31 December 2009

Happy New Year!

Wishing you peace, blessings, fun, love, healing, and justice in this new year!

The Guest House

The Guest House 

This being human is a guest house. 
Every morning a new arrival. 

A joy, a depression, a meanness, 
some momentary awareness comes 
as an unexpected visitor. 

Welcome and entertain them all! 
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows, 
who violently sweep your house 
empty of its furniture, 
still, treat each guest honorably. 
He may be clearing you out 
for some new delight. 

The dark thought, the shame, the malice, 
meet them at the door laughing, 
and invite them in. 

Be grateful for whoever comes, 
because each has been sent 
as a guide from beyond.

(The Essential Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks)

New years day nap

New Year's Day Nap

Fiesta Bowl on low.
My son lying here on the couch
on the "Dad" pillow he made for me
in the Seventh Grade. Now a sophomore
at Georgia Southern, driving back later today,
he sleeps with his white top hat over his face.

I'm a dancin' fool.

Twenty years ago, half the form
he sleeps within came out of nowhere
with a million micro-lemmings who all died but one
piercer of membrane, specially picked to start a brainmaking,
egg-drop soup, that stirred two sun and moon centers
for a new-painted sky in the tiniest
ballroom imaginable.

Now he's rousing, six feet long,
turning on his side. Now he's gone.

by Coleman Barks
from Gourd Seed

Archaic Torso of Apollo

Archaic Torso of Apollo 
by Rainer Maria Rilke
Translated by Stephen Mitchell

We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside,
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,

gleams in all its power. Otherwise
the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could 
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs
to that dark center where procreation flared.

Otherwise this stone would seem defaced
beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders
and would not glisten like a wild beast's fur:

would not, from all the borders of itself,
burst like a star: for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.

The Journey of the Magi

The Journey of the Magi
T.S. Eliot

"A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The was deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter."
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires gong out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty, and charging high prices.:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we lead all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I have seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

+++Rowan stars in a silent movie for Christmas

I have to admit that I missed this little video of the Archbishop of Canterbury decorating the Lambeth Palace Christmas Tree with a group of primary school children.  The video is sped up, akin to a silent movie - and it is quite good.  It was posted on December 10th, but only 149 people had viewed it as of today - strange.  In any event, check it out:

~The Rev. Peter M. Carey

"St Stephen's C of E Primary School visited the Archbishop at Lambeth Palace on 3 December 2009 for a questions and answers session and to decorate the Christmas tree.

The Christmas trees at Lambeth Palace were provided by "Tomorrow's People" a charity which supports unemployed young people in Lambeth by teaching business and enterprise skills. For more information about Tomorrow's People click here: www.tomorrows-people.org.uk/

The tree decorations were hand made by pupils of St. Stephen's C of E Primary in Vauxhall. The trees were decorated by some of the children from St. Stephen's who were ably assisted by Archbishop Rowan.

The school children had a chance to speak to Archbishop Rowan and to ask questions about his role in the Church of England. Their questions included; "how many churches to you own?" "Do you play football on your days off?" and "who is your boss?""

Stopping by woods on a snowy evening

The snow remains, even here in central Virginia.  For this Vermonter, this Green Mountain boy, it is a wonderful thing, and reminds me of one of my many favorite poems by Robert Frost

~The Rev. Peter M. Carey

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

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

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

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Robert Frost New Hamphsire, 1923

30 December 2009

Shout for joy!

Psalm 20

May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble, *
the Name of the God of Jacob defend you;
Send you help from his holy place *
and strengthen you out of Zion;
Remember all your offerings *
and accept your burnt sacrifice;
Grant you your heart's desire *
and prosper all your plans.
We will shout for joy at your victory
and triumph in the Name of our God; *
may the LORD grant all your requests.
Now I know that the LORD gives victory to his anointed; *
he will answer him out of his holy heaven,
with the victorious strength of his right hand.
Some put their trust in chariots and some in horses, *
but we will call upon the Name of the LORD our God.
They collapse and fall down, *
but we will arise and stand upright.
O LORD, give victory to the king *
and answer us when we call.

29 December 2009

Readings for Sunday, Christmas II

O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Jeremiah 31:7-14

Thus says the LORD:

Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob,
and raise shouts for the chief of the nations;
proclaim, give praise, and say,
"Save, O LORD, your people,
the remnant of Israel."
See, I am going to bring them from the land of the north,
and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth,
among them the blind and the lame, those with child and
those in labor, together;
a great company, they shall return here.
With weeping they shall come,
and with consolations I will lead them back,
I will let them walk by brooks of water,
in a straight path in which they shall not stumble;
for I have become a father to Israel,
and Ephraim is my firstborn.
Hear the word of the LORD, O nations,
and declare it in the coastlands far away;
say, "He who scattered Israel will gather him,
and will keep him as a shepherd a flock."
For the LORD has ransomed Jacob,
and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him.
They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion,
and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the LORD,
over the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and over the young of the flock and the herd;
their life shall become like a watered garden,
and they shall never languish again.
Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance,
and the young men and the old shall be merry.
I will turn their mourning into joy,
I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.
I will give the priests their fill of fatness,
and my people shall be satisfied with my bounty,

says the LORD.

Psalm 84  Page 707, BCP

Quam dilecta!

How dear to me is your dwelling, O LORD of hosts! * My soul has a desire and longing for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God.
The sparrow has found her a house and the swallow a nest where she may lay her young; * by the side of your altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God.
Happy are they who dwell in your house! * they will always be praising you.
Happy are the people whose strength is in you! * whose hearts are set on the pilgrims' way.
Those who go through the desolate valley will find it a place of springs, * for the early rains have covered it with pools of water.
They will climb from height to height, * and the God of gods will reveal himself in Zion.
LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; * hearken, O God of Jacob.
Behold our defender, O God; * and look upon the face of your Anointed.
For one day in your courts is better than a thousand in my own room, * and to stand at the threshold of the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of the wicked.
For the LORD God is both sun and shield; * he will give grace and glory;
No good thing will the LORD withhold * from those who walk with integrity.
O LORD of hosts, * happy are they who put their trust in you!

Ephesians 1:3-6,15-19a

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe.

Matthew 2:1-12

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, "Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage." When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:

`And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd my people Israel.'"

Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage." When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

27 December 2009

Wonderful Christmas Sermon by Rowan Williams

I found this sermon by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, to be quite amazing and moving.

Check it out!

~The Rev. Peter M. Carey

Archbishop of Canterbury's Christmas sermon at Canterbury Cathedral

25 December 2009

This morning’s reading from the Letter to the Hebrews begins with the boldest and most unambiguous statement possible of what’s new and different about Christmas. God has always been communicating with humanity, in any number of ways; but what we need from God is more than just information. The climax of the story is the sending of a Son: when all has been said and done on the level of information what still needs to be made clear to us is that the point of it all is relationship. God speaks at last through a Son, so that we can grasp the fact that really knowing God, really responding to his Word of promise and life, is a matter of relationship. It’s becoming God’s child. And the consequence is that we ourselves learn to speak and act in such a way that others want to share that relationship.
The Son, says the writer to the Hebrews, is the heir of all creation; the Son is the lifegiving principle of all reality; the Son radiates and reflects the unimaginable beauty and light of the source from which he comes. When the Son is born among us, what happens is that this unlimited, unending torrent of light and glory, of intelligence and order and loving contemplation is poured into the container of a human mind and body. Through what he then does in that human mind and body, the possibilities for human life are changed for ever, and we are invited into the same place in heaven that the Son occupies for ever – the place that St John’s gospel defines as ‘ nearest to the Father’s heart’. And the letter-writer triumphantly claims that our human destiny is thus to be even closer to God than the angels are. Christian poets and thinkers have often imagined the angels looking at us with amazement – such very unpromising material, such limited capacities, such a genius for self-deception and pettiness, yet promised such a future.
Relationship is the new thing at Christmas, the new possibility of being related to God as Jesus was and is. But here’s the catch and the challenge. To come into this glorious future is to learn how to be dependent on God. And that word tends to have a chilly feel for us, especially us who are proudly independent moderns....
Read the rest HERE

25 December 2009

24 December 2009 - Christmas Eve Sermon

Christmas Eve Sermon
24 December 2009
The Rev. Peter M. Carey
Emmanuel Episcopal Church

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness –
on them light has shined.
For unto us a child is born,
unto us a son is given.
~Isaiah 9

Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it.
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the Lord.

“I bring you good tidings of great joy which should be for all people.”
~Luke 2:10

Light – the light of heaven has been lit here on the face of the earth.  A deep and abiding light that shined only in the heavenly courts has been sent to earth, and once here, this light lasts forever.  As earlier peoples sought comfort in the returning light of the Sun, God has sent a Son who is the light who comforts all peoples.  Here, in this feast of Christmas, the feast of the Incarnation, we celebrate and recognize the light that has been sent into the world, a light that brings hope to our hopelessness, a light that gives courage to our fearfulness, a light that gives joy to joylessness.  God has stooped down and reached down into the manger in Bethlehem to become known in the world.  God has stooped down and brought light to the world in the baby Jesus.  God has stooped down and lit every candle of every heart with a fire that is ever-present, always warming, and never extinguished.  The people who have walked in darkness have seen a great light, those who lived in a land of deep darkness, on them light has shined.

And we are they!

Whether or not we always feel this light in our hearts, the light is there.  Whether or not we always see the light, the light is there.  The magic of Christmas includes glimmers of that light in various forms and in surprising places and spaces.  We may look back to Christmases past feel something quite deep and rich that we haven’t felt in a long time.  We may remember the gift of a present under the tree, or the gift of a grandparent’s presence and love for us, giving us glimmers of the gift of God’s presence in our lives.  We may watch one of many holiday tv shows and find ourselves getting choked up when the Grinch’s heart grows three times that day. 

“He didn’t stop Christmas from coming, it came just the same!”  There is a deep and abiding power of the Spirit that can feel more alive, and more tangible in this holiday time.  This deep and abiding power can lead us to wonderful and joyful places.  Conversely, this deep and abiding power can lead us to places of sadness, and the blues.  But this too, can be a gift to us, perhaps helping us to focus our attention on what really matters, perhaps allowing us to remember that though we go through peaks and valleys, the miracle of Christmas is that God is with us always – God with us – Emmanuel.

New song - and so, we sing a new song, we “sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.”  God is with us, and we rejoice. We light lights and we sing songs, and the psalmist reminds us to sing to the Lord a new song.  This song is a song of hope, a song of rejoicing, a song of glory for the Lord.  This song is a song that everything in the whole creation sings.  The sea roars, the field exults, and everything in it.  And even the trees, the trees!  This new song is sung by even the trees, “all the trees of the forest sing for joy, before the Lord.”  All of creation sings for joy for this new song, this new reality that has been brought down to the world.  As sunshine covers the world, so God’s grace and love covers us, and the entire creation. 

The trees and all the creation sings for joy.  How strange you might say.  But then, C.S. Lewis puts language into the mouths of animals in his Narnia books.  There, the snow covered the entire land of Narnia because the Lord had not returned.  Snow covers the earth because Aslan had not yet returned, but the animals, and the entire land awaits his coming.  All of the land sings for joy when they hear that “Aslan is on the move!” 

The deep and abiding power of Aslan is a deep power that is beyond the paltry magic of the White Witch.  The deep and abiding power of Aslan is warmer, and richer, and stronger than any magic we might imagine.  It passes human understanding.  It is like the warm sun shining upon an icy driveway.  God’s love and deep care for us is like a sunny 85 degree day after a long and icy winter freeze.  If you’ve spent any time trying to chip away at the snow and ice, you will find that all your efforts are eclipsed by the warmth of the sun.  We can spend a lot of time and energy trying to chip away at our own ice and chilliness, but God’s grace will blast it all to bits.

“Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord.”  We sing this new song as we are willing to receive the grace and allow it to transform our lives.  We sing with joy as we remember the gift of this night.  We sing with joy to behold the presence of God in Jesus in the humble manger.  We sing with joy to behold him among us. 

Joy – the birth of Jesus is the decisive fulfillment of that “always coming” reign of God – and yet we still look forward to the fullness of that reign when Christ will come in glory. 

“For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which should be to all people, to you is born in the city of David, a savior which is Christ the Lord, and this shall be a sign unto you: you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

“I bring you good tidings of great joy which should be for all people.”

May the light of the Lord shine bright in dark places, illuminating your hearts, giving you deep joy so that you may sing a new song, for unto you is born this day a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. Amen.

O come let us adore him

O come let us adore him

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from the newsteam at Episcopal Cafe!

Christmas Choristers at Salisbury Cathedral

Choiristers at Salisbury Cathedral (UK) - in The Guardian (UK)

Merry Christmas! 12 Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
A partridge in a pear tree.

On the second day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the third day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the ninth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the tenth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eleventh day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the twelfth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Twelve drummers drumming,
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree! 

23 December 2009

Merry Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas Eve...

Photo of the Cathedral Shrine of the Transfiguration at Shrine Mont, Orkney Springs, Virginia
Photo by Carolyn Moomaw Chilton - hat tip to John Chilton and Episcopal Cafe

Bishop Shannon Johnston - Have a merry & a holy Christmas!

Bishop Shannon Johnston of the Diocese of Virginia wishes for a merry and a holy Christmas!

"Knowing Jesus as a part of your life this Christmas season."

22 December 2009

Christmas Canon - #3 - In the bleak midwinter

I love this song, growing up in New England, the midwinter was bleak, and Christmas was a bright time in the midst of it.  The life for Jews in the Roman Empire was also bleak (far bleaker than New England winters!), and the Incarnation of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem was an inbreaking of an entirely bright time the midst of the darkness.  This song bring tears to my eyes and I love hearing it and singing it; so deep, so rich, such a gift.

~The Rev. Peter M. Carey

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

Words: Christina Rossetti, 1872
Music: CranhamGustav T. Holst, 1906

Sing the glory

Psalm 66 Jubilate Deo

Be joyful in God, all you lands; *
sing the glory of his Name;
sing the glory of his praise.
Say to God, "How awesome are your deeds! *
because of your great strength your enemies cringe before you.
All the earth bows down before you, *
sings to you, sings out your Name."
Come now and see the works of God, *
how wonderful he is in his doing toward all people.
He turned the sea into dry land,
so that they went through the water on foot, *
and there we rejoiced in him.
In his might he rules for ever;
his eyes keep watch over the nations; *
let no rebel rise up against him.
Bless our God, you peoples; *
make the voice of his praise to be heard;
Who holds our souls in life, *
and will not allow our feet to slip.

21 December 2009

Handel's Messiah by mute monks

...snowed in? cooped up? got whiny kids? whiny partner?  feeling the Holiday grumps?

...check this out...

St Francis de la Sissies:  

a rare mute monk order from Molalla Oregon performing the Hallelujah Chorus

20 December 2009

Read and pray the Magnificat!

Well, for many people, this Sunday is one in which we can find a way to pray and meditate on the Scriptures in the cozy comfort of our homes.  So, make sure to spend a few moments to worship today, whether you are able to be "at church" or not.  Because "the church" is not merely the place that may or may not be totally snowed in today, rather, "the church" is the people of God...even if we may be scattered physically, even if we are on Facebook (!), even if we are blogging, even if we are reading our Bible, taking care of our loved ones, and playing in the snow, helping those in need, or mourning a loss.

So, today, be the Church, wherever you may be.  A good place to spend some time is to read and reflect on the Magnificat!

But first, the Collect for today:

The Collect for the 4th Sunday of Advent
Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Song of Mary Magnificat
Luke 1:46-55
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
    for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
    the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
    in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, *
    he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
    and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, *
    and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *
    for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers, *
    to Abraham and his children for ever.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
    as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

My friend Steve at Draughting Theology has found through some online research that the verb tense in the Magnificat is one that does not merely connote the "past," but rather a tense in Greek that has to do with the fact that God did these things in the past, is doing these things now, and will be doing these things always.  So, when you read "He has," this really should be read "He has, and is still doing, and will always be doing..."

I wonder how this way of reading the Magnificat might change the way we hear it, the way we understand it, and the way we live out this prayer.  Because, for sure that one of the most important aspects of Christmas and the Incarnation is not that God became human in Jesus once in the past, but that God has now made the world God's home.  God is no longer merely a distant and transcendent God, but is a God that has become human, and remains an integral and living force in the world.

Have a blessed day!

~The Rev. Peter M. Carey

19 December 2009

Morning Prayer for Sunday, December 20th...

Due to the weather, Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Greenwood, VA will not be meeting on Sunday, December 20th together at the church building, but you can still say Morning Prayer on your own or with your family and friends.  You can use the Book of Common Prayer to say Morning Prayer (if you have it handy), or you can click on the link below for an online version of the service.  I have also posted the texts below if you want to use them.


If you have a chance, take a few minutes to say the "Daily Office" of Morning Prayer and we will be joining in worship with other members from afar.

Peace and Blessings, and I pray that you are safe and snug!

Morning Prayer - December 20th, 2009 according to the Book of Common Prayer

Opening Sentence

In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Isaiah 40:3

Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.
Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.
Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life. Amen.
Invitatory Advent
Lord, open our lips.
And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
Our King and Savior now draws near: Come let us adore him.


Come let us sing to the Lord; *
let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving *
and raise a loud shout to him with psalms.
For the Lord is a great God, *
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the caverns of the earth, *
and the heights of the hills are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it, *
and his hands have molded the dry land.
Come, let us bow down, and bend the knee, *
and kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand. *

Oh, that today you would hearken to his voice!

Our King and Savior now draws near: Come let us adore him.

Psalm 24 Domini est terra

The earth is the LORD'S and all that is in it, *
the world and all who dwell therein.
For it is he who founded it upon the seas *
and made it firm upon the rivers of the deep.
"Who can ascend the hill of the LORD? *
and who can stand in his holy place?"
"Those who have clean hands and a pure heart, *
who have not pledged themselves to falsehood,
nor sworn by what is a fraud.
They shall receive a blessing from the LORD *
and a just reward from the God of their salvation."
Such is the generation of those who seek him, *
of those who seek your face, O God of Jacob.
Lift up your heads, O gates;
lift them high, O everlasting doors; *
and the King of glory shall come in.
"Who is this King of glory?" *
"The LORD, strong and mighty,
the LORD, mighty in battle."
Lift up your heads, O gates;
lift them high, O everlasting doors; *
and the King of glory shall come in.
"Who is he, this King of glory?" *
"The LORD of hosts,
he is the King of glory."

Psalm 29 Afferte Domino

Ascribe to the LORD, you gods, *
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his Name; *
worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
The voice of the LORD is upon the waters;
the God of glory thunders; *
the LORD is upon the mighty waters.
The voice of the LORD is a powerful voice; *
the voice of the LORD is a voice of splendor.
The voice of the LORD breaks the cedar trees; *
the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon;
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, *
and Mount Hermon like a young wild ox.
The voice of the LORD splits the flames of fire;
the voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; *
the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the LORD makes the oak trees writhe *
and strips the forests bare.
And in the temple of the LORD *
all are crying, "Glory!"
The LORD sits enthroned above the flood; *
the LORD sits enthroned as King for evermore.
The LORD shall give strength to his people; *
the LORD shall give his people the blessing of peace.

Gloria Patri

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Old Testament Lesson

Gen 3:8-15 (NRSV)
8They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
9 But the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, 'Where are you?' 10He said, 'I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.'
11 He said, 'Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?' 12The man said, 'The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.' 13Then the LORD God said to the woman, 'What is this that you have done?' The woman said, 'The serpent tricked me, and I ate.'
14 The LORD God said to the serpent, 'Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.'
The Word of the Lord.

    Thanks be to God.
Canticle 11 The Third Song of Isaiah
Surge, illuminare Isaiah 60:1-3, 11a, 14c, 18-19

Arise, shine, for your light has come, *
and the glory of the Lord has dawned upon you.
For behold, darkness covers the land; *
deep gloom enshrouds the peoples.

But over you the Lord will rise, *
and his glory will appear upon you.

Nations will stream to your light, *
and kings to the brightness of your dawning.

Your gates will always be open; *
by day or night they will never be shut.

They will call you, The City of the Lord, *
The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

Violence will no more be heard in your land, *
ruin or destruction within your borders.

You will call your walls, Salvation, *
and all your portals, Praise.

The sun will no more be your light by day; *
by night you will not need the brightness of the moon.

The Lord will be your everlasting light, *
and your God will be your glory.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

New Testament Lesson

Rev. 12:1-10 (NRSV)
A great portent appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. 2She was pregnant and was crying out in birthpangs, in the agony of giving birth. 3Then another portent appeared in heaven: a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. 4His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born. 5And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. But her child was snatched away and taken to God and to his throne; 6and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, so that there she can be nourished for one thousand two hundred sixty days. 7And war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, 8but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world-he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, proclaiming, 'Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Messiah, for the accuser of our comrades has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.
The Word of the Lord.

    Thanks be to God.

John 3:16-21 (NRSV)
16'For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 17'Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.'
The Word of the Lord.

    Thanks be to God.

Canticle 21 You are God

Te Deum laudamus

You are God: we praise you;
You are the Lord; we acclaim you;
You are the eternal Father:
All creation worships you.
To you all angels, all the powers of heaven,
Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you.
The noble fellowship of prophets praise you.
The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.
Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you;
Father, of majesty unbounded,
your true and only Son, worthy of all worship,
and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory,
the eternal Son of the Father.
When you became man to set us free
you did not shun the Virgin's womb.
You overcame the sting of death
and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.
You are seated at God's right hand in glory.
We believe that you will come and be our judge.
Come then, Lord, and help your people,
bought with the price of your own blood,
and bring us with your saints
to glory everlasting.

Apostles' Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done, on earth as it is in
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass
against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance;
Govern and uphold them, now and always.
Day by day we bless you;
We praise your name for ever.
Lord, keep us from all sin today;
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.
Lord, show us your love and mercy;
For we put our trust in you.
In you, Lord, is our hope;

And we shall never hope in vain.

Collect of the Day: Fourth Sunday of Advent

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

O come, O come, Emmanuel

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 Karaoke (Quicktime)

(one verse introduction)
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here,
until the Child of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to you, O Israel!

O come, you Wisdom from on high,
who orders all things mightily;
to us the way of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to you, O Israel!

O come, O come, You God of might,
who to Your tribes on Zi on's height
in ancient times did give the law,
in cloud, and majesty, and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to you, O Israel!

O come, Desire of nations, bind
in one the hearts of all our kind;
now bid our sad divisions cease,
and bring to us the wonder of your peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to you, O Israel!

Music: Veni Emmanuel (15th C)
Words: Andrew of Milan (4th C)

Sequence: Martha Decker http:deckernet.comshedxmasmidi.htm

A Prayer of St. Chrysostom
Almighty God, you have given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplication to you; and you have promised through your well-beloved Son that when two or three are gathered together in his Name you will be in the midst of them: Fulfill now, O Lord, our desires and petitions as may be best for us; granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the age to come life everlasting. Amen.