You come to nature with all your theories, and she knocks them all flat
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Saturday, February 23, 2013
Some of you may remember the version of this I posted early last year. This is a slightly different tune (sung acapella), with only a few words added for the sake of scansion.
I recorded this with a Samsung CL80 in the St. Nicholas Chapel at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral. The CL80 is really a still camera, so I was curious how well it's movie function worked. I was also curious how the echoes of the chapel would sound.
The tune here has a slight Celtic feel, so it seems proper that a Celtic Blessed Mary be by my side
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Let me share a parable with you, which also happens to be a true story: A priest was leading a group of first graders on a tour of the church grounds. "This,” he would say, “is a room. It has tables, chairs, and other furniture in it. People work in it. I want you to study it very carefully.”
And the children scrutinized the church office. Then they went to the parish hall. “This,” said the priest, “is a room. It has tables, chairs, and other furniture in it. People do things and work in it. I want you to study it very carefully.” And they did.
And so the tour continued, including the choir loft and the main church. Then they came to the sanctuary. One of the boys started to go in to study it as he had the other rooms. But the priest reached out and stopped him: “You can’t go in there.”
“Because ,” the priest replied, “it's a holy place. Now I want you all to study it very carefully — from this side of the altar rail — and tell me what’s different about this room.”
So they studied it. They saw about four tables, five chairs, a bench, and even some carpeting. And they knew that people worked or did things inside this room. They couldn’t see anything at all different about this room. Not at all.
“You' re right,” said the priest, “that room is like all the other rooms we saw. But it’s still holy. You know why?” And the children didn't.
"To remind us that all other rooms are holy".
Later, the boywho wanted to go into the sanctuary asked: “Father , are you holy?”
After thinking for a moment, the priest said: “Yes, I guess I am. Now, can you tell me why?”
And the boyanswered, “I’m not sure, but I think it has something to do with that room we couldn't go into.”
The sanctuary reminds us that all rooms (and all places) are holy. We remind ourselves that the sanctuary is holy by not entering it idly. Similarly, the priest reminds us that all people are holy. As Saint Paul wrote, “Don’t you know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit?”
Perhaps we are called to treat all places with the respect we show the sanctuary. Perhaps, more importantly, we are called to show others and ourselves that same respect.
The One who indwells the sanctuary of the world also indwells the sanctuary at the center of our heart,. wherein we find the peace which passes understanding.
Originally published in The Pilgrim, July 1985
I do hear you speak to me, god, but no man hears
I do hear you speak new to me in no man's language
I do hear you, god, talkin' to me in words no human knows
In no known lingo, in no worldly tone
I do hear you god, sing to me above all men's miseries
— Woody Guthrie, from his play "Forsaken Bibel" (sic)
Quoted in the intro of Bring Your Own God by Steve Edington
Monday, February 18, 2013
Friday, February 08, 2013
I am an orphan. I lost my mother when I was six. My father was taken from me when I was seventeen. My brother never truly returned from the war. I do not know if I have any other family.
I am an exile, wandering in the desert. I'm trying to return Home, but I've forgotten where it is. I left the land of plagues almost three years ago.
I had thought the land of plagues was home enough. I never wanted for food, the shelter seemed sound, and the drink was good. Yes, the drink was very good. I had many friends, who seemed like family.
A time came when I began to hunger for something more. When I heard someone speak of “home,” I thought that might be what I longed for. Thus began my exile.
Now I am lost in the World, unsure of how exactly I lost my direction At first, all was well, and my heart burned within me as if Home were very close at hand. Then I took a wrong turn, or got distracted, and now I am lost.
I am an exile. I remember a loaf of bread that seemed enough. I remember a tent that was warm and welcoming and could have served. I remember a draught of wine which set my heart ablaze. But none soothed my longing, and I was left even hungrier.
I am an exile lost in the World I helped build. I am an exile who has wandered for thirty-some years through this desert. I'm thirsting for a Home I believe is close at hand, although unseen. I am an exile, crying out in this wilderness, “How long, 0 Lord, how long?”
Originally published March, 1986