Friday, July 14, 2017

waiting for rain

Ted Ramirez from Tubac has a song about the time of year just past - about waiting for rain. It is a cheerful song, sung in June, waiting for the monsoon. The rains will come - haven’t they always? And all this dry ground will moisten. Rivers will run, green will show among the brown. Mosquitoes will hover; termites take wing. The birds are happy. And there is the smell of creosote after the rain. Hope.

Hope. Scattered seeds. Scientifically and practically, as Joann Lee from San Francisco observes, we place our seeds cautiously in the garden, in neat rows, tilled carefully. Soil prepared, supplements added, nurture required.

It seems almost farcical to suggest a sower throwing arms wide, seed scattering here and there… indiscriminately? We don’t do it it this way -- usually.

Though as we speak a counter-example sits on my mantelpiece: mesquite pods of a rare variety. I’ve been encouraged by the giver to toss them into a wash just as the monsoon starts… And here where some oaks used to grow, cattle have unconsciously spread mesquite pods of a common variety wherever they sense moisture and shade enough to pause in…

Some gardener, huh? Rocks, weeds, thorns - and good soil.

Wherever that might be. Cracks in the pavement. There are towns where I lived once, San Francisco for example, where there seemed to be no green thing for miles, except in parks - just concrete. Before the urban tree movement. And Brooklyn -- you wouldn’t know it, looking at brownstone buildings lined up in closed ranks, but behind and between the stone facades are gardens, green things, and occasionally now a community garden in a vacant lot.

But that is not enough, not what it’s all about. Sure, there are farms, big and small, organic gardeners and agrichemical giants.

The seed that grows between, behind, among, and inside the buildings -- the Word of God -- falls more indiscriminately, apparently. A seed lies dormant in a human soul for years and miles. One day something brings it moisture and nurture, and it grows. May be concerns, bitterness, indifference can stop the process - or can it?

Is grace inexorable? Does it miss us sometimes?

This story seems not to be about gardening. It’s a simpler, stranger story, a challenge to be worked out. Parable itself seems to mean, literally, to throw alongside, to scatter about. Jesus the punster. And sower - for he himself throws out to us this story.

To scatter, broadcast: that’s what we do. For all our niche marketing and careful planning, it’s the seeds of hope that we drop unconsciously or unconcernedly, without an agenda, that may lodge, grow, and lead to fruitful life.

There is a story about an old Scottish minister looking back at the end of his life, over the course of his career, and a question came. Did you ever convert anybody? Did you ever bring the gospel into anyone’s heart? No, I don’t think so -- unless it was that little Davey Livingstone…

David Livingstone, who went on to a life of missionary service in Africa.

Now such things are less fashionable. But the people -- the descendants of the people who heard the Word from such as David Livingstone -- are grateful.

For the missions, indiscriminate as they may have been, left behind some seeds to grow.

Material benefits -- clean water, epidemic diseases eradicated, healthier food, educated children -- but notably all this came from a greater good, that ordered them and made sense of them all: to reconcile our souls to God in Christ.

This is still the mission of Christian service, underlying all our efforts and activities, and to be reaffirmed … as it was this last week by my wife’s relief and development organization, refocusing their efforts in light of the greater mission, for all is done in the name of Christ.

And so those seemingly random efforts have behind them a hope and a promise, that under God’s grace and with his assurance, his word will not return to him empty.

And the rains will come and water the earth.

May it be with us as you have purposed. Amen.

Psalm 65: 9-14
Romans 8:1-11

The Book of Common Prayer. New York: Oxford. 231.

Joann H. Lee, “Living the Word”, The Christian Century, June 21, 2017, 19.

Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, Nourishing News, July 2017.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Summer Sunday Readings

Summer Sunday Readings for St. Paul’s, Tombstone.

For your reference here are summer Sunday readings from the Revised Common Lectionary, Episcopal Edition. At St Paul’s Tombstone we are following track two - with the Old Testament reading complementing the themes of the Gospel.

9 July 2017
Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 9
Zechariah 9:9-12
Psalm 145:8-15
Romans 7:15-25a
Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

16 July 2017
Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 10
Isaiah 55:10-13
Psalm 65: (1-8), 9-14
Romans 8:1-11
Matthew 13:1-9,18-23

23 July 2017
Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 11
Isaiah 44:6-8
Psalm 86:11-17
Romans 8:12-25
Matthew 13:24-30,36-43

30 July 2017
Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 12
1 Kings 3:5-12
Psalm 119:129-136
Romans 8:26-39
Matthew 13:31-33,44-52

6 August 2017
The Transfiguration
Exodus 34:29-35
2 Peter 1:13-21
Luke 9:28-36
Psalm 99 or 99:5-9

13 August 2017
Tenth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 14
1 Kings 19:9-18
Psalm 85:8-13
Romans 10:5-15
Matthew 14:22-33

20 August 2017
Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 15
Isaiah 56:1,6-8
Psalm 67
Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32
Matthew 15: (10-20), 21-28

27 August 2017
Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 16
Isaiah 51:1-6
Psalm 138
Romans 12:1-8
Matthew 16:13-20

3 September 2017
Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 17
Jeremiah 15:15-21
Psalm 26:1-8
Romans 12:9-21
Matthew 16:21-28

10 September 2017
Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 18
Ezekiel 33:7-11
Psalm 119:33-40
Romans 13:8-14
Matthew 18:15-20

17 September 2017
Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 19
Genesis 50:15-21
Psalm 103:(1-7), 8-13
Romans 14:1-12
Matthew 18:21-35

24 September 2017
Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 20
Jonah 3:10-4:11
Psalm 145:1-8
Philippians 1:21-30
Matthew 20:1-16

1 October 2017
Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 21
Ezekiel 18:1-4,25-32
Psalm 25:1-8
Philippians 2:1-13
Matthew 21:23-32

8 October 2017
Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 22
Isaiah 5:1-7
Psalm 80:7-14
Philippians 3:4b-14
Matthew 21:33-46

15 October 2017
Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 23
Isaiah 25:1-9
Psalm 23
Philippians 4:1-9
Matthew 22:1-14

22 October 2017
Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 24
Isaiah 45:1-7
Psalm 96:1-9, (10-13)
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Matthew 22:15-22

29 October 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

5 November 2017
All Saints Sunday
Revelation 7:9-17
Psalm 34:1-10, 22
1 John 3:1-3
Matthew 5:1-12

12 November 2017
Twenty Third Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 27
Wisdom of Solomon 6:12-16
Wisdom of Solomon 6:17-20
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Matthew 25:1-13

19 November 2017
Twenty Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 28
Zephaniah 1:7,12-18
Psalm 90:1-8, (9-11), 12
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Matthew 25:14-30

26 November 2017
Last Sunday after Pentecost:
Christ the King
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
Psalm 95:1-7a
Ephesians 1:15-23
Matthew 25:31-46
________________ accessed July 4, 2017. JRL+

Monday, June 26, 2017

silkworms and diamonds

“Diamonds do not dazzle with beauty unless they are cut. When cut, the rays of the sun fall on them and make them shine with wonderful colors. So when we are cut by the cross we shine forth as jewels in the kingdom of God. -- Sadhu Sundar Singh

His parable on the necessity of suffering:

“A silkworm was struggling out of the cocoon and an ignorant man saw it battling as if in pain, so he went and helped it to get free, but very soon after it fluttered and died. The other silkworms that struggle out without help suffered, but they came out into full life and beauty, with wings made strong for flight by their battle for fresh existence.”

Robert Ellsberg. All Saints. New York: Crossroad. 1997. 275.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Reformation Readings

What I've been reading: Among other things this spring I was reading a lot about the Reformation. Along with some Lutheran pastors and a Presbyterian minister and many lay people, I participated in a University Humanities Seminar taught by the head of the division of late Medieval and Reformation studies, Dr Susan Karant-Nunn. Among the "strongly recommended" readings were:

Wunderli, Richard M. Peasant Fires: The Drummer of Niklashausen. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992. ISBN: 978-0253207517.

Oberman, Heiko A. Luther: Man between God and the Devil. New York, N.Y: Image Books, 1992. ISBN: 0385422784.

Calvin, Jean, and Hugh T. Kerr. Calvin's Institutes: A New Compend. Louisville, Ky: Westminster John Knox Press, 1989. ISBN 0664250807.

Marshall, Peter. Reformation in England: 1480-1642. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2011. ISBN: 978-0340706244.

Ignatius of Loyola, and Anthony Mottola. The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. New York: Image Books, 1989. ISBN: 0385024363

These selections were easily supplemented with older books, from St Philip in the Hills and Pima County libraries, including:

Roland Bainton, Here I Stand (life of Martin Luther)

Owen Chadwick, The Reformation

A. G. Dickens, The English Reformation

New books continue to come out as this year is the 500th anniversary observance of the beginning of the Reformation:

MacCulloch, DiarmaidAll Things Made New: The Reformation and Its Legacy (2016)

Peter Marshall, Heretics and Believers: A History of the English Reformation (Yale, 2017)

Roper, LyndalMartin LutherRenegade And Prophet (2017)
Of these I've enjoyed most the heaviest and latest, the book by Peter Marshall, which seems to be the narrative history to which our "strongly recommended" reading in the seminar by the same author was prolegomena.
And older books, including sections of 
MacCulloch, Diarmaid, The Reformation

MacCulloch, Diarmaid, Christianity: The First 2000 Years

Rowell, Geoffrey, Kenneth Stevenson, and Rowan Williams, eds., Love's Redeeming Work: The Anglican Quest for Holiness (Oxford, 2001)

And novels, including:

Also of interest (for future reading):

The Library of Christian Classics, published by Westminster John Knox Press.
T. H. L. Parker, ed. English Reformers. (Library of Christian Classics) Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press. January 1, 1966.
Wilhelm Pauck, ed. Melanchthon and Bucer (Library of Christian Classics) Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press. January 1, 1969.

G. W. Bromiley, ed. Zwingli and Bullinger (Library of Christian Classics) Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press. January 1, 1953. 

John Calvin. Institutes of the Christian Religion. (Library of Christian Classics) John T. McNeill (Editor), Ford Lewis Battles (Translator). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press (June 1960).

Other volumes in the series include writings of Martin Luther and Erasmus.

Other publications:

Martin Luther's Basic Theological WritingsTimothy F. Lull, ed. 1989.

William J. Bouwsma. John Calvin: A Sixteenth-Century Portrait1987.


Tombstone and Bisbee Bibliography

Tombstone and Bisbee Bibliography

Journal of Arizona History

Summer 2016 (JAH 57:2, 197-220)
Hampton, Hunter M. “Religion is Truly Manly”: Endicott Peabody, Muscular Christianity, and Reform in Tombstone, Arizona.

Summer 2014 (JAH 55:2, 145-166)
Osselaer, Heidi. On the Wrong Side of Allen Street: The Businesswomen of Tombstone, 1878-1884.

Autumn 1974 (JAH 15:3, 223-248)
Walker, Henry Pickering. Preacher in Helldorado.

Autumn 1965 (JAH 6:3, 101-115)
Wallace, Jerry. How the Episcopal Church came to Arizona.


Preacher in Helldorado

Henry Pickering Walker
The Journal of Arizona History
Vol. 15, No. 3 (Autumn 1974), pp. 223-248
Stable URL:



C. L. Sonnichsen
The Journal of Arizona History
Vol. 9, No. 2 (Summer 1968), pp. 58-76


John C. Clum, John D. Gilchriese and Matia McClelland Burk
It All Happened in Tombstone.
Arizona and the West, Vol. 1, No. 3 (Autumn, 1959), pp. 232-247
Stable URL:
Reprinted from Arizona Historical Review 2:1 (April 1929)



Jerry Wallace
The Journal of Arizona History
Vol. 6, No. 3 (AUTUMN, 1965), pp. 101-115
Stable URL:

The Earps of Tombstone: The Truth About the OK Corral Gun Fight and Other Events in Which Wyatt Earp and His Brothers Participated. By Martin, Douglas D.  Tombstone, Ariz. The Epitaph, [1959]  979.153 M363e 1959

Silver, Sex and Six Guns: Tombstone Saga of the Life of Buckskin Frank Leslie. A Story of Tombstone's Early Gunmen. By Martin, Douglas D. Tombstone, Ariz., Tombstone Epitaph [1962] 92 L5655m 1962

Tombstone's Epitaph. Martin, Douglas D. (Douglas DeVeny), 1885-1963. [Albuquerque : University of New Mexico Press, 1951] ISBN: 9780806129822



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

Tombstone: An Iliad of the Southwest, By Burns, Walter Noble 1929 (reprinted by University of New Mexico Press)

Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal, By Lake, Stuart N. 1931

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

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

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

Bonanzas to Borrascas: The Mines of Tombstone, Arizona, By Devere, Burton 2010.

Helldorado: Bringing the Law to the Mesquite, By Breakenridge, William M. 1928. The R.R. Donnelley & Sons gift edition (1982) edited by Richard Maxwell Brown has excellent notes.

A Church for Helldorado: The 1882 Tombstone Diary of Endicott Peabody and The Building of St. Paul's Episcopal Church. By S. J. Reidhead. Wyatt Earp Books. (2006) 978-1892508188

Peabody of Groton: A Portrait. by Frank Davis Ashburn. New York: Coward McCann.1944. 2nd ed.: Cambridge, Mass.: Riverside Press, 1967.

Monahan, Sherry. Tombstone’s Treasure: Silver Mines and Golden Saloons. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. 2007



Tucson, Ariz. : Westernlore Press, 2002. (979.153 B1538b 2002)

Shelton, Richard. Going Back to Bisbee. Tucson : University of Arizona Press, 1992. ISBN:9780816512898

Houston, Robert. Bisbee ‘17: A Novel. Tucson, Ariz.: University of Arizona Press, 1979.