Bible Verse: "Boaz told the young men, 'Let Ruth glean even among the standing sheafs and do not reproach her... even pull out some handfulls for her'" - Ruth 2:15-16
Reflection: As this story develops we see the close affinity of affection between Boaz and Ruth but also a relationship of dutiful care. This is only a reflection of the Lord's intended relationship with us... He calls us to work but with His protection and provision.
Prayer: O Lord, give me strength to do the work I have to do this day; give me wisdom and grace to know your presence, protection and provision. In Jesus' Name. Amen
Not only did I succumb to watching this series but did it with passion... Series I and Series II went by in a flash (probably I was the one who kept taking the episodes fromt TLA - sorry!). Just in case you don't know this is about "Madison Avenue" men and women in the very early 1960's... awash in alcohol and swathed in cigarette smoke. Apparently some of the actors were chosen mindful that they had once smoked and so could do so with some comfort (and style)... and, is this really true, the cigarettes were made of some herbal concoction.
An amazingly realistic of a 1960's production... I don't think I've ever been more aware of silences (necessary and eloquent) in a tv series before - remarkable!
Only yesterday I made some reference to Mad Men and saw sermon auditors smiling, nodding and prodding one another (!). I am not going to divulge any secrets nor surprises but, suffice it to say, the story illustrates well the battle between being healthy, sane, individual and independent in an institution (oh yes, that has a message for the church!).
But one scene I must share with you all... the one where Don Draper and family have a family picnic. Not only does he finish his beer and throw the can away (aghast sighs) but then the elegant Betty lifts the picnic blanket and leaves the detritus on the bright green grass... now there's a warning, surely, about how we can all too easily leave detritus and emotional trash behind us... no matter how nicely we fold the blanket!
Not sure when I'll be watching Series III - but it will happen!
You would think that after thirty two years of ordained ministry, of wearing this plastic "ring of confidence", this collar in reverse... that I would be accustomed to the reaction of people as they see "a priest".
Often in restaurants I am aware of suddenly hushed conversations at a nearby table as one diner shares the momentous news... "there's a priest over there". A priest eating... my! A priest driving a car... astounding! A priest walking hand in hand with his beloved... goodness!
I'm puzzled why I still find this a little strange and, at times, more than a little irritating! Maybe just tiredness and consequent tetchiness? Maybe an ongoing healthy dis-ease with my vocation? Maybe an occasional longing to be "normal" (but really how boring is that?!).
So this morning... in my local coffee shop... two young adults come in and the young man whispers a "clergy warning" to his friend. When she looks around I raise my hand and say' "Here I am". And then, oh dear!, when I pick up my breakfast bagel I say to the young man, "You see, priests even eat bagels".
Ah well... perhaps I'll improve... one day at a time!
Once C.S. Lewis was severely castigated for smoking a pipe; his critic observed, "Jesus didn't smoke a pipe!". To which the professor replied, "No... and he didn't sit on the top of a number 42 'bus either!!!".
Dealing with our lazy expectations, our unreadiness to be open... is a life-long task. But remember... they eat bagels as well!
Now there are stoups and... stoops. An example of a holy water stoup is shown here to the left... often placed by the church door to be used by worshippers as they enter and exit the church. Though not part of my spiritual journey for many years, I discovered that the last church I served (St. Columba's Chapel, Middletown, Rhode Island) had a holy water stoup by the door... I regularly started to use it... it made me pause as I entered and exited the Chapel and it made made reflect on the need and opportunity to call upon God for his blessing... sometimes when not wearing a black shirt the carefully placed wet dots looked a little mysterious but they lasted only a while.
And then there are stoops like this to the right... there sits an antique Victorian dining chair... placed on the stop of the steps outside the Rectory of the Church of the Holy Trinity. Often the Rector sits with A&W Root Beer and a cigar and more than often conversations take place... sometimes with strangers, sometimes with strangers who are becoming friends, and sometimes with friends.
Both quite different but perhaps some similarity? Both encourage a little pause in the often frenetic business of the day (and of the mind!) and both permit the entrance of divine blessing through the smile, the word, the presence of another.
I am just so very grateful to a good friend for recommending this film... just a straight, good, engaging film to watch. The film is blessed by, what rottentomatoes.com calls, the "girth" if John Malkovich and "made all the more charming by Emily Blunt"... you bet!
Perhaps there can be a gentle conspiracy between those who want "to believe in magic" and those able to satisfy that need.
At the very least we like people to say with resounding authenticity... "I really love this town" or this place... or you! It is a beautiful refrain of Mr. Howard!
And sometimes... producing "magic" for people can be a little tiring!
I'm not quite sure why, but I've recently been thinking about little children... perhaps it's because of the continuing number of pregnant woman (some quite heavily pregnant) who are members of the congregation at CHT! Anyway... I recall that as soon as our children started to wander around, we were continually "on watch" to see if they had picked anything up. It was not uncommon to worry the little mouth a little and ask, "What's in your mouth?". And then when the children were too old for us to be thus concerned (not that other concerns didn't take their place), I often found myself worrying the dog's mouth and asking just the same question, "What's in your mouth?".
Yesterday, preparing for the Eucharist and reviewing the Scripture passages... this question came to mind and I mused that our heavenly Father, perhaps, often wants to worry our mouths and ask the question, "What's in your mouth?".
The Psalmist of Psalm 34 had one simple answer (verse 1)... "your praise is always in my mouth".
What a gift to ourselves and to those around us if when prodded by life, pushed by sidewalk cyclists, walked into by obsessed text-ers, ignored... our mouth opened with "words of praise".
I haven't been able to download a picture for KNOWING but here is a website address that gives a little introduction to the film and its theme... Click here: Knowing.
Just recently I watched a TZ episode and Rod Serling, in typical reflective mode, was musing on the difference between sci-fi and fantasy. He said something like... the former makes the improbable, possible whereas the latter makes the impossible, probable??
KNOWING is clearly (?) a fantasy but carries some really profound and inspiring truth. I was disappointed to read that one of my favourite movie review sites (rottentomatoes.com) gave it only 32% but then you can surely only please all of the people some of the time... and not even "all" and not often "some".
Often in the film the pursuit for "meaning" is clearly portrayed and often fear of death is acknowledged... now if the Christian and the Church has nothing to say about these... let's sell off the buildings and close up shop.
Though no fan of Mr. Cage's... I enjoyed the film (including the theme of numerology!!!).
32 % Tomatometer Consensus: Knowing has some interesting ideas and a couple good scenes, but it's weighted down by its absurd plot and over-seriousness.
Alan Neale, was born in London, England. He received his first degree from the London School of Economics. A second degree in Theology from Oxford University followed. Ordained in Exeter Cathedral, he served in the city-centre church St. Andrew of Plymouth, Devon, The University of Christ Church, Southampton and St. Andrew, Stanstead Abbots, Hertfordshire. In 1988, with his wife Wendy and three children, he moved to Brookings, South Dakota. After thirteen years as Rector of St. Columba’s Chapel Middletown, Rhode Island, Alan became Rector of Holy Trinity in June, 2004.