a priest's musings on the journey

Thursday, August 30, 2007

retiring blog

for now...

It'll still be here because there are some links to some really good bloggers who are making a postive difference in the world with their words of healing and justice. I wish all Christian bloggers could follow their examples.
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 10:31 PM | link | 9 comments |

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Anglican Covenant and Dis-Unity?

Go read Bp Alan's thoughts here
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 5:24 PM | link | 1 comments |

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Sermon proper 16 8/26/2007 Who Will be Saved?

Who Will Be Saved?

Since ancient times, human beings have wondered what will happen to us after we die. Different religious groups have offered different answers to the question, with most basically agreeing to the concept that after this life our existence continues somehow with God. For Christians, our hope is that since Christ has been resurrected, we who have been united to Christ will also be resurrected to eternal life with God in the communion of the saints. Now it remains a mystery as to how we will experience eternal life with God, since none of us have crossed over to the other side and returned to tell, but we believe that in the life to come we will experience the joy of fully knowing and loving God and each other, and that God’s purpose for the world will be complete. Of course musings on the afterlife raise other questions, like, “what will happen to people who lived evil lives?” “Will people like Hitler, and Charles Manson, and notorious criminals also enjoy the joys of heavenly bliss, or will they be punished?” and if they will be punished, “will it be forever?”

The answer to this question lies in the mystery of God’s mercy and justice. Our Judeo-Christian heritage offers a variety of answers and opinions to the question “who will be saved?” Some of our more fundamentalist brothers and sisters insist one must have a born again experience or that one must be a practicing member of their church. Other Christians, including many of the early fathers and mothers, feel that in the end everyone will be saved- that even the most evil human beings in the end will be reunited to God.

St Clement of Alexandria wrote:

We can set no limits to the agency of the Redeemer to redeem, to rescue, to discipline in his work, and so will he continue to operate after this life.

Diodore of Tarsus wrote in the fourth century:

For the wicked there are punishments, not perpetural, however, lest the immortality prepared for them should be a disadvantage, but they are to be purified for a brief period according to the amount of malice in their works. They shall therefore suffer punishment for a short space, but immortal blessedness having no end awaits them...the penalties to be inflicted for their many and grave sins are very far surpassed by the magnitude of the mercy to be showed to them.

Many of the fathers taught that the full work of Christ’s work of salvation will be complete when all evil is overcome by the love of God, and God is all in all.

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus is asked the question, “who will be saved? Will only a few be saved?” Jesus, however, does not answer his question. Instead, Jesus attends to the real need of the man asking the question and the crowd listening to the exchange by giving his vision of what the Kingdom of God will be like. Jesus says:

18 … "What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? 19 It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches." 20 And again he said, "To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? 21 It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened." (Luke 13:18-21)

Jesus vision of God’s Reign is an expansive, inclusive, kingdom, where people will come from east and west, from north and south, and will eat in the kingdom of God. Jesus envisions a feast where all are welcome, a table in God’s presence where everyone has a place of honor- It’s a kingdom where one’s ancestry, education, social connections, and bank account have no merit. That might not sound so shocking to us, but it was for the original audience; Jesus was challenging their presumption that because they were descendants of Abraham and members of God’s chosen people that they automatically had a place in the Kingdom of God- and that those who did not share their pedigree would be excluded. Instead, Jesus portrays a feast with God where those who thought they’d be invited because they were descendants of Abraham, stand aside and watch people from all the nations of the world take their places at God’s table. As the “insiders” see the “outsiders” find a place of welcome at God’s Feast, they ask, “Lord, what about us? We ate and drank with you and talked with you in the streets?” And the Lord will reply, ‘I do not know you.” And they will be cast out of the Kingdom.

Jesus goes on to encourage them not to rely on Abraham or their religious upbringing to get them into heaven- instead, he presents himself as the narrow door, through which they must strive to enter in order to find a place in God’s Kingdom. At first glance, Jesus’ call to strive to enter by the narrow door seems to contradict Jesus’ vision of the Kingdom of God where people from all the nations are welcomed. His image of the narrow door is exclusive, and maybe even hopeless. The implication seems to be that only a few will be able to pass through. But a closer read shows that Jesus really isn’t contradicting himself. The invitation to enter is given to everybody- and everyone who enters is given a place of welcome, in fact some with the wrong bloodlines and the wrong credentials will find their places in the Kingdom first. Everyone is invited- but to get there, everyone must walk through the narrow door. Jesus is not answering the man’s question by saying some will be saved and some will not; instead, Jesus is describing the process of salvation, and offering whoever wishes to begin that process to strive to find the way that leads to salvation. It isn’t enough, Jesus teaches to say ‘we were baptized members of the Episcopal Church” or even that we went to church every Sunday. More is required of us if we are to be saved. We too must strive to enter through the narrow door… but what does that mean?

Well, Jesus was not talking about a door as we think of it; he wasn’t talking about the kind of door that we lock at night to keep intruders out of our homes. The narrow door that Jesus had in mind was something else entirely—it was, in fact, an open door. In those days there was the daytime door and the nighttime door. The daytime doors were really the gates of the city. Any of you who have traveled to Jerusalem or any other cities with medieval origins has seen the large city gates. Every morning they were opened to let the vegetable and market carts in—or to let the soldiers out or in. They were giant doors that allowed the comings and going of animals and vehicles and armies, groups with lots to carry. At night, though, the wide doors were closed and the entryway to the city was through a narrow door through which you could only enter on foot—with very little baggage. When Jesus says strive to enter through the narrow door, the message is that you can’t take a lot of baggage with you if you want to follow him to the Kingdom of God. Christian life very often is about letting go of some of the baggage we think is essential to our lives. In order to enter the world to which Jesus calls us, we often must shed much that we think keeps us safe. We step through the narrow welcoming door, often having to bend low to come into the place with God to which Jesus invites us. It is that place where who we know, who we have been, who our ancestors were, what our education has been, or what possessions we have do not matter. And what we are given in exchange is the healing hand that allows us to throw off whatever is burdening us, in body, mind, and spirit, and to find wholeness and salvation in life in God.

The way to salvation is open to everyone; all are beckoned to come to the feast that God has prepared. But only those who follow the way of Christ, who let go of the things of this life that keep us rooted to the kingdom of the world will be able to enter through the narrow door. What’s keeping you on the outside looking in at others who are enjoying the joys of abundant life in God? What burdens are weighing you down and disabling you from entering through the narrow door into the Kingdom of God? Jesus calls us to let it go- to trust Him alone, to cast our cares upon Him, to follow his way of self denial and self giving love…when we walk in the way of love- when we love God and our neighbor, we will discover that the kingdom of God is already within us. But, as St Anselm of Canterbury wrote, our hearts can not be filled with this self-giving God-like love until it is emptied of other false loves. When our hearts are filled with love for riches, power, pleasure, and praise, then it is impossible for us to pass through the narrow way and experience the reign of God among us. When we let go of those things, and begin to have a love for helping the poor, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, befriending the lonely, and liberating the oppressed, then we will discover that our lives are rooted in God, and that God’s own life is breaking into the world around us.
Who will be saved? Not those who belong to a particular religious group or who have experienced certain religious rituals, although they are important. But, those who will be saved are those who have made a radical change in their lives- those who have cast aside the selfish desires of their hearts and who have striven to love as Jesus loves, to serve as Jesus serves, to embrace the outcasts, and the undesirables and to offer them the seats of honor at God’s Feast of grace. Those who will be saved are those who have realized that God is love, and in order to be one with God, one must also love.

In the Name of God. Amen.
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 1:25 PM | link | 3 comments |

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

When Cooking was about hospitality not Sex in the City

Huw has a great post on The Food Network here

What ever happened to Julia Child, The Two Fat Ladies, Nancy Dupree, and Graham Kerr?
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 8:34 PM | link | 7 comments |

A correction on the Hymn

The text was originally written by a danish woman, called Elle Andersdatter in 1639. Our Archbishop J.O.Wallin translated it to Swedish in 1819.
It has the nr 325 in the Swedish hymnal.

Thanks Fr. Jermunn!!
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 1:23 PM | link | 2 comments |

Old Swedish Hymn

A new friend who is a priest in the Church of Sweden sent me this hymn in honor of Our Lady's Day. It is too lovely not to share. (I hope the bride imagery isnt offensive. It is an ancient metaphor, and personally, I am nurtured in the idea that I am the bride of God)

My saved soul is rejoicing in hope,
to eternal good it lifts itself in faith,
‘cause the chains of death Christ has broken
and gives me in his love – Life.

With him I have found the path of bliss,
and the heavenly inheritance he has won for me,
When I fall asleep, he embraces me,
and on his arms I will go to heaven.

And higher, more bright than gold, more bright than the sun,
my soul will shine before his throne,
the good God,
dresses me in the gown
he himself has promised his beloved bride.
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 8:05 AM | link | 3 comments |

The Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos

Kontakion (Tone 2)

Neither the tomb, nor death, could hold the Theotokos,
Who is constant in prayer and our firm hope in her intercessions.
For being the Mother of Life,
She was translated to life by the One who dwelt in her virginal womb!

Today the Church remembers the death, resurrection and glorification of the Mother of God. Holy Tradition tells us that the Theotokos remained in the city of Jerusalem after the Descent of the Spirit on Pentecost, living in the home of St John the Beloved. In her early fifties, tradition believes, Blessed Mary died. The Apostles were scattered abroad preaching the Gospel; however, each of them, except for Thomas were miraculously brought to the Virgin aloft on clouds moments before her death.

As they stood around her bedside, she commended her spirit to the Lord and Jesus descended from Heaven, taking up her soul in His arms. The Apostles sang the funeral hymns in her honor and carried her body to a tomb in Cedron near Gethsemane. Thomas arrived on the third day and wished to see the Virgin for the last time. However, when they went to visit her tomb, they discovered it was empty. Church tradition teaches that the Theotokos was resurrected bodily and taken to heaven, in the same way that we all will be on the Last Day.

You can read a sermon of St Gregory Palamas here

Sermons on the Dormition by St John Damascene here

Another great source of information on this holy day may be found here
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 2:24 AM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, August 12, 2007

1000 Origami Cranes for Peace in Iraq

:: posted by Padre Rob+, 5:57 PM | link | 2 comments |

How to Knit a Thurible

This was posted in a comment on Kelvin's Blog, but my little catholic heart just had to share it. This is fabulous !! hehe

How to Knit a Thurible
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 12:44 PM | link | 5 comments |

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Lutherans to allow Gays in Committed Relationships to Pastor

The story is here
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 1:27 PM | link | 8 comments |

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Two New Blogs

Two blogs from friends that I recommend...
la vie graphite


Love, Life, and Lessons Learned
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 8:58 PM | link | 2 comments |

Where is the Love?

Just wondering, why it is that members of Christ's Body who are in disagreement over certain issues find such delight in ridiculing, belittling, and making pot shots at their siblings who disagree with them? If that's love, if that's how Christians treat one another when they disagree, then no wonder our churches are empty on Sundays.

At the risk of sounding like an evangelical, I do not think this is behavior in which Jesus would be engaged. I think he'd be praying for unity (uh in fact he did) not making fun of those on the other side.

One reason I respect His Grace, the Rt Rev'd Gene Robinson, is because he is faithfully committed to the Gospel call to return evil with good, to bless those who curse him, to love those hate him, to include those who would exclude him- and even to be willing to endure suffering on their behalf. That is what is it looks like to be a follower of Jesus- not to be engaged in sophomoric frivolity which incites the rabble to cheap laughter at the expense of a brother or sister on the other side of the fence. Some of the derisive remarks I have read about Christian siblings with whom there is disagreement is not even appropriate in civilized discourse at all, much less in Christian discourse.

How can the love of God and a Gospel of inclusivity be proclaimed on Sunday, and then those same lips proclaim hatred for the Christ who is present in others? Have we forgotten the wisdom of John? " The one who hates ones brother who has been seen, hates God who has not been seen"

It's all getting rather embarrassing! How do we expect to ever find unity in our broken church and why should we think an unchurched person would want anything to do with us as long as we allow this kind of behavior to exist the church? It's time for it to stop; it's time for us to begin to pray for those who abuse us, love those who deride us, bless those who deny us a place in the family, and include those who exclude us. That's what is means to be a disciple.
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 9:27 AM | link | 5 comments |

Monday, August 06, 2007

Fr Kelvin Just Makes me Laugh

Check out his 10 reasons for attending Mass for the Feast of the Transfiguration at St Mary's Cathedral, Glasgow here. Wish I'd been there ;)
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 10:00 PM | link | 4 comments |

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Feast of the Transfiguration

The Transfiguration of our Lord

"And so on the mountain he showed his Apostles the glory of his divinity, concealed and hidden by his humanity. For they saw his face bright as lightning and his garments white as light. They saw two suns; one in the sky, as usual, and one unusually; one visible in the firmament and lighting the world, and one, his face, visible to them alone. His garments white as light showed that the glory of his divinity flooded from his whole body, and his light shone from all his members. For his flesh did not shine with splendor from without, like Moses, but the glory of his divinity flooded from him. His light dawned and was drawn together in him. Nor did it depart somewhere else and leave him, as if it came from another place and adorned him, nor was it for his use. And he did not display the whole depth of his glory, but only as much as the limits of their eyes could encompass.

‘And there appeared to them Moses and Elijah talking with him’. And the words that they said to him were such as these: they were thanking him that their words and those of all their fellow Prophets had been fulfilled by his coming. They offered him worship for the salvation which he had wrought for the human race; and that he had fulfilled in reality the mystery they had only sketched. There was joy for the Prophets and the Apostles by this ascent of the mountain. The Prophets rejoiced when they saw his humanity, which they had not known. The Apostles also rejoiced when they saw the glory of his divinity, which they had not known, and heard the voice of the Father bearing witness to his Son; and through this they recognized his incarnation, which was concealed from them. And the witness of the three was sealed by the Father’s voice and by Moses and Elijah, who stood by him like servants, and they looked to one another: the Prophets to the Apostles and the Apostles to the Prophets. There the authors of the old covenant saw the authors of the new. Holy Moses saw Simon the sanctified; the steward of the Father saw the administrator of the Son. The former divided the sea for the people to walk in the middle of the waves; the latter raised a tent for the building of the Church. The virgin of the old covenant saw the virgin of the new: Elijah and John; the one who mounted on the chariot of fire and the one who leaned on the breast of the flame. And the mountain became a type of the Church, and on it Jesus united the two covenants, which the Church received, and made known to us that he is the giver of the two. The one received his mysteries; the other revealed the glory of his works."

Ephrem the Syrian, On the Transfiguration 8-9

Full sermon here.
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 11:42 PM | link | 0 comments |

Hiroshima Remembrance Day

That God might have mercy upon us- Lord hear our prayer
That all the nations might turn their swords into plowshares- Lord hear our prayer
That there will be peace upon the Earth- Lord hear our prayer

That all the innocents who died and suffered from the Atomic bombing on Hiroshima may dwell in Light Perpetual be embraced by the Love of God- Lord hear our prayer

That all who continue to suffer and die from war may find rest and comfort in God-
Lord hear our prayer
That all wars may cease and that we may dwell in peace and safety-
Lord hear our prayer
That the Kingdom of God may Reign on Earth as in Heaven-
Lord hear our prayer

As soon as we saw the flash, the whole area grew dark
Drawing / Hiroko Kanemasu August 6, 1945, Ninoshima Elementary School, Aza Yajita, Ninoshima-cho
The northern edge of the island was closest to the hypocenter-8.3 kilometers away. The south side was 11.5 kilometers. Ninoshima Elementary School was on the west side, opposite the quarantine station.
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 7:31 PM | link | 0 comments |


I've been way from blogging (writing and reading) for most of the summer. It's been a busy summer and I've wanted to spend as much time with my son as possible. I will back to regular blogging in late August/early September. However, it may take on a new shape.

I've accepted a call to be the Canterbury Chaplain at University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. I am in the process of packing and getting ready for an interstate move. I've found a great old house in the shadow of the university, and walking distance to everything. It will be nice to be able to live somewhat independently from my car.

I begin on the 19th of August. I am thinking about how to use this blog as a tool for the students with which I will be serving- in addition to musings on my faith journey and occasional sermons. I'd appreciate your prayers during this time of transition.

I will also be serving as the part time assistant rector of Trinity Parish, across the street from the University. My duties there are yet to be determined, but I am excited about their commitment to serving the poor and homeless and their openness to the new gifts that I bring. I'll keep you posted.

Peace to all.

The pic is of the University of Mary Washington Eagle Pipe Band
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 11:45 AM | link | 17 comments |

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Rest in Peace, Uncle Snake

Jerry William Shores departed this life into eternal union with God late this afternoon. His body had given up days ago, but his spirit lingered. The Hospice nurses told the family it seemed that he was waiting for something or someone before passing on. The doctor asked us all to tell him that it was ok to die. The last few days were beautiful; his room was filled with the hymns we sang in church when I was a child and my grandfather was still with us (as the pastor of our church). Some told him stories- remembrances of his youth and life. In the midst of crying, laughing, singing and praying, Uncle Jerry departed this life for his home with God.

Rest Eternal Grant unto Him, O Lord; May Light Perpetual Shine Upon Him.
May the souls of all the departed rest in peace and rise in glory everlasting. +

Thanks to all who have lit candles and offered prayers.
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 7:07 PM | link | 3 comments |