Candle

Photo by Jasmyn Favager on Unsplash

From our Saints’ Book Club this evening…

We’ve been reading the second book of The Hawk and the Dove Trilogy by Penelope Wilcock and tonight we discussed book two, The Wounds of God. Father Peregrine writes a poem that scandalizes a fellow monk but it is a poem that speaks and elicits the passion of God’s love.

This vigil is long.
What time I have sat here,
Watching the candle flame’s
Slow, passionate exploration kiss the night.
The blind and gentle thrusting tongue of light
Finds out the secrets of the dumb receptive dark.
Her sensuous silence trembles with delight.

May you know this delight.

Sinner/Son

Photo by Fabio Sangregorio on Unsplash

Had this crazy idea this morning: what if we created a Place where we didn’t add labels to one another but had true fellowship, where we could come together and break bread and support each other?  What if in that Place we didn’t seek to point out the sins of others but looked to ourselves and identified those errors in our own lives and then sought to turn from those errors?  What if this Place was where we could grow and learn and demonstrate to others that there is another Way?  What if in this Place we chose to love one another instead of hating and degrading everyone we disagree with?  And what if in this Place we worked for true justice and peace and respected the dignity of every person regardless of any and all differences?  

Can we create such a Place?

We can, with God’s help.

I will set a Table in this Place and prepare the meal. 

I identify as sinner/Son.  All sinners/Daughters and Sons are invited.  

Place = God’s House & God’s Rule.  

God’s Rule = Love one another as I have loved you.

Poem: Touch

This is one where I looked at the picture that I painted and then wrote the poem. Hope you can see it.

When you watch the sunrise alone
The sun not touching the sky
When you see a star
But not one that belongs
When you breathe
And the air escapes you
That is when you know
Love
Love in the green and blue
Love when the red speaks
To the black
But should you touch the center
Where none are known
Then you will
Bleed

I saw the sky come down on the dawn
I saw the sun set upon itself
I watched as night attracted them all
But then the sun rose
On a beach while I was alone
And there was your hand
Reaching for mine

We should escape to that place
That place of silence
That place where I watched
The sunrise alone

It is there that the silence
Wraps us in the caerulean sky
And the only star
Brightens the life of so many souls

Here we meet
Release me
Release me
Set me free to wander the night
The places where hate roams
But has no power
The place where pain screams
But has no feeling
The place where I have no voice
But the voice that is you

Drops of rain on the path
No matter

I watch the sunrise alone
And the star fell
I wake

A dream

When

Poem: Rules


there are rules

how we hate them

there are rules

but they must be followed

there are rules

but this is the night

they are broken

why?

because the pink engaged the blue

the blue was overwhelmed

and the sky became an end

Yes

There are the days

when the moon shines

and the whiskey flows

but then there are days

when the atrocity of it all

melts in the pink of your flesh

cries for another day

and screams at the night of your death

to return to the day before

Yes

I’ll make the scars

that traverse my skin

waiting for the days

that you are buried in us

Yes

I saw the moon set

and the sun rise

there was no sleep

but

but

the pink engaged the blue

and the blue

and the blue

LIVED!

Sun or Moon


the sun or the moon

my eyes are seeking you

the sun the moon

the skies are above you

the sun the moon

in the end we are together

a place of light

and a place where the skies

skip to their own tune

a place of darkness

that brings hands

grasping for one another

snow on the mountain

end of things

but not the end

only a new beginning

in the full light

of the sun or the moon

Advent Devotion: His Name is John?

Luca GiordanoBirth of St John the Baptist

Each year my friend, The Rev. Sean Ekberg, gathers laity and clergy to write a daily Advent reflection. Today (December 23) was mine. You can read it below or visit The Episcopal Church the Resurrection and read there along with some of the other reflections.

Luke 1:57-66

57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.

59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. 60 But his mother said, “No; he is to be called John.” 61 They said to her, “None of your relatives has this name.” 62 Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. 63 He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And all of them were amazed. 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 Fear came over all their neighbors, and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea. 66 All who heard them pondered them and said, “What then will this child become?” For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him.

His Name is John?

Holden Caulfield loves his sister, Phoebe, and her innocence. He desires that her innocence go unchanged, yet he knows that every experience will change her to one degree or another. Reflecting on her many trips to the museum to view the same paintings that he has enjoyed, he thinks, “I thought how she’d see the same stuff I used to see, and how she’d be different every time she saw it. It didn’t exactly depress me to think about it, but it didn’t make me feel gay as hell, either. Certain things they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone.” (The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger)

In many respects, the Church had come to see itself as one of those items that should be curated in a big glass case. It should occasionally be brought out to remove the fine layer of dust that had accumulated, along with any unwelcomed spider’s web, and the glass it set upon also properly dusted. But then it should be set back unhindered in its proper place in that big glass cabinet.

Close to two years ago, something came along and smashed the cabinet.

When it hit, we all lunged forward from our comfortable seats and dashed to catch the Church before it struck the ground and burst into thousands of unrecognizable shards. By the grace of God, we caught it, but then what were we to do? Build another glass museum case? Set it out of reach on some high pinnacle? Place it on the nearest flat surface and quietly walk away? No. None of the above. Besides, this is God’s Church and if we were not to care for it, then He would raise up from the stones those who would.

The Bishop, clergy and people of the Diocese of Oklahoma took their Church and began taking a much closer look at it. They peered into stained glass windows and found the wonders of God and signs of a life that they had not anticipated, but one they would embrace. This was something new. In a sense, within the Church, the events of the last few years are like Zechariah giving his newborn son a name that none of his family had ever received, and it was God saying, “Behold I make all things new.” And truthfully, we were all amazed. We were perhaps afraid in trying, but we were doing things that we had not ever imagined. We were speaking to the world in new ways, being creative in how we fulfilled the Great Commission. Sometimes those new ways worked and sometimes the internet signal was not strong enough; but we have persevered and will continue to do so, for we believe that the hand of the Lord is with us.

At the naming of John, Zechariah’s neighbors asked, “What then will this child become?” We can ask the same of the Church in this new era. What will we become? The answer: exactly the Church of which God desires for us to become. Let’s just not go and put ourselves back in another big glass cabinet. Let’s continue to seek new and innovative ways to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a world that has also changed. Let’s follow John out into the wilderness and be witness to Love.

The Rev. Dr. John Toles

Rector, St. Matthew’s Enid

Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma

Contemporary Koinonia

For about the last year, my friend and colleague, The Rev. Sean Ekberg and I have been working on a journal for The Episcopal Church and today it went live. It includes interviews with Bishops in the church, a seminary dean, ministry stories, and more. If you would like to know the bright side of The Episcopal Church, then you’re going to want to take some time reading through the articles. It is not a quick read, but it is well worth the time. There is much that is good happening. If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been spending my extra time… here you go. I believe, if you click the image below, it will take you to the Issuu edition.


Online Services

For those who are interested, at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, we have online Morning Prayer services (Monday – Thursday and sometimes Friday and Saturday) at 10 a.m. on the church YouTube channel and Facebook Live at 10 a.m., and it is also recorded for later viewing. The 10 a.m. Sunday Eucharist service is also available on both platforms. Would be delighted for you to stop by for a visit!

%d bloggers like this: