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.

12/31/2009

The Significance of the New Year

Many of us greet each year by staying awake to watch the clock turn from midnight to 12:01 a.m. New Year’s Day is an odd holiday as it is about nothing more than noting the passage of time. The hour and the day of the turning of the year are a bit arbitrary. A little history trivia helps puts the turn of the New Year and new decade in perspective.

The hour at which one day changes to the next is not consistent around the world. For countries close to the equator, where sunrise is consistently at 6 a.m. year round, mark the new day as starting at sunrise, six hours into what we call the day. For Jews, the same holds true, but the day starts at 6 p.m., six hours before what we mark as the change of day at midnight.

The date of the New Year varies as well as the hour. When Julius Caesar introduced a new calendar, all time was dated from the start of his reign in 45 b.c. In that calendar, January 1 was the first day of the year. This held true for nearly six centuries. But then New Year’s was moved to March from January, and that date was used for a millennium. This change was the decision of the church council which met in Tours, France in 567 a.d. The Council of Tours selected March 25 for New Year’s Day as that date was a day nine months before Christmas and so the date to recall Jesus’ conception by the Holy Spirit. The council viewed a new era as dawning with Jesus’ life beginning in the womb of Mary of Nazareth.

For just over 1,000 years, March 25—known in church terms as the Annunciation, for the day the Angel Gabriel visited Mary—was New Year’s Day. Some countries, including England, held out until the mid-18th century to change New Year’s back to Julius Caeser’s date of January 1.

Our current calendar with the dating of years to Jesus’ birth was the creation of Dionysius Exiguus, a 6th century monk from present-day Romania. The name translates to Dennis the Insignificant. Dionysius created our current calendar, which we call the Julian Calendar as a part of his work in fixing the date of Easter on a 532-year cycle. Dionysius was not precise on which year he thought Jesus’ birth took place as no year was labeled Zero. Either 1 a.d. or 1 b.c. are possible. Earlier historians had deduced what is now 2 b.c. and modern scholars think that 3 b.c. is most likely for the actual year of Jesus’ birth.

Around the world, countries use the Julian calendar as a common form of dating time for airline flights and other issues of international concern. Despite using this common system of dating, there are other systems of dating in common use.

The Byzantine Empire’s calendar started September 1, as they calculated the creation occurred on September 1, 5509 b.c.

The civil calendar of India began with the the Saka Era—King Salivahana’s accession to the throne. In the Saka calendar, the year 2010 a.d. is 1933. The other popular calendar in Hindu culture is Vikram era which started with the coronation of King Vikramaditya. In the Vikram system, 2010 a.d. is 2068.

On the Chinese calendar, we are now in the year 4707. In the Jewish calendar, which like the Byzantine one, purported to date from creation and is now in the year 5770.

In the Islamic calendar, which dates from Muhammad’s move from Mecca to Medina, the current year is 1431.

Buddhists calculate dates on a calendar beginning with the traditional date of the Buddha’s death at the age of 80, making it currently 2552. Though remember, all of these calendars follow a different year and so during 2010, we will turn to the Buddhist year 2553, and so on for the other calendars referenced above.

The increasingly smaller world of commerce and international relations needs a system of calculating dates to give us a common point of reference. For Christians, what is significant about Dennis the Insignificant’s work is that he moved most of the world to calculating time based on God becoming human in Jesus, rather than on the beginning of the reign of Julius Caesar or some other worldly emperor.

From any perspective, it would have been unthinkable at the time of Jesus’ birth or crucifixion that anyone would even remember the Jewish rabbi Jesus 2000 years later, much less calculate their days based on the year of his birth. Even if the system is off 2-3 years, the original intent remains to set time by this event in what Christians consider salvation history.

Not surprisingly, this system has been revised slightly in recent years. In academic settings, the system now in use avoids the designation “a.d.,” which abbreviates “Anno Domini,” Latin for “In the Year of Our Lord.” Instead, the years of the Julian calendar are referred to as either “c.e.,” for “common era” or “b.c.e.,” for “before common era.” This avoids referring to a year as being the “Year of Our Lord” in preference to simply acknowledging that we hold this dating system in common.

The years of our calendar will not hold the same significance for everyone. Yet each date is a way in which Christians can intentionally mark time based on what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. While we know the original meaning behind the dates will remain insignificant to those who do not share our faith, Christians can and should appreciate that what God has done through Jesus transformed time itself.

The text above is my religion column for today's issue of the Tribune & Georgian.

Labels:

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/30/2009

The Existence of God

It is as impossible for man to demonstrate the existence of God as it would be for even Sherlock Holmes to demonstrate the existence of Arthur Conan Doyle.
—Frederick Buechner (1926- )

My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such a violent reaction against it?... Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if i did that, then my argument against God collapsed too--for the argument depended on saying the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my fancies. Thus, in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist - in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless - I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality - namely my idea of justice - was full of sense. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never have known it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.
—C.S. Lewis (1898-1963)

If God were small enough to be understood, He would not be big enough to be worshiped.
—Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941)

Labels:

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/29/2009

The Most Important Religion Story

Over at the On Faith forum for The Washington Post and Newsweek, the panelist are weighing in on the impact of religion on the year 2009. All the panelists responses are gathered here: What was the most important religion story of 2009?

Christian pastor Brian McLaren wrote in part,
It was hardly reported. It didn't seem like news. But again this year, all around the world, people of faith kept serving God's cause of love and justice among the poor, forgotten, alienated, and needy.

Governments bailed out big banks, but pastors, social workers, community organizers, and volunteers bailed out hurting families. Governments propped up corporations that were too big to fail, but local churches, mosques, synagogues, and other faith communities came to the aid of homeless women and single moms who were too small for most people to notice....The most important news story of 2009? Sin abounded in all its forms - personal and social, sexual and financial, racial and religious, private and public. But grace abounded all the more. That, thank God, is good news for everyone.
The full text of the pastor's comments is found here: McLaren.

Rabbi Brad Hirschfield wrote in part,
Americans are increasingly interested in the role faith plays in their lives, but not in how a specific doctrine or dogma directs them to vote or otherwise behave. So faith remains strong in this country even if religion as a set of rules is taking it on the chin. A new religious America is emerging. Or more accurately, we are witnessing the next stage in a process that has been unfolding for decades. That's the biggest story of '09.

More than ever, Americans reject rigid categories when it comes to faith, and an unprecedented number answer the question about the religion to which they belong with a single word, "none". Not only are the "nones" the fastest growing religious category in America, but they outrank every other group except for Catholics and Baptists.

But saying 'no' to our parents' religion, the one in which we may have been raised, or all religion as currently defined, does not necessarily mean saying 'no' to faith and/or to God. And woe to those who make that assumption, no matter how many statistics they use to prove their point....The American Religious Identity Survey actually confirms that. The results of the American Religious Identification Survey suggest that we live in a time of incredible spiritual ferment, one in which personal freedom and individual dignity is celebrated more than ever. As one whose own personal spiritual journey took beyond the forms and practices with which I was raised, I especially value this trend.

The renewed ferment of contemporary American faith is the story of the 2009, and it's a story filled with emergent promise even if nobody can be sure where it's heading. There's a great deal more to being a "none" than I think we can possibly appreciate just yet, but that's one of the stories to watch for in 2010.
The full text of the rabbi's comments are here: Hirschfield.

I know that religion is communal and not merely personal. Yet, I think that the most important impact of religion in any given year is at the personal level, with individual lives changed by the power of God.

What do you think? How did religion impact 2009? What was the most important story?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/28/2009

The Work of Christmas

When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.
—Howard Thurman

Labels:

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/27/2009

Enkindle in Our Hearts

Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/26/2009

Christmas Photos





Here are some more photos of Christmas Eve, which began with two baptisms as Zenobia and Cinque were welcomed into the Body of Christ. These were followed by candlelight services at 6 and 11 p.m. Our choir did a tremendous job singing, Carol played beautiful prelude music and she and Debbie did a wonderful job sharing duties at the piano, with Bill playing on Christmas Day.

The painting projected in worship and displayed in original as well, is by King of Peace's own Mona Elias, who shared her artwork with her congregation.







Labels: ,

1 Comments:

  • At 12/26/2009 5:28 PM, Blogger Clarence said…

    Saturday, December 26, 2009

    Saturday, December 26, 2009.

    Undoubtedly some will say, "well, I'm glad Christmas is over for another year." It's not over yet, nor can it be over till all the enemies of God are put under the feet of Jesus! The ongoing reign of this our King of Kings! Had it not been for this birth of Jesus, just as it happened, there would be only 12 soul in heaven, for all have sin. At our birth, either our names were written in the book of life, or not. Some whose name that were written have been crossed out because of their pursuit of the world, and not the following of the Son of God, Jesus by name. Free choice, the world or Jesus. And just as Jesus had long suffering to follow the path set out for him, so to live a Jesus kind of life, long suffering is our destiny. So then, is Christmas over? Not by a long Shot.

    Clarence

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/25/2009

Day of Hope

Christmas is the one day of the year
that carries real hope and promise for all mankind.

It carries the torch of brotherhood.

It is the one day in the year when most of us
grow big of heart and broad of mind.

It is the single day when most of us
are as kind and as thoughtful of others
as we know how to be;

When most of us are as gracious and generous
as we would like always to be;

When the joy of home is more important
than the profits of the office;

When peoples of all races speak cheerfully
to each other when they meet;

When high and low wish each other well;

And the one day when even enemies forgive and forget.
—Edgar Guest, The Gift of Christmas

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/24/2009

Christmas Eve





A few photos of Christmas Eve, posted between the services.





Labels: ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Christmas Worship Schedule


Tonight, kids can make Christingles from 5:30-6 p.m. using materials at the church. Then our services will be:

Christmas Eve
6 and 11 p.m.

Christmas Day
12 Noon

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Sharing Christmas Joy

Oswald Golter was an agricultural minister in China and when the Communists began taking over in 1938, he was put under house arrest. Finally he was freed in the mid 1940s following World War II; he was given a check by his mission board and sent to India from which he was supposed to leave to return to the States.

In the 1940s there were boatloads of Jews who had no place and no one would allow them to land. But, at one coastal town in India the boat was allowed to dock and the Jews were allowed to be in barn lofts and back buildings for a brief period of time before they were placed back on the boat.

Oswald Golter saw what was happening and went to them and said, "Merry Christmas." They said, "We're Jews." Golter said, "I know! Merry Christmas. What would you like for Christmas?" They again replied, "We're Jews." And again Golter said, "I know, but what would you like for Christmas?" To get rid of him the Jewish council said, "Oh, how we'd love some German pastry." Oswald cashed his check and went throughout that town in India and found a bakery and he bought racks and racks of German pastry and took it back giving it to those Jewish people who had no place.

Years later, a seminary student asked, "Mr. Golter, why would you do that? They're not even Christians!" To which Oswald Golter responded, "Yes, I know. But, I am."

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/23/2009

The Thank You Cure

Want to feel less discouraged, anxious or fearful? Here's a way to accomplish that in six weeks. A.J. Cronin, a doctor who served as a surgeon in the Royal Navy during World War I, went on to write many bestselling books. He told of a colleague who gave an unusual prescription to patients afflicted with anxiety, depression or fear. Called his thank-you cure, the prescription was this:
For six weeks I want you to say thank you whenever anyone does you a favor. And to show you mean it, emphasize the words with a smile.
Within six weeks most of the doctor's patients showed great improvement.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/22/2009

Advent Meditation

Labels:

1 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/21/2009

No Insignificant Gift

In 1379, Thomas a Kempis was born in Kempenin the Rhineland in what is now Germany. He entered the monastery of Mount Saint Agnes in 1406 and was ordained a priest three years later. For the remainder of his life he was in seclusion at the monastery. His remarkable achievement was a small book that has become one of the great Christian devotionals—The Imitation of Christ. In the chapter "On Gratitude for God's Grace," he writes:
Be thankful for the smallest blessing, and you will deserve to receive greater. Value the least gifts no less than the greatest, and simple graces as special favors. If you remember the dignity of the Giver, no gift will seem small or insignificant, for nothing can be valueless that is given by the most high God. Even if he awards punishment and pain, accept them gladly, for whatever he allows to befall us is always for our salvation. Let whoever desires to retain the grace of God be thankful for the grace given him, and be patient when it is withdrawn. Let him pray for its return, and let him be prudent and humble unless he lose it once more.

Labels:

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/20/2009

The Lamp of Love

Don’t think that love, to be true, has to be extraordinary. What is necessary is to continue to love. How does a lamp burn, if it is not by the continuous feeding of little drops of oil? When there is no oil, there is no light and the bridegroom will say: “I do not know you”.

Dear friends, what are our drops of oil in our lamps? They are the small things from every day life: the joy, the generosity, the little good things, the humility and the patience. A simple thought for someone else. Our way to be silent, to listen, to forgive, to speak and to act. That are the real drops of oil that make our lamps burn vividly our whole life.

Don’t look for Jesus far away, He is not there. He is in you, take care of your lamp and you will see Him.
–Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Labels: ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/19/2009

Willing Obedience

Peggy Parker's statue of Mary
In tomorrow's Gospel reading, Jesus' mother, Mary, visits her relative Elizabeth who is pregnant with the infant who will be John the Baptist. She sings the song we now know as The Magnificat, singing
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
I preached on this passage six years ago saying in part,
Mary’s extols a reversal of fortunes. In her hymn, God is being faithful to promises to those in ages past by bringing down the powerful and lifting up the lowly. The rich are sent away empty, while the hungry are filled with good things. As Jesus would later say, “The last shall be first and the first shall be last.” “The one who would be the greatest must be the servant of all.” The Magnificat proclaims just the sort of world turned upside down that Jesus will preach throughout his ministry.

Mary needed no further outward sign that these things would come to pass. The proof of it all was growing inside her. She knew better than anyone that the child she bore was God’s son. Mary could have no illusions about her position in life. If anyone was lowly, it was Mary—a poor girl, from a small town on the backside of nowhere. Mary had none of the outward appearance one would associate with God’s blessing. She was not rich or powerful and never would be. Mary was one of the lowly whom God was lifting up. Yet, Mary could sing of God’s promises being fulfilled in the past tense, because if God would even bother to notice her and consider her blessed among women, then the world was as good as turned upside down.

How did all of this happen? If the world is being turned upside down even as Mary is singing to her cousin Elizabeth, then how did God pull it off? Well, that’s a familiar story too. It might be in a new setting, but there is nothing new in how God was able to transform the world. Transformation came the way it had always come. The same way it worked for Abraham, Moses, David, and all the others from that family album we call the Old Testament. God took ordinary Mary and when she added her obedience to God something extraordinary happened.

That process had a familiar ring to it. God had already taken ordinary Abram and transformed him into Abraham, a father of many nations after he and Sarah were long past child-bearing years. God had already taken Moses, the runaway Prince of Egypt, on the lam for murder, and turned him into the great deliverer of Israel. God had already taken the last-born David, the ruddy boy left on the hillside to tend the sheep while his brothers went off to fight for Israel, and turned him into a King.

This transformation is the most familiar of stories from the Bible. God takes a plain old ordinary person. Not a perfect person. Not a person everyone saw as the best and the brightest. Just a regular person, sort of like you. Then God calls that person to a task and when they are obedient to God, extraordinary things happen.

The equation is simple:

Ordinary + Obedience = Extraordinary.

The amazing part of this equation is that God is even willing to bother with the ordinary stuff of life. Why would the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords bother with ordinary things like a stable and a manger or bread and wine? Why would the creator of all that is bother with ordinary me, and ordinary you? Probably because God made us. God loves us in spite of knowing just how ordinary we are.

So remember that God does not need your holiness, your perfection, your smashing good looks and great personality. God needs your obedience, your willingness to listen to that still small voice which is the Holy Spirit speaking to your spirit. God will probably not need you to be an Abraham, Moses, David or Mary. Those are few and far between. But God needs obedient folks all the time in all sorts of situations. When others are lost, grieving, hurting, you may be the best eyes God has to see the problem, the bust arms God has to hug them and the best ears God has to listen, really listen.

God is turning the world upside down all the time and God does not need leaders, but those willing to follow God’s will. God does not need rulers, but servants. God does not need you to be extraordinary. God just needs you to be willing and obedient.
The full text of the sermon is online here: Ordinary+Obedience=Extraordinary.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Ordinary Guy

Julie Lonneman's blockcut of The Magnificat

Labels:

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/18/2009

Nativity Pageant


Our fourth annual Nativity Pageant was another big success. The preschool cast did a great job with their lines and with the songs. Thanks to the staff who worked so hard to pull off another great pageant.

This year, the kids brought in baby gifts for the baby Jesus which will now help clothe and take care of a couple needy babies in Camden County.











Labels:

2 Comments:

  • At 12/19/2009 7:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    How wonderful, I remember doing a similar program when I was little and it was the most exciting part of Christmas.

     
  • At 12/20/2009 6:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Every year it gets better and better!! It takes a long time and hard work from each and every person. But boy,oh boy,what a show! For everyone to really get the real meaning of Christmas from the little ones is priceless!!!

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

Nativity Pageant Tonight 6 p.m.


The view outside my office door this morning as King of Peace Episcopal Day School's kids line up to go into rehearsal for tonight's Nativity Pageant. The show starts at 6 p.m., but coming early to get a seat is required as this is a standing room only show.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, President
King of Peace Episcopal Day School

Labels:

1 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Where Do You Store What Matters?

self storage auction

Looking for a reality check? Try dropping in on an auction at a self-storage facility. When someone can’t pay the rent on the storage, the contract calls for the items in storage to be sold at auction so the landlord can recover the cost of lost income from the unit. I am sure it is exciting for bidders to try their luck at salvage by buying the contents of a storage unit sight unseen. But when the locks are cut and the door slide opens, someone has lost their dream of hanging on to the stuff they stored.

The contents may be personal treasures like a family Bible, or a grandmother’s beloved set of china. The contents may also be a mildewing mattress and a pile of old books and clothes. Rarely are real treasures involved. But whatever it is, on the day the boxes went into the unit, these were items that someone wanted to hang on to badly enough to rent a storage unit.

Self storage auctionHelping people hang on to more stuff than they can fit in their houses is big business. The Self Storage Association estimates that Americans spend approximately $20 billion each year to store stuff. This number is up 81 percent since 2000 and is rising. Having more than once stored all I own, I am not knocking the industry. When Victoria and I spent two months on a honeymoon trip to Nepal, we left our things is storage. Later we stored all our belongings for six months while hiking the entire Appalachian Trail. And we even stored about half our belongings for my three years of seminary. So, I well understand and support the idea of self-storage.

Then I come back to the auctions. From the heartbreaking to the pathetic, each self storage unit lost to auction is a glimpse into a hope that could not be sustained.

In the 12th chapter of Luke’s Gospel Jesus says plainly that, “One’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” Jesus goes on to tell a parable about self storage. He describes a rich man who has had such a bumper crop that he no longer has enough barns to store all his land has produced. The man decides to build larger barns so that he can live for many years off the fat of the land.

The man in the parable is convinced that he finally has it made. He finally has enough stuff to sit back and relax. Jesus warns that Judgment Day could come that very night. Or as Jesus subtly puts it, “You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?”

When it comes to the end of life, stuff is just stuff. And in the meantime, any stuff you own will not, in and of itself, make you happier. The picture on the big flat screen TV may be nice and sharp, but that alone will not bring you any extra happiness. The Hummer may turn heads in traffic, but the driver isn’t a better person for owning that car.

“The one who dies with the most toys wins” makes a funny bumper sticker, yet we know that trying to die with the most toys is not the best strategy for a fulfilling life. Even still, the pursuit of more and better stuff has a lure that is hard to resist. If I only drove a nicer car. If I only owned a boat. If I only had an X-Box with Rock Band and all the pieces of equipment that goes with it. Stuff is great, but more and better possessions are not the key to a happy or good life. They end up possessing their owner if her or she does not guard against that possibility.

The rich man in Jesus’ parable who could not learn the lesson. He based his happiness on acquiring enough wealth to earn a chance to relax, eat drink and be merry. But what if you could already tap into that happiness? Wouldn’t it be better to find joy before you were sitting on a mountain of money? After all, some of us could come into a million or two. Shy of hitting the lottery, none of us is likely to land on a pile of gold.

Jesus offers a way out. Jesus offers a way to peace with your stuff that works whether you have a lot or a little. Jesus’ answer is to realize that your life is not made up of the abundance of possessions. Don’t even bother going down that road he warns us, it only leads to ruin.

Get the stuff you need. Take care of yourself and your family. But don’t bet your happiness or theirs on accumulating just the right stuff. Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

Right now, as at the end of your days, what matters more than stuff is making peace with yourself and working on relationships with family and friends. And yes, most importantly, making room for your relationship with God. These are investments of your time, energy and money that pay off. Work on these relationships rather than amassing possessions. These relationships with family, friends and God will pay off whether your life becomes a financial success or not. For life does not consist of the abundance of possessions.

What matters is these relationships with family, with friends and with God. These relationships in fact last into the life eternal. It is these relationships and the love that binds them which you can take to heaven. So start storing up love now. That’s what really matters. As for the stuff you are accumulating, let some of it go.

The text above is my religion column for today's Tribune & Georgian.

The Prodigal So returns

Labels:

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/17/2009

Cumberland Sound Concert


Camden County's community chorus, Cumberland Sound, put on an excellent concert tonight at King of Peace called "The Reason for the Season." King of Peace's Bec Christian, Martha Dickman and Al Virgin are part of the group. Tomorrow at 6 p.m. we will host King of Peace Episcopal Day School's Nativity Pageant.


0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

1 Corinthians 13 – a Christmas Version

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir’s cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child. Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband. Love is kind, though harried and tired. Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way. Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of love will endure.

~anonymous, from email

Labels:

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/16/2009

Advent Conspiracy

Labels:

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/15/2009

I Will Do More

I will do more than belong,
I will participate.

I will do more than care,
I will help.

I will do more than believe,
I will practice.

I will do more than be fair,
I will be kind.

I will do more than forgive,
I will love.

I will do more than earn,
I will enrich.

I will do more than teach,
I will serve.

I will do more than live,
I will grow.

I will do more than be friendly,
I will be a friend.
-anonymous, from The Anglican Digest

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/14/2009

Don't Save Us

The latest issue of Trinity News from Trinity Episcopal Church, Wall Street in New York quotes Sarah Eagle Heart who is The Episcopal Church's program officer for Native American/Indigenous Ministries who was writing about poverty and faith in rural South Dakota:
On Facebook today somebody was trying to send out shipments of clothing to the reservations.

Sarah Eagle heartI responded, "You know, thank you, but that's not going to help. Our people need education. We need tools to help ourselves. We don't want to be saved."

We want to be a part of the solution. We will never be able to come out of poverty if somebody thinks that they can save us.
How can we assist with the harder work of providing support needed for someone to raise his or herself up from poverty without being the savior? Eagle Heart is enrolled as a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, and was raised on the reservation. She writes out of the experience of growing up in what vies to be the poorest part of our nation.

I both understand and agree with Sarah Eagle Heart's point and I wonder aloud how best we can live into the ideal she suggests.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

1 Comments:

  • At 12/15/2009 1:27 PM, OpenID padremambo said…

    it's true - sometimes this extends to pilgrimages. What does it mean to spend $4,000 to go to a village in Africa to build huts, when that same amount could train someone to become a nurse?

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/13/2009

The Coming of the Light

…Christmas celebrates the dawn of the Light of the World. The powers of darkness are overcome by his coming to share our life. The long reign of sin is ended and grace has been poured out upon the earth. The Sun of Justice has arisen, and evil is vanquished.

Perhaps the hardest thing to remember about Christmas is this. "It celebrates the incarnation, not just the nativity. The incarnation is an on-going process of salvation, while the nativity is the once-for-all-historical event of Bethlehem. We do not really celebrate Christ’s ‘birthday,’ remembering something that happened long ago. We celebrate the stupendous fact of the incarnation, God entering our world so thoroughly that nothing has been the same since. And God continues to take flesh in our midst, in the men and women and children who form his body today. And the birth we celebrate is not just the past historical event but Christ’s continuing birth in his members, accomplished by the power of the Spirit through the waters of baptism.

…What we celebrate is our redemption in Christ and the transformation of all creation by the presence of the divine in our midst.
—from Sourcebook, 1996, Liturgy Training Publications

Labels:

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/12/2009

Transformation

In tomorrow's Gospel reading that wild and wooly saint of Advent, John the Baptist, is railing at those who come out to be baptized saying, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?"

The people are hungry to hear the holy man's counsel on how they are to live. Luke's Gospel tells us:
And the crowds asked him, "What then should we do?" In reply he said to them, "Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise." Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, "Teacher, what should we do?" He said to them, "Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you." Soldiers also asked him, "And we, what should we do?" He said to them, "Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages."
The Rev. Danáe Ashley writes of this text and how the specifics have changed for us in some ways,
Sometimes it seems that since the gospels were written in a different time and different place, they are not applicable to the world we live in today. What we often forget is that the same God that came among us back then is in our midst now, stirring up power, doing new things. The God of the gospels is the God of the twenty-first century, and He is still calling us to transformation.

If a doctor diagnosed someone with heart disease or diabetes and then gave that person instructions on how to keep it from getting worse, we’d hope that person would follow the doctor’s advice. After all, we trust doctors to prescribe the right diet and medication. But if we ignore our doctor’s advice and adopted the attitude of “this can’t happen to me,” then we are just asking for trouble.

So, too, with our spiritual lives. John the Baptist is helping us prepare a way in our hearts for the Lord to come.

This is an exciting time. We do not know how God will stir things up – but we do know that God’s work always comes to good. If we don’t clear a path, then how will we be able to respond with joy when the Lord is in our midst? How will we be able to hear the call for transformation in our lives and in the community around us if our shields are up?

We have the choice to allow God to come afresh into our lives, giving us new eyes, deeper wisdom, and profound compassion. We have the ability to repent anew and to affirm the covenant made in our baptism, proclaiming the good news to all people. This is no longer our parents’ choice, or our grandparents’ choice, or our ancestors’ choice – we cannot rest on their laurels. The choice is ours. May we choose wisely.
The full text of her sermon is online here: New Eyes, Deeper Wisdom.

Labels:

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/11/2009

Executing a New Method for the Death Penalty

Plain Dealer photo of the execution room
This week, an Ohio prisoner was put to death using a new form of lethal injection. Cleveland's The Plain Dealer reports on it here Kenneth Biros becomes first inmate executed using single-drug method. Rather than using the three-drug cocktail more commonly in use, the 51-year old convicted murderer was put to death with five grams of thiopental sodium, used in smaller doses by veterinarians to euthanize animals. It took about 30 minutes for a half dozen attempts to find a suitable vein.

The new drug worked and within nine minutes, Briros was dead. His final statement made just before he was put to death was:
I'm sorry from the bottom of my heart. And I want to thank my friends and family that helped me and supported me and believed in me," he said.

Now I'm being paroled to my father in Heaven and get to spend all of my holidays with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Peace be with you all. Amen.
While I appreciate Ohio's attempt to provide for a painless method of execution, I remain opposed to the death penalty no matter the method used. I was once a strong proponent of executions for a variety of reasons, including its serving as a deterrent to crime, giving closure to survivors, and reducing cost to the state to maintain a criminal for life without parole. I have come to oppose the death penalty for two main reasons: 1) Sometimes we are wrong, and 2) Vengeance belongs to God alone.

Opposition to the Death Penalty
The bare possibility that someone could be put to death wrongly is enough to give me pause altogether. I add the part about God and vengeance as I also feel that those who commit heinous crimes should be given what their victims were not granted, time to make peace with God. A life spent behind bars with the crimes on one's conscience would be tough on those with a conscience (admittedly not all). We can always hope for a conversion within prison, which would not alter the decision of the state in terms of the punishment, but could open the door to lasting peace not otherwise possible. With life without parole, the survivors can have a semblance of closure, crime is deterred to the degree it is by the death penalty and even the cost of maintaining a criminal in prison is less than the seemingly endless appeals for those on death row.

The Sopranos and Repentance
My favorite episode of The Sopranos is the episode "second opinion" in season three in which mafia boss Tony Soprano's wife, Carmella, sees a therapist who says she needs to separate herself from Tony's "blood money." The straight-talking therapist tells her that he needs to go to prison and spend some years reading Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment while he repents of his sins. I know this is an ideal and many convicted criminals would not spend the time in reflection and repentance, but would get in further trouble within the institution. But the state is not accountable for whether the inmate repents. The state is accountable for its role in executions. I feel that true justice waits on God and that earthly justice can be meted out without the death penalty.

The Test case
So let me take on the test case offered by those who favor the death penalty: What if we were considering what to do with someone whose heinous crime was against my wife and daughter instead of against a 22-year old woman living in Ohio as in this case? Wouldn't I want to do violence rather than counsel mercy? Of course I would. There remains enough redneck flowing through my veins (a proud distinction by the way) that I would want something much worse than a life behind bars. Of course, I would want vengeance. But the state should restrain this desire, not take part in it.

Full Disclosure
Full disclosure is also in order. My great grandfather was shot to death by his brother-in-law and my great grandmother testified at his murderer's trial for mercy, which the court granted. The family did not all agree and hired someone to kill the man who killed their relative. By the time the dust cleared, the sheriff was also dead and the state of South Carolina had put my great-great aunt and great-great uncle to death (in the electric chair pictured here) along with the man they hired. A great uncle was also sentenced to death and had that sentence commuted by the governor in a last minute appeal. That story is covered here: The Meeting Street Murders and also here: 1943: Sue Logue, George Logue and Clarence Bagwell and various other places on the Internet. I also have a step-brother-in-law and a parishioner both serving life without parole. So perhaps my views on the death penalty are influenced by these experiences as well as what I cite above.

What do you think?
I know this is a very controversial topic and many who share my faith will not share my strongly held views on the death penalty. But I prefer the state dispenses just sentences in prison and stops its role as executioner. What do you think?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

Labels:

1 Comments:

  • At 12/11/2009 8:54 AM, Anonymous kenny said…

    Too complicated a subject to really discuss in depth in this little box but the short version will have to suffice for now.

    I admit the desire for vengeance would exist. But, capital punishment isn't about vengeance to me, it's about justice and fulfilling a debt that the criminal owes to society.

    Is it a deterrent? It sure keeps that person from doing it again? Punishment fitting the crime seems to work as a deterrent at every other level of criminal activity. Why wouldn't it work here?

    Is it cost-effective? Maybe, maybe not. It's almost irrelevant. In a sense, it's like a declaration of war albeit on a very small scale.

    Is it humane? Is it humane to lock someone in a cage for the rest of their lives? That seems like a pretty harsh and inhumane punishment to me. Sure, make the actual execution as painless as possible. Enjoying torturing someone to death is just wrong no matter what your justification. Remember, though, this guy had claimed the previous drug cocktail was inhumane and then turned around and sued claiming the single drug cocktail was inhumane.

    There are at least two sides to the debt that's owed by a criminal. God will take care of eternal justice but has placed fallible humans in the role of temporal judges. I'm pretty darned proud of this country and the almost endless safeguards and constant reviews we do to "get it right" when it comes to this issue. I do see that we're human and almost inevitably will make mistakes but that doesn't mean that we should give up.

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/10/2009

The First Nativity Scene


Nativity scenes on the Logue family mantel.

Yesterday's post on the Nativity Scene in The White House got me thinking about Nativity scenes in general. We have several out at home now reflecting various cultures.

The first Nativity Scene was a live Nativity Francis of Assisi staged in Greccio, Italy in 1223. Francis was greatly influenced in his own life by direct experiences including that of taking on a beggars clothes and begging and later hugging a leper. Knowing the value of the senses, Francis received Pope Honarius III's blessing to use a cave near Greccio to stage a recreation of Jesus' birth. Living nativities spread rapidly and within a couple of generations were expected fixtures in virtually every church in Italy and were spreading further. In time, displays of the scene in statuary form also became common.

Today, the small chrèches on my mantel are a tame form of art compared with the more visceral experience Brother Francis had in mind. His display with lively animals and a live infant, all with their unpredictable nature and predictable smells was more sensory rich. Francis wanted us to live our way into the story so that our imaginations would be caught up in the amazing idea that the King of all Creation would enter into that creation not in power and might, but in vulnerability and love. Smelling the animals, while seeing a real, fragile child lying in a feed box accomplished something in the sense of those present that is missed in most Nativity Scenes, including the ones in my house and in The White House.

Francis is still on to something. If we could enter more fully into the messy reality of that first Nativity, we would stand in awe of the creator who came among us in weakness.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

1 Comments:

  • At 12/11/2009 10:20 AM, Anonymous Kay Guest said…

    Frank, did you read "Anglicans Online" this week? It is my hope that you will look at it. Just at the end, I felt as if the writer was belittling St. Francis, almost as if he were a joke, and not a real person. I wanted to respond, but my letter sounded more angry than I really wanted it to. Perhaps if you have the time this week...you could send a letter to them? Hope you don't mind me pointing this out to you and being so bold to ask this of you...

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/09/2009

The Nativity and The White House

I was pleased to see my friend/mentor/rabbi Jack Moline chiming in as one asked to respond to a question at the On Faith online forum run by The Washington Post and Newsweek. I was a student of Rabbi Moline's at Virginia Theological Seminary where he taught a course on Judaism and he has provided ongoing support to me as I have needed to provide pastoral support to Jews in Camden County.

Rabbi Moline was asked to write in response to a discussion on a Nativity Scene being displayed by the Obamas in the East Room of the White House. This is not in their private quarters, but in the public part of the building.

Rabbi Moline (pictured here) wrote It's about the Constitution saying
The members of the Obama family ought to be able to observe their own faith traditions as they choose in their private residence. In the public areas of the White House, however, every American ought to feel at home, not a guest. The display of a creche makes a religious statement and is as out of place as...well, as a chanukkiyah (menorah) that is kindled according to Jewish ritual requirements.

I am not a person who believes that my religious freedoms are endangered by the sight of a tree or a devotional tableau. This question is not about "what harm could it do"—the answer is, "not much." Instead, the question has to do with what is consistent with the principles of the Constitution, and a creche in the East Room of the White House isn't.
Rabbi Moline's response is clear and reasonable. However, I do not completely agree with him on the distinction between the public and private areas of the building, as the whole building does reflect the President and functions as a residence in terms of welcoming visiting dignitaries as well as closer family and friends. I therefore think naming a display in the public part of The White House a constitutional issue goes a bit too far.

White House CrècheWhen a Jewish president is elected, I would expect the official residence might reflect the seasons of the Jewish year and would expect a seder in the public area of The White House, not just in the private residence. And with the Obamas in The White House, a creche is not inappropriate. No violation of the constitution occurs when one religion is preferred over another in the President's official residence/office any more than when the first family decides which church to attend. The constitution is violated when one religion is preferred over another in the public sphere so as to make it the established religion of state. Our great nation has good cause to steer a wide berth around establishing any form of religion as the religion of state. I just don't think this crosses that line.

That said, I serve as a pastor in a Christian church and not as the rabbi of a Jewish synagogue. My own view may be skewed by being a part of the religion which enjoyes the majority of the public sphere. So, I do listen to my rabbi's words and wonder who has it right here. What we would think if we were Father Moline and Rabbi Logue? The rest of the On Faith responses are online here A Crèche in The White House?.

What do y'all think?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Rabbi Moline's secret agent in Georgia

PS: Another take on this with background information on how the creche (used in the East Wing since 1967) nearly got politically-corrected out of The White House see GetReligion.org's Obama Dodges a 'Christmas Wars' Bullet and for a full report on The White House's Christmas theme of Reflect, Rejoice, Renew, see Washington Spaces blog's White House Decorations Unveiled: Reflect, Rejoice, Renew.

Labels:

1 Comments:

  • At 12/10/2009 11:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    With so many people continuing to believe our President is a closet (or not so secret) Muslim....I am certainly in favor of his public observance of his personal Christian faith. As a Jew it doesn't bother me a bit. Happy Hanukkah to all!

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/08/2009

Lord, Purge Our Eyes to See


Lord, purge our eyes to see
Within the seed
a tree,
Within the glowing egg,
a bird,
Within the shroud,
a butterfly.
Till, taught by such we see,
Beyond all creatures,
Thee.
—Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

Labels: ,

2 Comments:

  • At 12/08/2009 5:53 AM, Anonymous Kelly said…

    I would click the "LIKE" button on this if blogs had them! :)

     
  • At 12/09/2009 12:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Didn't Christina Rossetti write the words to "In the Bleak Mid-Winter"? If your readers aren't familar with it, I suggest that they look it up, it's beautiful.

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/07/2009

Waiting



On Pearl Harbor Day, perhaps it is all the more important to recall that we are waiting for the Kingdom of God to come into its fullness. Waiting does not come easy to us. Watch the video above which meditates briefly on this.

Labels:

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/06/2009

Advent Examination

Advent is the perfect time to clear and prepare the Way. Advent is a winter training camp for those who desire peace. By reflection and prayer, by reading and meditation, we can make our hearts a place where a blessing of peace would desire to abide and where the birth of the Prince of Peace might take place.

Daily we can make an Advent examination. Are there any feelings of discrimination toward race, sex, or religion? Is there a lingering resentment, an unforgiven injury living in our hearts? Do we look down upon others of lesser social standing or educational achievement? Are we generous with the gifts that have been given to us, seeing ourselves as their stewards and not their owners? Are we reverent of others, their ideas and needs, and of creation? These and other questions become Advent lights by which we may search the deep, dark corners of our hearts.
—Edward Hays, A Pilgrim’s Almanac

Labels:

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/05/2009

Prepare the Way

In tomorrow's Gospel Reading we begin with a list of the people in power at the time John the Baptist came onto the public scene in Judea:
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness.
I preached on this nine years ago at King of Peace saying in part:
If you’ll look at the passage with me, I’ll show you what I mean. You could read it through in your mind like this:

In the fifteenth year of the reign of some guy, when, oh I know that one, Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, I think that’s how you say it, and some other guy was ruler of some place and his brother was ruler of the region of two hard to pronounce names, and another guy was ruler of Abilene, I thought that was in Texas, during the high priesthood of two guys with names I don’t know, the word of God came to John son of some Z name in the wilderness.

Another way to do it is to just see what the words are and not even really read them. That would go like this:

In the fifteenth year, yada yada, yada during the high priesthood, yada, yada, yada, the word of the Lord came to John, son of some guy in the wilderness.

I don’t want to poke fun at this way of reading through a hard list of names and places. It makes sense really. I ran across a similar suggestion in a book recently. My daughter, Griffin, and I were reading through the introduction to her copy of Jules Verne’s classic book 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea where Bruce Colville, himself an author, gives advice on how to read the book. Listen to this introduction to see how it might relate to reading the Bible:
Now, before you begin reading, I have to give you a warning. This is not a book for lazy readers, not a walk-through. In fact, odds are you’re going to have to work to get it.

That’s okay. In fact, I’m going to give you permission to do something that normally bugs the daylights out of me: You can skip some of the stuff. One of the quirks of Verne’s style in this book is that he occasionally stops to make long lists of the undersea creatures that Professor Arronax (the character narrating the story) sees through the windows of the Nautilus.

Trust me: You don’t need to read them all.

Here’s another tip: You might enjoy having a globe or atlas nearby while you are reading.

It’s not necessary to have one to enjoy the book, of course. But because this is a trip around the world, you might find it fun to trace the route the Nautilus follows.

“Good grief,” you may be muttering to yourself. “If the book is so much work, why bother?”

Let me offer three reasons.

Reason Number One—Most stuff that’s worth doing takes some extra effort….
Reason Number Two—It’s a great adventure story, one of the grandest every written….
Reason Number Three—Two words: Captain Nemo.
Okay, so that reason won’t work at all—unless, you change the two words to Jesus Christ. Because it is in the pages of the Bible that we can meet Jesus Christ. However, the rest of the advice is reasonable enough. If a list of names and places is threatening to slow your Bible reading down to a halt, it might be best just to scan over the list and keep reading. That does not mean that those passages have nothing to teach, but it could be that they need to wait for another time.

Well, this is another time and place. Is there anything to gain from a list of people and places like the one Luke gives us this morning? What does the fifteenth year of the reign of the Emperor Tiberius have to do with us? You see, the challenge I always feel in studying a passage of scripture with a sermon is to discover what it has to say to us, right now, this week. Does this passage have anything to say to us that could or should change the week ahead? I think it does. This list of names reveals something about God to us that can have a profound effect on how we live our lives.
As I was concluding the sermon, I said in part:
God’s love is not for the lovely alone. God’s love is for all. No matter how unlovable a person seems to us, they are not beyond God’s love. This is good news for people living on the streets, or to people dealing with the final stages of disease. But God’s love extending to everyone is good for all of us gathered here this morning. When we feel our most unloved, when we feel our most unlovable, we can know that God loves us anyway. That’s the way God has always been. And God continues to scatter the proud and to lift up the lowly. God continues to show up in unlikely places. You don’t have to worship in a great cathedral surrounded by stained glass for God to be present. You can find God as John did in the wilderness. Or you can encounter God in a church that meets in the living room of a house.
The full text of the sermon is online here: A Particular Time and Place.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

Labels: ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/04/2009

Discover Chanukah, the festival of lights

As the darkness lengthens toward the longest night of the year, Jews celebrate the festival of lights, which is Chanukah to give thanks for religious freedom. This year, the 8-night holiday of Chanukah is from November 30 to December 7 (the date varies each year, following a lunar calendar).

This minor Jewish holiday has taken on great significance as a Jewish alternative to Christmas. However, Chanukah is a unique religious holiday with its own food, music, games and traditions. Chanukah need not be compared to another religious holiday, but stands on its own merits for what it teaches about faith. For the story of Chanukah is a story of people of faith taking a stand for their religious freedom.

Early in the fourth century B.C.E., Alexander the Great conquered Israel and much of the ancient Middle East. Alexander’s armies brought not only Greek rule, but also Greek culture. On Alexander’s death, his empire fell under the control of lesser kings and kingdoms. By the second century B.C.E., Israel was under Syrian control.

The Syrian leader Antiochus Epiphanes set his sights on Egypt, with Israel the necessary stepping-stone on his path. To bolster his control of Israel and unite his country with a common culture, Antiochus began outlawing Jewish religious practices and enforced a change to Greek culture. As Antiochus program of social change first began, many Jews accommodated themselves to Greek culture with no complaint. Jews stopped circumcising their children, who began to go to a Greek-style gymnasium and learn of Greek gods along with other Greek culture.

By 165 B.C.E., Syria outlawed all Jewish practices. Many Jews, who had made room for some social change as a way to get along with those in political power, found there very way of life under a more serious attack than they had realized. Any outward observance of faith in the God of Israel was severely punished. Torture and murder of those who practiced their faith became commonplace. The Syrians put to death all who were found with scripture. The mothers of sons who were circumcised after the decree went out were put to death together with their sons.

Many Jews continued to practice their faith and were put to death praying the prayer (Known as the Shema for the Jewish word for “hear”) of Deuteronomy 6:4-5 “Hear O Israel, the Lord your God is one Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all you heart, soul and strength.”

Antiochus took his strongest stand against the faith of Israel by desecrating the Temple in Jerusalem sacrificing a pig on the altar and placing a statue of Zeus there. A group of Jews hid in the wilderness outside of Jerusalem to avoid the Syrian army as it made its way from village to village erecting altars and forcing Jews to sacrifice to Greek gods. The First Book of Maccabees tells of a group of 1,000 men, women and children caught in hiding who were put to death rather than sacrifice to Greek gods.

Mattathias the Hasmonean and his sons heard of the group who died in hiding and vowed to overtake the Syrians by force. Mattathias’ son Judah led the religious revolt. Judah was given the nickname Judah Maccabee, meaning Judah, “The Hammer” for his strength as a resistance fighter. Beating the Syrians in a series of skirmishes, they took back the city of Jerusalem itself with little resistance.

The first order of business was to rededicate the desecrated temple to the one true God. As Mattathias’ sons relit the eternal flame in the Temple, they found there was only enough purified oil for one day, yet it would take eight days to purify new oil for Temple use. Judah Maccabee and his brothers lit the lamp in faith that God would supply their needs. The lamp burned brightly for all eight days of the dedication on the one day’s supply of oil. This miracle was seen as a sign that God had blessed Judah and his brothers in their fight for religious freedom.

Today, Jews around the world remember this blow struck for freedom by lighting a menorah (also called a chanukiah), lighting one new candle each night for the eight nights of the Temple dedication. The Menorah is a nine branch candelabra with one branch higher than the others. This is for the shamash, or servant, candle, which is used to light the others. By the eighth night of Chanukah, all the candles burn brightly in remembrance of the light of God burning brightly in the world after the darkness of Antiochus’ rule.

For all people in the Judeo-Christian tradition, the story serves as a reminder that faith serves as a bright light to carry us through dark times. History has shown that God is faithful to those who seek to keep the light of faith burning.

The text above is my religion column for today's issue of the Tribune & Georgian.

Labels:

1 Comments:

  • At 12/06/2009 1:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Actually Hanukkah begins Friday, Dec 11 at sundown and continues till Dec 19th.

     

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/03/2009

No Jurisdiction

Today I attended the burial office for the Rev. Bill Pitner at Holy Nativity Church on Saint Simons Island. Bill was a wonderful priest who was a big help to me personally and I was thankful for the well-attended liturgy with a good sermon by the Rev. Dee Shaffer, who Bill mentored.

But I did want to share one comment which our bishop said in passing. There was no stand for his crozier (the shepherds crook he carries in liturgy) and one was improvised from a flag holder. I asked if it would suffice and Bishop Louutit said, "I only need to carry the crozier in and out. I won't pronounce a blessing as I don't have jurisdiction."

"No jurisdiction?" I asked, "Is Bill canonical resident somewhere else?" I was using the term for how one can maintain official, or canonical, residence in one diocese while living in another. I knew that Bill served his entire ministry in the Diocese of Georgia, so I didn't understand when the Bishop said Bill had been resident in our diocese but wasn't any longer. Bishop Louttit explained with a smile, how Bill is beyond his jurisdiction as Bill has passed to the life eternal and is with his Lord. No bishop has jurisdiction where Bill now rest from his labors. Bill needs no blessing pronounced by his one-time bishop as he is now being blessed by being in the presence of the Holy Trinity from whom all blessings flow.

I'm not sure why I found this quite wonderful, but I did and do and so wanted to share this with you gentle readers.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue
Canonically and Physically Resident in the Diocese of Georgia

1 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

The Gift of Wonder

Each year, God asks us to shed one more coat of awareness, one more dream state and come alive to the vision of God’s plan for each of us and the world-at-large.

The older we get, the harder this is to do. As children we had a sense of wonder. Our eyes were wide open and drinking in the fascinating gifts we beheld…Our thirsty souls could not have enough of the wonders of creation.

Then, somehow, we grew too old to dream. We tired of the abundance of the world, or at least grew weary of keeping up with the feast of life, and stepped away from the banquet of life.

The natural gift of wonder God gave us as children was meant to be kept alive.…Instead we let wonder go to sleep. We entered the typical dream state of most humans.

Why else does Jesus tell us today, ‘Stay awake!’…Advent says, ‘Wake up and realize the gifts of love you have received.’

…Psychology says, ‘Let go.’ Spirituality says, ‘Wake up.’ In both cases there is a withdrawal from the busyness of daily life (our dream state) and a waking up to the subconscious and spiritual depths of ourselves.
—The Rev. Alfred McBride

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/02/2009

Advent Virus

WARNING……WARNING: ADVENT VIRUS

Be on the alert for symptoms of inner Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. The hearts of a great many have already been exposed to this virus and it is possible that people everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose a serious threat to what has, up to now, been a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world.

Some signs and symptoms of The Advent Virus:

  • A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.
  • An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
  • A loss of interest in judging other people.
  • A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
  • A loss of interest in conflict.
  • A loss of the ability to worry. (This is a very serious symptom.)
  • Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
  • Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
  • Frequent attacks of smiling.
  • An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.
  • An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.

Please send this warning out to all your friends. This virus can and has affected many systems. Some systems have been completely cleaned out because of it.

Labels:

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

12/01/2009

Full of Grace

Episcopal Church and the Visual Arts has a new online exhibit up for Advent. You can read the Main page with a Curator's Statement and from there select a slideshow of the art, or select the art by artist's name. There are also small thumbnails on that main page which one can click to see the art.

The best way to experience this exhibit is to watch the slideshow in Flash, which takes you through each image. The link for that feature is here: Exhibit as slideshow.

My daughter, Griffin, and I curated an Advent show for ECVA in 2005. That exhibit remains online here: Venite Adoremus.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Curator

Labels:

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home