On the Way: 12/06/15

2015 Year of Mercy Logo x289Our weekly newsletter is now available.

Grace and Peace to you.

Two shooters bring death and destruction into a festive gathering just down the road from us. The media whether in print, online, or on the air, seems to need a daily dose of violence and evil to report and dissect in order to sell the products of their sponsors. The Church in its Lectionary readings features texts about the end of time and God’s judgement. Pope Francis will open an “Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy” (a Holy Year of Mercy) on Tuesday, December 8, 2015 in Rome.

“We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends on it. Mercy: the word reveals the very mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Mercy: the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us. Mercy: the fundamental law that dwells in the heart of every person who looks sincerely into the eyes of his brothers and sisters on the path of life. Mercy: the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to the hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness.” (From the Pope’s proclamation of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy)

What shall be our Way? Pay attention. Prepare to receive the Divine Mercy. Pay attention. Prepare to share the Divine Mercy you know in Jesus Christ.

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François I as St John the Baptist | Art for B Advent 3

John 1:6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

François I as St John the Baptist
CLOUET, Jean
(b. 1485/90, Bruxelles, d. 1541, Paris)
Portrait of François I as St John the Baptist
1518
Oil on wood, 96 x 79 cm
Private collection

Click image for more information.



Francois I of France was a contemporary of Henry VIII. He seems to have attempted at times to steer a conciliatory course during the Reformation, before eventually pursuing tactics typical of a monarch of his times. Click to open the Wikipedia article on Francois I.

(previously posted 12/11/11)

Wind Chimes: 11 Dec 2012

Night descends upon the wilderness

John went into all the region around the Jordan,
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins …

Luke 3:3 NRSV

Even in the dark the chimes sound. Hope? Love? Homecoming? Presence? Peace? Listen. What do you hear?

Wilderness

Each one of us could tell a story about the wilderness. … Our stories would be ones of struggles, ups and downs, highs and lows, stories of being lost and overwhelmed, stories of stumbling, falling down, and wondering when, how, or even if we will get up again.

So begins a homily by one of my favorite preachers, Michael K. Marsh, an Episcopal Priest serving a parish in the Diocese of West Texas. Later he reflects,

The word of God and the wilderness always go together. There’s something about the domesticated places, the illusions of power and prestige, the distractions of the city that separate us from the word of God. The word of God did not come in the empire of Tiberius, the governing of Pontius Pilate, the ruling of Herod, his brother, Philip, or Lysianias, or the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas. The word of God comes in the wilderness. That was true for John the Baptist and it is true for us.

Name any wilderness of your life and there will be a corresponding word of God.

I believe you will recognize (perhaps even experienced) the wildernesses he names. i encourage you to read his meditation/homily: A Welcome Word in the Wilderness.

Today I have added a link to his blog: Interrupting the Silence in the side panel. It is my hope that you will find the blog a welcome resource in studying the lectionary and maturing in your journey with Christ.

Think about it

It is much easier, I think, for God to get through our defenses when we’re in a wilderness. —John Lionberger

From an interview of the Rev. John Lionberger on PBS Religion and Ethics Newsweekly 12/11/2009

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Links to online Advent Calendars

Each of these has a different approach. Find one that helps you “prepare the way.” Find one that helps you focus on God as you make your way into the loving arms of God.

Trinity Wall Street Online Advent Calendar

Busted Halo Online Advent Calendar

CREDO Online Advent Calendar

“Black Friday” began the “Shopping Season” and retailers are relentless in keeping us focused on buying often and buying more. “#GivingTuesday” (11/27/12) was an invitation to give and use our “buying power” in a way that benefits others for more than just a day.

I intend to keep that invitation in front of us throughout the “Shopping Season.” I believe  that It is always the right time to be generous. If you haven’t participated in “#GivingTuesday” how about today? ~dan

Today’s give-a-gift-to-help-others idea:

  • Camp Stevens —  every summer the staff of Camp Stevens (our Episcopal Camp and Conference Center in Julian, CA) leads wilderness trips into the Eastern Sierras. I have been privileged to take part in these trips. And, yes, it is easier for God to get through to you in the wilderness. Your gift will help others, especially the young, begin to discover this truth.

Looking for other give-a-gift-to-help-others ideas?
Go first to Charity Navigator for those ideas
and for an evaluation of how your dollars will be spent

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Image: James Brown and posted by Indian Country Today Media Network on Facebook

B Advent 3, Art for December 11, 2011

CLOUET, Jean
(b. 1485/90, Bruxelles, d. 1541, Paris)
Click to open Web Gallery of Art Artist Biography and to explore other works by this artist.

Portrait of François I as St John the Baptist
1518
Oil on wood, 96 x 79 cm
Privare collection

Click to open Web Gallery of Art display page. Click on their image to enlarge/fit page etc.



Click for Clouet’s portrait of Francois I in normal garb. Click on the image to enlarge/fit page etc.



Francois I of France was a contemporary of Henry VIII. He seems to have attempted at times to steer a conciliatory course during the Reformation, before eventually pursuing tactics typical of a monarch of his times. Click to open the Wikipedia article on Francois I.

Are you ready for another timely word?

Words are important. We use a lot of words in the Sunday Morning Forum. We hear a lot of words—from scripture and from each other. In Sunday’s Gospel account (12/4/11) we heard that John “appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” Mark 1:4. Once again the SSJE brothers give us a word:

REPENTANCE

“Repentance is one of the essential words of the Scriptures. It’s found on the lips of the prophets, it’s found on the lips of John the Baptist, and it’s found on the lips of Jesus himself…. We’re almost programmed to expect words like hellfire and brimstone to follow, and sometimes they do, but we can’t avoid it or do without because it is one of our essential words—and practices.”

-Br. Kevin Hackett via Brother, Give Us A Word a ministry of the Society of St. John the Evangelist (SSJE) in Boston, MA (members are also known as “The Cowley Fathers”)

More on the word:

Repentance: A change of mind or behaviour; this may be attributed even to God in OT (1 Sam. 15: 11). It was demanded of the people whose repentance was often merely formalized in cultic actions and as such condemned by prophets as inadequate and empty (Amos 4: 6; Hosea 6: 4; Isa. 1: 10–17) and without the radical change demanded by the Law. The hope lay in the possibility that one day God would give his people a new heart (Ezek. 36: 26–31) and there would be forgiveness to all who repented (Isa. 1: 18–19). In the NT repentance is called for by John the Baptist (Matt. 3: 9–10) and is to be validated by baptism. The call is repeated by Jesus (Luke 5: 32) and sometimes Paul (e.g. Rom. 2: 4) and in Rev. (2: 5).

“repentance.” In A Dictionary of the Bible. , edited by W. R. F. BROWNING. Oxford Biblical Studies Online http://www.oxfordbiblicalstudies.com/article/opr/t94/e1610 (accessed 07-Dec-2011).

A Proper 21 Art for Readings September 25, 2011

GOSSAERT, Jan
(b. ca. 1478, Maubeuge, d. 1532, Middelburg)
Click to open Web Gallery of Art Artist Biography and to explore other works by this artist.

Christ between the Virgin and St John the Baptist
1510-15
Oil on panel, 122 x 133 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid
Click to open Web Gallery of Art display page.
Click on their image to enlarge/fit page etc.

DEESIS iconography. Rare in art of the Western Church, common in Eastern Orthodoxy. Christ sits in final judgement as Mother Mary and John the Baptist appeal for all people.
Matthew 21:23-32 offers John as an example of prophetic authority. Who better than he and Mary (Theotokos: God-bearer) to plead our cause?
Click for an article on Deesis.

Click for a variety of Deesis iconography.