St. Michael and All Angels
According to the folklore of Celtic Christianity, blackberries should not be picked after the Feast of Michaelmas. This because, as the stories go, Satan was banished from heaven on this day, fell into a blackberry bramble and either cursed it, spat on it, or—in my favorite version—urinated on it.
I find these apocryphal tales to … Read the rest
Today was the last day of training for the new Stephen Ministers at St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church. I was privileged to be part of the training team for these lay caregivers, and so I’m already grieving the goodbyes soon to come (after tomorrow’s festive commissioning) as I move on to new ministries.
Wanting to send my trainees … Read the rest
Holy Cross Day
Last Friday evening I picked my husband up from the airport. And because he’d been away for the week I wanted to do something fun, but also something that wasn’t dependent on his flight getting in on time.
To make a long story short, we ended up at St. Antonius Coptic Orthodox Church in Hayward, … Read the rest
This past week, almost 130 priests and deacons from the Diocese of California gathered at the Bishop’s Ranch to listen to, learn from and pray with our central sacred texts—the four canonical gospels—in ancient and fresh ways. Alexander John Shaia, a psychologist and scripture scholar who led this year’s clergy retreat, offered us a way … Read the rest
One of the most persistent puzzles of cognitive science is what’s called the “cocktail party effect,” which for us could just as well be called the coffee hour effect. It’s the ability we human beings have to single out and listen to a particular voice in a room buzzing with many voices, and its … Read the rest
Allow me the liberty of beginning with a disclaimer. I’ve been a priest for all of six weeks now, and every Sunday it still feels brand new. Which means you may have to bear with my learning, but you also get the benefit of my complete and shameless joy in the new job. And, lest you’ve never … Read the rest
Just how much mustard do we need, really?
I know its an odd question, but since we just heard the famous parable of the mustard seed I want to reflect a bit on my relationship to its condiment cousin. I don’t know about you, but I have lots of mustard in my refrigerator. There are all these odd … Read the rest
When my son Amos—who is now a strapping 23-year-old—was about 10, he developed this annoying habit of following us from room to room and turning out any lights we had left on. Probably it was something he learned in school. He was right, of course: we should all turn out all the lights we aren’t using. And limit our water … Read the rest
In Eucharistic worship, where the unspeakable gets spoken and where this new priest sings the Lord’s song as for the first time, every time, we—priest and people—bid each other to prayer with the ancient kyrie eléi̱son. In English,
Lord have mercy,
Christ have mercy,
Lord have mercy.
Eléi̱son is a Greek aorist imperative verb tense (which is saying a … Read the rest
The Monday after I was made a priest, just about three weeks ago, I started an intensive summer class in liturgical leadership. That’s the class that teaches us how to do the things like baptism, Eucharist and marriage. The kinds of things a priest might be expected to do. I figured that two days after my ordination might be a … Read the rest