Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

Two of my favorites for Memorial Day.  The first is Eric Bogle's rendition of The Green Fields of France, the second is the Flowers of the Forest played by Pipe Major Tom Coulson a World War II Veteran and Combat Piper.

This day let us remember those who have given "the last full measure of devotion" in the wars of the nations, and especially of our nation.  Let us also not forget the families of those we have lost.

O Judge of the nations, we remember before you with grateful hearts the men and women of our country who in the day of decision ventured much for the liberties we now enjoy. Grant that we may not rest until all the people of this land share the benefits of true freedom and gladly accept its disciplines. This we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.  BCP 839

Sunday, May 26, 2013

An Oldie for Trinity Sunday

From the Historical Documents section of the Book of Common Prayer 1979 (pg. 864).

Quicunque Vult

commonly called
The Creed of Saint Athanasius

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith.
Which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish
And the Catholic Faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity,
     neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance.
For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost.
But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one, the Glory
     equal, the Majesty co-eternal.
Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost.
The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Ghost uncreate.
The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost
The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal.
And yet they are not three eternals, but one eternal.
As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreated, but one uncreated, and
     one incomprehensible.
So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty.
And yet they are not three Almighties, but one Almighty.

So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God.
And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.
So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord.
And yet not three Lords, but one Lord.
For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by
      himself to be both God and Lord,
So are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion, to say, There be three Gods, or three Lords.
The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten.
The Son is of the Father alone, not made, nor created, but begotten.
The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son, neither made, nor created, nor begotten,
      but proceeding.
So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three
      Holy Ghosts.
And in this Trinity none is afore, or after other; none is greater, or less than another;
But the whole three Persons are co-eternal together and co-equal.
So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be
He therefore that will be saved is must think thus of the Trinity.

Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the
      Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of
      God, is God and Man;
God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man of the substance
      of his Mother, born in the world;
Perfect God and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.
Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; and inferior to the Father, as touching his
Who, although he be God and Man, yet he is not two, but one Christ;
One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh but by taking of the Manhood into God;
One altogether; not by confusion of Substance, but by unity of Person.
For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and Man is one Christ;
Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead.
He ascended into heaven, he sitteth at the right hand of the Father, God Almighty, from
      whence he will come to judge the quick and the dead.
At whose coming all men will rise again with their bodies and shall give account for their
      own works.
And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil into
      everlasting fire.
This is the Catholic Faith, which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Twenty Years On

No, the previous post was not a cryptic lead into this one. (Did you see what I did there, cryptic,get it?  It was punny!  I know puns are the lowest form of humor, but  they are all I have).

Seriously, I was not making a point about today's great commemoration.  No, it is not a commemoration of death.  Although, the death of Constantine the Great on this date in 337 AD would make a good one.  As an aside, does anyone know why he doesn't show up in our Kalendar yet?  He was the first Christian Roman Emperor, so that should count for something, shouldn't it?

All kidding aside, today marks the 20 year point of my marriage to Amy.  And speaking of death, that's exactly what she said after the ceremony, "Now I am either married or a widow."  I stay on my best behavior because I think she meant it.  (Really, if I show up missing in the future, she should be the number one suspect, after all the life insurance is paid up).

Following St. Paul's advice, we were married young, and today marks the moment when I have been married longer than I was single.  Do the math, I will be 40 in October.  And to think my  in-laws told her that when I turned 20, I would know what I wanted out of life, and it was intimated that being married to her would not be it.  Funny, our marriage turns 20 today, and I still want to be married to Amy.  Does this mean I win the bet?

I love you, Amy, more today than yesterday, and though I know we are nowhere near where we thought we would be at this point in our lives on that day we married, every day has been a blessing.

Thank you for 15 great years (smile), two of the best children anyone could have, and all of your support.  Here's to the next 20!

In the midst of life...

The Coffinmaker from Dan McComb on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Happy Birthday

Today is the yearly celebration of the birth of the youngest.  I cannot believe how quickly ten years have gone by.

I vividly remember the circumstances of his birth.  I was in the last year of seminary at Bexley Hall, and in the midst of finals, when he decided it was time.  He was a bit early then, but has not lived up to that standard consistently over the past several years.  After several hours of labor, my beloved's blood pressure dropped precipitously and I can taste the fear I felt when they announced that they had "lost" the heartbeat.  Organized chaos ensued as they rushed my beloved from the room for an emergency C-Section.  All I could think of was losing this little boy that I was awaiting so eagerly.  Having followed as closely as I could, I was left alone for several minutes, minutes of anxious prayer, until an orderly came out with scrubs for me.

I asked the orderly if the baby was ok, his response was that my beloved was fine.  This did not calm my nerves, as I knew that she would be fine, so I asked again, and he motioned me to follow.  When I entered the OR, I was greeted with the best sound I have ever heard, the squawking of a newborn baby boy.  He was a bit blue, but healthy.  Mom, of course, was fine as well.  It was at this point that I broke into tears.  Tears of joy.

It turns out that the drop in BP that forced the C-Section was a blessing.  As they removed him from the womb, the discovered that he had twisted himself in such a way as to wrap the cord around his neck.  This was not seen on any of the ultra-sounds.  A traditional delivery would have been a dangerous option, with this condition not observed.

As I remember this day, I give thanks to God for the birth of the youngest, and pray that he may have many years!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Lectionary Fun

Prepping for this weekend's homily, I discovered that the appointed passage from Revelation has been highly edited.  I am not really surprised, as the editors often  leave out verses that might be "controversial" or upset the sensitivities of modernists, however, when I read the passage in the lectionary book, then compared the original, I almost fell out of my chair laughing.

The passage as it appears in the lectionary:

 Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21
At the end of the visions I, John, heard these words:
"See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone's work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."
Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates.
"It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star."
The Spirit and the bride say, "Come."
And let everyone who hears say, "Come."
And let everyone who is thirsty come.
Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.
The one who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming soon."
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.

The passage in context (verses missing in lectionary are in bold):

Revelation 22:12-21

“See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone’s work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. “It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let everyone who hears say, “Come.” And let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift. I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book; if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.The one who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.

Ironic, isn't it?  

Thursday, May 2, 2013

St. Athanasius

A little reading from his On the Incarnation:

What we have so far said, then, is no small proof that death has been brought to naught, and that the Cross of the Lord is a sign of victory over him. But of the Resurrection of the body to immortality thereupon accomplished by Christ, the common Saviour and true Life of all, the demonstration by facts is clearer than arguments to those whose mental vision is sound. 2. For if, as our argument shewed, death has been brought to nought, and because of Christ all tread him under foot, much more did He Himself first tread him down with His own body, and bring him to nought. But supposing death slain by Him, what could have happened save the rising again of His body, and its being displayed as a monument of victory against death? or how could death have been shewn to be brought to nought unless the Lord’s body had risen? But if this demonstration of the Resurrection seem to any one insufficient, let him be assured of what is said even from what takes place before his eyes. 3. For whereas on a man’s decease he can put forth no power, but his influence lasts to the grave and thenceforth ceases; and actions, and power over men, belong to the living only; let him who will, see and be judge, confessing the truth from what appears to sight. 4. For now that the Saviour works so great things among men, and day by day is invisibly persuading so great a multitude from every side, both from them that dwell in Greece and in foreign lands, to come over to His faith, and all to obey His teaching, will any one still hold his mind in doubt whether a Resurrection has been accomplished by the Saviour, and whether Christ is alive, or rather is Himself the Life? 5. Or is it like a dead man to be pricking the consciences of men, so that they deny their hereditary laws and bow before the teaching of Christ? Or how, if he is no longer active (for this is proper to one dead), does he stay from their activity those who are active and alive, so that the adulterer no longer commits adultery, and the murderer murders no more, nor is the inflicter of wrong any longer grasping, and the profane is henceforth religious? Or how, if He be not risen but is dead, does He drive away, and pursue, and cast down those false gods said by the unbelievers to be alive, and the demons they worship? 6. For where Christ is named, and His faith, there all idolatry is deposed and all imposture of evil spirits is exposed, and any spirit is unable to endure even the name, nay even on barely hearing it flies and disappears. But this work is not that of one dead, but of one that lives—and especially of God. 7. In particular, it would be ridiculous to say that while the spirits cast out by Him and the idols brought to nought are alive, He who chases them away, and by His power prevents their even appearing, yea, and is being confessed by them all to be Son of God, is dead.

Athanasius was also an opponent of Gnosticism.  I heard a quote just today that "Gnostics believed that the material world and the immaterial world must be kept inviolably separate."   Does this sound familiar to anyone?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Christian Hip-Hop?

Yes, indeedy.  Though not my normal genre, I can be a bit eclectic, I like this man's message: