The Woman Who Only Turned Right

At first I thought it was just an eccentricity; when Vicki Starr drove, she only made right turns.

It was almost the first thing I learned about her, as the subject quickly came up in a conversation about following her car to get to her house. Steve and I were going to be living for a few months in a cabin on her property, until the house we were moving into was ready for us. It was the one occasion I knew her to compromise and turn left, and she did it more out of concern for our eighteen-year-old cat than for us; he had been on a three thousand mile road trip, and she wanted him to feel at home right away. Continue reading

Eclipse

In March of 1970, there was a total eclipse of the sun, visible in New England.

It was a beautiful Saturday, about noon, when my family went to the top of a hill for a good view. My mother told me that the moon was going to cover up the sun, and it would get dark. I found that hard to believe, and thought she might be wrong about this eclipse thing. Continue reading

Godforsaken

Godforsaken.

The battlefield of parched bones we hear about from Ezekiel is a lonelier view than a person would usually see wandering in the wilderness. It is a vision of destruction—the evidence of the failure that that led to bondage and exile. Ezekiel wrote, six centuries before Jesus, about the crushing defeat of the people of Israel at the hands of the Babylonians. Continue reading

Living Water

I’d like to speak about boundaries.

On one side of the boundary is US and our tribe, those like US. On the other side of the boundary are NOT US, and not our tribe: those who are not like US. We’ve been talking about the boundaries in our Lenten Series: Blessed are the Poor–about the boundary between those who have enough and those who do not. I’d like to talk about another boundary: the boundary between Christians and Jews. Continue reading

Perfect?

Matthew 5:38-48

Jesus said:

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Perfect. Did you hear that? Perfect. Jesus said “Be perfect, as God is perfect.” What a burden.  No-one can do it. We are all going to come up short. “Perfect” is a problem–it leads us to perfectionism– Continue reading

Beware of Literalism!

Matthew 5:21-37

If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell.

Before we go any further—as a priest in the Episcopal Church I’ve got to tell you—no way can you read this text literally.

As a community, we’d have a lot of one-eyed, one-handed parishioners, for starters! How could Jesus mean this literally? He’s a healer! Doctors don’t tell you to pull out your eye! Continue reading

A Dove-like Experience

On Day One—John the Baptist says, “There is the Lamb of God!” pointing to Jesus.

We are not sure exactly who he is talking to–then he tells his experience of recognizing Jesus as the Messiah, when John baptized him in the River Jordan.  Continue reading

The Baptism of Jesus, and the YOU of God

A few years ago, I was trading emails with a priest who serves at Trinity Wall Street; Mark Bozzuti-Jones is their priest for pastoral care and community.

I don’t remember anymore what we were talking about, but I will never forget how he addressed me in those emails. He called me Anne of God! I found that very daunting. I wondered how anyone would live up to a name like that. Continue reading

The Birth of God’s Word

By Christmas morning we have told the story of Jesus’ birth in the stable many times in this parish church.

At two p.m. we used the crèche to tell the story to the tots and toddlers. At four p.m. the older children told the story themselves–dressed in costume and singing favorite carols. When we tell stories to children they want to know: what happened? And what happened next? Continue reading

Perspective

When astronauts are in outer space, they spend their free time looking at Earth.

They call it “Earth gazing.”

In the vast expanse of black, they see a little blue planet, and they can’t keep their eyes off it. Continue reading