30 April 2010

Friday prayers

A Prayer Attributed to St. Francis

Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

General Thanksgiving

Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks for all your goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all whom you have made. We bless you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for your immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies, that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up our selves to your service, and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.

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.

29 April 2010

A dresser of sycamore trees - Amos 7:14

7:14Then Amos answered Amaziah, “I am no prophet, nor a prophet’s son; but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees."

28 April 2010

O come, O come, Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.
O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.
O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.
O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.
O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
by Wendell Berry

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion - put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn't go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.
Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front" from
The Country of Marriage, 
copyright © 1973 by Wendell Berry,
reprinted by permission of Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc
. found online HERE

The Guest House, Rumi

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.

 ~ Rumi ~
(The Essential Rumi, version by Coleman Barks)

26 April 2010

The breeze at dawn has secrets

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.
Don't go back to sleep.

From Essential Rumi
by Coleman Barks

25 April 2010

Easter 4 Sermon

The Rev. Peter M. Carey
Emmanuel Episcopal Church
Fourth Sunday of Easter Sermon
25 April 2010 

Have you heard the news…?

You have been given this day, we have been given this day, perhaps even 24 new hours, to live.  To see glimpses of God's love for us, to experience and share it.

24 new hours.

A gift.

Do we see it this way?  Do we fall into the trap (idolatry) of thinking that we have a fundamental right to this day, ... week, ... year, ... decade and beyond?  A gift, a gift of life.  We have been given this day, can we live in gratitude?

We have a finite amount of time here together, and this is but a temporary home before we go to our ultimate home.  Until then, however, in this time and this place, there may be glimpses and signs of the greater home of the greater glory, of our own deeper reality.  

In the Acts reading today, the widows in the followers of the "way of Jesus" beg Peter to come quickly and raise Tabitha from the dead.  We know that Tabitha was a woman devoted to good works and acts of charity, and the widows had been recipients of her good works and compassion.  They came to Peter not unlike Mary and Martha who came to Jesus and begged to have Jesus bring Lazarus back from the dead.  Here, Peter goes to Tabitha, and through him, God raises her from the dead.  This act is but one of many miraculous acts that we hear about in the lectionary during this season of Easter.  These acts inspire many to become followers and believers to the “way of Jesus.”  

Read the rest HERE

Easter 4...what a beautiful day!

Easter 4 Sermon Preview

23 April 2010

When an alien resides with you

"When an alien resides with you in your land, 
you shall not oppress the alien. 
The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; 
you shall love the alien as yourself, 
for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: 
I am the Lord your God" 
~Lev 19:33-34a

22 April 2010

This fragile earth, our island home

To laugh often and much

“To laugh often and much; 
to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...
to leave the world a better place...
to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. 
This is to have succeeded.”

---Ralph Waldo Emerson

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day!

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, 
where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul." 

John Muir 

21 April 2010

Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury

Almighty God, you raised up your servant Anselm to teach the Church of his day to understand its faith in your eternal Being, perfect justice, and saving mercy: Provide your Church in every age with devout and learned scholars and teachers, that we may be able to give a reason for the hope that is in us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, for ever and ever. Amen.

20 April 2010

The moment God is figured out

The moment God is figured out 
with nice neat lines and definitions, 
we are no longer dealing with God.

~Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith

hat tip to Deep Church Blog
and Frank Logue at Irenic Thoughts 

13 April 2010

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.

John 14:18- 27 (NRSV)

18 "I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. 19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them." 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, "Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?" 23 Jesus answered him, "Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.

25 "I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.

12 April 2010

Easter 2 Sermon

Easter 2 Sermon
The Rev. Peter M. Carey
Emmanuel Episcopal Church
11 April 2010

Jesus enters the house of fear and doubt.  In the moment of his entry, can we imagine Jesus standing in the midst of us, looking at us and seeing us in the way only God does?  Jesus says to them, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."  Our fear and doubt is put away. 
Then, like the breath of God over the face of the waters in the beginning of time, he breathes on us.   In Genesis, God created the natural world with his breath.  “Ruah!” Here in the house of fear and doubt, Jesus creates the new, spiritual life of his re-created disciples, us, re-created to do mission in the world.  Jesus says to us, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." 
Jesus, who is sent (Apostello) by the Father, forgives and “sends away” (Aphiemie) sins.  Jesus is sent by the father so that Jesus might send away the sins of the world.  Jesus does this work initially through the disciples who are locked up in that house of fear and doubt.  Jesus breathes new life into us and sends us out to send away sins. 
In John’s Gospel, this is where the Holy Spirit makes its appearance.  It is here, in the community of the faithful that this third person of the Trinity enters, in order to empower, to encourage, and to transform these fearful individuals into a body of God’s faithful people.  From this upper room, locked with fear, the church is born. 

Read the rest HERE 

Easter 2

Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ's Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

10 April 2010

Saturday in Easter Week

We thank you, heavenly Father, that you have delivered us from the dominion of sin and death and brought us into the kingdom of your Son; and we pray that, as by his death he has recalled us to life, so by his love he may raise us to eternal joys; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

09 April 2010

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Pastor and Martyr ,9 April 1945

On this Friday of Easter Week, we also remember the life and work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was assassinated 65 years ago today by the NAZIs.  He was a brilliant theologian, gifted pastor, and a martyr for the Faith.  I've posted just a few quotes that were some of the organizing principles for my Master's Thesis on Ecclesiology ... take a moment to give thanks for Bonhoeffer and his life and witness.

“The church is the hidden Christ among us.”[1] 
~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God is concerned not only with the nations, but has a purpose for every community no matter how small, every friendship, every marriage, every family.  And in this sense God also has a purpose for the church.  There is not only the culpability of individual Germans and individual Christians, but also the culpability of Germany and of the church.  It is not enough for individuals to repent and be justified; Germany and the church must likewise repent and be justified.[2]

We are certainly not Christ; we are not called on to redeem the world by our own deeds and sufferings, and we need not try to assume such an impossible burden.  We are not lords, but instruments in the hand of the Lord of history; and we can share in other people’s sufferings only to a very limited degree.  We are not Christ, but if we want to be Christians, we must have some share in Christ’s large-heartedness by acting with responsibility and in freedom when the hour of danger comes, and by showing a real sympathy that springs, not from fear, but from the liberating and redeeming love of Christ for all who suffer.  Mere waiting and looking on is not Christian behaviour.  The Christian is called to sympathy and action, not in the first place by his own sufferings, but by the sufferings of his brethren, for whose sake Christ suffered.[3]

[1] Bonhoeffer, Dietrich No Rusty Swords : Letters, Lectures and Notes – 1928-1936- From the Collected Works, Volume I (Collins, London: 1965), 68.

[2] Bonhoeffer, Dietrich Sanctorum Communio: A Theological Study of the Sociology of the Church (Minneapolis, Fortress: 1998), 119.

[3] Bonhoeffer, Dietrich Letters and Papers from Prison, New Greatly Enlarged Edition (New York, Touchstone: 1997), 14.

Friday in Easter Week

A Collect for Friday in Easter Week

Almighty Father, who gave your only Son to die for our sins and to rise for our justification: Give us grace so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness, that we may always serve you in pureness of living and truth; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

08 April 2010

Easter Week - Bp. of Haiti's Easter Message

This is a must-read!  Just beautiful!!

~The Rev. Peter M. Carey

Msgr. Jean Zache DURACIN
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti
From Episcopal Life, Online
"Alleluia, He is risen"
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, 
The devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010, does not stop us from singing in joy and gladness, "Alleluia, He is risen" in this Easter season. We have been especially affected this Lent as the awful odors from the many bodies have invaded us and invaded us again. As we reflect on biblical themes such as repentance, conversion, forgiveness, we remember as well a relative, a friend, one who was close to us, all of whom, in most cases, were denied funeral ceremonies where we could say goodbye with human dignity. Thus, crossing the desert has been and still is long and extremely difficult. With millions of people without proper shelter, without work, living in desperate conditions, the situation is truly lamentable.
However, it is necessary that life continue. This is indeed why we celebrate the resurrection of Christ. His resurrection is a sign that God can give life even to dry bones (Ezekiel 37:3-6). God is a God of life, a life that flows from his love for humanity, a love that is embodied in his Son Jesus Christ. The Gospel according to St. John tells us: "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). If in ancient times, Easter means the passage from slavery in Egypt to the promised land of Israel, in Jesus Christ, it signifies instead the passage from death to life. We have this symbolism in the administration of our baptism into Him where we die with Him in our sins, to be resurrected with Him in glory. This greeting is what he came to bring us from the Father.
By celebrating Christmas, we say welcome in our heart, in our body, in our soul and in our mind. This is the way we say, "The Lord is with all Haitians." As it is written in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 10:34-36, "Peter spoke up and said: 'Now I truly understand that God shows no partiality. In every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. He sent a message to the people of Israel, the Good News of the peace of Jesus Christ who is Lord of all.'"
Even though we are in trouble, we are not alone. We have to put our faith in action so that the Lord can come deliver us, because he is not far from us, he is in us and he is among us. He is suffering with us, so he can lift us up to rejoice. So we have to be just, we have to love one another, in solidarity, in fraternity, with respect for each other and with respect for our environment, for we cannot destroy God's marvelous creation. For God can take pleasure in us, and his life can grow in us and for us, for all time. We don't have to kill one another, or do bad things to each other. On the contrary, the stronger must lend a hand to the one who is weaker and return respect so that we all can move on to rebuild our country, so we can develop societally, spiritually and morally. This is the salvation in Jesus Christ where life is abundant.
Dear friends in the faith, we can no longer continue to look for Jesus among the dead (Luke 24:5), we can no longer remain in tears because of our dead, because, if during their earthly life, they knew love, their place is in the Kingdom with the Lord to reign with Him in His eternal glory. Our main prayer for this season must be this: "God Almighty, by the victory of your only Son over death, you open for us the doors to eternity; we pray to you, as we celebrate with joy the day of the resurrection of the Lord, that your Spirit, which gives life, resurrects us from the death of sin. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever."
While we all sing together, "Alleluia, He is risen," I say to each and every one of you: A Joyous Easter.

Thursday in Easter Week

Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ's Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

07 April 2010

Wednesday in Easter Week

Wednesday in Easter Week

O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Tuesday in Easter Week

Easter is 50 Days!!

A Collect for Tuesday in Easter Week

O God, who by the glorious resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light: Grant that we, who have been raised with him, may abide in his presence and rejoice in the hope of eternal glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be dominion and praise for ever and ever. Amen.

Monday in Easter Week

A few days late, but a reminder that Easter is 50 Days!

Collect for Monday in Easter Week

Grant, we pray, Almighty God, that we who celebrate with awe the Paschal feast may be found worthy to attain to everlasting joys; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Be not angry

Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, 
since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.

~Thomas A` Kempis (1380-1471)

06 April 2010

Deep Church (Pub) Theology Group meets on April 12

Deep Church (Pub) Theology Group will meet at Blue Mountain Brewery on Monday April 12 at 7pm to discuss CS Lewis's "Screwtape Letters"...join us!!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

04 April 2010

Easter at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Greenwood, VA

Happy Easter - & the Four fold Franciscan Blessing


Four - Fold Franciscan Blessing

May God bless us with discomfort at easy answers,
half truths, and superficial relationships,
so that we may live deep within our hearts. Amen.

May God bless us with anger at injustice,
oppression, and exploitation of people
so that we may work for justice, freedom and peace. Amen.

May God bless us with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain,
rejection, starvation and war,
so that we may reach out your hand to comfort them
and to turn their pain into joy. Amen.

May God bless us with enough foolishness
to believe that we can make a difference in this world,
so that we can do what others claim cannot be done. Amen.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

03 April 2010

Holy Saturday

O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

02 April 2010

Good Friday Sermon

Good Friday Sermon
2 April 2010
The Rev. Peter M. Carey
Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Greenwood, VA

Last night, Jesus asked his disciples to sit with him and pray. As difficult as that was, this moment is the more difficult one in which to sit. Can we sit with Jesus? The rush to Easter. Of course, like many children, waiting upon Easter candy, we long for Easter, for resurrection, for hope after times of hopelessness, we long for blessing after times that feel like curses, we long for the end of our grieving.

However, as the three day feast of the Triduum began last night with Maundy Thursday, and continued through the overnight vigil, and continues to this very moment in Good Friday, and continues through tomorrow, Holy Saturday and then Easter Sunday – this three days is an opportunity to remember, reflect, pray, and yes, even grieve.

As we know, grieving is a part of the process of life. As much as life is full of growth, and abundance and hope, we also know that there are so many necessary losses in life, and to allow ourselves to grieve is essential for living abundant lives.

When Jesus said in John 10:10 that “I have come, so that you might have life, and have it abundantly,” he did not promise that it would all be tiptoeing through the tulips. As we find ourselves here, in this holy place, on this holy time in the church year, we are offered the opportunity to bring our grief, disappointment, fear, and pain to the cross.

We are offered the opportunity to unload our burdens here, and we are offered the opportunity to grieve our losses and sadness. We are offered the opportunity to grieve for those who we carry in our hearts and minds.

While we know the Easter story, it is most helpful to set the ending of the story aside so as to fully experience this moment in this place. When we approach Good Friday and the terrible story of the crucifixion and death of Jesus, we are reminded of other deaths. When we contemplate this death, we can’t help but reflect upon those who have died, and the many emotions which we felt upon their deaths.
When we attend any funeral, we are reminded of other deaths. This is also likely to happen today. The sadness, pain, guilt, and even the relief that we might have felt may come over us at any funeral might also wash over us today.

Allow it to come. Allow yourself to grieve, as much as you can. The reading of the Passion account on Palm Sunday and the reading of the Passion a few moments ago is one of those deep and abiding stories that allow us to go deeply into the story. When we can locate ourselves in it, as Peter denying the Lord, as the crowd, as the calculating Pilate, as the disciples running away, at times we are any or all of these. We are also invited to grieve with the women who loved Jesus. Allow yourself to grieve.

The grief of Good Friday sets the stage for the rest of the story to come. But we don’t want to rush the ending. The cross of Good Friday is the bridge to the rest of the story, don’t look for a way
around it. Allowing ourselves some time to grieve, and to be with those women in grief, also gives us the opportunity to lay our burden down at the cross. “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Through what he willingly endured on the cross, as the pure victim, Jesus himself becomes the bridge between earth and heaven. Regardless of our debates about the Atonement, we can affirm that Jesus bridges the gap between our humanity and God.
Atonement can be seen as “At” – “one” – “ment”, that is “On earth as it is in heaven.” But here, I am getting ahead of our story.

Good Friday is only Good when viewed from the end. While in the midst of it, the story seems to have little good within it, and so we do grieve, along with the women, and with the beloved disciple, we grieve. We grieve for this death as we grieve for any death, but we have the sense that there is a glimmer of hope that within this terrible darkness, there is a glimmer of light.

When we are able to grieve for this terrible death on the cross, we are approaching some small piece of the work that Jesus did for us on the cross. When we visit friends who are going through a rough patch, we bring with us our own times of struggle. When we enter the hospital room to be with those who are suffering, we bring with us our own history of suffering. When we cry for one who is dying, we are also crying for all those whose lives that we knew and for whom we mourn. When we attend a funeral, we also get close to not only the deaths we have seen, but also our own contemplation of our death. We carry these struggles, sufferings, cryings, sadness, deaths with us.

On this day, on this cross, Jesus does this work in spades. One who has no reason for enduring this suffering has taken it up for us. And just as we compassionately carry suffering, Jesus takes it ALL up with him. The cross is the bridge from Good Friday to Easter Sunday and Jesus carries the burden of suffering and death. While it may seem impossible it is not. “Impossible for humankind, possible for God.” The cross, the object of derision and curse becomes the object of glory, and life. The story might have ended here, but God had another end in mind. But, the road to the end passes through this place, and this time, this cross - even as unbelievable as that may seem to much of the world. “What others meant for Evil, God turned into Good.”

Vigil on Maundy Thursday & Good Friday

Vigil on Maundy Thursday & Good Friday at Emmanuel Episcopal Church

Good Friday

Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.