Congratulations Zachary on your baptism.
Heavenly Father, we thank you that by water and the Holy Spirit you have bestowed upon this your servant the forgiveness of sin and have raised him to the new life of grace. Strengthen him, O Lord, with your presence, enfold him in the arms of your mercy, and keep him safe for ever, Amen.
A Meditation by Richard Rohr
“The Crack in Everything”Leonard Cohen’s song, “Anthem,” states in the refrain: “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” It sounds a lot like Paul’s statement about carrying “the treasure in earthen vessels” (2 Corinthians 4:7). These are both much more poetic ways of naming what we unfortunately called “original sin”—a poor choice of words because the word sin implies fault and culpability, and that is precisely not the point! Original sin was trying to warn us that the flaw at the heart of all reality is nothing we did personally, but that there is simply “a crack in everything” and so we should not be surprised when it shows itself in us or in everything else. This has the power to keep us patient, humble, and less judgmental. (One wonders if this does not also make the point that poetry and music are a better way to teach spiritual things than mental concepts.)
The deep intuitions of most church doctrines are invariably profound and correct, but they are still expressed in mechanical and literal language that everybody adores, stumbles over, denies, or fights. Hold on for a while until you get to the real meaning, which is far more than the literal meaning! That allows you to creatively both understand and critique things—without becoming oppositional, hateful, arrogant, and bitter yourself. Some call this “appreciative inquiry” and it has an entirely different tone that does not invite or create “the equal and opposite reaction” of physics. The opposite of contemplation is not action; it is reaction. Much of the “inconsistent ethic of life,” in my opinion, is based on ideological reactions and groupthink, not humble discernment of how darkness hides and “how the light gets in” to almost everything. I hope I do not shock you, but it is really possible to have very “ugly morality” and sometimes rather “beautiful immorality.” Please think and pray about that.
Richard Rohr, O.F.M. is an American Franciscan friar. He is an inspirational speaker and has published numerous recorded talks and books, including The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, and The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See.
He is known for what he calls “alternative orthodoxy” as evident in the meditation above. His works are popular with clergy of several Christian traditions.
~ Fr. Al Jewson
The liturgy changes in an important way after the Day of Pentecost. Rather than taking place within specific seasons, each with its own theme, this period does not have one overall theme; however, living within the earthly Kingdom does set the tone for this season.
The most notable feature of this period is that we finish reading substantially all of one Gospel each year, having begun this in Advent and Epiphany. The three-year lectionary appoints one of the three “synoptic” Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke—for each year. Lectionary Year A uses the Gospel of Matthew, Lectionary Year B uses the Gospel of Mark and Lectionary Year C uses the Gospel of Luke. John’s Gospel is used throughout the three years for certain Holy Days, Lent, and Easter, and in filling out the Gospel of Mark, which is considerably shorter than the others. We also read several of the Epistles each year during this period. Finally, the Old Testament readings are chosen from Tract 1 or Tract 2. At St. Paul’s we use Tract1 during Pentecost Season. Old Testament readings from Tract 1 form a continuous thread for this season. During the 2017 Pentecost season we continue following Lectionary A, Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) readings.
This, then, is a period in which the liturgy Sunday after Sunday leads us into a serious consideration of the content of Holy Scripture in an orderly way. This time in the Church Year is a time to build on the growth and renewal of grace we experienced in the first half of the year, a time to prepare ourselves to celebrate more fully when we come around again to the seasons from Advent through Easter.
Excerpts taken from The Rite Light: Reflections on the Sunday Readings and Seasons of the Church Year. Copyright © 1998 by Michael W. Merriman. Church Publishing Incorporated, New York.
~ Fr. Al Jewson
“Queen for a Day” was the name of a popular television game show that thrived in the late 1950’s and during the 1960’s. A woman would write to the producers of the program detailing why she should be chosen “queen for a day.” During the program the host, Jack Bailey, interviewed the four contestants chosen by the producers and the audience would vote for the person whom in their opinion was the most deserving. The winner was crowned “queen for a day”, draped with a crimson cape, granted her original request, showered with all sorts of gifts and appliances, driven around in a limonene, and treated to dinner at some luxurious restaurant. For most people living in this country, that is how monarchy is perceived. The king and/or queen is treated to the best places, wears the best clothes, and lives a lavish life style with little or no concern for cost.
A true king or queen is a monarch who takes to heart the personal responsibility he or she has for the people of the kingdom with the welfare of the kingdom as a guide and goal. This is kingship in the biblical sense and the type of king that Jesus Christ is for you and me. Christ is the King who embraces us, blesses us, provides for our spiritual wellbeing, and leads us to a deeper life of grace. Our King did this through his life of servanthood and ultimately the gift of his life for our salvation.
In baptism we are reborn into a kingly state because we become spiritually incarnated into Christ the King. In addition, just as Christ was the High Priest who once and for all times made the perfect sacrifice for sin, so we, in baptism also share in his priesthood and serve others his name. It is for this reason that the author of 1st Peter would write, “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” [i]
If we are indeed a kingly people because of our relationship with Jesus Christ, then we too are called to strive to live in concern for others with their spiritual wellbeing as our guide and goal. As kingly people we cannot allow ourselves to live in isolation from other people for they are our personal responsibility.
As priestly people we are called to proclaim the Good News so that other people can share with us in the salvific grace of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:9[i]
~ Fr. Al Jewson
A Holy man was having a conversation with the Lord one day and said, 'Lord, I would like to know what Heaven and Hell are like.' The Lord led the holy man to two doors. He opened one of the doors and the holy man looked in.
In the middle of the room was a large round table. In the middle of the table was a large pot of stew, which smelled delicious and made the holy man's mouth water.
The people sitting around the table were thin and sickly. They appeared to be famished. They were holding spoons with very long handles that were strapped to their arms and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful. But because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths. The holy man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering.
The Lord said, 'You have seen Hell. They went to the next room and opened the door. It was exactly the same as the first one.
There was the large round table with the large pot of stew which made the holy man's mouth water.
The people were equipped with the same long-handled spoons, but here the people were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking.
The holy man said, 'I don't understand. 'It is simple,' said the Lord. 'It requires but one skill... You see, they have learned to feed each other. The greedy think only of themselves.'
~ Fr. Al Jewson
Rector's Corner posts written by Pastor Rebecca.