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Showing posts from January, 2017

God tells 'em outright

What does God require of you, but to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God. 
In 1862, at the age of 24, George W. Haigh responded to the call from Abraham Lincoln to shore up Union troops in the Civil War. He joined the 24th Michigan Infantry Company D, composed of men from Wayne County. The 24th Michigan Infantry participated in several key battles of the Civil War, most notably the battle at Gettysburg. Known as the bloodiest battle, all the troops, on both sides of the conflict, incurred a 73% casualty rate. George survived the war and went on to live another 58 years. He was on the very first Vestry of Christ Church along with his brother Richard. George died in 1920 and in 1923 two parishioners designed and made the stone baptismal font in his memory. When this church was built in 1949 a special nook was created in the entrance way to hold the font. Today it stands as a reminder of who we are as Christ Church, a people with a long history of responding to the needs o…

Hope, the nourishment of life

I have always been interested in the how the body works and fascinated by cellular biology in particular. Perhaps, if I were going to college now, I would study epigenetics, which looks at how life’s stressors change one’s DNA, altering what is passed down to subsequent generations. These are not changes to one’s actual DNA code, but rather they influence how our genetic material functions by triggering what part of one’s gene’s get activated or not to fight off physical or mental disease. For example, scientific evidence shows that people who have been subjected to trauma, like starvation, incur changes in their genetic material which is passed down to later generations, possibly causing obesity.
Instead of becoming a scientist I’ve spent most of my life as a parish priest. However, I think that in many ways this vocation is directly linked to my ancestors. Rooted, perhaps, in some spiritual transference of inspiration from my Mormon pioneer relatives who took great risks crossing oce…

Hearts Wide Open

The night sky, over an abandoned field outside of Ft. Worth, Texas, seemed to go on forever, the darkness broken only by the twinkling stars above and the distant glow from a large white tent. Several hundred people, more or less, filtered into the tent and sat down on wooden folding chairs. The dais, a makeshift wooden platform only a few inches high, focused our attention in one direction. I have no idea who the speaker was, some itinerant Christian preacher man who railed about Jesus and the need to be saved. Come up now, he cried at one point, come with me, make Jesus your personal savior. Who knows why, but I went with him, along with some other people, to a smaller tent where we sat again. I remember sitting with my eyes closed, listening, trying to be present to a place deep inside myself. And there, in the far recesses of my being, I had the comforting awareness that I didn’t need to be there. Jesus was already part of me and I was already part of Jesus and I did not need this…

Choosing Hope

Bill and Jody were a parishioner couple in the first church I served as a Rector. Bill was perpetually grumpy in a charming kind of way and Jody was consistently cheerful. They had been married a long time, raised four kids. Jody was the chair of the altar guild so she and I spent a lot of time together, not just preparing for worship, but outside of church as well. I knew her kids and her grandkids. Bill was diagnosed with lung cancer but it was slow progressing and he was managing okay. So it came as quite a shock when I got a call one day that Jody had suffered an aneurism and was in the ICU. I rushed to the hospital and learned that she was on life support and the doctors were certain that she was brain dead. Bill was devastated. Over the next week their children and grandchildren came in to town. One granddaughter had to be flown in from Iraq and a grandson had to come from Afghanistan, but thankfully the military gave them both leaves to come home. We gathered more than once aro…