29 August 2009

RIP Jerry

For many months we have been praying for Jerry who was battling cancer. Today Jerry was healed - but not as we had hoped. From Fred:
This is going to be difficult. Jerry has died. I spoke with him less than one month ago, and while not doing great he was "holding his own". His esophageal cancer had been whipped. But, cancer soon returned to his lung. He took chemo, radiation, extra drugs to build his white count and nothing seemed to eradicate the cancer. Slowly, it eroded his health.
Fred also included a wee window into who Jerry was
Jerry was a car builder. He built them from the ground up and did it successfully. Not once, but many, many times. Bugs, buses, 41 sedans, 63 ford trucks, 29 T-Ford trucks, a Buick and a Lincoln.

His pride and joy, a 41 Ford Coupe was set aside. For some silly reason, I thought that as long as that car was not finished, God would leave him alone. I guess God's patience lasts only so long. The Coupe will now never be finished.
Let us pray:
    O God, who by the glorious resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ destroyed death, and brought life and immortality to light: Grant that your servant Jerry, being raised with him, may know the strength of his presence, and rejoice in his eternal glory; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

    Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord,
    And light perpetual shine upon him.
    May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed
    though the mercies of God rest in peace.

Personal reflection on Mr. Kennedy's funeral

There are many things I would like to say about Ted Kennedy and his funeral mass (I thought the prayers of the people were perfect and truly a last statement from Ted).

After witnessing the unrehearsed and "I wish I were someplace else" attitude of the RC priests, it must be admitted that TEC knows how to do things right.

Ted's life of service to America needed to be recognized with dignity and splendor that was sorely missing this morning.

This is my favourite statement from the late, great, Senator from Massachusetts:

"Even our most profound losses are survivable."
Ted Kennedy

Perhaps President Obama summed it all up best:
Ted Kennedy has gone home now, guided by his faith and by the light of those he has loved and lost. At last he is with them once more, leaving those of us who grieve his passing with the memories he gave, the good he did, the dream he kept alive, and a single, enduring image — the image of a man on a boat; white mane tousled; smiling broadly as he sails into the wind, ready for what storms may come, carrying on toward some new and wondrous place just beyond the horizon. May God Bless Ted Kennedy, and may he rest in eternal peace.
Now look at the previous post and the cartoon.

26 August 2009

Curtain falls on Camelot

Each evening, from December to December,
Before you drift to sleep upon your cot,
Think back on all the tales that you remember
Of Camelot.
Ask ev'ry person if he's heard the story,
And tell it strong and clear if he has not,
That once there was a fleeting wisp of glory
Called Camelot.

Yes, Camelot, my boy!
Where once it never rained till after sundown,
By eight a.m. the morning fog had flown...
Don't let it be forgot
That once there was a spot
For one brief shining moment that was known
As Camelot.

25 August 2009

Farewell, Teddy - ya done good, lad; real good

Edward Moore Kennedy
22 February 1932 – 25 August 2009

Thank you Ted, you ran the race valiantly.

Thank you God for giving us Ted to know
on this our earthly pilgrimage.

Eternal Rest Grant Unto Him, O Lord,
And Light Perpetual Shine Upon Him.

An urgent prayer request

I'd like to ask your prayers for my friend "K". Her partners and my parents were friends and I went to school with all of K's siblings.

K's granddaughter died last week in an unusual circumstance - not of natural causes. The baby's parents are apparently implicated in the death.

Please pray for comfort and peace for K and that she finds a loving church family soon. She was raised Roman Catholic but has become estranged from that church.

Also, pray for the baby, who is known to God and is now in His presence.

And pray for the parents who need our prayers most of all.

Pray, folks.

23 August 2009

Trinity XI / Pentecost XII

Trinity XI / Pentecost XII
Deus in adjutorum
Proper 16

1 Kings 8: (1, 6, 10-11) 22-30, 41-43; Psalm 84;
Ephesians 6:10-20; John 6:56-69
    Introit: Incline unto my aid, O God: O Lord, make haste to help me: let my enemies be confounded and ashamed, who seek my soul. -- (Ps. 69. 4). Let them be turned backward and blush for shame, who desire evils to me.

    Collect: Grant, we beseech thee, merciful God, that thy Church, being gathered together in unity by thy Holy Spirit, may manifest thy power among all peoples, to the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirt, one God, world without end. Amen.
During Pentecost of Year B of the Lectionary, we have been studying the Gospel of Mark. However, for the past four Sundays we have digressed in order to delve into the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John. Today, on the fifth Sunday of trying to absorb the signs and words of Jesus, we conclude this remarkable study on the meaning of Bread, at once corporeal, spiritual, and metaphorical.

There are few words in the English language that are as heavy with meaning and metaphor as the word “bread.” A poor woman in Greece comes to mind. She had had a very hard life both during the war years and immediately afterward. At a time when there were no washing machines, she was trying to survive by washing other people’s clothes. This woman would not allow even a stale piece of bread to be casually discarded; she had such reverence for it that she would kiss it before letting go of it. Somewhere inside her, even though she could not understand the difficult ecclesiastical Greek of the Eucharist, she acted in a manner of a priest with consecrated bread. For her, bread meant both survival and holiness.

Today, reading this gospel passage makes the reverence of a humble, illiterate woman understandable even to those who have studied theology and have delved into the intricacies of language. We are walking on holy ground as we hear Jesus saying, “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me and I in them.” And later, “This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died."

The disciples murmur among themselves, “This is a hard saying, difficult to take.” Like so many of Jesus’ words, these were offensive to those who adhered to tradition in their religious practices and understanding. Jesus knows it: “Does this offend you?” he asks them.

Archbishop William Temple in his superb study, Readings in Saint John’s Gospel, makes it quite clear that eating the bread means receiving the power of self-giving and self-sacrifice, while drinking the blood means receiving the life that is triumphant over death. He says that both elements are essential for the full reality of the sacrament to be effected:
It is not the momentary eating but the permanent abiding that is of primary importance. … The sacrament is normally necessary; but it is the communion alone that is vital.
And this communion is found in abiding in the Son as the Son abides in the Father. What comes through in this magnificent sixth chapter of John is the sense of abiding, a word that denotes continuity and communion – a kind of security in the Spirit, an assurance that we will not be cast out into the void.

Those of Jesus’ followers who were attracted to him because of his popularity and his healing miracles find these sayings hard to take. So on that day, many left the community of Jesus. They were not alone: many who carry the name of Christ today are offended by the miracle of the Incarnation.

It is even in vogue today for people to claim to be “spiritual” without having any church affiliation or even any religious conviction. We hear it in all walks of life: “Oh, I am spiritual, but not religious.” Archbishop Temple calls this “a vague religiosity which has no definite and critical moments, no fixed religious practice, no cutting edge.”

Jesus was not confrontational when many of his followers, finding his sayings hard to take, left him. Jesus didn’t stop them; he let them go. Throughout his ministry, he let those who were offended go. Unlike many of us, he used no PR, no gimmicks, and, above all, no magic to hold on to his followers. He allows us our freedom in the same poignant manner he used with his closest friends – the Twelve.

One can imagine the sadness in his eyes, the wistfulness in his voice as he asks them: “Do you also wish to go away?” And Peter, being truly spiritual – inspired by the Holy Spirit – answers for all of the disciples, “Lord, to whom can we go?”

After seeing the Light, how can any of us go to the Dark? After tasting living water, how can we drink what is rancid? After knowing the goodness of Life, how can we willingly choose death? After knowing you, Lord, to whom can we possibly go? As Peter said to Jesus, “You have the words of life eternal.”

Peter, together with the other followers of Jesus who stayed to the end, would feed on these eternal words as we are asked to do, Sunday after Sunday, when we receive “the Bread of Life, the Cup of Salvation.”

Again and again in Saint John’s gospel, the crucial key to understanding is the miracle of the Incarnation. If indeed the Word became flesh, “if that occurred, nothing else is marvelous,” William Temple reminds us.

Once we accept the miracle of the Incarnation, all other miracles, all other signs, together with the words of life eternal, find their proper place in creation. If we accept that, the greatest of all marvels, nothing else is marvelous indeed. We abide in the marvel of the Word that became flesh, the Bread of life.

-- Katerina Whitley is the author of Light to the Darkness: Lessons and Carols, Public and Private. She teaches at Appalachian State University and may be reached at katewhitley@charter.net and at www.katerinawhitley.net.