An Day in the Life….

Perhaps you have read about the “traffic armageddon” in Northern Virginia during this first week of January 2022. It was a perfect storm of events: (a) rain preventing salting the roads, (b) suddenly turning to snow, coupled to the (c) extremely hilly area around Quantico (Occaquon to Rappahannock Rivers) and (d) a super-heavily traveled truck route – and the back up was 65 miles with people stranded 15-24 hours.

Continue reading

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

“…the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.”

Today the Church in the United States celebrates St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first native-born American to be named a saint. Born in 1774 she was born into privilege among the prominent people of New York City. She was not born into a Catholic family, but was raised in a dedicated Episcopal family. The practice of the faith was sustaining for her family and Elizabeth. Which was good, as her story is one of a slow unraveling of privilege, security, and family. Her mother died when Elizabeth was three years old. Her father remarried and her new stepmother introduced Elizabeth into social outreach to the poor and sick as a ministry of the church. But that marriage eventually failed. The stepmother left with her own children as Elizabeth’s father moved to London for further medical studies. Elizabeth entered a time of great darkness in her life, grieving the loss of father and a second mother.

“…the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.” Continue reading

Definitive act of God

This coming Sunday is the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord. The reading is from the Gospel of Luke (3:15-16, 21-22)

15 Now the people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Messiah. 16 John answered them all, saying, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the holy Spirit and fire……. 21 After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

Continue reading

When the carols are stilled

In today’s gospel, Jesus shows compassion for the multitude in the desert likening them to sheep without a shepherd – and He began to teach them many things. There are many lessons to be learned but perhaps the first lesson is compassion. The last two years have been years in which one only needs to look around and in the midst of political division, acrimony, and worse there are stories of great compassion. Stories which remind me of this first lesson.

As the Christmas season winds down, I am reminded of a poem by the theologian Howard Thurman:

When the carols have been stilled,
When the star-topped tree is taken down,
When family and friends are gone home,
When we are back to our schedules
The work of Christmas begins:
To welcome the refugee,
To heal a broken planet,
To feed the hungry,
To build bridges of trust, not walls of fear,
To share our gifts,
To seek justice and peace for all people,
To bring Christ’s light to the world

When the Song of the Angels is Stilled