“Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction, O Jerusalem, and put on forever the beauty of the glory from God.”
It is less than a month since the terrorist attack in Paris and not even a week since the senseless murder of innocent people in San Bernardino. Take off the garment of our sorrow and affliction? These first words from Baruch ask too much of us. We mourn. Many of us are still in shock and challenged by thoughts of fear and a desire for vengeance. How can we put on forever the beauty of the glory from God when our hearts are breaking and anxiety is residing like an unwelcome guest in our minds? What, if anything, can this season of Advent, offer to us? (more…)
As you know, this coming week we will observe our annual national celebration of Thanksgiving, which also happens to be one of two secular holidays that are on the Episcopal Church’s calendar of sacred feast days.
The other secular holiday on our church feast days is the Fourth of July, when not only was our nation founded, so was our church.
You may think you know the origins of Thanksgiving Day as an annual national holiday – but you might be wrong. (more…)
As you know, our world is reeling from horrific violence as Islamic extremists set off bombs and massacred scores of people in Paris this weekend. Bombs and carnage are a daily fact of life in Iraq, Syria, Libya and elsewhere.
We must acknowledge that these are acts perpetrated in the name of God.
It is tempting, as one of my oldest friends did yesterday, to blame all religion for propagating extremist ideologies that lead only to hate and evil. (more…)
I grew up in an upper middle class to wealthy community in New York back in the 1950’s and even though we did not officially have an entrenched caste system like India, it was pretty clear who was considered part of the in crowd and who was an “outcaste.” There were very few African American families in town and as I recall almost all of us were either working class or somewhere between there and lower middle class. The civil rights movement was just beginning to take hold in other parts of the country however given the times it was still wiser in my community to keep your head down and accept the social role you were assigned when in the company of the folks who knew they were “all that and a bag of chips.”
I’ve been listening quite a bit lately to the modern French composer Olivier Messiaen. Messiaen was a devout Christian, a Roman Catholic, and was for over 50 years the organist at the Holy Trinity Church in Paris. Now, I warn you, if you run out and buy some of Messiaen’s music, you’re likely to find it jarring and off-putting at first. (more…)
I’d like you to remember that question. I’ll try to keep asking, to remind you and me. What if?
For the past several weeks, we’ve been hearing snippets from the biblical book we call the Letter of James. If you’re like me, you’ve listened during the reading, and maybe followed along on your service sheet insert, and then promptly forgotten what you had heard. (more…)