Journal: June 1, 2021

On a more serious note….

Photo by Myriam Zilles on Unsplash

Fifth Joyful Mystery:
The finding of Jesus in the temple
“Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom; and when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it… After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions; and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers” (Lk 2:41-47).

I was just outside the entrance to the chamber where He was speaking. Out of shame, I could not enter, so I could not hear what He was saying to the teachers. I knelt on the step closest to the entrance with my face to the ground. I could go no further even though I wanted to be seen by Him. I was simply near and that was all I could do.

I knew she was near. She always is. It was the third day and they had finally found him. Once she knew, she did not rush in. It all made sense to her. As she climbed the steps and as she passed me, I did not look up, but she ran her fingers through my hair. She let me know of her presence, though I knew of it already (I should look for Joseph as well, but I think he would point me to her and she would lead me to Him).

When I felt her touch, I tried to bury my face even further into the pavement of the steps. Such shame… how can the innocence of the Queen of Heaven touch something so… unclean, but she did not hesitate, yet like us all, she came for her Son who she thought was lost. She was anxious to be near Him as we all are.

I still could not hear the conversation. Her words or His. She and Joseph came out. He followed, but did not immediately go down to them. He stopped and sat on the step next to me. I could not look up. He placed His hand on my head and gripped… gently.. my hair. He loved me in spite of…. A child, yet He knew all. He did not forsake me.

I will never know how to serve such Love as this.

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy….. ME!

Journal: May 30 2021

How is it that you can go to the grocery store, spend $170, and still have nothing to eat in the house? To heck with enquiring minds want to know… my stomach would also appreciate an answer.

Today I preached (or at least that is what I call it) on the “Nicodemus Hour”. This is a thought that came via Christoph Cardinal Schönborn and refers to time spent with the Lord in the evening as Nicodemus did in John’s Gospel. I ran with that a bit and reflected on how we have some of our most intimate conversations at night… which is true… but what got cut from the sermon was the science / psychology behind “why.”

Photo by Korney Violin on Unsplash

Feel free to search out the sciency terms yourself, but what it comes down to is that, at night, we are physically and mentally pooped out, we become more vulnerable, and less inhibited. Put another way, the fight-or-flight is done for the day, you’ve got a nice warm fuzzy going in your brain and it’s ready for nighty-night time, and all those night time chemicals that kick in to help you sleep are now loosening up your tongue. Bottom line: you’ll confess just about anything if you’re with someone you trust. Sounds very romantic. What I wanted to ask this morning (and didn’t or we would probably all still be there… except for the ones who gave up on an ending to the sermon and had already left): why is it that we have to be perfectly and completely exhausted before we can be honest and open with one another? No. I’m not going to spill my gray matter around on just anyone who wanders by, but isn’t it odd that our brains must be essentially liquored up with tiredness before we can be true to those we care most about? And the point I was making this morning during preachy time: we can’t even open up with God! for the exact same reasons we can’t open up to one another. Maybe this is just reason #1,559 as to why some saints are Saints and I’ll only make it (maybe) if I’m martyred. I think they figured out at least how to be open with God (I mean, let’s be honest, if you’re running around a monastery or convent where talking isn’t allowed, you’re not going to be having too many late night conversations with one another… am I right?) Here’s a thought: try telling someone the deepest thought on your mind / heart while you’re bright-eye-and-bushy-tailed. Could be fun or maybe you just shared too much (and if it has anything to do with dressing up like a unicorn and dancing down the center line if I-35, you may want to keep that one to yourself).

As I once read, “Not knowing is a good place to start.” And I’m drawing a blank on this, so I guess I’m getting started on… well, I was going to say finding an answer, but perhaps I best stick with ‘investigating’ on this one.

Let me know if you figure out the groceries thing… that one I do believe we can solve.

Thought for the day: “People Pleasers Anonymous” would need a stadium size meeting room. “Hello. My name is John and I’m a people pleaser.” “Hi, John! (John… John……) <– that’s the best I could for the echo effect in the stadium.

Journal: May 26, 2021

What is this, you ask. It appears to be nothing extraordinary. Merely dots on the surface of some sludge from the nether regions of Hades, but… Ah… to the Vintner (Amateur) Extraordinaire, it is a specific yeast fulfilling its life purpose in the fermenting of a most exquisite Pinot Grigio. If you were a wee yeast, you would be o-so-gratified in knowing that you have been chosen to consume the sugars of so fine an Italian grape and transform it into…. well, we shall just have to see. It still doesn’t have a name, but… were I writing this in the time of cholera, it would have notes of love and paddle-boat cruises along a lazy river… I digress. Here’s to winemaking… a joy and always a surprise when you have that first sip. In another three months we shall know if it is a gift from above or a vinaigrette deserving of the toilet!

I have been thinking on expectations… amongst other things. Not the expectations of what Santa shall bring us in 213 days, but the expectations we place on others. The expectations of what we shall have them BE for us. I think of myself (as this is my journal…duh) and I wonder of the expectations that others have of me. A good sermon? A smile? A counselor? A confidant? A………? There are many ways to fill that [blank], but how often do our expectations coincide with who the person really is? How often do we truly SEE them and say, “This is who they are and I accept them for that. I love them for that.” I think it is rare. I think when we agree to engage with another, we bring many expectations as to who we believe they are, who we want them to be, and who we think we can TRANSFORM them into, but at the end of the day (what a terrible expression) they are who the are and we are who we are. We either like / love them at face value or we reject them for a multitude of reasons (how many stars are there in the heavens above!!) or we seek to change them into our likeness (that is, the desired automaton of our choosing). Other than option #1, what we like / love is nothing more than a figment of both our imaginings. Not real and will never last. Option #1… this way, love lies…..

Perhaps it is time for me to go watch a zombie movie (or watch my yeast ferment my wine). I have thunk my last thought for today and it comes back to…. hmmm.

May your bubble bath always be bubbly and may your cat always want to sit on your hands while you type.

Thought for the day: 5.6 is too small of a font size. No one can see it.

Journal: May 24, 2021

They are odd. Unless you know what you’re looking for, you’ll never buy them. If you buy them by mistake, they’ll sit on your shelves for years. If you know what they are and how to use them, when you find them, you’ll buy every box they have. Of course, we are speaking about the manicotti pasta shell. A substitute is the large sea shell, but most of the time you’ll only find the small / medium sea shell which are a bear to stuff and not more than a mouthful per shell, but if you’re going to do it right… manicotti shells. Recipe you ask: here you go. What is so brilliant about this recipe is that it is a no boil (the shells) before cooking, so you’re not trying to insert the ricotta cheese, etc. into a wiggly squiggly chicken neck. Mix up the cheeses et al and then put them all into a zip-lock bag, snip off one corner and pipe the deliciousness into the shell. Easy peasy and very very tasty! Serve up with some homemade bread, Caesar salad, and a bit of homemade wine and folks will be oh so very happy. End it with whatever desert the guest brought and a bit of Benedictine…. are you wanting a reservation yet?!… and the evening is set and perfect. I recommend a bit of Sting or Dido in the background.

One of the more “attractive” loaves of bread I’ve made.

For the record: I did have this one tonight and…. yeah. Who’s your daddy?!

Today is Monday–for 1:15 more minutes–and I’m about done. Caught up from the vacation, as far as I can tell, and moving into the quieter summer months. The Queen appears to be happy (although I think she wanted a bit of Manicotti) and she allowed me to clean her box.

Have ordered the grape juice (not Welch’s) for the next batch of wine. Making a Pinot Grigio this round. This is a fun one to make. The last batch looked as cloudy and “bleh” as a pot of gumbo, but when it finally cleared… golden deliciousness. Elsie is so very tasty! Have not decided on a name for it yet, but generally that doesn’t come along until after we have fermentation… then… yeah… I’m thinking it will be delicioso! or however they spell that one.

Hoping you have a great Tuesday!

Thought for the day: Some things that hurt are worth the pain.

Journal: May 23, 2021

The Day of Pentecost has been good. Church went well, the sermon preached better than I had expected, and the picnic was a success. Still looking for more to return to church, but it was great to be there minus the mask. Summer is always quiet around St. M’s, so I’m not expecting it to get too crazy over the next couple of months, but I’m hopeful that by the time we reach early fall, folks will be returning. We shall see… or I may have to give a few lectures! Ha!

I’ve been having some thoughts on the direction that I would like to go with regard to the St. M’s. I’m hoping they will be up for it. I keep asking myself how far we can reach… just within Enid city limits, Garfield County, or…. I’m thinking “or”, but I’m still working on what that will look like. We’re the only Episcopal Church for 60 miles, so maybe we can… hmmm. Enough for now. Don’t want to start scaring folks off before I’ve got a vision. It is percolating.

Time for a bit of reading. Pray you have a blessed evening.

Dementor’s hand…

Journal: May 20, 2021

So the first day back from the vacation consisted of 12.5 hours of work (there was a 2.5 hour Zoom call in there, which really makes it seem longer!) However, days two and three back from work are my days off (and yes, I will be working, but still!) It could be worse. What I missed most about the day was having the opportunity to do Morning Prayer with my online group (see 2.5 hour Zoom call if you’re wondering where I was.) That has turned into a very special time of day for me. It seems that sometimes I have something to say and other days… not so much, but… we prayed together and that is a good thing. God makes great even our most feeble attempts!

While on the vaca, I finished reading the book Anxious People by Fredrik Backman. I give it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. Loved this book. There are several quotes I could share (and will in some upcoming sermons), but the one that made me laugh out loud (causing the person next to me on the plane to be concerned for the next hour or so) involved the goose….

You mustn’t throw stones at birds. We all agree on that. Except maybe swans, because swans can actually be passive-aggressive little bastards. But apart from swans, you mustn’t throw stones at birds. And you mustn’t tell lies. Unless… well, sometimes you have to, of course, like when your children ask: “Why does it smell like chocolate in here? ARE YOU EATING CHOCOLATE?” but you definitely mustn’t…

When you actually type out the word “mustn’t” you really do wonder how that word truly exists!

… steal or kill, we can agree on that.

It goes on from there and you eventually fall into the rhythm and style. The last 20-30 pages of this one are worth reading more than once, just to make sure you put it all together. The author also wrote, A Man Called One. That one is next, following the current read, Project Hail Mary (sci-fi) and One Hundred Years of Solitude (not sci-fi).

Thought for the day: Enjoy interruptions. They are really God trying to get you off your butt to do what it is you are supposed to be doing.

Journal: May 19, 2021

As has been pointed out, online journaling may not be all that wise, seeing as how yesterday I posted about spending ten minutes in an airport bathroom stall just so I wouldn’t have to wear my mask, but… here we find ourselves.

The Queen at rest…

This is the last day of my two week vacation and the Queen and I have spent it together doing just about what you see her doing here. Besides, she was laying in my lap and it would have been quite rude of me to disturb her. Yesterday, after I picked her up, she was a hissing spitting alley cat, but she has remembered that I am her faithful servant, forgiven me, and is once again deigning to allow me to scoop her poop (which has no stink… naturally.)

I have had some guilt about not working today and responding to emails, but I have managed to overcome those feelings with a nap of my own. Interesting that we need vacations, take vacations, and feel guilty for not working on vacations. I keep reminding myself that St. Matthew’s survived 120 some odd years without me and they’ll be just fine whether I’m gone for another a day or forever. Yet, I enjoy them and I enjoy being their priest, so perhaps it’s not so much me feeling guilty as it is me ready to get back in the mix doing the work…. it is a good work. Even so, I can’t help but think of this song…

Don’t forget to dance, even if you have two left feet.

Thought for the day: love is neither a verb or noun. Love is a person.

Journal: The beginning…

I’ve decided to give something a try: online journaling. On the main journal page you will read….

A place to wander and think. Not sure how long this will last or how often I will post in this category. It is an experiment. Feel free to ignore, comment, etc… just don’t argue. It is a place for thinking and all my thunking might not agree with your thunking, but that really is OK. Perhaps between the two of us, we’ll figure something important out or at least enjoy a bit of time together. If you have a place where you like to think, share that and I’ll join you along the thinking journey.

That’s pretty much it for the official notice. Please feel free to unsubscribe if you’ve signed up for email notifications of blog posts and just don’t want to receive this much information.

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