30 September 2013

Getting ready for Bible Study at Cville Coffee! Join us at 10:30!

I'm getting ready to facilitate Bible Study at Cville Coffee today at 10:30am! Join us!

The readings are:

Lamentations 1:1-6Lamentations 3:19-26 or Psalm 1372 Timothy 1:1-14Luke 17:5-10

Urban lacrosse grows in NYC

In my sermon yesterday, I mentioned some of the great work that former Virginia Lacrosse player Wyatt Melzer is doing with Harlem Lacrosse & Leadership , and just today I saw the NYTimes had run this great article about the growth of lacrosse in various areas of New York City:

Stick, Ball, BreakthroughAdding Diversity to Lacrosse in New York City

Dave Sanders for The New York Times
The Whitleys on their way to lacrosse practice at Brooklyn Bridge Park.

See it all HERE

29 September 2013

29 September 2013 Sermon - Be aware ~ care ~ share - The Rev. Peter M. Carey

The Rev. Peter M. Carey
Sermon – 29 September 2013
St. Paul’s Memorial Church – Charlottesville, Virginia
Luke – Rich Man and Lazarus

Be aware

Jesus’ story today from the gospel gives us a stark example of what not to do.  The rich man was not aware, did not care, and did not share.

The Rich Man’s sin was his lack of any awareness at all of the suffering of Lazarus, rather he was self-absorbed.  He had no awareness at all of this man’s suffering, right at his doorstep.  And, for this, he was punished – perhaps eternally in the fires of hell.  … and what about his lack of awareness.

The Old Testament speaks an urgent and sufficient call to repentance. The rich man’s failure to care for Lazarus is not in accord with the Old Testament and with Jesus’ teaching in verse 9 (from last week: “And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes”.  Every Jew knew the Old Testament laws commanding the compassionate use of riches, so the rich man had no excuse for his wanton neglect of one whom he saw regularly, and could have helped easily.

Does the rich man’s punishment seem harsh?  Perhaps.  However, Jesus is teaching us a hard lesson that unless we need to be aware, to care, and to share.  Of course we are so often preoccupied with our lives, busy beyond all limits, we live and move and have our being, often, with no awareness at all of those who are suffering and hurting all around us.  Of course, when we slow down, when we turn aside, we might allow ourselves to be present, to see those around us, to consider those outside our normal circles.  When we begin to pray to have our hearts softened, our eyes opened, our ears unclogged, we might feel and see and hear the opportunities all around us.

Be aware!

The lesson is a stark one for us sitting here, knowing, when we reflect just how rich we are, and, also how unaware we can become of human suffering and even the humanity of our fellow women and men.  We have good excuses for being caught up in our own lives, we have much to do, and even when we don’t, we have much to be distracted by.  Walking down the street with both ears plugged up with our headphones, either real or metaphorical.

I would propose that Jesus is really calling us to be aware of the suffering around us, and also to respond.  Jesus not only calls us, but also empowers us, arms us, supplies us, challenges us, and fills us with the spirit, the enthusiasm to be aware, to care and to share! So, how do we open our eyes and ears to see and hear those in need?  I would say that the first step is to work to soften our hearts, to find a prayer inside us to allow us to be present to the needs of those around us, to find the humanity of the people who we encounter every day – on the exit of the bypass on the way to Barracks Road, of the people suffering loneliness, of the people cut off from their families, of the people in every place whe are in need.  As we allow God to soften our hearts we deepen our awareness of the larger world beyond our seemingly comfortable boundaries.


As we are praying to have our hearts softened, to be aware and to care we do well to turn to the saints.  The saints in the church’s designation, and also the saints in our midst.  Saints such as St. Francis, who left a life of privilege and being the “rich man” who was unaware of the needs of people all around him, to enter a life of joy and beauty amidst those in deepest need.  He accepted radical poverty and gave away all the stuff that he had, so that he might live a life of deep sharing and compassion.

Like Francis, whose feast day we celebrate this week upcoming, we also have the opportunity to share.  Not out of guilt or coercion, but I hope out of a deep sense of generosity which emerges from our own soft hearts, our caring, and our gratitude.

And, it is not merely these saints such as Francis, but the saints all around us.  I am reminded of the inspiring words, “I sing a song of the saints of God, patient and brave and true, who lived and died and toiled and fought for the Lord they loved and knew….and I mean to be one too.”  [Though this hymn is often maligned by some choir directors, it was one that inspired me when I was young, and still does today.]  How audacious to think that we could also be saints – perhaps not like Francis, who gave it all away, but we each can do more to be aware, to care, and to share.

I think that we would do well to find the saints in our midst who have found a way to not only open their hearts, and also to be aware, to care, and to share.  Not every response is the same for everyone.  For some, it may be to devote themselves to a cause, to find the work and ministry that gives joy, and also serves the world’s deepest need. 

“Let the beauty you love be what you do, there are thousands of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”  ~ Rumi

Folks at The Haven
Canterbury at Habitat
Eucharistic Visitors

What about our wonderful Mary Lee Webb, here at St. Paul’s, who has spent many years serving the elderly in our community through Ministry on the Aging.  Visiting those in need, making sure that they are cared for, bringing love and hope to those who are struggling with the ways that the years offer us challenge and suffering and loneliness.  Could we find a way to not only often our hearts, but also to find a way to respond to the need in our midst?

What about our dedicated parishioner, Dr. Tom Daniel who is off in Africa on a medical mission trip; the second one he has embarked upon this year, to serve those in need…to be aware, to care, and to share.

Wyatt Melzer was a UVA Men's Lacrosse player who was wondering what he would do after college and he happened upon this wonderful organization, Harlem Lacrosse and Leadership.  He decided to share his love for lacrosse, and all the wonderful lessons he learned here at UVA to young people in need in Harlem.  …Harlem Lacrosse…leadership and teaching….lacrosse … caring and sharing!

“Harlem Lacrosse and Leadership is a nonprofit organization that uses the game of lacrosse to help structure the lives of at-risk middle school children in Harlem.”

HLL is a school-based program that operates in Harlem public middle schools. Throughout the school day, HLL employees work closely with teachers, guidance counselors and school administrators to identify and strategically recruit students who are struggling behaviorally and academically to play lacrosse.” 

“I am always half joking with these guys, forget Wall Street, go be a teacher, get involved with education
get involved with young people
seeing Wyatt and the influence he has had
I think it will be the kind of thing that all of our guys will be interested in
How they can give back in a situation like this.” ~ Coach Dom Starsia

Don’t be like the rich man.  Don’t wait for a deathbed confession, don’t wait for the lightning to strike or the burning bush to appear.  Be a saint.  Pray to soften your hearts.  Find the joy that comes through being present to our fellow people.  See the way that Christ breaks into our world.  “There are thousands of ways to kiss the ground,” and there are thousands of ways to worship God; to be aware, to care, and to share. 

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

Ask yourself what makes you come alive

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” 

~Howard Thurman

28 September 2013

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.

St. Francis may or may not have written this prayer, but it is a fine one nonetheless...

Prayer attributed to St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I 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;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.

27 September 2013

Canticle of the Sun, by St. Francis

As we approach the Feast Day of St. Francis next week, I have been considering just how broad and deep St. Francis's life and witness was - far more challenging and wonderful than the depictions of him rendered in stone in gardens.

Consider this incredible Canticle by Francis!

Canticle of the Sun, by St. Francis of Assisi
Most high, all powerful, all good Lord!
All praise is Yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing.
To You, alone, Most High, do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your name.
Be praised, my Lord, through all Your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and You give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of You, Most High, he bears the likeness.
Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars;
in the heavens You have made them bright, precious and beautiful.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
and clouds and storms, and all the weather,
through which You give Your creatures sustenance.
Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Water;
she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom You brighten the night.
He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.
Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth,
who feeds us and rules us,
and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of You;
through those who endure sickness and trial.
Happy those who endure in peace,
for by You, Most High, they will be crowned.
Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Bodily Death,
from whose embrace no living person can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Happy those she finds doing Your most holy will.
The second death can do no harm to them.
Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks,
and serve Him with great humility.


Altissimu, onnipotente bon Signore,
Tue so le laude, la gloria e l'honore et onne benedictione.
Ad Te solo, Altissimo, se konfano,
et nullu homo ène dignu te mentouare.
Laudato sie, mi Signore cum tucte le Tue creature,
spetialmente messor lo frate Sole,
lo qual è iorno, et allumini noi per lui.
Et ellu è bellu e radiante cum grande splendore:
de Te, Altissimo, porta significatione.
Laudato si, mi Signore, per sora Luna e le stelle:
in celu l'ài formate clarite et pretiose et belle.
Laudato si, mi Signore, per frate Uento
et per aere et nubilo et sereno et onne tempo,
per lo quale, a le Tue creature dài sustentamento.
Laudato si, mi Signore, per sor'Acqua,
la quale è multo utile et humile et pretiosa et casta.
Laudato si, mi Signore, per frate Focu,
per lo quale ennallumini la nocte:
ed ello è bello et iucundo et robustoso et forte.
Laudato si, mi Signore, per sora nostra matre Terra,
la quale ne sustenta et gouerna,
et produce diuersi fructi con coloriti fior et herba.
Laudato si, mi Signore, per quelli ke perdonano per lo Tuo amore
et sostengono infirmitate et tribulatione.
Beati quelli ke 'l sosterranno in pace,
ka da Te, Altissimo, sirano incoronati.
Laudato si mi Signore, per sora nostra Morte corporale,
da la quale nullu homo uiuente pò skappare:
guai a quelli ke morrano ne le peccata mortali;
beati quelli ke trouarà ne le Tue sanctissime uoluntati,
ka la morte secunda no 'l farrà male.
Laudate et benedicete mi Signore et rengratiate
e seruiteli cum grande humilitate.
Notes: so=sono, si=sii (you are), mi=mio, ka=perché, u replaces v, sirano=saranno

26 September 2013

We shall not cease from exploration

Happy Birthday "St. Thomas" ..  T.S. Eliot

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.” 

~T.S. Eliot - Four Quartets

25 September 2013

God shows up in whirlwinds, starry skies, burning bushes, and perfect strangers

“People encounter God under shady oak trees, on riverbanks, at the tops of mountains, and in long stretches of barren wilderness. God shows up in whirlwinds, starry skies, burning bushes, and perfect strangers. When people want to know more about God, the son of God tells them to pay attention to the lilies of the field and the birds of the air, to women kneading bread and workers lining up for their pay. Whoever wrote this stuff believed that people could learn as much about the ways of God from paying attention to the world as they could from paying attention to scripture. What is true is what happens, even if what happens is not always right. People can learn as much about the ways of God from business deals gone bad or sparrows falling to the ground as they can from reciting the books of the Bible in order. They can learn as much from a love affair or a wildflower as they can from knowing the Ten Commandments by heart.” 

~Barbara Brown Taylor in An Altar in the World

20 September 2013

Not going to change my ways...

“I'm not going to change my ways,
just to please you or appease you,
inside a crowd five billion proud willing to punch it out,
right, wrong, weak strong,
ashes to ashes all fall down.”

~Dave Matthews

18 September 2013

"You might be Jesus"... on hospitality ~ by Lauren Winner

Lauren Winner has much wisdom in her book, "Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis," which we will be using later this Fall in a course that I am leading at St. Paul's Memorial.  Here is one wonderful reflection on a friend of her who exhibits some radical hospitality:

"My friend Sarah had a run of a few months in which -- because on principle she invites in anyone who knocks on her door -- she hung out with Jehovah's Witnesses every Saturday morning.  Each Saturday, she told them that she wasn't going to convert, but that they were welcome to come in for a cup of tea.  They did, week after week.  "I don't think very may people let them come in, " Sarah says.

Last week, Sarah opened her door to find a traveling salesman.  She invited him in, told him she was not planning to buy a vacuum cleaner and that in fact, because her baby was asleep upstairs, he couldn't turn on his demo model, and then she offered him a cup of coffee.  He asked why she was offering him coffee, when she wasn't even going to let him show her the vacuum cleaner, and she said it was because she worships a God who has said that he may be found in any person, any near or far neighbor, andy prisoner or beggar on the street, any guest.  "So, I'm offering you coffee because you might be Jesus," Sarah said.  The vacuum cleaner salesman said it was the strangest house call he'd ever made, but he took the coffee." 

~Lauren Winner in Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis

17 September 2013

Frederick Buechner's full quote on Vocation

The writer Frederich Buechner is a wonderful thinker and writer and his writings on vocation have informed many people in many walks of life.  Usually, the final part of this passage is quoted, but I thought that it was particularly helpful to reflect on the entire passage.


It comes from the Latin vocare, to call, and means the work a man is called to by God. There are all different kinds of voices calling you to all different kinds of work, and the problem is to find out which is the voice of God rather than of Society, say, or the Super-ego, or Self-interest. By and large a good rule for finding out is this. The kind of work God usually calls you to is the kind of work (a) that you need most to do and (b) that the world most needs to have done. If you really get a kick out of your work, you've presumably met requirement (a), but if your work is writing TV deodorant commercials, the chances are you've missed requirement (b). On the other hand, if your work is being a doctor in a leper colony, you have probably met requirement (b), but if most of the time you're bored and depressed by it, the chances are you have not only bypassed (a) but probably aren't helping your patients much either.

Neither the hair shirt nor the soft berth will do. The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.

- Originally published in Wishful Thinking

16 September 2013

"Revised Coffee Lectionary" Bible Study resumes today at CVille Coffee at 10:30am

Revised Coffee Lectionary ~ Fall 2013 

 Revised Coffee Lectionary is a Bible Study group which studies the Bible with a variety of methods while drinking coffee and enjoying fellowship together. We meet most Mondays to discuss the readings coming up in the Sunday Lectionary - RCL - Revised "Coffee Lectionary" 

We meet at CVille Coffee (1301 Harris Street) in Charlottesville from 10:30am – 11:30am. 

Blessings, The Rev. Peter M. Carey 

September 16, 2013 Jeremiah 8:18-9:1 Psalm 79:1-9 1 Timothy 2:1-7 Luke 16:1-13

September 23, 2013 Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15 Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16 1 Timothy 6:6-19 Luke 16:19-31 

September 30, 2013 Lamentations 1:1-6Lamentations 3:19-26 or Psalm 1372 Timothy 1:1-14Luke 17:5-10

October 7, 2013 Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7 Psalm 66:1-11 2 Timothy 2:8-15 Luke 17:11-19

October 14, 2013 (No Meeting)

October 21, 2013 Joel 2:23-32 Psalm 652 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18 Luke 18:9-14

October 28, 2013 (No Meeting) November 4, 2013 Haggai 1:15b-2:9 Psalm 145:1-5, 18-21 or Psalm 98 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17 Luke 20:27-38

November 11, 2013 Isaiah 65:17-25 Canticle 92 Thessalonians 3:6-13 Luke 21:5-19

November 18, 2013 Jeremiah 23:1-6 Canticle 4 or 16 Colossians 1:11-20 Luke 23:33-43

November 25, 2013 (No Meeting)

December 2, 2013 Isaiah 11:1-10 Romans 15:4-13 Matthew 3:1-12 Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19

 December 9, 2013 Isaiah 35:1-10 James 5:7-10 Matthew 11:2-11 Psalm 146:4-9

 December 16, 2013 Isaiah 7:10-16 Romans 1:1-7 Matthew 1:18-25 Psalm 80:1-7, 16-18

14 September 2013

Encounters with new experiences

“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” 
― Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

Hardness of heart

I have been reflecting on what is the meaning of "hardness of heart" in the Bible, most notably when Pharaoh had a hard heart and would not let the Israelites go to the Promised Land.  Today, I ran across this moving quote and poem in Bishop Carol Gallagher's blog, "mamabishop":

Hardness of Heart

Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.

After these things he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.

Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs. Mark 16:9-20

Hardness of Heart

The rain comforts the mourning
our hearts are on the ground
nothing left for us to do
but sit and rock and weep.

The woman's words are no comfort
just idle tale of an old crone
the wild wishes of a broken heart
insanity acting out the impossible.

We know better how the world is
the best are taken and we abandoned
God was teasing us and taunting now
we are left incapacitated and alone.

We are realists and practical ones
we labor with our bodies our handshake is good
the hopes and new world he inspired in us
was just a passing woman's dream.

Here he stands again no longer broken
our shame and shortsightedness before us
better than his promises he appears
and promises to love us despite ourselves.

We can now look up in place of shame
we are called again part of a family
needed for the life of the world
and for God's love active within us.

11 September 2013

Life is short

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)