Friday, November 3, 2017

all souls

Tonight I could have watched some of my favorite comic book characters combine forces to achieve a victory over Death. It was the kind of arena-rock scale movie that requires big gestures, broad humor, and lots of noise. 

Instead I went to a requiem mass for all faithful departed, at my local Episcopal church. There were production values there too. Cordial neighbors, marvelous music, beautiful art, lovely building; in the midst of it was a man raising a piece of bread and saying, "This is my body."

And so in the midst of a remembrance of death, of a death in particular, came the gift of life.

As long as we have the story, the bread and wine, the water and oil, each other and the Spirit, we will be all right. 

(Herb O'Driscoll said that; he was right.)

In the midst of a celebration of death, a remembrance of the dead, and a solemn liturgy, a simple gesture reminded us: that in that very moment of perishing, of emptying out, of offering his very substance of life, the Christ Jesus did achieve a victory over death - a victory that was final. And has yet to be completed. As we have yet to be complete. For we are part of that victory. 

Not by bombast or melody, not by might or mousy self-erasure, but by a simple act of substance: a giving of ourselves commensurate with that victory: total.



And in the midst of it, amidst well-meaning neighbors and uncomfortable feelings breaking me out of the spell of the liturgy, I remembered my mother, who died this past August, reciting for me in June something surprising, a poem she must have learned as a little girl. It was a private smile to share amid the tragic solemnities:


Bean soup
tastes so bad
it makes me mad
when Mother gives
such stuff to me;

But when I pour it 
on the floor
I am as happy 
as can be.

When Mother spanks
I give her thanks 
for I know
'tis good for me.

Thanks, Mom.

 
All Souls' Day Mass and Reception 
The Commemoration of All Faithful Departed, also known as All Soul's Day, is this upcoming Thursday, November 2nd. At 7:00pm we will hold a Requiem Mass in memory of all those who have died. You can submit names of loved ones you would like to have remembered at this service by emailing Kelli at k.d.joyce@stphilipstucson.org by Wednesday, November 1st. The Saint Philip's Staff Singers and the Canterbury Choir will perform Requiem for My Friend by Zbignew Preisner and In Paradisum by Eriks Esenvald, in what will be the Southern Arizona premiere for both works. Following the Eucharist there will be a reception hosted by the Parish Life Committee in the Perry Garden. Please don't miss this wonderful and moving service!  -- from the parish news, Saint Philip's in the Hills, October 26, 2017.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Remembering 5A

For some reason today as I think ahead to All Saints and All Faithful Departed (All Souls) observances later this week, what came to mind was my joy at seeing Eugene and his partner Frank years after I met them in the summer of 1977. Back then I was the 'file boy' as my neighbor Lamar Spencer so kindly put it, a GS-2 clerk-typist at the US Environmental Protection Agency Region Nine headquarters, in downtown San Francisco, at 100 California Street. Years later, after the AIDS epidemic had peaked, I saw them at a party - and was overjoyed. For years I had wondered if they survived, and there they were, and together.

In the meantime I had worked with the Rev. Canon William (Bill) Barcus, who served as the AIDS spokesman for the Bishop of California as long as he could. The last time I saw Bill he waved valiantly to me, hands full of groceries, from the sidewalk in the Castro, along upper Market Street, as I drove by.

And later I tried volunteering at San Francisco General Hospital, Ward 5A, which by then had taken over as the principal treatment center for AIDS patients.

This was well before the disease was fully understood and before more effective and affordable treatments became available.

What I remembered this morning was not the where or what - but the sudden sense of the loss of a whole generation of young men. Loss, and grief, and sorrow.

And some gratitude at their valiant hope - for others if not themselves - and patience.

And the love of others for those who suffered and whom we have lost.

Robert, Andy...


http://pdf.oac.cdlib.org/pdf/csf/sfpl/aidsward.pdf

Sunday, October 29, 2017

America's Second Commandment Church

What if we declared ourselves a second commandment church?

The city of Tombstone declared itself America's Second Amendment City earlier this year. What if we made a similar declaration? What if we said, we are going to love our neighbors as ourselves? What if we did it? I mean, not what if we made the declaration - but what if we love our neighbors as ourselves? How are we different?


I knew a congregation once that declared itself to be "a welcoming Christ-centered community"They made it their mission statement. They put up a sign.


And the first Sunday you were there, either they ignored you completely, or they greeted you; the second Sunday, they asked you to be on a committee.


They got mail inviting them to join a national association of welcoming congregations - they'd never heard of it. 


And by the way after that second week, they never heard from a lot of people.


Of course if you stuck with it - if you stuck with it you learned welcoming is on you. And maybe so is loving your neighbor. So the sign is not important. 


In fact I knew another congregation - the only one where my parents got big smiles on their faces when they went - that did not have a sign. But they sure had a welcome.


The declaration is not important. And it doesn't matter so much if you ask yourself, are we (meaning they) doing it? 


It's a simple religion, really. Love God. Love your neighbor.


The joy in this is that to love God brings you to love your neighbor; to love your neighbor expresses your love of God.


Over centuries people have puzzled it out, turned it over, tried it out, said it in many ways; and those ways were lovely, some of them, others simply challenging:


- Love of God comes out of love of neighbor.

- Love of God is to love of neighbor as contemplation is to action.
- Love of neighbor is love of God because it is love of the image of God.

If we are made in the image of God (not the man on the coin, from last week's Gospel) and we discover that image in each other as we go to love them -


Sometimes it seems pretty hidden - but it can be found!


As we practice the law of love, that is the love of the person that is made in God's image, we begin to see through the dim and distant mirror the love of God reflected in another's face and even in our own.

Christ is the image of God most perfectly to have come among us. When we love the image of God in neighbor it is powered by our love for Christ the living image of God. 


So. Love God in your neighbor. How?


How you and I carry that out is our call, our vocation. Our call to serve. It is our charism as a community, the thing that we do that shows our love for God in our way. And maybe it does mean declaring ourselves "America's second commandment church" if that will create a witness.


How? is our charism, our calling, our challenge. And our freedom. For we do seek to love God, to love God's image, to love our neighbors, and ourselves, as we ourselves are called to do it. 


Where are we tugged? drawn? What are we shown as a way to love? What is right on top of us? What is within earshot? 


What says, here you can, here you are, loving God?


Love God; love your neighbor: is it two commands, or one? Possibly only one, really, the way Jesus connects the two... not an abstract answer to a tricky question or a negative to beat a negative ("Do not do to others what you would not want done to you") but a calling to a way of life, a way of love. 


And so we come to it: God is love.




Of course Jesus knew Rome wasn't sacked in a day. So he gave people a way to practice: Love one another as I have loved you.


Seek out the image of God in another: begin to perceive it; it becomes clearer with practice.


As we practice the law of love, the love of the one that is made in God's image, we begin to see through the dim and distant mirror the love of God embodied in his son reflected in another's face and even in our own.


For as we love the one made in his image, we begin to love as Jesus shows us love, the way that shows us, in his image, the mystery: God is love.


And now let us confess the faith of America's second commandment church in the words of the Nicene Creed....


~ ~ ~


The Peace:
Delight in the Lord in his love and light
Proclaim his peace by day and by night
The peace of the Lord be always with you...

(David Adam, Clouds and Glory, SPCK, 2000, 135.)


The Blessing:
Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be brave, be strong. 
Let all that you do be done in love. 
And the blessing...

(1 Corinthians 16:13-14) 


St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Tombstone, Arizona.
October 29, 2017
Twenty First Sunday after Pentecost 
Proper 25

Leviticus 19:1-2,15-18

Psalm 1
1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
Matthew 22:34-46

Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)


"...you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord." (Leviticus 19:18b)


You shall be holy as your Father in heaven is holy. (cf. Lev. 19.2, 11.44) 


He watches over his holy ones. (Wisdom 4.15)



https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/01/17/tombstone-site-of-the-gunfight-at-the-o-k-corral-dubs-itself-americas-second-amendment-city/?utm_term=.fa3fd67f0335


https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/man-wounded-in-shooting-during-fight-in-tombstone-saloon/2017/10/14/219043da-b122-11e7-9b93-b97043e57a22_story.html?utm_term=.128c91591009


Eliza Linley My ancestor, Martin Ruter Peel, was a mining engineer in Tombstone, shot and killed for the copper mine payroll he was carrying from the bank to the mine in 1882. His father was the judge. Wyatt Earp came to the house to offer to find and kill the two men who shot him, but Judge Peel would have none of it, as it was not a legal solution. Never mind,the two murderers fled across the border and were killed for the stolen payroll. Exciting times. Welcome to Tombstone, vicar! (Martin is buried at Boot Hill).


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October 24 at 1:39pmEdited ... from facebook page comments.

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Vicar of Tombstone


The Vicar of Tombstone

For the last six months, since Palm Sunday, I have been the priest principally serving the small congregation of Saint Paul's Episcopal Church in Tombstone. As I came here the first time to serve, I thought of a predecessor, young Endicott Peabody, who had taken the same road 135 years ago and served about six months. He had a predecessor, who had a brief and unsatisfactory tenure around the time of the gunfight behind the O.K. Corral. He arrived with the blessing of the new missionary bishop of the Arizona Territory and at the invitation of a town resident, a friend of the family. I arrived at the suggestion of the bishop and at the invitation of the congregation.

Young Peabody had arrived atop a stagecoach; the driver regaling him with stories of a stagecoach robbery on that route not six months before. I arrived by automobile, on the same road, with stories of that same robbery, and other crimes, regaled upon me by sources written and oral.

That robbery was or was not with the connivance of John (Doc) Holliday, who did or did not leave town on a rented horse at exactly the time of the robbery.

It seems like every incident in Tombstone and environs has at least two versions. Everybody has an opinion, and a couple of spares. Most recently, gunfire erupted in a saloon named for the same hot-headed dentist. In this case, versions diverge. The bar owner, and the man charged for discharging a pistol inside a saloon, have published versions of their own, the former in his own newspaper and on his own Facebook page, while the person receiving the bullet, and law enforcement, and other interested parties, have a different tale to tell.

The medevac helicopter from Saint David did or did not airlift the injured party to the medical center in Tucson. And so forth.

Back in the day the stagecoach driver did not take selfies, nor did his paying passengers post anything on social media about their experience. Nevertheless versions of the story abounded, and rebounded, on said doctor. For as noted above, that fall also saw the infamous shootout in the narrow confines of an alley behind a livery stable. The mortally wounded fell on the street corner of Third and Fremont. My church was across the street and a block north of that corner....



(To be continued.)


http://www.myheraldreview.com/news/celebrating-years/article_0560cc58-b9fa-11e7-94a7-5ba336cf3200.html

http://www.myheraldreview.com/news/prostitution-paid-for-st-paul-s-church/article_16ffca36-4f1f-11e7-a0ad-e7e94609d909.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/01/17/tombstone-site-of-the-gunfight-at-the-o-k-corral-dubs-itself-americas-second-amendment-city/?utm_term=.fa3fd67f0335

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/man-wounded-in-shooting-during-fight-in-tombstone-saloon/2017/10/14/219043da-b122-11e7-9b93-b97043e57a22_story.html?utm_term=.128c91591009

Eliza Linley My ancestor, Martin Ruter Peel, was a mining engineer in Tombstone, shot and killed for the copper mine payroll he was carrying from the bank to the mine in 1882. His father was the judge. Wyatt Earp came to the house to offer to find and kill the two men who shot him, but Judge Peel would have none of it, as it was not a legal solution. Never mind,the two murderers fled across the border and were killed for the stolen payroll. Exciting times. Welcome to Tombstone, vicar! (Martin is buried at Boot Hill).
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October 24 at 1:39pmEdited ... from facebook page comments.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

1517 and All That - Reading List

1517 and all that: histories, biographies, and some fictional treatments of the Protestant and Catholic Reformations that began in the 16th Century CE


Martin Luther
Renegade And Prophet
By Roper, Lyndal
Book - 2017

Brand Luther
1517, Printing, and the Making of the Reformation
By Pettegree, Andrew
Book - 2015

All Things Made New
The Reformation and Its Legacy
By MacCulloch, Diarmaid
Book - 2016

Heretics and Believers
A History of the English Reformation
By Marshall, Peter
Book - 2017

The Holy Bible
Containing the Old and New Testaments, Translated Out of the Original Tongues and With the Former Translations Diligently Compared and Revised ; Commonly Known as the Authorized (King James) Version
Book - 2000

In the Beginning
The Story of the King James Bible and How It Changed A Nation, A Language, and A Culture
By McGrath, Alister E.
Book - 2001

Manifold Greatness
The Making of the King James Bible
Book - 2011

Tudors
The History of England From Henry VIII to Elizabeth I
By Ackroyd, Peter
Book - 2013

How to Be A Tudor
A Dawn-to-dusk Guide to Tudor Life
By Goodman, Ruth
Book - 2016

Dissolution
By Sansom, C. J.
Book - 2004

A Man for All Seasons
DVD 

The Tudors
The Complete 1st Season
DVD 

Wolf Hall
A Novel
By Mantel, Hilary
Book 

Bring up the Bodies
A Novel
By Mantel, Hilary
Book 

Wolf Hall
DVD


https://pima.bibliocommons.com/list/share/363505048_johnnybyrd/985753567_1517_and_all_that

Tombstone - Bisbee Reading List

(Tombstone, Allen Street)

Books, and television and film, about Tombstone Arizona especially historic St Paul's Church, and Bisbee

Under Cover for Wells Fargo
The Unvarnished Recollections of Fred Dodge
By Dodge, Fred
Book - 1969

Tombstone, A.T
A History of Early Mining, Milling, and Mayhem
By Shillingberg, Wm. B.
Book - 1999

Wyatt Earp
The Life Behind the Legend
By Tefertiller, Casey
Book - 1997

Going Back to Bisbee
By Shelton, Richard
Book - 1992

Bisbee, 17
By Houston, Robert
Book - 1979

Helldorado
Bringing the Law to the Mesquite
By Breakenridge, William M.
Book - 1928

Preacher in Helldorado
By Walker, Henry P.
Book - 1974

Bonanzas to Borrascas
The Mines of Tombstone, Arizona
By Devere, Burton
Book - 2010

The Devil Has Foreclosed
The Private Journal of George Whitwell Parsons : the Concluding Arizona Years, 1882-87
By Parsons, George Whitwell
Book - 1997

A Tenderfoot in Tombstone
The Private Journal of George Whitwell Parsons : the Turbulent Years, 1880-82
By Parsons, George Whitwell
Book - 1996

Tombstone, Arizona, "too Tough to Die"
The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of A Silver Camp, 1878 to 1990
By Bailey, Lynn Robison
Book - 2004

Wyatt Earp
Frontier Marshal
By Lake, Stuart N.
Book - 1931

Tombstone
An Iliad of the Southwest
By Burns, Walter Noble
Book - 1929

And Die in the West
The Story of the O.K. Corral Gunfight
By Marks, Paula Mitchell
Book - 1989



The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp
Television 1955-1961
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0047750/

Tombstone
Film 1993
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108358/

Wyatt Earp
Film 1994
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0111756/

My Darling Clementine
Film 1946
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0038762/


https://pima.bibliocommons.com/list/share/363505048_johnnybyrd/937517427_tombstone_-_bisbee

Friday, October 20, 2017

image of God


"Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions, forgetting the image of God we should see in each other." (http://bbc.in/2yzpTh2) George W. Bush, on Thursday 19 October 2017 in New York.


And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness .... So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Genesis 1:26-27)



I’d like to thank President George W. Bush, a member of the United Methodist Church, for his comments providing insights into today’s gospel lesson. For he speaks about the image of God, and what is due to it, wherever it appears, under whatever guise, and his initial comment, too, exposes a real tyranny of the superficial that we see linked to an easy judgmentalism too often.

Indeed, the opponents, or crafty interlocutors, of Jesus, are up to something very like what the former president decries in his remarks given only last Thursday in New York. They sought to put Jesus in the very worst light and themselves in the best. We often do this casually; they did it with intent. They are not alone.

So to the lesson. Jesus, in context, is teaching in the Temple during the days leading up to Passover, and responding to the challenges of the established religious parties. Who in turn, it must be said, feel challenged by him! Even as Pontius Pilate was marching into the city from the Jaffa Gate (as conquerors do, then and now) the Lord entered by the Lion Gate on the far side of the town. Jesus rode down the hillside through olive gardens, as we know, and the people greeted him as he arrived, the very picture of the ancient desire of his people, the anointed one of God.

Anointed, it should be said, to do God’s purpose. Anyone, even Cyrus, the Persian king, could be “God’s anointed” in the sense that he was called to do God’s will. For Cyrus, to free the people of Israel from foreign bondage by an oppressive empire. Huh. In his case, Babylon.

Come to think of it, the Herodians and the Sadducees and the Pharisees and the Romans themselves had reason, deep reason, to be perturbed by this “messianic” arrival.

God accomplished his purpose through a foreign king, Cyrus, and now through a Galilean, from a town of small note, Jesus of Nazareth.

The challenge begins, on the day after Jesus’ triumphant arrival in the Temple (Palm Sunday).

Is it lawful, or not, to pay taxes to the emperor?

Show me the coin.

And on that coin is the image of Caesar, surrounded by words of power: Son of God, Prince of Peace.

To use it is to worship him, in some sense; certainly to accept his hegemony.

But what are they themselves doing with that coin on the Temple mount? You know it would have to be exchanged for a Temple special coin to make an offering in the Temple. But there they have it.

So whose eikon, whose image, is this?

And then he gives his enigmatic, challenging riposte to their question.

Render - that is, give back - to Caesar what is his own, and to God…

Here is where George W. Bush comes in, if we follow him to the end of his sentence.

We too often forget the image of God that we should see in each other.

There it is: what belongs to God? Where is his image found - today? In you and you and you and me.

In each other, and those far from us, in miles or attitudes, or deeds or beliefs.

Them at their worst, we at our best - but those with best intentions, even at the center, are not enough. We are all in the circle - the circle of the love of God, of the making by God, of those stamped with his image.

The imperial coin, the Roman coin, has an image of one self-styled great; Caesar. Let there not be another.

For we are receiving the mark of the presence of God, the love that he bears for us and we are called to bear as we look upon each other.

That is the image of God, the mark of the Christian: the undeniable stamp of one who is loved, by God, and one who loves another even as they love themselves.

How we carry out this love in the world, how we show the stamp of that image, is the next challenge.

Are we up to it?




Year A
Proper 24
RCL

October 22, 2017
Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost


By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (John 13:35)