Monday, May 31, 2010

Einstein Quote of the Day

Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.

Jesus showed us how true that is.  It's a good quote for Memorial Day as well.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

No Voice in Government

I fell asleep watching television last night.  I had a very strange dream.  I was in a room where we were supposed to take turns discussing something very important.  What the subject was I don't know, but it was important, and it was as though I was totally ignored.  Everyone else was given time to have their say, but no matter how much I screamed and carried on and asked for my turn, it was as though I wasn't even there.  The moderator completely ignored me.  I then went to another room, different people, but the same thing happened.  By-the-way, the people in the dream were clergy I know here in our diocese and that made it even more frustrating. When I woke up, the Republican candidates for governor were just finishing their spiels on Maine Public Television.

Wonder what this means about my thoughts on not having a voice in government?  Hummmm.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A New Place to Live

I found a nice apartment with two bedrooms and one and a half baths in downtown.  It has nice views of the harbor and is over a coffee shop and across the street from a restaurant I enjoy going to.  I'm going be moving in during the month of June so I'll be settled before I take my trip to England to the meeting of the Society of Ordained Scientists.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Celebrating Frances Perkins

Today, if it were not The Feast of the Ascension, we in the Episcopal Church, would be remembering Frances Perkins, the first woman cabinet member (under F.D.Roosevelt).    As Secretary of Labor, Frances was responsible for much of the social programs of the New Deal.

Frances was a summer member of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Newcastle,where I am attending while waiting for my next interim.  I'm enjoying singing in the choir and this coming Sunday there will be a lecture at 2 pm on her life called "Frances Perkins, heart and soul of the New Deal" by Donn Mitchell and Evening Prayer at 4 pm celebrated by our bishop, Stephen Lane.  The choir will be singing and there will be a quartet of fine voices as well.

At last General Convention, Frances was included in Holy Women,  Holy Men, the revision of Lesser Feasts and Fasts. For more information on both Frances and the commemoration go to St. Andrew's website.

Loving God, we bless your Name for Frances Perkins, who lived out her belief that the special vocation of the laity is to conduct the secular affairs of society that all may be maintained in health and decency. Help us, following her example, to contend for justice and for the protection of all in need, that we may be faithful followers of Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fire Over the Earth from Mass on the World

Photo: Sunrise from Wikimedia Commons.
To continue on with Teilhard's Mass on the World from Hymn of the Universe—after the Offertory is a section called Fire Over the Earth.  Teilhard speaks of God as Power, Word and Fire.  The uncreated Light with which the Orthodox grace their icons, is the "blazing Spirit"called upon to transform us each and every day to new work, renewed and evolved .
Fire, the source of being: we cling so tenaciously to the illusion that fire comes forth from the depths of the earth and that its flames grow progressively brighter as it pours along the radiant furrows of life’s tillage. Lord, in your mercy you gave me to see that this idea is false, and that I must overthrow it if I were ever to have sight of you.
In the beginning was Power, intelligent, loving, energizing. In the beginning was the Word, supremely capable of mastering and moulding whatever might come into being in the world of matter. In the beginning there were not coldness and darkness: there was the Fire. This is the truth.
So, far from light emerging gradually out of the womb of our darkness, it is the Light, existing before all else was made which, patiently, surely, eliminates our darkness. As for us creatures, of ourselves we are but emptiness and obscurity. But you, my God, are the inmost depths, the stability of that eternal milieu, without duration or space, in which our cosmos emerges gradually into being and grows gradually to its final completeness, as it loses those boundaries which to our eyes seem so immense. Everything is being; everywhere there is being and nothing but being, save in the fragmentation of creatures and the clash of their atoms.
After reading this wonderful description of how the Light of the World eliminates our darkness, slowly and over God's time, not ours, I realize how impatient I tend to be over the smallest of things.  It also speaks to evolution as part of God's time and timing— patient and sure—growing to "its final completeness."  This very long view of time and creation must come naturally to geologists who see the earth layered in its millions of years of change.  And then to end the section with these most beautiful words of blessing over the living world and words of mystery for the evil around us — all living things are God's Body given for us and that the Blood shed for us are all those things bringing us to death.
Do you now therefore, speaking through my lips, pronounce over this earthly travail your twofold efficacious word: the word without which all that our wisdom and our experience have built up must totter and crumble — the word through which all our most far-reaching speculations and our encounter with the universe are come together into a unity. Over every living thing which is to spring up, to grow, to flower, to ripen during this day say again the words: This is my Body. And over every death-force which waits in readiness to corrode, to wither, to cut down, speak again your commanding words which express the supreme mystery of faith: This is my Blood.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Hymn of the Universe by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

All of the talk last week on geology reminded me of this picture I took a few years ago of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone in Wyoming,

And, some of Jim Skehan's quotations from Teilhard got me interested in finding out more about his (Teilhard's) "Mass on the World." I found a link to Chapter 1 of the book Hymn of the Universe and am putting down just a few quotes to get you interested.  It is a gifted, spirit-filled piece of writing.  Teilhard wrote it while doing geological (paleontology) research in China in the 1920's and is truly incarnational in its view of the world.  Teilhard starts with an "Offertory":

Since once again, Lord — though this time not in the forests of the Aisne but in the steppes of Asia — I have neither bread, nor wine, nor altar, I will raise myself beyond these symbols, up to the pure majesty of the real itself; I, your priest, will make the whole earth my altar and on it will offer you all the labours and sufferings of the world.
Over there, on the horizon, the sun has just touched with light the outermost fringe of the eastern sky. Once again, beneath this moving sheet of fire, the living surface of the earth wakes and trembles, and once again begins its fearful travail. I will place on my paten, O God, the harvest to be won by this renewal of labour. Into my chalice I shall pour all the sap which is to be pressed out this day from the earth’s fruits.
My paten and my chalice are the depths of a soul laid widely open to all the forces which in a moment will rise up from every corner of the earth and converge upon the Spirit. Grant me the remembrance and the mystic presence of all those whom the light is now awakening to the new day.
Offering ourselves to God through our labors is something I keep forgetting when I am not "employed." For a few years, while working at the Lab in California, I would walk down hill to pick up my van pool.  The walk was through a cemetery and had views of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.  On sunny mornings it was easy to thank God for all I had been given and to pray a walking meditation.  But even on foggy mornings, the memory of the views was still there and God's presence in that silent place gave me joy in a wonderful start to my day.  At the bottom of the hill was Fat Apples with hot coffee and wonderful pastries to eat while waiting for the van to show up.

 My habit when I drove myself to work was to recite the Jesus Prayer (Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner).  It helped the 40-mile commute go by quickly and make the sometimes insane traffic bearable.  And also, at certain times of year, I would marvel in the sun coming up over the hills. When I got to my office I would turn on the computer and say the daily office with The Mission of St. Clare. I've learned that routines make it so much easier to pray and meditate.

One of the rules of the Society of Ordained Scientists is that we pray for each other and there is a daily list of names.  This year I'm on day 10, which is today.  It is wonderful to know that I am being prayed for on the tenth of each month along with Stig, Michael and Robin.  I keep the card on my bedside table so when I do morning prayer I can pray for them.  I still use the Mission of St. Clare site.
For me, my God, all joy and all achievement, the very purpose of my being and all my love of life, all depend on this one basic vision of the union between yourself and the universe. Let others, fulfilling a function more august than mine, proclaim your splendours as pure Spirit; as for me, dominated as I am by a vocation which springs from the inmost fibres of my being, I have no desire, I have no ability, to proclaim anything except the innumerable prolongations of your incarnate Being in the world of matter; I can preach only the mystery of your flesh, you the Soul shining forth though all that surrounds us.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

North American Province of the SOSc Inaugural Meeting

Photo: Barbara Smith-Moran, SOSc
It is going to take me forever to catch up on my blog reading and I'm sure people have thought I've dropped off the face of the earth.  Last week was the first meeting of the North American Province of the Society of Ordained Scientists (SOSc).  We had a lovely retreat near Boston and our meditations were based on the ideas of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, led by James Skehan, S.J., a geologist and Teilhard scholar.  It was wonderful installing five new members and five new associates, getting to know people better, and praying together .

I intend to get out my yellowed copy of the Divine Milieu and tackle it again.  I also want to get started on "Praying with Teilhard de Chardin" by Jim Skehan.  He also introduced me to "The Mass on the World" which the quote below comes from.  The Mass on the World was written while he was working in China and unable to celebrate the Eucharist on a regular basis.

"Glorious Christ,
you whose divine influence is active at the very heart of matter,
and at the dazzling centre where the innumerable fibres of the multiple meet:
you whose power is as implacable as the world and as warm as life,
you whose forehead is of the whiteness of snow,
whose eyes are of fire,
and whose feet are brighter than molten gold;
you whose hands imprison the stars;
you are the first and the last, the living and the dead and the risen again;
it is to you to whom our being cries out a desire as vast as the universe:
In truth you are our Lord and our God! Amen.” (The Mass on the World, 1923,
XIII, 131-132)