Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Celtic Christianity Historic Overview (part 4)

After Whitby

The decree of Whitby did not immediately change the whole face of British Christianity. For hundreds of years there were pockets of resistance to the Roman mission, notably in Devon, Cornwall and Scotland. For instance on Iona, the Celtic monastic community was not finally dispersed until the Benedictine Abbey was built in the 13th century.

The period of resistance ( and renewal) was marked by some of the greatest achievements of the Celtic tradition with illuminated gospel manuscripts like the Book of Kells, and high standing crosses with Scriptural imagery on one side and creation imagery on the other. The general picture throughout Britain and Ireland however, was of gradual conformity to the Roman mission. The riches of the Celtic churches spirituality was guarded in the teachings of an oral tradition passed down among the laity for hundreds of years.

Increasingly, and especially after the 16th century Reformation in Britain, the Celtic tradition again met with resistance. The reciting of their prayers was discouraged and even banned because they were regarded as pantheistic and pagan in origin. In Scotland, a combination of Religious persecution and the 19th century Highland clearances, (in which thousands of families were torn from their ancestral lands to make room for large scale sheep farming,) resulted in the fragmentation of the Celtic culture. This loss of the collective memory, meant that the oral tradition began to be lost.

However, even this did not represent the death of the Celtic tradition however. Attempts were made to transcribe and collect the prayers, in Scotland in Alexander Carmichael's Carmina Gadelica (1900) and in Ireland in Douglas Hyde's Religious Songs of Connacht (1906).
Carmichael and Hyde were part of a revival of Celtic art and literature, and others were finding new ways to express the spirituality of the Celtic tradition. Although they had ensured that written copies of some of the prayers were preserved, by the 20th century, their living use had virtually disappeared.

Despite the previous centuries of resistance to the Celtic tradition, the 20th century saw a growing toleration of the Celtic tradition and an increasing depth of appreciation for its spiritual riches, and their applicability for today. This included George MacLeod, who founded of the Iona community in the Hebrides (and was at one time Minister of St. Cuthbert's church). 

Graphic example Celtic Cross and High Tower

reprint of living water article from 2009

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Celtic Christianty Historic Overview (part 3)

The Council of Whitby

In 597 the Roman mission to Britain under Augustine of Canterbury began to clash with the Celtic mission. There was considerable disagreement between the two communions. At one level the conflicts appeared superficial such as the dating of Easter, or the style of clerical tonsure, but at a deeper level it was due to their radically different ways of seeing.
In 664 a Synod or council was called to be held at Whitby. This council was to decide once and for all which form of Christianity would be followed in Great Britain. Representatives of the Celtic mission argued from the authority of St John, who was "especially loved by Jesus". The Roman mission appealed to the authority of St Peter to whom Jesus said "you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church".

Northumbria had been mainly converted by Celtic missionaries and their influence was great. The Roman party, consisted of Queen Eanfled, Bishop Wilfrid, and other influential people. The Celtic party was led by the bishops Colman and Cedd and Abbess Hilda. Wilfrid made Rome's presentation and Colman spoke for the Celtic mission. Eventually King Oswiu decided in favor of Rome because he believed that Rome followed the teaching of St. Peter, the holder of the keys of heaven.

Two accounts of the synod survive. One is in Bede's " History of the English People" and the other in "The life of Wilfrid" by monk Eddi. King Oswiu of Northumbria, as a good Celtic Christian, kept Easter according to the Celtic cycle. His wife, Eanflæd, was the daughter of the King of Kent, and so followed the Kentish (Roman) cycle . Bede explains the dilemma this way: "It is said that the confusion in those days was such that Easter was sometimes kept twice in one year, so that when the King had finished Lent and was keeping Easter, the Queen and her attendants were still fasting and keeping Palm Sunday.

As Melvin Bragg's puts it in his 1996 book Credo, "Conflict between the Roman and Celtic Churches in Britain was inevitable. During its long period of isolation the Celtic Church had developed in complete independence and had diverged considerably from the paths followed by Rome, not merely in the matters of form and ritual, but more fundamentally in its whole organization. Rome could not readily brook the continued existence of what it regarded as schismatic ways and still less could it contemplate so large a Christian community which showed remarkable missionary zeal... But on the other side, the Celtic Church, as some of its members realized, could not afford to ignore the benefits which Rome, representing by far the greater part of Christendom, had to offer."

The tragedy of Whitby was not the affirmation of the way of St Peter, but that the way of St John began to be displaced in the spirituality of the British Church. Celtic monastic communities were replaced by Benedictine monasteries, and strict uniformity to Rome was enforced.

On the Holy Island of Lindisfarne in Northumbria, where the Celtic community had worshiped outside around high standing crosses, or in simple wooden structures, the four stone walls of a Roman church were built. It symbolized the ascendancy of a religious tradition that increasingly was to separate the mystery of God from the mystery of creation. Gradually, the "holy" places came to be identified with the indoor Roman church sanctuary, rather than the outdoor Celtic sanctuary of earth, sea and sky.

complied from a number of sources
Graphic: Synod of Whitby Mural by Juliet MacMichael in the St. Hilda Room St. Hilda's Priory

living water reprint from 2009

Monday, April 28, 2014

Celtic Christianity Historic Chronlogical Overview (Part 2b)

 Chronology of Celtic Christianity - continued 

563-568 St Columcille founds a monastery on Iona and begins conversion of the Picts to Christianity.

558-618 Life of Kevin

590 Glendalough founded by Kevin

591 St Columbanus leaves from Bangor for Gaul

597  Death of St Columcille of Iona, the Enlightener of Scotland

 - in the same year, the Roman form of Christianity is brought to Britain for the first time by St Augustine, the former papal librarian who is made a missionary by Pope Gregory the Great to convert the Saxons. Augustine founds a monastery and the first church at Canterbury. He baptizes King Aethelbert of Kent at Canterbury.

c 600 Book of Durrow

?-651 life of Aidan of Lindisfarne brought Christianity to Northumbria

c 600-1100 Celtic High Cross building

601 Death of St Comgall of Bangor. In the same year, the Pope sends Paulinus to reinforce the Kentish mission. He bears with him letters from the Pope and a palladium for Augustine, who is consecrated archbishop and establishes his seat in Canterbury.

614 - 680   life of Hilda of Whitby

615  St Columbanus dies at his monastery in Bobbio, Italy.

634 – 687  life of Cuthbert

632  Lindisfarne  founded by Aidan who was sent from Iona

664 Synod of Whitby brings Celtic Church into conformity with Rome

700-800 Irish Monasticism reaches its zenith.

795 First reports of Viking invasions

800-847 Vikings raid continually, setting up settlements on the coasts

c 800 Book of Kells

815- 877 Johannes Scotus Eriugena   Irish theologian, Neoplatonist philosopher, and poet.

c 900-1100 Round tower building

This Chronology is by no means complete i invite you to  comment and suggest additions

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Celtic Christianity Historic Chronlogical Overview (Part 2a)

Chronology  of Celtic Christianity

 C47 A.D. 37: legend: The first Christian Church at Glastonbury; Britain Founded by Joseph of Arimathaea

c200 The earliest confirmed written evidence of Christianity in Britain is a statement by Tertullian, AD, in "all the limits of the Spains, and the diverse nations of the Gauls, and the haunts of the Britons, inaccessible to the Romans, but subjugated to Christ"

380-450 Life of Morgan of Wales  (A.K.A. Pelegius)

431 Palladius sent to Ireland by Pope Celestine

387-461 Life of Patrick

401  Patricius (St Pádraig) is taken into slavery in Ireland.

432 Start of Patrick's mission to the Irish
(the same year that Mary is declared the "Mother of God" by the Council of Ephesus)

445 Armagh founded

452-524 Life of Brigid

461  Patricius (St Pádraig) is taken into slavery in Ireland.

486-578 Life of Brendan the Voyager (Clonfert)

500-589 life of David of Wales

500 Monastery of Kildare founded by Brigid
500-550 Spread of Celtic monasticism throughout Europe.

512-545 Life of Ciaran (Kieran)

544 Monastery of Clonmacnoise founded by Ciaran

520 Monastery of Monasterboice founded

525  Death of St Brigid

521-597 Life of Columba (Colmcille)

546 Monastery of Derry founded by Columba

555 St Comgall founds monastery at Bangor

558  St Breandán founds monastery at Clonfert

560-580  North Atlantic voyages of St Breandán and St Cormac

560 Monastery of Kells and Durrow founded by Columba

561  After the Battle of Culdrevny, St Columcille exiles himself from Ireland, and goes to the island of Iona.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Bede (672-735)

Bede is remembered chiefly for his "Ecclesiastical History of the English People." This five volume work records events in Britain from the raids by Juilus Ceaser in 55-54 BC to the arrival of the first missionary from Rome, Saint Augustine in 597. Bede's writings are considered the best summary of this period of history ever prepared. Some have called it "the finest historical work of the early Middle Ages."

Bede's writings cover a broad spectrum including natural history, poetry, Biblical translation and exposition of the scriptures. His earliest Biblical commentary was probably that on the book of the Revelation. He is credited with writing three known Latin hymns.

Bede's motive for recording history reminds us of his deepest desires. He clearly states his purpose in his writings when he says, "For if history records good things of good men, the thoughtful hearer is encouraged to imitate what is good; or if it records evil of wicked men, the good, religious reader or listener is encouraged to avoid all that is sinful and perverse, and to follow what he knows to be good and pleasing to God."

Bede preserved for us the lives of many early Celtic saints, some of whom were dear friends known to him personally. Bede's work is in some cases the only surviving account of their lives. All though he disagreed with them theologically, (Bede lined up on the side of the roman church at the council of Whitby), he respected there godly character and exploits.

Bede's thumnail bio

Friday, April 25, 2014

William Cowper (1731-1800)


Jehovah-Shalom. The Lord Send Peace

(Judges, vi.25)
    Jesus! whose blood so freely stream'd
    To satisfy the law's demand;
    By Thee from guilt and wrath redeem'd,
    Before the Father's face I stand.
    To reconcile offending man,
    Make Justice drop her angry rod;
    What creature could have form'd the plan,
    Or who fulfil it but a God?
    No drop remains of all the curse,
    For wretches who deserved the whole;
    No arrows dipt in wrath to pierce
    The guilty, but returning soul.
    Peace by such means so dearly bought,
    What rebel could have hoped to see?
    Peace by his injured Sovereign wrought,
    His Sovereign fasten'd to a tree.
    Now, Lord, Thy feeble worm prepare!
    For strife with earth and hell begins;
    Conform and gird me for the war;
    They hate the soul that hates his sins.
    Let them in horrid league agree!
    They may assault, they may distress;
    But cannot quench Thy love to me,
    Nor rob me of the Lord my peace. 
        Willam Cowper 
     Graphic: Sarah faith

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Celtic Christianity Historic Overview (Part 1)


Christianity first came to the Celts in the 2nd century 
(possibly earlier,) during the Roman occupation. Likely through individual converts in the army. However, it was not until late in the 4th century that the distinct characteristics of Celtic Christianity began to emerge. After the Romans withdrew from Britain, there was nearly 200 years of significant separation between the Celtic and Roman mission. During this time Celtic flourish and developed a distinct flavor.The most significant development of Celtic Christianity, was its understanding of the Christian gospel independent from what was taught on the mainland. European Christianity was becoming hierarchical, male dominated and rational, with an understanding of governance which was inherited from a dying Roman Empire.

In contrast, the Celtic church celebrated grace and nature as good gifts from God and recognized the sacredness of all creation. It had a love of mysticism and poetry, a deep respect for the feminine, included women in its leadership and allowed clerical marriages. The Celtic understanding of church leadership was rooted in its rural and communal culture. The great Celtic monasteries emerged from this tribal system. Although the abbots were generally not ordained, the leadership and power in the Celtic church, lay with the abbot or abbess of the monastery.

Not unlike Native Americans or the indigenous people of Africa or Australia, Celtic people had little concept of land ownership or taxes and had little liking for cities. ll of these were latter introduced into the Celtic lands by the Romans and further established by the Normans.
The Celtic approach to evangelism was a very organic and natural. Christianity was spread in the Celtic countries by converted Celtic Christians, who were usually monks. Martyrdom for the Christian faith was virtually unknown.

Graphic: St. Illtud's Cross and the Houlet Cross: The west church at Llanwit Major stands on one of the oldest Celtic Christian sites in Britain. The cross in the foreground is St. Illtud's or Samson's Cross, which may have once been capped by a wheel cross. It was found buried in the grounds to the north of the church, and when it was dug up two skeletons were found buried beneath it.

classic living water reprint from 2009

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

St George (280 - 303)

George was probably born in Nicomedia, during the late third century.Both his parents were Christians from noble families of Anici. Thus George was raised with Christian beliefs. At the age of 14, George's father Geronzio a tribune in Emperor Diocleations Army passed away. A few years later, George's mother, Policronia, died.

George presented himself to the Emperor desiring a career in the military. Diocletian welcomed him with open arms, as his father had been one of his finest soldiers.
By his late 20s, George was promoted to the rank of Tribunus and stationed as an imperial guard of the Emperor at Nicomedeia.

In the year AD 302, Diocletian issued an edict that every Christian soldier in the army should be arrested and every other soldier should offer a sacrifice to the Pagan gods. George renounced the Emperor's edict, and in front of his fellow soldiers and Tribunes he claimed himself to be a Christian and declared his worship of Jesus Christ. Diocletian attempted to convert George, even offering gifts of land, money and slaves if he made a sacrifice to the Pagan gods. The Emperor made many offers, but George refused.

Recognizing George would not renounce his faith Diocletian condemned him to death. Before his execution George gave his wealth to the poor. George was executed by decapitation before Nicomedia's city wall, on April 23, 303. A witness of his suffering convinced Empress Alexandra and Athanasius, a pagan priest, to become Christians, they joined George in martyrdom. His body was returned to Lydda for burial, where he was soon honored as a Christian martyr.

He became the patron of England in the late Middle Ages. In old plays and in art St. George is the slayer of the dragon; The Golden Legend did much for the extension of the tale. The Red Cross Knight of Edmund Spenser's Faërie Queene is St. George and stands for the Church of England. St. George's Cross appears in the Union Jack.

living water reprint from 2009

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day 2014

 *Mont Brevent*
O dweller in the valley, lift thine eyes
To where, above the drift of cloud, the stone
Endures in silence, and to God alone
Upturns its furrowed visage, and is wise.
There yet is being, far from all that dies,
And beauty where no mortal maketh moan,
Where larger planets swim the liquid zone,
And wider spaces stretch to calmer skies.
Only a little way above the plain
Is snow eternal. Round the mountain's knees
Hovers the fury of the wind and rain.
Look up, and teach thy noble heart to cease
From endless labour. There is perfect peace
Only a little way above thy pain.

~George Santayana

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Sunday (7)

Easter Hymn

If in that Syrian garden, ages slain,
You sleep, and know not you are dead in vain,
Nor even in dreams behold how dark and bright
Ascends in smoke and fire by day and night
The hate you died to quench and could but fan,
Sleep well and see no morning, son of man.

But if, the grave rent and the stone rolled by,

At the right hand of majesty on high
You sit, and sitting so remember yet
Your tears, your agony and bloody sweat,
Your cross and passion and the life you gave,
Bow hither out of heaven and see and save.

                              A E Houseman

A E houseman (d 1936) was a British classical scholar and poet best known for his cycle of poems entitled A Shopshire Lad. Housman was  an agnostic,the yearning of his “Easter Hymn”  is deeply touching. His  tomb lies in St. Laurence’s Church in Ludlow, England.

graphic: Easter Sunday by K Morey Bailey

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday (6)

The Passion

Since blood is fittest, Lord, to write
Thy sorrows in, and bloody fight;
My heart hath store; write there, where in
One box doth lie both ink and sin:

That when sin spies so many foes,
Thy whips, thy nails, thy wounds, thy woes,
All come to lodge there, sin may say,
No room for me, and fly away.

Sin being gone, oh fill the place,
And keep possession with thy grace;
Lest sin take courage and return,
And all the writings blot or burn.

George Hubert

graphic: Veronica's veil, painting by Domenico Fetti (c. 1620).

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Maudy/ Holy Thursday

Maundy Thursday is always the Easter week Thursday before Good Friday. The name originated in England and Scotland among the Protestant Churches. Although the Scottish Book of Common Prayer uses the name "Holy Thursday". Roman Catholics, except in England, referred to Maundy Thursday as "Holy Thursday". In the Eastern Orthodox Church, tradition it goes by Great and Holy Thursday.

The word Maundy is an English derivative of the Latin mandatum, the first word of the phrase "Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos" (Jesus's statement "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you" in the John 13:34.")

On this day four events are remembered: Christ's washing of the Disciples' Feet, the sharing of the Last Supper with the disciples, Christ's agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, and His betrayal by Judas Iscariot.

graphic: Salvador Dali's 1955 painting 'The Sacrament of the Last Supper"

living water reprint from 2009

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Palm Sunday ( 7)

Gloria Laus (Christ the King )

Gloria, lausAcomposed by St. Theodulph of Orléans in 810, in Latin  is the Palm Sunday Hymnus ad Christum Regem ("Hymn to Christ the King") sung during the procession of the Liturgy of the Palms.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Penitential Psalms (7)

Psalm 143

Hear my prayer, O Lord;
give ear to my supplications!
In thy faithfulness answer me, in thy righteousness!
Enter not into judgment with thy servant;
for no man living is righteous before thee.
For the enemy has pursued me;
he has crushed my life to the ground;
he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.
Therefore my spirit faints within me;
my heart within me is appalled.
I remember the days of old,
I meditate on all that thou hast done;
I muse on what thy hands have wrought.
I stretch out my hands to thee;
my soul thirsts for thee like a parched land.
Make haste to answer me, O Lord!
My spirit fails!
Hide not thy face from me,
lest I be like those who go down to the Pit.
Let me hear in the morning of thy steadfast love,
for in thee I put my trust.
Teach me the way I should go,
for to thee I lift up my soul.
Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies!
I have fled to thee for refuge!
Teach me to do thy will,
for thou art my God!
Let thy good spirit lead me
on a level path!
For thy name's sake, O Lord, preserve my life!
In thy righteousness bring me out of trouble!
And in thy steadfast love cut off my enemies,
and destroy all my adversaries,
for I am thy servant. 

graphic: viola Song

Friday, April 11, 2014

Penitentials Psalms (6)

מִמַּעֲמַקִּים קְרָאתִיךָ    יְהוָה.
אֲדֹנָי,    שִׁמְעָה בְקוֹלִי:
תִּהְיֶינָה אָזְנֶיךָ, קַשֻּׁבוֹת--    לְקוֹל, תַּחֲנוּנָי

Psalm 130

Out of the depths I cry to thee, O Lord!
Lord, hear my voice!
Let thy ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplications!
If thou, O Lord, shouldst mark iniquities,
Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with thee,
that thou mayest be feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is plenteous redemption.
And he will redeem Israel
from all his iniquities...

graphic: out of the depths i have cried to thee, in Hebrew

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Simple Foot Washing Liturgy for Holy Thursday


      Posting this on the Thursday before Holy Thursday so you have time to use it if your so inclined 

 Prayer of Preparation for Worship
God of love, as we prepare to remember the events of this poignant night, open our eyes to see the beauty of Jesus’ self-giving love, and by your Spirit work in our community a desire and commitment to serve each other and our hurting world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Tolling of the Bell

Bearing of the Light (lighting of a candle)

Solemn Declaration (Sung Amen)

Call to Worship
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.
Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”
In worship on this night, we testify to God’s love shown perfectly in Christ.
We recommit ourselves to love one another as a community of faith.
O taste and see that the Lord is good!
Come, let us worship the Lord!

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Call to Confession
As we remember this night of betrayal and desertion, let us confess our sins before God and one another.

Prayer of Confession
Merciful God, we have not loved you with all our heart and mind and strength and soul.
[Silent prayer]
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
We have not loved our neighbors as you have taught us.

[Silent prayer]
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
We are indifferent to the saving grace of your Word and life.

[Silent prayer]

Lord, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Forgive and heal us by your steadfast love made known to us in the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

The Word
Old Testament: Exodus 12:1-4, 11-14
Psalm: Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19
Epistle: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Gospel: John 13: 1-17, 31b-35

Affirmation of Faith: The Nicene Creed

Ritual of Footwashing
So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
For I have set you an example that you also should do as I have done for you.

Call to Prayer
As Jesus prayed to his Father in the shadows of the Garden of Gethsemane, let us pray together now in the shadow of his love.

Prayers of the People
For the leaders of the world, that they may put aside their differences and seek the peace of Christ, we pray,
Lord, hear our prayer.
For the Church, that she may become a servant offering hope, life, and compassion to all who seek God’s love, we pray.
Lord, hear our prayer.
For all who receive daily bread in welfare lines, food banks, and at this table, that they may forgive our daily trespasses, we pray,
Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, gather your people around your table, that we who celebrate this sacrament may understand what Christ does for us and follow in his way, we pray,
Lord, hear our prayer.
That we may long for the day when all may feast at the table of our Lord, no one will be an outsider, and all will be loved, we pray,
Lord, hear our prayer.
As our Lord continues to make intercession for us, let us unite in this prayer, remembering those who asked us to pray and those who need our prayers.
[Silent prayer]
Gracious God, as we eat and drink the sacrament of the body and blood of your Son, given for us on the cross, help us in turn to give ourselves to you by giving ourselves to others. We pray through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 The Meal

Blessed are you, Lord God of the Universe, you are the giver of this bread, fruit of the earth and of human labor. Let it become the bread of life!
Blessed be God, now and forever!

Blessed are you, Lord God of the universe, you are the giver of this wine, fruit of the vine and of human labor. Let it become the wine of the eternal kingdom!
Blessed be God, now and forever!

As the grain once scattered on the fields and the grapes once dispersed on the hillside are now reunited on this table in bread and wine, so, Lord, may your whole church be gathered together from the corners of the earth into your kingdom!
Come, Lord Jesus, come!


Silent Prayer

The people leave in silence

 graphic: Ethiopian Icon of Christ washing Peters Feet

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945)

The following hymn was composed by Dietrich Bonhoeffer while detained in a concentration camp , shortly before his execution.

By gracious powers so wonderfully sheltered,
And confidently waiting come what may,
we know that God is with us night and morning,
and never fails to greet us each new day.

Yet is this heart by its old foe tormented,
Still evil days bring burdens hard to bear;
Oh, give our frightened souls the sure salvation for which,
O Lord, You taught us to prepare.

And when this cup You give is filled to brimming
With bitter suffering, hard to understand,
we take it thankfully and without trembling,
out of so good and so beloved a hand.

Yet when again in this same world You give us
The joy we had, the brightness of Your Sun,
we shall remember all the days we lived through,
and our whole life shall then be Yours alone.

This hymn appears in the 1982 Episcopal Hymnal (695). The translator is F. Pratt Green (1903- ) listed in hymnal indexes sometimes under Green and sometimes under Pratt Green. The translation copyright is Hope Publishing Company 1974.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Penitential psalms (5)


Hear my prayer, O Lord;
let my cry come to thee!
Do not hide thy face from me
in the day of my distress!
Incline thy ear to me;
answer me speedily in the day when I call!
For my days pass away like smoke,
and my bones burn like a furnace.
My heart is smitten like grass, and withered;
I forget to eat my bread.
Because of my loud groaning
my bones cleave to my flesh.
I am like a vulture of the wilderness,
like an owl of the waste places;
I lie awake,
I am like a lonely bird on the housetop.
All the day my enemies taunt me,
those who deride me use my name for a curse.
For I eat ashes like bread,
and mingle tears with my drink,
because of thy indignation and anger;
for thou hast taken me up and thrown me away.
My days are like an evening shadow;
I wither away like grass.
But thou, O Lord, art enthroned for ever;
thy name endures to all generations.
Thou wilt arise and have pity on Zion;
it is the time to favor her;
the appointed time has come.
For thy servants hold her stones dear,
and have pity on her dust.
The nations will fear the name of the Lord,
and all the kings of the earth thy glory.
For the Lord will build up Zion,
he will appear in his glory;
he will regard the prayer of the destitute,
and will not despise their supplication.
Let this be recorded for a generation to come,
so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord:
That he looked down from his holy height,
from heaven the Lord looked at the earth,
to hear the groans of the prisoners,
to set free those who were doomed to die;
That men may declare in Zion the name of the Lord,
and in Jerusalem his praise, when peoples gather together,
and kingdoms, to worship the Lord.
He has broken my strength in mid-course;
he has shortened my days.
"O my God," I say, "take me not hence in the midst of my days,
thou whose years endure
throughout all generations!"
Of old thou didst lay the foundation of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of thy hands.
They will perish, but thou dost endure;
they will all wear out like a garment.
Thou changest them like raiment, and they pass away;
but thou art the same,
and thy years have no end.
The children of thy servants shall dwell secure;
their posterity shall be established before thee.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Penitential Psalms (4)



Have mercy on me, O God,
according to thy steadfast love;
according to thy abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned,
and done that which is evil in thy sight,
so that thou art justified in thy sentence
and blameless in thy judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward being;
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Fill me with joy and gladness;
let the bones which thou hast broken rejoice.
Hide thy face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence,
and take not thy holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of thy salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors thy ways,
and sinners will return to thee.
Deliver me from blood guiltiness, O God,
thou God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of thy deliverance.
O Lord, open thou my lips,
and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.
For thou hast no delight in sacrifice;
were I to give a burnt offering, thou wouldst not be pleased.
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Do good to Zion in thy good pleasure;
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,
Then wilt thou delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on thy altar.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Martin Luther King Jr. on Peace & Justice (1929-1968)

Nonviolence is absolute commitment to the way of love. Love is not emotional bash; it is not empty sentimentalism. It is the active outpouring of one's whole being into the being of another.
--Martin Luther King, Jr., 1957 (1929-1968)

We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and for justice throughout the developing world, a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.
--Martin Luther King, Jr., "Conscience and the Vietnam War" in The Trumpet of Conscience (1968)

I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of nuclear annihilation... I believe that even amid today's mortar bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow... I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed.
--Martin Luther King, Jr., Address in Acceptance of Nobel Peace Prize - 10 December 1964

In struggling for human dignity the oppressed people of the world must not allow themselves to become bitter or indulge in hate campaigns. To retaliate with hate and bitterness would do nothing but intensify the hate in the world. Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate. This can be done only by projecting the ethics of love to the center of our lives.
----Martin Luther King, Jr., undated

World peace through nonviolent means is neither absurd nor unattainable. All other methods have failed. Thus we must begin anew. Nonviolence is a good starting point. Those of us who believe in this method can be voices of reason, sanity, and understanding amid the voices of violence, hatred, and emotion. We can very well set a mood of peace out of which a system of peace can be built.
----Martin Luther King, Jr., December 1964

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Mystical Verse: Oliver Wendell Holmes

 Lord of all Being

Lord of all being, thronèd afar,
Thy glory flames from sun and star;
Center and soul of every sphere,
Yet to each loving heart how near!

Sun of our life, Thy quickening ray,
Sheds on our path the glow of day;
Star of our hope, Thy softened light
Cheers the long watches of the night.

Our midnight is Thy smile withdrawn;
Our noontide is Thy gracious dawn;
Our rainbow arch, Thy mercy’s sign;
All, save the clouds of sin, are Thine.

Lord of all life, below, above,
Whose light is truth, whose warmth is love,
Before Thy ever blazing throne
We ask no luster of our own.

Grant us Thy truth to make us free,
And kindling hearts that burn for Thee,
Till all Thy living altars claim
One holy light, one heavenly flame.

                      Oliver Wendell Holmes