Thursday, October 31, 2013

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee





Joyful, Joyful, we adore Thee

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!

All Thy works with joy surround Thee, earth and heaven reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee, center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain, flowery meadow, flashing sea,
Singing bird and flowing fountain call us to rejoice in Thee.

Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blessed,
Wellspring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother, all who live in love are Thine;
Teach us how to love each other, lift us to the joy divine.




JOY! Reflecting on joy in our "Seven Day Spirituality Class" tonight!



We will be singing this song tonight:

Joy That Knows No End 

 1. Joy is like the rain that steals in on a sunny day. 
 Then creation sings a song of gladness and delight. 
 Joy that knows no end; sun and rain again! 
 I want to be there when it starts to rain. 

 2. Buttercups and daisies weave a rhythm all their own. 
 Fish and water spiders dance and frolic to and fro’. 
 What’s the reason for so much splendor? 
 I want to be there when it starts to rain. 

 3. When you find a lack in life and you are in dismay, 
 Look around and you will find the reason for the rain. 
 Life is wonderful! You can live it too! 
 Come and see it when it starts to rain--- 
 Joy that knows no end. 
 Sun and rain again. 
 I want to be there when it starts to rain. 


 © 1971 The Benedictine Foundation of the State of Vermont, Inc. 



Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sermon on the Pharisee and the Tax Collector - The Rev. Peter M. Carey - St. Paul's Memorial Church, Charlottesville, VA

The Rev. Peter M. Carey
Sermon – 27 October 2013 – The Pharisee and the Tax Collector
St. Paul’s Memorial Church, Charlottesville, VA
"Let the beauty you love be what you do.  There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground." ~ Rumi
There are indeed hundreds, if not thousands or millions of ways to pray.  Lately, I have found myself not only praying more, but also talking about prayer more with people I have met with over the last several weeks.  Prayer can take many many different forms, perhaps as many forms as there are people.
Of course, Jesus gives us many models to emulate when we pray.  One of his most prevalent "ways" of prayer seems to be that he would "go off to a deserted place" or would go up to a mountain, or go off by himself to spend time with God.  Do we know exactly how Jesus prayed, we have some glimpses from the Bible, but we don't exactly know, of course.
In addition to seeing how Jesus prayed, we also hear him tell stories about how to pray.  His prevalent use of parables can be a tremendous guide when we encounter questions in our lives, even questions about how to pray.  On the other hand, parables can trip us up because they are stories, after all, and, like jokes or comic strips, if you don't "get it"you just "don't get it."  Have you ever had to describe the joke in a comic strip to someone who doesn't "get it"...this can be a painful and frustrating thing to do...the humor and irony get lost.  Sometimes, this is how I feel talking about Jesus' parables...but here I go...
This week, in our gospel from Luke, we turn to the often discussed parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector who are both praying in the Temple.  Once again, Jesus is critical of the self-oriented, arrogant, proud Pharisee who seems to be most concerned with his appearance, his "public spirituality," and his comparisons with others, in this case, with the Tax Collector.
And then there is the Tax Collector, who for those hearing the story would immediately make them think of the crooked way that Tax Collectors stole from the people in order to line their own pockets, and also support the Roman oppression of Israel.  Tax Collectors were held in pretty low esteem, and were certainly "sinners" as they stole from the poor and gave to the rich, and got rich in the process.  So, once again in Luke's gospel, we see Jesus making a great reversal, embracing paradox, and certainly shocking his hearers with this story.  

Jesus is shocking his hearers with this strange and crazy story!  You see, the "religious type," the "ethical one," the "model student," the "community award winner," the one who is fulfilling all the demands of his church and temple is the one who has slipped into complacency, hubris, pride, and in so doing, his prayers are null, void, and a house of cards.  You see, we each have a part of us that is the Pharisee!  We are the Pharisees very often.  We want to know what we need to do to accomplish our goals.  How many hours do I need to play the scales in order to make first chair in the orchestra?  How many sales do I need to make before I can make it onto the plaque on the wall?  How many salads do I need to eat before I might lose those 10 lbs?  We work hard, we think that if we do x we will get y, and we often spend a lot of time looking around at what others are doing.
However, God wants us to be in relationship, not to check off the "religious boxes" on some "to do list" or "seven habits of highly spiritual people."  God wants us to have an open heart, to practice forgiveness, to open ourselves up to God, and to our neighbors.  God wants us to place ourselves in a position where we might be humble before our Lord and Maker.  God wants us to look deeply within ourselves and admit that we mess up, we ruin things, we screw up royally.  You see, God already knows what we're up to; God already knows us down to our bones.  God even knew that the Tax Collector was a terrible crook, the reverse of Robin Hood - that he was one who stole from the poor and gave to the rich.  God knew the Tax Collector.  God knows us.  And loves us anyway.
God knows us.  And loves us anyway.
Like the tax collector, we can place ourselves in prayer before the Lord of the Universe who also loves us and cares for us as a "Mother hen loves her young."  There is no need to pump ourselves up.  There is no need to check off the spiritual boxes.  There is no need to compare ourselves to those around us.  There is only a need for us to open our hearts, and realize that God even loves those parts of ourselves, those things we "have done and left undone" which cause us great pain and regret.  God knows us, and loves us anyway.
This is Good News, indeed!

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector




This week, in our gospel from Luke, we turn to the often-discussed parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector who are both praying in the Temple.  Once again, Jesus is critical of the self-oriented, arrogant, proud Pharisee who seems to be most concerned with his appearance, his "public spirituality," and his comparisons with others, in this case, with the Tax Collector.  

And then there is the Tax Collector, who for those hearing the story would immediately make them think of the crooked way that Tax Collectors stole from the people in order to line their own pockets, and also support the Roman oppression of Israel.  Tax Collectors were held in pretty low esteem, and were certainly "sinners" as they stole from the poor and gave to the rich, and got rich in the process.  So, once again in Luke's gospel, we see Jesus making a great reversal, embracing paradox, and certainly shocking his hearers with this story.  

...


God wants us to have an open heart, to practice forgiveness, to open ourselves up to God, and to our neighbors.  God wants us to place ourselves in a position where we might be humble before our Lord and Maker.  God wants us to look deeply within ourselves and admit that we mess up, we ruin things, we screw up royally.  You see, God already knows what we're up to; God already knows us down to our bones.  God even knew that the Tax Collector was a terrible crook, the reverse of Robin Hood - that he was one who stole from the poor and gave to the rich.  God knew the Tax Collector.  God knows us.  And loves us anyway.


God knows us.  And loves us anyway.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pumpkin Carving and Chili Eating at St. Paul's Memorial Church



Join us at St. Paul's Memorial Church, Charlottesville for pumpkin carving and chili eating this Sunday after our 10am service.  If you can bring a pumpkin or some chili or help set up/clean up; sign up with the "signup genius" link below!  It should be a fun time!

http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C094DAFAD2FA46-pumpkin

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Glad to host the Charlottesville Track Club at St. Paul's Memorial


As a runner (and Episcopal Priest) who has run exactly one marathon, I was so glad to listen to part of the wonderful presentation by Mark Lorenzoni of the Charlottesville Track Club about preparing for a marathon.

For me, training for, and running in a marathon back in 2010 was both physically and spiritually demanding, and also so rewarding.  I wish all those who are preparing for their Fall marathon the best of luck and lots of prayers and good wishes!

~The Rev. Peter M. Carey

Monday, October 21, 2013

Today's readings for "Revised Coffee Lectionary" at CVille Coffee at 10:30am

Today's readings for "Revised Coffee Lectionary" at CVille Coffee at 10:30am

Joel 2:23-32
Psalm 65 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
Luke 18:9-14

The Collect
Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain what you promise, make us love what you command; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Joel 2:23-32

O children of Zion, be glad
and rejoice in the LORD your God;
for he has given the early rain for your vindication,
he has poured down for you abundant rain,
the early and the later rain, as before.
The threshing floors shall be full of grain,
the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.
I will repay you for the years
that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
my great army, which I sent against you.
You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
and praise the name of the LORD your God,
who has dealt wondrously with you.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.
You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
and that I, the LORD, am your God and there is no other.
And my people shall never again
be put to shame.
Then afterward
I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions.
Even on the male and female slaves,
in those days, I will pour out my spirit.
I will show portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes. Then everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls.

Psalm 65, Page 672, BCP

Te decet hymnus



1
You are to be praised, O God, in Zion; *
to you shall vows be performed in Jerusalem.
2
To you that hear prayer shall all flesh come, *
because of their transgressions.
3
Our sins are stronger than we are, *
but you will blot them out.
4
Happy are they whom you choose
and draw to your courts to dwell there! *
they will be satisfied by the beauty of your house,
by the holiness of your temple.
5
Awesome things will you show us in your righteousness,
O God of our salvation, *
O Hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the seas that are far away.
6
You make fast the mountains by your power; *
they are girded about with might.
7
You still the roaring of the seas, *
the roaring of their waves,
and the clamor of the peoples.
8
Those who dwell at the ends of the earth will tremble at your marvelous signs; *
you make the dawn and the dusk to sing for joy.
9
You visit the earth and water it abundantly;
you make it very plenteous; *
the river of God is full of water.
10
You prepare the grain, *
for so you provide for the earth.
11
You drench the furrows and smooth out the ridges; *
with heavy rain you soften the ground and bless its increase.
12
You crown the year with your goodness, *
and your paths overflow with plenty.
13
May the fields of the wilderness be rich for grazing, *
and the hills be clothed with joy.
14
May the meadows cover themselves with flocks,
and the valleys cloak themselves with grain; *
let them shout for joy and sing.


2 Timothy 4:6-8,16-18

I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

At my first defense no one came to my support, but all deserted me. May it not be counted against them! But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion's mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and save me for his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Luke 18:9-14

Jesus told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, `God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.' But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, `God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted."

Prayer

To clasp hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Gratitude is the most human sentiment - Elie Wiesel




“It is right, and a good and joyful thing always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.” Familiar words from the Eucharistic Prayer, the Great Thanksgiving.  It is, indeed, always good to give thanks; it is good to give thanks always.  And we who are blessed in so many ways have much to be thankful for.
I heard Elie Wiesel speak once in a synagogue near Chicago.  I remember him saying that gratitude is the most human sentiment.  He didn’t elaborate, but his words stuck with me.  Gratitude is the most human sentiment.  I think what he meant was that when we are in a state of gratitude, we are most fully alive in our humanity.  That such fullness of life and humanity is possible for us is yet more cause for thanksgiving.  We might pause to give thanks for the gift of gratitude itself, that we are capable of a sentiment so right and good and true.  Give thanks that we have the capacity to be thankful! 
Now, all things right, good and true have their origins in the heart of God.  If gratitude is the fullness of our humanity, and if we are made in the image and likeness of God, gratitude itself must have its origins in the heart of God. Just as our love has its source in the being of God, so must our gratitude. Our feeble thanksgiving must be but a pale reflection of something infinitely richer and more powerful in the being of God.
From a Sermon by Br. Mark Brown of the St. John the Evangelist Society

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God



“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” 

― Marianne WilliamsonReturn to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles"

Don't be a chump!


Professional cyclist, and Albemarle County resident, Ben King posted the following list of bullet points that he learned at an AIA (Athletes In Action) presentation by Todd Henricksen on the Biblical call to manhood!

Sounds great!

I need to look into Todd's work.

~Peter+

Todd Henriksen of AIA is leading a group of professional cyclists in a series on the Biblical call to manhood. 

Bullet points:

Create and cultivate
Reject passivity
Accept responsibility
Lead courageously
Invest eternally
Strong convictions and moral choices
Servant's spirit
Love what is right
Take initiative
Fight with purpose
Protection
Provision
Perseverance
Relational and emotional connectedness and awareness
Loyalty
Accountability 
Encouragement
Challenge
Fun
Calls other guys into action
Righteous and courageous energy
Balance

Don't be a chump.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Abundance of Psalm 65



I'm in the midst of looking towards my sermon on October 27th and spent a lot of time reading and praying over Psalm 65.  Though it is not one of the most quoted or more "popular" psalms, I recommend reading it!  The psalm is just saturated with joy, abundance, blessing, and happiness!

Bless,

Peter+

Psalm 65

Te decet hymnus



1
You are to be praised, O God, in Zion; *
to you shall vows be performed in Jerusalem.
2
To you that hear prayer shall all flesh come, *
because of their transgressions.
3
Our sins are stronger than we are, *
but you will blot them out.
4
Happy are they whom you choose
and draw to your courts to dwell there! *
they will be satisfied by the beauty of your house,
by the holiness of your temple.
5
Awesome things will you show us in your righteousness,
O God of our salvation, *
O Hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the seas that are far away.
6
You make fast the mountains by your power; *
they are girded about with might.
7
You still the roaring of the seas, *
the roaring of their waves,
and the clamor of the peoples.
8
Those who dwell at the ends of the earth will tremble at your marvelous signs; *
you make the dawn and the dusk to sing for joy.
9
You visit the earth and water it abundantly;
you make it very plenteous; *
the river of God is full of water.
10
You prepare the grain, *
for so you provide for the earth.
11
You drench the furrows and smooth out the ridges; *
with heavy rain you soften the ground and bless its increase.
12
You crown the year with your goodness, *
and your paths overflow with plenty.
13
May the fields of the wilderness be rich for grazing, *
and the hills be clothed with joy.
14
May the meadows cover themselves with flocks,
and the valleys cloak themselves with grain; *
let them shout for joy and sing.

Seven Day Spirituality Course ~ Class #5 Questions



We continue with our "Seven Day Spirituality Course" this Wednesday Night at 7pm after our Community Night at Church.  We turn to Susan Pitchford's wonderful book on St. Francis, "Following Francis," and are looking at Chapters 16, 1, and 2.  Here are the discussion questions for our class, if you want to consider them before class.

I am looking forward to it!

Bless,

Peter+

~








Class 5

October 16, 2013       Francis -  Pitchford pp. 175-179; 1-15 (Ch. 16, 1, 2)
                                                A Brief Biography of St. Francis
                                                Why Follow Francis?
                                                Holy Eucharist: The Passion of our God

1. Where in your life do you see love mingled with suffering?  What does it mean to “love someone till it hurts”?  Is there anyone you love that way, and if so, where does the “hurt” come from?

2. What is your understanding of what occurs during the Holy Eucharist?  It what sense is Christ “present” there?  How does he “communicate” himself to us through the sacrament and give us life?

3. Are there times when you’re especially eager or especially reluctant to receive the Holy Communion?  What factors affect your feelings about it?

4. How often do you receive?  Does your church tend to celebrate it more or less often?  Do you feel a desire to receive more often, or are you concerned that frequent participation might make it less “special”?


5. Do you have any special way of preparing to receive Christ in the Eucharist?  If not, how might you make yourself ready for this special meeting?