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Showing posts from November, 2013

Advent Purists are well-intentioned Killjoys

I consider myself a "recovering Advent purist."   What I mean by that is I used to be on board with the custom in the Episcopal Church that Advent -- the four week season leading up to Christmas -- should be a "mini-Lent" season of preparation.   The lessons assigned in the lectionary push this understanding of Advent, with their focus on the second coming of Christ: oddly, they hardly ever make mention of the "first coming," namely, all the events leading up to Jesus' birth that first Christmas.  Advent purists (as I used to be) steadfastly refuse to put up Christmas decorations at home during most of December, roll their eyes at Christmas music being played at the malls, and refuse to allow the congregation to sing anything from the "Christmas" section of the hymnal until after December 24.   Advent purists are well-intentioned killjoys.   There's a brief little seasonally-adjusted prayer called a "proper prefa

Patient Trust

Like most rectors of most Episcopal churches, I open our vestry (governing board) meetings with a prayer. At this week's vestry meeting, I felt moved to open with a prayer titled "Patient Trust," from a favorite little book of prayers titled " Hearts on Fire ." Given all the changes the faith community I serve (The Falls Church Episcopal) has experienced in its recent past, and in light of all the joyful challenges of this faith community's return to its property and the related seemingly never-ending litigation , and especially mindful of the Rev. Cathy Tibbett's departure (after Christmas) to accept her call as Rector of Christ Church, Luray, this prayer spoke to me. Based on vestry members' positive reactions, it spoke to them as well, and so I share it now with a wider audience, thinking perhaps -- especially in this anticipatory season of Advent coming up -- that the Holy Spirit may speak through it to you as well:   Patient Trust A

Overcoming Being Overcome by Stress or Tiredness

(I posted this in October of 2011, then again in November of last year. I'm re-posting now because One, I just discovered the A.A. Milne (Pooh) illustration/quote that fits perfectly, and Two, I'm hoping its message gets through to at least one person, and that's me!) Today, I’d like to share a passage from a book I recently read. The book is Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle, S.J., which happens to be one of the most moving and powerful books I’ve ever read. Boyle is a Jesuit priest working with gang members in Los Angeles, where, despite working in desperate conditions (he’s had to bury over 150 young people, for example), he works with a contagious joy, compassion, and light humor. At one point in the book, Boyle is reflecting on stress and over-tiredness largely brought on by chasing success -- or what most people believe success to be. When I read what Boyle wrote, something just kind of shifted, internally, for me, for the better. So, in the hope that it do