Saturday, June 24, 2017

To care and not to care


Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks
Our peace in your will.

These lines from T.S. Elliot's poem Ash Wednesday have helped me enormously since I first studied him in the seminary.  I don't want to be indifferent.  I pray that I will care mightily.  At the same time I don't want to be always upset about something beyond me.  So I pray to care and not to care and find peace in God's will.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summer Solstice


This morning's sunrise seemed designed especially to celebrate the summer solstice.  A friend told me a few weeks ago that the word comes from the Latin "sol" meaning "sun" and "sticere" meaning "to stand still."  The sun stops and seems to begin moving in a different direction. The earth stops tilting toward the north and begins tilting back towards the south.  I wonder how far back our human ancestors observed the regularity of this event.

Monday, June 19, 2017

More Than Many Sparrows


Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? 
And yet not one falls to the ground without your Father knowing....
No need to be afraid;
you are worth more than many sparrows." 
Matthew 10:29-31

Yeh! I know they're not sparrows, but where I live they are more plentiful than sparrows.  I'll sell you 70 for a dollar!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Clearly a Meal



Frequent Communion began to be encouraged during the 20th century.  Children could receive First Communion at 7 instead of 12 or 13.  Fasting from midnight was no longer required.  To help the Eucharist look more like a meal, the Second Vatican Council decreed that the altar be clearly a table, with the priest facing the people. The language was changed to English.  Active participation of the faithful was encouraged by praying together and singing together and most of all by taking Communion every time they came to Mass.
In the early 1970's the Feast of Corpus Christi (Body of Christ) was moved from a Thursday to the first Sunday after the Feast of the Holy Trinity.  The name was changed to The Body and Blood of Christ.  The three year cycle of readings focused on the Eucharist as meal.  In John 6:55-56 Jesus says, "My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.  Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in that person."

Thursday, June 15, 2017

No More a Meal




By the end of the first millenium ordinary Christians no longer understood the Eucharist as a meal.  Mass had become for them an opportunity to gaze on the Real Presence of Jesus in the consecrated host.  The Mass had become the special preserve of the priest, something he did for the people while they looked on.  It was in Latin and the priest prayed it with his back to the people. 
In the 13th century the elevation of the consecrated host was introduced into the Mass and a separate ceremony which came to be called benediction developed.  Christians had come so far from thinking of the Eucharist as a meal that the Fourth Lateran Council in that century made it a law that people had to receive Communion at least once a year.  That was also the century in which the Feast of Corpus Christi was established.
Change was a long time in coming.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Dancing Universe


I just finished a retreat with several priests.  We based the retreat on Richard Rohr's The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation
In the beginning was the Divine Relationship.  We might think of the Trinity as a Square Dance in whom we are all included.  Some early Greek Fathers called The Trinity Perichoresis, "Dancing Around."  This Relationship knows us and loves us and keeps all creation in Dance.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Divine Dance


God is a perfect communion of Three,
a divine circle dance of gracious, unearned Love. 
God is not just a dancer;
God is the dance itself. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Air, Breath, Spirit, Wind


The Hebrew word ruah and the Greek word pneuma can both be translated as any of the four words in the title (think pneumonia).  If there were no wind, these people could have the best equipment in the world but they would not be having fun.  Our vocal chords are silent until we send some breath over them.  All we have are dying embers until we blow them into flame.
In The Acts of the Apostles 2:1-13 it's as if the Spirit has been building and building for fifty days since the resurrection of Jesus until finally It blows through the room where the Apostles are gathered, filling them, fanning their dying embers into wild fire, blowing over their vocal chords and enabling them to speak in many different languages to the crowd that has been attracted by this Mighty Wind.