29 February 2020

Help and defend us

Almighty and everlasting God, mercifully look upon our infirmities, and in all our dangers and necessities stretch forth your right hand to help and defend us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

28 February 2020

Helpful Advice from the Diocese of Los Angeles about staying healthy while viruses are prevalent

My siblings in Christ:

Lenten blessings.

As you may know, I recently returned from nearly two weeks in South Korea and Taiwan. Bishop Taylor asked me to share with colleagues and the whole diocese my experience of how churches close to the epicenter are handling the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. These are guidelines for us all to follow – at church, at home, and at work -- as concern grows about the possibility of further outbreaks in the United States:

1. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. All the time. All day long. Many of you may know that before I celebrate Holy Eucharist, I always find a sink and wash my hands with soap and water. Especially now, this is a good precaution for the celebrant so people can know the church is taking this situation seriously.

2. Alcohol-based liquid hand sanitizer should be used by anyone distributing communion bread and wine.

3. In both Korea and Taiwan, intinction was preferred to drinking from the common cup. Many received the bread and acknowledged the cup with a bow as it came by. This is a good moment to remember a core principle of our Eucharistic theology: That the sacrament is complete when administered in just one kind (in this case, the consecrated bread).

4. At the peace, people bowed to one another or waved and said “Peace be with you” to their neighbors. No handshakes or hugging.

5. At all times, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth – the places germs enter the body.

6. When you cough, cough into your bent elbow, not into your hand. If you have to blow your nose, dispose of the tissue as soon as possible in a waste container with a lid that closes and either wash your hands immediately or use an alcohol-based liquid to sanitize your hands.

7. Keep your distance. We don’t have to be in each other’s faces to talk. This is particularly important if someone is coughing or sneezing.

8. Try to avoid large crowds, especially where you will be cramped or pushed together. I know this is hard for people who commute on buses or trains.

9. Whenever possible, use Zoom, GoToMeeting, or Skype for meetings.

10. If you’re sick, stay home! Encourage others to stay home if they’re sick. Don’t hesitate to go to the doctor and to urge others to do so.

11. Create systems for wellness checks in the congregation, especially older people whom you haven’t seen for a while.

12. If your congregation has a food ministry, follow the World Health Organization’s recommendations regarding food safety.

Up-to-date information is a good antidote for anxiety. Visit the website of the World Health Organization for frequent updates. Go to the page below and click “Protect Yourself” to find downloadable materials in Chinese, English, Spanish, and other languages as well as information about how to deal with anxiety over the disease: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

The biggest lessons from my Asia visit are to use common sense, don’t be anxious, get plenty of rest, and eat as healthily as you can.

Holy and gracious God , give us the strength to meet the health crisis looming around us. Enlighten researchers that they may discover the right vaccine against this disease. Guide the doctors, nurses and all medical technicians working with those who are infected to take correct actions for their care. Protect all medical staff and family or friends caring for those who are ill. Bring together the governments and governmental agencies around the world to work together to eradicate this health threat. All this we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Diane Jardine Bruce
Bishop Suffragan
Diocese of Los Angeles

Step out of doors

Whoever you are: step out of doors tonight,
Out of the room that lets you feel secure.
Infinity is open to your sight.
Whoever you are.
With eyes that have forgotten how to see
From viewing things already too well-known,
Lift up into the dark a huge, black tree
And put it in the heavens; tall, alone.
And you have made the world and all you see.
It ripens like the words still in your mouth.
And when at last you comprehend its truth,
Then close your eyes and gently set it free.
–Rainer Maria Rilke

Support us, O Lord

Support us, O Lord, with your gracious favor through the fast we have begun; that as we observe it by bodily self-denial, so we may fulfill it with inner sincerity of heart; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

27 February 2020

The Bright Field, by R.S. Thomas

… Life is not hurrying
on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.

–R.S. Thomas, excerpt from “The Bright Field

26 February 2020

Ash Wednesday Humor

February 26th Lent Begins ~ Ash Wednesday

February 26th Lent Begins ~ Ash Wednesday

12 noon - Ash Wednesday Service and Distribution of Ashes

4 pm - Distribution of Ashes at Bishop White Lodge

6:30 pm - Ash Wednesday Service and Distribution of Ashes

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent with a special liturgy that invites the congregation into a season of reflective self-examination in preparation for Easter. The emphasis on mortality is not intended to be morbid, but rather to focus our attention on the context in which we and all creation encounter the power of resurrection. 

25 February 2020

Shrove Tuesday

Shrove Tuesday

The tradition of marking the start of Lent has been documented for centuries. Ælfric of Eynsham's "Ecclesiastical Institutes" from around 1000 AD states: "In the week immediately before Lent everyone shall go to his confessor and confess his deeds and the confessor shall so shrive him as he then may hear by his deeds what he is to do [in the way of penance]".By the time of the late Middle Ages, the celebration of Shrovetide lasted until the start of Lent. It was traditional in many societies to eat pancakes or other foods made with the butter, eggs and fat that would be given up during the Lenten season. Similar foods are fasnachts and pączkis. The specific custom of British Christians eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday dates to the 16th century. Along with its emphasis on feasting, another theme of Shrove Tuesday involves Christians repenting of their sins in preparation to begin the season of Lent in the Christian calendar. In many Christian parish churches, both Protestant and Roman Catholic, a popular Shrove Tuesday tradition is the ringing of the church bells (on this day, the toll is known as the Shriving Bell) "to call the faithful to confession before the solemn season of Lent" and for people to "begin frying their pancakes"

Tuesday (also known in Commonwealth countries and Ireland as Pancake Tuesday or Pancake Day) is the day in February or March immediately preceding Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent), which is celebrated in some Christian countries by consuming pancakes. In others, especially those where it is called Mardi Gras or some translation thereof, this is a carnival day, and also the last day of "fat eating" or "gorging" before the fasting period of Lent.

Shrove Tuesday is observed by many Christians, including Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists and Roman Catholics, who "make a special point of self-examination, of considering what wrongs they need to repent, and what amendments of life or areas of spiritual growth they especially need to ask God's help in dealing with." This moveable feast is determined by Easter. The expression "Shrove Tuesday" comes from the word shrive, meaning "absolve".

As this is the last day of the Christian liturgical season historically known as Shrovetide, before the penitential season of Lent, related popular practices, such as indulging in food that one might give up as their Lenten sacrifice for the upcoming forty days, are associated with Shrove Tuesday celebrations. The term Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday", referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday. Many Christian congregations thus observe the day through the holding of pancake breakfasts, as well as the ringing of church bells to remind people to remember to repent of their sins before the start of Lent

23 February 2020

Some Lenten Resources

The St John's the Evangelist Society has some wonderful resources to check out online to enhance your Lenten Practice


You can find information on "Lent Madness" at this site:


20 February 2020

Lenten Resources from Episcopal Relief and Development

Subscribe to Lenten Meditations Daily Emails
Subscribe to Lenten Meditations Podcasts
This year, Episcopal Relief & Development's Lenten Meditations focus on children in support of our new campaign, ONE THOUSAND DAYS OF LOVE.

“As we save children, we save ourselves, we save our world,” said the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church. “This Lent, I invite supporters to join Episcopal Relief & Development in focusing on the spiritual lessons we can learn from the children in our lives and around the world.”

Globally, 155 million children under the age of six are not able to reach their full potential because of inadequate nutrition, health care and other critical essentials. The first three years of life are critical to form a foundation for future learning, good health and well-being. Episcopal Relief & Development partners with communities around the world to ensure children have access to nutritious food, clean water and quality health care.

Support Episcopal Relief & Development's ONE THOUSAND DAYS OF LOVE CAMPAIGN and these efforts by subscribing to our Lenten Meditations emails and podcasts today.

Emails are delivered to your inbox daily in both English and Spanish.

As this is ouf first year producing Lenten Meditations podcasts, the podcasts will only be available in English but can be subscribed to on Apple PodcastsSpotify and will be posted daily at episcopalrelief.org/lent.
Subscribe to Lenten Meditations Daily Emails
Google Play podcast coming soon.
Visit episcopalrelief.org/lent for updated podcast information.

10 February 2020


“What if the beatitudes aren’t about a list of conditions we should try and meet to be blessed. What if these are not virtues we should aspire to but what if Jesus saying blessed are the meek is not instructive– what if it’s performative? …meaning the pronouncement of blessing is actually what confers the blessing itself. Maybe the sermon on the mount is all about Jesus’ seemingly lavish blessing of the world around him especially that which society doesn’t seem to have much time for, people in pain, people who work for peace instead of profit, people who exercise mercy instead of vengeance. So maybe Jesus is actually just blessing people, especially the people who never seem to receive blessings otherwise. I mean, come on, doesn’t that just sound like something Jesus would do? Extravagantly throwing around blessings as though they grew on trees?”
Nadia Bolz-Weber, ”Some Modern Beatitudes—A Sermon for All Saints Sunday” November 6, 2014

08 February 2020

Haiku and Tanka for Harriet Tubman BY SONIA SANCHEZ

Haiku and Tanka for Harriet Tubman

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Picture a woman
riding thunder on
the legs of slavery    ...    


Picture her kissing
our spines saying no to
the eyes of slavery    ...    


Picture her rotating
the earth into a shape
of lives becoming    ...    


Picture her leaning
into the eyes of our
birth clouds    ...    


Picture this woman
saying no to the constant
yes of slavery    ...    


Picture a woman
jumping rivers her
legs inhaling moons    ...    


Picture her ripe
with seasons of
legs    ...   running    ...    


Picture her tasting
the secret corners
of woods    ...   


Picture her saying:
You have within you the strength,
the patience, and the passion
to reach for the stars,
to change the world    ...    


Imagine her words:
Every great dream begins
with a dreamer    ...    


Imagine her saying:
I freed a thousand slaves,
could have freed
a thousand more if they
only knew they were slaves    ...    


Imagine her humming:
How many days we got
fore we taste freedom    ...    


Imagine a woman
asking: How many workers
for this freedom quilt    ...    


Picture her saying:
A live runaway could do
great harm by going back
but a dead runaway
could tell no secrets    ...    


Picture the daylight
bringing her to woods
full of birth moons    ...    


Picture John Brown
shaking her hands three times saying:
General Tubman. General Tubman. General Tubman.


Picture her words:
There’s two things I got a
right to: death or liberty    ...    


Picture her saying no
to a play called Uncle Tom’s Cabin:
I am the real thing    ...    


Picture a Black woman:
could not read or write
trailing freedom refrains    ...    


Picture her face
turning southward walking
down a Southern road    ...    


Picture this woman
freedom bound    ...    tasting a
people’s preserved breath    ...    


Picture this woman
of royalty    ...    wearing a crown
of morning air    ...    


Picture her walking,
running, reviving
a country’s breath    ...    


Picture black voices
leaving behind
lost tongues   ...
Source: Poetry (April 2018)

07 February 2020

Bless the poets

Bless the poets, the workers for justice,
the dancers of ceremony, the singers of heartache,
the visionaries, all makers and carriers of fresh
meaning– We will all make it through,
despite politics and wars, despite failures
and misunderstandings. There is only love.
–Joy Harjo, Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings,
opening dedication for Owen Chopoksa Sapulpa

01 February 2020

Seth Godin, "who's designing your system?"

Some of the greatest buildings of all time were created by unskilled craftsmen using cheap and readily available materials. McMansions, on the other hand, are often created by highly paid workers and endless supplies of expensive materials.

Caviar isn’t required to make a great meal… but a talented, thoughtful chef definitely makes a difference.

Who is designing your system? Who is putting in an unreasonable amount of effort to make sure it’s magical?