Saturday, March 28, 2020

Lenten Psalm of Awakening

Come, O Life-giving Creator,
and rattle the door latch
of my slumbering heart.
Awaken me as you breathe upon
a winter-wrapped earth,
gently calling to life virgin Spring.
Awaken in these fortified days
of Lenten prayer and discipline
my youthful dream of holiness.
Call me forth from the prison camp
of my numerous past defeats
and my narrow patters of being
to make my ordinary life extra-ordinarily alive,
through the passion of my love.
Show to me during these Lenten days
how to take the daily things of life
and by submerging them in the sacred,
to infuse them with a great love
for you, O God, and for others.
Guide me to perform simple acts of love and prayer,
the real works of reform and renewal
of this overture to the spring of the Spirit.
O Father of Jesus, Mother of Christ,
help me not to waste
these precious Lenten days
of my soul’s spiritual springtime.
–Edward Hays, from Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim

Friday, March 27, 2020

Generous isn’t always the same as free, Seth Godin

Generous isn’t always the same as free, Seth Godin

People have been generous with you through the years. A doctor who took the time to understand your pain. A server who didn’t hesitate and brought you what you needed before you even knew you needed it. A boss who gave you a project at just the right time.

Gifts create connection and possibility, but not all gifts have monetary value. In fact, some of the most important gifts involve time, effort and care instead.

Money was invented long after humans arrived on the scene, and commerce can’t solve all problems.
In this moment when we’re so disconnected and afraid, the answer might not be a freebie. That might simply push us further apart. The answer might be showing up to do the difficult work of connection, of caring and of extending ourselves where it’s not expected.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Dave Matthews plays live tonight to support Small Business

A note from the Brothers of the St. John the Evangelist Society in Cambridge, MA

A note from the Brothers of the St. John the Evangelist Society in Cambridge, MA

My dear Friends,

My Brothers and I have been deeply touched by the messages of concern and hope that so many of you have expressed since we made the difficult decision to close not only the Guesthouse, but also the Monastery Chapel for public worship, during this time of tremendous anxiety.

Never before has a line from our Rule of Life seemed so appropriate. In the chapter on Worship we read that we Brothers offer our worship … on behalf of the entire world. At a time when so many Christians are cut off from physically gathering to worship and celebrate the Eucharist, our life of corporate worship continues. Even though others may not be able to be physically present, your presence is none the less felt. This is especially true at the daily Eucharist and Compline, when we have the opportunity to mention before God so many of you by name. We offer our worship on behalf of the entire world.

Last week we made a recording of Compline which is now online at We invite you to join us, wherever you are, and uphold the entire world in your prayers.

Please know of our prayers for you during this anxious time.

Faithfully in the One who calms our fears,

James Koester SSJE

At this time when the Monastery Chapel is closed, the Brothers invite you to join us for our nightly Compline - the ancient monastic service of bedtime prayers.

Morning Prayers this morning

From "Becoming Minimalist" - 25 Things to Do with your Family While Stuck at Home

Becoming Minimalist Logo

25 Things to Do with Your Family While Stuck at Home

As with most the world, we’ve been spending a lot more time at home in recent days.
It’s important, in these unique times, to redeem the hours and make the most of the moments we have together. There are negative ramifications to the current state of affairs in our world—and you don’t need to see them broadcast in the media, many of you are experiencing them firsthand.
But the negative effects of the Coronavirus do not need to overwhelm us. We can also choose positive effects: spending time with family, taking longer rests, finding solitude, and escaping the busyness of our normal lives.
With that in mind, here’s my list of 25 things to do while stuck at home to redeem the time and make the most of it.
0. Wake up, get dressed. I need to include this one here because it’s important to start each day with the right attitude. Every day is an opportunity to make the most of it. Don’t miss a single opportunity—regardless of the circumstances around you.
1. Declutter. Minimize your possessions and declutter the stuff in your home. The more we spend time in our home, the more we can recognize what can and should be removed—and the more time we have to do it. Check out Clutterfree if you’re looking for steps to get started
2. Learn new card games. I grew up playing cards‚ even as a young child. And not just Go Fish and War, but strategy games like Hearts, Spades, Rook, and Pinochle. They taught me how to think ahead, play out scenarios, and learn from others. All valuable life skills.
3. Make phone calls. Safe to say the phone call is making a comeback. All those people you would usually see at work, church, or social gatherings, give them a call to say hello.
4. Teach your kids life skills. My son is a junior in high school and my wife and I have a long list of life skills we want him to know before he leaves the house. We’ve been using these weeks to make up for lost time. If you haven’t already, use the time to teach your kids cooking, laundry, cleaning, car repair, budgeting, or any other life skills that come to mind.
5. Go outside. If still allowed in your local area, go on long walks or hikes. Spend time in the park or walk along the river.
6. Workout. We need to be taking care of our physical bodies and taking care of our physical fitness during this time as well. Look up at-home workouts/yoga on YouTube or Google and do them together as a family.
7. Watch educational programs. I see a lot of people spending time on Netflix—binging movies and television shows. And there’s certainly a place for that. But you can also watch educational documentaries on Netflix and YouTube about history, science, or events in the world.
8. Learn a new skill. Been wanting to pick up a hobby? Now’s your chance. Learn a new language or how to code. Pick up an instrument or new artistic skill. Because of the Internet, finding a teacher (free or paid) has never been easier.
9. Create. I started this blog as a hobby—somehow it grew to over 2M readers/month. Start something of your own. Create a blog or a YouTube channel. Write some stories or poetry. Or use your hands in the workshop. Create something, we need you now more than ever.
10. Do a Facebook Live. Nothing to it. Just click a few buttons on your phone and suddenly all your friends can see you. It’s super fun. If you haven’t before, now’s your time.
11. Write letters. To a family member or friend you haven’t seen in awhile.
12. Invent a game. Looking around the room at the supplies you have, make up a game to play with your kids. Or better yet, invent an entire Family Olympics where each member of the family gets to pick 1-2 of the events. Keep a running total of the points.
13. Read books. You should probably be doing that anyway.
14. Late night movie with the family. Depending on your local school situation of course. But if it works, there’s nothing more fun for little kids than staying up past bedtime, eating popcorn, and watching a movie with mom or dad. Make it happen.
15. Video chat with friends. Whether it’s on FaceTime, Skype, Facebook Messenger or Zoom, connect and hang out online for a little while.
16. Home repairs or a deep clean. Make up some ground on that list of yours.
17. Sort through boxes of old photos. Keep the best and put them in photo albums or digitize for future generations.
18. Clean up your computer digital files. Here.
19. Curate and organize your recipe/cookbook stash. I use index cards to keep all my favorites in the same place.
20. Make up TikTok dances with the family. I see a lot of those short, choreographed dances being posted. Super fun for everyone.
21. Create games to share with family members. Invent a WordSearch or Crossword Puzzle using the members of your family and send them out for everyone else to complete during their downtime.
22. Take a class online. You can find plenty of courses for kids and adults available for free online. Including Yale’s most popular college course ever.
23. Order takeout and have a picnic. If your local community still allows that, you can support local business and enjoy time outside as a family (weather-permitting of course).
24. Research your family tree. You can use online tools or do it the old-fashioned way—calling family members to begin piecing it together.
25. Learn online tools for business. One’s thing is for sure—business is going to change going forward. Learn as quick as you can how remote work is accomplished: Zoom, Slack, Skype, Dropbox, and numerous others. Now’s your time to learn them.
There are so many options to make the most of the time now—and probably ahead of us for a little bit longer.
What have you been doing that could be added to the list?

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The Peace of Wild Things

The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry

Monday, March 23, 2020

Psalm 23 ~ 'Translated' by Eugene Peterson

Psalm 23

GOD, my shepherd!
I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.
Even when the way goes through
Death Valley,
I’m not afraid
when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook
makes me feel secure.
You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.
Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.
The Message (MSG)Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

Canterbury Cathedral offering live-stream daily services

Live Worship from Canterbury Cathedral

Live streaming of worship will take place at the following times:
Monday – Friday
Eucharist ~ 8am EST
Evensong ~ 1:30 pm EST
Saturday – Sunday
Morning Prayer 5:30 am EST
Eucharist ~ 8am EST 
Evensong ~ 11:15. am EST

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Ryan Holiday's Recommended Reading Email ~ 22 March 2020

Ryan Holiday's Recommended Reading Email ~ 22 March 2020

Wow, a lot has happened in the six weeks since I sent this last email. Our busy, normal lives have been suddenly and irrevocably changed by a global pandemic. More directly, most of us are now trapped inside. What should we be doing in a time like this? Certainly, there are worse things than reading. We should be reading history that teaches us, we should be reading fiction that distracts us, we should be reading books that will give us skills and habits to help us recover. We should probably not read Cormac McCarthy's The Road, which I had, coincidentally, planned to re-read this month before it became dreadfully too close to real life.

Before I get into this month's recommendations, I have two things to bring your attention to: 

1) This piece I wrote about leadership during the plague in ancient Rome. When things get bad, good people have to stand up. That means all of us. The best way to reduce anxiety in times like this is to start thinking about what you can do for other people. 

2) My book The Obstacle is The Way is $1.99 on Amazon in the US and £1.89 in the UK. Now is a time of real adversity and I think the message of the book is more relevant than ever: We need to steady our nerves. Focus on the good we can create out of this situation. Embrace the obstacle life has thrown at us. And most of all, learn from what happened.

Leadership: In Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Absolutely incredible book. I think I marked up nearly every page. The book is a study of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, FDR and Lyndon Johnson, and it is so clearly the culmination of a lifetime of research… and yet somehow not overwhelming or boring. Distillation at its best! I have read extensively on each of those figures and I got a ton out of it. Even stuff I already knew, I benefited from Goodwin's perspective. This is the perfect book to read right now.

Hillel: If Not Now, When? by Joesph Telushkin
I've been wanting to read a biography of Hillel for some time as he is the source of three of my favorite quotes. He famously said that the Torah could be summarized as "Love thy neighbor as thyself, all the rest is commentary." He said, "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And being for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?" And he was a formulator of the "Golden Rule," saying, "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow." I thought this book was well done, considering the sparseness of the source material, and I took many, many notes on it.

Last month I read David McCullough's epic biography of Truman and found myself fascinated with the man. This biography is shorter but equally interesting because it tracks Truman and Eisenhower's parallel lives from obscure Midwest origins to the heights of power and influence. It shows the greatness of both men and the flaws of both men, and is written with Miller's brilliant eye for applicable lessons. His two other books, Lincoln's Virtues and President Lincoln, are all time-favorites, and I highly recommend everything he has written, including this book.

Most books about writing are not good and most of the people who try to teach writing have had little success with which to back up their theories. Palahniuk is one of the best novelists of our time and this book is quite good. I wish I had read it when I was writing Perennial Seller, as I would have used many of the stories. I am a fan of his novels Fight Club (very good) and Choke (also good). Thanks to James Altucher for the recommendation!

Last month I recommended another book from this series, How to Be A Leader by Plutarch (which again, I cannot praise highly enough). This book is essentially the opposite. It's a look at some of the worst emperors from history and how they failed. I am a big believer in learning from cautionary tales, and while of course many of the stories from ancient Rome are extreme, there is plenty to take note of here.

I also read Travels with Epicurus by Daniel Klein and How to Be an Epicurean: The Ancient Art of Living Well by Catherine Wilson. I liked the former better than the latter, but both were good. For my son, I bought the complete eight-volume set of Great Men and Famous Women by Charles F. Horne, and we are slowly going through these miniature (inspiring) biographies of leaders from history. My dear friend Hristo gave me a copy of Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II by Vicki Croke, which I enjoyed as it combines two of my favorite topics (history and weird stories about humans and animals).

This month's email is sponsored by ButcherBox (which is timely if you're stuck at home, and running low on supplies). Their next shipment mails out 4/13 so if you want high quality, grass fed and antibiotic free meat without having to brave a trip to the store, you should order today. We are big fans of ButcherBox at my house—strongly recommend becoming a customer.
Also Magic Spoon Cereal. I am addicted to this stuff. It's basically the cereal you loved as a kid… but with none of the bad stuff. They ship directly, and I've heard nothing by rave reviews from the people I have told about it. Another good way to stock up without leaving the house. If you use the code RYANHOLIDAY, shipping is free.
Also, if you're looking to be a better reader—and now is a great time to invest in your reading habit—check out my Read to Lead Challenge. It will give you a new way of tackling the books I recommend here, along with enough book suggestions to last you through however long this quarantine lasts. We're discounting it right now for anyone who signs up in the next 48 hours. Just use code STAYHOME.

With that, I hope that you'll get around to reading whichever of these books catch your eye and that you'll learn as much as I did. Whether you buy them on Amazon today, or at an independent bookstore six months from now makes no difference to me. I just hope you read!

You're welcome to email me questions or raise issues for discussion. Better yet, if you know of a good book on a related topic, please pass it along. And as always, if one of these books comes to mean something to you, recommend it to someone else.

I promised myself a long time ago that if I saw a book that interested me I'd never let time or money or anything else prevent me from having it. This means that I treat reading with a certain amount of respect. All I ask, if you decide to email me back, is that you're not just thinking aloud.

Enjoy these books, treat your education like the job that it is, and let me know if you ever need anything.

All the best,


If this email was forwarded to you and you'd like to sign up, just click here or email me at with "Reading Newsletter" in the subject line.

22 March 2020 ~ Morning Prayer

"I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Romans 8:38-39

Today's Morning Prayer Service can be seen by clicking the photo below, or the link.

 On Sundays, I will lead Morning Prayer at 10am according to the Book of Common Prayer in a "said" service (no music).  I will use YouTube to post this service, and I hope that you can join in with me.

St. Mary's Episcopal Church - Cathedral Road - YouTube Channel

Due to the COVID - 19 Virus, we will NOT be holding church services in person beginning Sunday, March 15th through at least March 29th.  

We will be doing Morning Prayer on Sunday at 10am using our YouTube Channel
Image result for youtube images

Click the above image or HERE to visit our YouTube Channel

Let's sit here

“Let’s sit here in hard truth and easy beauty,
in the tensions of the Now and
the Not Yet of the Kingdom of God,
and let us discover how we can disagree beautifully.”
 Sarah Bessey

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Spirit of faith

There is a spirit of fear enveloping our planet and country. It’s paralyzing some and causing panic in others.
We need to counter this with a spirit of faith!
~ Jon Gordon

I highly recommend Jon Gordon's books at any time, but especially in this time of uncertainty and fear.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

"When the system breaks down, leaders stand up" - reflection by Ryan Holiday

A wonderful reflection by Ryan Holiday:
"When the system breaks down, leaders stand up" - 

When the System Breaks Down, Leaders Stand Up

It began in the East. At least, that’s what the experts think. Maybe it came from animals. Maybe it was the Chinese. Maybe it was a curse from the gods.
One thing is certain: it radiated out east, west, north, and south, crossing borders, then oceans, as it overwhelmed the world. The only thing that spread faster than the contagion was the fear and the rumors. People panicked. Doctors were baffled. Government officials dawdled and failed. Travel was delayed or rerouted or aborted altogether. Festivals, gatherings, sporting events—all cancelled. The economy plunged. Bodies piled up.
The institutions of government proved very fragile indeed.
We’re talking, of course, about the Antonine Plague of 165 CE, a global pandemic with a mortality rate of between 2-3%, which began with flu-like symptoms until it escalated and became gruesome and painfully fatal. Millions were infected. Between 10 and 18 million people eventually died.
It shouldn’t surprise us that an ancient pestilence—one that spanned the entire reign of Marcus Aurelius—feels so, well, modern. As Marcus would write in his diary at some point during this horrible plague, history has a way of repeating itself. “To bear in mind constantly that all of this has happened before,” he said in Meditations. “And will happen again—the same plot from beginning to end, the identical staging. Produce them in your mind, as you know them from experience or from history: the court of Hadrian, of Antoninus. The courts of Philip, Alexander, Croesus. All just the same. Only the people different.”
This pattern of disease is nauseatingly familiar. It’s a pattern that has repeated itself like a fractal across history. Indeed, we could be talking about the Bubonic Plague (aka the Black Death), the Spanish Flu of 1918, or the cholera pandemics of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, just as easily as we are talking about the Antonine Plague and thinking about the coronavirus pandemic that is spreading across the globe. As Marcus would say, all we’d have to do is change a few dates and names.
It can be a very jarring mental exercise for some—thinking about the way the history of disease repeats itself—because we like to view the evolution of human civilization as moving inevitably in some new, unique direction. We like to see history as steady progress. Then when bad things happen, when catastrophe strikes, we feel like the world is coming apart. We suffocate ourselves with breathless shouting about the sky falling and give ourselves heart attacks over not being prepared for what is to come.
It’s the same story, unfolded as if from an ancient script, written on the double helix of human DNA. We make the same mistakes. Succumb to the same fears. Endure the same grief and pain… then eventually exult in the same heroism, the same relief, and hopefully, the same kind of emergent leadership.
And that, really, is the key to survival, to persevering for the better

Read it all HERE

His vocation is to be the Servant

“If he is the Son of God, why not simply take power? Jesus recognizes that to rule would be for him precisely to go over to the side of evil. Political mastery tears human solidarity apart by elevating the masters and forcing others into subservience. The glory of charismatic leadership depends on sustaining the illusion that the leader is above and beyond the common masses, an illusion they need as much as he or she does. From deep within Jesus emerges his refusal of the way of power, a refusal he will have to repeat again and again on the way to the cross. His vocation is to be the Servant, he will be “numbered with the transgressors,” not the rulers. He will be unbreakably, doggedly, passionately one with God’s struggling and needy children.”
–Martin L. Smith, A Season for the Spirit

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Pulp Mill Bridge, Middlebury, Vermont

Pulp Mill Bridge, Middlebury, Vermont ~ Photo by Caleb McKenna

Into the waters

Image result for jesus baptism art renaissance

“Jesus’ reaction to John’s preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins was a crucial turning-point. He could have kept his distance, an innocent young man conscious of unbroken faithfulness to God, looking with pity on the thousands of ordinary people who were overwhelmed by the realization of their own moral inadequacy. But instead of looking down on them from afar, secure in his own guiltlessness, Jesus plunged into the waters with them and lost himself in the crowd. He threw away his innocence and separateness to take on the identity of struggling men and women who were reaching out en masse for the lifeline of forgiveness.
“It was at that moment when Jesus had thrown away his innocent individuality in exchange for that identity of needy, failed, struggling human beings that “the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased’ (Luke 3:21-22).”
–Martin L. Smith, A Season for the Spirit

When this is over

Image may contain: possible text that says 'When this over, may we never again take granted handshake with Full shelves at the store store Conversations with neighbors crowded theatre Friday night out The taste of communion routine checkup The school rush each morning Coffee with a friend The stadium roaring Each deep breath boring Tuesday Life itself. When this ends, may find that have become more like the people we wanted to we were called to be we hoped to be and may we stay that way-better for each other because worst. LAURA KELLY FANUCCI'

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory, Barbara Harris!

And the master said to her, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ (Matt 25:23)
This morning we learned of the passing of The Rt. Rev. Barbara Harris, a faithful disciple, courageous leader, and beautiful child of Jesus Christ. Bishop Harris is a daughter of the Diocese of Pennsylvania. Her ministry and legacy are forever written alongside that of William White and Absalom Jones. Her faith stands among all those who have labored in the vineyard in this sacred place. More importantly, she deeply loved and trusted Jesus.

We will never forget that picture of Bishop Harris carrying the cross at the ordination of the Philadelphia 11 or when that crozier was placed in her hands upon her consecration as bishop. The sound of her voice as she proclaimed the Gospel pushed each one of us forward with the spirit of courage, hope, and love. 

Many of us have sacred memories of Bishop Harris. I will never forget the time she was at my home in Albuquerque, and on the patio over dinner and wine, she shared many stories of her deep faith. Her hands will always be part of my episcopacy as she graciously served as a co-consecrator of my ordination. I ask that for the next month the diocese hold Bishop Harris in our prayers, not as a time of mourning, but one of rejoicing as she now sits at the feet of our Lord, laughing, teaching, preaching and being one with our Savior. 

Barbara once wrote, "If we can believe that Jesus, who died, rose again from the dead, ... then we can, in peace, give over those who have died—known and unknown—to a loving, compassionate and ever-merciful God who has prepared for us a better home than this Good Friday world." 

Arrangements are pending for the public funeral service to be held at Washington National Cathedral, and a private graveside service in Philadelphia followed thereafter by a memorial service at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston. The Diocese of Pennsylvania will celebrate her life at the Church of the Advocate in the coming months. 
The Rt. Rev. Daniel G. P. GutiƩrrez
XVI Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania
Rest eternal grant to them, and let light perpetual
shine upon them. 

Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania | 3717 Chestnut Street, Suite 300, Philadelphia, PA 19104