Tuesday, September 30, 2014

From Exeter NH to Exeter England

On my way to meetings at Coventry Cathedral last week I made a side visit to Exeter Cathedral in the county of Devon in southwest England. I had made contact with the dean, the Very Rev. Jonathan Draper, some weeks before, mentioning that I was going to be “passing through” and would love to make a connection. As a former dean of a cathedral in Hartford, I had the opportunity to meet many deans in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. and found it a wonderfully collegial group. 

I took the train from Salisbury to Exeter on September 23rd.  I spent an afternoon wandering through the Gothic gem of Salisbury Cathedral and viewing their famed copy of the Magna Carta. I arrived in Exeter mid-day on a beautifully warm and sunny day and saw the tower of the cathedral over the buildings from the station.  At first, the impression one has is of a cathedral with a much smaller tower than Salisbury (England’s tallest). The green surrounding the cathedral was awash with people out having lunch in local restaurants and spread out all around the open space.  Dean Draper, who was born in Boston and moved to England four decades ago, met me and gave me a tour of the cathedral. Work on the building began in the year 1112 (yes, you got that right) and was later expanded in Norman times from 1257 to 1369. I had the joy of attending evensong, and then meeting with some of the staff at the local pub afterwards.  One of the vergers had actually visited our Exeter and expressed his admiration for our part of the world.

Cathedral churches in England are a source of much of the growth and energy within this established church going through many of the changes and challenges we are in this country. As someone who loves almost all things British (From Downtown Abbey, to the Premier League football to milky tea) I especially love sitting in these ancient buildings and wondering about all the souls who have crossed through their doors, the many prayers that have been offered and the centuries music that has been sung. There is a sense of timelessness in a world of constant change. 

Yet, these cathedrals are also living communities. 

I am curious to know if Exeter, NH has ever had ties with our mother city. God willing, wouldn’t a pilgrimage someday to the Exeter in Devon be a journey worth taking?
The Cathedral Green

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Wisdome from Rohr: It's not about being correct. It's about being connected

Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation

Life as Participation

In Christ

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Most of us were not raised to understand that we are participating in something that is already happening. Rather, we were given tasks to accomplish individually and completely. This placed the entire burden on the single isolated person. That’s not participation. That’s perfectionism—thinking I have to do it all or that I can do it all (the American myth). I’m convinced that’s why we have so much of what we call negative self-image in the West—because of this impossible spiritual burden put on the separate individual. The Good News is that it’s not about being correct. It’s about being connected. When the Spirit within you connects with God’s Spirit given from without, you are finally home. Now you know that your deepest you is God, and Christ is living his life in you and through you and with you.

Bible Study and Living in Faith offerings

Here are Christ Church, we have started offering two ways in which we can deepen our faith each week.

Living in Faith is a series each Wednesday night in the Chapel from 7-8 p.m.  We use a book only to enter into conversation and prayer.  But it is not a book study. Come: try it out.

Sunday morning at 9:15 a.m. is our BibleWorkbench group meeting downstairs in the parish house. Again, give it a try.  We look at one of the lessons for the upcoming week. Grab a cup of coffee and stop in. 

Last Sunday the materials cited this wonderful Walt Whitman passage from "Leaves of Grass" (1855). I commend it to you.

This is what you should do:
Love the earth and sun and animals,
despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks,
stand up for the stupid and crazy,
devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants,
argue not concerning God,
have patience and indulgence toward the people...
reexamine all you have been told in school or church or in any book,
dismiss what insults your soul,
and your flesh shall become a great poem.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Punctuation matters

From my sermon on August 24

Punctuation changes everything: 

I'm sorry you can't come with us.

I'm sorry. You can't come with us.

The Democrats say the Republicans will lose the election.

The Democrats, say the Republicans, will lose the election.

Call me fool if you wish.

Call me, fool, if you wish.

Do not break your bread or roll in your soup.

Do not break your bread, or roll in your soup.

This book is dedicated to my roommates, Oprah Winfrey, and God.

This book is dedicated to my roommates, Oprah Winfrey and God.

A woman without her man is nothing.

A woman: without her, man is nothing.