Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23:

Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written,
‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching human precepts as doctrines.’
You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition."...Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.”...For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

Wow. That's a pretty heavy list with a set of fairly charged words Jesus uses in this passage. Our immediate response to these words is to take three steps back and say "NOT ME!" Our gut reaction is often to flare up, defend, argue back when words like these are much so that in our relationships, we often tend not to use "charged words" like these, simply because we know their power to inflame and to wound. Marriages have hit the skids, friendships have been dashed against the rocks, and family members become further estranged as the result of the careless use of "charged words" with less wounding power than these.

We go out of our way to avoid a "charged word", even to the point of dancing clear around it. So even reading this passage, I admit to bristling up a little. It seems to be so...well..."Un-Jesus like." It conjures up that old cartoon phrase of "them's fightin' words."

But we have to look at the context of this passage. Jesus brings up this list because the Pharisees are dissing Jesus and the disciples for not engaging in ritual hand-washing before eating. So when Jesus uses these "charged words," he is not using them in the way most of us do (flat-out name-calling) but instead is pointing out that no dirt on anyone's hands can defile us. However, what comes out of us...what we say...what we we react...DOES defile us. It is what comes out of US that betrays God, not what anyone or anything out of our control does to us.

In other words, "Pot. Kettle. Black."

I thought back to the last time anyone ever used charged, angry words at me, or I used charged, angry words to someone else. It was a powerful realization.

What I discovered was, when I have been the RECIPIENT of charged, angry words, my gut level response is usually, "Well, who the f@#% are YOU?" The litany of that other person's faults immediately jumped in my brain. Yet, if there wasn't just a tiny kernel of truth in their angry diatribe, it wouldn't hurt, now would it? Sometimes, the opposite happens. They DO wound me, make me feel diminished. It kind of depends on the situation and the person doing it. But in those instances, when they do wound me, I am allowing self-betrayal to sneak in.

When I have been the USER of charged, angry words, I am almost always hiding my own dirt. It's a subconscious deflection of my own woundedness, and based in the need to spread my own sins all over someone else. Yet, if that other person hadn't wounded me in some way, I would never have resorted to those angry words, now would I? I also realized that sometimes, when I am the "user", sometimes I am playing offense with them, but sometimes I am playing defense.

What it boils down to is this:

When we pass judgments on the sins of others and try to wound others with charged words, our own sins are ever before us.

When we are wounded by the angry words of others, there is a failure to ever realize the problem that caused the angry interchange is almost never unilateral.

Sometimes there is collateral damage when this happens. Sometimes, someone who wasn't even THERE during an angry interchange gets the brunt of what happened. We "take it out on someone else"--become more irritated with a third person, an unrelated situation, church, work--you name it. It's the figurative "go kick the dog" behavior.

It made me realize that the things that we resent in others, or the things others resent in us, are probably more about the "resenter" than the "resentee."

So what's it all mean?

It means that if we really believe in the power of our own conversions of life, that we must constantly be aware of, and NOT be afraid to address by name, our own sins, visible and secret. It means we can no longer avert our gaze at our own shortcomings but look them in the eye and let the Holy Spirit detach us from their power to WOUND OURSELVES.

That, to me, is the power of true Christian keep our own sins ever before us when assessing the sins of others, or when we feel the sting of angry words.

Top photo:  Abbot's residence
Middle photo:  Interior of one of the Guesthouses
Bottom photo:  Hospitality Center

Well, you have read many posts about my trip to the Abbey of St. Benedict, Companions of St. Luke monastery in Donnelson, IA.  Just recently, Sugar Creek flooded its banks and caused a fair amount of damage to their property.  The good news is the chapel was untouched by the flood waters.  Abbot Michael-John reports that his residence/abbey office and the Hospitality center are total losses and that the guesthouses sustained some water damage.  The ServiceMaster bill alone will be several thousand dollars.  Their insurance did not cover flood damage.

I am actually planning another trip in September, and still plan to go.  But in the meantime, the Abbey is requesting donations to help clean up.

Donations are tax deductible.  If you can help, please visit their site and make a donation at this link.  They are a small abbey, as most of the folks in their order are not "in residence".  But it is still "home" to several spiritual friends, associates and vowed members of their order.  I plan to drop them a check in tomorrow's mail!  Even if you can't donate, please remember them in prayer.

Many of you know that I am quite the movie junkie, including a lot of old and obscure movies.  So much so, that in my normal conversation with friends, I draw parallels to movies.  I got an e-mail from a friend of mine yesterday, where we were cogitating a procedural problem, and in his reply had told me that my "angle" on the problem was "good...very good."  I replied back, "Yeah, you know me, I'm clever in that 'country lawyer' way...just like Jimmy Stewart in 'Anatomy of a Murder'."

So what is it about movies that hooks me?

Oh, some of it, I think, is that, growing up in a small town, movies were a window to an entire world that was simply not visibile beyond the boundaries of Macon, MO.

Some of it was that, as an only child, I learned at an early age to entertain myself by "people watching", and I found that movies were a way to "watch people" more intently but in a place with fewer boundaries.  You can stare and squint at people in a movie with no fear of them thinking you're weird.  I grew up not identifying with the movie stars per se (other than liking certain people's work) but identifying with the characters they played.  I looked at how these characters handled problems and issues and could see many times it was different than how I saw things handled in my real life.  Not necessarily better or worse, simply different.

The lure of "old movies" came when I realized that even in different times, with different clothes, and a different world around them, well...people are still all kind of the same.  Yet at the same time, I could see "society was different."  We look now at movies such as the silent classic "Birth of a Nation," or "The Jazz Singer," and we realize that what was an "acceptable racial attitude" in 1915 or 1927 is abhorrent now.  We see through the window of classic film that the world has both changed and remained the same.

As I became firmly entrenched into adulthood, I also became fascinated with how the people who produce and direct and film movies use the technical aspects of cinematography to carry emotions and perceptions.  One of my all time fascinations is with Alfred Hitchcock movies.  He could use scene contstruction and camera angles to convey amazing realizations.  One of his favorite techniques was to use the cinematography of a scene so the movie watcher knows beyond the shadow of a doubt what is going to happen but the character does not.  Take, for instance, Tippi Hedren smoking a cigarette on that park bench in "The Birds" with the jungle gym behind her.  Here comes one bird...then another...and another...and you are sitting there knowing that those birds are about to cut loose on everyone and there she is, blithely smoking her cigarette.  You want to tell her what is about to happen.  You know it's gonna be bad.  She cannot hear you or listen to you.

What I've discovered is classic film has taught me to "be aware."  It's taught me to "dream of the possibilities."  It's taught me to examine myself.  It's taught me that not all endings are happy, but some are surprisingly so.  It's taught me to appreciate the mundane.  It's taught me, frankly, "to see God in the details," and the beauty of our DVD world is that we can do this in our own sacred safe spaces, in the comfort of our own homes, alone, or with friends, as well as at the movie theater.  The other beauty of the DVD world is, if you didn't get it the first time, unlike life, you can back it up and do it again!

Classic film also teaches me that as humans, we evolve and transform.  Think of how cinematography was very crude 100 years ago, but people still realized it could convey emotion.  Think of how this emotion was conveyed in the era of silent film vs. talkies.  Think of how color cinematography opened up mere color as a conveyor of feeling.  Our ability to express AND observe evolves along with these innovations in film.

In that sense, I thank God for the creative minds that have made movies in the past 120 years or so.  I think of my own spiritual evolutions and transformations, my own dealings with stability and change, gains and losses in my life, and dramatic transformations within what others might see as "plain" or "mundane."  I think about how my own realizations of God have evolved, just as my ability to see what movies convey has evolved.  I think of how the Holy Spirit moves in this barely perceptible way, how many times it has moved me from "Tippi Hedren sitting on that park bench in 'The Birds'" to a fuller sense of awareness.  I think of how movies have allowed me to "sit still with my emotions" and open me up to communion with God in that "sitting still" sort of way.  What marvelous blessings all these things are, and I am truly grateful!

I got captivated by this post over on Counterlight's blog this evening, on Byzantine art and its influence in early Christian art.

When you take me to a "big" museum, whether it is an art museum, a history museum, or a museum of antiquities, I get sort of stuck over in the Byzantine displays. It's the eyes, and the hands.

Now, for me, "hands" are a given. I have been told by many people, and freely admit myself of having a "hand fetish." To me, the hands are the real windows of the soul. I see so much in every pair of hands I encounter. I see their "real selves," apart from their external trappings. I think about an old friend of mine whom I've known for about 35 years. He externally was always a very "stiff" individual. But his hands gave him away--small, delicate, and expressive like little birds. They carried all the expression that the rest of his outward appearance did not, and I learned to grow to like this person tremendously because I read his hands, not his face--and grow to love him for who he is, watching them age and change...but not really change...wrinkles and spots, yes, but what they speak, no...over the years. It is what has held our friendship fast for going on the high side of four decades.

In that sense, I notice the hands in Byzantine sculptures. The problem is, if you look, relatively few seem to even have hands. They are busts with the arms cut off, or their hands are shrouded behind robes. When the hands are shown, they almost always are expressive or show a tension that is the theme of the piece of artwork.

But I do not usually notice eyes. All those soppy love songs about eyes, all that "love at first sight" stuff about eyes, well...frankly, it's lost on me. Faces are external.

If I were to tell you anything I see in eyes, I would say I see what is "behind" them. But not their eyes myself. Eyes are just a conduit to what is behind them, in the inner workings of their brain.

That is what captivates me about the eyes in Byzantine art. This is hard to describe, but their wideness and shininess and vulnerability take me straight inside to their souls, unlike most renditions of eyes, and most real human eyes, which seem more like a barrier to their souls to me.

Many Byzantine paintings also have a gold background, give the face and eyes a sensation of "floating", as if you can see the parts of them connected to all things Godly.

When you look at those Byzantine eyes, there is a transparency to the person. The light of life shines within them in a way no other period of painters could reproduce.

In short, it is the way I want to see God. Transparently, with no secrets hidden--with an innocence and earnestness I cannot seem to even come closing to reproducing in real life. Oh, God knows I try. But my own detritus often gets in the way. In this world, nothing is "pure." Even what we try to be our purest thoughts--something sneaks in. Something worldly and human. Can't be helped--we ARE human, after all--but there is always an impurity or two, a dropped or missed stitch, a wrong color thread woven into the purest tapestry of our heart.

But when I gaze back at those Byzantine eyes, I feel the light of my own soul emerge. The purest part of "me." The fact that "me" doesn't really belong to me. That purest, most godly part of me is my own sense that I have no ownership of anything in my purest self--it all belongs to God. No secrets. No control. No agendas. No ownership. Just my innocent, wide-eyed soul.

"Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known and from you no secrets are hid: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen."

It started this morning, out in the yard with my morning coffee. One of my "collared" Facebook friends wrote on her status update...

(Facebook friend) is preaching on Psalm 84:1, How lovely/amiable/dear is your tabernacle/dwelling-place. Where do you experience God abiding?

I realized something for the first time. I am just now learning to see God abiding in "the hard places." It is almost a month after my Very Big Decisions regarding my work environment. I am starting to see that although there were many things that were not perfect about that decision, and whether it is good or bad is yet to be revealed, there IS a peace with it now that transcends everything I ever worried about with it. It does not mean "I got what I wanted." It is not exactly playing out the way I envisioned it. But there is a peace with it, anyway.

What it has taught me is to, rather than focus on the tumult, to focus on seeing God IN the tumult, much like the disciples in the boat in the storm learning to "focus on Jesus."

It is so easy to get trapped in the drama of "tumult". Like a grand Missouri thunderstorm, there is a "dangerous excitement" to it. Conflicting desires to "run from the storm and take cover," "watch it from a distance and feel its power," or "feel the victory of having weathered it," all emerge from it. But that is not what should be the center of it. The center should be on "our Godly dwelling place." Sometimes it is in the physical confines of the church. Sometimes it is in our back yard, with a cup of coffee. Sometimes it resides in the pits of our deepest personal fears, our loneliness, our sense of abandonment. Sometimes it resides in the smiles of others. Sometimes it resides in those gifts of serendipity, where you neither felt you deserved nor expected anything good to happen to you. Sometimes it resides in feeding the belly of a homeless person, or tearing wet, dirty, moldy insulation out of a house that was flooded.

How lovely IS your dwelling place, O Lord...wherever it may be.

I have had a longtime fascination with the Myers-Briggs personality test--probably almost 30 years worth. My first time through the Myers-Briggs was in college, for one of my education courses, to give me an idea of what my teaching "style" would be and what things would be easy or more challenging to educate a classroom full of many different personalities. I was decidedly ESTP--Extroversion, Sensing, Thinking, Perception--but had a strong "shadow side" of INFJ--Introversion, iNtuitive, Feeling, Judgement. I was not a 90-10 on these two but more like 65-35.

Over the years, I have watched my INFJ "grow" in subsequent paper/pencil, and later, online Myers-Briggs tests. I am now at the place where on the little "quick tests" like on Facebook, I now consistently score INFJ. Not quite believing it, I recently paid for a "full bore" online Myers-Briggs again. No doubt this time. I am 60% INFJ, 40% ESTP. The pendulum has swung.

This has not been easy news for me. It messes with "who I think I am."

I have burned a lot of air time in my life on poo-pooing "sitting around and reflecting." I used to berate my friend M. on a regular basis for "sitting on his ass, thinking great thoughts, when there's work to be done." I am feeling the coolness from two of my friends at present, for ME "sitting on my ass and thinking great thoughts instead of DOING something." They don't really come out and say it, but they say things like, "When are you going to be 'fun' again? You're not fun anymore," or, "What's up with you? You're starting to sound like so-and-so." (one of my more deeply complex friends, who can be very withdrawn.)

That leaves ANOTHER unsettling paradox. As I become more aware, I sense a shift in my own essence that makes me realize I might not have been feeding the most fundamental part of my personality as much as I should have. Middle age has been shifting my Myers-Briggs to where what used to be the "shadow" side of my personality is becoming the more dominant side, and frankly, the more rewarding side...but this shift leaves a wake. People are so used to the gregarious and noisy side of me, that as it becomes less dominant, I am discovering that, in a way, I was "other people's thrill ride" at times. I am starting to have regrets about that, because it doesn't leave me a lot of room. For me to be quiet, for me to reserve comment, for me to absorb and reflect before speaking, to not do my usual pattern of "shoot from the hip", seems to alarm some people and they think something is wrong, when really, it's not. Then they badger me about it, leaving me even less room, and at more risk of my temper flaring and yelling to "back off." If I do that, it validates their opinion.

It's a dance. Not much I can say about that, except, "it's a dance." I think of my blogfriend Leonardo. What an evolution he must have been through to live the life he lives now, and how much is yet to still evolve? I think he senses parts of what I'm learning in this dance, and he has been so encouraging to me...but I sense that comes from his experiences of learning his own dance. You have to live it to do it!

Becoming more in touch with one's own introverted side, when one has always typed as an extrovert, is tricky. It increases one's ability to absorb. Absorption deals with having new feelings show up that the extroverted side of you mostly ignores. Life becomes more "one day at a time." It opens one up to a vulnerability that the more extroverted side has the luxury of impermeability.

But, as our personality types shift from our patterns of youth to the patterns of age, "Do we change?" We do...and we don't. We do in terms of our Myers-Briggs, for sure. But what we discover, if we are accepting of this outward shift, we open up to our internal core...and we discover our "core" has no "personality," that it simply IS. It is the "IS" that is in each of us. It is the "IS" within the great "I AM". Unaffected by personality. Unaffected by "quirks." Unaffected by life's stresses, life's surreal moments. Timeless and impermeable. Amazing.

John 16:12

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now."

One of the phrases that used to drive me nuts as a child was for one of the grownups in my world to tell me, "You're not old enough yet," or one of that phrase's cousins..."I'll explain it to you when you're a little older..." "You're too little..." "You're not big enough to do that yet."

I ALWAYS thought I was big enough. Even when I obviously was not.

The more physical version of that used to irritate me at theme parks like Six Flags or Worlds of Fun..."You must be this tall to ride this ride." I would stretch, I would stick my neck up high as far as I could, but there would always be some college age person working there for the summer, laughing at me. LAUGHING. "Sorry, kid...not quite."

Something about that "You're not old enough/tall enough/big enough" message has always been one of the deepest red-eared humiliating rejection messages that was put on this earth for me to endure.

Lately, I have this feeling God has been laughing at me over my reaction to this message.

I have had a very strange year. It has been a year of incredible discoveries. But it has also been a year of incredible losses. It has been a year of some really good things evolving inside of me, and realizations of gratitude and levels of understanding I never even considered I could grasp. But so many of these things still appear to be very "open-ended," with no clear destination or "endpoint" in sight. That "lack of destination" is painfully unsettling to me. It's a little like wandering in the desert without a map.

Some moments are moments of amazing clarity, like my previous post. Others are as thick and opaque as the mud on my gravel road during "the mud season"--that time in NE Missouri that runs around February to April, when you beg for winter to end, and spring really hasn't become spring yet, even if the calendar says so.

I have observed that my times of spiritual frustration almost always immediately follow a moment of intense spiritual clarity, and are of longer duration than the moments of clarity. It is like the clear moment hits me in a "Wow! Pow!" fashion, and for a short time I can literally bask in the moment. But then, before long, comes a new "You have to be this tall to ride this ride" sign, and guess what...I'm too short...again.

There is a part of me that asks, "Is it just that I now have the powers of observation to see this? Maybe EACH year of my life has been just as confusing, but I was not aware enough to know better."

I'm also discovering that "holes aren't really holes;" "barriers aren't really barriers;" and "boundaries aren't really boundaries." This one has been a real red-ear burner for me, as these thoughts seem so incredibly...well...mystic...and I have lived in a role in life that has been so staunchly rooted in "practical." I am reminded that the younger version of me poo-pooed mystery, refused to accept anything I could not take apart and put back together again, and that I make my living by only saying what I know I can say about a particular pathologic lesion.

I was pondering that "barriers are not barriers" in the context of my friend's funeral yesterday. I have always thought of death as a "barrier." It bars me from seeing those I care about. It has always been the ultimate form of abandonment for me. Even thinking about my own death left me with a sense of my own self-abandonment.

But something different came over me yesterday. This was the first time I was ever acolyte at a church funeral. (Well, technically, I was just the crucifer, since it was not a Eucharistic service, but I did light the candles. Hey, small church, small altar party.) I have to tell you I was quite nervous. We stuffed 147 people in our little 92 year old sanctuary, with folding chairs everywhere. I am not a person who digs crowds of strangers. Neither is our priest. There was one moment where we both looked at each other and had that "Let me outa here!" look. But once I got enough nerve to go up and light the candles, it all ran on auto-pilot.

But the odd feeling I got, as I was up there on the chancel floor with her cremains, was, "There are no barriers here." I suddenly did not feel the separation I had felt the last several days from her few days in the shadow-land of "Neurosurgical world", to her passing, to those agonizing days before the funeral when I would bolt upright from bed at 4 a.m.

I thought about the odd experience I had last week in our ordinary Sunday service where carrying the cross felt "electric." In retrospect, I wonder if that was not "preparation" for yesterday. I was not "told", because, as the verse in John says, "I could not yet bear it." But as it all played out, I could not just "bear it", but live it. I realized later that night, that being able to hold that cross aloft at a box of cremains is the ultimate in "giving death the middle finger." This barrier I used to see called Death is no longer a barrier. The hole of separation of us from our loved ones is no longer a hole in quite the sense I once thought it was. Yes, I miss these people. Sometimes unexpectedly and painfully. But these are just temporal moments of longing that are a mere speck in the time fabric of the universe. A blip. A mere "pffft" that goes unnoticed in the grand scheme of time and space. Not a big, gaping, uncrossable canyon.

So in that sense, my "unsettled-ness" should not be a hole, either. I just need to accept that, at the moment of our own deaths, we will no longer ever feel too small to ride the ride.

(Photo from International Meteor Organization)

Ecclesiasticus 43: 9-10:

The glory of the stars is the beauty of heaven,
a glittering array in the heights of the Lord.
On the orders of the Holy One they stand in their appointed places;
they never relax in their watches.

If there is one thing I can count on about being on "the rural grid," it is that I can plan on having a power outage that makes no sense. Now, don't get me wrong. Our little rural electric co-op, Tri-County Electric, works hard to keep the power going, and their service folks are quite on the ball. But rural electricity is rural electricity. When it goes out, it might take a spell to figure out what exactly is going on, and miles of folks can be affected temporarily.

I expect a power outage when there's an ice storm. I expect one after a run of brutal 100 degree Missouri summer days in the middle of a drought. But I do not expect one on a night where the day's high temperature was only 85 degrees and it's a cool, cloudless, seemingly perfect night.

I was just sitting down to grade some med student labs, and...BLAMMO. The power went out.

Not particularly feeling like either lighting a candle OR cursing the darkness, I decided instead to go outside. We are actually in one of my favorite late summer spells, the time of the Perseid meteor showers, so I chose to go outside and just look at the sky and see what's out there.

This has not been a great week and a half. A week ago Thursday, I received word that a friend of mine, whose history with me goes back more than three decades, had taken the 90 mile helicopter trip to Columbia for emergency surgery to stem a subdural hematoma. She was only four treatments away from finishing her chemotherapy for colon cancer. The chemo had weakened her quite a bit, and she was constantly struggling with anemia and a low platelet count. In her weakened state, she was having trouble with falls. She fell and hit her head, which precipitated the bleed.

It was a live version of that old bit of medical dark humor; "The operation was a success and the patient died." She was stable following surgery to remove the blood clot. There was no indication that she was anyplace different than what I call "Neurosurgical world"--that weird semi-conscious place where "progress" after a piece of heavy-duty neurosurgery becomes a never ending cha-cha. One step forward, two steps back. Four steps forward, two steps back. The ones that survive manage to do that dance for an unspecified piece of time. The ones that don't, often have a devastating unexpected setback.

Well, that's exactly what happened. She had a re-bleed on Sunday. At that point, the damage was such that her neurosurgeon felt there was nothing to be gained. The family decided on comfort measures only, and she passed quietly Monday night.

Honestly, there was this part of me that expected either the cancer or the chemo to get her. But I did not expect a fall to get her. Nevertheless, it happened, and she's gone.

It is funny, how in our times of grief, the smallest unrelated thing can set us off. So let's just say this power outage had me more irked than usual. I didn't need Tri-County Electric to gang up on me, too. What made it incredibly more irksome was that I could see my nearest neighbor's house from the yard, and her power was on. I was just one farm away from "normal."

It took me a while to be able to sit still. So in one of my wanderings back to the house, I had just happened to look up to a surprise. My driveway, normally blanked out from the light of my dusk-to-dawn pole light, actually had a better view of the stars than my "sacred space in the yard." So I moved my reclining lawn chair to the driveway, and lounged there, lookng up.

To my surprise, the Milky Way was brilliant. I had read recently that one-fifth of all the people in the world has lost the ability to even SEE the Milky Way, because they live in a light-polluted area. I found myself being grateful for being able to see it at my house so many times. I kept looking up, in that way you do when you are watching for meteors.

Watching for meteors is a real trick. The problem is you can't see them if you look "at" anything in the sky. You become too focused, too fixated on a certain piece of sky, and in the dark, your brain becomes fixated on that spot, you become oblivious to anything going on outside of that spot. The struggle is to watch it all without directly looking "at" anything. It's your peripheral vision that is needed to see the fleeting glimpse of a meteor, not your focused vision.

The first ones I saw were very faint and very peripheral--little paint flakes in my periphery.

Suddenly, a big trail roared in across my central field of vision. The larger ones always seem, for some reason "closer to the ground." It seemed to almost graze my cottonwood tree. seemingly on a collision course with my pasture. "Spectacular" is a spectacularly dull way to describe it. It cut through the night sky with a confidence of its own. More meteors came; some big, some little. Like a good day fishing, you did not have to wait long for the next "bite."

Then, like one of those big, seemingly low flying meteors, something huge hit me.

I would never have seen this had the power not gone out.

It took an unexpected loss of something I expect to be there and constantly use without thinking one bit of the possibility of its absence, to spur me to sit in a place I normally expect to see nothing, to have the heavens open up to me and show me "what's really behind the nothing."

In a place where I normally see nothing, and never bother to sit still long enough to even entertain the possibility of anything more than blank space, was majesty beyond my comprehension. In short, I was given a short window to the kingdom of heaven.

As I sat there for a couple of hours, out of the corner of my eye I could see flickers of my house lights as the Tri-County repair crews started to do their thing, somewhere down my road, in a place I did not know. Before long, the lights would come on.

It suddenly dawned on me, that this spectacular moment was, indeed, temporary. In a matter of minutes to hours, I knew at some point, my dusk-to-dawn light was going to kick on for real, and the show, at least from this location, would be over. I found myself filled with longing that this moment would be over, and had to fight even harder not to look "at" anything, to not let my desperation to take over and ruin the peripheral vision I needed to see what few meteors I might have left before the power kicked back on.

Finally, my yard light buzzed and sputtered one final time, and the millions of stars in the Milky Way faded behind the purple-black curtain of "the way this part of my yard usually looks." Yet I knew that awesome view of Heaven was still back there. It had not left me. It was still here, only obscured from my frame of reference.

I sat a little longer, looking at the blankness of what moments ago had been beauty emerging from the darkness, sorrowful that I could no longer see it, but confident I knew it was still there.

When we lose old friends suddenly and unpredictably, we become enveloped in a blackness that we neither expect nor care to endure. We do not wish to sit still in it. We'd rather "do" to assuage our pain. We'd rather distract ourselves rather than sit back and "look without looking AT something." The light we took for granted quits shining, and we have no earthly clue if it will return.

But eventually, light shines again. The pageantry of what we saw in the darkness may be obscured, but we are forever changed, because now we know what lies behind what we once thought was only "blankness."

John 15:16:

"You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name."

I came home last night with the full intent of winding down from a long week. I swear, I had a week of Mondays this work week with Thursday being the equivalent of two Mondays packed into one. My tendency when the week is particularly hectic, is that it takes a while. I can't just "sit." I have to sit a while and get up and distract myself a while, and sit again a while, etc.

This went on clear until midnight or so, when I was reclining in my lawn chair in the back yard and finally, the dancing of the moon behind thin clouds could catch my attention long enough that I could just sit and be gentle with myself. Just lounged there with a blanket on me, watching the night sky, feeling my inner self finally able to loosen and join in the dance that the moon and the light cloud cover had provided.

I realized this week has been a huge week in my prayer life, too. Many people this week with troubles, issues, and catastrophes in my world. My tendency is to want to "do something" for them. But most of these are issues where I must simply "sit and be with where they are," and let things unfold for them. None of these things have a single facet where I can even begin to have a delusion of control.

In working on John 15 this week, verse 16 keeps jumping out at me, for two different reasons.

"You did not choose me but I chose you."

Huh? Wait a minute. Wasn't it me that did all the work? Haven't I been the one who became disciplined in prayer? Learned to sit still, at least a little bit? Don't I get any credit here?

As I watched the moon trip behind a cloud and pop back out again, as I heard the breeze rustle in the trees, the limbs fan-dancing across the moon, I had to admit...nah...I have only entered into what was already there for me. God had prepared a banquet in my wilderness heart, and had been keeping the food warm all this time, simply waiting for me to finally show up and sit down at the table. When I finally sat down, it was the banquet that drove all that work. It was the eating of this nourishment that was there all along that gave me the energy to do all those things "I" have been doing. My only "credit" was to have enough sense to eat.

Then I focused on the other half of that verse that kept poking at me.

" that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name."

That "getting what you ask for" thing that is sprinkled throughout John really historically bugs me. It's one of the most misinterpreted things in the Bible, I believe, and entire ministries, particularly in some segments of evangelical Christianity, have been built on people praying up wish lists to Santa God, or God the Cosmic Coke Machine, where you stick your prayer quarters in, and out comes a fat bank account, true love, or a Cadillac.

But a lot of John 15 talks about how when we follow Christ, or obey God for that matter, we are "not of the world." I got to thinking there is a transformation in "what we ask for" as we become more Christ-centered and more spiritually connected. Our heart's desires become clearer and what we "ask" for changes. As we understand better what is of God and what is of the world, we also understand what "asking in his name" really means. It doesn't mean "if I tack 'in Jesus' name' on the end of my wish list, I'm covered." It means to ask for what truly comes out of the holy parts of ourselves at those moments we feel connected to God. They tend not to be things of the world.

I could sit down right now and simply go, "Ok, God, I want an extended cab pickup, a winning Powerball ticket, and for my sick and hurting friends to be healed." Maybe one of two things go the way "I want." Most will not. God's going to let us down every time when it comes to simple "worldly wants."

Does that mean God doesn't listen? Does that mean "I'm not doin' it right?" Does that mean God really doesn't exist? The answer, of course, is "none of the above."

More and more, when I pray for, as we say in Form III, Prayers of the People, in the BCP, "our own needs and those of others," I realize what I am really, truly asking for is for others and myself to simply see God in everything.

When I pray for a sick or hurting friend, I am really asking that they see God in the darkness.

When I pray over a strained relationship with a friend, I am really asking that we find a way to honor our Baptismal Covenant to "seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself."

When I pray over a difficult circumstance, I am really asking God to help me put my whole trust in His grace and love.

I am not asking for "a worldly outcome."

In those things, if we can accept what has been chosen for us, we will always "get what we ask for." Even if the outcome is "not what we wanted or ordered."

In the death of a friend, you might finally come to the full realization of what the intensity of their life's light was in your heart.

In the loss of a job, you might finally come to the place where the next job "fits you" better.

In the pit of financial uncertainty, you might discover what it is that you really need.

These are all things God can deliver, and does, time and time again.

But you have to dare to sit down at the table and eat.

Exodus 16: 1-17:

The whole congregation of the Israelites set out from Elim; and Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. 2The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” 4Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. 5On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.” 6So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, 7and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaining against the Lord. For what are we, that you complain against us?” 8And Moses said, “When the gives you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, because the LordLord has heard the complaining that you utter against him—what are we? Your complaining is not against us but” against the Lord. 9Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, ‘Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.’“ 10And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. 11The Lord spoke to Moses and said, 12“I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’“ 13In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. 15When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. 16This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Gather as much of it as each of you needs, an omer to a person according to the number of persons, all providing for those in their own tents.’“ 17The Israelites did so, some gathering more, some less.

Our Old Testament reading Sunday at Trinity was from this set of passages. I had no idea it was going to lead to an "intense Eucharistic experience."

Okay, I have to give a bit of a prelude. For the three Sundays prior to this past one I have literally “disappeared” in the middle of the Eucharistic Prayer and sort of snapped back to reality right after the Words of Institution. I was a little bugged by it but not distressed. The place where I felt I was seemed okay, in fact it seemed a little “buoyant” for lack of a better term. I guess the way to describe it was I sort of felt like maybe I was just getting behind and under the words, in a very “flowing” sort of place, and for that reason, I had pretty much decided that, although it bugged me some that I was not paying attention, it was ok that I was “where I was.” I just kind of accepted the “absence” as an “excused absence”, so to speak. I'm pretty sure God grants "excused absences."

Well, then Sunday I was in a pretty good and receptive mood for church. On Saturday I had written my “Order of Service for Doing the Laundry.” I have come to learn that when I am doing stuff like that, it shows that I am relaxed and comfortable, and “at play in the fields of the Lord,” and in a way, really listening to a different part of God. When I make funny liturgical satire, I realize I am sort of allowing myself to fall into the cadence and the rhythm of liturgy, even when I am physically away from liturgy.

I am starting to realize I have a sense of “cadence.” I thought some Saturday about how maybe this is part of understanding the “Cadence of God,” and how when I am dealing with my own anxieties and impatience and “hating surprises” that I need to connect to the “cadence of God” and just follow along. I mean, what was the first thing I picked up on at the monastery? The CADENCE of the chanted psalms.

Well, then I realized something was going on when we started singing the offertory hymn. I normally don’t even LIKE the offertory hymn we had Sunday, "I Am the Bread of Life"--it’s one the fundies sing with drums and weird instruments and a weird beat, and it’s one the Roman Catholics sing in what I refer to as "crappy old hippy 70's throwback guitar masses." But there was something with “our organ” doing it that stirred something up in me. I found myself actually HEARING the words of each verse and what I heard was choking me up and causing some tears. But then I would get to the chorus, “...and I will raise you up...” and suddenly I was singing in what I call “The actually very good, large booming contralto-damn-near-baritone resonant voice I get on certain songs, but not most of them” voice, and I just didn’t care who was sitting next to me or in front of me or behind me and I realized I was singing only to God from the deepest recesses of my heart, praising him for his power to “raise me up” again and again from my shit pit of despair, and singing of my gratitude for these promises. I just closed my eyes and boomed the chorus, and just let myself choke up on the verses.

Then I glanced out of the corner of my eye during one of the choruses, and OMG! My pew-mate, a good friend of mine was crying! And her husband was patting her on the back! And I am thinking, “WTF? Is what I’m doin' it leaking out? Is there something about just this pure feeling I am having that can be felt by others?” But I didn’t stop. I kept going. Couldn't stop, actually.

Then during the Eucharistic Prayer (EP-A, by the way), I heard every word and almost every word flashed a mental image on every one of my “cue phrases” (all the phrases at one time or another have put a chill down my spine,) for instance, “and on the last day,” or “we celebrate the memorial of our redemption”--all mental images of...well...eternity...more or less. AND I FELT EVERY ONE OF THEM. I thought about those little white flakes of “the bread of heaven” from the reading in Exodus.
It was more...well...vivid...than I had ever experienced.

When it was time to go to the rail, and get the wafer, I had another odd experience. It didn’t taste like a wafer. My mind was tasting something soft and sweet but my brain KNEW it was a wafer.
I thought of v. 31 in the chapter above...The house of Israel called it manna; it was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. The wine tasted more “vivid” too. And I know it’s the same old cheap port we always use!

Then as I walked back, I was thinking, “You know, this is the first time I have been able to just stand still and take in an “intense Eucharist” without going “ohshitohshitohshitohshit” and backing off and wanting to run. I have felt "intense Eucharist" before, but honestly, it mostly just scared me. Made me feel like a crazy person. It took me a long time to realize this is not "abnormal."

It stuck with me all day; I think that is why I could “see immortality” Sunday night with the sun and the moon out simultaneously. I have been so far all week (despite having an anxious moment at 3:30 a.m.) been able to see “gratitude” in so many things. Now, I know it will wear off after a while. But I also believe it will hit me again on a day I least expect it. Sunday’s Eucharist gave me a power in the sense of “I believe this stuff; I truly believe this stuff” that I have not had to this degree until now. It was what gave me the "where-with-all" to write Sunday's blog post.

I know this will wear off in a few days. Every great spiritual experience I have does, and I believe that is just the nature of it. But for the first time, I anticipate the next one rather than fear it.

Ok, well I stole this pic from our dear Elizabeth, but you get the drift.

In case you're not a "natural world junkie" like me, Cross-Quarter day is the day in the middle between a solstice and an equinox. I'll be honest; Cross-Quarter day fills me with a sense of sadness.

Now, you have to realize that one of the things I love about NE Missouri is I get all four seasons, but not too terribly much of any of them. I love all the seasons for what they are. But each year, as the seasons unfold, I get wistful about their end. Even winter. (White "wintery winter", anyway. Unfortunately, in Missouri, the end of winter/beginning of spring is its own season, "Mud season." I have never gotten terribly sentimental about mud season, living on a gravel road.)

Cross-Quarter day often catches my attention because it's the day that marks when the days will start getting shorter at a faster rate.

I have to tell you...I dearly LOVE the long evenings from June to August. I remember one time, traveling to the North Dakota/Canadian border region, and enjoying the delight of playing an entire round of golf where I teed off on #1 at 6 p.m. It did not get dark till almost 11 p.m. Summer nights that seem to go on forever are magical to me, just as bright shiny snow-covered January days are magical to me.

But what always hits me in "the long evening season" is that it is the only time of the year I can even seem to truly believe in the possibility that something about me, my life, who I am, just MIGHT live forever. The "days that seem to last forever" open me up to it.

Many of you who read my blog know that I occasionally struggle with, to put it in Jerry Springer-esque terms, "I've got a problem with the afterlife." Honestly, there is a part of me that doesn't believe in it. It's that little voice that yells in my ear at 3 a.m. that says, "Maybe this is all there is. Maybe you are the biggest dumbass on the planet, with this God stuff."

But then moments like tonight come. I had finished supper, I had lit the "bug candles" (and honestly, I am of the opinion they actually ATTRACT bugs rather than repel them) and I was walking back and forth up and down my gravel road, and looked up. At that very moment, both the setting sun and the risen moon were visible. To my right, to the west, was the end of the day. To my left, higher up, in the purple of the early night, was a gibbous moon. Both together, simultaneously--the end--and the beginning. It was a moment when time, as I like to say, "bent."

In most recent months, I have become more aware of the "bending of time" in all sorts of interesting ways. I have struggled to understand what that new awareness is about.

The more I think about it, I am starting to think it is about making the rest of me--the part that doesn't have that little voice whispering in my ear--to believe in "forever."

I stood out in my road, looking at the sun and the moon together, simultaneously, and I felt the tears come. Tears that the wind swept away, as it is a fairly breezy night. Tears of gratitude that here in my pasture, my pasture that the average person would say is "not all that interesting", in the sky that seems to stretch to eternity, and the green ocean of the blowing grass calls a siren song of a depth of feeling that I hardly believe I possess.

In that moment, I can say with conviction, "I believe."

Sometimes I think about how this plain stretch of pasture becomes "me." It becomes me in my most solo and in a way, lonesome moments. Bare and lonesome and stretching on forever. Will it still "be what it is" when I am dead? Will it still be a holy place? Will my footprint be somewhere one it? Oh, not that it really matters, but I hate to think that what it is to me, at this moment, would die with me.

But then that voice that says "I believe" speaks up, and I no longer worry about it.

It all started last winter, when all of my Episcopalian friends started noticing we all seemed to do our laundry on Saturdays. Lisa had talked about it quite a bit, so just for her I created "The Laundry Litany". As this Sacrament seems to be a continuing feature among my Facebook friends, I created an entire liturgy for it...Enjoy!

An Order of Service for Doing Laundry

By Kirkepiscatoid (with apologies to pages 103-108 of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer)

Officiant O God, make speed to save us.
People O Lord, make haste to help us.

Officiant and People

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as
it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Except in Lent, add Alleluia.

A suitable hymn may be sung.

A suggested hymn is below, sung to the tune of hymn #259 in the 1982 Hymnal.

From all that dwell below the skies,
Armed with Clorox and Cheer and Tide!
Alleluia! alleluia!
Let the Redeemer's Name be sung
As washing clothing has begun!
Alleluia! alleluia! alleluia!
Alleluia! alleluia!

Eternal are thy mercies, Lord,
Remove stains from clothes we can’t afford:
Alleluia! alleluia!
Thy praise shall sound from shore to shore
Clean socks and undies evermore!
Alleluia! alleluia! alleluia!
Alleluia! alleluia!.

Psalm 51 is sung or said.

Psalm 51 Miserere mei, Deus

1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your loving-kindness; *

in your great compassion blot out my offenses.

2 Wash me through and through from my wickedness *
and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions, *
and my sin is ever before me.

4 Against you only have I sinned *
and done what is evil in your sight.

5 And so you are justified when you speak *
and upright in your judgment.

6 Indeed, I have been wicked from my birth, *
a sinner from my mother's womb.

7 For behold, you look for truth deep within me, *
and will make me understand wisdom secretly.

8 Purge me from my sin, and I shall be pure; *
wash me, and I shall be clean indeed.

9 Make me hear of joy and gladness, *
that the body you have broken may rejoice.

10 Hide your face from my sins *
and blot out all my iniquities.

At the end of the Psalm is sung or said

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

One of the following, or some other suitable passage of Scripture, is read:

Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, in order that the people may hear when I speak with you and so trust you ever after.” When Moses had told the words of the people to the Lord, the Lord said to Moses: “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes and prepare for the third day, because on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. You shall set limits for the people all around, saying, ‘Be careful not to go up the mountain or to touch the edge of it. Any who touch the mountain shall be put to death. 13No hand shall touch them, but they shall be stoned or shot with arrows; whether animal or human being, they shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds a long blast, they may go up on the mountain.” So Moses went down from the mountain to the people. He consecrated the people, and they washed their clothes. Exodus19:9-14

or the following

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying: This is the ritual of the sin offering. The sin offering shall be slaughtered before the Lord at the spot where the burnt offering is slaughtered; it is most holy. The priest who offers it as a sin offering shall eat of it; it shall be eaten in a holy place, in the court of the tent of meeting. Whatever touches its flesh shall become holy; and when any of its blood is spattered on a garment, you shall wash the bespattered part in a holy place. Leviticus 6:24-27

or the following

Eleazar the priest said to the troops who had gone to battle: “This is the statute of the law that the Lord has commanded Moses: gold, silver, bronze, iron, tin, and lead— everything that can withstand fire, shall be passed through fire, and it shall be clean. Nevertheless it shall also be purified with the water for purification; and whatever cannot withstand fire, shall be passed through the water. You must wash your clothes on the seventh day, and you shall be clean; afterward you may come into the camp.” Numbers 31:21-24

People Thanks be to God.

If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old has passed
away, behold the new has come. All this is from God, who
through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry
of laundry. Snitched a little from 2 Corinthians 5:17-18

People Thanks be to God.

or this

From the rising of the sun to its setting my Name shall be
great among the nations, and in every place clean clothes shall be
offered to my Name, and a pure offering; for my Name shall be
great among the nations, says the Lord of Hosts. Pinched a bit from Malachi 1:11

People Thanks be to God.

A meditation, silent or spoken, may follow.

The Officiant then begins the Prayers:

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Officiant and People

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our tresspasses,
as we forgive those
who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those
who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.

Officiant Lord, hear our prayer;
People And let our cry come to you.
Officiant Let us pray.

The Officiant and People then recite the Litany of the Laundry:

The Celebrant and People together, all kneeling

Most holy and merciful Father:
We confess to you and to one another,
and to the whole communion of saints
in heaven and on earth,
that we have let our laundry pile up.

The Celebrant continues

We have not paid attention to how many pairs of underwear we have left. We have not realized that the one pair of jeans we love the most lies dirty. We have run out of white socks.
Have mercy on us, Lord.

We have been deaf to your call to buy laundry detergent, and our manifold sins in this issue are intolerable to us.
Have mercy on us, Lord.

We confess to you, Lord, all our past unfaithfulness: the
lack of attention to "delicate cycle" and "regular cycle",
We confess to you, Lord.

Our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our exploitation
of wearing certain items of clothing after picking them out of the dirty clothes basket,
We confess to you, Lord.

Our anger at our own frustration, and our envy of those
who get their laundry done in a timely manner,
We confess to you, Lord.

Our intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts, and
our dishonesty in mixing "colors" and "whites",
We confess to you, Lord.

Our negligence in cleaning out the lint filter in the dryer, and our failure to
commend the faith that is in us,
We confess to you, Lord.

Accept our repentance, Lord, for the wrongs we have done:
for our blindness to our bulging dirty clothes basket, and our
indifference to what remains that we can wear to work and not look like a fool,
Accept our repentance, Lord.

For all false judgments, for uncharitable thoughts toward our
neighbors who actually IRON their clothes, and for our prejudice and contempt toward those
who never seem to "run out" of any item of clothing,
Accept our repentance, Lord.

For our waste and pollution of your creation, and our lack of
concern for using "earth-friendly laundry products",
Accept our repentance, Lord.

Restore us, good Lord, and let your anger depart from us;
Favorably hear us, for your mercy is great.

Accomplish in us the work of our laundry,
That we may show forth your glory in the world.

By the cross and passion of your Son our Lord,
Bring us with all your saints to the joy of his resurrection, white as snow, like bleached socks and underwear.

The Bishop, if present, or the Priest, stands and, facing the people, says

Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who
desires not the death of laundry slugs, but rather that they may turn
from their wickedness and live, has given power and
commandment to his ministers to declare and pronounce to
his people, being penitent, the absolution and remission of
their manifold laundry sins. He pardons and absolves all those who truly
repent, and with sincere hearts believe his holy Gospel.

Therefore we beseech him to grant us true repentance and his
Holy Spirit, that those things may please him which we do on
this day, and that the rest of our life hereafter may be pure
and holy, so that at the last we may come to his eternal joy;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The officiant then says one of the following Collects. If desired, the
Collect of the Day may be used.

Heavenly Father, send your Holy Spirit into our hearts, to
direct and rule us according to your will, to comfort us in all
our laundry afflictions, to defend us from all error, and to lead us into
all truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Blessed Savior, at this hour you hung upon the cross,
stretching out your loving arms: Grant that all the peoples of
the earth may look to you as they stretch their clean garments

on the clothesline and be saved; for your tender
mercies' sake. Amen.

Almighty Savior, who at noonday called your servant Saint
Paul to be an apostle to the Gentiles: We pray you to illumine
the world with the radiance of your glory, white as bleached socks,

a brilliant rainbow of color purified with OxyClean, that all nations
may come and worship you; for you live and reign for ever
and ever. Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles, "Peace I give to
you; my peace I leave with you:" Regard not our sins,
but the faith of your Church, and give to us the peace and
unity of that heavenly city, gleaming with clotheslines

full of crisp blue jeans, clean white sheets and breeze-fresh linens, where with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, now and for ever. Amen.

Free intercessions may be offered.

The service concludes as follows

Officiant Let us bless the Lord.
People Thanks be to God.



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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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