Sunday, September 26, 2010

Season of Creation 4C: Cosmos Sunday

26 September 2010

September constellation Dabih
Cosmos Sunday! Liturgy brings cosmic time and chronological time to an intersection where all times everywhere – past, present and future ≠ meet in this present now. The person presiding at eucharist holds the totality, entirety and completeness of the redeemed and restored cosmos in their hands as the risen, ascended One also is now descended, once again incarnate among and within the gathered and transformed Eucharistic community and within all creation. Martin Luther speaks about the ubiquity of the Risen and Ascended Christ...

Cosmos Sunday!

"We are stardust, we are golden,
We are billion year old carbon,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden."
Woodstock, by Joni Mitchell

Michin Kaku tells us "...we are children of the stars; the atoms in our bodies were forged on the anvil of nucleo-synthesis within an exploding star aeons before the birth of the solar system. Our atoms are older than the mountains. We are literally made of stardust." Hyperspace, 1994

from Madeleine L'Engle: "If we look at the makeup of the word disaster, dis-aster, we see dis, which means separation, and aster, which means star. So dis-aster is separation from the stars. Such separation is disaster indeed. When we are separated from the stars, the sea, each other, we are in danger of being separated from God." A Stone for a Pillow, 1986

We Bow Down

by Twila Paris

You are Lord of the Heavens and Lord of my life
Lord of the land and the sea
You were Lord of Creation before there was time
And Lord of all Lords You will be

We bow down and we worship You, Lord
We bow down and we worship You, Lord
We bow down and we worship You, Lord
Lord of all Lords You will be

You are King of the Heavens and King of my life
King of the land and the sea
You were King of Creation before there was time
And King of all Kings You will be

We bow down and we crown You the King
We bow down and we crown You the King
We bow down and we crown You the King
King of all Kings You will be

Friday, September 24, 2010

sing once pray twice friday 5

we who sing pray twice 5 hosted by Mary Beth. I could write a separate blog on each of these 5 questions, but for today short answers will do.

1) Do you like to sing/listen to others sing? In worship, or on your own (or not at all?)

St Bavo organI love love LOVE leading worship from organ or piano! I have artist's diplomas in piano from Tanglewood and in organ from the International Summer Academy for Organists in Haarlem. Although I have perfect pitch and an okay voice and can sight read anything, I'm not a singer so maybe that's particularly why I love the sound of an outstanding choir as the aspect of music I'd much rather listen to than participate in, though with everything keyboards I'm the opposite.

This is a photo of the Christian Müller organ at St. Bavokerk in Haarlem, a.k.a. "The Reformed St. Bavo," since there's also a Roman Catholic St. Bavo.

2) Did you grow up with music in worship, or come to it later in life? Tell us about it, and how that has changed in your experience.

I didn't grow up in the church, but I lived in a house with a piano and taught myself first to play by ear and then eventually to read notes before starting formal piano lessons around 9th grade. First becoming acquainted with music in worship during college probably qualifies sort of as "later in life!" Having been a musician of some sort since around 4th or 5th grade when I first started playing (not to mention earlier experiences of listening) has made me very fussy and highly discriminating, though I try my best not to be negative about people's best efforts.

3) Some people find worship incomplete without music; others would just as soon not have it. Where do you fall?

Probably because of my own musical backgrounds and abilities, although I love well-presented music and beautifully sung liturgy, if it's not of a fairly high caliber I'd rather have a spoken service. I have fond memories (okay, mixed feelings, since it was one of my zillion plus attempts to reconcile some with Canterbury) of a couple year's worth of BCP Holy Communion Rite 1 at Vacation Parish in affluent Vacation Ville.

4) Do you prefer traditional music in worship, or contemporary? That can mean many different things!

I'll get beyond real for a touch of ideal: probably no 19th century hymnody, organ music or organ construction whatsoever and I do not care for chant of any type (Gregorian, Anglican, Taizé...). So let's have one each of a traditional hymn such as "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation" (Lobe den Herren); a psalm from the Genevan Psalter; a 20th century specialty like "I Am the Bread of Life" that crashes boundaries between traditional, contemporary and praise; an actual praise song... how about Hillsongs "Shout to the Lord?!" And by the way, for reasons of theology, politics and language I'm more than fine with Lord but prefer not to use King, but also prefer not to tweak the original poetry out of its original shape, even when leaving the intent.

I didn't mention organ or other keyboard music, choir or instrumental offerings or possible liturgical settings, but I have opinions about those, too.

5) What's your go-to music ... when you need solace or want to express joy? A video/recording will garner bonus points!

Go-to-music... beyond Beethoven Symphonies Nos. 1, 2, 4 and 7? Roy Harris, Symphony No. 3 and a lot of songs that have been top-40 hits or close to that number. Martin Page, House of Stone and Light; Bruce Springsteen, The Rising; Jewel Kilcher, Absence of Fear; Huey Lewis and the News, The Power of Love; Dire Straits, Walk of Life... you get the idea!

Thanks so much, MaryBeth!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Season of Creation 3c: Storm Sunday

19 September 2010

Today is Storm Sunday, the third for this year's Season of Creation liturgical emphasis. With Ocean Sunday, we pondered and celebrated the earth's circulatory system. Fauna Sunday was a time to consider critters of all kinds that depend on humans for their sustenance and health, just as trees, rivers, forests and prairies do—animals are a major aspect of our interdependent world! Next Sunday, the twelfth and last will be Cosmos Sunday. Paralleling the Revised Common Lectionary, the Season of Creation includes a year for Matthew, one for Mark, and then Luke.

Hurricane Katrina - Biloxi, Mississippi

It feels as if especially during the five years since Katrina turned the world's eyes and hearts to the city of New Orleans and to the ineptitude of the federal government's response, every time there's a natural disaster media outlets overwhelm us with constant updates about the most recent hurricane, earthquake, oil spill, tornado or assorted "other" weather phenomena that disrupt the sometimes routine days of our lives.

In the reading from the Hebrew Bible, Job [28:21-22] inquires about wisdom, responding with words about some not readily apparent ways of being wise: “Where then does wisdom come from? And where is the place of understanding? It is hidden from the eyes of all living, and concealed from the birds of the air."

Paul's first letter to the Corinthian Church forms the second pericope or scripture selection for Storm Sunday. At first glance its relevance may seem a stretch, since Paul again is all about the cross of Calvary and again Paul recognizes the paradoxical power of weakness, vulnerability and death, along with servant wisdom found in the cross. Paul trusts the invincibility of life in the overwhelming power of resurrection. In fact, you could say that for Paul the Gospel is death and resurrection!

23we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

Major seismic and atmospheric events can cause widespread destruction of all kinds, more often than not disproportionately impacting lives and surroundings of folks with fewer financial and other resources. It's well-known that people living in neighborhoods with more up-to-date infrastructure have better schools and get better coverage from police, fire and politicians. At 7.2 the Easter Day Sierra El Mayor geological event that shook, rattled and rolled Northern Mexico and Southern California was higher on the Richter scale than the 7.0 Haiti quake on 12 January. Alta and Baja California regions still are getting substantial aftershocks, but they warrant no more than a "did you feel that one?" while Haiti remains in chaotic disrepair and there probably never will be an accurate death count or reckoning of total costs. According to today's famous passage from Luke, the disciples "...were afraid and amazed, and said to one another, 'Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?'

"Who is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him." Hebrew and Christian worldviews emerged from God's self-revelation within religious contexts in which people believed that far away, distant, unapproachable gods caused natural disasters and disturbances out of their anger and displeasure with humans, along with more-or-less predictably cycles and recycles of the same events. The experience of God's nascent people Israel and later those of the early Church – I'd hope our experience as 21st century Christians, too – with the God who is Creator and Lord of the waves and the winds (the desert, the savanna and the outback, and Lord of history, too...) was distinctly different! This was not a remote deity requiring sacrifice and placation, but a God so in love with creation that in Jesus of Nazareth God chose to live as a human creature. Not only has the endless recurrence of the very same thing stopped in its tracks, this God promises and provides a hope, a future and the reality of resurrection from the dead.

Job asks about wisdom; the apostle Paul tells us about God's wisdom. When the very young John Calvin pondered compiling a systematic theology, he wondered whether to begin with Divinity or with Humanity but finally decided it made no difference, since the outcome of either would be identical. Back in the days of Jesus the Nazarene it was not unusual to be talking with someone who was half mortal, half divine—the offspring of a human and a god. In Jesus Christ we find something more: a Savior, a Lord both completely mortal and completely divine; in Christ Jesus we discover that the fullness of humanity and the fullness of divinity are one and the same! Baptized into his death and resurrection and walking with Jesus in trust, we participate in his humanity and claim his divinity. Martin Franzmann's poetry sings, "Thy strong Word bespeaks us righteous, bright with Thine Own Holiness."

A blizzard or flood, tsunami or environmental accident originating oceans and continents away from where we live or a block away from home will affect all of us wherever we are. Because of our intertwined lives, last January's earthquake in Haiti wounded and broke all of us. Each of us can be counted among Deepwater Horizon's victims and survivors.

Will major meteorological events keep on happening? Without a doubt they will. "Who is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him."

Who are we, the people of God? We live baptized into Jesus Christ, so do the oceans and the breakers obey us? God calls us to be co-creators and faithful stewards of all creation, to live as agents of justice, renewal, restoration and mercy for all, in those ways and probably many others, also, to be the presence of Jesus Christ...

Friday, September 10, 2010

season of creation 2c: Fauna Sunday

12 September 2010litany

leader: In celebration we bring our hopes, our sorrows, our confusions and our futures before God Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier on this Fauna Sunday!

response: From the rising of the sun, until the moon shines down, horses, eagles, mountain goats, hawks and sparrows all rejoice in your gracious love.

leader: You have given humanity a place in the order of creation and have called us to keep your covenant of loving care and provision with birds of the air, fish of the sea, with insects, marsupials, felines and bovines…

response: That we would help preserve natural habitats so hummingbirds, lions, camels, leopards and all safely may flourish and raise their young without fear.

leader: We give thanks for our companion animals

response: For cats, dogs, gerbils, parakeets, hedgehogs and goldfish.

leader: We admit that humanity has abused animal life for utility, experimentation and entertainment rather than living with them as covenant partners.

response: We repent of ways society has injured and exploited innocence.

leader: We resolve to allow the wild to run free and not invade their spaces;

response: We promise to keep wilderness a place holy sanctuary and safe shelter.

leader: Your Spirit of life fills all creatures!

response: Let everything that flies and all the crawling creepers

leader: From arctic to savanna to mountaintop

response: From rivers to prairies, from micro critters to mammoth animals

leader: With howling wolves, braying donkeys and swarming bees

all: Let all praise the name of the Lord and glorify the Christ in the Spirit!