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Father Mark, Reflections

In the course of one moment…

I am not a “bright eyed and bushy tailed” type of morning person.  It takes me awhile to get my mind the the rest of me moving.  I was Divinely helped this morning while looking out of our kitchen window at the bird bath in our back yard, when all of a sudden, a female Cardinal dashed in a blur to the bird bath.  The Cardinal drank from the water of the bird bath, remaining there only a few seconds before darting off.

The Cardinal’s unexpected immediacy of arrival caught be by surprise.  The suddenness of the arrival of beauty and energy caused me to gasp–in a pleasant way.   Revelation is like this:  happening in the immediacy of a moment and then lasting for years in our memories.  That one moment set my spirit in alignment.   I thought for a moment: what if I had not looked out that window and missed such a theophany (a “God revealing” moment)!   We are given hundreds of windows each day to receive the unexpected visit from the Holy One who manifests the Spirit in a multitude of ways.

What’s showing outside your window?

Peace,

Fr. Mark

 

News

An Order for Compline – March 25, 2020

Join us on FB Live! for Compline Wednesdays at 7 p.m.  Here is the liturgy:

The Officiant begins

The Lord Almighty grant us a peaceful night and a perfect
end. Amen.

Officiant Our help is in the Name of the Lord;
People The maker of heaven and earth.

The Officiant may then say:  Let us confess our sins to God.

Silence may be kept.

Officiant and People:

Almighty God, our heavenly Father:
We have sinned against you,
through our own fault,
in thought, and word, and deed,
and in what we have left undone.
For the sake of your Son our Lord Jesus Christ,
forgive us all our offenses;
and grant that we may serve you
in newness of life,
to the glory of your Name. Amen.


Officiant:

May the Almighty God grant us forgiveness of all our sins,
and the grace and comfort of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Officiant O God, make speed to save us.
People O Lord, make haste to help us.

Blessings on Annunciation Day, the day Gabriel visited Mary with the Good News and Mary said, “Yes!”

I was walking on my alternate C-19 Route this morning and it “dawned” on me, on this special day, let’s enact Gabriel’s visit to Mary by a visitation to the homes of our members.  So as I passed the Ward’s, Clark’s, McVea’s, Bullock’s, Robbin’s, and Wallace’s on my walk, I stopped and pronounced a blessing upon them.

Our Book of Occasional Services has a prayer in the Blessing of a Home which I believe is most appropriate for us at this time:

Visit, O blessed Lord, this home with the gladness of your presence. Bless all who live here with the gift of your love; and grant that they may manifest your love [to each other and] to all whose lives they touch. May they grow in grace and in the knowledge and love of you; guide, comfort, and strengthen them; and preserve them in peace, O Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen

Perhaps this prayer might be a benefit to say together with your family or friends on the phone.

This morning and afternoon I will be walking through town and stopping on your sidewalk to offer this prayer and a blessing to you.  For those of you further away, I will either drive out or pray the prayer for you from the church.  This may take me a couple of days.

This is a good time to reflect on the above title of this journal entry.  I didn’t think of this idea.  It was revealed to me.  Another way of defining what prayer is that we spend our time emptying our mind of the “stuff” that keeps us from hearing the still small Voice (I Kings 17) attempting to reach us.  My thinking isn’t transformational.  God’s Voice is.   The best my thinking can do (on a good day) is to remember the past history of Divine Wisdom imparted in God’s revelations and attempt to align my thoughts with them.  Every day we make hundreds of choices automatically, sometimes without reflecting on the source of the criteria by which we make these choices.  Ideally, we can receive fresh revelations which are more finely honed to meet the new situations of the present day.  We never know when Gabriel or Michael, Raphael, Uriel (the Archangels), or the Holy Spirit will stop by for a visit to birth the Word in us anew.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as
it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

One or more of the following Psalms are sung or said. Other suitable
selections may be substituted.

Psalm 31  In te, Domine, speravi

  1. In you, O LORD, have I taken refuge;
    let me never be put to shame: *
    deliver me in your righteousness.
  2. Incline your ear to me; *
    make haste to deliver me.
  3. Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe,
    for you are my crag and my stronghold; *
    for the sake of your Name, lead me and guide me.
  4. Take me out of the net that they have secretly set for me, *
    for you are my tower of strength.
  5. Into your hands I commend my spirit, *
    for you have redeemed me,
    O LORD, O God of truth.
At the end of the Psalms is sung or said

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

One of the following, or some other suitable passage of Scripture, is read

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will
give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me;
for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for
your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30

People Thanks be to God.
A hymn suitable for the evening may be sung.
Then follows

V.    Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit;
R.    For you have redeemed me, O Lord, O God of truth.
V.    Keep us, O Lord, as the apple of your eye;
R.    Hide us under the shadow of your wings.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Officiant and People

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.


Officiant Lord, hear our prayer;
People And let our cry come to you.
Officiant Let us pray.

The Officiant then says one of the following Collects

Be our light in the darkness, O Lord, and in your great mercy
defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the
love of your only Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the hours
of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and
chances of this life may rest in your eternal changelessness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Look down, O Lord, from your heavenly throne, and
illumine this night with your celestial brightness; that by
night as by day your people may glorify your holy Name;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Visit this place, O Lord, and drive far from it all snares of the
enemy; let your holy angels dwell with us to preserve us in
peace; and let your blessing be upon us always; through Jesus
Christ our Lord. Amen.

One of the following prayers may be added

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or
weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who
sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless
the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the
joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.

or this

O God, your unfailing providence sustains the world we live
in and the life we live: Watch over those, both night and day,
who work while others sleep, and grant that we may never
forget that our common life depends upon each other’s toil;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Silence may be kept, and free intercessions and thanksgivings may be
offered.

The service concludes with the Song of Simeon with this Antiphon, which
is sung or said by all

Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping; that awake
we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.

Lord, you now have set your servant free *
to go in peace as you have promised;

For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior, *
whom you have prepared for all the world to see:

A Light to enlighten the nations, *
and the glory of your people Israel.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

All repeat the Antiphon

Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping; that awake
we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.

Officiant Let us bless the Lord.
People Thanks be to God.

The Officiant concludes

The almighty and merciful Lord, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
bless us and keep us. Amen.

Father Mark, Reflections

Duh!  Why didn’t I think of that?

Blessings on Annunciation Day, the day Gabriel visited Mary with the Good News and Mary said, “Yes!”

I was walking on my alternate C-19 Route this morning and it “dawned” on me, on this special day, let’s enact Gabriel’s visit to Mary by a visitation to the homes of our members.  So as I passed the Ward’s, Clark’s, McVea’s, Bullock’s, Robbin’s, and Wallace’s on my walk, I stopped and pronounced a blessing upon them.

Our Book of Occasional Services has a prayer in the Blessing of a Home which I believe is most appropriate for us at this time: 

Visit, O blessed Lord, this home with the gladness of your presence. Bless all who live here with the gift of your love; and grant that they may manifest your love [to each other and] to all whose lives they touch. May they grow in grace and in the knowledge and love of you; guide, comfort, and strengthen them; and preserve them in peace, O Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen

Perhaps this prayer might be a benefit to say together with your family or friends on the phone.

This morning and afternoon I will be walking through town and stopping on your sidewalk to offer this prayer and a blessing to you.  For those of you further away, I will either drive out or pray the prayer for you from the church.  This may take me a couple of days.

This is a good time to reflect on the above title of this journal entry.  I didn’t think of this idea.  It was revealed to me.  Another way of defining what prayer is that we spend our time emptying our mind of the “stuff” that keeps us from hearing the still small Voice (I Kings 17) attempting to reach us.  My thinking isn’t transformational.  God’s Voice is.   The best my thinking can do (on a good day) is to remember the past history of Divine Wisdom imparted in God’s revelations and attempt to align my thoughts with them.  Every day we make hundreds of choices automatically, sometimes without reflecting on the source of the criteria by which we make these choices.  Ideally, we can receive fresh revelations which are more finely honed to meet the new situations of the present day.  We never know when Gabriel or Michael, Raphael, Uriel (the Archangels), or the Holy Spirit will stop by for a visit to birth the Word in us anew.

Father Mark, Reflections

A Leisurely Ride

I remember my younger years.  We’d pile up into the car and go for a Sunday afternoon drive in the country.  We might stop by an A&W Root Beer stand while we ventured into the country to see what mysteries we could find.

5-theballadofjedclampett

It’s Wildflower Season in Texas and if there isn’t anything more telling of creation’s beauty it’s a field of Bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrush, Indian Blanket, Mugwort and other beauties for the eye to behold.  Children can count up how many kinds of flowers they see, look them up and for the really adventurous who want to practice their math skills, try counting the number of blooms on a flower.  For older children, have them count the blooms on three different flowers and then have them divide by three to find out the mean, or average number of blooms on a flower.

What we focus on has much to do with the creation of our mood.  The stimulation of something live with color and form does much to refresh us.

The psalmist on one of his more sensual days said, “taste the Lord, for he is good.”

But don’t eat the flower!

News

Fr. Mark and Kathy are…

Greetings brothers and sisters in the Spirit.

It’s been a little over a week now since we’ve been creating holy space between C-19 and ourselves.(I am tired of writing “COVID”).  One of the spiritual mysteries is that we can be connected to one another even though we’re not physically visible to one another.  Spend a moment and close your eyes and recall a special time with a special person.  In the world of the Spirit we are not time-space bound.  Relive the memories and allow them to nourish you.
Kathy and I spend time discussing C-19 from the research (not the news) we read.  We may discuss it 3 or four times a day for a few minutes but limit it to this.  We try to focus on what we want instead of what we don’t want.  So what else are we doing?
Work wise, I have been researching the C-19 and our response to it.  I have been working with our new technology committee ( Vanese Blackmar, Kelly Allen, Paige Johnson and Lindsey Wallace) who are coming up with ways to offer spiritual food and maintain connections over the internet.  I know enough tech to get by and so I’m learning new skills at something that does not come natural to me.  I am also making phone call contacts and will continue to do so.
As far as family life, this is what Kathy and I are doing, realizing that these areas can overlap:
Spiritually
Kathy is off work this month and this gives her more time for spiritual reading and meditation.  I have been taking advantage of the silence to practice the stillness of contemplative prayer and have been reading Biblical word studies to enrich my understanding of the scriptures.   Sometimes I sit still, scan my body for tension and then let it go.
Mentally
Kathy and I have had more time to visit with each other over the last week than since our last vacation.  We speak of memories, people, spiritual experiences,, what we’re learning and sharing moments when we become restless.  We spend some time apart in different rooms for personal space is important to both of us (I recommend it to you and this is a time to teach your children and grandchildren about learning to spend time alone).  We experience time alone not as isolation but as solitude, which is a positive experience.  I am reading more spiritual and mental health articles and books along with some history. which I never get enough time to read.  I am calling my children and my brother and have reached out to a few old friends. .
Physically
Kathy and I have a little more time to think creatively about what we want to cook rather than the usual of hurriedly throwing something together.  We’re savoring what we eat and its goodness, especially since we have more time to prepare it.
Exercise is a challenge for me because I was dependent on the gym.  Kathy and I walk in Patton Park and I am trying to figure out how to transfer exercise from free weights and machines to other methods.  Kathy has had more time for her yoga, exercising and stationary bicycle riding.  If the weather changes, I plan to ride around and photograph a few wildflowers.  I enjoy sitting and resting with no TV or radio and we’re watching a few old movies we like on DVD.
We’re looking into expanding our time into other ventures.  What are y’all doing during this time of what I see as a prolonged retreat?  Let us here from you!
To everything there is a time and season under heaven, (Ecclesiastes),
Fr. Mark and Kathy