For Trinity Sunday…

Some parts of the Church observe a “Church Year” or Liturgical Calendar that gives some shape to the topics emphasized through the year. Like Christmas (and the run-up to it, Advent), and Easter. We mark the time between Christmas and Easter thinking about the various events in the earthly life of Jesus, and continue that through Pentecost, which starts the history of the Church. After Pentecost, we think more about how the life, death, resurrection and continuing presence of Jesus affects us in the here and now, culminating with “Christ the King” Sunday, the last one before the cycle starts again.

This Sunday is the first in that “ordinary” time, and is called “Trinity Sunday” where now that we have thought about God the Father, talked for months about Jesus, and last week reflected on God the Holy Spirit, we look at the Blessed “Three-in-One” – The Holy Trinity, which we Christians hold as the fundamental understanding of God.

It is always interesting to me to see what different preachers have to say on this Sunday…

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What do we mean when we say the Holy Spirit “proceeds” from the Father and the Son? What does “to proceed” mean in this context?

This question popped up on another site, Quora.com, which I enjoy messing around with.
It gave me a chance to do sort of a theological “geek-out” on the “filioque” clause in the Nicene creed. I enjoy making an attempt at this because it lets me try something really hard in language that is very street-level. And that lets me see what it is I really think. (C.S. Lewis said that “any fool can write ‘learned’ language.” The real test is to see if you can translate the ideas into the everyday speech) Continue reading

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Of “Small Voices”

Last night I had an interesting, and corrective, experience.

I play guitar and bass with a local guitar club. Mostly just for the joy of making music with other people, and to improve our skills, but sometimes we get to play out, for one event or another. Last night, we had the joy of playing for one of our own, a wedding reception for one of our members.

This is not a group of 20-somethings. They would not likely know the songs. We are not ALL my age, there is a pretty good range, but at 62, I fit right in. I find it fascinating that in the few short years I have been part of this group, this is the third wedding. That seems more prolific than among the groups of those 20-somethings I hung with 35+ years ago! Continue reading

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For this Sunday, The Feast of Christ the King

Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords:
Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

In churches such as mine which mark the traditional liturgical calendar, today November 26, is the last Sunday of the Church year. Next Sunday starts the cycle again with the first Sunday of Advent, which is a time we spend thinking about preparation for the coming of Jesus, or rather for 3 different arrivals of Him – in Bethlehem some 2020 years ago, at the end of time, and in this age, into the heart of everyone who opens him or herself to him. A new thing, a new beginning, a new advent.

The year continues through a path of thinking about (and celebrating) various moments in the earthly life of Jesus, through Easter, to His ascension, to the bestowing of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

Then (in the main) the focus changes to Jesus through the life of the Church, and of all of us.

But at the end of the year, it is all summed up in today, the feast of Jesus as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

In opposite years, we read the same events through different eyes, in different parts of the Bible, but cover the same ground. Over the year (and especially over two years) we pretty well get all the high points. The preacher is supposed to not go “off script(ture) into his own favorite topics except at great need.

I think it is a good system, where we use it.

________________________

Lately, I have been needing to acknowledge a lot of death. Not physical, no funerals (and yes, that is a slightly macabre joke, I am a funeral director). But a number of deaths of dreams, of thoughts, of things I believed true. Ending of plans, unfulfilled.
Knowing that they will never come to fruit.

I had intended to write about at least one of them, and I may yet. But not now. Instead, I saw this prayer, Proper 29 for the Sunday of Christ the King. It will be part of most Episcopal church services this morning.

And the way it speaks to me is that it recognizes the “true, but not YET true” nature of many of the good things we see. Many of the Good Things I have proclaimed for years, and whose death I am having to acknowledge. Today, we come to the end.

And yet this END, is a mark that Jesus is indeed King. And that He will indeed bring us together and heal our sin, heal our wounds; it is his goal, his purpose, and He WILL do it.

This ending, today, marks an ending in victory. And it also marks an ending in “not completely YET” – it leads us into the season of Advent – of preparing for, looking for, looking forward to, that next victory – in Jesus, in me, NOW, and beyond that, to His final victory over all things.

But it is a Good Day to remember that no matter what, Christ is victor; and that the light will grow, his advent is around the corner.

-Blessings!

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Old Files, and talking to myself

-cleaning up some old files on my computer.
One of the good things about seeing things I wrote a long time ago is that sometimes they apply back to me. Of course, a lot of it is junk, and should NOT rise again to the surface. But sometimes it is good for me to read again. This is one of those.

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“Why do we call it “FAST” when it makes the day so slow?”

I like words. And I have an unfortunate taste for stupid jokes, particularly when they turn on double meanings of words. Or homophones.

As such, this has been my response when someone brings up the idea of fasting as a spiritual discipline.

I actually did this decades ago, 1 day every week, and a longer 3 day once a month. Liquids only, but a little V8 juice seemed a good thing. Did that for a year or so when I was in school.

But whatever the virtues there might be, or the lack, it certainly gave me inspiriation for one of my worst word jokes.
But then 2 weeks ago, I pulled it out for a friend at Church (All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Stafford, TX), and he actually took the “why…” as a real question, which had a real answer. And was therefore worth finding out. I admire that. Over 40 years, and I had never done that. I suppose I was afraid it would ruin the joke, as if that were possible.

What he found was the relationship in proto-German to a similar word meaning remain still. I tried to morph it into a more modern “Make fast” as in “Fasten,” but my friend insisted that although that was partial, it was not primary. The earliest would be simply to REMAIN still.
And this opened up something for me, that relates to a previous post about this time of waiting between Ascension, and Pentecost. I called it a gap, with seeming abandonment.

This meaning of “fast” differed from mine in that to “hold fast” seems to refer to a state or condition. Static. To “remain fast” seems more like  a point in a process – like the pause before turning left across a busy street, or a right turn on red. The quite spot between movements of a symphony, the dramatic pause a speaker might use.

Or the Seventh day of Creation – when God “rested” (I wonder about the Hebrew – how the word “fast” might fit there?)

And also this time of waiting, wondering what is coming next. 

Anticipation, Nervous , perhaps even fearful (with or without cause).

But Something is about to start. A change is in the wind.

We are standing fast. 

 

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On Ascension and Abandonment. Gaps

You would think that after 40 years as an Episcopalian, I would pretty much have this “Liturgical Calendar” thing, the “Church Year” down. But after spending my first formative years as a Southern Baptist, I can still find a surprise or two.

As they say, even a blind squirrel finds SOME acorns.

Today, 25 May 2017 is the Feast of the Ascension. Continue reading

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