I used to say to my children, “When the house is finished …” I was brought up short one day when my son said to me, “When the house is finished, can we go for ice cream?” 

I figured out right away in the pandemic that I could not say, “When the pandemic is over…”. Weeks quickly turned into months and I went ahead with the life I have.

Spiritually, however, I continue to say to myself, “When this is over, I will become a more spiritual person.” The thing right now is getting settled in my new house.

The practice I want to cultivate this Lent is being more spiritual right now.

Categories
Faith Matters

Finding My Personal Path

about:blankFinding A Personal Path Share

FileEditViewInsertFormatToolsAdd-onsHelpAccessibilityLast edit was 3 minutes ago  Normal text Arial    Editing  new line  Document region.Today‌ ‌is‌ ‌Ash‌ ‌Wednesday–the‌ ‌start‌ ‌of‌ ‌Lent.‌ ‌For‌ ‌the‌ ‌next‌ ‌forty‌ ‌days,‌ ‌not‌ ‌counting‌ ‌Sundays,‌ ‌Christians‌ ‌willfocus‌ ‌more‌ ‌on‌ ‌spiritual‌ ‌disciplines‌ ‌in‌ ‌preparation‌ ‌for‌ ‌Easter.‌ ‌In‌ ‌the‌ ‌past‌ ‌I‌ ‌have‌ ‌relied‌ ‌heavily‌ ‌on‌ ‌liturgical‌ ‌acts:‌ ‌●Imposition‌ ‌of‌ ‌ashes‌ ‌on‌ ‌Ash‌ ‌Wednesday‌ ‌●Special‌ ‌worship‌ ‌services‌ ‌●Special‌ ‌Lenten‌ ‌programs‌ ‌●Food‌ ‌fellowship‌ ‌in‌ ‌various‌ ‌congregations‌ ‌This‌ ‌year,‌ ‌I‌ ‌don’t‌ ‌have‌ ‌these‌ ‌options.‌ ‌I‌ ‌am‌ ‌setting‌ ‌out‌ ‌on‌ ‌my‌ ‌personal‌ ‌path‌ ‌for‌ ‌Lent.‌ ‌In‌ ‌a‌ ‌pamflet,‌ ‌my‌ ‌pastor‌ ‌reminded‌ ‌me‌ ‌that‌ ‌fasting‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌spiritual‌ ‌discipline‌ ‌long‌ ‌associated‌ ‌with‌ ‌Lent‌ ‌and,‌ ‌in‌ ‌general,‌ ‌the‌ ‌spiritual‌ ‌life.‌ ‌I‌ ‌know‌ ‌the‌ ‌arguments‌ ‌for‌ ‌fasting‌ ‌and‌ ‌some‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌traps‌ ‌people‌ ‌can‌ ‌set‌ ‌for‌ ‌themselves.‌ ‌Fasting‌ ‌from‌ ‌sugary‌ ‌delights‌ ‌and‌ ‌drinks‌ ‌may‌ ‌be‌ ‌a‌ ‌good‌ ‌place‌ ‌to‌ ‌start,‌ ‌but‌ ‌relishing‌ ‌looking‌ ‌for‌ ‌improved‌ ‌health‌ ‌or‌ ‌weight‌ ‌loss‌ ‌interferes‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌spiritual‌ ‌discipline.‌ ‌I‌ ‌was‌ ‌reading‌ ‌about‌ ‌fasting‌ ‌while‌ ‌I‌ ‌was‌ ‌chatting‌ ‌with‌ ‌my‌ ‌Insticart‌ ‌shopper‌ ‌and‌ ‌discussing‌ ‌that‌ ‌the‌ ‌store‌ ‌had‌ ‌no‌ ‌cranberry‌ ‌walnut‌ ‌muffins.‌ ‌The‌ ‌discidence‌ ‌of‌ ‌these‌ ‌two‌ ‌activities‌ ‌was‌ ‌not‌ ‌lost‌ ‌on‌ ‌me.‌ ‌Earlier‌ ‌this‌ ‌week‌ ‌I‌ ‌was‌ ‌in‌ ‌a‌ ‌conversation‌ ‌loosely‌ ‌based‌ ‌on‌ ‌a‌ ‌reading‌ ‌of‌ ‌Exodus‌ ‌where‌ ‌the‌ ‌enslaved‌ ‌people‌ ‌cry‌ ‌out‌ ‌to‌ ‌God.‌ ‌God‌ ‌hears‌ ‌them‌ ‌and‌ ‌sends‌ ‌Moses‌ ‌to‌ ‌lead‌ ‌them‌ ‌out‌ ‌of‌ ‌Egypt‌ ‌into‌ ‌the‌ ‌Promised‌ ‌Land.‌ ‌The‌ ‌conversation‌ ‌turned‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌right‌ ‌treatment‌ ‌of‌ ‌people‌ ‌and‌ ‌the‌ ‌minimum‌ ‌wage.‌ ‌I‌ ‌commented‌ ‌on‌ ‌paying‌ ‌the‌ ‌tip‌ ‌for‌ ‌my‌ ‌Insticart‌ ‌shopper‌ ‌who‌ ‌is‌ ‌paid‌ ‌very‌ ‌little‌ ‌to‌ ‌shop‌ ‌for‌ ‌me.‌ ‌I‌ ‌always‌ ‌gasp‌ ‌a‌ ‌little‌ ‌inside‌ ‌when‌ ‌I‌ ‌see‌ ‌the‌ ‌20%‌ ‌tip‌ ‌added‌ ‌to‌ ‌my‌ ‌total.‌ ‌It‌ ‌always‌ ‌seems‌ ‌like‌ ‌a‌ ‌lot‌ ‌above‌ ‌and‌ ‌beyond‌ ‌the‌ ‌cost‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌groceries.‌ ‌These‌ ‌days‌ ‌I‌ ‌don’t‌ ‌even‌ ‌speak‌ ‌to‌ ‌my‌ ‌shopper‌ ‌who‌ ‌just‌ ‌leaves‌ ‌the‌ ‌bags‌ ‌at‌ ‌my‌ ‌door.‌ ‌They‌ ‌are‌ ‌long‌ ‌gone‌ ‌when‌ ‌I‌ ‌open‌ ‌the‌ ‌door‌ ‌to‌ ‌bring‌ ‌them‌ ‌inside.I‌ ‌thought‌ ‌about‌ ‌pharaoh‌ ‌and‌ ‌the‌ ‌people‌ ‌making‌ ‌bricks‌ ‌in‌ ‌Egypt.‌ ‌I‌ ‌am‌ ‌sure‌ ‌my‌ ‌shopper‌ ‌would‌ ‌prefer‌ ‌a‌ ‌different‌ ‌job,‌ ‌a‌ ‌better‌ ‌paying‌ ‌one‌ ‌and‌ ‌one‌ ‌that‌ ‌makes‌ ‌good‌ ‌use‌ ‌of‌ ‌their‌ ‌skills.‌ ‌Some‌ ‌items‌ ‌in‌ ‌my‌ ‌order‌ ‌were‌ ‌unavailable.‌ ‌My‌ ‌total‌ ‌charge‌ ‌was‌ ‌reduced‌ ‌and‌ ‌so‌ ‌was‌ ‌the‌ ‌tip.‌ ‌Why‌ ‌should‌ ‌my‌ ‌shopper‌ ‌pay‌ ‌the‌ ‌price?‌ ‌I‌ ‌found‌ ‌the‌ ‌place‌ ‌where‌ ‌I‌ ‌could‌ ‌write‌ ‌in‌ ‌a‌ ‌tip‌ ‌and‌ ‌increased‌ ‌it.‌ ‌I‌ ‌am‌ ‌not‌ ‌writing‌ ‌this‌ ‌to‌ ‌toot‌ ‌my‌ ‌own‌ ‌horn.‌ ‌I‌ ‌am‌ ‌writing‌ ‌this‌ ‌to‌ ‌think‌ ‌about‌ ‌fasting.‌ ‌Instead‌ ‌of‌ ‌refraining‌ ‌from‌ ‌eating‌ ‌maybe‌ ‌fasting‌ ‌looks‌ ‌like‌ ‌compensating‌ ‌my‌ ‌shopper.‌ ‌Almsgiving‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌part‌ ‌of‌ ‌Lent,‌ ‌too.‌ ‌Headings you add to the document will appear here.about:blankabout:blankhttps://accounts.google.com/o/oauth2/postmessageRelay?parent=https%3A%2F%2Fdocs.google.com&jsh=m%3B%2F_%2Fscs%2Fabc-static%2F_%2Fjs%2Fk%3Dgapi.gapi.en.L7mys-cL6BM.O%2Fd%3D1%2Fct%3Dzgms%2Frs%3DAHpOoo8QoBZWYtEZfsgOGqh_X1WKvJV7Wg%2Fm%3D__features__#rpctoken=410632871&forcesecure=1Publish to the webThis document is not published to the web.Make your content visible to anyone by publishing it to the web. You can link to or embed your document. Learn moreLinkEmbedPublish


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Faith Matters

Were You There?

Introduction

I have prepared this message using readings from the appointed texts for Good Friday in the Episcopal Church1 and the hymn Were You There2 as performed by Chris Rice.3
Often Good Friday services end without a benediction. I will keep to this custom, by giving one now: “let us hold unwaveringly to the hope that we confess, for the one who made the promise is trustworthy. And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works, … encouraging each other”.4
Stay well.

In the name of Jesus.

Palm Sunday

… the large crowd that had come to the [Passover] feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him. They began to shout, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!” Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, “Do not be afraid, people of Zion; look, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt!”5
I stood in the crowd, waving my palm branch, shouting with the rest. Hosana! Praise God. Jesus, save us! I cheered and cheered and then I saw Jesus, riding on a donkey. Yes! Yes! Jesus was coming to restore the kingdom of Israel. The Romans would finally be driven away, and all would be well.
Ride on! ride on in majesty!6

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Then Pilate handed [Jesus] over to them to be crucified. So [the soldiers] took Jesus, and carrying his own cross he went out to the place called “The Place of the Skull”7 (called in Aramaic Golgotha). There they crucified him along with two others, one on each side, with Jesus in the middle. Pilate also had a notice written and fastened to the cross, which read: “Jesus the Nazarene, the king of the Jews.” Thus many of the Jewish residents of Jerusalem read this notice, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the notice was written in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek.8
I had stayed inside all week as much as possible to avoid contact with the unprecedented number of Roman soldiers Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect, had brought into Jerusalem, fearing all the pilgrims who were here to celebrate the Passover. Once, long ago, God brought our ancestors out of Egypt with tremendous strength and power, as well as with great awe-inspiring signs and wonders.9 Every year we hoped God would raise up another leader so that we might overthrow our Roman oppressors. I hoped Jesus would be our new savior.
Then I heard the terrible news. Jesus had been arrested. He would be crucified.
I hurried to Golgotha, the Place of the Skull outside of the city.
My heart sank. There he was hanging between two others.
I trembled.
I always thought of Jesus as one of God’s gentle servants:
A crushed reed he will not break,
a dim wick he will not extinguish.10
Now Jesus was a different sort of servant:
he was so disfigured he no longer looked like a man;
his form was so marred he no longer looked human11
He was despised and rejected by people,
one who experienced pain and was acquainted with illness.12
If I had not read his name above his head, I would not have recognized him.
Again, I trembled.

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

Now standing beside Jesus’ cross were his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
… Jesus, realizing that by this time everything was completed, said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty!” A jar full of sour wine was there, so they put a sponge soaked in sour wine on a branch of hyssop and lifted it to his mouth. When he had received the sour wine, Jesus said, “It is completed!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.13
Crucifixion is a slow and cruel way to die. I trembled every time I looked at Jesus struggling to breathe.
A group of women wept openly at a distance. No doubt they were relatives or close friends. I didn’t see any men with them. Near the crosses the soldiers lounged, throwing dice and laughing. The differences between these two groups of people could not be more profound. As I watched, they came to be a living painting, a _tableau vivant _with Jesus at the center. Although Jesus’ hands were nailed to the cross, I imagined them reaching out to the women on one side and the soldiers on the other, drawing them together, embracing them, uniting them, making them one people, not two. Then I understood why Jesus was nailed to the tree.14 I remembered Jesus saying, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”15
After all, he had drawn me in, healed me and invited me to trust him always.
Again, I trembled.
As the afternoon wore on, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” The soldiers aroused themselves to put a sponge of cheap sour wine to his lips. I remembered the psalm which said: “and to quench my thirst they give me vinegar to drink.”16
It was getting late. The Sabbath would be upon us soon.
Again Jesus spoke. “It is completed.”
The soldiers moved among the crosses, prepared to hasten the deaths of the condemned, but Jesus was already dead.
The work Jesus came among us to do was finished.
With the enormity of that reality, I trembled.

Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

After this, Joseph of Arimathea, a disciple of Jesus (but secretly, because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission, so he went and took the body away. Nicodemus, the man who had previously come to Jesus at night, accompanied Joseph, carrying a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about seventy-five pounds. Then they took Jesus’ body and wrapped it, with the aromatic spices, in strips of linen cloth according to Jewish burial customs. Now at the place where Jesus was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden was a new tomb where no one had yet been buried. And so, because it was the Jewish day of preparation and the tomb was nearby, they placed Jesus’ body there.17
I stood in a stand of fruit trees in the quiet garden. I wondered if the garden of Eden had been like this. I couldn’t tell that three men had been crucified and died nearby.
I watched as Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea prepared Jesus’ body for burial. I wondered where Nicodemus had purchased so much myrrh and aloes. The shops I frequent don’t have anything near that kind of inventory
I trembled.
Nicodemus and Joseph were preparing Jesus’ body for a royal burial.
His cross was his throne. It was lifted up to glorify him.
Again, I trembled.
In the fading light, I remembered Jesus saying, “I am the light of the world! The one who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”18
Jesus’ kingdom is life itself. His saving work was not overthrowing the Romans but making it possible for me to live freely in his name now and forever.
Again, I trembled.

Were you there when they rolled away the stone?

No, I was not there when Mary Magdalene found the tomb empty.19 No, I was not in the upper room either time when Jesus appeared.20 Jesus never appeared to me.21
What I can tell you is that I not so much heard the stone rolled away than I sensed it. There was a crack and then a sustained rumble so low in pitch I felt it more than heard it,22 surging in wave after wave,23 spilling out into the universe24—God’s unconditional love making all Creation new25 and setting it free.26
Every year, on the anniversary of Jesus’ crucifixion, I come to Calvary. I stand at the foot of Jesus’ cross.
I remember the events of that day. When the shadows begin to lengthen I recite this psalm:

Let all the people of the earth acknowledge the Lord and turn to him.
Let all the nations worship you.
For the Lord is king
and rules over the nations.
All the thriving people of the earth will join the celebration and worship;
all those who are descending into the grave will bow before him,
including those who cannot preserve their lives.
A whole generation will serve him;
they will tell the next generation about the Lord.
They will come and tell about his saving deeds;
they will tell a future generation what he has accomplished.27
And then I tremble, tremble, tremble.
Amen.


  1. https://www.lectionarypage.net/YearABC/HolyWk/GoodFri.html 
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Were_You_There 
  3. https://open.spotify.com/album/4ntSVJ6fzJM2h5Pm3Fpxb3 
  4. Hebrews 10:23b-25a NET 
  5. John 12:12-15 NET 
  6. Ride on! ride on in majesty! By Henry Hart Milman 
  7. the Latin word for skull is Calvaria; hence “Calvary.” 
  8. John 19:16-20 NET 
  9. Deuteronomy 26:8 
  10. Isaiah 42:3 
  11. Isaiah 52:14b 
  12. Isaiah 53:3a 
  13. John 19:25, 28-30 NET 
  14. Athanasius wrote on why Jesus had to die on a cross. Consult section 25 http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2802.htm Athanasius is a doctor of the church. See his Wikipedia page, 
  15. John 12:32 
  16. Psalm 69:21 
  17. John 19:38-42 NET 
  18. John 8:12 NET 
  19. John 20:1-2 
  20. Upper room meetings described beginning at John 20:19 and v. 26 
  21. 1 Corinthians 1:55-8 
  22. When I was sleeping in a tent in Jackson, NJ sometime in the mid 80’s, I heard a sound at dawn so low it almost didn’t seem to be sound. Later I learned I probably was hearing the lions at Great Adventure’s safari park, ten miles away, roaring. 
  23. https://www.surfertoday.com/surfing/why-do-waves-break 
  24. Romans 8:20-22 
  25. Revelation 21:1 
  26. Revelation 1:5 NET 
  27. Psalm 22:27-31 NET 
Categories
Faith Matters

Imaginative Power

Just picked up Becoming A Writer and the forward remarks that we all have sufficient imaginative power. Even dogs. It is interesting to consider that Nick is not just replaying incidents that half already occurred, but he is dreaming and creating his own stories. Dogs have remarkable visual memory. I can go to somewhere we haven’t visited in years and my dog can guide me appropriately. Caitlin and I went back to Philly. We needed to cross a specific street near the seminary. She remembered to stop for it even though there wasn’t a curb.

Categories
Faith Matters

On Becoming A Writer by Dorothea Brande

A friend recommended this book to me. It was first published in 1934. There’s an audio version on Audible with a hint to buy the Kindle edition first. When I looked to see how much the Kindle edition is, I found a warning that there were errors in the book. It only cost 25¢. Well, that was a no brainer.

I’ve just started to read the forward which suggests the writer’s problem is the triad of confidence, self respect and freedom. It’s not a long book so I should be able to get through it..

Categories
Faith Matters

Jogging with Nick

Today the weather was warm enough and dry enough for a walk. Nick and I had started out and then I received an important phone call. I stood in the chilly shade and had my call while Nick whined, anxious to be on our way. He turned left when we reached the street but I said, “Right.” I rarely say “Right,” so Nick was excited to go in this direction. He began jogging down the street. When we reached the corner, I said “Right,” again only to discover that the sidewalk was gone.

Well, that wouldn’t do at all. My plan was to turn around, go back past our building and walk that way. Nick was having none of this. He was afraid we would end the walk so he settled himself in the crosswalk.

“Okay,” I thought, “we’ll go this way.”

After crossing the street, Nick thought we would go straight to another crosswalk, but I said, “Left,” and we were off. Two blocks, past our building on the other side of the street, and to another corner. I planned to continue straight but Nick wanted to turn so turn we did.

We had to negotiate our next turn. While we were doing this, a trucker watched carefully from the multi-lane street, only accelerating when we crossed the side street.

Another two blocks and a turn down a steep hill. Nick was still jogging. I wondered about keeping my feet. Would there be a moment when I was in the air, flying down the hill?

We crossed our street and then two blocks more, turned and another two blocks, turned back to our street and almost three blocks until home. Nick slowed down some when he knew he was on the homeward end of the walk, but we had walked far enough that he was satisfied.

This seems like a good route for us. It has possibilities to be extended and can be shortened if need be.

Categories
Faith Matters

Thirty Days

I enjoy Camp Nanowrimo because I can set my own word goal. I usually set the lowest value in order to write without a lot of pressure. I have decided not to participate this month because I have no firm ideas about a story or an organized writing plan. Instead I want to write daily on a topic of my choosing and just keep in the rhythm of writing. I haven’t been doing that recently and I miss it.

Categories
Faith Matters Preaching

The Star of My Life is Jesus

Readings: Psalm 23, Ephesians 5:8-20

In the name of Jesus. Amen.
There has been a quotation by C. S. Lewis from his essay “On Living in an Atomic Age”1 circulating on the web. Lewis examines the reasons for being anxious in the atomic age and what to do about it.
I was growing up then. I remember the discussions about nuclear proliferation around my faith community. We are experiencing the same kind of anxiety about the Covid-19 virus and its disruptive consequences.
Lewis points out that personal death has always been with us. Father Jason just conducted a funeral on Friday. Larry’s death has nothing to do with Covid:19. So our individual deaths is not what our discomfort is all about.
No, Lewis says, our anxiety is about the threat to civilization itself. The bomb could wipe everything out almost immediately.
For us, the coming apart of our lives may happen more slowly and we are likely to live through it all. What scares us is:
– The loss of employment or a business
– The loss of housing
– The breakdown of marriages and partnerships
– The emotional cost of ongoing isolation and extended separations
– The general coming apart of our economy
– Shortages becoming permanent rather than temporary.
Life could look very different in a month, two months, six months or a year from now.
So what is a Christian supposed to do?
You may have noticed that I extended our Second Lesson from Ephesians by a whopping 6 verses. In my Braille copy of this letter, The New King James Version divides Chapter 5 into several sections. The first 3 are instructive:
1. Walk in Love. You might know this as an offertory sentence from the Book of Common Prayer: “Walk in love as Christ loved us, and gave himself for us, an offering and sacrifice to God.”
2. Walk in Light. The prescribed reading.
3. Walk in Wisdom. The section I added.
Father Jason opened our time together with the Kathleen Thomerson hymn: “I Want to Walk As a Child of the Light”. Although I have always liked this hymn, I have never taken it seriously until this week. It has seemed to me that it jumps around with snippets of scripture. I am always suspicious of theology that focuses so heavily on light and darkness. It can spin so quickly into racist-sounding language. “The good guys wear white hats,” and, by inference, the bad guys wear black ones.
But no, this is not what Thomerson is doing. She wants to walk as a child of the light and follow Jesus; look at Jesus; be with Jesus. And don’t we all?
Not a bad pricey or summary of our faith because walking as a child of the light involves two basic components:
1. Trusting Jesus.
2. Walking in the Way of Jesus.
Usually I focus on the first part: trusting Jesus. Today I am speaking on the second: walking or following Jesus.
The truth is you can’t do the following unless you trust the one who is leading.
In his psalm, David says: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”2
Here is the bold assertion of trust. Notice that David says “comfort” not “protect”. We have no special immunity. We have the Holy Spirit as our comforter and defender. Make no mistake! We are as vulnerable as anyone else to Covid-19.
Another psalmist says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”3
Jesus is the Word and the Light of the World. With him we are children of the light and of God.
We are admonished to: “Be careful how you live” or as another translation puts it: “See that you walk circumspectly.”4 Circumspectly puts me in mind of the prophet Micah when he says, “Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God”5
But there’s more. There is the fruit of the Holy Spirit:
– Love
– Joy
– Peace
– Patience
– Kindness
– Generosity
– Faithfulness
– Gentleness
– Self-control6
Against these there is no prohibition. Today’s lesson puts it this way: “for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true.”7
My dear ones, this is who you all are: children of the light, children of God.
– You have blessed me with your fruit.
– You have blessed this community with your fruit.
– You will continue to bless all those with whom you interact with your fruit.
All this because Jesus is your light. And life As Kathleen Thomerson so beautifully puts it: The star of my life is Jesus.”
May the grace of the star of your life, our Savior Jesus Christ, the love of God and the comfort of the Holy Spirit be with you today and always.8
Amen.


  1. I found a copy of this essay in Present Concerns
  2. Psalm 23:4 KJV 
  3. Psalm 119:105 KJV 
  4. Ephesians 5:15a NRSV and KJV, respectively 
  5. Micah 6:8 NRSV 
  6. Galatians 5:22-23 NRSV 
  7. Ephesians 5:9 
  8. 2 Corinthians 13:13 adapted. 
Categories
Faith Matters

Connections to Long Ago Worshippers

This is amazing. We are now able to hear what chanting sounded like when Christians worshipped at Hagia Sophia, in Constantinople before the Ottomans conquered the city in 1453. The Hagai Sophia (Holy Wisdom) then became a mosque. It is now a museum. It is not the sound of God speaking. When I heard my Old Testament professor read the opening of Genesis in Hebrew, I had a sense of that. This though is definitely unworldly. It is also a way to connect with the people with whom I share a faith tradition. Listen: The Sound Of The Hagia Sophia, More Than 500 Years Ago : NPR You can listen on Spotify here

Categories
Faith Matters

February 11

Oh, how good and pleasant it is,
when brethren live together in unity!

It is like fine oil upon the head
that runs down upon the beard,

Upon the beard of Aaron,
and runs down upon the collar of his robe.

It is like the dew of Hermon
that falls upon the hills of Zion.

For there the Lord has ordained the blessing:
life for evermore.

Psalm 133

Of course this is very gender specific but if I set this aside, this psalm celebrates community. My Old Testament prof thought it was the best psalm ever.