30 September 2011

Let the earth keep silence

The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.
~Habakkuk 2:20

29 September 2011

Starsia Announces UVa Men's Lacrosse Team Captains for 2012

Starsia Announces UVa Men's Lacrosse Team Captains for 2012
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Virginia head coach Dom Starsia announced that midfielder Colin Briggs, defenseman Chris Clements, midfielder Matt Kugler, and attackman Steele Stanwick have been selected as team captains for the 2012 campaign.

"I am very pleased to announce our captains for the 2011-2012 academic year," said Starsia. "I have been blessed throughout a long career to have worked closely with some outstanding young men who have served in this capacity. The value of true leadership was never more evident than in this past 2011 National Championship season. Being a captain is neither a popularity contest nor a simple assignment but Colin, Chris, Matt and Steele are clearly in the mold of those who have stood strongly in the recent past. Their selection is the first indication of the sharp focus and intent for this 2012 team."

Briggs, a senior from Narragansett, R.I., was named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship after scoring five goals in UVa's 9-7 triumph over Maryland in the final. Briggs was a second-team selection on the USILA All-America team after tallying 29 goals and 12 assists in 2011. The All-ACC selection was third on the team with 41 points.

Clements, a senior from Baltimore, Md., moved to defense in January from a short-stick defensive midfielder position and also saw time as a long-stick midfielder. Clements appeared in all 18 games in 2011, starting 14 of them. He picked up 46 ground balls and caused 13 turnovers. Clements had three ground balls and two crucial caused turnovers against Maryland in the NCAA finals, helping the Cavaliers to the victory.

Kugler, a senior from Fairfax Station, Va., was a key piece that ran on UVa's second midfield in 2011. He finished with five goals and two assists in 17 games played in 2011. Kugler had important goals for the Cavaliers in the first round overtime win against Bucknell and again in the semifinal round against Denver.

Stanwick, a senior from Baltimore, Md., is a captain for a second season in a row after also winning the Tewaaraton Trophy, awarded to the top collegiate lacrosse player in the country. Stanwick helped set the table for the nation's No. 3 offense. The ACC Player of the Year and USILA first-team All-American, Stanwick contributed 32 goals and 38 assists to rank No. 4 nationally in points per game. His 38 assists ranked No. 3 nationally. Stanwick had nine goals and 12 assists for 21 points in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, four away from matching an NCAA Tournament record set by Eamon McEneaney in 1987.

"We are off to a good start and the potential for outstanding leadership that accompanies today's announcement moves us smartly in the direction of a meaningful finish," said Starsia.

In memory of Wangari Maathai

I found this to be a profound and hopeful message.  A short video of the hummingbird story being told by Nobel Peace Price recipient Wangari Maathai.  She died on September 25th.  In her memory:

"I will be a hummingbird" - Wangari Maathai

28 September 2011

Seek and find the barriers

Your task is not to seek for love,
but merely to seek and find all the barriers
within yourself that you have built against it.

26 September 2011

We can start from where we are

We can start from where we are, with what we have, and imagine and work for the healings that are necessary.  But we must begin by giving up any idea that we can bring about these healings without fundamental changes in the way we think and live.  We face a choice that is starkly simple:  we must change or be changed.  If we fail to change for the better, then we will be changed for the worse.

~Wendell Berry

25 September 2011

25 September 2011 - "The mind of Christ"

The Rev. Peter M. Carey
Sermon for 25 September 2011
Emmanuel Episcopal Church
Greenwood, Virginia

Paul writes to the Christian Community at Phillipi and exhorts them to “let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,” or alternatively translated, “let the same mind be in you that you have in Christ Jesus.”

Paul writes from prison and is in turmoil himself, and is hoping that through his words, the community at Philippi might find a way to allow Christ to enter into their minds, and their hearts to help them transform themselves, and also their church.  Isn’t this also our prayer when we consider friends who are struggling, when we consider churches that are not thriving, when we think of communities in peril?  Don’t we also pray that the spirit of God, the mind of Christ will be made known in the lives of those in need?  And so, we may offer prayers, we may offer words, the dynamic, creative and restorative powers of God to enter into the lives of those in crisis.

Paul, also, prays and hopes, and also offers words to those Philippians.  And what are the words that he chooses to write?  Paul offers up a rich hymn which lays out the work of Christ.  In order to allow the mind of Christ to enter into us, we also might need to model our lives on the life of Christ.  Instead of a lecture, or a scolding, or a judgmental slap on the hand, here Paul offers up the deeply Christological hymn of emptying and filling. 

The hymn is one, perhaps, that the Philippians already are familiar with, and likely it is a hymn that Paul did not create, but here, like any good letter leader, he finds the words which say what he wants to say. 

It is a hymn of emptying of one’s self in order to be filled with God.  It is a hymn of humbling one’s self so that God might exalt Christ, in the end.  It is a hymn of descent – Christ deigns to descend into the lives of humans, to be one with us and then bears the pain and brokenness of the world and is then raised to exaltation.  Through this exaltation, even the pain and brokenness is taken up into the very heart of God.

Paul exhorts his hearers to “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,” or
“Let the same mind be in you that you have in Christ Jesus.” To do this, to let the mind of Christ Jesus to be in the likes of us, space must be cleared.  We must be willing to sweep aside the stuff of our minds that clogs up our thinking, our praying, and our living. 

What is it that we need to sweep aside?

Paul does not soften this message, and beneath the hymn of emptying and filling there is a real sense of loss, of work, of pain, and of radical change.  Change will be needed in order to embrace the new. 

Opening space means that some of what is cherished may need to be set aside, but isn’t this our spiritual journey, after all?  Judith Viorst wrote of the “necessary losses” of life – and one does not need to live for very long before we begin to understand the ways that losses are a part of life. 

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 are 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 whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

-- Jelaluddin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks

“He may be clearing you out for some new delight,” says the Turkish poet Rumi in the 13th century.  Some new delight, some new thing may need space in which to live and breathe.  Isn’t this also true of our lives?  In order to allow something new and life-giving to enter in, we may need to allow the “guest” to enter in and clear us out. 

In order to allow the mind of Christ to be in us, according to Paul, we need to follow the way of Christ, to find a way to journey through humility and the “necessary losses” of life so that we might also rejoice and be exalted with Christ.  By no means is this easy, and it not not a mere mind-trip, it is not a mere intellectual exercise.  As Rumi’s poem reminds us, the sweeping out of the guest house of our lives will involve change, and pain, and momentary stress – but also will make space for a new and deeper presence of God in our lives.

We come to church on Sunday, but I believe that we actually yearn for a deeper transformation?  Don’t we actually yearn to feel God’s presence in our lives day to day, every day?  As the Anglican priest and writer, George Herbert wrote, “Seven whole days, not one in seven, will I praise you.”  Don’t we want to be one with God, to walk in the way of Christ, not merely as we enter this place, not merely as we come to the altar to participate in the communion?  Don’t we want to be walking in the light of Christ, with the mind of Christ, in our daily work, in our daily family lives, in our daily interactions with friends and colleagues, don’t we actually yearn to help to transform a world in deep need of God’s love? 

I would say that our yearning points us to God, our yearning for personal and corporate (community) connection points us to love of God and love of neighbor.  I would say that our yearning points us to our fellow human beings.  Our yearning points us to reach out to a world in need.  Our yearning points us to work for justice and to seek and serve Christ in all persons. I would say that we actually yearn to  “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,” and “Let the same mind be in you that you have in Christ Jesus.” 

If we were hooked up to a lie detector, I believe this is what we truly yearn to have in our lives.  It is with great joy that walking in the way of Christ will allow us to be filled with God’s Spirit, taking on the cross of Christ will allow us to have the mind of Christ in our lives. 

May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing through the power of the Holy Spirit. “ ~ Romans 15:16

Almighty and eternal Lord, so draw our hearts to you, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly yours, utterly dedicated to you, and then use us, we pray you, as you will, and always to your glory and the welfare of your people; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

22 September 2011

Collect for the Renewal of Life

Collect for the Renewal of Life

O God, the King eternal, who divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness while it was day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

11 September 2011

Lord, it is night

Lord, it is night. 
The night is for stillness; let us be still in the presence of God. 
It is night after a long day. 
What has been done has been done; what has not been done has not been done; let it be. 
Let our fears of the darkness of the world and our own lives rest in you. 
Let the quietness of your peace enfold us, all dear to us, and all who have no peace. 
The night heralds the dawn. 
Let us look expectantly to a new day, new joys, new possibilities. 

~New Zealand Book of Common Prayer

Some pics on 9/11/11

Sermon for 11 September 2011 ~ "Life is short"

Sermon for 11 September 2011
The Rev. Peter M. Carey
Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Greenwood, VA

I like the silent church
before the service begins,
better than any preaching.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

On this day, this 10th anniversary of the tragedy of September 11th, 2001, I would offer some moments of silence.  Will you join me?  Let this silence be a reminder of God’s presence with us, of God’s ever-presence with us and with this world he created, and this world that he blessed.  Let these few moments of silence give us time and space to allow us to see and feel God among us, with us, and within us…

10 years ago, I was introduced to the following prayer, and I find it to be a rich reminder of the profound awareness that we are finite beings, we are given some time here on earth, and this time is fleeting, and this time is temporary, it is a lease rather than a sale, it is a loan, rather than ownership.  Our time here is short, so we have to consider how we will respond to this gift, this gift of some limited and finite time…

Life is short,
And we do not have much time
To gladden the hearts of those
Who travel the way with us.
So be swift to be kind,
And as we go,
May the blessing, the love,
the joy, and the peace
Of the Holy One
Who is in the midst of us
Be among you and remain with you
(adapted from the French Poet Henri Amiel)

And so, I find myself here in this pulpit ten years after I was also in a pulpit in Philadelphia, where I was preaching a sermon that was meant to remind a group of middle schoolers about the deep and rich and real power of prayer in their lives.  In the midst of that sermon, the rest of the school entered the chapel – 800 students and 150 teachers crammed into that chapel to hear some words of wisdom, some words of hope, some words that would move us through those fear-filled days. 

Ten years later, I read the words of Jesus as he preaches the challenging and audacious words that we should forgive not solely 7 times, but 77 times… and, if you thought that was hard enough, some interpreters believe that the translation should be 7 times 77 … come on, Jesus, I thought you said your burden was light! 

And so, what can we learn from this story of Jesus… I would say that he is telling us to “Be holy, welcome the stranger, embody the forgiveness of God.  Life is a team sport.”  He is telling us to “Be Holy,” in the sense that we should choose to live the life that is one that is walking in the light, that is one that would make God smile, one in which Jesus would set down for us.

You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die.
Or when.  You can only decide how you’re going to live.
~Joan Baez

And, so how would we live? We would live a holy life.  A holy life would include welcoming the stranger, even those who we might consider to be the most “other” that we could imagine.  How well do we know (and love) those who disagree with us?  How well do we force ourselves to be in situations where we are put into the situation of “being the stranger?”  How often do we put ourselves into situations where we find that our preconceptions and prejudices are shaky at best, and tragically wrong, at worst.  How well do we welcome the stranger?

To be holy, we would also live a life of forgiveness.  How might we forgive, when forgiveness is so tough?  How would we enter into the space of forgiveness and reconciliation when these are places where we would rather not go?  It takes time, it takes prayer, and it takes the slow awareness that God has prepared the place for us.  God has prepared the place for us, and God has prepared us to be agents of forgiveness, and agents of reconciliation.   He has set a high bar, but is boosting us over it.
Do all the good you can
By all the means you can
In all the ways you can
In all the places you can
At all the times you can
To all the people you can
As long as ever you can.
~John Wesley

We are meant to work together, even those neighbors near and far are part of us.  We are meant to live a life of love, a deep love that helps us to see that we are not mere passengers together on the underground metro – strangers awaiting our exit, but that we are riding on a team bus.  We are a team, and we need each of us.  Life is a team sport.

Though I have all faith,
so that I could remove mountains, and have not love,
I am nothing.
~1 Corinthians 13:2

We are socially constructed beings, and we are lovingly made by God, and lovingly nurtured and grown by God and by our fellow travelers along the way.  We are called into a deep awareness that we are not islands, but deeply connected to one another.  We are members of one body, one Spirit.  As Turtullian said, “one Christian is no Christian.”  We are made to be teammates, not individuals in a dog eat dog kennel.  As William Sloan Coffin said, even if you win the rat race, you are still a rat.  We have been empowered to be humans, bound to one another in love, and made to be in unity with one another.

A person is a person through other persons.

We are to Be holy, we are to welcome the stranger, to embody the forgiveness of God.  And we are empowered to remember that “Life is a team sport.”

It is a vision that God has set for us, it is a vision that is hard to see, especially as we recall the pain and the fear and the tragedies of our lives.  It is a vision that is cloudy and unclear.  It is a vision that I, for one, would like to have God make a bit more clear.  But it is a vision that is dim, and required our faith, and hope, and the support of our “team,” our companions along the way.
Now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face.
~1 Corinthians 13:12

In community, we get some glimpses of seeing clearly.  As we “travel the way,” we turn to one another – even when we are in the valley of the shadow of death.  We are not alone, and as we turn to one another we see something of the  home that God has promised for us.

Life is short,
And we do not have much time
To gladden the hearts of those
Who travel the way with us.
So be swift to be kind,
And as we go,
May the blessing, the love,
the joy, and the peace
Of the Holy One
Who is in the midst of us
Be among you and remain with you

9/11 Concert for NYC - "Living on a prayer" ~ Bon Jovi

9/11 - Concert for NYC - "Pink Houses" ~ Kid Rock & John Mellencamp

9/11 Concert for NYC - "Baba O'Reilly" - The Who


9/11 - Concert for NYC - "Fire & Rain" ~ James Taylor

9/11 Concert for New York City - Elton John & Billy Joel

9/11 Benefit Concert - 2001 - "Imagine" covered by Neil Young

9/11 Benefit Concert - 2001 - "Bridge over troubled water" - Paul Simon

09 September 2011

9/11 Prayer..."Life is short"

I first heard this prayer at church in the days and weeks after 9/11/01...it will be a central part of my sermon on Sunday...

Life is short,
And we do not have much time
To gladden the hearts of those
Who travel the way with us.
So be swift to be kind,
And as we go,
May the blessing, the love,
the joy, and the peace
Of the Holy One
Who is in the midst of us
Be among you and remain with you
(adapted from the French Poet Henri Amiel)

9/11 Tribute

08 September 2011

Something is amiss

“One cannot be aware both of the history of Christian war and of the contents of the gospels without feeling that something is amiss.”

- Wendell Berry, from his introduction to Blessed are the Peacemakers

06 September 2011

It is not the critic who counts

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. 

~Teddy Roosevelt, 1910, Paris

Two services at Emmanuel begin this Sunday, September 11 - 9am & 11am

"Welcome to Emmanuel Episcopal Church! We are glad you have visited us online and hope you will also visit us on Sunday!"


Sunday Schedule (Sept 11th - June 6th)

9 am - Holy Eucharist with sermon (Children's Worship in Parish Hall)              
10:00 am - Backpack Blessing
10:15 am - Visits to Sunday School classrooms
10:15 am - Ministry Fair - "Sign up Sunday"                                                            
11:00 am - Holy Eucharist with sermon and Adult Choir

We hope to see you at church!  Come and visit!

7599 Rockfish Gap (Rt. 250 West), Greenwood, VA 22943 ~ 540-456-6334 ~www.emmanuelgreenwood.org