Archive for June, 2016

Tea Candles Holy Wed

How long, oh Lord, how long?
For the souls who have died,
for those who love them,
for those who must look at gaping wounds
and bodies with no earthly life, and 
for those who narrowly escaped death. . .
we give You thanks for their lives, oh God. And we pray. . .

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

The angels have already met you in Paradise.
God’s Table is ready for you.
God’s Choir has sung you into Light.
And we, here, left behind,
continue to light our feeble but loving lights
in the face of darkness.

~Sheila N. McJilton


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“. . .they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast devotion; for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. . .and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called ‘Christians.’” (Acts 11:22b-23, 26c)

Today is the Feast of St. Barnabas. In our Episcopal tradition, we have a book entitled Holy Men, Holy Women (note: formerly Lesser Feasts and Fasts), in which all the different feasts are listed–including a special Collect. What is a Collect, you may ask.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collect.

Barnabas was one of the apostles. He was NOT one of the original twelve disciples, but may have been among “the 70” referred to in the Gospels. However, Barnabas was a critical person in the early Jesus Movement; one of the things I love most about him is that he encouraged people.

This past week, I attended e-Formation 2016, a conference about all kinds of digital technology, at Virginia Theological Seminary. While I was there, I gathered with a small group. One woman among us has her own website, is involved in Christian formation, and is obviously a good (and scholarly) writer.  Yet she was not as confident as she might have been in her own talents.


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Of Plumbers and Puccini

pipesA couple of weeks ago, I realized that I needed the services of a plumber. I had the sneaking suspicion that SOMETHING that was not supposed to be leaking in my basement WAS leaking. So one morning, I called a local Laurel plumber–one I had used a number of times before.  We set up a time for the next morning, and at that time, Joe appeared on my front porch. After surveying the situation in the bathroom and in the basement, he announced that I had not made the problem up. The wax seal on the toilet had deteriorated, was leaking, and needed to be replaced. I left Joe to his work, and went into the next room to work on my computer.

A few minutes later, I heard the sound of Andrea Bocelli, singing Nessun Dorma from Puccini’s opera Turandot. Then I heard Habanera from Bizet’s Carmen.  I was puzzled. P was sitting in a nearby room, so I thought, “Well, maybe she’s listening to some shared post from someone on Facebook.” So I walked out of the office, then stopped abruptly in front of the bathroom door.  There, on the side of the bathtub, was Joe’s cell phone. He was working steadily on the misbehaving toilet, while opera and other classical music serenaded us all.

My mouth dropped open. A plumber named Joe (I swear, I am not making this up) was listening to opera? Opera?  Really? I said, “Wow, opera. How wonderful!’  He turned around and grinned.

“I love opera,” he said. “You know, opera touches you here [here, he touched his head], and here [he touched his heart.] “I love all kinds of music. Years ago, when I was a kid, my dad would take me to bars–you could do that back then–and we would hear Earl Flatt and Lester Scruggs play. I like bluegrass, too. I like all kinds of music.”  Then he turned back to work on his project. And as long as he worked, a variety of music played from his cell phone. Soon, he was finished, judged the work to be successful, collected a check, and bid me a good day as he left.

Once again, I was reminded that appearances are deceiving. I should never judge someone by the way they look, or present themselves initially. The old adage “don’t just a book by its cover” was apt here.

An annoying plumbing issue was resolved that morning, I enjoyed some of my favorite music, and I re-learned an important lesson. Win-win-win. Bless you, Joe the plumber.


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