Saturday, April 26, 2014

IMPORTANT: For those coming the Brick Church service on April 27

Please use Rutledge Road to Old Georgetown  (#2. option in directions the right hand column)  rather than Hwy. 45.  The road (Old Georgetown Hwy  is impassable due to rain)


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Happy Easter - Thanks be to God!

A wonderful Easter thought....

"  Adam, along with his bride, walked out a garden into a grave.  The Second [Adam, that is Jesus], along with his bride [the Church], out of a grave into a garden."   RC Sproul

Here are two images..the first is a portion (the left side of the canvas) of the Annunciation by Fra Angelica and the second is a depiction of Jesus Christ welcoming his bride, the Church, into the Garden.

"...Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Cor. 15:57)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Holy Saturday

In the darkness of Holy Saturday, whether the day or a life event,  the words of Job stand true.

"I know that my redeemer liveth" - Handel - Messiah, Pt. III
Lynn Dawson, Soprano 
Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Good Friday Visual Meditation

‘Christ of Saint John of the Cross’ (1951), by Salvador Dalí 
     The Rev. Patrick Comerford, Church of Ireland priest, choice of a work of Art for Lent this Good Friday morning is ‘Christ of Saint John of the Cross,’ painted by Salvador Dali in 1951. This painting is in oil on canvas, measures 205 cm × 116 cm and can be seen in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow.
This painting by Salvador Dalí depicts Christ on the cross in a darkened sky floating over a body of water complete with a boat and fishermen. Although Dalí depicts the crucifixion, this painting shows no nails, no blood, and no crown of thorns. Dalí once said he was convinced in a dream that these features would mar his depiction of Christ, and in that dream he was shown the importance of depicting Christ in the extreme angle we see in this painting.  The painting is known as the ‘Christ of Saint John of the Cross’ because Dalí based his design on a drawing by the 16th century Spanish Carmelite friar and mystic Saint John of the Cross.
The composition of Christ is also based on a triangle and circle: the triangle is formed by Christ’s arms; the circle is formed by his head. The triangle refers to the Trinity. While the circle represents, in Dalí’s own words, “the very unity of the universe, the Christ!”  It is different from any other image of the crucifixion. The angle of the view describes the hanging pain of this method of execution, but hides the ordinarily clichéd facial expressions normally seen on representations of the Crucifixion.
In 2009, the Guardian art critic, Jonathan Jones, described it as “kitsch and lurid,” but said this painting is “for better or worse, probably the most enduring vision of the crucifixion painted in the 20th century.”  The painting was bought for Glasgow Corporation in the early 1950s for £8,200, and went on display at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in 1952. In 1961, a visitor attacked the painting with a stone and tore the canvas with his hands. It was successfully restored over several months. In 2006, it was selected in a poll as Scotland’s favourite painting.
Patrick Comerford's Blog is HERE

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Maundy Thursday

     The events of Maundy Thursday include foot washing and what has become known as the Institution of the Holy Eucharist or Holy Communion.
    Somewhere between 1494-1498, Leonardo Da Vinci painted his masterpiece "The Last Supper" in the refectory (dining hall) of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan, Italy. Almost immediately it began to deteriorate so that by, as early as 1517, the paint began to flake.  One copy of that painting is by Giampietrino around 1520. This painting is thought to accurately reflect much of the detail now lost in the original.   It is reproduced below.  Below that is a remarkable poem by  Ranier Maria Rilke inspired by the daVinci original.  May these bless you this Holy Week.

Click to enlarge

The Last Supper, by Ranier Maria Rilke

They are assembled, astonished and disturbed
round him, who like a sage resolved his fate,
and now leaves those to whom he most belonged,
leaving and passing by them like a stranger.
The loneliness of old comes over him
which helped mature him for his deepest acts;
now will he once again walk through the olive grove,
and those who love him still will flee before his sight.

To this last supper he has summoned them,
and (like a shot that scatters birds from trees)
their hands draw back from reaching for the loaves
upon his word: they fly across to him;
they flutter, frightened, round the supper table
searching for an escape. But he is present
everywhere like an all-pervading twilight-hour.

Here they are gathered, wondering and deranged,
Round Him, who wisely doth Himself inclose,
And who now takes Himself away, estranged,
 From those who owned Him once, and past them
He feels the ancient loneliness to-day
That taught Him all His deepest acts of love;
Now in the olive groves He soon will rove,
And these who love Him all will flee away.

To the last supper table He hath led.
As birds are frightened from a garden-bed
By shots, so He their hands forth from the bread
Doth frighten by His word: to Him they flee;
Then flutter round the table in their fright
And seek a passage from the hall. But He
Is everywhere, like dusk at fall of night.

Monday, April 14, 2014

More Resources for Walking the Week

Dear Friends, Lent and Beyond is a website/blog kept by Jill Woodliff who lists many excellent and prayerful resources for Walking the Week.  Please check it out by clicking on the link below ....   

Holy Monday-anointing, indignation, cleansing and joy

...reposted from the wonderful blog of Archbishop Cranmer...the link to which is HERE

   ...and  being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her (Mk 14:3-9).

      The Jewish commemoration of the Passover begins this evening, recalling the time the Israelites escaped slavery in Egypt by marking their doorposts with the blood of a pure lamb so that the spirit of the Lord might pass over their homes in the slaughter of the first-born. The Gospels record that six days before the Passover, Mary lavishly anointed her Lord in anticipation of His burial. Christ commends her for the deed, saying: “Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her” (Mk 14:9).

      As Jews come together around the Seder, Christians gather to watch Eastenders [A British Television Show] : Holy Monday is indistinguishable from last Monday, or the Monday before that. But today is day for reflecting on the greatest anointing of all - that of the Holy Spirit. Mary's worship at the feet of Jesus was audacious and extravagant, but it was an act of faith and love: all she wanted to do was worship in her own way, which the disciples met with protestation and indignation. It's a woman, you see. And not just a woman, but a mightily-sinning one.

     And yet this woman's actions and expressions teach the men a thing or two. She understands and apprehends on a different spiritual plane. They see the perfume and immediately think about the cost and absurd waste; she gently caresses her Lord's ankles and toes, anoints them with a spiced aroma, and smells the scent of salvation. They want action; their mission is to feed the poor. She wants reflection; her heart's desire is to worship.

     And so the Christ, the Messiah, is anointed not by prophets or priests, but by but by a prostitute. And that is fitting in this revolutionary kingdom of God. But we easily forget this woman. Jesus said: "Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her." But she invariably gets lost somewhere between the palm leaves and Eastenders.

      Holy Monday is also frequently linked to the Lord’s cleansing of the Temple which had become a den of thieves. The House of God, supposedly a place set aside for meditation and prayer, had become a place of hypocrisy, insincerity, greed and lust. Nothing really changes.

     Christians are called to be living sacrifice; to worship God daily in their actions and their words. This is becoming increasingly difficult in a context of increasing secularisation confronted by a compromised church. But the witness of our extravagant devotion to the Lord is wholly dependent upon the purity and honesty of our lives: and that must be marked by humility and love, not by aggressive demands for rights or assertions of pride.

      Let Caesar collect his taxes and make his laws: it is for Christians to cleanse our temple and devote ourselves lavishly to the Lord, that we may find peace, joy and happiness.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Palm-Passion Sunday

      The Sunday, known as Palm-Passion Sunday, has twin emphases. The first is  Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem with Hosannas and palms during which he is hailed as the long awaited one, the King - clearly a zenith moment.  Over the course of Holy Week, the emphasis shifts dramatically and we hear notes of  fear, anger, and betrayal - all culminating in the nadir of crucifixion.
       It is tempting to focus on just one or the other, but we do need, for our own soul's health, to hold to both because this reflects our human experience in the fullness of longing, pain and joy.   James W. Farwell writes "  We both desire and resist God’s movement toward us – a movement that brings us blessing and life, but costs not less than everything, and we remain ambivalent about this. Yet it is to us – these ambivalent creatures longing for union with the One by whom we are united with our Creator, yet fiercely determined to make our way with the very freedom the Creator grants us – it is to us that God in Christ comes with a fierce love as king, as servant, as reconciler, as a robber of the tombs into which we fall, and as bread."
       It is this same Jesus Christ we celebrate on Sunday next.  Be sure to join us as we  sing "Hosanna" and then shout, "Crucify." It can be a heart rending experience and one that readies us for Easter Day like nothing else.         JTCO

(The marvelous painting above is the Entry into Jerusalem by P. Lorenzetti - 1320.  The buildings depicted are in Assisi, Italy.)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Our First Responsibility

This morning I was  taken by these comments from A.W. Tozer (1897-1963).  He writes:

....the way to escape religion as a front is to make it a fount. See to it that we pray more than we preach and we will never preach ourselves out. Stay with God in the secret place longer than we are with men in the public place and the fountain of our wisdom will never dry up. Keep our hearts open to the inflowing Spirit and we will not become exhausted by the outflow. Cultivate the acquaintance of God more than the friendship of men and we will always have abundance of bread to give to the hungry. 

Our first responsibility is not to the public but to God and our own souls.

                                                               God Tells the Man Who Cares, 115-116 – AW Tozer

I rise before the dawning of the morning, and cry for help; I hope in Your word. My eyes are awake through the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word. -Psalm 119:147-148