Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Getting ready

It's almost Christmas, and the Saintly household is almost ready. Not that we will actually be ready, but Christmas comes anyway.

Saint Pat and Molly wish you a Merry Christmas

The Saintly social secretary does, too

And Shamu (AKA Elvis) says, "Peace on Earth, Baby!"

We should have an interesting Christmas. More to come ...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

When a cat and a dog meet: forbidden love

He walked into the house. Their eyes locked, then so did their lips. It was love at first sight.

That was more than five years ago, and they're still in love — Jack the Brat cat and Molly McGuire, the Best Dog in the Whole Wide World.

She was an older woman who cared for the injured young cat, like in a Hemingway story. He vowed to stay by her side forever.

His kin sniffed at the relationship. Her kin would have liked to have him for breakfast. Society frowned. The church refused to bless their union.

Yet, here they are, still together, after all these years. They are a bit older now. Molly's face has grown whiter. Jack is entering middle age.

Their love remains steadfast.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


"What? Are you talkin' to me???"

Jack the Brat

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

St. Matthew tells it like it is

You go, Matthew.

That's one saint who sometimes went on a rip.

The hypocrisy Matthew talked about is still alive today. Shockingly, some can even be found in pulpits. Yes. Our parish is fortunate that the poor matter, and not just the people who can make the big contributions.

For, it's not the tithe or the gold or the check that's brought to the altar that is holy. Those things are not to be worshipped. It is God, who inhabits the sanctuary, who is holy. He will sanctify us and our offerings.

Meanwhile, we strain out a gnat, but swallow a camel. Yes, our priorities are skewed.

Hypocrisy is alive and well these 2,000 years later. I see it on the dais at city council meetings - the council member who delights in telling the audience how he is there for "the people," but treats people badly and makes it nearly impossible for them to contact him with their cares and concerns.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Here's today's reading from the Gospel of Matthew:

Matt. 23:13-26 (NRSV)

13 'But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them 15Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cross sea and land to make a single convert, and you make the new convert twice as much a child of hell as yourselves 16'Woe to you, blind guides, who say, "Whoever swears by the sanctuary is bound by nothing, but whoever swears by the gold of the sanctuary is bound by the oath."

17You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the sanctuary that has made the gold sacred? 18And you say, "Whoever swears by the altar is bound by nothing, but whoever swears by the gift that is on the altar is bound by the oath." 19How blind you are! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred?

20So whoever swears by the altar, swears by it and by everything on it; 21and whoever swears by the sanctuary, swears by it and by the one who dwells in it; 22and whoever swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by the one who is seated upon it.

23'Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. 24You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!

25'Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may become clean.

The Word of the Lord.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Waiting in faith

Yesterday, I lit the second Advent candle.

This is another version of "O Come Emmanuel," with some beautiful art to remind us of the magnitude of the promise.

My soul sings; my soul waits in silence

Yes, my soul does both in the span of a day.

Zeph. 3:14

Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem!

Canticle 15 The Song of Mary
Magnificat Luke 1:46-55

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, *
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.

From Psalm 62 Nonne Deo

1 For God alone my soul in silence waits; *
from him comes my salvation.

2 He alone is my rock and my salvation, *
my stronghold, so that I shall not be greatly shaken.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Christmas parade

It's the annual small-town spectacle of tradition: the Christmas parade. Molly (AKA Betsy, the Best Dog in the Whole Wide World) and Saint Pat were ready for it.

Saint Pat and Molly: ready to roll

Molly loves parades - especially being in them, but she likes the spectacle in any manner in which she can participate.

We met Mr. T at his office, and fortified with a shot of expresso fortified with antifreeze to ward off the unusual chill, headed to the Boulevard.

Mr. T heart Molly, too

You won't see huge balloon-animals or hundred-thousand dollar floats. It's no Macy's parade. Instead, you see kids, kids, kids - school groups, bands, gymnastics classes, ROTC, you name it.. And politicians. And church and civic groups. Veterans. Animal groups. Dance groups. Just about anybody with a pickup truck and a flatbed. Or a big convertible.
It's a lot of fun.

Kids and manger scenes:

The middle-school band

One float featured the barking dog version of "Jingle Bells." Molly woofed along with it. She also barked at every dog she saw. She got loose one time, and ran out into the parade. The spectators weren't good disciplinarians — they applauded her.
Molly had a great time. So did we.

The Christmas holiday season now has begun officially.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Waiting ... o please come, o Lord

Here's an interesting version of my favorite piece of Advent music.

From this morning's Daily Office reading, Amos 5:

For thus says the LORD to the house of Israel: Seek me and live ... The one who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning, and darkens the day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea, and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the LORD is his name ... Seek good and not evil, that you may live; and so the LORD, the God of hosts, will be with you, just as you have said. Hate evil and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the LORD, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

I know you, oh Lord who made the Peiades and Orion. I wait for you with joy building in my heart and hope fluttering like a bird in my soul. I know you will be gracious, o lover of souls.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Giving thanks for the Earth, and mending our ways?

From today's morning prayers, a reminder that the Earth belongs to God — all of it, from the seas to the deep caverns of the earth.

We're gonna have some 'splaining to do about the way we're treating the Divine Real Estate, I think. Can we mend our ways?

And let's give thanks for his goodness and mercy:

Venite Psalm 95:1-7

Come let us sing to the Lord; *
let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.

Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving *
and raise a loud shout to him with psalms.

For the Lord is a great God, *
and a great King above all gods.

In his hand are the caverns of the earth, *
and the heights of the hills are his also.

The sea is his, for he made it, *
and his hands have molded the dry land.

Come, let us bow down, and bend the knee, *
and kneel before the Lord our Maker.

For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand. *
Oh, that today you would hearken to his voice!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Midnight music

"I want a shot at redemption."

Paul Simon