Tuesday, February 1, 2011

From my Address at the Annual Parish Meeting

These are excerpts from my address at the Annual Parish Meeting: (you will be able to find my address at our website shortly)

Opening Prayer:

O God, make the door of this parish wide enough to receive all who need human love and fellowship, narrow enough to shut out all envy, pride and strife. Make its threshold smooth enough to be no stumbling block to children, nor to straying feet, but rugged and strong enough to turn back the tempter's power. God, make the door of this parish the gateway to your eternal kingdom. Amen. (adapted from a prayer by Thomas Ken, 1637 – 1711)

Poems in the Address:

If you come this way,
Taking any route, starting from anywhere,
At any time or any season,
It would always be the same: you would have to put off
Sense and notion.
You are not here to verify,
Instruct yourself, or inform curiosity
Or carry report.
You are here to kneel
Where prayer has been valid.
And prayer is more
Than an order of words, the conscious occupation
Of the praying mind, or the sound of the voice praying.

~T.S. Eliot

i am a little church (no great cathedral)
far from the splendor and squalor of hurrying cities
- i do not worry if briefer days grow briefest,
i am not sorry when sun and rain make april
my life is the life of the reaper and the sower;
my prayers are prayers of earth's own clumsily striving
(finding and losing and laughing and crying)
children whose any sadness or joy
is my grief or my gladness
around me surges a miracle
of unceasing birth and glory
and death and resurrection.
~ ee comings

Living Beatitudes
This week, if you do something for someone else for no other reason than to bring joy to their lives, blessed are you.

If you find yourself feeling the loss of a friend or loved one and, in missing them, you realize that you experienced the love of God in their love for you, blessed are you.

This week, if you put yourself second for the needs of another, blessed are you.
If you do the "right" thing when the conventional wisdom is to do the "smart" thing, blessed are you.

This week, if you forgive someone or if someone forgives you, blessed are you.
Sometime in the next few days, if you stop, unplug and spend even just a moment thinking about all the good in your life and find yourself embraced by a sense of gratitude, blessed are you.

This week, if you can diffuse someone's anger, if you can bridge the chasm between you and another, if you bring a positive perspective to an otherwise negative situation, blessed are you.

If you risk being laughed at or misunderstood or if you endure a "funny look" from someone because you took a stand based on what was morally and ethically right, blessed are you.

You have reason to be glad.

In the blessings you give, you have been blessed.

To be a people of the Beatitudes is to embrace the spirit of humility that begins with valuing life as a gift from God, a gift we have received only through God's mysterious love, not through anything we have done to deserve it. Jesus calls all who would be his disciples to live the "blessedness" of the Sermon on the Mount: to embrace a spirit of humble gratitude before the God who gives, nurtures and sustains our lives and to respond to such unfathomable love the only way we can: by returning that love to others, God's children, as a way of returning it to God. ~ Jay Cormier

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