Friday, August 31, 2018

Friday (St Aidan)

  • Usual weekday AM routine. Morning Prayer in the cathedral.
  • Got to work on my homily for Proper 19 (September 16 at St Mary's, Robinson), taking it from "developed outline" to "rough draft."
  • Left a voicemail with the rector of a parish I am visiting soon.
  • Took a brief walk around the half-block.
  • Attended to a bit of prep for the November clergy conference.
  • Investigated a new platform from international fund transfer, which our companion diocese relationships require us to do from time to time.
  • Lunch from KFC, eaten at home.
  • Friday prayer: Ignatian meditation on the passage from John 6 appointed for today in the daily office lectionary.
  • Drafted my regular "column" for the next edition of the Springfield Current. How this works is that I post what I write on the diocesan website, and Paige harvests it for the print product at the appropriate time.
  • Did some internet sleuthing on a piece of liturgical minutia, but toward a worthy end.
  • Cranked out #13 (of an eventual 30) in the set of lectionary meditations I'm doing for Forward Day by Day.
  • Evening Prayer (short form) at home, to which I was summoned a bit earlier than planned for some emergent personal business.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Thursday (Charles Chapman Grafton)

  • Customary Thursday treadmill workout to start the day.
  • Morning Prayer in the car while driving to the office.
  • Conferred with the Communications Coordinator over an ongoing issue.
  • Attended to a couple of requests for aid from the Bishop's Discretionary Fund.
  • Responded by email to some pastoral/liturgical/administrative questions (yes, all three of those things can kind of run together) from a presbyter of the diocese.
  • Three more emails to three more people over three most pastoral-administrative concerns.
  • Got to work taking my Proper 18 homily from "developed outline" to "rough draft." This is for September 9 at Trinity, Yazoo City, MS, my DEPO parish.
  • Lunch at home. Leftovers.
  • Continued work on the sermon text and brought it to its desired state.
  • Attended for a while to the Christian formation project I made reference to yesterday.
  • Did a whole bunch of scanning, cataloguing, and tagging of hard copy items.
  • Caught up with the Archdeacon on some things.
  • Evening Prayer in the car on the way home.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Wednesday (Beheading of St John the Baptist)

  • Usual weekday AM routine, Morning Prayer in the cathedral.
  • Caught up with the Archdeacon on several things. (We hadn't seen each other since Saturday).
  • Conceived, hatched, and delivered another lectionary reflection for Forward Day by Day (appearing in November 2019), the twelfth of thirty.
  • Began to read through the collection of Mission Strategy Reports submitted by our parishes in June.
  • Met with a priest of the diocese, covering a range of issues from vocational discernment to diocesan program.
  • Lunch from Taco Gringo, eaten at home.
  • Kept an appointment with my dental hygienist.
  • Devoted the rest of the day to finishing the mission strategy reports. 
  • Evening Prayer in the cathedral.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Tuesday (St Augustine of Hippo)

  • Task planning at home. Morning Prayer in the cathedral.
  • Prepared to preside and preach at the regular 1215 liturgy in the cathedral chapel.
  • Refined, edited, printed, and scheduled for posting the working text of my homily for this Sunday (St Andrew's, Edwardsville).
  • Drafted and sent an Ad Clerum letter to the clergy of the diocese.
  • Celebrated the midday Eucharist with a congregation of eight, keeping the lesser feast of St Augustine of Hippo.
  • Lunch from McD's, eaten at home.
  • Hand-wrote greetings to clergy and spouses with September birthdays and anniversaries.
  • Ran home briefly for a quick bit of personal business.
  • Worked on a major "Quadrant II" (something is not not urgent, but yet important) project having to do with seeing Christian formation, at every level, in a different way.
  • Evening Prayer in the cathedral.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Lord's Day (XIV Pentecost)

It was kind of a leisurely start to the day at the Hampton Inn, Carbondale, as the liturgy at St Andrew's wasn't until 1000. Brenda and I enjoyed breakfast at the IHOP and then had to just hang out in the church parking lot for a bit waiting for folks to arrive. It was, as nearly always, a splendid time of worship. There are a lot of good things happening at St Andrew's, even in the midst of Carbondale and SIU being in a season of angst. We confirmed a remarkable young man, an SIU freshman, son of a faculty member. Brenda and I were back on the road northbound at 12:50, and arrived home around 4:00, having stopped for lunch in Nashville.

Sermon for Proper 16

St Andrew's, Carbondale--John 6:56-69, Ephesians 6:10-20, Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18

(Usually I preach from a full manuscript. Occasionally I don't. Today was one of those occasions, so what you see here is my own working outline.)
  • After the long wilderness discourse … “breadapalooza” of the last three Sundays (3 different preachers in 3 different churches mentioned the marathon), now in the synagogue in Capernaum … Jesus names himself as the revelation of God (“As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me … will live because of me.”)
  • “This is a hard saying,” the disciples (the “crowd,” actually) complain … colors too far outside the lines of Jewish orthodoxy … many withdraw … approval ratings tank, audience share crashes.
  • Jesus to the 12: “Do you also wish to go away?”
  • Peter to Jesus: “To whom shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life.” In effect, Where else would we go. You are the revelation of God.
  • Foreshadowed in the Sinai wilderness (Israel poised to follow Joshua into the Promised Land). Joshua’s “pep talk” challenge, “Choose this day whom you will serve” parallels ‘Are you going to ditch me too?’; and the response, ‘We will serve the Lord, for he is our God’ parallels Peter’s response, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’
  • Active & faithful Christians in our culture are seen more and more as coloring outside the lines … not only no longer the definition of mainstream, but not even a neutral or harmless; rather the proclamation of the gospel in word or deed is seen increasingly as offense, as “hate speech,” and threatening to the social order.
  • Society says, “I have a right to be whatever I want to be and do whatever I want to do. I feel, therefore I am. I own my body and am sovereign over it.” The gospel says, “I am marked as Christ’s own forever. I belong to him as my Savior and Lord—body, soul, and spirit. I have been bought with a price. My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.”
  • Society says, “You only live once. So get what you can while you can. Seize the day!” The gospel says, “Serve others. Love others, even your enemy.”
  • So, many, as we know, are leaving the church behind! (which is, of course, to leave Jesus behind) How then shall we live? We’re caught in a vise between the expectations of the world around us, and our identity and commitment as followers of Jesus.
  • The good news today is that Jesus ensures that we are well-equipped to meet the challenge of choosing him (Paul to the Ephesians: the whole armor of God).
  • It’s not just “flesh and blood” that we’re up against, but “spiritual forces of wickedness” (that rebel against God) -- they’re real, though usually disguised quite cleverly)
  • Picture the soldier on the Roman Meal bread package (if you can remember it!):
  • Belt of truth—notice, not the sword or club of truth; it holds us together (keeps us centered, focused), not a weapon
  • Breastplate of righteousness—not self-righteousness, not a license to be judgmental or feel superior to others who are unrighteous or less righteous; rather, an invitation to self-forgetfulness
  • Shoes of the gospel of peace—reconciliation is our business, not conflict. Our objective is not to conquer anyone or “win” anything. (N.B. catechism on the mission of the Church)
  • Shield of faith—active (disciplined, well-fed) faith protects us against those “spiritual forces”
  • Helmet of salvation—wholeness, health (salus)
  • Sword of the Spirit—yes, a weapon, but one we do not wield!
  • And so we keep on keeping on, faithful to our duty as disciples of Jesus—even in challenging times—as he is faithful to us.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Saturday (St Louis)

  • Up and out of the house at a usual weekday hour. Morning Prayer in the cathedral.
  • Prepped for the Diocesan Council Mass at 1000. Greeted Council members as they arrived.
  • Presided and preached at the celebration of the Mass commemorating the lesser feast of St Louis IX, King of France.
  • Presided over the regular August meeting of the Diocesan Council. The big accomplishment was the approval of a draft 2019 operating budget to be presented to synod.
  • Held a couple of impromptu post-meeting consultations.
  • Home for a lunch of leftovers, and some personal business to attend to.
  • Hit the road southbound with Brenda at 3pm. 168 miles and 2:45 later we were at the home of some parishioners of St Andrew’s, Carbondale for a regular social event of the parish. My visitation tomorrow is there.

Friday, August 24, 2018

St Bartholomew

  • Usual weekday AM routine. Morning Prayer in the cathedral.
  • Made a first prayerful pass at the readings for October 23. Normally, this would have been the ones for Proper 24. But I will be at St Luke's, Springfield on that day, the Sunday following St Luke's Day. So we will be observing their feast of title.
  • Inspected the inside of the diocesan garage. (Did you know we have a diocesan garage?) It's been on my to-do list for a while, so I finally did it. There certainly is an abundance of redundant and derelict yard care equipment there. It needs to be culled. I made some plans.
  • Met with the Dean over the proverbial "range of issues." And it was quite a range.
  • Read a letter that was waiting for me when I got back from vacation. It was not exactly a piece of fan mail. It's a good thing I have pretty thick skin, and decades of experience in ministry wherein people misunderstand me, project onto me all sorts of things I don't actually think and feel, and generally disabuse me of any illusion that I am universally liked and admired. I responded, trying to defer to the emotional parameters of my relationship with my correspondent and also speak authentically and truthfully. It was a balancing act, in which I may or may not have succeeded.
  • Attended Mass for the feast day in the cathedral chapel.
  • Lunch at home. Leftovers.
  • Found myself in the unenviable situation of trying to change two existing airline reservations. Under the current dispensation, they don't make it easy, and the gouge. Because they can. There's no use even getting angry about it. In the end, the job got done, but there were agonizing decisions to make, and it consumed an inordinate amount of time.
  • Communicated by email with a person in the ordination process about necessary educational plans.
  • Spent time with my homily for Proper 19 (September 16 at St Mary's, Robinson), taking it from "message statement" to the "developed outline" stage.
  • Prayer the Luminous Mysteries of the rosary.
  • Evening Prayer in the cathedral.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Thursday

  • Task planning and blog perusing over breakfast.
  • At 0830, still at home, joined a scheduled conference call meeting of the board of the Society of King Charles the Martyr. Such meetings are a great opportunity for multi-tasking. While attending to the meeting with my ears and voice, my eyes and fingers processed a draft agreement between one of our Eucharistic Communities that will be sharing worship, ministry, and mission (and a pastor) with an ELCA congregation that has sold its building. Also emailed my regrets about a meeting of Province V bishops that I will not be able to attend.
  • Headed to the office around 1000, but waylaid in the parking lot by an extended phone conversation with a priest of the diocese.
  • Checked in briefly with the Archdeacon and the Administrator.
  • Drafted an initial publicity flyer for the November diocesan clergy conference.
  • Began a task related to prepping for said conference.
  • Lunch from China 1, eaten at home.
  • Attended to a piece of personal business at home, and ran a short errand, before returning to the office.
  • Finished the clergy conference task I had begun before lunch,
  • Sat with my notes for Proper 19 (September 16 at St Mary's, Robinson) until they yielded a homiletical message statement for the occasion.
  • Composed and sent an email, in Spanish, to the Bishop of Peru.
  • Wrote the twelfth of an eventual thirty 220-word lectionary meditations that will appear in Forward Day by Day in November of next year.
  • Evening Prayer in the cathedral.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Wednesday

  • Task planning and blog reading over breakfast.
  • Morning Prayer in the cathedral.
  • Attended to some business pertaining to my membership on the diocesan Board of Trustees, which oversees the invested funds of the diocese.
  • Sent an email aimed toward re-homing an electronic organ from one of our closed churches that has been sitting in my home not getting used. Hoping to prevent it ending up in the landfill.
  • Substantive pastoral phone conversation with one of our clergy who is undergoing a quite serious personal crisis. 
  • Took care of some administrative issues pertaining to one of our seminarians and arranged for funds from my discretionary account to assist some of our clergy in attending a conference.
  • Worked on my homily for Proper 18, to be delivered on September 9 at my DEPO parish in Yazoo City, MS. Brought it from the "message statement" stage to a "developed outline."
  • Lunch from Wing Stop (a recent discovery), eaten at home.
  • Had an appointment with my psychotherapist. Healthy mind, integrated feelings ... you know the drill.
  • Met with the Communications Coordinator, inching toward a replacement for Gnosis, our cumbersome database system. More than "inching," actually. There's been some good progress.
  • Attended to an ongoing and somewhat vexatious pastoral-administrative quagmire (that's how I experience it, at any rate) in one of our Eucharistic Communities.
  • Worked on my homily for Proper 17 (September 2 at St Andrew's, Edwardsville), reworking a text from the same occasion several years ago for redeployment this year. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn't.
  • Read and filed an unsolicited résumé from an ordinand in another diocese.
  • Responded by email to a letter from a couple of communcants in the diocese taking me to task for something I wrote. I hope they found my reply conciliatory. That's how I meant it.
  • Evening Prayer in the cathedral.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Tuesday

Back in the saddle. My vacation was, by any measure, a "success," in that I got sufficient mental and emotional distance from my ordinary work that I can return to it with energy and clarity, and a good bit of eagerness. The first day back, of course, was spent mostly catching up--catching up with the various hard-copy items that had accumulated on my desk, catching up on a stack of emails that had frown as a wasn't monitoring my diocesan account, and catching up with the Archdeacon on the usual "range of issues." I did also manage to refine and print the working text for my homily this Sunday, at St Andrew's, Carbondale. Morning and Evening Prayer in the cathedral, lunch at home. Three cheers for "normal."