it gets better at BYU

This brought tears to my eyes and gave me chills. Thanks to Joanna Brooks at Religion Dispatches.

Sacred Music Friday: Hail Thee Festival Day

Easter 2009 at St. John’s, Detroit


I don’t generally look to the Writer’s Almanac as a source of spiritual insight, but I have to say that this got my attention. Particularly these days as I have been focusing on developing and practicing patience.

Every day I want to speak with you. And every day something more important
calls for my attention—the drugstore, the beauty products, the luggage

I need to buy for the trip.
Even now I can hardly sit here

among the falling piles of paper and clothing, the garbage trucks outside
already screeching and banging.

The mystics say you are as close as my own breath.
Why do I flee from you?

My days and nights pour through me like complaints
and become a story I forgot to tell.

Help me. Even as I write these words I am planning
to rise from the chair as soon as I finish this sentence.

—“Prayer” by Marie Howe, from The Kingdom of Ordinary Time. © W. W. Norton & Company, 2008.

a word usage quibble

I was delighted when the trail along the flood control canal opened several months ago. It really makes my walks much more enjoyable. But the first thing I noticed was this sign on the gate to the portion of the trail that goes under the street.

There is nothing wrong with the sign grammatically. But there is a usage problem here. “Closed for flooding,” implies that the flooding is being done deliberately. It’s not. The gate is there to be closed when heavy rains make that portion unsafe for walking. (Didn’t happen this year!) It should say, “Closed due to flooding,” which suggests what is really intended here.

I’m being picky, yes. But I’m just sayin’….

living with?

Our hair stylist was telling us that a friend of her daughter’s took the daughter by surprise when he asked, “Do you live with your mom or your dad?” She lives with both, but it’s a legitimate question these days.

When I first started attending St. John’s I reflected on how many two-parent families there were there. It says something that I even had that thought.

It’s a very different world from the one I grew up in.

my Holy Week and Easter experience

I did better this year. Of course it didn’t take much for me to have done better than last year. Last year I missed Palm/Passion Sunday and didn’t make it to a single Holy Week service. This year I was there for Palm/Passion Sunday, and made it to the Good Friday service as well. Not that I feel I deserve a pat of the back. It’s part of what I owe myself given the spiritual path I have chosen. And having done those services made Easter all the more meaningful.

Still, I felt distracted this year. I’m rarely pleased with my Lenten discipline, and this year was no exception. What came to mind for me this year were the words from W.H. Auden’s For the Time Being, his Christmas oratorio. While the words are meant to apply to Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, somehow this year they spoke to my experience of Lent, Holy Week, and Easter.

Once again
As in previous years we have seen the actual Vision and failed
To do more than entertain it as an agreeable
Possibility, once again we have sent Him away,
Begging though to remain His disobedient servant,
The promising child who cannot keep His word for long.

But I don’t want to be sour. It is Easter. The service yesterday was marvelous and the music superb. So let me get myself into the spirit of the season:

The Lord is risen!

He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Good Friday meditation

I was going to forego my blog for Good Friday, but somehow this seemed appropriate for this day. I remember it very clearly from my childhood. It was on the Phil Harris LP in my dad’s collection.

starting small

My Lenten reading has included a wonderful series on the Psalms by Barbara Crafton, presented by the good folks over at Spirituality and Practice. I loved this comment, which I know to be true, but tend to forget. Nice, too, because it reinforces what I’ve been reading in Patience: The Art of Peaceful Living:

In spiritual direction, I often recommend against taking on too much in the way of new spiritual practice; it’s better to start small and grow than it is to start big and shrink. I know this because I have bitten off more than I could chew so many times, and then been discouraged when I fell short. Most spiritual growth is incremental, not sudden. Most of it happens bit by bit, over time.

Atwood on Christianity

Interesting comment on Christianity by Margaret Atwood on Bill Moyers’ On Faith & Reason. This is not verbatim, but she says:

All we can say about Christianity is that

  • it has something to do with a man called Jesus of Nazareth
  • it has something to do with the writings of the New Testament

Beyond that there is too much variation to say anything more.

Something most of us forget most of the time.

mobile store?

Best Buy announced last week that they were closing 50 of their big box stores and opening a number of neighborhood Best Buy mobile stores. I thought that was interesting – I guess they would be in a big van and the store could be in a different part of town each day.

Then I read further. These stores will specialize in cell phones, smart phones, and tablets.

Oh, the stores will sell mobile products, not be mobile.

To quote Miss Emily Litella, “Oh, that’s very different. Never mind.”