doing what’s important

A couple of years ago on the first Sunday of Advent, St. John’s rearranged its Sunday services. The 8:00 a.m. Rite I Holy Eucharist was waferdiscontinued, the 10:30 a.m. Rite II Choral Eucharist moved to 9:00, and the 9:00 family service moved to 10:30. It’s much easier to get responsible adults without children to show up at 9:00 than it is to corral the kids and get them out of the house and into the car for church at that hour. I’m sure I’ve groused about that change here before. When previously I could sleep in on Sunday and attend the Choral Eucharist, I now have to choose. But really, if doing what is important means a little inconvenience, well what do I have to complain about?

Even in the summer when we don’t have the choir and the procession isn’t much of a procession, the Holy Communion portion of the service is unchanged. And you know how important Communion is to me.

My friend Fran posted this on Facebook this quite some time ago:

People often ask me why I go to church. There are many reasons, but let me tell you this – I can go to confession all I want, I can “wash my hands” all I want – I still show up kind and typically I am kind of a mess. It would seem that God asks us to show up, with open hearts, open hands. I pray to be willing. Sometimes I am, sometimes not so much. I keep trying… lather rinse repeat. If I think I can clean myself up for God, I am kidding myself. God does all the heavy lifting, all the major clean up. And if we can’t go and be a part of it, because so much of it happens when we are all together, then what? Then what?

Fran is Catholic. I am Episcopalian. Yet we share many values in common, and we both value Communion greatly.

It doesn’t hurt me to get up a little bit early on a Sunday.


Sacred Music Friday: Holy, Holy, Holy

Mormon Tabernacle Choir


when you stand beside the ocean (or the power of associative memory)

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

—Lee Ann Womack, “I Hope You Dance”

One of the blogs I have in my RSS newsreader is Velveteen Rabbi, written by Rachel Barenblat. Last week she had a blog about the mikvah, which is NewBrightona pool or body of water used in the Jewish ritual of purification. That made me think of my days in Oklahoma City in the early 1980’s, when I was attending Friday even Shabbat services at the reform synagogue there. One service included a conversion ritual for a young man who, the rabbi said, had begun at the mikvah in Tulsa. That caused me to remember that the thing I disliked most about being on Oklahoma was having no access to the ocean. It made me think about how deeply grateful I am that Terry and I are less than an hour from the ocean here in Gilroy.

We don’t get there enough, I know, but it is there. And I can be there, feel the salt air, see and hear the crashing breakers, and yes, feel small, but know that there is much goodness and beauty in my life.


if Shakespeare had written Star Wars

I don’t normally duplicate what I’ve posted to Facebook here, but a number of my blog readers are not friends on Facebook, and this is too good not to share widely. So to my Facebook friends, I apologize for the duplication.

starwarsThere’s a new book out called William Shakespeare’s Star Wars. The author has taken the original movie, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, and written the story in Elizabethan English using iambic pentameter.

A segment from the NPR radio program Here and Now interviews the author and the staff of the show reads excerpts from the book. If you are a Star Wars fan, one who appreciates Shakespeare, or both, you will love this.

This absolutely begs for an audio version. I hope one gets produced soon, but with different voices for each character, not a single reader for the entire book, as most audio books are done today.


supporting the new folks

There is a small building on First Street here in Gilroy that has housed a number of different eateries in the sixteen years we’ve been here. It’s been Mexican in a number of different iterations and it has been Filipino. Most famously for Terry and me, and most missed, it was for a short while El Rincon, which served marvelous, though not inexpensive, gourmet Mexican food. Most recently it was Mexican food catering to a Spanish-speaking clientele. That closed not too lond ago, and signs went up saying it would be a burger place.

We noticed it was open the other day, so Terry and I had lunch there on Friday. The signage has a red and white checkerboard motif, suspiciously reminiscent of Five Guys, though their menu in nothing like that of that chain. It’s run by a man and woman, whom I took to be husband and wife. The woman took care of the cash register and the man was in the back cooking. As far as we know, they just opened their doors with no real crinklefriesadvertising, but there was a line when we got there and people kept coming in while we were there.

They did manage to mess up Terry’s order. She ordered the chicken fried steak burger with no veggies, and it arrived with all of the produce. But they quickly corrected that error, and Terry loved the seasoning in the breading. I had an Ortega burger that was excellent, and we both loved the crinkle fries, which neither of us had seen for a while.

We’ll be back. Which is not to say that we’re going to abandon Cafe 152 Burger Co. It has a different taste and ambience, and we love how the owner wanders the floor and chats with customers to make sure everything is OK. We also appreciate the fact that he creates jobs and gives disadvantaged young people the opportunity to learn skills in the working world.

It’s good to have the variety.


Trayvon (or we who believe in freedom)

Thanks to Jane Redmont for the song in this context, and to Barbara Sagat-Stover for this marvelous rendition.


Sacred Music Friday: Let all the World

Saint Paul Cathedral Choir, Let all the World