Day of Pentecost

A blessed Pentecost, friends! May you know the power of the risen and reigning Christ resting on you and working through you today, tomorrow, and always! 


Look: Anatomy of A Flame, Chemical Atlas - Flame


Listen: “The Source” from There’s A Light, Liz Vice

Spotify | YouTube | Lyrics

Listen to my entire playlist on Spotify: Pentecost 2019. Add it to your account by clicking ‘Follow.’


Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth.”

*

”These all look to you,
to give them their food in due season.
When you give it to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
when you take away their breath, they die
and return to their dust.
When you send forth your Spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the ground.”

*

”For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’”

*

”And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:

“‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
— Genesis 11:1-9 * Psalm 104:27-30 * Romans 8:14-15 * Acts 2:3-4, 14-21 (ESV)

Pray:

Almighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life to every race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy Spirit: Shed abroad this gift throughout the world by the preaching of the Gospel, that it may reach to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
— Book of Common Prayer, Collect for The Day of Pentecost: Whitsunday

Do:

Enjoy a campfire this evening.

How to: Start a campfire with one match

Enjoy a campfire this evening and take a moment to read Malcolm Guite's sonnet for Pentecost:

Pentecost

Today we feel the wind beneath our wings
Today  the hidden fountain flows and plays
Today the church draws breath at last and sings
As every flame becomes a Tongue of praise.
This is the feast of fire,air, and water
Poured out and breathed and kindled into earth.
The earth herself awakens to her maker
And is translated out of death to birth.
The right words come today in their right order
And every word spells freedom and release
Today the gospel crosses every border
All tongues are loosened by the Prince of Peace
Today the lost are found in His translation.
Whose mother-tongue is Love, in  every nation.


See Pentecost posts from previous years here.

Seventh Sunday of Eastertide: Are We Not One

The celebration continues with the Great Fifty Days called Eastertide. I hope you’re enjoying the Practice Resurrection series each week. Hallelujah! Christ is risen!


Look: Feast of the Redeemer, Maurice Prendergast


Listen: “Are We Not One”, Young Oceans

Spotify | YouTube | Lyrics

Listen to my entire playlist on Spotify: Resurrection 2019. Add it to your account by clicking ‘Follow.’


About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.”

*

”Zion hears and is glad,
and the daughters of Judah rejoice,
because of your judgments, O Lord.
For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth;
you are exalted far above all gods.

O you who love the Lord, hate evil!
He preserves the lives of his saints;
he delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
Light is sown for the righteous,
and joy for the upright in heart.
Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous,
and give thanks to his holy name!”

*

”“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.”

*

”“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
— Acts 16:25-34 * Psalm 97:8-12 * Revelation 22:16-17 * John 17:20-26 (ESV)

Pray:

O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen
— Book of Common Prayer, Collect for Seventh Sunday of Eastertide

Do: One last week!

50 Ways for 50 Days of Easter.png

In previous years, we've celebrated the Great 50 Days between Easter Sunday and Pentecost Sunday (aka, Eastertide) with a series I've dubbed Practice Resurrection (after the Wendell Berry poem). It's one of my favorite series all year, and I've enjoyed each week so far. I’ll be sharing your #practiceresurrection2019 photos this week, and I need your photos and captions to make it work!

One last time, check out the list of ideas I brainstormed for simple ways to practice resurrection.

Choose 1 idea for the week or for each day, and whatever you do, do it with gusto!

Here's how you can share your photo stories with me for the blog:

1. Add something to your day that helps you practice resurrection (one day or fifty days -doesn't matter).

2. Take a picture and write a description in 1-50 words. 

3. Share it with me via email, share on my Facebook page, or tag me on Instagram (you can tag me with @a_sacramental_life or use the #PracticeResurrection2019 hashtag.) 

I look forward to hearing from you!


(See all Eastertide posts from 2018 here.)

Ascension Day!

Today is Ascension Day, ten days before Pentecost!

As I grow deeper in my understanding of the life of Christ and am shaped year after year by the liturgical calendar, I've become especially fond of Ascension Day. It's not so much that I look forward to particular traditions as we have for so many other holy days but in the actual fact that Christ is ascended to the Father that's deepened me. Once again, as we've seen from the moment of conception to birth to baptism to crucifixion and resurrection, Christ's human life seamlessly integrates both divine and human realties. Through Christ, we are invited into the same earthy transcendence. This truth is as miraculous and ordinary as the bottom of Jesus' feet being lifted into a cloudy glory. Like the disciples, we're given glimpses while we wait to see this truth in its eternal entirety, and Ascension Day is a beautiful day to repeat our hallelujahs!

We celebrate the reality of Christ's ascension by spoken creed, yet I've only been vaguely aware of its theological significance for most of my life. I'm still just learning, and, typically, am aided most deeply through the body of artistic reflection accumulated throughout the history of Christianity. I hope the collection I’ve curated for us today will be meaningful for you, as well. You can see previous years' Ascension Day meditations here.

For more reflection, here are four brief, but meaningful, posts on the meaning of ascension:

Ascension Day, Note from the Rector by Fr. Brian Murphy at Church of the Apostles

Ascension Day and the Real Absence of Christ by Fr. Greg Goebel at Anglican Pastor

Ascension Day: Christ Our King and Brother by at The Homely Hours

Reflections on the Feast of the Ascension by Damian Howard SJ at Thinking Faith

Click on each image for artist’s name and image source.


Listen: “Alleluia, Sing to Jesus” from Urban Doxology

Spotify | YouTube | Lyrics

Listen to my entire playlist on Spotify: Ascension! Add it to your account by clicking ‘Follow.’


And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

*

The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt.
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
Your throne is established from of old;
you are from everlasting.”

*

”For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”

*

”Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.
— Acts 1:4-11 * Psalm 93:1-2 * Ephesians 1:15-23 * Luke 24:45-53 (ESV)

Pray:

Almighty God, whose blessed Son our Savior Jesus Christ ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things: Mercifully give us faith to perceive that, according to his promise, he abides with his Church on earth, even to the end of the ages; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
— Book of Common Prayer, Collect for Ascension Day

Do:

Look up today.

Meditate on the exalted, living Christ in glory who will surely return for us.

On Ascension Day, find a spot outdoors - a park, a hillside, a body of water - some place where you can see the open sky and clouds, to sit for an hour of meditation on the exaltation of Christ to glory.


(See all Ascension Day posts from previous years here.)

Sixth Sunday of Eastertide: Going Away / Coming Down

The celebration continues with the Great Fifty Days called Eastertide. I hope you’re enjoying the Practice Resurrection series each week. Hallelujah! Christ is risen!


Look: Sky Ladder (2015), Cai Guo Qiang

 

Artist’s statement: “‘This is where I want to make a ladder to connect the Earth to the universe,’ said Cai in 1994, ahead of his first, unsuccessful attempt to realize the project. Bad weather kept him from attempting the piece. He was similarly stymied in Shanghai in 2001, due to post-9/11 security concerns, and in Los Angeles in 2012, when the permit was revoked due to the risk of forest fires.

It took 21 years, but Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang has finally brought to life his dramatic Sky Ladder, an explosive artwork in which a flaming ladder seems to miraculously float above the earth.

One of several artist known for exploring fireworks as an art medium, Cai was also responsible for the pyrotechnic display that marked the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

The artist actually built the fiery ladder to the heavens back in June, but only uploaded the video of the stunning work to YouTube this week, where it quickly caught fire online. Now a viral sensation, the artwork was a gift to Cai’s grandmother, who just turned a venerable 100 years old, and to the rest of his family and hometown of Quanzhou, China.”


Listen: “Butterfly”, Josh Garrels

Spotify | YouTube | Lyrics

Listen to my entire playlist on Spotify: Resurrection 2019. Add it to your account by clicking ‘Follow.’


And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, “

*

”These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe.
— Revelation 21:10; John 14:25-29 (ESV)

Sunday Scripture readings are taken from the Revised Common Lectionary (Year C). Daily Scripture readings are taken from the Book of Common Prayer (Year 1), using the Psalm selections for Morning Prayer. This week’s readings include the Baruch from the Apocrypha so I’ve linked to the RSV. Here’s a helpful commentary If you’re wondering if Anglicans (or other Protestants) read the Apocrypha.


Pray:

O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
— Book of Common Prayer, Collect for Sixth Sunday of Eastertide

Do:

50 Ways for 50 Days of Easter.png

In previous years, we've celebrated the Great 50 Days between Easter Sunday and Pentecost Sunday (aka, Eastertide) with a series I've dubbed Practice Resurrection (after the Wendell Berry poem). It's one of my favorite series all year, and I'm excited to start again. I need your photos and captions to make it work. To help prime the pump, I thought you might enjoy the list of ideas I brainstormed for simple ways to practice resurrection.

Choose 1 idea or 50, but whatever you do, do it with gusto!

Here's how you can share your photo stories with me for the blog:

1. Add something to your day that helps you practice resurrection (one day or fifty days -doesn't matter).

2. Take a picture and write a description in 1-50 words. 

3. Share it with me via email, share on my Facebook page, or tag me on Instagram (you can tag me with @a_sacramental_life or use the #PracticeResurrection2019 hashtag.) 

I look forward to hearing from you!


(See all Eastertide posts from 2018 here.)

Fifth Sunday of Eastertide: All Things New

The celebration continues with the Great Fifty Days called Eastertide. I hope you’re enjoying the Practice Resurrection series each week. Hallelujah! Christ is risen!


Look: Sun, Edvard Munch


Listen: “Alleluia” from Receive the Glory, Glad

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Listen to my entire playlist on Spotify: Resurrection 2019. Add it to your account by clicking ‘Follow.’


Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts!

Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the Lord! For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them forever and ever; he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.

Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word!

Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars!
Beasts and all livestock, creeping things and flying birds!

Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and maidens together, old men and children!

Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven.
He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his saints, for the people of Israel who are near to him.
Praise the Lord!”

*

”Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.
— Psalm 148 * Revelation 21:1-6 (ESV)

Sunday:

Sunday Scripture readings are taken from the Revised Common Lectionary (Year C). Daily Scripture readings are taken from the Book of Common Prayer (Year 1), using the Psalm selections for Morning Prayer. This week’s readings include the Book of Wisdom from the Apocrypha so I’ve linked to the RSV. Here’s a helpful commentary If you’re wondering if Anglicans (or other Protestants) read the Apocrypha.


Pray:

Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant us so perfectly to know your Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his steps in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
— Book of Common Prayer, Collect for the Fifth Sunday in Eastertide

Do:

In previous years, we've celebrated the Great 50 Days between Easter Sunday and Pentecost Sunday (aka, Eastertide) with a series I've dubbed Practice Resurrection (after the Wendell Berry poem). It's one of my favorite series all year, and I'm excited to start again. I need your photos and captions to make it work. To help prime the pump, I thought you might enjoy the list of ideas I brainstormed for simple ways to practice resurrection.

Choose 1 idea or 50, but whatever you do, do it with gusto!

Here's how you can share your photo stories with me for the blog:

1. Add something to your day that helps you practice resurrection (one day or fifty days -doesn't matter).

2. Take a picture and write a description in 1-50 words. 

3. Share it with me via email, share on my Facebook page, or tag me on Instagram (you can tag me with @a_sacramental_life or use the #PracticeResurrection2019 hashtag.) 

I look forward to hearing from you!


(See all Eastertide posts from 2018 here.)