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...

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)

" 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)

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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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.)

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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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

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

By Sansom, C. J.
Book - 2004

A Man for All Seasons

The Tudors
The Complete 1st Season

Wolf Hall
A Novel
By Mantel, Hilary

Bring up the Bodies
A Novel
By Mantel, Hilary

Wolf Hall

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

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

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

Film 1993

Wyatt Earp
Film 1994

My Darling Clementine
Film 1946

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." ( 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

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)

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Shepherd

(Sheep on Iona)

In his commentary on the Book of Common Prayer (USA, 1928) Dr. Shepherd includes his remarks on the 23rd Psalm, possibly the most beloved and best-known in the Psalter:

Psalm xxiii. This Psalm is appointed in all the recent Prayer Books, and its selection needs no explanation. It is one of the first devotions every child of a Christian family learns by heart. It teaches us, by way of two simple but unforgettable pictures of the Shepherd (vs. 1-4) and of the Host (vs. 5-6), God's loving care and providence for each of His own creatures.

The figure of God as a Shepherd is very common in the Psalms and the Prophets (cf. Isaiah xl.11, xlix.9-11, Micah vii.14), and our Lord applied it to Himself (John x.1.ff.; cf. Heb. xiii.20, 1 Pet. ii.25, v.4).

The shepherd's devoted nurture and protection of his flock is a parable of God's guidance of us into 'green pastures' of spiritual nourishment and refreshment and of His safe deliverance of us from 'dark valleys' of danger and temptation. Each single lamb or sheep is as much beloved by the shepherd as his whole flock, and no exertion of the shepherd is spared in order to save and rescue one that is lost (cf. Matt. xviii.12-14; Luke xv.3-7).

Similarly in the figure of the Host, God's provident and protective care is pictured both materially, in His supply of more than we need, and spiritually, in the continual joy of His worship and service.

Massey Hamilton Shepherd, Jr., The Oxford American Prayer Book Commentary, Oxford, 1950, section on the rite "Burial of a Child" p. 338-339 of the Book of Common Prayer.

Psalm 23 Dominus regit me (Coverdale/1662 version)

The LORD is my shepherd; *
therefore can I lack nothing.
He shall feed me in a green pasture, *
and lead me forth beside the waters of comfort.
He shall convert my soul, *
and bring me forth in the paths of righteousness for his
Name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; *
for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff comfort me.
Thou shalt prepare a table before me in the presence of them
that trouble me; *
thou hast anointed my head with oil,
and my cup shall be full.
Surely thy loving-kindness and mercy shall follow me all the
days of my life; *
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Psalm 23 King James Version

The LORD is my shepherd; *
I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; *
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul; *
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his
Name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; *
for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of
mine enemies; *
thou anointest my head with oil;
my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days
of my life, *
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

In the Church's worship these last two verses have been mystically interpreted as referring to the heavenly banquet of the Messiah in His eternal Kingdom, of which the Eucharist is the earnest (cf. Luke xxii.24-30).

Op. cit., 339.

It seems especially poignant to me that this Psalm should have been specified, and commented upon, in the context of the Burial of a Child. It is also in the ordination rite of a bishop...

In the context of the Burial of a Child we are reminded that we are child, too, each of us, and ultimately in the care of the Good Shepherd who will see us safely home. That is reassurance.
In the meantime we are guided, and sometimes chastised, (thy rod comforteth me?) by that Good Shepherd. 

In times of trouble or danger, this, and the Lord's Prayer, and possibly the prayers of the rosary, if you are catholic, and possibly one or two passages of Saint Paul, come to mind - and breath. If you were going to memorize anything you would, and possibly did, begin with this psalm and Our Father...

Our Father, who art in heaven,
    hallowed be thy Name,
    thy kingdom come,
    thy will be done,
        on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,
    as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
    for ever and ever. Amen

When a visitor came to the church a couple of hours early, just to have a look around inside a building he had often passed by, he came to the lectern and saw the psalm appointed for that morning was the 23rd. He said, he had learned it at the age of four and could recite it from the heart - and did.

If we were to carry around 'mass cards' with the picture of the church or of its patron saint Paul with us, we would probably want this prayer - and this psalm, until and whenever we needed their comfort and their sturdy encouragement.

The two passages from the letters of the Apostle Paul that come to mind are these:

Philippians 2:4-11

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
   did not regard equality with God
   as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
   taking the form of a slave,
   being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
   he humbled himself
   and became obedient to the point of death—
   even death on a cross.

Therefore God also highly exalted him
   and gave him the name
   that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
   every knee should bend,
   in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess
   that Jesus Christ is Lord,
   to the glory of God the Father.

Romans 8:31-39

What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written,
     ‘For your sake we are being killed all day long;
        we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.’
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Pentecost XIX 2017 October 15th. St. Paul's, Tombstone. JRL+  

(Sheepfold on Iona)

Sheepfold on Iona, photograph by Allen Morris, 2014. 
accessed October 13, 2017.

Sheep on Iona. accessed October 13, 2017.

Sunday, October 8, 2017


I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord;
he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live;
and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.

I know that my Redeemer liveth,
and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth;
and though this body be destroyed, yet shall I see God;
whom I shall see for myself and mine eyes shall behold,
and not as a stranger.

A reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah (25:6-9):

And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.
And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations.
He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.
And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

O God, whose mercies cannot be numbered: Accept our prayers on behalf of thy servants, who have died in war, civil strife, natural disaster, gang violence, and massacre, and grant them an entrance into the land of light and joy, in the fellowship of thy saints; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (BCP 470)

Have you ever been shot at?
Has anyone ever pointed a loaded gun at you?
Has anyone ever pointed a gun at you and pulled the trigger?
Have you ever heard automatic weapons fire as you laid in your bed at night?
Has a place where you worked, or played, been destroyed by a terrorist act?

 Do any of these questions make you impatient?

They are the sort of past experiences that may have come to mind this past week. By Sunday evening, we knew that people had lost their lives in war, civil strife, gang violence, natural disaster, and a massacre at a Las Vegas concert.

It kind of hits you in the gut. Or not. But if it does, if it is the sort of thing that lingers and eats at you, you are not alone. Here on the border - we are well within 100 miles of Mexico - many of our friends and neighbors have been touched by tragedy, personally or in community.

Veterans, refugees, law enforcement, everyday ordinary people - we all have something to mourn when a mass tragedy occurs. And some of us carry with us the seeds of reaction from a past tragedy. Seed of trauma relived - and also perhaps seeds of compassion.

Newspapers tell us to pray - or forget about it. They tell us to take action - of some sort - for the good of our own souls, if nothing else. That may be wise.

But we as Christians, as a church, have something more to offer - to ourselves, to each other, to God. Yes, we offer prayer - and live and act, knowing our faith is true - knowing that our own Lord was bent by trauma, by the horrific experience of betrayal, interrogation, torture, and death.

And he endured the shock of resurrection. We celebrate all this as we come together this Sunday, as every Sunday, in the Eucharist. And from here, as we take it all in, death, sorrow, comfort, and joy, from here we go forward remembering that God is with us, all of us, in these moments of compassion, remembered grief, cheap advice, and even anger. We go forward -

We go forward in the name of Christ, to bring comfort, honesty, compassion, and fortitude, with resolution, to build, and continue to build, a world in which tragedy does not go unnoticed, where one does not go alone, but where we continue painfully to seek answers, and solutions, even as we know they may be hidden from us.

What we do know is that we are with each other, beyond mourning, because God is with us.

What we do now - and maybe from now on - may look the same as what others do - but we do it in the name of Christ, as servants of the prince of peace. We may look at causes, debate actions, give of ourselves, look out for others, listen patiently - all of it that we do, or don't do, we do knowing we are not alone, we are people of faith, for we know the end of the story: that love is strong, strong as death, and love will last - as God is with us.

Where was God last Sunday? At a country music festival. At a hurricane relief station, lining up for water and food. Carrying a stranger's child across the border from Burma to Bangladesh. In the waiting area of an emergency room. And at a child's bedside as she fell softly to sleep.

God was with us.

God is with us.

God be with you. And me.

Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is
hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where
there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where
there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where
there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to
be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is
in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we
are born to eternal life. Amen. (BCP 833)