Sunday, April 13, 2014

On Palm Sunday, Jesus rides into the Perfect Storm by N.T. Wright

On Palm Sunday, Jesus rides into the Perfect Storm
by N.T. Wright in ABC Religion and Ethics



The crowd went wild as they got nearer. This was the moment they'd been waiting for. All the old songs came flooding back, and they were singing, chanting, cheering and laughing. At last, their dreams were going to come true. But in the middle of it all, their leader wasn't singing. He was in tears. Yes, their dreams were indeed coming true. But not in the way they had imagined.
He was not the king they expected. Not like the monarchs of old, who sat on their jewelled and ivory thrones, dispensing their justice and wisdom. Nor was he the great warrior-king some had wanted. He didn't raise an army and ride to battle at its head. He was riding on a donkey. And he was weeping - weeping for the dream that had to die, weeping for the sword that would pierce his supporters to the soul. Weeping for the kingdom that wasn't coming as well as the kingdom that was. What was it all about? What did Jesus think he was doing?
On Palm Sunday, Jesus was riding into the perfect storm. Recall the story of the famous "perfect storm." It was late October 1991. A New England fishing boat by the name ofAndrea Gail had sailed five hundred miles out into the Atlantic. But the weather was changing rapidly. A cold front moving along the American-Canadian border sent a strong disturbance through New England, while at the same time a large high-pressure system was building over the Maritime provinces of south-eastern Canada. This intensified the incoming low-pressure system, producing what locals called "The Halloween Nor'easter."
These circumstances alone could have created a strong storm, but then, like throwing petrol on a fire, a hurricane coming in from the Atlantic brought incalculable tropical energy to the mix. The forces of nature converged on the helpless Andrea Gail from the west, the north and the south-east. Ferocious winds and huge waves reduced the boat to matchwood. Only light debris was ever found.
The first two elements of Jesus's perfect storm are comparatively easy to describe; the third less so, but all-important if we are to understand both the original meaning of Palm Sunday and the meanings that it might have for us as we draw nearer to the cross in this holiest of weeks.
read it all HERE


Thursday, March 06, 2014

“Conversations on Prayer Class” - St. Paul's Memorial - Wednesday Nights in Lent






“Conversations on Prayer Class” – Wednesday Night class in Lent

Join our Senior Associate Rector, The Rev. Peter M. Carey for a three-session class on prayer during the final three weeks of our Lenten journey on Wednesday nights from 7:00-8:00pm.  March 26th, April 2nd, and April 9th. 

v In session one (March 26th) , we will begin by discussing “What is prayer” and “What do we need to unlearn/learn about prayer?” and move to discussing Lectio Divina and Ignatian Prayer. 
v In session two (April 2nd) , we will examine Christian meditative/contemplative traditions of praying with Icons and Centering Prayer. 
v In session three (April 9th), we will continue with the Christian meditative/contemplative traditions by examining the Jesus Prayer, Journaling, and various Body Prayer practices.

All are welcome to join in this class in which we will have “Conversations on Prayer” and should prove to be a wonderful way to deepen our prayer in this season of Lent.  If you have questions, please contact Peter in the church office or at peter.carey@stpaulsmemorial.org.


Wednesday, March 05, 2014

T.S. Eliot reads his poem, Ash Wednesday



T.S. Eliot reads his poem, Ash Wednesday




Ash Wednesday, by T.S. Eliot 

Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?


Because I do not hope to know again
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is nothing again


Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessed face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice


And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us


Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.


Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.


II


Lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper-tree
In the cool of the day, having fed to satiety
On my legs my heart my liver and that which had been contained
In the hollow round of my skull. And God said
Shall these bones live? shall these
Bones live? And that which had been contained
In the bones (which were already dry) said chirping:
Because of the goodness of this Lady
And because of her loveliness, and because
She honours the Virgin in meditation,
We shine with brightness. And I who am here dissembled
Proffer my deeds to oblivion, and my love
To the posterity of the desert and the fruit of the gourd.
It is this which recovers
My guts the strings of my eyes and the indigestible portions
Which the leopards reject. The Lady is withdrawn
In a white gown, to contemplation, in a white gown.
Let the whiteness of bones atone to forgetfulness.
There is no life in them. As I am forgotten
And would be forgotten, so I would forget
Thus devoted, concentrated in purpose. And God said
Prophesy to the wind, to the wind only for only
The wind will listen. And the bones sang chirping
With the burden of the grasshopper, saying


Lady of silences
Calm and distressed
Torn and most whole
Rose of memory
Rose of forgetfulness
Exhausted and life-giving
Worried reposeful
The single Rose
Is now the Garden
Where all loves end
Terminate torment
Of love unsatisfied
The greater torment
Of love satisfied
End of the endless
Journey to no end
Conclusion of all that
Is inconclusible
Speech without word and
Word of no speech
Grace to the Mother
For the Garden
Where all love ends.


Under a juniper-tree the bones sang, scattered and shining
We are glad to be scattered, we did little good to each other,
Under a tree in the cool of the day, with the blessing of sand,
Forgetting themselves and each other, united
In the quiet of the desert. This is the land which ye
Shall divide by lot. And neither division nor unity
Matters. This is the land. We have our inheritance.


III


At the first turning of the second stair
I turned and saw below
The same shape twisted on the banister
Under the vapour in the fetid air
Struggling with the devil of the stairs who wears
The deceitul face of hope and of despair.


At the second turning of the second stair
I left them twisting, turning below;
There were no more faces and the stair was dark,
Damp, jagged, like an old man's mouth drivelling, beyond repair,
Or the toothed gullet of an aged shark.


At the first turning of the third stair
Was a slotted window bellied like the figs's fruit
And beyond the hawthorn blossom and a pasture scene
The broadbacked figure drest in blue and green
Enchanted the maytime with an antique flute.
Blown hair is sweet, brown hair over the mouth blown,
Lilac and brown hair;
Distraction, music of the flute, stops and steps of the mind over the third stair,
Fading, fading; strength beyond hope and despair
Climbing the third stair.


Lord, I am not worthy
Lord, I am not worthy
but speak the word only.

IV


Who walked between the violet and the violet
Who walked between
The various ranks of varied green
Going in white and blue, in Mary's colour,
Talking of trivial things
In ignorance and knowledge of eternal dolour
Who moved among the others as they walked,
Who then made strong the fountains and made fresh the springs


Made cool the dry rock and made firm the sand
In blue of larkspur, blue of Mary's colour,
Sovegna vos


Here are the years that walk between, bearing
Away the fiddles and the flutes, restoring
One who moves in the time between sleep and waking, wearing


White light folded, sheathing about her, folded.
The new years walk, restoring
Through a bright cloud of tears, the years, restoring
With a new verse the ancient rhyme. Redeem
The time. Redeem
The unread vision in the higher dream
While jewelled unicorns draw by the gilded hearse.


The silent sister veiled in white and blue
Between the yews, behind the garden god,
Whose flute is breathless, bent her head and signed but spoke no word


But the fountain sprang up and the bird sang down
Redeem the time, redeem the dream
The token of the word unheard, unspoken

Till the wind shake a thousand whispers from the yew
And after this our exile

V


If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent
If the unheard, unspoken
Word is unspoken, unheard;
Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard,
The Word without a word, the Word within
The world and for the world;
And the light shone in darkness and
Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled
About the centre of the silent Word.

O my people, what have I done unto thee.

Where shall the word be found, where will the word
Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence
Not on the sea or on the islands, not
On the mainland, in the desert or the rain land,
For those who walk in darkness
Both in the day time and in the night time
The right time and the right place are not here
No place of grace for those who avoid the face
No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and deny the voice


Will the veiled sister pray for
Those who walk in darkness, who chose thee and oppose thee,
Those who are torn on the horn between season and season, time and time, between
Hour and hour, word and word, power and power, those who wait
In darkness? Will the veiled sister pray
For children at the gate
Who will not go away and cannot pray:
Pray for those who chose and oppose

O my people, what have I done unto thee.

Will the veiled sister between the slender
Yew trees pray for those who offend her
And are terrified and cannot surrender
And affirm before the world and deny between the rocks
In the last desert before the last blue rocks
The desert in the garden the garden in the desert
Of drouth, spitting from the mouth the withered apple-seed.

O my people.

VI


Although I do not hope to turn again
Although I do not hope
Although I do not hope to turn


Wavering between the profit and the loss
In this brief transit where the dreams cross
The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying
(Bless me father) though I do not wish to wish these things
From the wide window towards the granite shore
The white sails still fly seaward, seaward flying
Unbroken wings


And the lost heart stiffens and rejoices
In the lost lilac and the lost sea voices
And the weak spirit quickens to rebel
For the bent golden-rod and the lost sea smell
Quickens to recover
The cry of quail and the whirling plover
And the blind eye creates
The empty forms between the ivory gates
And smell renews the salt savour of the sandy earth This is the time of tension between dying and birth The place of solitude where three dreams cross Between blue rocks But when the voices shaken from the yew-tree drift away Let the other yew be shaken and reply.


Blessed sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden,
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
Sister, mother
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated

And let my cry come unto Thee.

Ash Wednesday - "ashes on the go" on the Corner at UVA


Rowan Williams reflects on Lent


Ash Wednesday



Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Be joyful



Be joyful in the Lord, all you lands;
serve the Lord with gladness
and come before his presence with a song.
Know this: The Lord himself is God;
he himself has made us, and we are his;
we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and call upon his Name.
For the Lord is good;
his mercy is everlasting;
and his faithfulness endures from age to age.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

The Dalai Lama and the Mosquito



When I was in college, I attended a wonderful Symposium at Middlebury College on "Spirit and Nature" and one of the keynote speakers was the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso.  There to film a documentary for PBS was Bill Moyers which is a great video, and you can watch the whole thing here - http://billmoyers.com/content/spirit-nature/.

A gem of the video is this brief interaction between the Dalai Lama and Bill Moyers, talking about our relationship with nature - even down to the pesky mosquito who bites us.  Here is exhibited not only the Dalai Lama's compassion, but also his quick sense of humor and deep humanity!

Check it out!

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

A good day with David Steindl-Rast

Watch this!

"let your gratefulness overflow into blessing!"

Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday, January 24, 2014

Don't stop the music...Secret to Pete Carroll's Seattle Seahawks?

For the first time in quite some time, I am really rooting for both teams in the Super Bowl.  I realize this is crazy, and silly, but there are some real reasons that I like and dislike each team.  I'm a big fan of Peyton Manning, but I am kinda pissed at the Broncos for the way they treated Tebow.  I really like the energy and spirit of the Seahawks, their head coach, their quarterback, their kicker (who played DIII Soccer, and Football!), their 12th man...but, they seem pretty arrogant - or is it that they are just having fun! 

I loved this article, posted on NFL.com about the role of music for the Seahawks...pretty cool!

May it be a great fun game!




Secret to Pete Carroll's Seattle Seahawks? Don't stop the music


RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks opened their locker room to the media Thursday afternoon, three days before the flight across the country for a week's worth of Super Bowl XLVIII hype, and, as with Sundays at CenturyLink Field, it was all about the noise.
While reporters probed various members of the newly crowned NFC champions for their thoughts, Pro Bowlrunning back Marshawn Lynch stood at his luxuriant locker playing deejay, blasting an eclectic ensemble of hip-hop tunes through his iPhone-programmed portable sound system.
It was Beast Mode meets Beats Mode -- an everyday occurrence at the team's training facility, where coachPete Carroll and his players have put a 21st-century spin on the notion of Seattle Sound.
Whether it's reggae in the draft room, classic rock on the practice field or Lynch's Oakland-heavy rap playlist in the locker room, there's an omnipresent groove at theSeahawks' training facility, one of the many reasons so many players have come to regard their workplace as refreshing, progressive and enjoyable.
"Look at this," defensive lineman Michael Bennett said Thursday, gesturing toward Lynch as he reclined in a plush leather chair in the middle of the locker room. "It's the Google of football."
That's one reason this Pacific Northwest outpost has become a prime destination for free agents searching for an upbeat environment, a movement the Seahawks' success is only likely to amplify. And the credit should go to the region's most influential power trio since Nirvana: Carroll, general manager John Schneider and owner Paul Allen, all of whom are committed to cultivating an atmosphere conducive to smiling employees.
"We work hard, but we like being here," All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas explained. "We have the best facility. The cooks are great. Across the board, they've placed great people in great positions. And the music is always playing ..."
In a city that has given the world an inordinate share of musical excellence -- claiming Jimi Hendrix, Heart (whose lead singer, Ann Wilson, provided a blistering rendition of the "Star-Spangled Banner" before the NFC Championship Game), Sir Mix-a-Lot, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Foo Fighters and Macklemore (last Sunday's halftime performer), among others -- the local football team most definitely rocks.
"It's a very relaxing work environment," said All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman, who knows a thing or two about volume. "People are most comfortable being themselves. And if you allow people to be in the most comfortable state, they're going to be the most successful."
It might be somewhat of a stretch to equate the constant rhythm at the VMAC (Virginia Mason Athletic Center) with the noise the Seahawks have made on the field since Allen lured Carroll from USC four years ago, with the team's then-CEO, Tod Leiweke, plucking Schneider from the Green Bay Packers' front office shortly thereafter. Yet there is a method to the loudness, something upon which Carroll expounded during our sit-down interview Thursday, for a feature scheduled to air on NFL Network's "GameDay Morning" on Super Sunday.
"Music's always been a big part of my world," Carroll told me. "And I've just found over the years that our game and the environment that we perform in has a beat to it. And there is a pulse and a rhythm to it, and it's always encompassed in noise and sound and all of that. And it's all part of something that is part of what we feel.
"And so I found out, you know, years ago back at SC that if I included the music as much as possible wherever it fit, we might be able to benefit from it. And I found some information, some reports that support that people learn better, you know, when they're upbeat and they're uplifted. But mainly it's just about (the fact that) I like it. I like the feel of it. And I like the way the players respond to it.
"I mean, it's not for everybody. I don't expect everybody to understand that. But it's something that's very special and it's a big part of us."
Carroll, naturally, plays a part in choosing the soundtrack that accompanies the Seahawks' daily routine. There is a deejay on hand for practices -- including those open to the public in training camp, adding some entertainment value to the monotony of 7-on-7 drills and the like -- and he also sets up shop on the sidelines on Sundays at CenturyLink Field, where the pregame mix is routinely popping. And while Carroll doesn't decide the entire playlist, the coach does have input. "If I'm not feelin' it," Carroll said, "I'm gonna let him know."
You would think a 62-year-old coach supervising musical selections for a team of mostly 20-somethings (the Seahawks are the second-youngest team in Super Bowl history) would have the potential to create some serious blowback. Carroll, however, isn't your typical sexagenarian.
"For a 62-year-old, he has good taste," Lynch said. "He listens to all types of music. Sometimes I'll be like, 'What the (expletive) is that that he's playing?' But the majority of what he plays, everybody knows and likes. Even the oldies -- he'll play some James Brown out there, and even the youngest guys on the team will be dancing and singing along."
From his days growing up in Marin County, where he checked out a few shows by the Grateful Dead as they forged their golden road from hippie house band to legendary American rock ensemble, to his decade-long stint presiding over the Trojans' renaissance in Los Angeles, where his celebrity helped him forge a friendship with iconic Long Beach rapper Snoop Dogg, Carroll has stayed in the mix when it comes to musical trends.
His players notice, too. In August, when Snoop Dogg showed up for a Seahawks preseason game against the Oakland Raiders at CenturyLink -- rocking a white Lynch jersey, to boot -- nobody on the 'Hawks was saying there Ain't No Fun in Seattle.
"You have to be a part of it to see how it's run, and how cool it is," said outside linebacker Cliff Avril, who signed with the Seahawks as a free agent last March. "You can't really see it from the outside. We embrace it. Pete himself is an up-tempo, hyped-up guy. If your coach is like that, it kind of trickles down, and you can't help but have fun."
Added backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who returned to Seattle after spending the 2012 season with the Buffalo Bills: "Look around -- you see it. There aren't too many locker rooms like this. The type of music we play here, it's like home. Music in the locker room, music on the field, even music at meetings. Music's a big part of what we do here."
 read the rest HERE at nfl.com 

Kid President does it again!


Kid President's Letter To A Person On Their First Day Here

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Stopping by woods on a snowy evening



Stopping by woods on a snowy evening
Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.
Robert Frost, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” from The Poetry of Robert Frost, edited by Edward Connery Lathem

Monday, January 20, 2014

MLK Jr's "I have a dream" speech



Yesterday, at our Joyful Noise service at St. Paul's Memorial Church, I encouraged all our youth at church, as well as their parents to watch or listen to this speech today!  I am taking my own advice.  Give yourself 16 minutes to be inspired!

~The Rev. Peter M. Carey

There are no limits





"If you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it'll spread over into the rest of your life. It'll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level." —Bruce Lee





(Hat-tip to my old friend Mike Berthiaume who posted this awesome quote on Facebook!)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Senior Associate Rector’s Annual Report 2014 ~ St. Paul's Memorial Church, Charlottesville



Senior Associate Rector’s Annual Report 2014

The year of 2013 has been a rich year at St. Paul’s Memorial as I continue to learn about the many gifts and blessings of this fine church community.  I am thankful to God for the blessings of serving among you and feel that the Holy Spirit is at work in our ministry together.  I have enjoyed the wide variety of tasks, roles, and projects on which I have been able to engage my energy as your Senior Associate Rector.  I look forward to further exploration of how God will lead us into the future, and how we will discern how best to be followers of Jesus here in this place in coming days, months, and years.

In the beginning of the year of 2013, I had the wonderful fortune to be accompanied by our Rector Emeritus, the Rev. David Poist as we ushered in the season of Epiphany through the traditional Yule Log Hunt and the burning of our Christmas trees.  David was wonderful as always, and commissioned me as a fellow “Honorary Druid Priest” so that I could continue this fun and gorgeous tradition here at St. Paul’s.  Luckily, just a few weeks ago, in 2014, the rain held back a bit and a stalwart group of folks continued this tradition.  The Yule Log Hunt is an example of the wonderful ways that this community gathers for fellowship, worship (of sorts, in this case), and fun.

Our Family and Youth ministries continue to develop and grow at St. Paul’s Memorial.  In the Fall, we welcomed Maggie Thornton as our Youth Group Coordinator, and she is doing a great job to continue the good work laid down by our former Associate Rector, Nicholas Forti, who left in May to attend graduate school.

In addition, we have had some wonderful events for families such as our Backpack Blessing in the late Summer, the Pumpkin Carving in the Fall, a visit to UVA’s Klockner Field to watch the UVa women’s soccer team and our annual Advent Wreathmaking event and our yearly visit from St. Nicholas.  In addition, our Joyful Noise worship during the first part of the 10am Holy Eucharist continues to develop and grow under the leadership of our Associate Rector Heather Warren, as well as dedicated lay leaders.

A year ago, we embarked on a newly energized Godly Play curriculum in our two Sunday School, and I have worked to shepherd this process throughout the last year.  In the Summer, the teachers of the older group of students, 4th and 5th graders, decided that we would use a lectionary-based curriculum for that group of “tweens” and we are finding that this curriculum has been a good fit in the Fall.  We call this class “Faith Adventurers” and we are working to enhance and develop the class.  Currently, the teachers of the 4th ad 5th grade class are Claire Busseret, Tom Nachbar, and Steve Bolton.  They are doing tremendous work and I thank them for their dedication and service.

The Godly Play curriculum is also taught by an extremely dedicated group of teachers who prepare diligently, and create a holy space each Sunday morning at 9am for our younger students.  The teachers of Godly Play are Arlene Lee, Chris Lee, Michelle Claiborne, Lara Hall, Frank Rambo, E.D. Rambo, and Ed Tourangeau.  We also had Leslie Middleton helping in the Spring of 2013.  We have plans to bring in a trainer to help build our knowledge-base of Godly Play.  A few of the teachers who are interested in becoming “certified teachers” and hope to attend a longer training at some point this coming year.

In the Spring, we conducted a survey of parents to gain some information about our Sunday School programs, our Joyful Noise worship, and our other offerings for young children and families.  The results of this survey gave the teachers and me some helpful information about how we might move forward and strive to grow the program further.  Overall, we are pleased with the way that our Sunday School programs are developing, and it is an area that we are devoted to developing as we move forward.

In the Winter and Spring of 2013 I taught Wednesday evening courses on the Desert Fathers and Mothers and I worked to prepare confirmands for our Bishop Susan Goff’s visit in May.   In the Fall, I taught an evening class on “Seven Day Sprituality” which was a source of great joy for me as I learned more and more about our wonderful parishioners as we explored the ways that God is impacting our everyday lives.  In addition, my Coffeehouse Bible Study continued at CVille Coffee on Mondays.

With the beginning of the New Year, I have begun a class for those seeking Confirmation later this Spring and we’ve had a wonderful first two sessions already. 

Many good things are happening at St. Paul’s, and I believe that the Spirit is at work in our midst.  We are blessed with many fine leaders, a dedicated staff, and great colleagues in the many areas of our parish life.  Thank you for all you do to make St. Paul’s a visible and living witness to the blessings that God has bestowed on us!

Blessings,

The Rev. Peter M. Carey+

Senior Associate Rector