There is nothing so demonic

as menacing pies.

Pies not wholly consumed

during the Thanksgiving feast.

Pies surviving unto Advent Eve

lying about with menacing grins.

Standing on cupboards and

counters bare while singing

seductively like Sirens

of Odysseys past.

Singing to passersby unawares of

their seductive power

and deadly lasting effect.

Ah, to consume or not consume

that is the question wrought

and for sure the forthright issue?

In weakness then the consumption comes

with blissful fullness had, anon.





This morning I awoke early and trudged down the hallway to the living room which on Holidays and sick days doubles as a chapel.  I was all ready to say the Morning Office using the collect and readings for Thanksgiving Day when I noticed in Holy Women and Holy Men that the twenty sixth of November is also the day appointed to commemorate the life and work of Isaac Watts,  a clergyman and hymn writer.  Now, I usually view the family rituals of Thanksgiving as somewhat paganesque (we can talk about incarnation theology and the goodness of all things another day) as it usually invokes images of overeating, too much spirits of the liquid variety and loud booming television presentations of football games.  So in a spirit of rebellion I decided to depart from the Thanksgiving Day propers and use those for Isaac Watts.  I am very glad I did as those lessons project images of thankfulness, blessing, sanctity of life and assurance or salvation. They cast a Thanksgiving image much more compatible with my way of thinking.

I will leave to the reader a study of Watts’s background as it is very well detailed in Holy Women, Holy Men and in sources such as Wikipedia.  I will recite this from HWHM:  As a hymn writer Watts wrote more than six hundred hymns, about a quarter of which continue in popular use. Among his works was his Psalms of David a metrical psalter that versified the psalms in English for hymnic use. Perhaps the most enduring contribution in this genre is O God our help in ages past, based upon the opening verses of Psalm 90.”

But this piece is not really about Isaac Watts but rather, about the lessons associated with his feast day.  In reading these lessons from the Bible I was struck in this manner:

The First Chronicles lesson talks about David offering the burnt offerings and peace offerings, blessing the people of Israel and distributing to each person a loaf of bread , a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins.  To me that imagery invokes the essence of the thanksgiving meal as we are meant to celebrate it.  We give thanks, we bless the Lord and ourselves;  and we share a meal.  Obviously, for we Christian types this also invokes the images of the Eucharist which is a form of thanksgiving.

In the lesson from Colossians the emphasis shifts. Saint Paul admonishes us on how to live;  “as God’s chosen ones we are to put on compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience.”  We are to be forbearing and forgiving of each other when we offend each other and to readily forgive.

Finally in the Gospel from Mark we hear the story of the blind beggar receiving his sight not due to his own merit but because he recognized his own inadequacy and was willing to plead for mercy from his Lord and Savior.

So this thanksgiving my family and I will make our thanksgiving sacrifice as our Hebrew ancestors did remembering the words of the Apostle about how to live and in the knowledge that we will receive our sight and our salvation  as proclaimed in the Gospel lesson.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING.  Okay time for the games to begin.

Saint Margaret of Scotland and Keeping the Faith in Times of Trouble


Today is the feast day of Margaret of Scotland in the Prayer Book Calendar. Saint Margaret was an English princess who married a Scottish King and who became a Christianizing force in Scotland at a time of lax liturgical practices and barbarity among the people.   She encountered much resistance in her ministry but held steadfast to her goals.  As we face increasing tension and danger from terrorist activity I look to Saint Margaret as an example of someone firm in their faith to the end.  Someone who did not blanch in the face of adversity but persisted in her quest to bring Christ into the world.  I pray that as we react to the terror of the times let us not forget to contemplate and pray that our response  might be measured and informed by our prayers.  Let us not condemn our Muslim brothers and sisters out of prejudice nor shrink from our duties as citizens of the world.  May God guide us as we go forth to confront the evils surrounding us and comfort us with the knowledge of the healing power of his Son our Savior Jesus Christ.



Picasso mother-and-child 65%Siebels 2d

   During the height of  the “prohibition era” President Franklin D. Roosevelt personally found such foolishness to be, well, foolishness.  He proclaimed to his staff that martini’s would be served every afternoon at a set hour and to avoid public scorn it would be referred to as  “the Children s Hour. ”  This Advent Trinity Cathedral is instituting it’s own version  of the “Children’s Hour”  sans martini’s, of course.


Columbia, South Carolina

A Celebration of the Family during the Season of Advent  

An Invitation to One and All,

 Especially Young Children.

The season of Advent is about waiting and anticipation.  It begins on the Sunday following Thanksgiving Day and continues until the Feast of the Nativity beginning at midnight on Christmas Eve.  As we await the coming of Our Lord at this time of the year we also cherish and anticipate the coming of family and friends in the celebration of the Christmas Feast.  The Church is an association of families who through their attendance and worship become members of the larger family that is the Church. This family of Christ includes all Christian people.  This year Father Dane Boston, a Canon at Trinity Cathedral, will be leading a special form of Evening Prayer  taken from The Book of Common Prayer each Wednesday night at 5:30 p.m. just before our parish dinner.

This service has been specially adapted to speak to and include the entire family, especially young children.  There will be special prayers, stories, and music designed to be understandable by young children in the worship and to make this season special and meaningful to them.

Please accept our invitation to join us for this special service.  No one is too old or too young to attend.  Let us await the coming of Our Lord with prayerful anticipation and quiet joy by sharing our worship with our families and especially our children.  Your family is a part of the family of the Church and we want to welcome you home. Please come.



(1)  Mother and Child” by Pablo Picasso (1901).

(2) ” Siebels Chapel of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral , Photograph by Paul Nicholson                         (2015)




Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ saith

.THOU shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And, the second is like unto it; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets

 Eucharistic Liturgy of the Book of Common Prayer (1928).

     It is stewardship awareness and pledge time in most Episcopal Churches this time of the year.  The push is on and the pressure is great.  We have needs, we have programs, we have salaries to pay, buildings to maintain and so on and so forth. But we must also remember that as a Christian people we also have souls to minister to not the least of which is our own.

In the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, Chapter 53 , there is a lament which has been characterized as a portrait of Jesus, the Christ, the anointed one, who was born over seven hundred years after this bit of Hebrew poetry was written.  The lament does not describe a powerful ruler characterized by might and majesty.  He is no Wall Street mogul, no dashing James Bond, no political wizard with ready answers to all our problems, but rather a “servant”.  And worse, he is a “suffering” servant at that.  Unlike the laments of the prophet Jeremiah or Job this servant suffers silently.  He is unjustly condemned, executed, and ignominiously buried.  He suffers painful loneliness and rejection by the community.  But by his vicarious suffering he restores all people to God.

If this is our leader, our savior, our God, then how have we followed him recently?  Who among us can say honestly that we have actually “suffered” so that others might find God?

As we are called to make our pledges and engage in courageous giving let us also remember that courage and sacrifice can take many forms.  Money is very important as a Church cannot function without it.  But more importantly a Christian community cannot function without sacrifice and suffering for the sake of our fellow man.  Search your conscience and give as much of your treasure as you can remembering the widow who gave out of her poverty as portrayed in chapter 12 of Saint Mark’s Gospel.   But also, give of yourself.  Give of your time and serve God as Jesus did sacrificing so that others might live in the joy and knowledge of the Lord.

In addition to pledging a portion of your treasure, consider making a pledge of your time to engage in such activities as teaching a class, leading a Daily Office, singing in the choir, or serving breakfast to the homeless.  There are innumerable ways to be a “suffering servant”  And, by doing so you will not only bring your fellow man closer to God but yourself as well.

The story of the widow who put into the offering a mere two coins forming about a penny from Saint Mark’s Gospel formed a part of the assigned lessons for the day this week at the Holy Eucharist.  A very wise priest pointed out to the attenders at the Mid-Mass that he has always seen this story as saying that the widow was actually the one who contributed out of her abundance of spirit and the wealthy folk were the ones contributing out of their poverty of spirit.  Let us not fall into that trap.

Therefore,  brothers and sisters become a “suffering servant” that you may be equipped to serve those whom you are called to love this day and always. [1]

[1] Those whom you are called to love are those you find most difficult to love and who it is so easy to marginalize such as the poor, the hungry, and the homeless.  Open your heart to them that you might live.

ART:  Saint Sebastian, by Andrea Mantegna. (1456-1459) Saint Sebastian was a “suffering servant” as he defied the Emperor of Rome by defending fellow Christians.  The Emperor ordered him to be put to death by being shot full of arrows, but Sebastian survived.  Having recovered he set himself upon the Emperor during a procession and the Emperor then ordered him beaten to death which procedure proved most effective.



This veteran’s day we venerate and celebrate the service rendered to our country by many through their duty for military service.  That is a noble and honourable veneration given the level of sacrifice involved.  Today is also “Martinmas” or Saint Martin’s day in which we venerate another type of soldier.

Saint Martin was born is what is now Szombathely, Hungary, and grew up in Pavia, Italy.  He lived most of his adult life in France.

His father was a senior officer (tribune) in the Imperial Horse Guard, a unit of the Roman army, later stationed at Ticinum (now Pavia), in northern Italy, where Martin grew up. The date of his birth is a matter of controversy, with both 316 and 336 having rationales.

Conscripted as a soldier into the Roman army, he found the duty incompatible with the Christian faith he had adopted and became an early conscientious objector.

At the age of ten he attended the Christian church against the wishes of his parents, and became a catechumen. Christianity had been made a legal religion (in 313) in the Roman Empire. It had many more adherents in the Eastern Empire, whence it had sprung, and was concentrated in cities, brought along the trade routes by converted Jews and Greeks (the term ‘pagan’ literally means ‘country-dweller’). Christianity was far from accepted amongst the higher echelons of society; among members of the army the worship of Mithras would have been stronger. Although the conversion of the Emperor Constantine and the subsequent programme of church-building gave a greater impetus to the spread of the religion, it was still a minority faith.[1]

While Martin was a soldier in the Roman army and stationed in Gaul (modern-day France), he experienced a vision, which became the most-repeated story about his life. One day as he was approaching the gates of the city of Amiens, he met a scantily clad beggar. He impulsively cut his military cloak in half to share with the man. That night, Martin dreamed of Jesus wearing the half-cloak he had given away. He heard Jesus say to the angels: “Martin, who is still but a catechumen, clothed me with this robe.” (Sulpicius, ch 2). In another version, when Martin woke, he found his cloak restored to wholeness. The dream confirmed Martin in his piety, and he was baptised at the age of 18.

Sulpicius Severus, his biographer,  reports that just before a battle in the Gallic provinces at Borbetomagus (now Worms, Germany), Martin determined that his faith prohibited him from fighting, saying, “I am a soldier of Christ. I cannot fight.” He was charged with cowardice and jailed, but in response to the charge, he volunteered to go unarmed to the front of the troops. His superiors planned to take him up on the offer, but before they could, the invaders sued for peace, the battle never occurred, and Martin was released from military service.

Martin declared his vocation, and made his way to the city of Caesarodunum (now Tours), where he became a disciple of Hilary of Poitiers, a chief proponent of Trinitarian Christianity. He opposed the Arianism of the Imperial Court. When Hilary was forced into exile from Pictavium (now Poitiers), Martin returned to Italy. According to Sulpicius Severus, he converted an Alpine brigand on the way, and confronted the Devil himself. Having heard in a dream a summons to revisit his home, Martin crossed the Alps, and from Milan went over to Pannonia. There he converted his mother and some other persons; his father he could not win. While in Illyricum he took sides against the Arians with so much zeal that he was publicly scourged and forced to leave. Returning from Illyria, he was confronted by the Arian archbishop of Milan Auxentius, who expelled him from the city. According to the early sources, Martin decided to seek shelter on the island then called Gallinaria, now Isola d’Albenga, in the Ligurian Sea, where he lived the solitary life of a hermit.

Saint Martin presents a different kind of “Veteran” to us.  He presents a very Christian side of service.  Not one of service to a political cause or chief but rather to the service of Our Lord Jesus. His service was to the poor, the oppressed and those who society has “cast out”.   Even though the battle of Borbetomagus was never fought consider:  Was the offer of Martin to meet the enemy with nothing more than the sign of the cross a decisive act in bringing about peace, and what would have happened had he not been courageous enough to make that offer? Do we have opportunities to present to our enemies Christ’s love rather than the violence and hatred of a material world?

I offer here a prayer for venerating St. Martin:

This the Confessor of the Lord, whose triumph Now all the faithful celebrate, with gladness Erst on this feat-day merited to enter Into his glory.

Saintly and prudent, modest in behavior, Peaceful and sober, chaste was he, and lowly, While that life’s vigor, coursing through his members, Quickened his being.

Sick ones of old time, to his tomb resorting, Sorely by ailments manifold afflicted, Oft-times have welcomed health and strength returning, At his petition.

Whence we in chorus gladly do him honor, Chanting his praises with devout affection, That in his merits we may have a portion, Now and forever.

Glory and virtue, honour and salvation, Be unto him that, sitting in the highest, Governeth all things, Lord and God Almighty, Trinity blessed.

Further reading “


Trinity Icon Closeup

A version of The Trinity Icon has found a new home at the Seibel’s Chapel of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Columbia, South Carolina which is also the site of the Daily Office morning and evening. This version of the famous work comes to us through the talent of the Reverend Canon Charles Davis who learned the art of Icon making during a recent sabbatical.

A brief description concerning the history of this famous artwork from Wikipedia

The Trinity (Russian: Троица, also called The Hospitality of Abraham) is an icon created by a Russian painter Andrei Rublev in the 15th century. It is his most famous work, and the most famous of all Russian icons, regarded as one of the highest achievements of the Russian art. Scholars believe that is it one of only two works of art (the second being the Dormition Cathedral frescoes in Vladimir) that can be attributed to Rublev with any sort of certainty. 

The piece depicts the hospitality of Abraham for the three angles which visited him under the Oak of Mamre as told in the Book of Genesis:  Ch 18 v1-8

For more detail see:

All are invited to drop by and view this piece either during an Office or at other convenient times.

Trinity Icon Wide Angle

Human Suffering and God’s Response – Can it really be that Simple? “

A  Meditation by Paul Nicholson

When the chaos of life threatens to consume us, it will appear that God messed up or maybe that he doesn’t care. But what would it take for us to trust in God’s next step? What if all we have to do is show up and try?  From “Water out of the Whirlwind” a sermon preached by The Reverend Amos Disassa, on 18 October 2015.

     We have all experienced pain and disappointment in our lives.  And, we have all experienced loss.  Sudden, tragic, and penetrating loss can and does leave us bereft of faith and the will to live exerting a force which has the power to make us literally wish for death.   But we forget that we were not there when God “laid the cornerstone of the earth” and we were not there in the newness of creation when everything was pristine and worked in perfect harmony and perfect balance. We were not there before the acts of human disobedience brought about corruption.  When tragedy strikes we find ourselves so caught up in the present we fail to consider the past, or the future.  It’s a strange thing about God.  God made time and is yet not bound by it. He works his will through it as it pleases him to do so and as is best for us.

I offer this meditation on the subject of our suffering and God’s response to it.  I am fortunate to have had the recent opportunity to receive the wisdom and insight of three very talented and gifted clerics with regard to this subject, magnificent preachers all, whose spiritual guidance has saved me, quite literally, from the depths of despair on more than one occasion. [1]


A Priest’s Tale[2]

 Parsons Tale II35359877-10-january-2015-portrait-of-his-holiness-pope-francis-picture-created-with-coffee

The true example that a priest should give

Is one of cleanness, how the sheep should live.

He did not set his benefice to hire

And, leave his sheep encumbered in the mire…

He sought no glory in his dealings,

No scrupulosity had spiced his feelings.

Christ and his Twelve Apostles and their lore

He taught, but followed it himself before.

Geoffrey Chaucer, Prologue to the Canterbury Tales

           The Parson’s tale constituting a part of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is actually a sermon on how to prepare for the sacrament of reconciliation which was then referred to as the sacrament of confession.  This tale is not about that.  It is about an actual real life encounter which left its subject “renewed and rejuvenated “for the ministry to which she had been called.”

       A young Episcopal priest, worn and wearied by the realities of parochial life, set out on a journey to New York City, to the Borough of Manhattan, in order to visit family and friends, and as an aside, receive physical and spiritual renewal and refreshment.  She encountered her first obstacle when an unexpected automobile crash blocked traffic on the interstate highway making her arrival at the airport too late to catch her scheduled flight.  Fortunately, the airline offered a second flight and the journey continued anon until the destination was achieved.

The timing of this journey just happened to coincide with the visit by Pope Francis to New York.  The young priest had not actually considered the possibility of seeing the Pope during the visit but rather thought it “highly unlikely that this might occur.”  The priest inner voice reflected that “if it is meant to be somehow, then something will work out.”

As she set out to meet her brother near the boundaries of Central Park there were noticeable barricades set up along the streets.  Undeterred she continued down East 67th Street where she marveled at the diversity of the citizenry displayed. There were Upper East Side moms in their yoga pants and diamonds along with patrons of restaurants.  And, it occurred to the young priest that these worldly New Yorkers who were accustomed to being assaulted on a daily basis by the sight of celebrities and famous people were not standing around excited to just see any famous person. And then it occurred to her, it must be the Pope.

Finding Fifth Avenue to be closed she noticed that it was unusually quiet like the calm before a storm with an air of anticipation.  Voices filled the air instead of car horns and there was an excitement one could almost reach out and touch.  Suddenly police motorcycles rounded the corner and not far behind in the midst of large black Suburbans a humble small fiat containing a large man dressed all in white appeared.  As it passed her a white draped arm clothed in white reached out in blessing.  Our young priest felt a jolt and involuntarily began to cry.  She cried a cry of joy and a cry of acknowledgement of being in the presence of an apostle of the divine. She felt the divine presence and the peace of healing. Feeling she had been in the presence of holiness she felt she was rejuvenated for the ministry to which she had been called.

Later on her way to a favorite coffee shop she once again found her way blocked by traffic and again she found herself encountering Francis as he was departing the city.  In her mind she mused that “she had run into the Pope two times and that rather than chasing him around Manhattan, or even registering for a free ticket to the Central Park parade, the Pope had found her in the mundane.” And, that “those thoughtlessly easy, small and faithful things are the places where the most grace and joy are to be found.”

Our young priest friend came to New York in need of guidance and healing.  She did not seek a papal audience or a ticket to walk in a parade with the Pope but rather she simply “showed up” and tried to do what was right in visiting her friends and family.  And in so doing she found God’s healing through his servant Francis. In the words of another clerical friend “she simply showed up and tried”.  Can our response to suffering be that simple?


Job and His Quest for Justice[3]



In days long gone—a thousand years

Before A.D., at least –

There lived an Arab Chief named Job,

Famed scion of the East.

And in his day, ere pomp of kings

To that far land was known,

Proud Chieftains, in respective realms,

Held forth as from a throne.

‘Tis reckoned, too, when these Chief men

In times of stress would call

Their neighbour tribes, allied force,

That Job was Chief of all.

Charles B. Warren, A Paraphrase of Job’s Dark Days

     Most Christian and Jewish folk are familiar with the story of Job.  The book of Hebrew poetry, yes poetry, which bears his name, describes him thus and so:

‘     There was a man named Job; and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God, and turned away from evil. There were born to him seven sons, and three daughters.  He has seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred she-asses, and very many servants; so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east”  Job 1:1-3

In the idiom of modern times Job was, as described by one cleric friend as, akin to a “benevolent billionaire”.  A sort of Donald Trump and Pope Francis wrapped into one. And yet, for all his wealth and all his piety tragedy struck him and struck with a debilitating blow.  To explain the why of this sudden tragedy the poet creates a diatribe between God and Satan in which God boasts that Job was so good, so pious, so faithful that there would be nothing Satan could do to “turn him” from his God.  Satan readily accepts this challenge and points out that it is easy to love the Lord when all is good and certainly when it is as good as Job had it.  Why should he turn from God since he had everything material that a king could desire?

So a bargain is struck.  Satan is to be allowed to “have his way” with Job but with the proviso he was not to touch him physically.  We all know the story.   Job is about his business making sacrifices and attempting to absolve his partying children from sin when a series of messengers appear.  The first announces the destruction of the oxen and the asses.  It seems that the Sabeans fell upon them and took them and slew the servants who had been attending them. And, before the first messenger is finished the second arrives to announce that the Chaldean army had taken the camels and slew the sevants attending them.  And before this messenger had finished a third arrives to announce that jobs sons and daughters had been killed while eating and drinking when a great wind came and blew the house down on top of them.

Even in his darkness moment Job refuses to “curse God” . He  tears his clothes. and cries “…the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”  Job’s faith and devotion shows true here.  It is only later after long discussions with three friends that Job begins to question and his desire for what he perceives to be “justice” begins to arise. Why?  Why did you do this to me, he cries out ?  He decides that he must “try” God, put him to the test and make him explain himself.  God has messed up, there must be some mistake and he made it.  In the end Job gets his audience with God and receives his comeuppance as God turns the question into something a bit different.  God rejoins job with a hearty rebuke;

‘Who is this that darkens counsel

by words without knowledge?

Where were you when I laid the

foundation of the earth?

Tell me if you have


Who determined its measurements

–surely you know!

Or stretched the line upon it?

     And, as God reveals himself directly to one of his creation, the  thirst for justice and vindication fades and Job  finds his satisfaction not in exacting justice or vindication but in receiving intimacy with the creator which makes vindication superfluous.

The poem ends by saying that the Lord restored the fortunes of Job and gave him twice as much as he had before.

In his struggle to rationalize and vindicate Job found that all he had to do was show up and try.  God does the rest.

African Water well


The Water in the Well[4]

“And, rather than give up in frustration they decided to gather at the well each day, say a prayer and then lower and raise the bucket”    A paraphrase from Water out of the Whirlwind, by The Reverend Amos Disassa.

     In a small village in a remote place there were a group of people who needed water.   They decided that in order to meet this need they would dig a well.  They dug for days.  Men, women and children all pitched in and gave their best efforts.  They dug the well hundreds of feet into the ground knowing that if they just dug deep enough they would find water.  But, in the end and after days of digging no water appeared.  But, rather than give up in frustration they decided to gather at the well each morning and while gathered say a prayer then lower the bucket into the well and raise it in the hope that the water would be there.   So they did just that they gathered each morning for years, said a prayer and lowered and raised the bucket but no water.  Then one day when the rains failed to fall as expected they said a prayer, lowered the bucket then raised it and there was water.

One of the children asked her mother “Why did it take so many years and why did the water just appear?  The mother responded: ” because we try.  We kept showing up and asking for the water every day of our lives.”



Bartimaeus Shows Up, Waits,  and Receives His Sight

46“Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus

 (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth,

he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

The Gospel According to Saint Mark, Chapter 10 vs. 46-52[i]

     Bartimaeus was a blind beggar who had been blind from birth.  His daily activities had been largely reduced to begging beside the roadside.  Each day he came to a particular place on the road leading from the city of Jericho to the city of Jerusalem.  He would spread out his cloak beside his spot so that pilgrims traveling between Jericho and Jerusalem would see it and deposit alms there.  One day Bartimaeus followed his usual routine by arising early and claiming his spot by the roadside.  As the crowd gathered there was talk.  The talk was about one Jesus of Nazareth who was perceived as the Messiah a savior of Israel.  Most of the crowd perceived him as a military ruler but many knew his real ministry consisted of salvation from sin.  On this particular day as Jesus and his disciples neared the spot by the road occupied by Bartimaeus, Bartimaeus cried out “Son of David, have mercy on me!”.  Many in the crowd rebuked Bartimaeus telling him to “be silent”.  But Bartimaeus cried out all the more “Son of David, have mercy on me!”   Having heard his cry Jesus stopped and commanded “Call him”.  And, members of the crowd summoned Bartimaeus saying:” Take heart; rise, he is calling you.”

     Bartimaeus threw off his outer garment, sprang up and came to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and in a tender voice asked “what is it that you wish for me to do for you?” And, Bartimaeus boldly proclaimed “Master, let me receive my sight” and, Jesus said to him, “Go your way your faith has made your well.” And Bartimaeus immediately received his sight, and followed Jesus along his way”

Can it really be that simple?  Is our best response to world weariness, suffering or tragedy our effort to simply “show up every day and try?”  Our priest, Job, the villagers, and Bartimaeus show us that we find God not through our own ability to control a situation but though our continuous good faith efforts to find him quietly, calmly and persistently.   We ask in our time but God answers in his time and in the final analysis all we can do is “show up and try.”  These stories teach us that we must have the faith to do so each and every day,  no matter what.

[1] Many thanks to the Reverend Emily Hylden, the Reverend Amos Disassa, and Reverend Dane Boston for allowing  me to share a bit of their insight and wisdom through this piece.

[2] Based on a post on “Hope of Things Not Seen,”  a meditation by The Reverend Emily Hylden,

Art:  Illustration of the Parson’s Tale, and Likeness of His Holiness Pope Francis created with coffee.

[3] Based on “Water out of the Whirlwind,” a sermon preached by the Reverend Amos Disassa.

ART:  Job and His Tormentors by William Blake

[4] Also based on “Water out of the Whirlwind” by the Reverend Amos Disassa.

ART:  Stock photo of African well.

[i] Based on “Son of David, have mercy on me!”,  a sermon preached by the Reverend Dane Boston on 28 October m 2012 at Christ Church, Greenwich, Connecticut.

ART:  Bartimaeus Receives His Sight by William Blake



Today is All Saints Day which is one of the principal feasts of the Episcopal Church, the Roman Catholic Church, The Orthodox Church and many major protestant denominations including the Presbyterian Church, USA.  As luck would have it I found myself weak and incapable of arising in sufficient time to attend Mass, despite the time change granting an additional hour, at my cathedral today or to hear a wonderful sermon at my favorite evangelical church.  A recurring bronchial infection having had its way with me, I was in football lingo ‘benched”.  So I undertook to study the Book of Job as I had some two weeks ago undertaken to write a meditation inter-relating a story and two sermons from three very gifted clerical friends who were kind enough to grant me permission to quote them and utilize portions of their writings.

Since the main theme of the meditation was “human suffering’ , ala Job, I thought I would spend my convalescence reading the entire Book of Job so I could highlight and elucidate various points made in the sermon from the clerical friend who had preached it. I found myself in good company as it is my understanding that barristers to be in Great Britain are required to study and “memorize” the Book of Job in preparation for their training and service as lawyers.  A lawyer friend recently posted a ditty which emphasized the treacherous nature of law practice and knowing about Job fits right in.

From  this exercise I learned two things (1) that scripture is much like music, particularly symphonic music,  in that there are ‘inner voices’  which when discerned and highlighted add colour and texture to the main message of the passages.  Too often conductors ignore or ignorantly fail to highlight. the inner voices in symphonic music as I am sure theologians fail, at times, to elucidate the inner voices of the scripture, and (2) The Book of Job  and a rainy, dreary day in Columbia, South Carolina , are not good bedfellows, and portend toward depression of mind and body.

So, I give my apologies to my clerical friends for the wait.  And my admonition to my other friends that in dealing with powerful scripture pick a warm sunny day when you’re feeling good.  You know there is a reason they chained those Bibles to the pulpit during medieval times.  Scripture is powerful stuff which should be treated with respect.  In the wrong hands it can literally kill. And, that’s why it requires a license or ordination to interpret it.


ART:  “Job’s Tormentors” by William Blake , cir. 1790.