Friday, June 26, 2009

Morning Prayer -- Unsettled

The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.
-- M. Scott Peck

True vocation joins self and service; it comes from the place where your deepest gladness, your passion, meets the world's deepest need.
-- paraphrased from Fredrick Buechner

"Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
-- Howard Thurman

I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.
-- Frederick Douglass

The next day John was back at his post with two disciples, who were watching. He looked up, saw Jesus walking nearby, and said, "Here he is, God's Passover Lamb." The two disciples heard him and went after Jesus. Jesus looked over his shoulder and said to them, "What are you after?" They said, "Rabbi" (which means "Teacher"), "where are you staying?" He replied, "Come along and see for yourself."
-- John 1:35-39 (The Message)

Dearest and most Holy God,
There are days where I am not settled. Where my body and mind are restless and I do not rest comfortable. Ease my tension, my uneasiness. Strip away the parts of life that make me uncomfortable which are not healthy for me -- I can name a few -- jealousy, envy, being territorial, being prideful. Let me rest in You. Keep those things that make me uncomfortable that are healthy -- a sense of social justice, of being fair to the disadvantaged. Keep me focused on that outside myself and not dwell on the pettiness within myself. Help me be your servant here on earth. Let my hands be Your hands, let my feet be Your feet. In your name I pray, Amen.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Intersecting Interests: Church and Small Portable Spaces

From October 2008 National Geographic

"New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland, with a combined population smaller than Poland...have more automobiles in service than the whole world outside of the United States," wrote William Joseph Showalter in his October 1923 National Geographic article, "The Automobile Industry." Pictured in that issue was one of those New York cars in service—to a higher power. The Reverend Branford Clarke's Brooklyn-based "traveling chapel" was equipped with stained-glass windows, an organ for his wife to play, and a fold-down steeple to help the whole thing fit in his garage.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Comtemplating the Delay of the Parousia or Reflections on Cat Theology

I've been contemplating the Delay of the Parousia -- for those not in the "know", that's fancy seminary talk for "Waiting for the 2nd coming of Jesus." We recently had a guest speaker speak on this topic and his comments got me thinking about what I really believe about this and it's companion piece -- eschatology (fancy seminary speak for the "theology of the end times.")

To be frank I don't think about these topics very much -- to quote myself -- if you knew for a fact that Jesus was coming next Thursday at 2:03 pm, would you live your life any differently? If the answer is "yes" then you aren't living your life correctly to begin with.

However, I do get into those conversations about end times -- are you post-millennial, pre-millennial or millennial? Am I a Preterist or a Historist? What if ... ? And I try again to wrap my brain around the whole thing.

I was contemplating this Delay of the Parousia the other day when my Maine Coon kitten got in my lap, blocking my view of, well, everything as she tries to fit under my chin. Now that she's gotten bigger (9 pounds at 6 months -- this cat is going to be huge!) she doesn't quite fit anymore. It's hard to think deeply about theology when you have that much fluff in your face. I stopped and moved her to my lap and begain to brush her. She enjoyed it tremendously. Her purring causes all her whiskers to vibrate. Eventually she got down and said "Meow!" in that tone that tells me she wants food NOW.

I realized that cats live in the moment -- only human beings dwell on the past and worry about the future. That the task is to live NOW, not dread or anticipate what is to come. In Matthew 25, in the Parable of the 10 Virgins, Jesus tells us that we don't know the day or the time, but we need to be prepared. Live in the moment, doing what you need to do NOW. Feed the hungry, visit the sick and do it NOW. Not tomorrow, not next week. Do it NOW. And then don't worry about it anymore.

Cats know how to do this; we humans can take a cue from them. NOW.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


–verb (used with object)
1. to fill or litter with things in a disorderly manner: All kinds of papers cluttered the top of his desk.
–verb (used without object)
2. British Dialect. to run in disorder; move with bustle and confusion.
3. British Dialect. to make a clatter.
4. to speak so rapidly and inexactly that distortions of sound and phrasing result.
5. a disorderly heap or assemblage; litter: It's impossible to find anything in all this clutter.
6. a state or condition of confusion.
7. confused noise; clatter.
8. an echo or echoes on a radar screen that do not come from the target and can be caused by such factors as atmospheric conditions, objects other than the target, chaff, and jamming of the radar signal.
(Thank you Websters)

I thought I was a cluttered housekeeper until I found this website.
Oh. My. Goodness.
At least I know that I'm not a 9.5 on the clutter scale!! I'm not even a 3! (Well, in most areas... we have a problem bedroom upstairs, a problem garage and a problem basement. We are working on it...)

The full sized picture and story about the scale here.

Morning Prayer

You are great, O Lord and greatly to be praised.
Your power is Magnificent and Your wisdom infinite.
And that you would care for and glorify humankind,
Humans, who are just a particle of Your Creation,
Humans who bear about them the marks of their own mortality,
Humans who show and witness to their own sinfulness,
The witness that You resist the proud
Yet we humans would praise You,
Us small humans, a particle of Your creation.
You awakes us to delight in Your praise,
For You made us for Yourself
And our hearts are restless, until they rest in You.

Teach us, dear Lord, to number our days;
that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
Oh, satisfy us early with Thy mercy,
that we may rejoice and be glad all of our days.
And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us;
and establish Thou the work of our hands.
And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us;
and establish Thou the work of our hands, dear Lord.

Let nothing disturb thee,
nothing affright thee;
all things are passing,
God never changeth!
Patient endurance attaineth to all things;
who God possesseth
in nothing is wanting;
alone God sufficeth.

+ In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

(from the BCP, St. Augustine and I don't remember...)