Category Archives: Church

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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“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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On Baking Bread, Communion, the Holy and Profane

Bread making this morning.

In the deep past, I did this once or twice a month at home, and really enjoyed it. This time, it is for Communion Bread for a special event, which fills me with thoughts. Apparently, I would rather THINK about my work than actually do it. Continue reading

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Thoughts on Going Back to Church

OK. I’ve been wanting to write this, and ducking it all morning, probably for days. Perhaps longer.

“Start with the truth as it is, Eric, and only then into commentary, and on to thoughts about that truth, or what you wish to do with it. Start by what is”

Seems like sound advice. The sort of thing I might say. Continue reading

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A Story of Two Groups of “Wise Men”

Well, I’m going to go WAAAY out of character for me, and out on a church calendar limb. Tomorrow is Sunday, 5 January, 2014, the last Sunday in Christmas this year. So I am going to race ahead and post about Epiphany. “Sin Boldly”; to half-quote Martin Luther.

So why jump ahead two days as if I were impatient for them to be gone? Well, perhaps I am in mid-revelation, and revelation is sort of what the word “epiphany” means. Or perhaps I am receiving my Christmas gift, which also marks it as OK as a Christmas post (now I feel better!). I understand that in many places in the world, in many parts of the Church, Gifts are not exchanged on Christmas, in remembrance of the Gift of the Incarnation, but on Twelfth-Night, Epiphany (“…my true love gave to me, …”) in remembrance of the gifts of the Magi, given TO the incarnate Son of the most High. I sort of like that, in that it puts the focus a little more where I think it belongs, on me giving to God as I seek to serve Him in all people, in recognition of my baptismal vow.

Well, rambling over, on with the point. In Matthew’s account of the Gospel, Chapter 2, he says of the “wise men” (or Magi): Continue reading

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