22 April 2014

Contacts

I had about sworn off them, but thought I'd give the doctor one last try. I'm back in mono-vision, so one eye is for distance and one eye for up close. Unlike previous tries, this one gives the dominant eye to distance, since it was the fuzzy distance vision that was driving me batty. I thought as I drove over to the Crowne to lead devotions today: "Dang! Perfect!" Then I walked inside and tried to read the music on the piano. ACK!!!!!!! A thousand ACKS!!!!!!!! Dr. John did encourage me to give it a week. I was ready to call and tell them to order them. But I definitely need to see if I can resolve the "middle distance" problem. Up close is fine. Distance is fine. But middle distance is a mess!

18 April 2014

And is there a better way...

...to wrap up the closing hours of Good Friday than listening to some of Bach's St. John's Passion. So beautiful. The tenderness at "Woman, behold..." The fervent joy at "It is finished." The closing chorale: "Lord, let at last..."

St. Romanos

Pilate fixed three crosses on Golgotha: two for the thieves, and one for the Giver of life. When Hell saw it, he said to those below, “My ministers and powers, who has fixed a nail in my heart? A wooden lance has suddenly pierced me and I am being torn apart! My insides are in pain, my belly in agony, my senses make my spirit tremble, and I am compelled to disgorge Adam and Adam’s race. All men were given to me by the Garden’s tree–but now a tree is bringing them back again to Paradise.”

When he heard this, Satan, the cunning serpent ran crawling and said, “What is it, hell? Why do you groan for no reason? Why produce these wailings? This Tree, at which you tremble, I carpentered up there for Mary’s Child. I suggested it to his enemies for our advantage, for it is a Cross, to which I have nailed Christ, wishing by a tree to do away with the second Adam, just as I did away with the first one. So do not be afraid. It is dry and barren. It will not harm you. Keep hold of those you have. Of those we rule, not one will escape again to Paradise.”

Hell replied to Satan, “You have lost your senses–you, the cunning snake of old! All your wisdom has been swallowed up by the cross, and you have been caught in your own snare. Lift up your eyes and see that you have fallen into the pit you dug! Behold that Tree, which you call dry and barren, bears fruit: a thief tasted it and has become heir to the good things of Eden. Moses’ rod led the people out of Egypt, but this tree brings mankind back again to Paradise.”

Satan answered, “Wretched hell–cease this cowardly talk! Your words reveal your thoughts. Are you afraid of a cross and of the Crucified? Not one of your words has shaken me, for these deeds are part of my plan. I will also open a grave and entomb Christ, so that you may enjoy your cowardice doubly–from his tomb as well as from his cross. When I see you, I will mock you. For when Christ is buried I will come to you and say, “Who now brings Adam back again to Paradise?”

Then hell spoke back, “Now is the moment for you to listen, Satan. Now you will see the power of the Cross and the great authority of the Crucified. For you, the cross is folly. But the world sees it as a throne, on which, as though seated, Jesus is nailed and hears the thief cry to him, ‘Lord, remember me in your kingdom.’  Listen now as he answers, kingly, ‘Today, poor beggar, you will reign with me. For with me, you will go in again to Paradise.”

 At these words, Satan began to wilt, and what he heard he saw: a thief witnessing to Christ crucified. And so, amazed, he struck his breast and said, “Christ did not answer his accusers, and yet he speaks to a thief? To Pilate he never spoke a word; but now he addresses a murderer, saying, “Come, live in pleasure”? What is this? Who has seen words or deeds done by this thief, by means of which he goes again to Paradise?

Again the devil called out, “Receive me, Hell. I turn to you; I submit to your views, I, who did not believe them. I saw the Tree at which you shuddered, made red with blood and water. And I shuddered, not, I tell you, at the blood, but at the water. For the blood shows Jesus’ slaughter, but the water shows his life, for life has gushed from his side. For it was not the first but the second Adam who carried Eve, the mother of all the living, again to Paradise.”

Now Hell and Satan cried out together, “Let us lament as we see the Tree which we planted transformed into a holy trunk, beneath which thieves, murderers, tax collectors and harlots will find shelter, and reap sweet fruit from what seemed barren. For they cling to the Cross as the Tree of Life. Pressed against it and swimming, through it they escape, and come again as to a harbor, again to Paradise.”

Hell said to Satan, “Swear, tyrant, finally to crucify no one.” And Satan replied, “You take an oath to kill no one. We have had our experience, let us draw back our hand. Let neither of us ever again tyrannize the race of Adam, for it has been sealed by the Cross, it has been given life, like a treasure of a precious pearl in a fragile pot; life, which a thief, well-suited to his trade, took on the Cross. For stealing he was nailed up to die ; and having thieved he was called again to Paradise.”

O most high and glorious, God of fathers and of youths, your willing outrage has become our honor. For in your Cross, we all may boast. To it we have nailed our hearts, that on it we may hang our instruments and sing to you, the Lord of all, from the songs of Zion. The ship from Tarshish once brought gold to Solomon; but to us your Tree gives back, every day and every moment, wealth beyond price. For it brings us all again to Paradise

Tenebrae

There is something that is so compelling beautiful about that simple Vespers. Four psalms. "Sacred Head." St. John's Passion. Responsory. "Jesus, I Will Ponder Now," Sermon (and such an amazingly comforting and powerful sermon from our dear Pr. Gleason), Kyrie, Our Father, Collects. Through it all, the candles extinguished. Then leaving in the darkness, and yet leaving with such a sense of peace and serene joy. It IS finished, after all, and we can walk into our own darkness then, unafraid. For we know Who walks with us and where He will finally lead us. "He was delivered up to death, He was delivered for the sins of the people!"

I think it's been a long time

since we had such a beautiful Good Friday. Nature celebrates Triduum with us this year here in southern Illinois.

All the fair beauty of earth
from the death of the winter arising.
Every good gift of the year
now with its Master returns.

17 April 2014

O Sacred Head

Bekah and Cindi on soprano, Amilia on alto, David on tenor, me on bass. We practiced tonight for the liturgy tomorrow. Amilia mentioned tonight that she told her mom she's used to doing this with her family. I didn't even think of it, because Cindi and Amilia have sung together so often, but the alto part would be the usual spot for our Lauren to sing with us! Well, that's the way the Body of Christ is: we're family too each other wherever we are. What a gift from the Lord, the way life binds to life! I think we need to get an alto duet when Lauren is here so she and Amilia can sing together too.

And so Triduum begins...

..."When You Woke that Thursday Morning"...Corporate Confession and Absolution...St. Thomas Aquinas' Collect...The Passover...Gradual...First Corinthians 11...Tract...O Lord, We Praise Thee...Sermon...Prayer of the Church (DS V)...Offering...Preface (DS V)...Our Father...Verba..."Isaiah Mighty Seer"...Pax..."Lamb of God, Pure and Sinless"...Distribution...Collect...Psalm 22 and the Altar Stripped...

And so we enter into the holy three days. And this year an extra service: the funeral for Bud on Saturday morning.

The intertwining of the death of Christ and the death of His people. As Christ sanctified the tomb and then rose in triumph, so we can entrust our dead to the tomb and know that they shall yet live again on the joyous day of Resurrection.

Last year's Triduum, we were grieving for Jo. This year, we grieve with Judy and family for Bud. Yet the Triduum offers us such unspeakable consolation and hope.

"Because I live, you will live also."

So deep breath and onto the liturgies for Good Friday and entering into the darkness unafraid, for we enter it with Christ.

15 April 2014

The Lent that Almost Wasn't

As a pastor in a parish I could never understand the slightly less than enthusiastic greeting that the extra Lenten services received from so many. Oh, folks would show up. But they never seemed as excited about Lent as I was. Now that I'm sitting on the other side of the nave (so to speak), I begin to understand.

This Lent I've had to miss any number of Lenten services with sickness or being out of town, but I find it very difficult to focus on the ones I've been able to attend. I'm usually headed to bed come 8:30 and so I'm just plain tired, out of focus, and struggling throughout the services. Granted, worshipping in the wretched gym doesn't help one bit. Still I get it now.

Yes, the services are worth it. Worth every bit of it. But the effort involved isn't little for those with early mornings. It's hard to stay up, to yawn your way through the beautiful service, and to try to focus. I feel badly for thinking folks were just lazy. Tired is not lazy. It's just, well, tired.

ACK! Those are DIFFICULT!

Well, yes they are: the chants for the Easter Vigil. But here comes Fr. Sean Daenzer to the rescue and you have a couple days worth of practice:  Chants for Vigil.

13 April 2014

Locus Iste

from this morning's Divine Service. Click here.

P.S. Thanks, Millie, for recording it!


12 April 2014

Happy birthday to my beautiful wife!

It seems like only yesterday... you and Debbie Scott grudgingly agreeing to share your very tasty hot cinnamon toothpicks at Belt... "Hand check" on trips to T.A.G.... fighting over my class ring and your mom refusing to get involved... singing and playing guitar in the open trunk of your car at Wheaton High School... double dating with Jon and Chris... the many summers at the Purple Pad and sleeping up on the roof hearing the fight between the traffic and the ocean waves... the beauty of St. Thomas on our honeymoon... moving to St. Louis with a couple hundred bucks in our pockets and not knowing for sure where we'd live or if we could find jobs... Michael moving in with us... the Garfield days... moving to North Carolina and that disastrous camping trip... Lauren and then BOOM David... Mebane and (as Lauren would say) "my blue house."... Mom with us and so sick... Countless visits with Jim and Amy... walking the streets of Mebane to help get Bekah Boo moving on out under the warm sun and the blooming dogwoods... that monstrous sized placenta!... Moving back to St. Louis and your mom and dad none too happy with the decision... TSP and days filled with field trips, track meets, ballet, Tae Kwon Do, basketball, softball, and volleyball... Metro Days and learning to get used to children turning into adults... Dave and Jo and Nana and Sandy visiting and always having such fun... Sandy's broken ankle and kittens and Jo misbehaving... Dave and Jo moving out here and our trip down to Cairo that beautiful day... The storm in the summer and no power... The storm in the winter and no power, but David's famous video... So many joyful St. Paul memories... Trips to Chicago and our friendship with AJ and Kim... Two years ago today moving into this house right next door to Dave and Jo... Grand babies! One and then suddenly two and three... Missing you so much when you were in NC... Our huge sorrow last year and yet so thankful for all the blessing Jo has been to us through so many years... Our trips to Mexico and most of all that crazy cruise with Klingers and Van Ulfts... Times in the new house with grandkids and our very grown up children... As someone you love to hear sing put it: "It's been a good life all in all."

Which is all to say: I love you very much and I thank God He gave you to me as a traveling companion on this crazy journey of life. And I wrote all of that without telling the world you were 54. Amazing! :)

09 April 2014

Another Genealogy Post

Chancellor Weedon was my grandfather. He was born in 1879. HIS father, John Isaac Weedon, was born in 1828. So, well, yeah, my great grandfather was born in 1828, I knew my grandfather and he knew his father. How weird is that? My great grandfather was 51 when his youngest son, my grandfather, was born. My grandfather was 41 when his son, my father was born. My father was 40 when I, his youngest son, was born.

Nor is my great grandfather merely a name in a genealogy. You see, my great Uncle Isaac wrote a poem about his father that makes me love my great grandfather dearly:

MY FATHER

My Dad, how I have missed him
In all these sixty years,
His company and counsel
In all my hopes and fears.

I remember well one evening
When I was in distress
And thought my lost condition
I must to him confess,
Expecting when he heard me
He would give up as lost
And think I was another
Deceiver he had crossed.

But when I heard His answer
To my very great surprise
He seemed to think my troubles
Were linked with Christian ties.
Christ said he came to seek and
To save that which was lost,
To heal the broken-hearted,
The weak and tempest tossed.

Whene'er one's lost condition
Is openly confessed
It shows some revelation
Of God that is expressed.
To look alone to Christ is
To look away from self;
This is the Gospel lesson
My father used to tell.

Daddy, dear old daddy,
Affections, how they bind,
His sayings, how they linger
And dwell within my mind.
The hope that God has given
Most highly do I prize
That I may meet my father
Beyond the vaulted skies.

Now I ask you, could John Isaac have given his son Isaac better counsel?