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.

4/30/2008

Love and Faith are both verbs

Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith,
from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
—Ephesians 6:23

At God's Table has an interesting word study from scripture on the word with in the verse above. Answering the question of how one can love with faith, the study says in part:
Love in Hebrew (ahav) is the full engagement of a person on behalf of someone else. It is the application of my mental, emotional and volitional abilities to assist, support, encourage—even to sacrifice—for another. It is the fulfillment of the commandment to care for my neighbor as I care for myself. If I do that, I automatically produce faith (‘emunah). How is that possible? Don’t I have to sign some creed or something? No, you don’t. You have to read Habakkuk 2:4 and Deuteronomy 32:4. You will discover that faith is nothing more, or less, than the truthfulness of God’s character and actions. When I get in alignment with those, love erupts from what I am doing – and you can’t tell the difference between the two.
The full text of the study is here: James and Paul.

"Look at the proud! They trust in themselves,
and their lives are crooked;
but the righteous will live by their faith."
—Habakkuk 2:4

"He is the Rock; his work is perfect.
Everything he does is just and fair.
He is a faithful God who does no wrong;
how just and upright he is!"
—Deuteronomy 32:4

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4/29/2008

A Heartbreaking Report


The Episcopal News Service is carrying a report from the Diocese of South Dakota and the challenges faced in ministry there: Diocese of South Dakota tries to offer hope to people who feel hopeless, hungry, forgotten. The article says in part,
Unemployment is about 85 percent in Buffalo County.

Suicide rates in the area are seven times the national average. Diabetes is a leading cause of death. Cancer rates are increasing dramatically on both reservations, while drug use and drug selling, and alcohol abuse is rampant. HIV/AIDS is present but rarely talked about, behavioral health specialists say.

Casinos, once seen as a way to lift Indians out of poverty by bringing tourists and their money to the reservations, are not helping on the Crow Creek Reservation, residents say. Those who are employed often cash their paychecks at the Lode Star Casino in Fort Thompson, dreaming of doubling their money.

"People are selling everything they may have to go gamble," said Tolly Estes, a member of Christ Episcopal Church in Fort Thompson on Crow Creek and the son and grandson of Episcopal priests who served on the reservation. "The casinos have done more harm than good."

Episcopalians and federal officials on the Crow Creek Reservation say they struggle to help residents meet basic needs such as food, shelter, heat and electricity. They have difficulty helping people find the money to bury their family members, they said.

"Right now we're just trying to keep people alive . . .right now we're just trying to get people food," Estes said as he sat with Anderson, Robertson, Tinsley-Roe and others in the nave of Christ Episcopal Church. Estes told of cars following relief agency food trucks in hopes of being first in line and of a youngster at school trying to put mashed potatoes, gravy and corn in his pockets so that he could take food home to his younger brothers and sisters.

"This is the scariest I've ever seen it," Estes said.
The full article is online here: Weaving a web of relationships, rebuilding the body. Pray for our sisters and brother in Christ in the Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota.

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1 Comments:

  • At 4/29/2008 7:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This is what has happened on the reservation I have family living. I have to say that my reservation is not in such dire distress.

    In Maine, only bingo is allowed for gambling on reservation land, but it is enough to bring a people to it's knees. Unfortunately not in prayer but in loosing everything.

    True, bingo is not poker or the slots but it is as addictive and you can spend allot of money each time you play. I have seen it with a member of my family. I have seen it on the reservation in the people who are gambling in hopes of a better life.

    The council elders, members and the people of the reservation see gambling as a way to build their reservation and people up but, it is and will always be only a way for its people to fall.

    I pray for Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota.
    I pray for the American Indian everywhere.


    Searching

     

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4/28/2008

The Old Hymns


The following was written in 1891, though it could have been printed in the past decade. I wonder what the contemporary Christian music he wondered about sounded like.
For some years it has been apparent that the rage for novelties in singing, especially in our Sunday-schools has been driving out of use the old, precious, standard hymns. They are not memorized as of old. They are scarcely sung at all. They are not even contained in the undenominational song-books which in many churches have usurped the place of our hymn books.

We cannot afford to lose these old hymns. They are full of the Gospel; they breathe the deepest emotions of pious hearts in the noblest strains of poetry; they have been tested and approved by successive generations of those that loved the Lord; they are the surviving fittest ones from thousands of inferior productions; they are hallowed by abundant usefulness and tenderest memories. But the young people of to-day are unfamiliar with them, and will seldom hear many of them, if the present tendency goes on unchecked.
—Basil Manly Jr. (1825-1892) in his preface for Manly's Choice: A New Selection of Approved Hymns for Bapstist Churches, Louisville, Kentucky: Baptist Book Concern, 1891.

4 Comments:

  • At 4/27/2008 10:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree with Mr. Manly. As much as I love contemporary music, it is the older hymns that tie the generations together.

    I'm sure he would also object to messing about with the poet's words, too.

    "...Tho the eye of sinful man, thy glory may not see..." just sounds better.

    Debbie

     
  • At 4/28/2008 8:49 AM, Anonymous kenny said…

    I wub my wife. :)

     
  • At 4/28/2008 12:03 PM, Anonymous Linda+ said…

    According to Marion Hatchett, one of my seminary professors and Chair of the Text Committee for The Hymnal 1982, there was a big uproar in the early to mid-1800's between the people who wanted to retain shape-note singing and those who wanted to move on to "modern" hymns.

    My observation is that where there is music, there is tension. Every age has something wonderful to offer, although my preferences run to Ambrose of Milan and Venantius Hnorius Fortunatus, or "Latin, 6th cent.; translated by John Mason Neale."

     
  • At 4/28/2008 4:55 PM, Blogger Perpetua said…

    I was surprised that he used the words about survival of the fittest. He seemed to be using the argument from Darwin on the Origin of Species, applying it to hymns.

     

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4/27/2008

Worship

Happy are those who hear
the joyful call to worship,
for they will walk
in the light of your presence, LORD.
—Psalms 89:15

But the time is coming and is already here
when true worshipers will worship the Father
in spirit and in truth.
The Father is looking for anyone
who will worship him that way.
—Jesus in John 4:23 (New Living Translation)

No one else holds or has held
the place in the heart of the world which Jesus holds.
Other gods have been as devoutly worshipped;
no other man has been so devoutly loved.
—John Knox (1510-1572)

I never knew how to worship until I knew how to love.
—Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887)

Jesus calls us from the worship,
Of the vain world's golden store,
From each idol that would keep us,
Saying, "Christian, love Me more!"
-Cecil F. Alexander (1818-1895)

The highest form of worship
is the worship of unselfish Christian service.
—Billy Graham (1918- )

Some go to church to see and be seen,
Some go there to say they have been,
Some go there to sleep and nod,
But few go there to worship God
—Anonymous

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4/26/2008

If you love me

In tomorrow's Gospel reading Jesus says,
If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever.
The Reverend Angela V. Askew, priest-in-charge of St. Ann and the Holy Trinity Church in Brooklyn has written on this passage saying,
There may be absolute, unconditional love for us on God's side of things, but on our side, Jesus poses a condition: if you love me, you will obey my commandments.

The clue, of course, lies not so much in the "if" but in that word "obey." We need to decide precisely what command- ments John wants us to understand at this point. Are we to understand the whole tradition of command- ments, from Sinai on down, or are we to infer the new command- ment that Jesus handing over to his friends in John 13:34: "A new commandment I give you, that you love one another even as I have loved you"?

It may be, of course, that the distinction is beside the point. The Ten Commandments in the Sinai covenant tradition can be seen as a gift that describes a life for humans – individually and socially – that is consistent with the life God wants for us. Rather than assuming that Jesus requires a militaristic kind of obedience, we do better to think of God's commandments, right from the start, guiding and guarding us in learning how to love him and each other. It is therefore not so much "if you love me, you will obey," but "in loving me, you are obeying."

When we follow this guide and guard, we are taking in the Spirit of Truth. This Spirit is what helps us to see and respond to God's life in Christ in ourselves and each other. The reference to the Holy Spirit that Jesus is sending, of course, reminds us that Ascension is round the corner and Pentecost is looming. By assuring us of the continuity of God's presence in our lives, Jesus is also assuring us of the ongoing availability of God's absolute and unconditional love.

In the wonderful, treasured words of St. Paul, we may therefore be sure that nothing, "neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come ... will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus."
The full text of her sermon is online here: Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year A.

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4/25/2008

Grace



Above is a video showing the true story of what happened when a man went to give away free hugs. I know the youth group at St. Mark's Episcopal in Brunswick has given free hugs (their pictures are here). Which seemed like a fun way to do what our youth group did another time in giving away dollar bills on the water front in St. Marys as a lesson in grace. People resisted taking the dollar from a teen. Many refused. If they accepted, the person who took the dollar was given a note that said that there really were no strings attached. It was so that we could learn more about how to receive the free gift of God's love.

No matter what you genuinely give, people first give back resistance assuming that there is a trick or hidden cost. God gives us unearned, unmerited love. We call this grace. We assume there is a catch. There is in a way. We are to live as people whom God loves. This is always how love works. In order to become lovable, we must first be loved (see Disney's Beauty and the Beast). But the love must come first. For if someone doesn't love me as I am, then why change. But if I am loved as I am, then I can become more lovable. This is grace.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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3 Comments:

  • At 4/25/2008 7:10 AM, Anonymous kelly said…

    YES!!!! Hugs for All!!!! Loved the end where the girl hugged the resistant police officer.

    Hugs are good for the heart, in every way. "Scientifically" speaking, three hugs a day can reduce the risk of heart attack. (Forgot where I read that, but it sounded good to me so I've put hugging into practice for many years now!)

    Oh, and hugs with "I love you"...even better!

    So, since I am not physically able to reach out and touch you all through this post...Cyber Hugs to you all...I love you, and have an awesome day!!! :)

     
  • At 4/25/2008 9:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It’s amazing what a simple hug can do for the human spirit.

    Acceptance
    Understanding
    Compassion
    Guidance
    Peace

    But the greatest is LOVE. To know that you are loved can change your life.

    A hug can change one's day.


    Searching

     
  • At 4/25/2008 9:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I took my own words and put them into action.

    My neighbor’s husband died this past weekend. Not knowing what I could do I sent a meal and such.

    Just now, I walked across the street, knocked on the door and gave my neighbor a hug. She looked into me eyes and smiled. It was her first smile in a days she said.

    It is so easy to make a difference yet, sometimes we are so messed up in our own life, we miss how simple things can change the world. I plan to make sure she gets the hugs she needs.

    Searching

     

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4/24/2008

The unfolding of Your will

Lord,

Help me to live this day,

Quietly, Easily

To lean Your great strength

Trustfully, Respectfully,

To await the unfolding of Your will,

Patiently, Serenely

To meet others,

Peacefully, Joyously

To face tomorrow,

Confidently, Courageously.

Amen.


—reprinted from Anglican Digest

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5 Comments:

  • At 4/24/2008 8:42 AM, Anonymous kelly said…

    And please Lord, BLESS my kids and CHANGE ME!!!!! Amen!!!

    Oh, I should have read this prayer this morning BEFORE I woke them up for school! :)

     
  • At 4/24/2008 10:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Kelly,

    May you be blessed and your mornings peaceful .

     
  • At 4/24/2008 11:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I've been praying "Thy will be done" ... waiting for revelation of something big and important he wants me to do, as if I could do anything for him. This prayer helped me to see things from a different perspective ... that perhaps all he wants is for me to just live each day trusting in him. If I do that, all these things will be given to me and I will be quiet, easy, trustful, respectful, patient, serene, peaceful, joyous, confident and courageous.

     
  • At 4/24/2008 3:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    anonymous,

    ANYONE can do for him, just be still and listen!

    You will know!

    You are inportant!!

    Correct Father Frank??

     
  • At 4/24/2008 5:08 PM, Anonymous kelly said…

    Thank You, First Anonymous! After I prayed this a few times, my day was peaceful as well as productive!

    But, the day is not over yet, so I came back to the blog so I could read it again! :)

     

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4/23/2008

Bull-Riding Lessons in Worship?

This Dayton Daily News photo shows Whitney Fischer of Lima riding
the artificial bull during a church service in the Pub Lounge.

Sydney First United Methodist in Sidney, Ohio started a new church service at the Pub Lounge, a bar located near Interstate 75. The Dayton Daily News has words and pictures of their first service, held this past Sunday online here Church holds service in a bar. Perhaps it was a case of going back to their roots as the church's website reports,
The ministry of Sidney First Church began way back in 1825 when Levi White, a traveling minister, stopped in a local tavern and organized the first home Bible Study or cell group. Back then, our start was the product of what was called The Great Awakening, a period when many in this region were coming to faith in God and seeking to live all out for Christ in service to Him.
About 100 people turned out for the first service for Country Rock Church. Pastor Chris Heckaman says, "Jesus never formed a church. He never built a building. We're not trying to win people over to church culture. We want to minister to them where they are." The Dayton Daily News reports it this way,
He called his first Country Rock sermon a "bull-riding lesson."

"There are just a lot of parallels in learning how to ride a bull and how to get along with life," Heckaman said. "Jesus said he came that we might have life and have it to the full. Sometimes our church culture conveys otherwise, and we want to teach people what real life is all about."

Church member Julie Broadus said the main idea is to reach out to those who maybe weren't comfortable in a church setting.

"Church isn't just some place where you sit with your hands in your lap and your back straight," she said. "We can have fun being Christians, too."
Old School Designs
I genuinely hope the new church helps some folks get connected to God. There is, however, some research that says when people want to get connected to the Christian faith, they want their church to look, well, churchy:

Lifeway Research for Cornerstone Knowledge Network surveyed 1,684 unchurched adults, and the respondents, when given photos of churches with varying styles, elected the Gothic-style cathedral by a 2-to-1 ratio over contemporary design churches. Out of 100 possible “preference points,” the cathedral earned an average of 47.7 points.
That full story is online here: Traditional Buildings, Not Modern Design, Appeal To Unchurched. I hope so, or we got the gothic arch windows at King of Peace all wrong. And we forgot the mechanical bull. In fact, I'd like to think we don't have any bull. After all, Psalm 50:9a says, "I will take no bull from your house." Though the one at The Country Rock Church sure looks like a fun sermon illustration.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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7 Comments:

  • At 4/23/2008 7:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Where's the reverence; the peace and tranquility of the traditional worship that connects us to God? And, how holy can a pub really be on a Sunday morning after what goes on in there on a Saturday night? :)

    Good excuse for fellowship, maybe, but not such a good idea for a place to worship our Lord.

     
  • At 4/23/2008 8:10 AM, Anonymous kenny said…

    I want to toss some dry-roasted peanut shells on the floor!

     
  • At 4/23/2008 8:22 AM, OpenID jimmorrow said…

    And we forgot the mechanical bull. In fact, I'd like to think we don't have any bull. After all, Psalm 50:9a says, "I will take no bull from your house." Though the one at The Country Rock Church sure looks like a fun sermon illustration.

    Fr. Frank and his funnies...

     
  • At 4/23/2008 9:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Fr. Frank and his funnies...


    This is one of the very reasons I come to this place each day.

    Inspiration, better understanding of the word and good old funnies ;o) Who could ask for more.


    Searching

     
  • At 4/23/2008 11:36 AM, Blogger Todd M said…

    I really appreciate the kind and thoughtful way in which you have handled your post about this. Some other blog posts out there about this have not been so kind or thoughtful.

    I am a part of the church that is doing this. The Country Rock Church meets on Sunday evenings. This was not established to just be anoterh worshipping congregation and leave people where they're at. Our goal is to engage them in transformational discipleship. In many cases, the folks we encounter are generations-deep in destructive behaviour. But oftentimes they are searching and, regardless, we know that God loves them and wants them to be his eternally.

     
  • At 4/23/2008 1:05 PM, Anonymous Kelly said…

    Todd,

    I appreciate what y'all are trying to do with your ministry, as outrageous as it is!

    Personally, I prefer the "churchy" setting. And, thank you Father Frank for the lack of "bull" at King of Peace...:)

     
  • At 4/24/2008 1:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    After visiting several different churches in Camden County, my husband and I have chosen King of Peace. After experiencing modern, relaxed and traditional worship styles, we found King of Peace to be just right for us...that is the key...finding the style that brings you closer to God. There are as many different styles out there as there are people. I am a "traditional person" and you would never find me on a mechanical bull during worship or on a night on the town...no bungee jumping either for this girl! I am traditional all the way...if you are a guest in my home you will be greeted and honored with a beautiful well set table along with a special menu...likewise, I prefer the formal setting that seems to say "God deserves something special and beautiful...something not so everyday".

     

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4/22/2008

Why do I go to church?


Why do I go to church? This question is asked by Wes at his Blog, The WB with the entry Meet My Needs. What he writes gave me pause to think, so I will pass it along for your thoughts:
I just finished reading a fascinating article by Elizabeth Steele in the Alban Institute Magazine called, "How Responding to People's needs hurts the Church." Pretty bold title, but I believe that this is the difficult place the church finds herself in right now.

As a marketplace mentality has firmly rooted itself in the church culture—we create programs to respond to expressed and felt needs—we are seeing less people committed to the church as a means of being a witness, and more people pounding on the door asking to be fed (both physically, emotionally and spiritually).

For me, the question comes back to—does Jesus meet the needs of the people he encounters?

We can point to Christ healing the sick, comforting the widows, bringing the social outcasts into relationship and community. Here it does seem as though Christ's main focus was on meeting and responding to the particular needs of individuals.

But, this article makes an interesting point: "What occurs when [congregants] do not get what they want? They believe the church is letting them down..."

Going back to Jesus' example...what about the sick people whom Jesus did not heal, or the fact that he says "the poor will always be among you," calling us to "deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow him." Is he failing in his mission? Is he letting people down? No and Yes. He is not failing in his mission because his mission is not to respond to people's needs and wants. Yet he may have been letting people down in the process.

Therefore, the church needs to revaluate her mission: not in seminary, not in the ministerial offices, or in committee's...but from the ground-up through a self-reflective question, "Why do I go to church?"
I'm a bit torn as I think we should meet people where they are. I do also think a consumer mindset as concerns church is not healthy. Hmm... I go to church to worship God and to nourish my faith, to learn and grow with others. Yes, I'm paid to be there, but I could be paid to do a lot of things. I go because God will be there and we'll all be there and it will be awesome. What do you think about all of the above?

Though as an aside, The Washington Post carried an article that says that for Roman Catholics, the answer probably isn't that you go for the music. That article is Between Medieval And Folk, Two Mass Audiences.

peace,
Frank+
The rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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5 Comments:

  • At 4/22/2008 8:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have a difficult time relating to those who have stopped or who don't go to church and say as their excuse, "I don't get anything out of it."

    How could one NOT get anything out of worshipping God and receiving the Holy Spirit?

    I guess that maybe going to church is like any relationship. At first it's new, exciting and stimulating. Then, after awhile, we become comfortable, so we think that we're bored or don't feel anything anymore. Like with any relationship worth having, there is work and compromise involved. We only get out of it what we put into it.

    The mindset of "I'm not getting anything out of it so I'm not going to contribute to it" won't work with any relationship.

    I do, however, agree that churches need to market themselves in order to get the "what's in it for me?" generation through the doors. But, once they're through those doors they need to learn that the whole church experience is more than just them and their desire to be "entertained" at church.

     
  • At 4/22/2008 9:41 PM, Blogger TLF+ said…

    I've seen some evidence that the "felt needs" approach only works with Baby Boomers (although I meet plenty of old "Greatest Generation" types who speak a similar language - the church is there for what it does for them).

    The younger folks are more interested in a sincere community, where relationships are supportive and people live in ways that really reflect the beliefs being preached.

    And there is renewed hunger for experience of God through liturgy, and by acts of service that really impact the world for Christ.

    Thanks for raising this issue. Good post and good thoughts.

     
  • At 4/22/2008 10:54 PM, Blogger November In My Soul said…

    I go to church, or rather assemble with other believers, to worship God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As you know Father, I went through the struggle of deciding how much to accomodate people to get them to come to church. In the end it was self destructive behavior. There was no clear message and eventually there was no true worship.

    The Church is not about the right song, about a big enough building or about programs to attract new blood. The Church is us gathering together to share the Eucharist, to join in the never ending chorus of praise. We must work to conform ourselves to the Church because therein is the Truth, the Way and the Light.

     
  • At 4/23/2008 1:58 AM, Blogger Tom Sramek, Jr. said…

    There was a famous comment by Bill Hybels (I don't know where I read it, but...) to the effect that Willow Creek had made a huge, multi-million dollar mistake in simply meeting people's needs without helping them to establish habits of discipleship.

    Perhaps that is the difference. To use the old phrase--the church is called not simply to feed people fish, but to train fishermen! When Jesus refused to heal folks or to spend time in an area, it was generally because he had to spend time with his disciples.

    Even Rick Warren begins The Purpose Driven Life with the words "It's not about you." He's done pretty well...

     
  • At 4/23/2008 7:14 AM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    Tom,
    The Hybels quote in context is here: We made a mistake though the gist of what he said was they should have taught people, "how to read their Bible between service, how to do the spiritual practices much more aggressively on their own."

     

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Kids in the Kingdom



Some of the group at Sunday's Kids in the Kingdom in which we looked at the story of Passover and the kids made tamborines to remember Moses' sister Miriam leading the women in singing a song of thanksgiving after crossing the Red Sea.

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  • At 4/24/2008 3:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The kids loved this project and had a fun afternoon. My daughter actually told me what she learned. She remembered, and now knows what passover is. (well what a 6 year old understands anyway).

    Just so you know Kids In The Kingdom is a wonderful time to for our children and they may not totally appreciate it but we as parents do.

    So thanks Father Frank for taking the time.

     

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4/21/2008

We Are Thankful



Victoria and I were asked to go to the Episcopal Church Women meeting for the Diocese of Georgia this weekend to report on how the $24,000 grant we received in 2002, which helped us create King of Peace Episcopal Day School has continued to help our church and community. Victoria came up with the idea of doing a video report and the result is the video above. It gives a good glimpse into our school while thanking the diocesan ECW for the money received from a United Thank Offering grant.

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2 Comments:

  • At 4/21/2008 9:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Great video! And what a wonderful ministry for your community. Thanks for sharing.

     
  • At 4/23/2008 12:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Awesome preschool you have there. Such a lively place.

     

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Passover Seder


On the evening of Sunday, April 20, we held our eighth joint Jewish-Christian Passover Seder at King of Peace using a traditional Haggadah (service book) and led by our pastor, Frank, together with Dan Randolph. It was a meaningful evening and a lot of fun as well.






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Lily Is Baptized


During the 10 a.m. worship service on Sunday, Lily McCullough was initiated into Christ's body, the church.




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4/20/2008

Ironic?

I went into church and sat on the velvet pew. I watched as the sun came shining through the stained glass windows. The minister dressed in a velvet robe opened the golden gilded Bible, marked it with a silk bookmark and said, "If any man will be my disciple, said Jesus, let him deny himself, take up his cross, sell what he has, give it to the poor, and follow me."
Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)

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4/19/2008

No Power Shortage Here

In tomorrow's Gospel reading Jesus tells his followers,
Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.
But can we ask for anything in his name and receive it. Really? I think so, but the key is what we ask for in his name can happen if it is in God's will. And if that is true, amazing things can and do hapen. The Rev. Dr. Fred Anderson wrote on this passage for Day 1 noting,
As Jesus prepares to return to the Father, he tells us that you and I have access to the same power, when asked in his name. He promises to do whatever we ask in his name. Now hear me clearly. This is not a promise for chocolate cake at the drop of a hat, straight A's without some very hard work, instant parking places, or a stock-market portfolio that is always ahead of the Dow Jones Index. It is a promise Jesus gives to his body, the church, for the church. This is the meaning of asking in his name. To the extent that what we ask of the risen Lord is in accord with his will and purpose for the church in the world. That he will do in and through us.

Think about it. Indeed, we have seen even greater works than he did, whether that has been the world-wide spread of the gospel with his word of love, forgiveness and reconciliation in the search for peace, his work to heal and make whole as the church has established hospitals and schools all across the globe, or his value for human life, even the least of these a norm woven into the ethics of much of western culture. Whatever we ask in his name he promises to do. There is no power shortage here for any of us, so long as it is Christ's work we are taking up.

What does that mean for us as his body as we face the complex questions of immigration justice in this country? What does that mean for us as his body as we face the challenge of global ecology? We are not only commissioned to be the custodians and stewards of creation, we have the Creator's power to do so, if we will.

What does that mean about confronting the challenges of decline in the church in the west? Every study that has ever been done on evangelism and church growth says the same thing: it happens when the members of the congregation begin to take up their responsibility for inviting people-family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances-to worship with them. When you and I begin to speak openly and unapologetically about the faith that sustains us, the power of God engages our words to do God's work, and people respond. We do not need to prove the truth of the Gospel or of Jesus' claims. We simply need to confess them, bear witness to them, say "come and see," trusting the power of God to do the rest.

Are you facing a power shortage in your congregation? What are you failing to ask of him in his name?
The full text of his essay is online here: No Power Shortage Here.

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4/18/2008

What I know and what I believe

Some matters I believe and some matters I have to take on faith. Yet the categories of belief and faith are not as clearly defined as one might think. Sometimes we speak as if science deals with facts, while religion deals with blind trust. It’s not that simple.

Frank's photo of a first grade classroom in NepalI might say, “I know there is a Key West, Florida” and “I know there is a Kathmandu, Nepal.” But these statements are not equal. I know there is a Kathmandu as my wife and I spent two months there on our honeymoon. It’s not too much of a statement of faith to say that the city continues to exist even though we haven’t been there for 22 years. The same sources of information that told me the place existed before I visited, tell me of its continued existence.

On the other hand, I have never been to Key West. But I do know people who have and I believe the things I have both heard and read about the place and feel like I know something of that place as well.

These matters were considered more thoroughly by an intellect I can’t pretend to match in the fourth century by Augustine of Hippo. Augustine was a promising student in the Roman Empire. Though he was from North Africa, he was sent to Rome and trained in rhetoric at a time when the best and the brightest studied rhetoric. He knew logic and philosophy. And when talented rhetoritician came to faith in Jesus Christ, he brought his God-given gifts of reason with him into the church.

This post, which is my religion column for today's issue of the Tribune & Georgian continues here: What I know and what I believe

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1 Comments:

  • At 4/18/2008 11:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I believe that I think I know there is a restaurant in Key West that serves rattle snake. But, I have no faith in that statement as I have never been to Key West and would probably not go to a restaurant that serves rattle snake.

    Also, I don't believe that rattle snake tastes like chicken. I was told that frog legs and gator tail taste like chicken and I believed, therefore, I tasted. They didn't taste like chicken. I know that I believe that chicken tastes like chicken, so I'll put my faith in tasting like chicken in chicken.

    I know for a fact that I believe that Jesus is the Son of God. I place my faith in this too! :)

    BTW Good Article!

     

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4/17/2008

What Kind of Leader Are You?



Hmm...Despite the test results, I know that I'm no Mother Theresa. It makes me wonder why they connected the two of us. But I do gravitate toward these Mother Theresa quotes below. So maybe it's not that I'm like her, but that I wish I was:
I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much.

Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.

Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.

I do not pray for success, I ask for faithfulness.

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.

In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.
Now I have a lot to live up to today.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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2 Comments:

  • At 4/18/2008 2:53 AM, Blogger Tom Sramek, Jr. said…

    Frank: I cam up as Mother Teresa as well. I wonder how many clergy score this way?

     
  • At 4/18/2008 9:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    At 27 questions, I came back as Gandhi but after answering all the questions 43 of them, I came up at Mother Teresa.

    Oh, to be like such people is a wonderful feeling but unfortunately, I can only dream of being a bit like them. I can only do my best to be ME. A person who loves and cares for others, as I should, with some hope that I will receive the same in return.

    Searching

     

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4/16/2008

Out of her doldrums

The Church will come out of her doldrums when we find out that salvation is not a light bulb only, that it is not an insurance policy against hell only, but that it is a gateway into God, that God is all that we would have and can desire.
—A.W. Tozer, Attributes of God

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4/15/2008

Unction: Prayers for Healing



Matthew Moretz continues his YouTube explanations of The Sacraments, this time with unction, which is anointing with oil and prayers for healing.

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4/14/2008

Reconciliation


Forgive wicked offenses so that you can receive a royal pardon for your own offenses. The greater the wrongs you forgive, the greater the pardon you will receive. Therefore, we have been told to say, "Forgive us, as we forgive." This teaches us that the measure of our forgiveness begins with us. As a result, the degree to which we benefit from the enemy's attacks is proportionate to their severity. So then let us eagerly seek reconciliation with those who might have hurt us, whether or not they were right...

Christ tells us to go to those who provoke us. He said, "Forgive your debtors in order that your Father may also forgive your trespasses." Christ didn't offer us a small reward, but an exceedingly great one. So then, reflecting on all this, considering the reward, and remembering that wiping away sins doesn't take much work and passion, let us forgive those who have wronged us.
St. John Chrysostom (347-497)

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4 Comments:

  • At 4/14/2008 6:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Shouldn't forgiveness be sincere? Honestly, this sounds like, "Forgive and get a prize."

     
  • At 4/14/2008 7:01 PM, Anonymous kenny said…

    I've always thought that all sins were equal in God's sight. They all separate us from Him and they all have to be covered by Jesus' blood.

    It's our harm to others and others' harm to us that can be judged on a severity basis. We do have to be willing to forgive lest that attitude stand between us and Christ. Fortunately, Jesus is there to help with that as well.

     
  • At 4/14/2008 8:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    How can sins be equal? Yes, they all separate us from God.

    So expain the sin of stealing a candy bar from a store and the sin of murder.

    One is a much easier to forgive than the other from those who were effected. Right?

     
  • At 4/16/2008 8:00 PM, Blogger Robin D. said…

    Kenny is right. Murder separates us from God just as stealing a candy bar does.

    The most dire consequence of both is not what punishment a jury of men may sentence you to, but an eternity without God.

    Sin is what keeps us from God. If we die in that separation, then we die for all eternity.

    If we receive and claim pardon as Jesus' sacrifice assured us, then we can die in the knowledge that we will be with God for all eternity.

    In the light of the REALLY BIG PICTURE, which is all of time and eternity, (i.e. infinity) both sins are so close as to be equal.

    ∞ - 1 ≈ ∞
    ∞ - 1,000,000,000 ≈ ∞

    In that equation the only value is the value assigned to it by God. To find that we must look to the reference material; the Bible and other sacred writings.

     

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4/13/2008

Hospitality

Wherever and whenever, for whatever the reason,
anyone is not welcome to sit at table with you, to eat with you,
then you do not have church.

—the Rev. Dr. Fred Craddock

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4/12/2008

This is only a test


Like many churches, King of Peace is prepared to offer shelter to those in need if and when disaster strikes. Today we hosted our local Red Cross chapter's disaster preparedness drill. The facilities worked well for the drill, especially the wireless internet at the church.


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The Shepherd and the Gate


In tomorrow's Gospel reading Jesus says,
Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
How can Jesus be both The Good Shepherd and The Gate? This is dealt with well by the Workjing with the Word page which quotes Living Liturgy: Spirituality, Celebration, and Catechesis for Sundays and Solemnities as saying:
Sheep can be found either in their pasture or in their holding pen (“sheepfold”). The sheepfold was usually made of fieldstone or mud brick, was generally uncovered, and high enough so the sheep couldn’t jump over.

Keeping the sheep together in an enclosed area at night made it easier for the shepherd to protect them from wild beasts and thieves. There is only one opening in the wall between the open grazing land and their enclosures: the gate.

At night, the shepherd stood at the gate as the sheep entered one by one and inspected each sheep. Those scratched or injured would be tended and their wounds anointed with oil; the thirsty would be watered (see Psalm 23:5, “you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows”).

When all were accounted for and safely inside, the shepherd would sometimes lie down and sleep across the entrance to the sheepfold: thus, the “shepherd” was also “the gate.”

This recalls Psalm 118:20, “This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it.” What lies on the other side is “salvation” (118:21).

Jesus is this gate; he is the way that leads to abundant life (John 10:10) and salvation. To get to the pastures of life or to the protection and security of the shelter, there is only one way: through the gate.

John will further elaborate this image in next Sunday’s gospel when Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”

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4/11/2008

What I remember

My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things,
that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Saviour.

—John Newton, Anglican Priest and author of the hymn Amazing Grace writing at the age of 82.

1 Comments:

  • At 4/11/2008 11:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Amazingly, many of us with our memories still intact have a difficult time remembering those two things.

    Thank you for the reminder!

     

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4/10/2008

All the Strength We Need

Below is last night's sermon. As is typical of Wednesday evening sermons, we used the readings from The Episcopal Church's Lesser Feasts and Fasts a calendar of Episcopal saints. We observed yesterday, the feast day of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Lutheran pastor and martyr.

Tonight we remember a saint of our church, the German Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was put to death by Adolph Hitler for standing against his National Socialist government. I want to begin by going back to our opening hymn and look again at the third verse. This hymn was written in the 1500s by Martin Luther, but it's words speak powerfully to the situation in which the German church found itself in the 1930s and 40s:

Though hordes of devils fill the land
All threat'ning to devour us,
We tremble not, unmoved we stand:
They cannot overpow'r us.
Let this world's tyrant rage:
In battle we'll engage!
His might is doomed to fail;
They cannot win the day.
The Kingdom's ours forever.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Unmoved we stand. That was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was one of the few to stand against Hitler's Nazi party from its earliest days. He was a leading spokesman for the Confessing Church beginning in 1933, which was the Protestant churches way to stand against the state church being created under Hitler.

Ten years into that struggle, Bonhoeffer wrote looking back on a decade of standing firm in face of evil saying,
I believe that God can and will bring good out of evil, even out of the greatest evil. For that purpose he needs men who make the best use of everything. I believe that God will give us all the strength we need to help us resist in all times of distress. But he never gives it in advance, lest we should rely on ourselves and not on him alone. (this and all quotes are taken from Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Letters and Papers from Prison, the enlarged edition. Edited by Eberhard Bethge (NY: Collier Books, 1972).
All the strength we need, but only when it is needed. Not in advance so that we think that it is our own strength and that we are relying on ourselves. Here Bonhoeffer's words echo our first reading this evening from the book of Proverbs (3:5-6), where we read,

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own insight.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.

Both Bonhoeffer and the writer of Proverbs tell us that if we put our faith in God, rather than in ourselves, we will be upheld and guided. This was put to the test with Bonhoeffer's activism against Hitler's so-called Third Reich.

He had been offered a chance to work at the esteemed Union Seminary in New York. He didn't have to be in Germany at all. But he felt strongly that a German pastor must be with his people during this difficult time and returned after only one month. On his return in 1939, he became even more active in opposing his country's government. He was arrested and imprisoned. From prison he wrote,
We still love life, but I do not think that death can take us by surprise now. After what we have been through during the war, we hardly dare admit that we should like death to come to us, not accidentally and suddenly through some trivial cause, but in the fullness of life and with everything at stake. It is we ourselves, and not outward circumstances, who make death what it can be, a death freely and voluntarily accepted.
His freely and voluntarily accepted death did come. Bonhoeffer had become involved years before with a group who sought to remove Hitler from power through over through. There attempt came to a head with the July 20 Plot to assassinate Hitler and an Nazi investigation tied the already imprisoned Bonhoeffer to the group. He was sentenced to die along with others implicated in the plot. His death came in the waning days of the Nazi Regime. With allied bombs landing in earshot, it wasn't clear whether Hitler or those who tried to kill him would die first. But 11 days before the prison was liberated by the Allies, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was put to death on April 9, 1045 at Flossenburg Prison.

With that martyrdom came sainthood for the German pastor. So often we see saints as so, well, saintly, that we miss their more human side. With Bonhoeffer we get to hear him wrestling with who people thought he was versus who he knew himself to be. He wrote the poem Who Am I while imprisoned by the Nazi government.

Who am I? They often tell me
I would step from my cell’s confinement
Calmly, cheerfully, firmly,
Like a squire from his country-house.

Who am I? They often tell me
I would talk to my warders
Freely and friendly and clearly,
As though it were mine to command.

Who am I? They also tell me
I would bear the days of misfortune
Equably, smilingly, proudly,
Like one accustomed to win.

Am I then really all that which other men tell of?
Or am I only what I myself know of myself?
Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,
Struggling for breath, as though hands were compressing my throat,
Yearning for colors, for flowers, for the voices of birds,
Thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness,
Tossing in expectation of great events,
Powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance,
Weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,
Faint, and ready to say farewell to it all?

Who am I? This or the other?
Am I one person today and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
And before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army,
Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?
Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am Thine!

Struggling with the difference between the saint others thought him to be and the weary and fearful man he knew himself to be, Bonhoeffer still affirmed himself as completely God's. Here we see the real man who faced death as a consequence of following Jesus as best he knew how in a world turned more toward evil than the good. But he had said years earlier that God could and would bring good even out of the greatest evil. And good did come from those who stood unmoved against the evil that swept Europe during the 1930s and 40s. Bonhoeffer in "Who Am I" thought he did not have the strength to be the man others saw him to be.

Yet in his own death that day at Flossenburg, he did find the strength he needed to go to his death praying and praising God, never giving in to evil but continuing to stand against it. And in finding that strength when he needed it, he confirmed his own words written two years earlier:
I believe that God will give us all the strength we need to help us to resist in all time of distress. But he never gives it in advance, lest we should rely on ourselves and not on him alone.
Amen.

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  • At 4/10/2008 8:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hearing this sermon last night was moving. Now after reading it, I am even more moved by his faith and understanding that God could and would bring good even out of the greatest evil.

     

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4/09/2008

Humble, Loving Disciples

I ran across the quote below at A New and Unending Kind of Life and it reminded me how long the issues Wesley points to have been with us.


Would to God that all party names and unscriptural phrases and forms which have divided the Christian world were forgot and that we might all agree to sit down together as humble loving disciples, and at the feet of our common master, hear his word, to abide in his spirit, and to transcribe his life in our own.
John Wesley, (1703-1791)


Jesus came and broke down walls that divided humans including those named by Paul—slave/free, gentile/Jew, man/woman—as well as others more like saints/sinners, clean/unclean, and so on. And yet we are so good at erecting new walls, declaring some in and some out, when the Kingdom is God's. It's not that there is no right and wrong. Rather, we should sit loose on issues of who is in and who is out and pay more attention to whether our own lives are being Christ-like and giving God glory.

Furthermore, we should always be careful in drawing lines that leave some in and others out, lest the line we draw ends up leaving us outside as well. Right?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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4/08/2008

Portraits of the Self


The latest online exhibit of ECVA—Episcopal Church and the Visual Arts—is now up at Portraits of the Self. The 40 self-portraits are thought provoking, particularly some which deal with coming to terms with cancer or other life-threatening illness. The portrait above is a detail from the entry by Pat Merriman. I find the second face in the top right to be haunting.

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4 Comments:

  • At 4/08/2008 9:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I love numbers 22 and 15 but number 20 is a little creepy!!

    All are inspiring.

     
  • At 4/08/2008 9:31 AM, OpenID jimmorrow said…

    That's because the face is from the cover of Lord of the Flies!!!

    See what I mean?

     
  • At 4/08/2008 9:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    After reading Pat Merriman's comments about her self portait, it looks as though the "haunting" face may be somebody from her past that she wants leave there but she will never be free from.

    The self portraits are inspirational and thought provoking. I agree that #20 is creepy! I guess that's how the artist now feels about smoking: CREEPY!

     
  • At 4/08/2008 1:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Jimmorrow,

    You are correct! That is the cover of Lord of the Flies! I didn't recognize it as such. Your comment was not up yet when I posted mine. I am relieved for the artist!:o)

     

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4/07/2008

What we owe others

It is very easy to overestimate the importance
of our own achievements in comparison
with what we owe others.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945)

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4/06/2008

Risus Paschalis

"The very essence of sin is taking ourselves too seriously."
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

Risen Christ by the SeaRisus Paschalis means "the Easter Laugh" and refers to God playing a trick on Satan by letting him kill Jesus, thereby letting him think he had won, only to raise Jesus back to life on the third day. Since 1988, The Fellowship of Merry Christians has been working to bring back the laughter following Easter with what it calls Holy Humor Sunday on one of the two Sundays following Easter. There are churches that call it Bright Sunday and encourage wearing Hawaiian shirts and the like.

Our Episcopal neighbors down at St. Peter's, Fernandina are celebrating this today. The idea is new on me, though I like it. I've tried to do some research and I find quoted widely this exact phrase from the Merry Christian website,
The custom was rooted in the musings of early church theologians (like Augustine, Gregory of Nyssa, and John Chrysostom) that God played a practical joke on the devil by raising Jesus from the dead.
I did also find a reference in the Catholic Encyclopedia which notes the much more solid background for the tradition:
This strange custom originated in Bavaria in the fifteenth century. The priest inserted in his sermon funny stories which would cause his hearers to laugh, e.g. a description of how the devil tries to keep the doors of hell locked against the descending Christ. Then the speaker would draw the moral from the story. This Easter laughter, giving rise to grave abuses of the word of God, was prohibited by Clement X (1670-1676) and in the eighteenth century by Maximilian III and the bishops of Bavaria.
I also found this reference in an 1898 book Curiosities of Popular Customs and of Rites, Ceremonies, Observances, and Miscellaneous Antiquities by William Shepard Walsh
The Buddy Christ, from the movie DogmaIt was a time of exuberant joy. Gregory of Nyssa draws a vivid picture of the joyous crowds who by their dress, a feature still preserved and their devout attendance at church, sought to do honor to the festival. All labor ceased all trades were suspended. It was a favorite time for baptism, the law courts were closed, alms were given to the poor slaves were freed. Easter Sunday became known as Dominica gaudii "Sunday of Joy." In the reaction from the austerities of Lent, people gave themselves up to enjoyment popular sports dances and farcical entertainments. In some places the clergy to increase the mirth recited from the pulpit humorous stories and legends for the purpose of exciting the Risus Paschalis or "Easter smile."
It seems unlikely that the tradition can really claim the early Church Fathers as Augustine praised weeping and condemned laughing, as did John Chrysostom, and within the monastic tradition is the idea that "weeping alone unites with God, while laughter leads a person away from God." I find this overly austere as Jesus was known to be the life of the party (Matthew 11:19). Yet, I couldn't find proof of the pratice among the early church fathers or among the Orthodox Churches (as is otherwise widely noted but not attributed). If anyone knows a source for that, I'd appreciate learning about it. The earliest reference I found was in the 15 hymns that Peter Abelard (1079-1142) wrote for Good Friday and Holy Saturday which each ended with the stanza,
Grant us, Lord, so to suffer with you
that we may become shareres in your glory,
to spend these three days in grief
that you may allow us the laugh of Easter grace.
which is quoted in Farce and farcical Elements, from a series on Medieval Theatre. That same book goes on to tell at length appaling stories of medieval preaching in this tradition which is deplored in the writings of Oecolampadius and Erasmus who relate stories of Easter sermons salted with rude gestures and Erasmus writes in 1535 of hearing fables told in Easter sermons "so full of obscenities that a decent man could not tell them at a dinner party without shame." Amazing.

In any case, the worst of this tradition aside, it is easy to see why Christians should be the most joyful people around, especially in this Easter season. Recapturing the Easter Laugh (without the Easter obscenity) is a good idea. So enough scholarship on the tradition...here is something like humor:

Some Not So Holy Humor

  • After the birth of their child, an Episcopal priest, wearing his clerical collar, visited his wife in the hospital. He greeted her with a hug and a kiss. She commented on how the baby's nose looked just like his. They talked more and then he gave her another hug and kiss when he left. The wife's hospital roommate said, "Your priest sure is friendlier than mine!"
  • During a long sermon, a child was overheard asking his mother, "Mommy, are you sure this is the only way we can get into heaven."
  • You may have heard of the man who had been shipwrecked on a remote island in the Pacific, and was alone for 20 years. When a ship finally arrived, his rescuers were impressed with the three buildings he had built and asked him about them. "Well," the man replied, "this is my house, and that building over there is my church. It's a wonderful church and I hate to leave it." "And what's the third building yonder?" a rescuer asked. "Oh, that's the church I used to go to," the man replied.
  • Sign seen on a sanitary hot air hand dryers in the rest rooms of a church, "For a sample of this week's sermon, push the button."

"Among all of God's creatures,
human beings are the only animals who both laugh and weep
—for we are the only animals who are struck with the difference
between the way things are and the way things ought to be."
William Willimon (1946 - )

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  • At 4/06/2008 5:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The idea that the Resurrection was a mere practical joke on Satan...that's just wrong. I don't appreciate it.That's not something I see God doing. Being happy that Jesus was resurrected for us makes more sense.

     
  • At 4/07/2008 7:42 AM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    One can see readily how this could have devolved into bad theology, which led to its being banned. And yet, joy at the resurrection still makes sense.

     
  • At 4/07/2008 8:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    very true Father Frank!!

     
  • At 4/07/2008 8:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Why did we not have Kids In The Kingdom yesterday?

     
  • At 4/07/2008 11:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    We couldn't have Kids in the Kingdom without Fr. Frank could we?
    He'd miss all the fun!

     
  • At 4/07/2008 12:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Your correct the kids would miss the "Hopping Priest". (lol)

     
  • At 4/08/2008 7:33 AM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    As I had to go to Our Savior at Honey Creek Sunday, I could not lead Kids in the Kingdom, which we'll move to April 20. I am sorry for the change. The move though will make some sense as I was doing the Kids in the Kingdom on "The Passover" and the 20th is the day for our Passover Seder. So while the move was unintentional, it will make some sense on the day.

    peace,
    Frank+

     
  • At 4/10/2008 3:57 AM, Blogger JesusBranded said…

    No intentions of spamming up your blog, but would you consider looking ove rand possibly reviewing some shirts from http://www.JesusBranded? I noticed you posted up some clothes from givitup... would love it if we made a review too. Just ping us (we have an affiliate program too).

    Blessing!

    Wing
    JesusBranded

     

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4/05/2008

The paradox of faith


In tomorrow's Gospel reading, Jesus encounters two disciples heading out of Jerusalem on Easter evening. John Kavanaugh of Saint Louis University has written of this story saying,
Observe what is going on here. We have two people who seem to be in a situation of unbelief, hitting the road, leaving their community, deep in confusion.

Two things happen. One, they are joined by Jesus on the road. He actually walks with them in their loss of hope and in their bewilderment. Two, he asks them to tell their story, and he stays to have dinner with them.

Even when he chides them for their weak faith and goes through the scriptural promises of the messiah, they are not in a state of full belief. They have yet to recognize him. Only with the breaking of the bread are their eyes opened; and at that moment of recognition, he vanishes from sight.

Imagine this incident as a metaphor of how God deals with someone who has gone away or lost the way, an image of how we could deal with each other in our unbelief.

With the breaking of the bread, the two wayfarers are brought into communion, even though they have not fully acknowledged the mystery that beckons them.

The story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus presents a strange state of affairs indeed.

Jesus was more with them on their journey, even in their doubt and unbelief, than when they actually saw and recognized him and finally believed.

And it was only in retrospect that they could see that their hearts were enkindled as they were walking and talking on the road—even though they did not know that it was he who was explaining the scriptures to them.

I find this paradox of faith, of distance and closeness, of belief and unbelief, repeated over and over again in people’s lives. Although I cannot see when or if it happens to me, it is startlingly clear when I witness it in others.

A man tells me he feels distant from God. He is unhappy about the sense of separation.

He regrets his carelessness with the gifts that have been given him, the loves entrusted to him. He wishes he were more attentive, more “close” to God, more appreciative and prayerful.

Finally, and strangely, there are times when he wonders whether he trusts in God at all. In those times he feels at sea, at a loss.

A young, vibrant woman wonders if she has lost her faith. She doesn’t feel its magic anymore. She only wishes she could have back those moments when it all felt so wonderful. Now it just seems empty without God.

I ask her: “Well, do you believe in God the creator and father of Jesus Christ your savior?” “Oh yes.” “Do you believe that Jesus died for you and is risen with a promise for you of eternal life?” “Of course; but I don’t feel it. I miss having a relationship with God.”

Now look at these people and imagine you are God. One is sad only because he misses you, because he takes you for granted; and his worst times are when he thinks you might not exist. He finds the thought of your nonexistence almost unbearable.

The young woman says that life feels empty without you. She only wishes she could feel your presence more, that she could see and talk with you again. Her greatest worry is that she might have lost her faith in you.

Now, do you, God, think you have a relationship with them? Do you think they have a relationship with you? Do you think they love you? Do you think they hope and trust in you? Is not their whole life, their whole being, a prayer?

“We had hoped,” they said on the road to Emmaus. Once there was hope, they thought. But even their sense of loss, their longing for the hope, was hope. Even their desire to believe was believing. Even their longing to love was love.
The full text of his reflection is online here: The Testing of Faith

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4/04/2008

Contemplating Nature

Frank and Griffin on the edge of the Grand Canyon in 1999
We do not cease to march towards heaven by stopping before the lilies of the field. On the contrary, by allowing our souls to vibrate in unison with created things, we make our hearts more human, and reproduce the action of the Incarnate Word, who himself stopped before these created splendors to contempate there the traces of eternal love.
—Emile Mersch, The Theology of the Mystical Body of Christ

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  • At 4/04/2008 10:49 AM, Blogger Maggie said…

    What a beautiful thought to carry into the weekend. ...our souls vibrating in unison with creation... And that in meditating on creation we aren't static in our spiritual journey. Lovely, simply lovely.

     
  • At 4/04/2008 12:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I so wish my soul was vibrating in unison with the beach instead of cleaning the house!:) Here I am, once again, procrastinating and dreaming!!!

     

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4/03/2008

The sense of being unfinished


O God, our hearts are made for thee,
and they shall be restless until they rest in thee!
Augustine of Hippo (354-430)
We’re aware of something we need or lack most of the time.  We’re not complete.  We’re not fully human. 

This sense of being unfinished is pervasive and accounts for a great deal that’s distinctive in us humans.  We then attempt to complete ourselves by getting more education or more money, going to another place or buying different clothes, searching out new experiences. 

The Christian gospel tells us that in and under and around all of these incompletions is God: God is who we need; the God-hunger, the God-thirst is the most powerful drive in us. It’s far stronger than all the drives of sex, power, security, and fame put together.
—the Rev. Eugene Peterson (1932- )

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  • At 4/03/2008 8:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This hunger is very strong, pushing us to move on. To search on for this peaceful and powerful love from God.

    To have faith that we will get there is all we need.


    Rhonda

     
  • At 4/03/2008 9:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    AMEN!!!

     
  • At 4/03/2008 11:56 AM, Blogger Chris Jones said…

    It is amazing that we forget many times of the precious gift that Jesus has given us. The ability to share in the Divine life of the Trinity. I fall into the same trap of self improvement and chasing after self-agrandizement.

     

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4/02/2008

Too Many Candles

St. Nicholas Choir at Norwich Cathedral

“Clearly fire detection systems can’t cope
with the Resurrection of Jesus!”
—The Rev. Jan McFarlane

This news in from an Easter Vigil service in Norwich, England:
Norwich’s Anglican cathedral experienced slightly too warm a glow when the fire of Easter faith almost led to an emergency at the traditional Holy Saturday vigil in anticipation of the resurrection of Christ...the historic building had to be evacuated midway through its Easter service on 22 March 2008, as candles unexpectedly set off the cathedral fire alarms.

Norwich CathedralThe 400-strong congregation lit candles at the Saturday evening service to symbolise Jesus’s rising from the dead. But as the flames grew fire alarms sounded, reports the BBC. The Rev. Jan McFarlane, of the Diocese of Norwich, said that the congregation was ushered out and the fire service arrived somewhat bemused.

“The cathedral was not damaged and the service was later able to continue as normal,” said the Ekklesia story. Mr. McFarlane explained: “New Christians were baptized and confirmed by the Bishop of Norwich and the cathedral was filled with light from the candles and incense.”

He continued: “Sadly, it was all a bit too much for the fire detection system and half-way through the Eucharistic prayer we were interrupted by the fire alarm and an automated voice telling us to evacuate the cathedral. Clearly fire detection systems can’t cope with the Resurrection of Jesus!”
So the fact that we have had a good bit of candles and a fair bit of incense at King of Peace without setting off our fire alarms...is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Probably a good thing. We have proven that burning microwave popcorn can set off the fire alarm, so we know the system works fine. ;-)

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  • At 4/02/2008 8:08 AM, Anonymous Kenny said…

    Are you saying we don't have enough candles and incense if we don't set off the alarms? :)

     
  • At 4/02/2008 9:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sarena will never live it down. ;o)

    I understand that more candles would mean more people. I also know that I love belonging to a small congrigation also. I also welcome anyone who wants a relationship wiht the Lord. So join us at KOP and lets set off the alrms with the light of Christ.

     
  • At 4/02/2008 9:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Bring on the candles!!! Burn the popcorn!!! Let the alarms roar!!! But,I humbly plea to go light on the incense! :)

     
  • At 4/02/2008 10:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Anonysous :)

    I love the incense, but I know you can't breath for days after. We could leave the doors open?? ;o)

     

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4/01/2008

Strange and Shocking

Christian living appears as strange and shocking – You mean you really have to be kind to people, to be patient, to forgive people, to put their interests ahead of your own? You mean you really can live without being greedy and snatching at power and using other people as objects in your quest for pleasure or prestige? Most of the world has no idea you can live like that.
—Bishop N.T. Wright
from his recent sermon Dreaming of a White Easter

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