Sunday, April 20, 2014

ALLELUIA! CHRIST IS RISEN!


But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” ’ Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

(John 20:11-18)

Collect: Easter Day

O God, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

A Blessed and Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

A PRE-EASTER MUSING - POEM BY MARTHE G. WALSH

A Pre-Easter Musing

Just a mist of green at first, as if some
seasonal Vestal fleeing the unwanted grasp
of Old Man Winter had shed a veil from
her layers of promise to escape, left it sheer
and shivering among blades faded brown,
the uncounted bones no one holds dear,
then two days warmth tease real growth from chill muck,
grass and daffodils spiking up from mulch, turning
the dial from frozen/frown to joy/awestruck.
It will be enough, for a moment, this soft breeze
borne renewal, comfort in known cycles,
until the lawn needs mowing, pollen makes us sneeze.
Abundance gets devalued, and Given
gets no respect from Earned in a market system
that treasures rare, prizes trophies riven
from foundations meant for all, but held by just one,
and envy’s seen as flattery by those
so blinded by success they think they own the Son,
would keep Him in their palaces of pride,
bar the rabble access with tests of  purity,
make Love the exclusive lot only they divide
amongst themselves and call it the worthy’s reward
until they catch a glimpse of some pauper’s
dance before the Vigil’s bonfire on the greensward,
unreserved, question if their more is real
or just a well-appointed delusion of joy
even the poor can’t be bothered to steal.
Creatures of habit, accustomed to more and more,
privatize the common rather than share,
deny mystery with logic, call it a score,
because it seems not enough, this one life, we crave
eternity, yet many turn down the offer,
as if it might be crowded in an empty grave.


(Marthe G. Walsh)
Photo from Wikipedia Commons.

DEAD CHRIST IN THE TOMB

HOLBEIN, Hans the Younger
The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb
1521
O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(Book of Common Prayer)

Cold In The Tomb

Jesus is dead, stone cold in the tomb.
The Lord of Life breathes no more.
The Marys weep, the mother, the friend,
Bereft, bereaved, their dearest gone away.

The Lamb of God, abandoned by God,
To ignominious death high on a tree
Of shame.  And us?  Left to weep
With the grieving Marys.  Oh, God!

Night approaches; strength fails.
Heal our broken hearts; revive our
Weary bodies; renew again our
Wondrous hopes and dreams.

June Butler  4-7-12
Holbein's  painting of the dead Christ shocks and stuns in its portrayal of the reality of death.

Image from the Web Gallery of Art. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

GOOD FRIDAY

"Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus)" - Salvador Dalí

PRAYER
Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(Book of Common Prayer)

Did You Die For Me?

Did you die for me,
Jesus, did you?
Did God raise you for me?

Why? Why for me?
What good am I?
What use to you?

You say because you love me.
Why do you love me?
Because you are love, you say.

I must love my brother;
I must love my sister.
As you love me, so must I love.

Spirit of God,
Dove of love,
Fill my heart to overflowing.

(June Butler - 3-20-08)
Though I looked at other paintings of the Crucifixion, the Dali is so very stark and powerful, that I posted it once again.
Gospel of John 19:1-19

Thursday, April 17, 2014

MAUNDY THURSDAY - THE LAST SUPPER

BASSANO, Jacopo
The Last Supper
  Galleria Borghese, Rome
Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(Book of Common Prayer)
The Last Supper

Come, my friends, it's Passover night.
Find the room; prepare the table.
Buy the bread; get the wine.
One of you will betray me.

Take and eat. This is my body,
Given for you.
Drink the cup, my blood shed for you
And many.

We'll not eat together again
Until kingdom come.
Sing with me now, for you'll run
When they take me.

"Oh, no, Lord, not I!"
Peter, my friend, you will,
And deny me, too.

(June Butler - 3/12/08)
Bassano's painting is admirable and unusual because he depicts Christ and the apostles as entirely human, rather than as haloed saints, and because the setting of gathering is somewhat disorderly in appearance, as such gatherings would be in real life.  Also, I love the dog curled up asleep by the table.

Gospel of Mark 14:12-25 (NRSV)  

"A FATAL GRACE" - LOUISE PENNEY

Spoiler alert!

While I enjoyed the second book in the Chief Inspector Gamache mystery series, I thought it fell short of the first, Still Life. First of all, that the story was set in the the same small, remote village of Three Pines stretched credulity a bit too far for me. Second, the story includes references to an investigation in Gamache's past that gravely affected his chances for further advancement in the Surété du Québec, but the reader is given only only the sketchiest of glimpses into the case. Third, the book concludes with another loose end left dangling. I suspect the reasoning behind the references to the past and the loose end is to entice the reader to read the next book in the series, but it bothers me because I believe each book, even stories in a series with recurring characters, should stand on its own.

Also, I guessed the identity of one of the murderers, which did not at all detract from my enjoyment of the book, but I was surprised because it almost never happens.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE ABOUT MEDICAID EXPANSION

Promoting it as a health care and economic issue, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu pushed Tuesday for Louisiana voters to decide the fate of Medicaid expansion.

“The governor has clearly put his political future ahead of the future of the state of Louisiana,” said Landrieu, D-La. “Let the people decide what is fair, whether they want to expand and use over $16 billion” in federal funds.

“It’s kind of our last hope to let the people make the decision. It’s not too much to ask,” Landrieu said.
Bobby Jindal won't allow Medicaid expansion in the State of Louisiana, despite gaping holes in the state budget for health care, so will the Louisiana Legislature have the courage to let the people decide? The lawmakers who worry about any association with Obamacare can then wash their hands of responsibility and blame the expansion on the people of the state.
Landrieu said the proposition makes good economic sense. “In order to have a strong workforce, you need a healthy workforce,” she said. She said the state is rejecting $16 billion available “to strengthen the workforce.”

The Medicaid expansion also would bring 15,600 new health care-related jobs in 2016 and help sustain financially struggling rural hospitals, Landrieu said.
Governor Jindal chooses to put his personal ambitions for national office ahead of the nearly 250,000 citizens of Louisiana who need health insurance, so it's way past time for the legislators to do the job the people of the state elected them to do, for which they're paid salaries with our tax money, and let the people decide.

Louisiana has far too many laws embedded in the state constitution, but, in this instance, there is no way around Bobby Jindal's refusal to help the citizens of the state other than one more constitutional amendment.

Monday, April 14, 2014

ON NEARING MY NINTH DECADE

Even as I resist and lament
Assorted aches and pains,
Energy reduced, senses diminished,
Failing memory,

World grown smaller,
Walls closing in
As the days and hours pass
In a life nearing the ninth decade,

I remember the many
Who never grow old,
Whose lives are cut off
By untimely deaths,

And I welcome the turning
Of the decade as a gift
Not given to everyone,
And bow my head in gratitude.

(June Butler - 4/13/2014)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

NEW RECTOR FOR ST. JOHN'S AND TRINITY

At the Palm Sunday service at Trinity this Sunday morning, the senior wardens of St. John's and Trinity announced that Fr. Doug Lasiter has accepted our call to be the next rector for St. John's and Trinity.

Fr. Doug has been serving as the rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Miles City, Montana, and Ascension Episcopal Church in Forsyth, Montana, so he has experience working with two congregations at the same time. Fr. Doug and his wife Robi and their teenage son and daughter are excited about moving to Louisiana and becoming part of our church communities. Robi and the children have been residing in the Houston area so that their daughter, who is a highly accomplished gymnast, can have access to the appropriate facilities and training. The Lasiters are looking forward to once again being together as a family under the same roof, and Fr. Doug is very much elated about the prospect of thawing out from the long Montana winter he's been enduring.

Fr. Doug has indicated that his starting date will probably be June 15th.
Thanks be to God, and a warm welcome to Fr Doug and his family.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

O GRACIOUS LIGHT

O Gracious Light
Phos hilaron

O gracious Light,
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!
Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds.