I once lived next door to a young couple who loved to collect old furniture. On Saturdays and Sundays they would often set out for local flea markets, searching for bargains. When they returned home, they would unload their purchases, which invariably appeared to me to be pieces of junk, hardly worth even the little they had paid for them. But then they’d set to work: stripping and sanding the wood, reattaching broken pieces, realigning drawers, tightening joints, and finally painting or staining the surfaces. The results were breathtaking. Pieces of furniture that only days before had appeared to be battered, worthless pieces of junk now stood proudly in their appointed places, looking every bit as beautiful as the day they were made. Continue reading
Today is the Eve of the Feast Day of St. Mary, mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. This monastic church is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and tomorrow, August 15, is the 75th anniversary of that dedication. So a great cause for thanksgiving.
You may not have ever looked behind the organ, but there, on the wall, is a very large and splendid plaque with these words: “To the glory of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In veneration of our Lady St. Mary the Blessed Mother of God, this conventual church of the Society of St. John the Evangelist was built in the year of Our Lord, 1936.”
In England, there are so many churches dedicated to Mary, and in the Middle Ages, England was known as “Mary’s dowry.” I was ordained priest in the Cathedral of St. Mary the Virgin in Salisbury, and before coming to America, I was rector of the church of St. Mary the Virgin in Welwyn, Hertfordshire. And so in my own Christian pilgrimage it seems providential to me that the church, in which so much of my life is now spent, is also dedicated to Mary. Continue reading
Boxes, boxes and more boxes. Each to be unpacked. Pieces to be unwrapped. Packing paper to stuff down lest it fill up the room itself. Lots of stuff unpacked. Where do we put it? Some closets and spaces no longer exist. Where’s the dust pan? Where’s the trash can? Where’s the trash bag? What was I doing before I went looking for the dust pan? Routines and norms are starkly missing. So is the box I still can’t find. Details overflow of things to address, people to call, problems—oh so many problems—to fix.
Disruption. Disorientation. Chaotic reconfiguration. Then the news of a tragic death and of a loved one with a major illness and surgery. Let alone political clashes, economic anxiety and global concerns, all swirling together in stress, tension and exhaustion. With a week like this, with a life like this, remember Elijah. Continue reading