Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.

4/30/2006

Common Worship

Saint Boniface Episcopal ChurchThis morning, I worshipped at Saint Boniface Episcopal Church on Siesta Key in Sarasota, Florida. While I always enjoy being at King of Peace, it was also a joy to worship with another community of faith and to enjoy their own unique rhythms and gifts. Their buildings and grounds were thoughtfully designed with a beautiful, and wonderfully consistent artistic sensibility. The church boasts an admirable array of programs and outreach, which includes a preschool with the best church playground ever (it had climbing trees within the playground).

The worship service was quite enjoyable. And during it, I felt deeply that that same Spirit I feel at King of Peace was here on Siesta Key as well. I know from talking with Mark Templman, who served at King of Peace today as celebrant and preacher that he much enjoyed worshipping at our church.

It's just an amazing gift to see that the worship we do separately from other churches really does hold its essence in common. After talking for a few days in meetings about how we Christians are one for we worship our one Lord, it was great to have that affirmed on Sunday morning in communion.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

1 Comments:

  • At 4/06/2007 4:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I just went to the Baptist church in our community and with 3 other churches involved it sure is an inspiration to see that God is worshiped and praised if very similar fashion. We all came together in the family of God. Have a great Easter and God bless. In Christian love John

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

4/29/2006

Communion

In tomorrow's Epistle reading, which comes from the letter we know as First John,
Gathering round the altar for our communion serviceWe declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us—we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
candle light worship at the Easter VigilThe word translated as "fellowship" here is the Greek word koinonia which also means "communion." Koinonia is a close connection. To have koinonia with something or someone is to participate with it and in it. Through our communion with God, we are in communion with all those with whom God is in communion. It is this deeper connectedness of communion which we establish by our faith in Jesus Christ as evidenced through our baptisms (see yesterday's post below).

In the archives is the sermon Koinonia—a deeper connectedness.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

4/28/2006

Baptismal Identity

Whitney is baptizedI am still at the DaySpring Conference Center in Florida for a meeting on liturgy. Today we have talked a good bit about baptismal identity. The idea is that we find our identity as Christians in our baptism. This is primary. It is what makes us Christian. In baptism we are not made Episcopalian, or any other denomination, but we die with Christ and are raised with him. This identity is what makes us one with other denominations, who are likewise baptized into Christ. This baptismal identity also is what makes us ministers of the Gospel, as all Christians are called to be, rather than just the clergy.

Roger is baptizedI have spent the day with people who are all convinced about this, as I am. But what about the world wide web out there? How important is this oneness we share with all Christians in baptism? How important is the fact that scripture considers all who have been baptized to be both saints, and ministers of the Gospel?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

1 Comments:

  • At 4/29/2006 7:43 PM, Blogger Ryan said…

    DaySpring is one of the only places that I can say was a major part of my formation. It is one of the biggest reasons I am glad I am going back to my home diocese of SW Florida. I find the most difficult thing about DaySpring is leaving...how did you handle it?

    -R

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

4/27/2006

Liturgy vs. The Spirit of the Age

Our recent Easter Vigil service began outdoors
I am writing from Ellenwood, Florida where I am at DaySpring Conference center for a meeting of Associated Parishes for Liturgy and Mission. Liturgy means "the work of the people." At the practical level, liturgy consists in the words and actions of our worship services. These words and actions are the work of all the people who gather to worship and not just of those who lead worship.

APLM has been at the forefront of liturgy within the Episcopal Church for 5 decades. This week Gil Bailie is speaking to the group. He is the author of the book Violence Unveiled which has been influential for me. Here are a few thoughts Gil offered us today:
The great enemy of the liturgy is the spirit of the age. The purpose of liturgy is to save us from the spirit of the age.

The spirit of the age is not interested in the Good News, but in breaking news. For the spirit of the age, the center of history is now. For the Gospel, the center of history is the cross
And at another point, he said
Griffin leads the Palm Sunday processionWhen Jesus said "Follow me," he said "Take up your cross and follow me." So much violence in the world is unsuffered suffering. Rather than dealing with suffering, we toss it out on others in our anger.

At the end of the age, Jesus will ask, "What have you suffered for my sake?" or "What has your faith in me cost you?"
That's a sample of the things we are talking about today. It's good to consider how our worship should reflect the lives of the people who worship while also being aware that our worship also stands over and against the culture in which we live.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

1 Comments:

  • At 4/28/2006 9:41 AM, Anonymous Laura said…

    The thought of "good news" versus "breaking news" is helpful to me. It's too easy in this world of a constant barrage of information to lose focus!

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

4/26/2006

The Worst Job as a Test of Vocation

Think you've got the worst job? Try this job description:
Day in day out, week in week out, year in year out ... you trudge off to this room crammed to the brim with bird's nests, flash cards, trilobites, pilgrim hats, Indian headresses, drawings and paintings in which the proportion of the head to the body is never right, but looks for all the world like an exhibit by demented Fauvists with no drawing skills whatsoever and a very garish color sense. Twice a day, everybody in this room is let out. Is it any wonder they run screaming into the sunshine?

And you have no veto whatsoever over your co-workers, your working conditions, your hours, or your choice of when to do what tasks. Everyone does the same tasks at the same time for 55 minutes and then it is on to something new.

Did I mention the fact that you can't quit?

And judgment. Oh, the judgment. Constantly tested. Constantly graded. Constantly up for criticism with your single allowable plea being, "Guilty. But with an explanation."
That's the life of a fifth-grader described by Gerard Van der Leun. He goes on to write,
By the fifth grade, you've been in this dead end job for about seven years. If you're lucky, your pay has gone from a dollar to ten dollars a week. Get straight A's and you might get a bonus of one day at the local "Magic Kingdom." Then it's, "Okay, break's over. Everybody back on their heads."
The German Reformer Martin Luther taught that everyone has a vocation in which he or she can serve God. A vocation is what you do between baptism and resurrection. For Luther, chosing to live into your God-given vocation was a choice between the two kingdoms—one of earth, the other the Kingdom of Heaven. This struggle is within each of us as a struggle between the old worldy self and the new godly self.

Your vocation is the setting in life in which you work out that struggle. Take the test case above of the worst of possible jobs, that of a fifth grader. I know that a fifth grader trapped in a job they can't quit with boring work and low pay can still honor God. And if a fifth grader can do it in their setting, how much more can we who have more choices about our vocations serve God wherever we find ourselves.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

4/25/2006

Church Growth

King of Peace's sanctuary set up during Advent
Ryan Whitley, an Episcopal seminarian, writes at Everyday Faith for an assignment asking "What is Church Growth?" He says,
Most obviously, church growth is when new members keep joining and current members aren’t leaving; or, when this Sunday’s attendance is n and next Sunday’s attendance is at least n + 1 (or on Easter and Christmas nx). However, this kind of analysis does not describe what is going on in the life of the parish and the parishioners so much as it describes a column in the church register. Before we completely eschew such numerical data though, it is important to note that numbers are important in the life of a parish. (The trickier question is, ‘What kind of numbers?’, but I will address that later.)

Acts 2:41 reports that on the day Peter gave his inaugural address, 3000 persons were added to the ranks of those who followed the Way. This is to say that evangelism is important to Christianity and that we should try to swell our ranks. Jesus commanded us to go into all nations and make disciples of all people through baptism in the name of the Trinity. And so, the church which says ‘We’re not interested in growth,” is a church with a faulty communication line between it and the Gospel. Numbers matter. Without them, we have empty buildings and a follower-less faith. None of that is to mention more mundane consequences such as lack of compensation for church professionals or financial outreach.

However, were you to simply plop 3000 new parishioners into any given parish on any given Sunday, the result would certainly be chaotic and might be disastrous. So, how should we go about the business of church growth, then? Intentionally and carefully, to put it into short terms. A family sized parish cannot sustain the addition of 15 new parishioners without some careful preparation work, let alone 3000. There are important transition issues that need to be addressed with and among the parish clergy and parishioners. New expectations of leadership need to be developed and perhaps new styles of leadership need to be learned or appropriated. This, then, is the work of church growth - preparing the hearts and minds of current parishioners for what it means to be good evangelists and a welcoming community.

Yet, church growth also has a more subtle meaning that may have little to do with numbers, at least at first. This is the “if you build it, they will come” phenomena. If you develop, as a clergy leader, a solid, faithful, welcoming community who yearns to learn about their faith and deepen their relationship with God in exciting ways, others will naturally be attracted to your community. It will bear a certain kind of glow that says to the hearts of those who see, “Something is happening there and I think I want to be a part of it.” Programming and liturgy (including preaching) are the two biggest parts of the portion of the equation for me.

We need to move beyond the Sunday morning monotone reading of Eucharistic Prayer A and potluck supper model of being community. Because that kind of community is boring. Sunday morning liturgy needs to be alive, creative, intense, both evolving and traditional. Evolving to connect us to today and where we are headed, traditional to teach us from where we come and connect us to the great communion of the Saints who have gone before.

Likewise, programming needs to be fun, educational, community building, and constant. An idea needs to reside in the heads of the parishioners that if they go by the church, something will be going on. The key to this is empowered and excited lay leadership. If you can promote all of these qualities in a parish, your church will grow spiritually in tremendous ways. Parishioners will be excited about what’s happening at their church and tell others. Non-members who are seeking will be attracted as if by a gravitational force. And, what do you know, you’ve got more numbers too, almost as an added bonus. Church growth therefore is about numbers, but it is also and more deeply about growing a faith and an excitement for God in the hearts and minds of all those who pass through your doors.

Easter at King of Peace

1 Comments:

  • At 4/29/2006 6:09 PM, Blogger RC said…

    in my church sometimes we have experienced growth as we've gotten smaller as over the past year 30 or so people of our 100+ congregation have gone to do mission work in other parts of the country and world...

    people have grown in seeking God which sometimes changes their geography, which is really positive.

    --RC of strangeculture.blogspot.com

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

4/24/2006

Inspiration

Breathing in,
we recieve Christ.
Breathing out,
we share Christ!

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

4/23/2006

Engaged with the world

In The Witness magazine Sarah Dylan Breuer writes,
Jesus isn't some kind of heavenly Rapunzel, letting down those flowing straight blond locks the cheesy European and American paintings give him so we can climb up to join him in his elevated but isolated tower. Jesus is engaged with the world. He is the Word who was with God in the very beginning, and whose love was present in the world's birth. He is the peasant child who knew and loved the earth he walked and all those who walk with him. He is the naked, vulnerable and tortured man nailed to immovable wood and still moved with compassion for his torturers. He has died, and he is risen, and yet he comes again, to touch doubters and healers, soldiers and peasants, persecutors and apostles -- who are sometimes the same people, after all … especially after Jesus' touch.

Jesus comes to the women at his tomb and his followers huddled in fear. He comes to those who confess him and those who grieve him, miss him, or doubt him. He comes to those who love him and those who hate him. Jesus comes and he comes and he comes to this world because he is not done with this world, no matter how many times people of this world say they are done with him, or with the way of peace and compassion he walked and walks. Jesus is not done with any of us, and never will be, until we know in our heart of hearts, experience in the deepest part of ourselves, and are bursting alongside the whole of creation to share the wealth of love and generosity for which we and the world was made.

We may grow weary, but Jesus will not grow weary of us. We may close our eyes and forget to dream, but Jesus is alive, and still dreams with and for as well as through and among us. God is redeeming the world God made and loves, and we may as well accommodate ourselves to the love that is the most basic force of the universe. The Christ has died, the Christ has risen, and the Christ WILL come again.
The whole article is online here.

Note:
Our once a month healing service will be this evening at 6 p.m.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

4/22/2006

Peace be with you

In tomorrow's Gospel reading, Jesus comes among his disciples after his resurrection and says, “Peace be with you.” Then he repeats it again, "Peace be with you.”

Thomas touches Jesus' woundsWhat he really said was “Shalom be with you.” The Hebrew word Shalom means more than our word “peace.” Shalom means “well-being, health, happiness, and peace.” It means all of those things together. Shalom is better understood as wholeness or completeness. In the Old Testament, the fullness of Shalom could only come as a gift from God. The same is true in the New Testament where shalom is the gift that Jesus brings as he enters into the doubt, indecision, and confusion after his death. Jesus still wants God’s wholeness and well-being for us.

Jesus then speaks to Thomas saying, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt, but believe.” Jesus does not make fun of Thomas doubts. Jesus offers Thomas what Thomas needs. If you need to see and to touch to believe, then see and touch and believe. Jesus offers Thomas a way from doubts to shalom. Jesus offers Thomas his own wounded body.

By his wounds we are healed is something found in the recent addition to the archives, the sermon We wish to see Jesus. And if you have doubts of your own about the resurrection, there is the sermon Resurrection—an apology offering some reasons to believe.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

4/21/2006

Action and Purpose

The following quote, taken from the book Celtic Praise is on from an ancient Celtic Christian, in which the person, looking back on his or her life realizes they once thought the end justifies the means.
When I was striving for success,
To make my mark upon the world,
I committed many sins,
I exploited many people
In order to achieve my puroses.
When my conscience pricked, I said:
All will be justified when
my task is done.
Now that I have finished striving,
And no longer want to
make more marks,
I want only to be pure,
and live in harmony with the world.
I see no difference between
action and purpose;
The action is the purpose,
The purpose the action.
All must be justified here and now.
Do you agree that all must be justified here and now? And if so, how do we know we are being just? What standard do we use to justify our actions and their purposes?

this design is featured on some of the itemsNote:
For those interested in working on our trips to Biloxi, Mississippi as partner with The Church of the Redeemer in their efforts to rebuild their church and community, there is now a CafePress shop set up with t-shirts and other items for the partners. It is online at http://cafepress.com/redeemer-biloxi/.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

4/20/2006

A raging mad God?

Westboro protesting at a soldier's funeral
Marine Lance Corporal Philip J. Martini, 24, died in combat in Iraq from a gunshot wound. The mortal wound came during his second tour of duty in the country. Yesterday he was laid to rest in a Chicago area funeral, surrounded by family, friends, protestors and counter protestors.

The protest, like those at nearly every funeral of late for soldiers killed in Iraq, was staged by small (75-persons by some accounts) Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. Their spokeswoman Shirley Phelps-Roper told reporters yesterday, "This nation is being punished by a raging mad God." She went on to say, "I am the only patriot standing here. I am the only one that has enough concern for the soul of my nation and wrath of God pouring out on her head to tell you what you need to do to fix it."

Phelps-Roger said of the corporals parents, "They raised that child for the devil." Her few fellow demonstrators all agree that God is punishing our soldiers because of our nation's tolerance for homosexuality. Their signs read "God Hates America," "Not Blessed Just Cursed" and "God is America's Terror."

But the family and friends were shielded from the message of hate being spread by Westboro Baptist by nearly 200 members of the Patriot Guard Riders. The Riders are a morotcycle club who came for the purpose of staging a counter protest whose only purpose was to block the view of Westboro's slogans from those gathering to remember a soldier who paid the ultimate price for his service to our nation.

Westboro often uses child protestorsAnd if you thought, "There ought to be a law against that kind of thing" you are not alone. 27 states have either passed or are working on legislation aimed at stopping the Westboro Baptist protests at funerals while working to not unduly infringe on free speach in the process.

Of course, not everything Westboro's spokespersons say is counter to the beliefs of Christians. For example, Phelps-Rogers was also quoted as saying yesterday,
We're here to remind these people that there's a God. He set his standard in the earth and He expects his creatures to obey it. If you will obey the commandments of the Lord your God, He will bless you, if you will not obey the commandments of the Lord our God, He'll curse you, his promises are as good as gold.
I doubt you could muster much disagreement in Camden County from pulpit or pew alike on the statements that there is a God and that God has expectations. However, the protestors seem far too certain that God's love is for them and God's wrath is for others—people who are "other" than them. This makes it that much easier to side with the love of the bikers shielding the family than the hatred of the Westboro protestors.

But what about the larger issue? What basis do I have for taking exception with the (if nothing else) very dedicated members of Westboro Baptist? Certainly scripture tells of judgment. There is no doubt about that. But when I read of Jesus' life, ministry and teachings, the only strong words of judgement and harsh actions I see are aimed at the holier than thou set. Jesus never held back from taking the self righteous to task. That's what I read in the Gospels and it informs how I view the protests and counter protests.

While I hope the opportunity never arises, I would have to count myself among the human shields before I could ever stand in hatred with the protestors. And it is some comfort that this is a common Christian viewpoint. As much as we can be divided at times, I hope it is reaching out in love that draws Christians together, for the Bible teaches that God is love. It is in acts of love, not hatred, that we side with our Lord.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal CHurch

2 Comments:

  • At 4/20/2006 8:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Phelps-Rogers comments come across judgemental to everyone that is not following her beliefs fully. No less than 2 days ago a post illustrated how God feels about people judging others.
    Who is Phelps-Rogers to say the parents of fallen soldiers are being raised to do the devil's work? Who is anyone to say this? Soldiers are also in these countries fighting for simple freedoms we take for granted- like the freedom of religion and free speech for the people living in these countries. Because we have these freedoms in this country this minister is allowed to speak so "judgementally" of others and say comments indicating this minister's beliefs are the only beliefs that will please God. It could be seen that these soldiers are on a mission from God to have (fight for) freedom of religion and speech. And God knows with these freedoms will come those that abuse it- those that speak as though they are the only ones following the right path. Kind of an oxymoron, otherwise known as freewill.
    Shannon

     
  • At 4/20/2006 9:23 AM, Anonymous William T. said…

    One of the paradoxes of living in America is that everyone is free to criticize those who guarantee that freedom. They are also free to interpret God and His intentions through their own limited, homophobic and hateful vision of the world. I am surprised He has not struck them down.

    The thing that saddened me most about the photo is that these so-called Christians are standing on American flags. Using the flag in a legitimate protest is one thing, but to have hatemongers tread it underfoot is unacceptable. Where would these hatemongers be if the veterans of WWII had not been willing to go to war? You can bet that the Nazis would not tolerate having thier flag underfoot. Yet theses lost souls feel they have the right to denigrate the flag AND criticize these young men and women and their families. Hypocrisy plain and simple.

    I am a peaceful man, but in my opinion if these folks hate America so much, they're free to leave. Why would they want to live in a place that is cursed by God?

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

4/19/2006

Ordinary miracles

Wheat growing in Israel
Amazing GraceIn her book Amazing Grace: a vocabulary of faith Kathleen Norris writes of attending a Bible Study saying

When I dared to speak, I said that my favorite passage in the chapter had always been Mark 4:27, because it speaks so eloquently of an ordinary miracle: that the farmer "should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how." That seems to apply to so much that I do, I said, commitments that I make when I have no idea what I'm getting into, and somehow they grow into something important, before I know it. My marriage, for instance, and the women laughed, knowingly. It also reminded me, I told them, how mysterious are so many of the things that we take for granted. We know how to plow a field, and how to seed it. But germination and growth are hidden from us, beyond our control. All we can do is wait, and hope, and see.

"Only last Saturday," a woman interupted, "at the Lutheran festival fall bazaar, The place mat was real different. I saved mine. There was a picture of a wheat field and a quote from Martin Luther: 'If you could understand a single grain of wheat you would die of wonder.'"

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

4/18/2006

Judging Judgers

"Do not judge so that you will not be judged.
For in the way you judge, you will be judged;
and by your standard of measure,
it will be measured to you."
—Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:1-2)


Dalton Roberts is a friend of a friend who writes a My Sunday Journal column for IPS features. In a recent column he wrote,
As a preacher’s kid, I saw a few genuine, spiritual people in each of the churches we attended. They were always those absorbed and immersed in their own spiritual practice. For every person like this, there were a dozen or more who were so busy judging others that they never grew an inch.

we can become an unjust judge of othersYou may be thinking, “Well, you must have been judging yourself to come to such a conclusion. If you had been engrossed in your own spiritual work, you would not have been studying these people.”

You are right. I was a child. I hated going to church. From the first day I was forced to go until the last day, I hated every moment of it. It was decades after my forced attendance before I found any joy in church attendance. My first enjoyment came in a Baptist mission where they sang from those old Stamps-Baxter songbooks. I loved those songs like Looking For A City and Heaven’/s Jubilee. The second time I enjoyed it was a Quaker silent worship, the third was a Unity service and the fourth was a Christian Science lecture.

Part of the reason I noticed all the judgmentalism in churches I attended in my childhood years was because I was a child. Children are intense observers. When adults teach them things, they cannot be faulted for watching the adults to see if they practice what they preach.

The rhetoric (testimonies, sermons) was good but the living of it was clearly not good and even a child could see it. But in time I made a great discovery: I was so involved in judging the judgers that I was not getting anything from the services and my own private spiritual practices! I had adopted the very practiced I deplored in others.

An elder said:
Do not judge a fornicator if you are chaste,
for if you do, you too
are violating the law as much as he is.
For He who said thou shalt not fornicate
also said thou shalt not judge.
—from The Wisdom of the Desert,
(a collection of sayings of ancient Christian hermits)

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

4/17/2006

Together We Grow

Together We GrowThe Diocese of Georgia is working on a plan called Together We Grow which is designed to leverage our existing resources to enhance our churches efforts to expand the Kingdom of God both in terms of discipleship and numeric growth. More information on the specific goals, objectives and strategies is found online here.

The following prayer has been distributed for use as we work together on this initiative:
O God, by your grace you have called us in this diocese to a goodly fellowship of faith. Inspire our hearts with understanding so that indeed Together, We Grow. Guide us now in the development and focus of our action teams; encourage them to follow your will in all they do. Bless us as we come together, and help us to begin to apply this program throughout the diocese, moving forward in the example of Christ to the honor and glory of your name. Amen.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

4/16/2006

Alleluia, Christ Is Risen!

Panorama of Easter worship 2006

Flowering the crossMore than 200 people attended our two Easter services (Saturday evening and Sunday morning). Today's worship service included a play in place of the sermon, then a baptism and communion. Our worship was followed by Easter Egg Hunts for three age ranges: preschool, K-6th grade, and 7th grade through 90+. The moon bounce alongside the church buildingWe also had a cookout with hamburgers and hotdogs, and a moon bounce. Click one of the photos here to go to our Easter photo page. All in all, it was a joyous celebration of Jesus' resurrection.

Alleluia! Christ is Risen. The Lord is Risen Indeed. Alleluia!

Seven Stanzas at Easter

Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells' dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His flesh: ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that--pierced--died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.

And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck's quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.

—John Updike

1 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

4/15/2006

The Light of Christ

lighting the Paschal candle at the vigil

This evening, we began our Easter celebrations with the Great Vigil of Easter. In the gathering darkness we kindled a new fire to use in lighting the Paschal (or Easter) candle signifying the light of Christ coming back into the world with the resurrection. By the light of our own candles lit from that one light, we read stories from the Old Testament and reaffirmed our baptismal vows before moving into the sanctuary to continue with Easter readings a sermon and communion. The service is the Christian Passover, the night we remember that by Jesus' resurrection we too pass from death to life.

In the most famous Easter sermon ever given John Chrysostom (347-407) preached,
Geoff and Chris by candlelightO death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? Christ is risen and you are abolished. Christ is risen and the demons are cast down. Christ is risen and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen and life is freed. Christ is risen and the tomb is emptied of the dead: for Christ, being risen from the dead, has become the Leader and Reviver of those who had fallen asleep. To Him be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.
In case you think it was mere hyperbole to call it the most famous Easter sermon it should be noted that Chrysostom's Easter homily is read by Greek Orthodox and other Orthodox churches throughout the world each Easter as it has been for generations.

Note:
Our Easter worship will be at the usual time of 10 a.m. and is followed by lunch, Esater egg hunts for all ages and a moon bounce. Come celebrate Easter and stay for the fellowship.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

In the Tomb

King of Peace's altar with a crown of thorns on it for Good Friday

Each year on Good Friday and Holy Saturday Christians remember the tomb. Not the empty tomb of Easter, but the borrowed tomb Jesus needed that Friday and Saturday. Jesus was really and truly dead. This is a central fact of the Christian faith—you can not get to Easter without Good Friday. Jesus was obedient unto death.

Though we are an Easter people (even in Lent) we are also a Good Friday people. We know the cost of the free grace we receive from God. We know also that we too can have our own Gethsemane. For Jesus it came that night as he prayed in anguish for the cup to pass from him. For some it comes in a doctor's office when the biopsy results come back. Or at an AA meeting when you finally realize that you are an alcoholic and will have to die to your current life in order to live. It can come in many ways. But it is there in that moment when push comes to shove that you discover your real theology, what you really think about God.

This is why it is best to nourish your life of faith before you get to the garden, before the night of anguish. For once there in that doctor's office or AA meeting or wherever it comes, you will be better off if you have already been a person of prayer sustained by the scripture. For we know that new life is possible and that even at the grave we make our song Alleluia!

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

Note:
The first worship service of Easter comes tonight at 7 p.m. with the Great Vigil of Easter, traditionally the most important Christian worship service of the year.

A sermon on tomorrow's Gospel reading, The Easter Double Take is found in our online archives.

1 Comments:

  • At 4/14/2006 11:13 PM, Blogger chefpierre said…

    Hey y'all. I have just linked your site to mine.

    The gentle proficience that y'all display in your weblog pacifies a certain angst that I have felt throughout my quasi-christian walk. Leave it up to Epicopals to fully explore the middle-ground.

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

4/14/2006

Washing Feet

Footwashing at King of Peace

Last night we celebrated Thursday in Holy Week with a communion service which included an opportunity for footwashing. The Rev. Susanna Metz wrote of the significance of this in a sermon in which she said,
In one way, Jesus' disciples would have understood what Jesus was doing when he washed their feet. In the culture of that time, any good host would make sure his guests' feet were washed by a servant when they entered the house. What would have surprised the disciples is that Jesus, the host, their rabbi, was washing their feet. That was part of Peter's objection to Jesus' washing of his feet. But Jesus was showing his disciples that true hospitality goes much deeper than basic good manners. In washing even Judas' feet, Jesus was extending hospitality, his acceptance, even to the one who would betray him. Even though Jesus knew that Judas' act of betrayal would set into motion the events leading to his death, Jesus didn't push him out of the community. To the end, Jesus offered Judas a chance to change.

Jesus told his disciples: I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Jesus says the same thing to each one of us, and if he could include Judas, shouldn't we think very seriously about those we find it all to easy to exclude?

Many feet walk into our lives and into our church every day—old feet, young feet, feet of different races, poor feet, children's feet, feet of the needy, feet of the arrogant, feet of the annoying, feet of those we love and feet of those we fear, feet of those who are like us and feet of those who aren't just like us. Whose feet would we be willing to wash? Whose feet would we rather not touch at all?

Jesus showed by his example that we really don't have a choice in the matter. If we have, through our baptism, promised to live a godly life, to live by Jesus' teachings, to respect the dignity of all God's creatures, then we must be willing, literally or figuratively, to wash everyone's feet, no matter what. We have to be willing to show that same hospitality, that same acceptance, to everyone, no matter what.
Kenn's photo of the cross over the altar seen through the Palm Sunday greensToday we read about and pray about the cost of accepting others no matter what as on this Good Friday we encounter again the story of Jesus' crucifixion and death. We remember the cost Jesus paid for the unconditional love he had shown to outcasts and sinners, meaning the unconditional love he has for us.

Note:
The Good Friday service will be at King of Peace at 12 noon and at Christ Episcopal Church in St. Marys at 7 p.m. We will also have Stations of the Cross at 1 p.m. at King of Peace where our labyrinth will be available for prayer from 1-3 p.m.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

4/13/2006

Why is this night different?

the seder plate

KennLast night, we celebrated Passover with Jews and Christians joining together for the ritual meal. The central question of Passover, always to be asked by a child, is, "Why is this night different from all other nights?" The question is to come because we eat and act differently on Passover night. For example on all other nights we may eat leavened and unleavened bread, but on this night unleavened bread. The answer is that on Passover we remember that the Children of Israel prepared in haste to leave Egypt and made only unleavened bread for their journey. This difference of the Exodus experience is what is to make Passover night different from other nights for in the Passover we make the journey of the Israelites our journey.

VictoriaAs this is true, then perhaps Passover night should not be so different from all other nights. Yes, we may eat different foods and do so in a different way (dipping vegetables twice intead of once and so on), but each day and each night we are to remember that the story of God's salvation of that band of slaves is not just their story, but our story too. We are to remember that if God had not set them free then we would still be slaves. In fact, we still are slaves to this world unless we let God set us free.

Lisa, Dan and Philica
Note:
Tonight we will celebrate Maundy Thursday, an evening for remembering Jesus' celebrating the Passover with his disciples on the night before he died. The evening will begin at 6 p.m. with an Agape Meal. This stems from early Christian tradition of gathering for a full meal, known as an Agape (or love) meal when gathering for worship. It will be a simple supper of soup and bread. You may bring bread, wine, olives or cheese to accompany the meal. Then at 7 p.m. we will celebrate communion with an opportunity for footwashing for those who wish to do so.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

4/12/2006

Shouting Alleluia (even in Lent)

Rowan Williams in the Sudan
Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, distributed his Easter message to his Diocese yesterday in which he wrote of how beginning Lent on Ash Wednesday with Anglicans in the Sudan was so different from his usual Lenten practice. Williams writes,
Well, this year I started Lent in Sudan. Ash Wednesday found me in temperatures of 40-odd sharing in food distribution in a school and a refugee camp in Malakal and celebrating Holy Communion in a large and ultra-humid tent. Rowan Williams in the SudanPretty well everything, every aspect of that environment, seemed set to remind us that we still lived in a world where the cross was the immediate reality and resurrection hope was definitely a thing of the future. Hunger, desperate poverty, the traces of unspeakable trauma and violence, and the present reality of the same unspeakable brutality not too far away in Darfur – this, surely, was a world untouched by Easter.

But one thing you quickly discover at worship in the Sudan is that there is no occasion free from alleluias. That Ash Wednesday service echoed with the joyful shouting of ‘Alleluia’ – from the children and the women especially as we came in, from every speaker who got near the microphone during the service, in hymns and songs throughout. My liturgical conscience had to resign and slink away. Lent it might be, but this was not an Easter-free zone.

Which is quite a good counterbalance to where I started. Yes, we need to be reminded by abstinence and restraint that the world is still a Good Friday sort of place, shadowed by abandonment, terror, pain. But what if you don’t really need reminding? What if, like the Sudanese believers, you have lived so long with abandonment and terror and pain that you can never forget or ignore it? These were people whose whole life was a particularly awful and crushing ‘Lent’.

Yet they could not stop saying, singing, shouting, ‘Alleluia’. If they lived in a long-term Lent, they also lived in an unceasing awareness of Easter. They had come through the horrors of war and oppression with the confidence intact that God was always there on the far side or in the depths of what they were enduring. If everyone else forgot them, God would not and could not. Because he was alive, they could live too – to echo the words of Jesus in John’s gospel.

The mystery of Christian faith is really something we can’t ever put into words because it is about so many things that are all true all at once, but we can only talk about them one at a time. Advent and Christmas and Good Friday and Easter and Pentecost, Baptism and Communion and birth and death are all packed up together, inseparably. But whether in our words or in the course of the Christian year, we usually have to pull them apart and take them in some kind of series. And it’s good that we do, since we have to give ourselves a chance to think things through carefully and to experience the time it takes to get from old to new, from death to life.

But once in a while something happens that pushes it all together again, confusingly and wonderfully, telling us that Advent is already, eternally, overtaken by Christmas, Lent by Easter, death by life. God is always there ahead of us, his future already part of the present.
The full text of the Easter message is online here.

Note:
This evening, we will read and reflect on scripture using the ancient service of Tenebrae at 6 p.m. For those who have reserved a seat, the Passover Seder is at 7 p.m.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

4/11/2006

Jesus, red state or blue?

Where would Jesus live? In a red state or a blue state? According to an editorial from Sunday, the answer is neither, or both, depending on how you look at it.

In a New York Times opinion piece called Christ Among the Partisans, Gary Wills quotes Jesus in John 18:36 in order to underscore his point that Jesus was not political. In that passage, Jesus says,
My reign is not of this present order. If my reign were of this present order, my supporters would have fought against my being turned over to the Jews. But my reign is not here.
Wills writes in part,
The Gospels are scary, dark and demanding. It is not surprising that people want to tame them, dilute them, make them into generic encouragements to be loving and peaceful and fair. If that is all they are, then we may as well make Socrates our redeemer....

He was never that thing that all politicians wish to be esteemed—respectable. At various times in the Gospels, Jesus is called a devil, the devil's agent, irreligious, unclean, a mocker of Jewish law, a drunkard, a glutton, a promoter of immorality.

The institutional Jesus of the Republicans has no similarity to the Gospel figure. Neither will any institutional Jesus of the Democrats.
The full text of the op-ed is online here.

Jesus was killed as a threat to the status quo. Does that make him politcal or apolitical? Or is this the wrong question? What do you think?

Note:
Our worship this evening is a communion service at 7 p.m. using the readings for Tuesday in Holy Week.

2 Comments:

  • At 4/11/2006 4:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Jesus refused to be a poster boy for any political group of his time and cannot be pigeonholed by our current systems as well. He offended the zealots of his time who were looking for a freedom fighter. He offended the religious authoritiarians of his time who were looking for a rubber stamp to retain their power. God's kingdom does not fit either paradigm. It leaves us completely without a common point of reference to those who see only the secular kingdoms. No one who takes any firm moral stand can avoid being tagged by one political group or another. While the Kingdom of Heaven is not an earthly principality, those of us who are its citizens do live within earthly political zones. If we truly believe what we say we believe enough that it affects how we live our lives, we, like Jesus, will be neither able nor willing to take sides. After all, we're not on Man's side. Like the text of the old hymn, "Who is on the Lord's side? Who will serve the King?" True Christianity, living with the mind of Christ within you, transcends political divisions, and thus, in its truest sense offends everyone. We offend some by our compassion, and we offend others by our unwillingness to excuse behavior contrary to scripture - sometimes simultaneously. Because we ultimately answer to the one Righteous Judge - because we believe that Christ is THE absolutely perfect example, we are at odds with our own society. It is our best reminder that we, like our Saviour, are not truly of this world, but we are only in it for a short while.

     
  • At 12/10/2006 1:42 PM, Anonymous Noel Lysen said…

    Just because Jesus was not a partisan (his kingdom rules all, and he is not subject to the leaders of men) in his lifetime doesn't mean we have to be nonpartisan. We ARE ruled by men after all, and the laws do apply to us.

    I believe a democrat or republican can be a Christian. However, there are certain specific issues that are MANDATED by God through the Bible that we should be mindful of when casting votes for our leaders.

    The death penalty, abortion, and gay marriage are some of those issues. No matter what your own personal inclination is (for instance, I would have no problem with gay marriage if not for my belief in the Bible, and subsequently, my belief in marriage), if you truly believe in the word then, on certain issues, you should be COMPELLED to take the side that follows God's will.

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

4/10/2006

Beyond words

Our Palm Sunday procession
Palm branches line the floor of the entry hallTwo plants symbolized yesterday's worship service. Palm branches obviously stand for the branches waved as the crowd welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem during the week leading up to his crucifixion. The long thorns of a lemon tree stand for Jesus' suffering and death as soldiers wove a crown of thorns and placed it on his head. It was a fitting introduction to Holy Week where we use the powerful symbols of the church to help us to enter more fully into the mystery of Jesus' death as we prepare to celebrate the joy of his resurrection.

Thorn arrangement in front of our painting of The Last SupperThis week our worship will be more varied and rich than at any other time of the year. Special services such as Tenebrae and a Passover Seder on Wednesday and the footwashing as part of the Thursday evening worship offer an opportunity to learn in ways beyond words. This is important as the God we worship is also beyond words. Palm branches, thorns, and other physical stuff enhances our worship as they can become symbols of something greater than themselves, having the power to evoke something in us—such as the gut-level response many had yesterday to the vicious spikes on the lemon tree stems— that mere words can not elicit.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

Andrew drops his palm branch along with others in the entry hall

Note:
Today is the last day to purchase Easter Lilies or azaleas in someone's memory or honor for our Easter worship services. You may call or email the church before 5 p.m. to do so. This evening's worship is a 7 p.m. service of Holy Communion using the readings for Monday in Holy Week. The service, will last about 30 minutes or so.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

4/09/2006

Lowering expectations

On this Palm Sunday when we read of Jesus death on the cross, word comes in a BBC News article that the lowest life expectancy in the world is found in Zimbabwe, where women now live on average to age 34 and men to 37. Due to economic devastation, life expectancy for women dropped by two years within this last year alone, in a nation where the AIDS epidemic had already lowered life expectancy. As the BBC report clarifies,
The HIV/Aids epidemic sweeping across southern Africa cannot alone be blamed for this—especially as recent figures show a slight drop in HIV infection rates in Zimbabwe. Our correspondent says the key reason behind the drop in Zimbabwe's average life expectancy is the fall in the standard of living, triggered by an economic crisis.
Jesus came to give healing to the sick and hope to the poor. Yet 2,000 years after his death and resurrection, we humans still find ways to inflict suffering on one another with startling frequency.

The problems of Zimbabwe are a complex mix of issues created in part by a corrupt leader and an initial cultural inability to deal frankly with a disease transmitted primarily through non-monagamous sexual contact. But the problems they face do not belong to Zimbabwe alone. We in America also struggled with how to come to terms with AIDS when the epidemic hit here. And we too face problems with unchecked greed as the recent trial of Enron's executives shows.

No, the problems that we see so clearly defined with the rapidly lowering life expectancy of Zimbabwe stem from Sin. This is Sin, with a capital "S" not sins, as in the things we do wrong, but Sin as in a world turned fundamentally against God. And so the problems faced in that African nation are our problems too as this side of the Kingdom of God, we will struggle with the suffering we cause one another.

The gift of Palm Sunday and its reading of Jesus' own suffering and death is that it reveals how deeply God cares about the pain and suffering of this world. We can know through scripture that not one of those lives cut short in Zimbabwe goes unmourned by God. For God so loved the people of Zimbabwe that he gave his only son. He gave his son not that they might have a life that is "nasty, brutish and short" as one philospher put it, but that they might have life and have it more abundantly.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

4/08/2006

The heart of the mystery

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday and the Gospel reading is the story of Jesus' suffering and death from Mark's Gospel. The reading will take us to the heart of the mystery of our faith. No other religion on earth claims anything like Christianity's story of God becoming human in Jesus and then humans kill the God who was made man. Yet, as implausible as the story might be when stated that way, there is no other story that makes sense of our pain and suffering like Jesus' life, ministry, death and resurrection.

As I preached in last Sunday's sermon,
Jesus, the Lord of Life, embraces death in order to defeat death. I know it seems all twisted around for wounds to heal, but can any but a wounded healer heal a heart? How can someone who has known no pain or sorrow understand it when you are hurt, lost, alone, grieving? The God who stands far off in heaven peeking down at the world would no nothing of our sorrow, our loneliness, or our fears. It is this Jesus we see lifted up on the cross who knows suffering and it is this Jesus who can redeem pain. This Jesus is the wounded healer.
Tomorrow's worship service begins a week-long journey unique in the church year. There is nothing that can benefit your own spiritual journey like making this pilgrimage through Holy Week. I encourage you to come to as many of the services as you can. The worship will offer fairly brief (a half hour to an hour) ways to put yourself more fully into Jesus' story as we approach the miracle of Easter. A full schedule with more information is found in the latest issue of The Olive Branch.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

4/07/2006

The Gospel of Judas

a codex page, courtesy National GeographicJust in time for Holy Week, we get word from an article in the New York Times about the discovery of The Gospel of Judas. That there was such a text is not news. We knew of its existence from the Christian writers Irenaeus, Theodoret and Epiphanius. And through their writing against The Gospel of Judas we already knew something of its contents and why it was never considered as part of the Bible (it was written much later by Gnostics, not by Judas in the week before the crucifixion as the text purports).

Judas betrays Jesus with a kissBut the discovery of the actual 26-page Coptic text is news and will allow us all to find out more about this ancient Gnostic document. The New York Times online article included a link to some excerpts from The Gospel of Judas. National Geographic also offers readers a chance to see some of the actual codex pages online together with translations. The text has been authenticated as an ancient one, though all this means as that we are seeing the actual Gospel of Judas we knew to exist because Irenaeus and others warned against it. The authentication can not touch on whether Judas actually wrote the original copy before he died. The one found is not only a later copy, but a translation, as Coptic is ancient Egyptian and would have been unknown to the Palestinian born, Aramaic, Hebrew and possibly Greek-speaking Judas Iscariot.

The gist of the text is a defense of Judas' betrayal of Jesus. This defense is based on an otherwise unknown conversation between Judas and Jesus in which Jesus asks Judas to "betray" him.

This secret conversation fits well within a Gnostic faith. Gnostics were a sect that ieved in "gnosis" (which is Greek for "knowledge") handed down secretly from disciple to student. Only those "in the know" so to speak would get the real details on the faith, not unlike Scientology today. We know a lot about Gnostics and their beliefs from both their writings and Christians, most prominently Irenaeus, writing against them. Judas throws down the coins and runs out of the TempleIrenaeus, the Bishop of Lyon, wrote of the Gnostics (around 180 A.D.) saying in part of his defense against them, "They produce a fictitious history of this kind, which they style the Gospel of Judas."

The codex (or book-style ancient manuscript) pages are a great find and will help scholars better understand Gnostic teachings, which came more than a century after Jesus death and resurrection. The new find however does not reveal anything knew about the historic person Judas Iscariot and his betrayal of his teacher Jesus.

click here to see the latest issue onlineNote:
The latest issue of our newsletter, The Olive Branch is now online. Click the page at right to view the Adobe .PDF file.

peace,
Frank+

The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor
King of Peace Episcopal Church

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

4/06/2006

On Thin Ice

A Reuter's News article tells of Florida State University's professor Doron Noff's "possible explanation" for Jesus walking on water, which is published in the April edition of the Journal of Paleolimnology. In the article, Noff states,
The study found that a period of cooler temperatures in the area between 1,500 and 2,600 years ago could have included the decades in which Jesus lived. A drop in temperature below freezing could have caused ice thick enough to support a human to form on the surface of the freshwater lake near the western shore, Nof said. It might have been nearly impossible for distant observers to see a piece of floating ice surrounded by water.
"I believe that something natural was there that explains it," said Noff who gained notoriety in the 1990s with a physical explanation for the parting of the Red Sea.

Both his walking-on-water and parting-the-Red-Sea explanations remind me of the boy whose parents never attended church. At age 10, he spent the night with a friend and attended church with their family the next morning. His Mom worried the church might have indoctrinated her boy in that short time and asked, "So what did they teach you in church today?"

"Praise the Lord!" The boy exclaimed, "We learned how God led the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry land. He parted the waters and made a way for them to escape from Pharaoh. Isn't that something Mama? Praise God!"

The mother was quite taken aback and finally mustered the secular wherewithal to counter what her son had heard in church. "Now, son, scientists have proven that it was the Reed Sea, not the Red Sea," she explained. "The water levels were low at that time of year and a strong wind from the west could have pushed back the little remaining water and dried out a path. It wasn't a miracle, it was perfectly natural."

"Praise the Lord! That's even better," her son replied.

"Even better?" the Mom asked, exasperation showing through in her voice.

"Yes, God drowned mean old Pharaoh's army in the Reed Sea which is a miracle because it didn't have hardly any water," the boy said.

But if you prefer the scientific explanation, there is also the report from MIT which tells how water striders can walk on water. The researchers there looked at the "hydrodynamics underlying the surface locomotion of the semiaquatic creatures" and then created a mechanical water strider they called Robostrider, which also walks on water, without treading on thin ice.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

2 Comments:

  • At 4/06/2006 8:58 PM, Blogger Celeste said…

    I have to agree with the son.
    I think you've preached that before: about choosing to see it as a miracle or coincidence? We do have a choice.
    Also, it is somewhat encouraging to know a professor actually believes the Bible as history and then to go to lengths to try and prove it scientifically.

     
  • At 4/09/2006 5:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sometimes, i wanted to believe in many things, but it's difficult,and when you know so much, it's more difficult.
    I really wanted to understand somethings. Sometimes i think that it's just a thing to make the people follow the rules of the church, you know, that histories.Histories of God.
    I really like your job

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

4/05/2006

Tithing Guarantee

In Savannah yesterday, I heard of a Savannah Christian Church offer that challenges people to try tithing for 3 months and if they then wish they had not made the commitment, the church will give them their money back. I was told the church has had people take them up on the offer, but no one has wanted to cash in on the guarantee. To date, all felt that God had blessed their 90-day tithing trial.

A search of the Internet did not find any information on Savannah Christian's guarantee, but it did reveal that others churches have offered a money-back guarantee on tithing. In explaining the same program taking place in his church, the administrative pastor of Gardendale Baptist Church said, "What we're trying to do here is not raise money, but what we're trying to do is grow people."

A year old blog entry at Monday Morning Insight told of the guarantee resulting in a request for a refund when a disgruntled member asked for her $21,000 back. That dispute with Bay Area Fellowship got messy as the $21,000 the tither asked for was three year's worth of giving, rather than just the amount given during the 3-month trial. The church offered a refund of her entire previous year's contributions of $2,694 to settle the dispute, but the woman refused.

Despite the problems, I find the money-back guarantee intriguing...and yet there is something about it that also seems wrong. The psalmist did say "Taste and see that God is good" and the plan offers an opportunity to take tithing for a taste test. However, the money-back guarantee is also a chance to give while keeping a hand on the money, which seems to fall short of actually trusting God with your finances. Trusting God with your finances is the very thing the churches wish to teach, so I think the guarantee contradicts the goal. What do you think?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

1 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

4/04/2006

Indifference

Buchenwald Concentration Camp at the end of World War II
Ellie Wiesel is pictured above at Buchenwald Concentration Camp. He is seventh from left (the last face clearly visible) on the second row from the bottom.

Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Ellie Wiesel (1928- ) wrote,
I think the greatest source of danger in this world is indifference. I have always believed that the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference. The opposite of life is not death, but indifference. The opposite of peace is not war, but indifference to peace and indifference to war. The opposite of culture, the opposite of beauty, the opposite of generosity is indifference. Indifference is the enemy.
Jesus said, "But let your statement be, 'Yes, yes' or 'No, no'; anything beyond these is of evil" (Matthew 5:37).

Nobel Peace Prize winner the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote,
"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."
Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me" (Matthew 25:45).

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

4/03/2006

Efficacy of Prayer

On Friday, The New York Times ran an article on a new study on prayer. The article, titled Long-Awaited Medical Study Questions the Power of Prayer, related the results of a study of prayer for 1,802 heart bypass patients which is being published in The American Heart Journal. Dr. Charles Bethea, a co-author of the study, succinctly stated the results as, “Intercessory prayer under our restricted format had a neutral effect.”

The bottom line is that when they asked Christians who did not know the Christians who did not no the persons for whom they were praying to ask God specifically for “a successful surgery with a quick, healthy recovery and no complications.” Those praying were given the first name and an initial only for the last name.

Victoria Logue's photo of a cemetary angelThe 1800-patients were divided into three groups:
1) Those who received prayers whithout knowing it, 2) Those who were being prayed for knowingly and
3) Those who were not receiving prayer. Among two groups of patients, one having people praying for them but not knowing, and the other receiving no prayers, there was no difference in their health and recoveries. But, the group that was being prayed for and knew about it had more complications after surgery than the other two groups.

Hospital chaplain Dean Marek, another co-author of the report, noted that the study said nothing about the power of personal prayer or about prayers for family members and friends. The study only dealt with prayers by a group of Christians for people they knew only through a written prayer request.

The New York Times article quoted Bob Barth who heads up a prayer ministry which was one of the three groups praying for patients in the study. Barth said, "A person of faith would say that this study is interesting, but we've been praying a long time and we've seen prayer work, we know it works, and the research on prayer and spirituality is just getting started."

While many news outlets are reporting prayer as inffective, I think that Barth is on to something. While there is no need to discredit this study, neither should we drop intercessory prayer which I and many others have experienced as highly effective. At most, the study may call us to question how it is that we pray for those we don't know. Can we possibly interceed for them in the same way that we pray for someone we know and love dearly? Obviously not.

Were I to have to go in for heart bypass, I would be more or less indifferent to whether a group of designated pray-ers were given my name and first initial, but I know that I would value highly the prayers of those who know and love me. And there are some real prayer warriors I would want to have the word that the surgery was coming up. Perhaps intercessory prayer is a gift, but that even without the gift those who love you dearly can also pray deeply for you.

What do you think?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

4/02/2006

Spotting an angel

The Rev. Dr. Michael Battle has an essay in William Placher's fairly new Essentials of Christian Theology which tells of seeing messengers of God (or angels) in unlikely places and ways. He writes,
The late Alexander Schmemann, a distinguished Orthodox priest and teacher, once told a group of students why he believed Christians have to practice sensitivity to the presence of angels. When he was a young man living in Paris, he was traveling on the Metro one day with his fiancée. They were very much in love and bound up only in each other. The train stopped and an elderly and very ugly woman got on. She was dressed in the uniform of the Salvation Army and, to their disgust, she sat near them. The young lovers in Paris began to whisper to each other in Russian, exclaiming to each other about the grossness and ugliness of the old woman in a language they assumed she would not understand. The train came to a stop. The old woman got up and, as she passed the two young people, she said to them in perfect Russian, "I wasn't always ugly!"

That person, insisted Father Schmemann, was an angel of God. She brought the shock of revelation, the shock that was needed for him to see that what was here was much, much more than an ugly old woman. Next time he would be able to look at an unattractive person in a self-effacing, uninterferring way. It takes practice, however, to spot angelic presences, just as it takes practice to recognize God.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home