O Little Town

Not all saints inhabit distant antiquity.  For Episcopalians, today is the Feast Day of Phillips Brooks, Priest, Bishop, Homilist and Hymnist.  Brooks belongs to the 19th century, 1835-1893, a period of sustained turbulence for mainline American Protestantism.  He was born a Boston blueblood; his great grandfather opened uber-crusty Phillips Academy,

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Paraclete

Elemental.  Raw.  Energetic.  God’s dynamic, energizing, and powerful presence, personal and palpable, whom scripture most often refers to as the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God or simply the Spirit.  We explored a bit of the Spirit in the closing days of Eastertide, available here and also here, but let’s

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One Solitary life

Doctor James Allen Francis (1864-1928) penned perhaps the greatest summation of Jesus’ life in several hundred years.  Allen was born one hundred years before me in Nova Scotia, called to the pastorate at 21 years old (I like him already!).  He served New York’s famous Riverside Baptist Church and other

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Let Me Be Clear

Oh, gwwaaaddd…if I had a dime for every time in the last six months we’ve heard that statement from a slightly frowning, forehead creased in earnest yet empathetic head-slightly-cocked leaning forward politician, we’d be rich!  I note that what usually follows that declarative introduction is precisely obverse from its stated

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Of Apples and Eyes

So there I was (this is how we start personal stories in our family) just after a very fun Christmas.  For reasons beyond the scope of this devotional space, I was full tilt towards a Personal Pity Party.  You know the PPP refrain…I’m not important to anyone, no one puts

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Rough Hewn

Today is the Feast Day of the Confession of Saint Peter, another of the significant saints’ days in the Incarnation cycle.  While Peter and Paul are traditionally celebrated together on June 29th, (and Paul’s Conversion is coming up in a week’s time) each receive their own moment of aligning with

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HIN-NE-NI

הִנֵּֽנִי׃ in Hebrew (pronounced Hin-NEIGH-nee), one of the most impactful responses in scripture.  Here I am.  The root appears 318 times in the bible, this compound response about 30 times.  In variant forms Abraham, Moses, Samuel (today’s Old Testament reading), Isaiah, Jeremiah, Jonah, Amos and perhaps Elijah are just a

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More Magi…

Once again I am enjoying daily readings from Robert Wright’s excellent Daily Office Readings from the Early Church.  I especially appreciate how different, and how erudite, the early church mothers and fathers were in explicating Christian faith to the world.  Without them our faith would not have translated across centuries,

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Brightest

A second beloved Epiphany hymn once again hails from 19th century England…boy were they busy composing hymns then!!  Anglican priest and bishop Reginald Heber composed Brightest and Best Are the Sons of the Morning in 1811 for his parish in Shropshire, England.  The familiar tune did not come around until

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Epiphanytide Decorations

A more personal reflection today dear readers….since I have been living in an extended household situation, I have more flexibility to decorate your parish rectory more seasonally.  Empty nesting seems to mean I notice more and smaller things more readily than I did previously!  To my mind church seasons give

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