Saturday, April 03, 2010

The beauty of spring

The rosemary is in bloom. There is a legend that the Virgin's mantle turned the flowers of rosemary this delicate blue.

And here is the Red Haven peach tree at the peak of bloom and glorious beyond words.

Shabbat shalom, y'all.

--the BB

Friday, April 02, 2010

Holy and Great Saturday

John 19:38-42
After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

First, the conclusion of the Matthew Passion (I am listening to the whole thing today).

Then the harrowing of hell:

Hell was wounded in the heart when it received Him whose side was pierced by the spear; consumed by divine fire it groaned aloud at our salvation who sing: O God our Deliverer, blessed art Thou.
--Mattins of Holy Saturday, Lenten Triodion

Despoiler of death, you have delivered us from the last enemy, claiming us forever as your own. All glory to you!

--the BB

Wound our souls with thy love

O Christ our God,
Thou has worked salvation
in the midst of the earth:
Thou hast stretched out
Thy most pure hands
upon the Cross,
and gathered together
all the nations,
as they cry:
O Lord, glory to Thee.

--Royal Hours of Holy Friday, Lenten Triodion

ιησους ειπεν τετελεσται και κλινας την κεφαλην παρεδωκεν το πνευμα

The sacrifice has been made.

The priest and the sacrifice are one.

The priest and the sacrifice have made the people one with God.

The people have been baptized into the death and rising of the Lamb.

They are now a holy people and a royal priesthood.

And so, on this day, they act as priests and, in union with the Great High Priest, intercede for the world in The Solemn Collects.

We pray, therefore, for all creation and for people everywhere according to their needs.

Let us pray for the holy Catholic Church of Christ throughout the world;
That God will energize it with Good News, flood it with compassion, purge it of error, grace it with humility, and kick it into the current century.

Let us pray for all nations and peoples of the earth, and for those in authority among them;
That tribalism may be set aside and the common good be sought and served in justice and truth, that all may live in peace, health, and concord.

Let us pray for all who suffer and are afflicted in body or in mind;
That we may take heed and become God's means of comfort and relief, messengers of God's love, and strong prophets to name and dismantle oppressive or neglectful structures.

Let us pray for all who have not received the Gospel of Christ;
That God will open their hearts and ours to the truth, and lead them and us to faith, obedience, and transformation.

Let us commit ourselves to our God, and pray for the grace of a holy life, that, with all who have departed this world and have died in the peace of Christ, and those whose faith is known to God alone, we may be accounted worthy to enter into the fullness of the joy of our Lord, and receive the crown of life in the day of resurrection.


--the BB

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Viernes Santo

Philippians 2:1-5
If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.

Lord, we resist yet know you call us to die to self that we might truly live and we know it is the false self we must die to, not the truest self you created us to become. We usually think of this in terms of our individual selves but do you not also call our collective false selves to die? The Church, on every level, is going through bad times these days. Could you help us as your body to also die to self - to forget, by your grace, about institutional survival and abandon ourselves to service and embodiment of Gospel? I think it would joy your heart and suspect the world would know more joy also. Thanks.

Lord, when Thou hast ascended on the Cross, fear and trembling seized all creation. Thou hast not suffered the earth to swallow up those that crucified Thee; but Thou hast commanded hell to render up its prisoners, for the regeneration of mortals. Judge of the living and the dead, Thou hast come to bring, not death, but life. O Lover of souls, glory to Thee.
--Lenten Triodon [adapted]

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Aus Liebe will mein Heiland sterben

What was it like, Jesus, to know where it all was headed but not yet know the outcome? To carry within you the certainty of betrayal, denial, and forsakenness? To move forward in those final hours knowing the Romans would put you to death? Look now, in your boundless compassion, on all those whose hearts are torn with anguish, those who suffer alone, those unjustly condemned, those betrayed, and those with no reasonable hope. Be their companion, their succor, their secret strength. Deliver us all from our acts and intentions of betrayal, denial, and abandonment. Der vogorma. Gospodi, pomiluj, Kyrie, eleison. Lord, have mercy.

Aus Liebe will
Aus Liebe will mein Heiland sterben,
Von einer Sünde weiß er nichts.
Daß das ewige Verderben
Und die Strafe des Gerichts
Nicht auf meiner Seele bliebe.

For love,
For love my Savior is now dying,
Of sin and guilt He knows not.
So eternal desolation
And the sinner's righteous doom
Shall not rest upon my spirit.

--the BB

Heart thread - 03/31/2010

Let us recall that the suffering of all sentient beings is part of the ongoing Passion of Christ, in whom all things exist. Let us pray for those going through their own Holy Week.

For Kathy having tests done.

For Dave waiting to hear test results.

For Mark who has had an awful day.

For Declan struggling for health and for his family.

For Jonathan and the Missus.

For Robert Whitaker and his family.

For a blogger and his brother.

For all victims of every form of abuse that they may find healing (which presupposes some truth and justice as well).

For all field workers as we recall the life of César Chávez.

For clergy trying to make it through Holy Week and for altar guild members everywhere.

For those attacked for being real and those afraid of their own reality.

He who is rich made Himself lowly for our sakes: rising from the Supper, He took a towel and girded Himself, and bowing down He washed the feet of the disciples and the traitor.
--Lenten Triodion

Monday, March 29, 2010

We need to be raised from the dead

John 13:21-32
After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, "Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me." The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. One of his disciples--the one whom Jesus loved--was reclining next to him; Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, "Lord, who is it?" Jesus answered, "It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish." So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, "Do quickly what you are going to do." Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, "Buy what we need for the festival"; or, that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night. When he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.

Jesus, you handed the sop to Judas but, as I recall, your friends all ate that night and that same night they all forsook you. When it comes time to live as you ask us, we all fail rather miserably. I'm rethinking the "gates of hell" bit. The church may prevail against its own brittle death-dealing self. Sigh. If your Spirit can renew the face of the earth it can certainly renew us. We need to be raised from the dead. Srsly. Domine, ad adjuvandum nos festina!

I pray this knowing that we have already been raised with Christ, but we need to be raised from our habits of death to live as risen people.

--the BB

Heart thread - 03/29/2010

I ask your prayers for K. who is going in for a CT scan sometime this week.

I got a lovely card today saying: "Thank you for your love, support and prayers while I'm getting well. Love, Declan and his family." Since you all have been part of that love, support, and prayers I wanted you to know.

I ask continued prayers for Dave. His surgery today went well but it will be a while before biopsy results.

And for Steven who is gearing up for his cardiac catheterization on Wednesday.

For those slain or injured by suicide bombers in the Moscow subway.

For reduced tensions between North and South Korea.

For all who rebuild their lives, no matter what or where the disaster.

For our beloved Fran who always freaks before she speaks (or sermonizes).

Margaret asks our prayers for K. L. who had neck surgery today.

Kirstin is praying for a friend in the ICU, and for all who are homeless and who don't have health insurance.

--the BB

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tuesday in Holy Week

John 12:20-36
Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus." Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor. "Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say--'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name." Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again." The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, "An angel has spoken to him." Jesus answered, "This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die. The crowd answered him, "We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?" Jesus said to them, "The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light." After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them.

Lord, how often are we in the position of those Greeks. We would see you. Even if we put aside our distractions and deceits, you are often obscured, even and especially by your churches and our godly pieties. Set us free from all that hides you: smarmy platitudes, easy answers, self-serving lies, and every distortion of your pure Gospel. Teach us, and teach your church, to follow you in the way of the grain, to die to what we know in order to be raised into what God knows.

Heart thread - 03/28/2010

I ask your prayers for Dave who has surgery tomorrow morning. May all go well and may he get good news. May his anxiety ease.

We remember this night all those endangered by tornadoes.

I give thanks for the six households that gathered to worship this morning at Our Saviour, South Valley, and especially for those who labor on its behalf and who have a vision of possibilities.

I offer heartfelt thanks for the arrival of spring in New Mexico. Not for my little garden but for the sake of food throughout the earth I pray for bees and other pollinating insects.

Prayers for the success of a new beginning on START treaties between the Russian Federation and the USA.

For our President as he travels.

For the 153 trapped in a Chinese coal mine after it was flooded.

--the BB

Monday in Holy Week

Ever since you rose from Jordan's muddy waters, Jesus, you have disturbed us, questioning our assumptions, challenging our way of doing things, upsetting all our power structures, and daring to force us to reexamine who we are and what it means to be fully human. Now you insist on marching headlong toward the nearest seat of power. I told you, nothing good will come of this, and you gave me that tender, infuriating look that insists it will. Lord, help my unbelief.

--the BB

Merry Christmas!

What? You were expecting Palm Sunday?

That too. But my Christmas present from my BFF was two half-days of yard help and today was one of them. Frankly, he did all the planting of roses and herbs and most of the annuals. I weeded, pruned, mulched, and did some of the planting of annuals and hauled off trash. Best of all, we had time to visit and talk about this and that.

Today's additions to the yard were six bare root roses, five French lavenders, three other herbs, and 42 mixed pansies and violas.

Remember the south wall with snow and iris?

Two standard miniature roses and all that lavender have joined the iris.

The Methley plum is quite stunning this evening.

And here is a view of the entire yard as seen through the Red Haven peach tree.

Alas, I think we saw all of three bees or other insects, so pollinating does not seem to be happening. Sigh.

But Easter dinner should have a floral backdrop.

--the BB