29 January 2015

Altars of Christ Church, Chattanooga

First, some terminology.  The actual altar is the base.  Its top, or table, is called the mensa.  The shelves at the back which look like steps are called the retable.  The wooden screen behind the altar, some much more elaborate than others, some lacking one completely, is a reredos.  This last is sometimes confused with a rood screen, which is a wooden panel screening off the nave from the chancel, but with ample opening for the congregation to see what is going on.  These get their name from the cross, or rood, at the center top.

High altar of Christ Church

The Daughters of the King donated Christ Church’s first high altar, the one it used in the chapel in the Lewis Shepherd house and later after the new building opened 12 April 1908. 

In 1913, St. John the Evangelist in Toledo, Ohio, gifted Christ Church with what was for us a new high altar, and the Guild installed it at no cost to the parish in time for Easter that year, as reported by the wardens that Easter Monday.

(High altar, Christ Church, Weeks after Epiphany, 2015)

Around the same time that Fr. Robertson was communicating with Ralph Adams Cram in the 1920’s about plans for the renovation of the interior, parishioners started a fund for an even bigger altar than that received from St. John’s.  In the end, however, widening of that altar was incorporated into the plans drafted by Cram (and modified by local contractor Louis Bull) instead.  Careful examination will render obvious which part of the altar is original.

In addition to the widening, the first reredos donated to the original building by Mrs. Mary Walker and Mrs. E. C. Johnson fell victim to the renovation, along with the original retable.

The altar stone in its mensa was gifted to the parish in late 1944 or later.

Lady Chapel altar

The altar in the Lady Chapel, off  the epistle side of the narthex, was gifted as a memorial of Elizabeth Theone Hawk by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. M. P. Hawk.

(Lady Chapel altar, Christ Church, Weeks after Epiphany, 2015)

In the photographs from the Nativity Pageant of 1952 hanging on the wall of the working sacristy, the altar appears to be an entirely different model, but it is indeed the same.  Originally, the altar in the Lady Chapel had a retable (the shelves on back that look like steps) like the high altar.  

(Lady Chapel, Christ Church, Altar of Repose, 1942)

The retable was removed at the behest of the then current rector in 1989.

Side altars

In the original Christ Church nave opened on 12 April 1908, there were no side chapels off the chancel.  Creating them was part of Cram’s suggested renovations, of which the altars and their tabernacles were part.  

According to archive records, the altar on the Epistle side is officially the Altar of St. Joseph and the altar on the Gospel side is the Altar of St. Mary the Virgin.

(St. Joseph altar, Christ Church, Weeks after Epiphany, 2015)

(St. Mary's altar, Christ Church, Weeks after Epiphany, 2015)

St. John the Evangelist, Toledo, Ohio

Founded in 1863 as a mission of Trinity Church in Toledo, with Fr. Nathaniel R. High as its first rector.  Upon his death in 1884, the parish called Fr. Charles DeGarmo of the Diocese of Pennsylvania.  The liturgical and physical make-up of St. John’s almost immediately took a turn toward the Anglo-Catholic.  Fr. Degarmo instituted sung Mass, had a rood screen put in between the chancel and the sanctuary, hung a rather large and graphic crucifix above the high altar, used six candles rather than the simple two, and, horror of horrors, placed a side altar on one side of the chancel dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

These High Church (Anglo-Catholic) practices brought Fr. DeGarmo and St. John the Evangelist into direct conflict with the rest of the diocese, which was intensely Low Church (Evangelical, or Calvinistic), along with its very Calvinist-oriented Ordinary, Bishop George Bedell.  In 1887, Bishop Bedell and his council sent the parish a letter admonishing Fr. DeGarmo for the changes at the parish since his arrival and calling on him to recant.

(St. John the Evangelist, Toledo, Ohio)

One can only imagine the heads of that bishop and of those council members exploding upon walking into Christ Church.

The vestry of St. John’s responded with a letter condemning Bishop Bedell’s actions and having a copy published in the city’s main newspaper, which proves the direction taken was not just the will of the rector alonge.  The conflict ended only when Fr. DeGarmo accepted the call to a parish in the Diocese of Pennsylvania in 1888, after which the parish found itself saddled with a more compliant priest.

In 1912, the parish’s attendance and membership had dwindled to the point where it could barely keep its doors open.  Its vestry voted to merge with another struggling parish in Toledo, Calvary Episcopal, upon which the twain became St. Alban’s Episcopal Church.  Since the new parish occupied the facilities of the former Calvary Episcopal, the vestments, furnishings, font, candlesticks, and other accoutrements were sold off or donated.  With Christ Church in Chattanooga having a reputation as the first Anglo-Catholic parish in the South, it probably seemed natural to gift it with St. John’s high altar.

(Calvary/St. Alban's, Toledo, Ohio)

Information on St. John’s from Fr. Brian Wilbert, archivist of the Diocese of Ohio and rector of Christ Church, Oberlin, Ohio.

Christ Church's baptismal font

In 1882, St. Paul’s Church established a mission in the neighborhood west of Cameron Hill a little south of the west end of Sixth Street.  At that time, Sixth Street came over the hill where West Martin Luther King Boulevard (formerly West 9th Street) does now, while Ninth Street crossed over a couple of blocks south of that.  The neighborhood, later known as Tannery Flats, had been built for the employees at Roane Iron Works, founded and owned by former Union officers John T. Wilder, Hiram Chamberlain, and W.A. Rockwood.

St. John’s Chapel, was built with funds raised by Miss E. C. Buckler, who had organized a Sunday school of about eighty pupils, from her friends in the east.  St. John’s was a brick structure west of the hill in the neighborhood was later known as the Tannery Flats, at the corner of Ninth Street and Short Street.  Bishop Q. T. Quintard, a former chaplain in the Confederate army, consecrated the chapel on 19 February 1882.  Among its furnishings was a marble baptismal font given by Mrs. John Minturn.

In 1890, Roane Iron Works shut its doors, driven out of business by the rapid progress in technologies to produce low-cost steel in the North.  With its closing, much of the surrounding population drifted away, including current and potential members of St. John’s Chapel.  It soon closed, and when Christ Church organized eleven years later, it was gifted the font, which was originally placed in what used to be the baptistery at the liturgical north end of the narthex.

What few records exist from St. Paul’s in the 1868-1909 period indicate that from 1890 until 1909, the main church building was not used.

24 January 2015

Patronal feast day of Christ Church, Chattanooga

Corpus Christi has been the official patronal festival of Christ Church (William Clendenin Robertson Memorial) in Chattanooga since sometime in 1933, according to the senior warden's report at the annual parish meeting on 15 January 1934.  Trinity Sunday was also designated a day for special observance as a memorial of the church’s dedication.

Corpus Christi is the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, transferrable in the Episcopal Church to the following Sunday in case of it being a patronal feast, which it is here, and in the Roman Church in places where it is not a Holy Day of Obligation.

I'm not sure when the stone cross was embedded in the mensa of the high altar, but since it is the relic of a saint, maybe we should add Callistus' feast day (14 October) as another day of special observance, like the vestry of 1933 did for Trinity Sunday.

Since the parish held its first Communion service on Ash Wednesday, that should probably be a day of special commemoration also, in addition to its other meanings.

Incidentally, I referred to the parish as I did initially because the full name of the church and parish, as consecrated in 1944 by Bishop James Maxon is "Christ Church (William Clendenin Robertson Memorial)", according to the certificate in the narthex signed by the bishop.

Altar relic of Christ Church, Chattanooga

This is about the altar relic of Christ Church (William Clendenin Robertson Memorial) in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and that parishes feast day(s).

In the center of the mensa (top surface) of the high altar, there is a small stone cross inscribed with the Latin phrase “EX COEM CALLISTI”.  An afternoon search through the historical records in the archives turned up what it is and where it came from.

The stone is a relic from the Catacomb of St. Callistus, Pope (218-223) and martyr, given by Fr. Jerome Harris, a former communicant admitted as a postulant of the Diocese of Tennessee on St. Bartholomew’s Day (24 August) in 1915.  He served as associate rector and then rector at St. Ignatius in New York City for decades.

Callistus himself is not buried there, but in the Catacomb of St. Calepodius.  He did, however, build the catacomb named for him while he was a deacon for Pope Zephyrinus.  A slave then a convict before his conversion, he was elected Bishop of Rome almost immediately after Zephyrinus' death in 218.

Callistus was the first Bishop of Rome to face an antipope, the better known to history Hippolytus.  Among the complaints of the latter were that Callistus had the temerity to readmit to Holy Communion those guilty of fornication, adultery, and murder after they had completed their penance, those who had renounced their faith in fear of torture or death, and repentant heretics.

According to the most reliable account, St. Callistus was killed during a riot in Rome and is considered a martyr, the first leader of the church in Rome martyred since St. Peter.  His feast day is 14 October.

Fr. Jerome Harris

Fr. Harris, who gave the parish the stone presently embedded in the altar (the one from the Catacomb of St. Callistus), was originally a communicant.  He was admitted by Bishop Thomas Gailor as a postulant on St. Bartholomew’s Day (24 August) in 1915.  His priestly career took him to the Diocese of New York, where he was associate rector then rector of St. Ignatius in NYC, and later vicar of St. John’s in Springfield Gardens of Queens, NY.  He frequently visited home, and was one of the celebrants at the Requiem Mass for Mother Mary Gabriel of the Sisters of the Tabernacle in 1930.

Christ Church's altar stone

Upon the consecration of Christ Church in 1944, Fr. Harley Bullock, a priest who began as a postulant from the parish (ordained in 1931), gave a rather large altar stone with a depressed cavity in the center top for relics.  Engraved in the center was a cross, as well as a cross at each of the four corners.  In the end, Fr. Fox and the vestry decided that Bullock’s stone was too heavy, and placed it in “the Sacristy”.  Shortly after I began attending Christ Church, Fr, Jon had me place it on the table where the oblations sit before the offertory.

Fr. Bullock was Locum Tenens (basically, priest-in-residence) of Christ Church 1941-1942 during the time when Fr. Thorne Sparkman, rector of St. Paul’s, was our priest-in-charge under the diocese’s Chattanooga Plan.  After that, he was vicar at Grace Memorial Church, where he was at the time of the consecration of Christ Church in March 1944 and when he gave the altar stone that July

19 January 2015

Martin Luther King quotes

Fifty-eight tweetable quotes, courtesy of AmericaWakieWakie, plus twelve longer quotes courtesy of Scott Kaufman on Raw Story (URLs below) 

“All of us are on trial in this troubled hour.” — MLK (1968)

“We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.” — MLK, Aug. 28, 1963

“The white man does not abide by the law… His police forces are the ultimate mockery of law.” — MLK (1968)

“We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity.” — MLK, Aug. 28, 1963

“We have got to go all out to deal with the question of segregation justice. We still have a long, long, way to go.” — MLK (1965)

“How long will justice be crucified and truth buried, how long?” — MLK (1962)

“Wounded justice lying prostrate on the streets of our cities.” — MLK (1962)

“The beating and killing of our… young people will not divert us. The arrest and release of known murderers will not discourage us.” — MLK

“When we truly believe in the sacredness of human personality, we won’t exploit people … we won’t kill anybody.” — MLK (1968)

“I believe that the dignity & the worth of human personality will be respected one day. I believe this and I live by it.” — MLK (1964)

“The first thing that must be on the agenda of our nation is to get rid of racism.” — MLK (1968)

“The thing wrong with America is white racism.” — Martin Luther King Jr. (1968)

“Large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility & the status quo than about justice & humanity.” — MLK

“However difficult it is to hear, however shocking it is to hear, we’ve got to face the fact that America is a racist country.” — MLK (1968)

“Racism is a philosophy based on contempt for life.” — MLK (1967)

“We must come to see that the roots of racism are very deep in our country.” — MLK

“There must be something positive & massive in order to get rid of all the effects of racism & the tragedies of racial injustice.” — MLK

“White America has allowed itself to be indifferent to race prejudice.” — MLK (1968)

“I am sorry to have to say that the vast majority of white Americans are racists, either consciously or unconsciously.” — MLK (1967)

 “The doctrine of white supremacy was imbedded in every textbook and preached in practically every pulpit… It became a structural part of the culture.” — Martin Luther King Jr. on white supremacy (1967)

“The great majority of Americans… are uneasy with injustice but unwilling yet to pay a significant price to eradicate it.” — MLK

“There aren’t enough white persons in our country who are willing to cherish democratic principles over privilege.” — MLK

“The blanket of fear was lifted by Negro youth. When they took their struggle to the streets a new spirit of resistance was born.” — MLK

“When [Black youth] cheerfully became jailbirds & troublemakers… they challenged & inspired white youth to emulate them.” — MLK

“We have, through massive non-violent action, an opportunity to avoid a national disaster & create a new spirit of class & racial harmony.” — MLK

“I’ve just come to a conclusion that our country doesn’t really move on these issues until a movement is mobilized.” — MLK (1968)

“I’m talking about poor people’s power. That is what is needed.” — MLK (1968)

“Every [person] of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits [his or her] convictions, but we must all protest.” — MLK

“There must be more than a statement to the larger society; there must be a force that interrupts its functioning at some key point.” — MLK

“Non-violent protest must now mature to a new level… The higher level is mass civil disobedience.” — MLK (1967)

“Our power lies in our ability to say nonviolently that we aren’t gonna take it any longer.” — MLK (1967)

“I’m worried today when there are those who try to silence dissenters.” — MLK

“We aren’t going to let this attempt to crush dissent turn us around.” — MLK (1968)

“Our experience is that marches must continue over 30–45 days to produce any meaningful results.” — MLK

“I believe in dissent. We must never lose this.” — MLK

“The greatness of our nation — and I don’t want to see us lose it — is that… it does keep alive the opportunity to protest and dissent.” — MLK

“The time has come for an all-out world war against poverty.” — MLK

“The nation doesn’t move around questions of genuine equality for the poor and for black people
… until it is confronted massively, dramatically in terms of direct action.” — MLK

“Many white Americans of good will have never connected bigotry with economic exploitation.” — MLK

“In the final analysis, the rich must not ignore the poor because both rich and poor are tied together.” — MLK

“I choose to identify with the poor…. This is the way I’m going. If it means suffering a little bit, I’m going that way.” — MLK (1966)

“I think it is absolutely necessary now to deal massively and militantly with the economic problem.” — MLK, 10 days before assassination

“I still have to ask, why do you have 40 million people in our society who are poor? I have to ask that question.” — MLK (1966)

“Poverty, the gaps in our society, the gulfs between inordinate superfluous wealth & abject deadening poverty have brought about… despair” — MLK

“There’s going to have to be more sharing in this world.” — MLK (1967)

“Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention. There is no other answer.” — MLK (1967)

“Riots are not the causes of white resistance, they are consequences of it.” — MLK(1967)

“There are many persons who wince at a distinction between property & persons — who hold both sacrosanct. My views are not so rigid.” — MLK

“Three hundred years of humiliation, abuse and deprivation cannot be expected to find voice in a whisper.” — MLK

“It is clear that the riots were exacerbated by police action that was intended to injure or even to kill people.” — MLK (1968)

“Our summers of riots are caused by winters of delay.” — MLK

“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated.” — MLK

“The black revolution is much more than a struggle for the rights of Negroes… It is, rather, forcing America to face all its interrelated flaws: racism, poverty, militarism, and materialism.” — MLK (1968)

“Local problems are all interconnected with world problems.” — MLK (1968)

“I’m still convinced that the struggle for peace and the struggle for justice… happen to be tied together.” — MLK (1968)

“We aren’t going to have peace on earth until we recognize this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.” — MLK

“So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. So we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would hardly live on the same block in Chicago. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.” — MLK

“This almost ‘lunatic fringe’ of modern child care has been responsible for most strange and fantastic methods of child rearing in many American homes. The child is permitted to almost terrorize the home for fear of having its individuality repressed. Somewhere along the way every child must be trained into the obligations of cooperative living.” — MLK

Of the four children killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing: “They have something to say to every politician who has fed his constituents with the stale bread of hatred and the spoiled meat of racism. They have something to say to a federal government that has compromised with the undemocratic practices of southern Dixiecrats and the blatant hypocrisy of right-wing northern Republicans.” — MLK

“Organized labor has proved to be one of the most powerful forces in removing the blight of segregation and discrimination from our nation.”

“I can well understand your antagonistic attitude toward the Christian church for its failure to match practice with profession in the area of the brotherhood of man.” — MLK

Upon being arrested in Fulton County, Georgia: “Much to my chagrin, the jail is segregated, also.” — MLK

“Freedom only comes through persistent revolt, through persistent agitation, through persistently rising up against the system of evil.” — MLK

“It is a sad day for our country when men come to feel that oppressed people cannot desire freedom and human dignity unless they are motivated by Communism.” — MLK

“It seems to me that one must decide to either play gospel music or rock and roll. The two are totally incompatible. The profound sacred and spiritual meaning of the great music of the church must never be mixed with the transitory quality of rock and roll music.” — MLK

“The principle of self-defense, even involving weapons and bloodshed, has never been condemned, even by Gandhi, who sanctioned it for those unable to master pure nonviolence.” — MLK

“Marriage is at bottom a mutual agreement between two individuals. One always has the freedom to say yes or no to the agreement.” — MLK

“We must be concerned not merely about who murdered them, but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murderers.” — MLK



13 January 2015

Great Commandment Prayer

I have included in several previous postings but thought it deserved its own entry.  I composed the prayer from various expressions of faith of the three Abrahamic religions.

Great Commandment Prayer

May we love the Lord our God who is the One, both compassionate and merciful, with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength.  May we love our neighbors as ourselves.  And may we love one another, Rabbana, just as you loved us, for there is no greater calling than to love.  Amen.

The Gospel Rosary

The Scripture passages used herein are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

I call this the Gospel Rosary because it follows the timeline of the gospels and because it is more about the message than the creeds.  It begins with the Baptism rather than with the Nativity and Infancy narratives because those were very late additions to the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke.

This formula is meant to be said on a rosary of five decades.  There are three chaplets of events or “mysteries” for Monday-Thursday, Tuesday-Friday, and Wednesday-Saturday, and a fourth chaplet especially for Sunday.  The first three follow events of the life of Jesus from the Baptism through the Beatific Vision in chronological sequence; the fourth showcases encounters in which Jesus demonstrated that the greatest calling is to love.

There are four prayers for the small beads of the decades to be changed throughout the church year: a Memorial of the Incarnation, a Memorial of the Redemption, a Memorial of the Resurrection, and a Memorial of the Illumination.

Opening prayers

Sign of the Cross (Signum Crucis)

In the Name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Transformer, the One who is compassionate and mercifulAmen.

Still holding the cross, say:


V. Lord, open our lips.
R. And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
V. O God, make speed to save us.
R. O Lord, make haste to help us.
V. Glory be to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit:
R.  As it was, is now, and always shall be, forever and ever.  Amen.  Alleluia. 

In Lent, in place of “Alleluia” say: Praise to you, O Christ, King of eternal glory.

On the large bead say:

Lord’s Prayer

Father, blessed be your name.  May your dominion come and your will be done.  Let your Holy Spirit come upon us and cleanse us.  Give us what is sufficient day-by-day.  Forgive us our debts, as we forgive those indebted to us.  And save us from succumbing to temptation.  Amen.

Or this:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us each day our daily bread.  Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  Amen.

On the three small beads say, meditating on Faith, Hope, and Love:


Holy God,
Holy and Mighty,
Holy Immortal One,
Have mercy upon us.

On the chain say:

Minor Doxology (Gloria Patri)

Glory be to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit: As it was, is now, and always shall be, forever and ever.  Amen.

For each decade of beads:

On each large bead, say:

Father, blessed be your name.  May your dominion come and your will be done.  Let your Holy Spirit come upon us and cleanse us.  Give us what is sufficient day-by-day.  Forgive us our debts, as we forgive those indebted to us.  And save us from succumbing to temptation.  Amen.

On each of the ten small beads, say one of the following, according to the season:

From the First Sunday in Advent thru the Saturday before Transfiguration Sunday:

Memorial of the Incarnation (Gaude Maria)

Rejoice, Mary, favored one, for the Lord is with you: Blessed are you among women, Theotokos, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.  Amen.

Or this alternate form:

(Ave Maria)

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you: Blessed are you among women, Theotokos, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.  Amen.

From Transfiguration Sunday thru Holy Saturday, say:

Memorial of the Redemption (Salvator Mundi)

O Savior of the world, who by your cross and precious blood have redeemed us: Save us and help us, we humbly pray.  Amen.

From Easter Sunday thru Pentecost, say:

Memorial of the Resurrection (Pascha Nostrum)

Alleluia.  Christ our Passover has been raised from the dead.  Alleluia.  The first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.  Amen.  Alleluia.

From Whit Monday thru the Saturday before Advent, say:

Memorial of the Illumination (Verbum Incarnavit)

The Word lived among us, full of grace and truth, a light shining in the darkness: We have seen the glory of this, the Chosen One, and through him that of God.  Amen.

On the chain at the end of the first four decades, say:

Glory be to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit: As it was, is now, and always shall be, forever and ever.  Amen.

And then add:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior, have mercy upon me, a sinner.

On the chain at the end of the fifth decade, substitute the Major Doxology (Gloria in excelsis) for the Minor (Gloria Patri).

            Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, and good will among humanity.
            Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.
            Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer.
            For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Then say:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior, have mercy upon me, a sinner.

Followed by the closing prayers below, after the Mysteries.

First Chaplet

To be said Mondays and Thursdays

1. The Baptism of Jesus
(Luke 3:2-3, 15-16, 21-22)

During the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness.  He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”  Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove.  And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; today I have begotten you.”

2. The Wedding at Cana
(John 2:1-12)

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.  Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”  And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.”  His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”  Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.  Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.  He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it.  When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.”  Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.  After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples; and they remained there a few days.

3. The Proclamation of the Kingdom
(Luke 4:16-21; 7:20, 22)

When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free to proclaim the year of the Lord’s jubilee.”  And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.  Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

When the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?’”  And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them.”

4. Anointing at Simon the Pharisee’s house
(Luke 7:36-44a)

One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table.  And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment.  She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner.”  Jesus spoke up and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Teacher,” he replied, “speak.”   “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.  When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?”  Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt.” And Jesus said to him, “You have judged rightly.”

5. The Feeding of the Five Thousand
(Mark 6:34-44)

As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.  When it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now very late; send them away so that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy something for themselves to eat.”  But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” They said to him, “Are we to go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?”  And he said to them, “How many loaves have you? Go and see.” When they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.”  Then he ordered them to get all the people to sit down in groups on the green grass.  So they sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties.  Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all.  And all ate and were filled; and they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish.  Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand.

Second Chaplet

To be said Tuesdays and Fridays

6. The Confession of Peter
(Matthew 16:13-17)

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”  And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”  He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”  Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”  And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven.”

7. The Transfiguration
(Mark 9:2-8)

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them,  and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them.  And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus.  Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three shrines, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”  He did not know what to say, for they were terrified.  Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!”  Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them anymore, but only Jesus.

8. The Cleansing of the Temple
(John 2:13-19)

The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables.  Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.  He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!”  His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”  The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?”  Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

9. The Institution of the Eucharist
(Luke 22:14-20)

When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him.  He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;  for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”  Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”  Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”  And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”

10. The Crucifixion
(Mark 15:23-37)

And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it.  And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take.  It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him.  The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.”  And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left.  Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!”  In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself.  Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also taunted him.  When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.  At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah.”  And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.”  Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.

Third Chaplet

To be said Wednesdays and Saturdays

11. The Resurrection
(Matthew 28:1-10)

After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.  And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.  His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.  For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men.  But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.  He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.  Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.”  So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.  Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him.   Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

12. The Ascension
(Acts 1:6-11)

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?”  He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set 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, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.  While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them.  They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

13. The Descent of the Holy Spirit
(Acts 1:13-14, 2:1-4)

When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James.  All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.  When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.  And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.  Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

14. The Community of Saints
(1 Corinthians 12:22-27)

On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another.  If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

15. The Beatific Vision
(Revelation 4:1-11)

After this I looked, and there in heaven a door stood open! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”  At once I was in the spirit, and there in heaven stood a throne, with one seated on the throne!  And the one seated there looks like jasper and carnelian, and around the throne is a rainbow that looks like an emerald.  Around the throne are twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones are twenty-four elders, dressed in white robes, with golden crowns on their heads.  Coming from the throne are flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and in front of the throne burn seven flaming torches, which are the seven spirits of God; and in front of the throne there is something like a sea of glass, like crystal.  Around the throne, and on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind:  the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with a face like a human face, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle.  And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and inside. Day and night without ceasing they sing, “Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God the Almighty, who was and is and is to come.”  And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to the one who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever,  the twenty-four elders fall before the one who is seated on the throne and worship the one who lives forever and ever; they cast their crowns before the throne, singing, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

Fourth Chaplet

To be said Sundays

16. On the Sabbath
(Mark 2:23-27)

One Sabbath he was going through the grain fields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain.  The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”  And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food?  He entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and he gave some to his companions.”  Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the Sabbath”.

17. Samaritan woman at the well
(John 4:5-7, 9a, 10-15)

So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.  A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.”  The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?”  Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”  The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water?  Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?”  Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.”  The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”

18. Healing of the Centurion’s servant
(Matthew 8:5-8, 10, 13)

When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible distress.”  And he said to him, “I will come and cure him.”  The centurion answered, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed”.  When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, “Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.”  And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you according to your faith.” And the servant was healed in that hour.

19. The Woman Caught in Adultery
(John 8:3-11)

The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery.  Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”  They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.  When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”  And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground.   When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.  Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”  She said, “No one, sir.”  And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”

20. Render unto God what is his
(Matthew 22:15-21)

Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said.  So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality.  Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?”  But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites?  Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius.  Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?”  They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

Closing prayers:

After the Major Doxology at the end of the fifth decade and the Jesus Prayer, say:

Peace Prayer

Remind us, Rabbana, to be instruments of your peace.  Let us show love where there is hatred; pardon where there is injury; union where there is discord; trust where there is doubt; hope where there is despair; your light where there is darkness; joy where there is sadness.  May we seek rather to console than to be consoled; to understand than to understood; to love than to be loved. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are forgiven; and it is in dying that we live.  Amen.

Great Commandment prayer

May we love the Lord our God who is the One with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength.  May we love our neighbors as ourselves.  And may we love one another, Rabbana, just as you loved us, for there is no greater calling than to love.  Amen.

11 January 2015

Murder in Paris

The cartoonists and journalists who died at Charlie Hebdo on Black Wednesday would have had nothing but utter contempt for the dog and pony show perpetrated on their graves this Sunday.  I wish they were able to publishing in this week’s edition along with their still-living colleagues to show just how deep that contempt would be.  The jockeying for position at the head of the march disgraced all of those opportunistic so-called “leaders”.  Their own interests is all that they serve.  They surely do not serve liberty, equality, or fraternity.  Not one of them.  They remind me of the opportunistic infections contracted by someone with AIDS.

Hollande couldn’t avoid being there, but the rest should have stayed home.  The phrase that for me best fits all those so-called “leaders” (except for Hollande) is “walang hiya”. It's Tagalog for “no shame”, but it doesn't carry the same weight in translation to English that it has in Tagalog.

After watching clips and reading stories all day, posting most of them to Facebook and Twitter, sharing several of their cartoons, I texted my son to tell him I had just heard of openings at a satirical magazine in Paris, where I lived for a few months in 2011.  Dark, yes, but the people at Charlie Hebdo would have gotten the joke.

The same phrase, walang hiya, comes to mind when Bill Donohue of the Catholic League and media mogul Rupert Murdoch suggest that they somehow contributed to their own deaths.  I wonder if either of the two would feel so righteously sanctimonious were it they in the morgue rather than the cartoonists and writers.

I have equal contempt for those on those on both wings of the political spectrum who have used the incidents of the past week to thump their own agenda.

The right wing, the ultra-Zionists, uber-Christians, and neoconservative imperialists try to further their Islamophobic, anti-Arab agenda and drum up support for their own power.  They are the very creators of the conditions which brought these events about, not the victims.  So, more of the same noise, noise, noise we’ve been hearing for the past thirteen years and four months.

Meanwhile, many on the left step forward as the great protectors of their little brown brothers to suggest, like Donohue, that the dead were somehow culpable for their own homicides because of the content of their publication.  Yea, great way to support free speech.  And, by the way, most of the folks you pretend to protect are among the most appalled at this past week’s atrocities and the most embarrassed by you.  Your patronizing presumption is no less imperialist than that of the right that you scorn.

Lastly, the wing-nuts and their gullible followers trying to claim “false flag”.  Get a life.  Give the dead the dignity of having been murdered for the reasons they were murdered by the two people, Said and Cherif Kouachi, who actually killed them rather than inventing ghosts and goblins and “parallel structures” and nefarious X-Files style plots.

We can’t forget that two cops trying to do their duty, both trying to protect the other victims, died also, one shot dead even after being neutralized already, himself a Muslim, one of those in whose name the Kouachi brothers purportedly perpetrated their acts. 

Another officer died the next day at the hands of a confederate of the Kouachis, Amedly Coulibaly, just fifteen days out of the academy.  Unarmed, she was directing traffic at the time and was killed for her uniform.  On Friday, Coulibaly murdered four men in a kosher grocery for the crime of being Jewish, deaths as purposeless as the officer’s of the day before.  Thirteen others patrons were saved by the quick-thinking of the grocery’s Muslim employee.

None of the seventeen dead in any way deserved to have their natural lives cut short at the hands of another human.  None deserve to have their deaths used as a political prop.

To the opportunistic “leaders”, the talking heads and ideologues on the right and the left, the conspiracy theorists, the Islamophobes, and most of all to the dead murderers, I hold up my pen, and give up the thumbs-up, Iranian-style.

Je suis Charlie.

Je suis Ahmed.  

Je suis Clarissa.  

Je suis Juif.  

Merci , Lassana.

There is but one race, the human race.  I am a Terran, a citizen of Earth; the whole world is my home, and all its people my brothers, sisters, and cousins.