Sunday, July 15, 2012

Brian’s Reflection: Sunday, July 15, 2012

Blessed be the God .. of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing
in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before
the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before
him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through
Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the
praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

Ephesians 1 [ the Epistle for Sunday, July 15, Year B, RCL ]

[ The full text of the Readings for today can be found at:

The Gospel reading for today is the story of the beheading of John the Baptist. I don’t have much to say. So I leave you with the thoughts of my beloved friend Bob Anderson:  there are always the tyrants who live in fear and who create fear to hold onto their position and power … but there is always Hope, seen in Jesus as He confronts King Herod’s beheading of John by healing and curing. I guess I’d like to think that tyrants can be defeated by Hope …. So I will! See what you think as you hear and ponder this story today.

What I’ll be concentrating on today at worship are Paul’s words to the Ephesians, which I’ve quoted. I’ll be allowing myself to hear the word reminding me that I and we all are “holy and blameless before {God} in love … by {God’s} glorious grace … freely bestowed”.

I’ve read this passage every day this week …. and every day I’ve felt my spirit rise and my heart open, and been drawn away from the ways of fear and to the way of trust and hope.

I hope that you experience the same as you hear these grounding words this morning.



Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Brian’s Reflection: Thursday, July 12, 2012

Don’t Go Far Off

Don't go far off, not even for a day, because -- 

because -- I don't know how to say it: a day is long 

and I will be waiting for you, as in an empty station 

when the trains are parked off somewhere else, asleep. 

Don't leave me, even for an hour, because 

then the little drops of anguish will all run together, 

the smoke that roams looking for a home will drift 

into me, choking my lost heart. 

Oh, may your silhouette never dissolve on the beach; 

may your eyelids never flutter into the empty distance. 

Don't leave me for a second, my dearest, 

because in that moment you'll have gone so far 

I'll wander mazily over all the earth, asking, 

Will you come back? Will you leave me here, dying?

Pablo Neruda, Chilean poet, was born on this date,
1904. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1971,
and died in 1973, age 69

Remember the Song of Solomon in the Hebrew Scriptures? Neruda’s poem is close kin to it.

God is vast and utterly beyond our comprehension … so all the mystics of every religious tradition say. The other side of the coin, from our charmingly limited human nature? God is the Mythical, the Archetypal Lover, the One who shows us the path to Life on the path of Love and Compassion.

I hope you will savour Neruda’s wonderful love poem today … and may I suggest that it is a parable or a “symbol” of the love between that great Mystery we call “God” and ourselves.

But the speaker of this poem isn’t one of us human beings.

It is God.

God needs us to exist. And, as we properly understand the deep mystery of God, we need Her properly to comprehend our own reality and destiny.


Brian’s Reflection: Wednesday, July 11, 2012

At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr; on this date, 1977, the
Medal of Freedom was awarded him posthumously.

My experience of Life is that most human beings are afraid of the uniqueness of each person. I’m not sure why. Of course there are exceptions. So, we spend an enormous amount of energy trying to make people fit into “acceptable” boxes …. which results in enormous violence and fear in the World.

It would be an extremely good thing, in my humble opinion, if the human community could make joy in and appreciation of our uniqueness a common project … every religion, every ethnicity, every political system, every philosophy. The loss of the fear of each other would be an enormous boon to our common life.

I give big kudos to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, which just changed its canons to make sure that transgendered persons are not discriminated against in any of the structures of the church. One small step.

Today, I’d like to remind us of one key aspect of this process of changing the World and eliminating separation:    

Let us be non-violent to ourselves. Let us love ourselves. Let us be determined not to allow ourselves to be defined by other’s fear. In that freedom, let’s invite every person we meet to be true to their uniqueness.

I guarantee the World will be a much better place.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Brian’s Reflection: Tuesday, July 10, 2012

America isn’t the greatest country in the world anymore.

From the lead into the new HBO series “The Newsroom”

Now. If you don’t like swearing, and you don’t like criticism  -  I would say honest analysis  -  about America, then please don’t listen to this this morning. Use the 3:27 minutes to center in Love and go about the day.

I personally think that what this soundbite says is true to the facts. In it I hear the powerful words of truth of the great prophets of the past two millennia … from Isaiah and Amos to Dr. King and many others of our own time.

My point? This video addresses one of the core spiritual truths. There is no reason that America, or any other people or country, or any individual, can’t be great. But greatness can never be if one refuses to see or hear or listen to the Truth. The “Devil” is known as the Prince of Lies … and it is so very easy to be tempted to live the Lie …. we are so easily misled. But Jesus said, “You will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free” … nothing else. The Spirit Jesus promised to send is the Spirit of Truth …. and only following that Spirit leads to “all righteousness”. And Jesus understood that we have to be spiritually ready … He never demanded that anyone do what He said. He just held up the Path … which must be freely chosen. Alas, the Path is rarely preached fearlessly these days.

America is in a perilous time. We live on the edge of believing that American greatness and God’s desires and God’s Kingdom are one in the same. They are not … and as long as we think that they are, as long as we allow self-serving preachers and our own self-serving hearts to confuse us, we cannot and never will be great.

“Walk humbly with our God” means to see, with the inner eye, the Truth. And having seen it, to turn away and to change our lives.

The rather simplistic phrase goes, “Jesus died to save us all”. But there’s only one way to be “saved”:   to turn away from lies to the truth. That is the first step to greatness.


Brian’s Reflection: Monday, July 9, 2012

Brian’s Reflection: Monday, July 9, 2012

.. He {Jesus} could do no deed of power there,
except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them.
And he was amazed at their unbelief.

The Gospel called Mark 6
[The Gospel reading for Sunday, July 8, Proper 9 B RCL ]

[ The complete Readings for Sunday can be found at:

Love. Power. Wholeness. Healing.

They are critically interconnected. The World and the human community will be sick and powerless and fragmented as long as we do not understand and practice and live Love/Compassion.

[To my hearing, our new Rector picked up the same thing in his sermon:  his last words were something like, “Think how the World will change when we go out there and live like Jesus loved!”. I’ll be interested to see if as a preacher he’s “stuck in the same rut” I’ve been for 40 years … It’s all about Love.]

St. Paul, in the Epistle [II Corinthians 12], asking to be relieved of “a thorn in the flesh”, says Jesus said to him, My grace is sufficient for you; for power is made perfect in weakness. What that means to me is, When you discover the Divine Daughter/Son within yourself, and live that Divine Love, you will be healed and powerful and whole … and you will heal and make powerful and make whole … yourself and others.

I think it’s important to remember this:  the Gospel does not (in my experience) say that we must deny our Self, our Being, when we “submit to God”. It says that when we find the God Within, we find our deepest and truest Self.

Wholeness, Power, and Healing, defined by Love. That’s the Path.

Off we go.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Brian’s Reflection: Friday, July 6, 2012

When I was in the military,
they gave me a medal for killing two men
and a discharge for loving one.

Leonard Matlovich, a gay Vietnam Veteran

Leonard died in 1988 at age 45 of HIV-complicated illnesses.

What kind of society would you like to live in? What kind of moral construct would you like to live in?

One that rewards you for killing and punishes you for loving … or one that punishes you for killing and rewards you for loving?