28 July 2009
Certainly since God took the 7th day off, we all deserve some Sabbath time - so we're on vacation in Vermont, where I grew up. I will post a few pics...here's a self-portrait of me with the Adirondacks in the background...reflection.
Peace and Blessings, off to ride my bike,
~The Rev. Peter M. Carey
26 July 2009
The Rev. Peter M. Carey
Associate Rector, Emmanuel Church, Greenwood, VA
used in my sermon this morning
The Lord is my domestique,
I shall not want.
He blocks the headwind for me
He leads me beside rough waters,
he oils my chain.
He leads me on the right path for the sake of the yellow jersey.
Even though I ride through the Loire Valley at a deathly pace,
I shall fear no evil,
for you are with me.
Your strength and your jokes, they comfort me.
You prepare a high carb meal for me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with cool water, my waterbottle overflows.
Surely speed on the flats and power in the mountains
will be with me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the peleton forever.
25 July 2009
In our typical “best kept secret” form of evangelism, virtually none of the scores of stories about Walter Cronkite’s funeral being at “St. Bartholomew’s Church in midtown Manhatten bother to mention that this is St. Bartholomew’s EPISCOPAL Church.
And that “the most trusted man in American” was a committed Episcopalian whose family had worshipped at St. Bart’s for many decades.
Much more fun for the press to talk about how our church is falling apart than to acknowledge that it has formed, and will continue to form, faithful Christian men and women whose contributions — unlike Cronkites’ — are often unknown and unnamed, but whose devout lives make this world a better place.
Well done, good and faithful servant(s)!
24 July 2009
If I were looking for God, every event and every moment would sow, in my will, grains of God’s life, that would spring up one day in a tremendous harvest. For it is God’s love that warms me in the sun and God’s love that sends the cold rain. It is God’s love that feeds me in the bread I eat and God that feeds me also by hunger and fasting. It is the love of God that sends the winter days when I am cold and sick, and the hot summer when I labor and my clothes are full of sweat: but it is God who breathes on me with light winds off the river and in the breezes out of the wood.
God’s love spreads the shade by the sycamore over my head and sends the water-boy along the edge of the wheat field with a bucket from the spring, while the laborers are resting and the mules stand under the tree. It is God’s love that speaks to me in the birds and streams but also behind the clamor of the city God speaks to me in God’s judgments, and all these things are seeds sent to me from God’s will. If they would take root in my liberty, and if God’s will would grow from my freedom, I would become the love that God is, and my harvest would be God’s glory and my own joy. And I would grow together with thousands and millions of other freedoms into the gold of one huge field praising God, loaded with increase, loaded with corn.
Thomas Merton, Spiritual Illuminations
hat tip - Inward/Outward Blog
Thoughts on the Psalm from this morning's Morning Prayer, Psalm 40...
While we are deep in the midst of the season of Pentecost, Ordinary Time, we are also always in a season of expectation, a season of Advent, a season of expectation. We are in a season of some unrest, .... unrest economically, unrest politically, unrest in the world situation, unrest in our hearts, unrest in our homes, in the mist of this ordinary season of unrest and expectation we are called to "wait patiently upon the Lord"....for the Lord will "lift us out of the desolate pit and make our feet sure."
God will provide, even, and especially, when we are in the midst of the pit, God will provide. Not only that, the story of our Faith is of a God who sends a Son, a God who stoops down to our desolate, ordinary level, who reaches down to us and cares for us, picks us up and "puts a new song in our mouths!"
Thanks be to God!
~The Rev. Peter M. Carey
Psalm 40 Expectans, expectavi
1 I waited patiently upon the LORD; *
he stooped to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the desolate pit, out of the mire and clay; *
he set my feet upon a high cliff and made my footing sure.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God; *
many shall see, and stand in awe,
and put their trust in the LORD.
4 Happy are they who trust in the LORD! *
they do not resort to evil spirits or turn to false gods.
5 Great things are they that you have done, O LORD my God!
how great your wonders and your plans for us! *
there is none who can be compared with you.
6 Oh, that I could make them known and tell them! *
but they are more than I can count.
7 In sacrifice and offering you take no pleasure *
(you have given me ears to hear you);
8 Burnt-offering and sin-offering you have not required, *
and so I said, "Behold, I come.
9 In the roll of the book it is written concerning me: *
'I love to do your will, O my God;
your law is deep in my heart.'"
10 I proclaimed righteousness in the great congregation; *
behold, I did not restrain my lips;
and that, O LORD, you know.
11 Your righteousness have I not hidden in my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your deliverance; *
I have not concealed your love and faithfulness from the great congregation.
12 You are the LORD;
do not withhold your compassion from me; *
let your love and your faithfulness keep me safe for ever,
13 For innumerable troubles have crowded upon me;
my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see; *
they are more in number than the hairs of my head,
and my heart fails me.
14 Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me; *
O LORD, make haste to help me.
15 Let them be ashamed and altogether dismayed
who seek after my life to destroy it; *
let them draw back and be disgraced who take pleasure in my misfortune.
16 Let those who say "Aha!" and gloat over me be confounded, *
because they are ashamed.
17 Let all who seek you rejoice in you and be glad; *
let those who love your salvation continually say,
"Great is the LORD!"
18 Though I am poor and afflicted, *
the Lord will have regard for me.
19 You are my helper and my deliverer; *
do not tarry, O my God.
Related to my earlier posting on Morning Has Broken, this was the High School Conferences of Rock Point Summer Conferences (Episcopal Diocese of Vermont), you might be able to find yours truly in there, and the late Bishop Jim Kelsey was one of the leaders of the conference. In addition, at least three of the campers there are now volunteering at Rock Point (Diocese of Vermont Summer Camp) this week. Just a little blast from the past...
21 July 2009
It is easy, sometimes, to try to offer the tidbit that explains each of these short parables/images, however, our rush to interpretation probably leaves our understanding rather flat, and we (perhaps) feel self-satisfied in the supposed knowledge that we know what Jesus was talking about. The early church heard these teachings over and over again, and probably recounted them many dozens of times, interweaving interpretation with the storytelling. One of the wondrous things about reading scripture daily is that it has to be fit into our daily life, it "lands" in the midst of getting ready for work, folding clothes, feeding children, caring for our parents, mowing the lawn, paying the bills. The stories become a part of the stories of our lives and (ideally) we might find new understandings for these bits of ancient wisdom as they are written on our hearts each day.
So, I encourage you to say Morning Prayer, and also to use the Daily Office Lectionary, in order to get a healthy dose of Holy Scripture - so that these stories of God might be interwoven with the story of God that is being written in our lives.
Ok, on to the tasks at hand,
Have a Blessed Day,
~The Rev. Peter M. Carey
Mark 4: 21- 34 (NRSV)
21 He said to them, "Is a lamp brought in to be put under the bushel basket, or under the bed, and not on the lampstand? 22 For there is nothing hidden, except to be disclosed; nor is anything secret, except to come to light. 23 Let anyone with ears to hear listen!" 24 And he said to them, "Pay attention to what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you. 25 For to those who have, more will be given; and from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away." 26 He also said, "The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, 27 and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. 28 The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come." 30 He also said, "With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade." 33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; 34 he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.
20 July 2009
The Rev. Peter M. Carey
Associate Rector, Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Greenwood
Frank Logue, who blogs at Irenic Thoughts, has these peaceful thoughts today at his blog, reflecting on Apollo 11 on the moon 40 years ago, and the First Eucharist on the Moon. Just wonderful.
~The Rev. Peter M. Carey
from Irenic Thoughts:
Buzz Aldrin steps down to the surface of the moon
You will read and hear much today of what happened 40 years ago on July 20, 1969. Neil Armstrong's "One small step for man" will be replayed again and again. But minutes after the lunar landing and prior to the moonwalk, Lunar Module pilot Buzz Aldrin radioed back to earth,
Houston, this is Eagle. This is the LM pilot speaking. I would like to request a few moments of silence. I would like to invite each person listening in, whoever or wherever he may be, to contemplate for a moment the events of the last few hours, and to give thanks in his own individual way.
Silence was all he could request. In his autobiography Aldrin would write, "NASA was already embroiled in a legal battle with Madelyn Murray O'Hare, the celebrated opponent of religion, over the Apollo 8 crew reading from Genesis while orbiting the moon at Christmas." A presbyterian layman, Aldrin arranged to take reserved sacrament (already blessed bread and wine) with him to the moon. He had a Ph.D. in astrophysics from MIT, and he was a man smart enough to think of no better way to offer thanks for the moon landing. He had permission to bring the sacrament on board as long as he didn't talk of it for two decades. He would later write,
"In the radio blackout, I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. Buzz Aldrin on the moonIn the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup. Then I read the Scripture, "I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit....Eagle's metal body creaked. I ate the tiny Host and swallowed the wine. I gave thanks for the intelligence and spirit that had brought two young pilots to the Sea of Tranquility. It was interesting for me to think: the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements."
Read the rest at Irenic Thoughts, and give thanks for the spirit of exploration!
19 July 2009
Budget Cuts at The Episcopal Church Center leave many good resolutions with no staff to implement them
It is at least sad and a disappointment that good work done over the last two weeks in Anaheim in terms of mission, evangelism, church development, and peace and justice work will not be implemented by The Episcopal Church because of drastic cuts ($25 million) to the Episcopal Church Center's budget.
I tend to think that (perhaps) these budgets should have been dealt with at the start of the two weeks, in order to save some people's time and energy (and money) on these various resolutions which will not be enacted and lived out because there is no staff to implement them.
From The Episcopal Cafe:
At his blog, Father T. Listens to the World, the Rev. Terry Martin writes about the staff cuts at the Episcopal Church center and to the evangelism budget in particular:
A drastically reduced budget has been approved by General Convention. Among the cuts are various programs at the Episcopal Church Center.Read it all. Father T. is also known in the blogosphere as Father Jake.
I'm sorry to have to inform you that the entire Evangelism program, including my position [Program Officer for Evangelism and Congregational Life], has been eliminated from the budget.
Other program officer positions eliminated include Worship and Spirituality, Women's Ministries and Lay Ministry.
All together, 37 positions at the Episcopal Church Center have been cut. No explanation has been offered as to why these programs were chosen for elimination.
One of the most frustrating things about this unexpected development was that it follows right on the heels of the positive time I spent last week with the Evangelism Legislative Committee as they carefully crafted various resolutions. There were plans in place to host evangelism events with our ecumenical partners, create an innovative evangelism "toolkit," and develop training programs for evangelists, among other things. All these resolutions passed both Houses. I was quite enthusiastic about those proposals. But now, since the entire Evangelism program is gone, I'm afraid there will be no one to implement those excellent ideas. How sad.
So, after eleven brief months, I'll be moving on.
From Jason Cox, "bloggers on the ground" at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, 2009, writing "Why is the Blue Book Maroon":
"Its not that I'm opposed to structure--as President Anderson pointed out in a press conference on Saturday, you have to support the structure because the structure is there to support the mission. But I do think the structure--the EC and all those CCABs--collectively could do a better job at vision-casting and goal setting, directing funding to those goals, and then measuring progress.
One difficulty I see is the disconnect between the policy setting bodies (the CCABs and EC) and the staff. The way Church staff are organized bears almost no relation to the policy setting bodies. As anyone involved in the non-profit world could tell you, boards are great, but staff do the actual work. Staff carry out the policies. So there's a problem if there's a Standing Commission meeting every now and then (at no mean expense) and setting amazing policy goals--for Small Congregations, say, or National Concerns--but there's no staff person tasked with carrying those policies to fruition. Is anyone surprised that there are things left undone? Closer coordination and mutual information sharing between CCABs and Church Center staff would go a long way to creating a more efficient and effective church.
This sense of disconnect and lack of effectiveness is stressed over and over in the current Blue Book. In the recommendations of the HoD Committee on the State of the Church, they write, "The Episcopal Church needs to take a look at the way we lead . . . we need to see . . . how we have addressed tasks that no longer need our attention and we need to identify what is being called into ministry or action . . . and how we are to meet these challenges." The committee also comments on TEC's perceived lack of identity and encourages continuing work so that we can say clearly to the world who and why we are.
Unfortunately, these recommendations aren't embodied in any resolutions, which I fear will make it all too easy for them to be overlooked, a footnote in the church archives. This is a shame, since all the recommendations are worthy of attention, and represent no small amount of time and effort and money that went in to producing them."
This is an issue that should be dealt with, examined and debated, and solutions should be found. I wonder whether the expense of General Convention itself could be cut in any way (I have heard they will cut a few days off the convention). Any other solutions? Any other ways forward?
I'd love to hear them...better yet, tell your diocesan conventions!
~The Rev. Peter M. Carey
18 July 2009
Brief welcome video to Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Greenwood, Virginia from the new Associate Rector, the Rev. Peter M. Carey.
Come and visit us!
Just west of Charlottesville, Virginia (15 miles) on Rt 250
Peace be with you!
Emmanuel Church Website
Peter's Sermons Online
Santos Woodcarving Popsicles blog
"Morning Has Broken," by Cat Stevens
Makes me remember Episcopal Summer Camp at Rock Point Summer Conferences in the Diocese of Vermont; peace and blessings to all on this wonderful morning!
~The Rev. Peter M. Carey
Wonderful Psalm for a wonderful Saturday Morning
Do check out the online Daily Office HERE.
~The Rev. Peter M. Carey
Psalm 30 Exaltabo te, Domine
|1||I will exalt you, O LORD,|
because you have lifted me up *
and have not let my enemies triumph over me.
|2||O LORD my God, I cried out to you, *|
and you restored me to health.
|3||You brought me up, O LORD, from the dead; *|
you restored my life as I was going down to the grave.
|4||Sing to the LORD, you servants of his; *|
give thanks for the remembrance of his holiness.
|5||For his wrath endures but the twinkling of an eye, *|
his favor for a lifetime.
|6||Weeping may spend the night, *|
but joy comes in the morning.
|7||While I felt secure, I said,|
"I shall never be disturbed. *
You, LORD, with your favor, made me as strong as the mountains."
|8||Then you hid your face, *|
and I was filled with fear.
|9||I cried to you, O LORD; *|
I pleaded with the Lord, saying,
|10||"What profit is there in my blood, if I go down to the Pit? *|
will the dust praise you or declare your faithfulness?
|11||Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me; *|
O LORD, be my helper."
|12||You have turned my wailing into dancing; *|
you have put off my sack-cloth and clothed me with joy.
|13||Therefore my heart sings to you without ceasing; *|
O LORD my God, I will give you thanks for ever.
16 July 2009
My former professor, John Yieh, has been made full professor and has also won a distinguished faculty award! Congratulations!!
~The Rev. Peter M. Carey
Read more on Dr. Yieh HERE
Virginia Theological Seminary has a strong and distinguished faculty. The Rev. John Y. H. Yieh, Ph.D. has not simply been made full professor after a demanding process of evaluation, but also the recipient of the 2009 Suzanne F. Thomas Faculty Research Award.
This important Award is an opportunity for the Seminary to recognize major research projects and support excellence in scholarship. Dr. Yieh is a worthy recipient of this award.
Dr. Yieh’s research interests range widely. He has not simply written on Matthew’s Gospel, in particular the Sermon on the Mount, but he is also one of the leading scholars on the reception of Christianity in China. Given that China is a leading economic and cultural power in the world, this work on understanding Christianity in China is enormously important. This is a pioneering research area; thanks to John Yieh, the Seminary is leading the way.
It is so good that we have this award. It is an award given to the Seminary in honor of Suzanne Thomas who believed in the importance of research underpinning teaching. We are grateful for the interest of our friends who support the Seminary.
The Very Rev Ian Markham
Dean and President
14 July 2009
One of the best parts of the piece is when Dr. Pelikan discusses his favorite creed of the several hundred that he and a team of scholars found and analyzed for a book on creeds.
Here are his words, describing the creed of the Masai people from the 1960s:
"Among all the hundreds of creeds and confessions in our collection, my favorite illustration of such acculturation is The Masai Creed from East Africa in the 1960s:
We believe that God made good his promise by sending his Son, Jesus Christ, a man in the flesh, a Jew by tribe, born poor in a little village, who left his home and was always on safari, doing good, curing people by the power of God, teaching about God and man, showing that the meaning of religion is love. He was rejected by his people, tortured and nailed hands and feet to a cross and died. He lay buried in the grave, but they hyenas did not touch him, and on the third day, he rose from the grave. He ascended to the skies. He is the Lord.
We believe that all our sins are forgiven through him. All who have faith in him must be sorry for their sins, be baptized in the Holy Spirit of God, live the rules of love, and share the bread together in love, to announce the good news to others until Jesus comes again. We are waiting for him. He is alive. He lives. This we believe. Amen."
13 July 2009
(satire) There is a new "Pope of the East Coast" the Popiscopate of Timotheus I (Fr. Tim Schenk) begins today
A bit from his Episco-Papal Encyclical is below...
Below is my first Episco-Papal Encyclical. I write on the subject of church polity (etc) during the waning days of my reign. This is a hot and confusing topic in the Anglican Communion; one which I will clarify. Just as a reminder, whenever I sit down to write an e-encyclical I am infallible. Not just the typed words but my very being. Got it? Infallible. Oh, and inerrant as well. If you’re not already on your knees in humble supplication, I bid you to bow down before your computer in anticipation of holiness.
OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF
TO THE BISHOPS
PRIESTS AND DEACONS
MEN AND WOMEN RELIGIOUS
THE LAY FAITHFUL
AND ALL PEOPLE OF GOOD WILL
ON INTEGRAL HUMAN DEVELOPMENT
IN CHARITY AND TRUTH
1. I have abolished the Southern Cone and replaced it with the Orange Southern Cone. This will lead to a more godly church and assist with parking control problems on Sunday mornings.
Read the rest HERE
12 July 2009
But it is pretty good, check it out!
"reach out and touch face"
~The Rev. Peter M. Carey
tip of the hat to Rev. Stu Shelby, reminding me of the song...!
created by Peter Carey using www.wordle.net
And here is just a bit of the text (read the rest HERE)
76th General Convention
President of the House of Deputies, Bonnie Anderson, D.D.
Sermon for community worship
July 10, 2009
A fan once asked Louis Armstrong, commonly known as Satchmo, “Pops, what is jazz?” His answer first came in that gentle smile and then this penetrating response, “Man, if you gotta ask, you’ll never know.”
The same can be said for unity. It would go like this. “Pops, what is unity?” “Man, if you gotta ask, you’ll never know.” In other words, you know it when you see it.
When you experience unity you know it because of how it makes you FEEL. The expression of unity, of interwoven community in Christ, is a powerful experience - difficult to describe in concept, but recognizable by the dynamic effects on our hearts when we touch it and we see it and we live it.
To me, unity is about the experience of being transformed in community. Unity is not about getting along, though that would be nice from time to time. It is not about the absence of conflict or the unattainable expectation that we can all believe exactly the same thing, except, of course, in our beloved Jesus Christ. Unity is not about “buying the world a Coke” or teaching the world to sing. And I don’t believe that unity is a state of being, some utopian community for us to construct and achieve. To me, unity is a spiritual practice – something we need to first understand and second, spend our lives trying to do. Unity is an action, an intention, something we practice over and over and over again in faithfulness to God. The Good News here is that the practice of unity has tremendous potential for transformation – unity, if it is unity, can change us, enlighten us, enlarge our perspectives and our experiences, and bring us closer to God. Unity is about inviting others to be in community with us with the hope and expectation that as we do this, we will be changed by the people who we invite to join us.
Read it all HERE
Here is an "image" of his sermon created using "wordle" which you can find (and have fun with) over at www.wordle.net!
~The Rev. Peter M. Carey
...and here is a bit of the text of Ray Suarez's sermon...(read it all HERE)
76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church
July 13, 2009
It is a joy to be asked to speak to this gathering of my brothers and sisters from all across the country and the world. I left a reporting trip in Tanzania to come here in full confidence that these invitations don’t come every day. It’s a privilege to speak to you on this day when we remember Benedict’s radical welcome to all who come from what the old prayer book called “the blessed company of all faithful people.” With outstretched arms we take a big, broad, view of what that beautiful phrase means… “the blessed company of all faithful people.” That includes our partners and friends from other branches of the family who are with us today. At this point in the life of the Episcopal Church, some of us, and some of the parishes we call home, may not be feeling they are in a blessed company right now, and forced to think about what welcome means, who is included in welcome. It is a tough time, even if your attendance is good, your pledges are strong… even if you have more baptisms than burials in an average year… we are forced to fight the battles, forced to live out the arguments that history conspired to make converge right now, in our day, in our time. Benedict had some plain-spoken advice for this gathering: “Let the house of God be wisely managed by the wise.” I’ll let you decide if you are in the wise. None of us in this room could have chosen, could have elected to be born, grow up, or be called to serve at another time. We have no choice but to play history’s hand… So we are struggling, perhaps in our buttoned-down, Anglican way, to figure out what to be in the 21st century, to keep the lights on, the altar set, and wait for people who left after the storms got bad, and trying to bring others in through the door for the first time and say welcome, you are home… while still very much having to be a place of coherence, love, service, for the people who’ve never left.
We don’t give you a spiritual means test when you come to the front door before we let you in. Instead, we say as Jesus did, “Come, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
There are people lampoon us, wish us ill, use us as a punchline for lame jokes based on some very old stereotypes, and frankly, from material that wasn’t all that funny to begin with. But at least those old jokes, poking fun at imaginary church of WASP matrons, using ‘summer’ as a verb, country clubs, white shoe law firms, and pedigree - those old jokes had some measure of affection in them. These days the jokes contain more derision, condescension, and harsh judgment born of ignorance. Recently I was reading the religion blog in the Washington Post and one essayist, John Mark Reynolds, wrote: Do you know what you get when you cross an Episcopalian with a Southern Baptist? I didn’t know, so I kept on reading. You get someone who comes to your door and rings your bell, but once you open it has no idea what to say.
No idea what to say? Really?
I could swear I was in church at 7 am on Ash Wednesday morning, heard our challenging lectionary, was called out, forced to confront myself by a strong sermon, and then called to be holy by our penitential rite. I thought we had a lot to say, and when I picked my head up to look around there was a big crowd of witnesses sharing that sobering moment with me.
Nothing to say?When my son and daughter and the youth of our parish head out year after year to the storm-ravaged Gulf Coast, and to the Lakota Sioux lands in North Dakota, and to our sister parish in Honduras… they worked hard, very hard… and began and ended every day with worship. Like so many of our youth, they have plenty to say, “Not only with their lips but with their lives.” Or, as Benedict himself might say, ora et labora, pray and work.
Read the rest HERE at Episcopal Cafe
09 July 2009
Image created by Peter Carey using www.wordle.net
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's Sermon in text and wordle
General Convention opening
Ubuntu and the Body of Christ – 8 July, 9:15 am
Gift of the Episcopal Church of the Philippines
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
Four and one-half years ago, I had the great privilege to join in the consecration of a new bishop, one who told an amazing story about the journey that had brought us all to that place on a cold night in Seattle. At the end of the service, Victor Rivera father, the retired bishop of San Joaquin, wrapped the new bishop his daughter Nedi, in his cope. Some of you may not know that while Victor Rivera was bishop in San Joaquin, and for many years afterward, he insisted that women should not be ordained. He didn’t go to Nedi’s ordination as a priest, and he had never taken communion from her, over the more than 25 years that she served as priest. I asked Nedi later how he had come to change his mind. She said to me, “He didn’t change his mind; he changed his heart.”
Ezekiel is talking about a changed heart, but in an even more radical sense he means a heart transplant. Ezekiel is speaking to a disheartened body, yearning for home, aching to be reconciled, impatient to end their depressed and heartsick state. Any parallels?
Heart transplants are at least possible in this era of history – brain transplants aren’t yet – but Ezekiel is also talking about a brain transplant. His people understood the heart not as the seat of emotion, but the seat of decision-making, the critical faculty of judgment that we talked about yesterday.
Look at the passage and listen again. Ezekiel says the body will be disinfected (I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean), and then comes the surgery (a new heart I will give you, and a new spirit). This is about a new way of understanding and acting, new life that comes from living in a new way.
Read the rest HERE
From "Center Aisle", you need to click the links below as they cannot be embedded in blogs...
Straight from the Bishops: Timely Conversations with Center Aisle
Hear what the Virginia bishops have to say on a variety of issues in these YouTube videos. More to come!
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams
The 76th General Convention of The Episcopal Church
July 9, 2009
One thing you learn very quickly as Archbishop of Canterbury is that everything you say is scrutinised and interpreted and picked over for hidden meanings and agendas. Something tells me today will be no exception…
But because I don’t actually like coded messages or hidden agendas, and because I believe they’re an aspect of a whole rather unhealthy culture of suspicion – not to mention conspiracy theories - I’m going to begin by saying two things as simply and directly as I can, so that we can get on to the more important matter of reflecting together on the Scripture passages we have been given in this Eucharist.
The first thing is to say thank you. Thank you for the invitation to join you on this occasion and to share something of my mind with you; and so thank you too for your continuing willingness to engage with the wider life of our Communion. I do realise that this engagement has been and still is costly for different people in different ways: some feel impatient, some feel compromised, some feel harassed or undervalued, or that their good faith has been ungraciously received. I’m sorry; this has been hard and will not get much easier, I suspect. But it is something for which many of us genuinely are grateful to you and to God.
And it’s related to the second thing I want to say. Of course I am coming here with hopes and anxieties – you know that and I shan’t deny it. Along with many in the Communion, I hope and pray that there won’t be decisions in the coming days that could push us further apart. But if people elsewhere in the Communion are concerned about this, it’s because of a profound sense of what the Episcopal Church has given and can give to our fellowship worldwide. If we - if I – had felt that we could do perfectly well with out you, there wouldn’t be a problem. But the bonds of relationship are deep, for me personally as for many others. And I’m tempted to adapt what St Paul says to the Corinthians in the middle of a set of tensions no less bitter than what we have been living through and in the wake of challenges from St Paul a good deal more savage than even the sharpest words from Primates or Councils: ‘Why? Because we do not love you? God knows we do.’
Well: to business. Our readings put before us a vision of Christ’s Church that is both simple and alarming. We have been called and chosen. It is not that we have ourselves chosen Jesus, and it is certainly not that we have earned the right to be chosen by him (because we’re so orthodox or so open or so faithful or so creative or whatever). We have simply been spoken to by Christ and our fellowship has been created by his word to us. What is more, that word makes us his friends; and as his friends we share some understanding of what he is doing because he has allowed us to overhear his eternal conversation of love with the one he calls ‘Abba, Father.’
So we’re ‘holy’, a holy people, a holy nation, because we have been brought within earshot of that eternal conversation, that immeasurable intimacy. We know that this is Jesus’ business – living in an intimacy with the Father that opens him up to the needs of creation, so that the eternal conversation overflows and transforms an entire world. As John’s gospel tells us time and again, we come to be where Jesus is; and that is our holiness. Not what we have achieved, what we have held on to, what we can trade for rewards from God, but simply the fact of being in the Holy place that is Jesus at prayer. The intimacy of the Source and the Word becomes intimate to and in us. And we turn to the world so that our humanity, newly transparent to God the Trinity, can itself become a word, a transforming message and gift – a humanity living in mutual generosity, intimacy with each other and delight in each other, like the delight and intimacy that exists for ever in heaven.
This is what we are here for as a Church. Our life as church declares to the world that God’s longing is for a humanity like this, a humanity broken open for intimacy. Broken open: because there is a cost in the creation of the humanity that God longs for. At the very beginning of all things, and at the very beginning of the story of God’s people, the word of God speaks into a dark emptiness and brings life and light. By sheer divine freedom, God brings light, makes a humanity where there was no humanity, a community where there was no community. And God makes us able to receive his mercy where once we could not even understand that we needed it. In a word, we have been called from nothingness; but this means that we still stand over that abyss of emptiness – an inner void that only the Word of God can hold and fill and make to be something that is real and living. Sin is our constant temptation to slip back into nothingness, into unreality – the void of our own individual desires and agendas, the void of a self that deludes itself into the belief that it is really there on its own, independent of God and of others.
So when God in Jesus Christ restores humanity to its proper place in God’s heart, Jesus has to face full-on the strange power of nothingness, the power of the terrors and dreams that are generated out of the self in its urgent attempts to keep itself alive by its own strength. Jesus dies because we don’t want to die – to die to our fantasies and self-centred plans and dreams. To follow him is to risk stepping into life by recognising that something in us must die – so that everlasting and true life may live.
The Church is a place where indestructible life is made manifest: it “presents and represents in its corporate life creation restored in celebration of the Word of God” – words from one your own prophets, the greatest Episcopalian theologian and perhaps the greatest American theologian of the twentieth century, William Stringfellow; not the least of the gifts which the Episcopal Church has given the rest of us. Stringfellow is writing about the calling of the Church to be a ‘holy nation’ - a community that is free from every kind of local and uncritical loyalty so as to show the world what an institution looks like when it lives by the self-communication of God. And above all, he says, it is an institution which looks death in the face and declares it to be overcome.
Our contemporary world is still very recognisably the world that Stringfellow wrote about in the seventies and eighties, a world in which death and nothingness have what looks like a powerful advantage. We collude with the death of the poor, with the almost unimaginable ravages of HIV/AIDS in Africa, with the ruination of small economies in the strange adventures of the global market, with the impending extinction of the possibility of human existence in some parts of the world by rising water levels. In the last nine months, we have learned, with more surprise that we should have felt, how our financial affairs are based on a passionate quest for “growth” that has increasingly led us to make profit out of literally – nothingness, out of empty words and manufactured figures. The poisonous effect of death and nothingness can be seen in a reeling international economy and a fearful bewilderment about our human future, not only financially but materially, as inhabitants of a planet in which limitless material growth is impossible. And in this world, the Church is there to name death and to promise life – the life that comes in relationship, not selfish speculation or protective barriers against the poor, but relation with God through Jesus Christ and with each other, relation that is grounded in our knowledge of the will of God for the wealth and welfare of God’s creation.
To be holy is to be a witness for life in the face of these and many other forms of death. But Stringfellow adds another dimension to this. We have to face and acknowledge death in ourselves – not just death at work in the world in general, not death at work in other believers that we disapprove of, but the fact that we like all other believers we disapprove of, but the fact that we like all other believers are where we are and what we are because we have called from nothingness and still experience the drawing of death and emptiness in our own depths. Because of this, we proclaim the victory of life through our corporate confession and repentance: Stringfellow says ‘if want to know what you can do to justify yourself, the biblical response is: You must give up trying to justify yourself and confess your utter helplessness in the face of the power of death….The repentance at issue is such that it apprehends the empirical risk of death or of abandonment; that is, the risk that there is no Word of God to identify you and give you your name. Without that gift of your name, you do not exist; you are dead or, as they say, as good as dead.’
Life is proclaimed not in our achievement, our splendid record of witness to God, but in our admission of helplessness and of the continuing presence and lure of death in our lives. To be able to speak of this, and not to retreat in fear or throw up defences is part of true life; it is to know that our name is spoken by the Word of God and that we do not have to battle in resentment and anxiety to create an identity of our own. It is already there: we are already called friends. we are already bound to each other, and our life is invested in each other, in those we see and those we don’t, those we like and those we don’t. We are in the holy place with Jesus, a holy nation, a royal priesthood.
Here at the Eucharist we state who we are and where and why. We give voice to our hunger and helplessness; we name death, in us and around us; we give thanks that we are called from emptiness to life, and our own true names are spoken by the Word. May this gathering be a sign of life in the face of death, a declaration of who we are in Jesus and with one another, in the heart of God the Holy Trinity: chosen friends who, miraculously, know something of that God’s longing for what has been made.wordle
~Rev. Peter M. Carey
Tells us we must wait ’til nine.
We stand, smoldering.
Where does the bread go again?
Where am I standing?
Oh please, don’t tell me
We’re singing Thumamina!
(Hate it, long story…)
Archbishop sighting -
Look Mom, I’m famous!
Fastest growth in the whole Church.
Why don’t we fund it?
Look at the schedule:
meetings, committee hearings -
Er, *when* do we eat?
Puts us all in a bad mood.
“Running, leaping, and dancing -
Be the church of God!”
Nice walk to the store.
Ten days of groceries, and more.
Frozen yogurt – YUM!!
One in the morning,
Catching up on everything.
Only more to come!
08 July 2009
5 July 2009
Emmanuel Church, Greenwood
Sermon – Pentecost
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The wonders of modern technology mean that, if you are willing (and even sometimes if you are not!), every day can be an opportunity to engage in “high school reunion moments’ (or elementary school or nursery school moments). Whether through Facebook or email, or just with cheap long-distance phone charges, we are probably staying in touch more than ever before. This might be a glorious thing, when we find or “friend” our old roommate or best friend from summer camp. On the other hand, it may be quite disconcerting when we find out that seemingly quite ordinary folks are now professors, doctors, business executives, or (heaven forbid!) priests!
In the first part of today’s gospel, Jesus has a kind of reunion back in his hometown.
Jesus has just completed some really successful days of healing and preaching: the amazing story of Jesus raising a young girl back to life; a woman with great faith was healed from ailments that she had for many years. Jesus is on a serious win streak. His disciples and followers are gaining in confidence and people are honoring him more and more.
So, what happens next is quite a surprise. Jesus enters his “hometown” region of Capernaum (or Nazareth). When Jesus preaches, those who hear him are “amazed” or “astounded”…Mark does not elaborate (he rarely does), on what this amazement is about – is it amazement that Jesus is like some kind of superhero, a super preacher, incredible speaker –and people are moved. It may be that they are amazed that this “everyday joe” is now putting on airs and claims to be some kind of wise man – some kind of prophet – who does he think he is? They question him, they wonder how the carpenter, how Mary’s son, could be getting all this. Jesus speaks and tells them that a prophet is not held with honor in his hometown – and then Mark recounts that Jesus could not do any deed of power in that place, except to lay hands on a few people for healing.
We are left a bit shaken, perhaps, by this rather humane (and humiliating?) episode of Jesus’ ministry. This passage illustrates the sense in which Jesus was “really” a human being. I can imagine the disciples being more than a bit shaken by this – wondering how Jesus’ power might have been stymied by a few of his childhood pals and relations!?
The second episode in this reading – verses 7-13 – is a practical and yet quite meaning-filled episode – as Jesus sends out the disciples to preach the gospel and to heal people. Jesus gives them very specific advice, the kind of advice – in terms of what to bring, what to wear, and such. Since Mark’s gospel is so sparse generally, when we read details of this sort in his text we would be right to assume that it is important.
People respond to Jesus in various ways, and these two snippets show us a clear contrast between those who weren’t buying it and the disciples who made it their own.
On one hand, we see a picture of doubt, of questioning, of people who, though they thought they knew Jesus, they were unwilling to really hear what he was saying. They were questioning with their minds, and were unwilling to follow.
On the other hand, we see a picture of Faith, of people who, though they sometimes were very confused about who Jesus was, they were willing to hear what he was saying. They were willing to not only follow, but to preach his message.
At this point, it could be easy to paint the picture further as an either/or kind of story. On one hand, there are people who are Faithful and good and righteous and giving and hospitable and loving and kind and all that. Perhaps we could put ourselves into this category; we’re here at church on a rainy 4th of July weekend, after all! On the other hand people who are doubters, sinners, unrighteous, selfish, exclusive, mean-spirited and all the rest. Perhaps those are the folks who are sleeping in today. And so, we might be tempted to wonder: where are we – righteous or not? Either we congratulate ourselves or we jump into a pit of self-pity and feelings of unworthiness.
Could we consider the message not as either/or, but as “both/and”? In the gospels, people responded to Jesus in various ways. Isn’t this true of us as well? Don’t’ we embody both of these characteristics? At times, we doubt, question, we seek answers to questions about Jesus humanity as it is tied with his divinity. We go through difficult times and we wonder, perhaps, about God’s goodness and faithfulness and loving-kindness. This happens to each of us, in some ways, at some point or other, doesn’t it?
At other times, we sense the grand adventure of the Christian Faith, the great journey of being a follower of our Lord Jesus Christ. We set out on the road, with only our sandles and our staff, no bread except the Bread of Christ, no extra tunic, no GPS but God, no iPod but our prayers, and no briefcase but our hope and passion for the Gospel. We have met Jesus. We have heard his message and are charged with the urgency to share this good news. Likely, this also happens for us in our journey of Faith.
Part of the good news for us is that we have something that the people in Jesus’ hometown did not have (and do remember that his neighbors and family largely DID become leaders in the church after his death and Resurrection!) We have something that even Jesus’ disciples did not have. In this season of Pentecost it is good to remember that Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit and the Church to help sustain our lives. The Church is charged with a great responsibility, and helps us to live into our faithfulness.
Abraham Lincoln asked that the country seek the good by appealing to the “better angels of our natures,” and at its best this is also what the church does. The church is there to do many things, which include providing support, fellowship, hospitality, and to creating space where we remember God in our midst, where we celebrate and give thanks for all that we are and all that we have. Ultimately, the church, of which Emmanuel is a part, is an outgrowth of the love and action of God, and we are an important part of it.
About church, the post-modern troubadour prophet, Garrison Keillor recently said, “the whole meaning of Pentecost is that the church is an extension of the Divine. It’s not just a club of people who all follow certain rules and who all believe the same things. This is actually God’s muscle on earth. We’re here to do God’s work, which is a sobering thought.” (June 6, 2009 Prairie Home Companion) A sobering thought indeed!
There is good work to be done, and it is for us to do, but we need not fear, for God is with us, and constantly gives us strength. So then, if we imagine that the only way to be a missionary is to give up all our possessions, even our extra tunics, but we should remember that we are all charged to live out our Faith in our own places and hometowns (even)! As the sign says when we leave this place, “the mission fields starts here.” Or, as a clergy spouse (with 4 kids) said, “the mission field begins at home.” And it does, of course. And if we have trouble, from time to time, living out this life of blessedness and loving-kindness and hospitality in our homes and work and hometowns, we would do well to remember that even Jesus encountered static in his hometown.
But the gift we learn in the Scriptures is that it is more about God than about us.
It is more about the Faithfulness of Christ, than our sometimes shaky faithfulness in Christ.
There is good work to be done, and it is for us to do.
But, we need not fear, for God is faithful to the end.
God is with us: Emmanuel.
Peace and Blessings,
~The Rev. Peter M. Carey
07 July 2009
As the work of the Covenant group comes to an end, it is marvellous to learn that Archbishop of Canterbury has invited the Rev. A. Katherine Grieb Ph.D., to serve on a new commission, which will have oversight for Anglican ecumenical relationships. Katherine will be joining the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission for Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO).
This is a great honor that has been bestowed on our distinguished colleague. This Commission has important work. With the Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi, primate from Burundi, as the Chair, this group will be the primary vehicle for ecumenical reflection for the entire Anglican Communion. Katherine is the only scholar from the Episcopal Church on this group.
On this day, we celebrate this important work for our Church. We are grateful that Katherine is willing to serve; and we are delighted that the Archbishop of Canterbury has recognized the gift we have in Katherine. She has an exceptional and penetrating mind, deeply grounded in Scripture, and committed to doing what she can to further the kingdom. Please do pray for Katherine as she does this work. It is important part of her service to our church.
The Very Rev Ian Markham
Dean and President
Lots going on in Anaheim at the Episcopal Church's General Convention, but lots going on elsewhere - Rock Point Camp (VT)
Some leaders of the Episcopal Church are meeting in Anaheim, California over the next two weeks and I will be blogging on some reflections on this important meeting, but there are, of course, a lot of good going on in The Episcopal Church - TEC - as well.
Episcopal Summer Camps are wonderful places for young people (of all ages!) to build fellowship, learn about their faith, learn new understandings of community, and hopefully also encountering God through Christ in worship, fun, and fellowship!
I spent many summers at Rock Point Camp in Vermont (then called Rock Point Summer Conferences) on the shores of Lake Champlain in Burlington, VT. I am so glad that the camp is going still thriving and also that they have decided to share photos and reports on the conferences on the Rock Point Camp Blog! To read it click HERE or at http://rpsc.wordpress.com/
Blessings and prayers for all who are participating in Episcopal Church Camps, and especially those at Rock Point!
Peace and Blessings,
~The Rev. Peter M. Carey
04 July 2009
O God, mightily we pray for wisdom, courage, and strength to serve thee and this nation faithfully in the days that lie ahead. Remind us of our duty to promote the general welfare, to secure the blessings of liberty for all, to see to it that justice and compassion reign from sea to shining sea, and that the bountiful resources of a favored land are not only thankfully received but also gladly shared with the whole human family.
From a prayer by William Sloane Coffin, Jr. (1983), quoted in An American Prayer Book, compiled and edited by Christopher L. Webber. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Morehouse Publishing, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. www.morehousepublishing.com
I feel excited and humbled as I begin my work at Emmanuel Church, Greenwood, Virginia. Tomorrow will be my first Sunday as Associate Rector and my first sermon there. I feel a deep sense of gratitude and hopefulness. Send along prayers!
~ The Rev. Peter M. Carey
03 July 2009
In preparation for General Convention, good advice from Dean Knisely, "for my yoke is easy and my burden is light"
I found this on Entangled States blog, very helpful advice....!
Lighten your load
Quick note as I’m finishing up packing up my "office" for the trip to Anaheim.
It turns out that pretty much all the big publications that deputies will need access to on the floor can be downloaded to be stored on a computer. The Blue Book and the Bishop's and Deputies Handbooks are online from the General Convention website. The Report of the Church Pension Group, with the additional information about the proposed resolutions to this coming Convention are found on the CPG.org website here.
Don't forget to grab a copy of the proposed budget here.
And the latest version of the draft schedule appears to be posted here.
PRO TIP: Check out Evernote if you have a blackberry or an iPhone as well as a laptop. You can store any or all of these documents on your laptop and have them synced to your PDA. Very useful to be able to add notes and have the full document available to you no matter where you are. I've been using Evernote for a few months now and I've found it invaluable when I'm traveling.