Auld Land Syne

Happy New Year, all! I might blog here in a bit more earnest this year, but mostly I’m Blogging 140 Characters at a Time on non-emerging-missional stuff. But I haven’t forgotten about it, and all o’ yinz. Oh, no… I wanted to say Happy New Year an’ all that. But who could say it better than the Red Hot Chili Pipers putting Robbie Burns’ words to music? (Sorry, you’ll have to insert your own lyrics, but you do know them, right?)

Oh yeah… and happy Eighth Day of Christmas, too. (Hint: Got Milk?)

Musings of the Day

team-canada-hockey-gold.jpg This evening is in a way a day of closings. It’s the end of the week, and the end of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. I think our television has been on almost nonstop for 17 days now. And it’s been good seeing our Canadian athletes doing so well. 14 gold medals, more than any country has ever won in any winter Olympics. I think the early glitches of the games were pretty much forgotten as we showed the world how we party at home. People in the street spontaneously singing the national anthem? That’s pretty remarkable for any country anywhere, I’d say. And of course, we made sure to remind the world that hockey is our game. I might have over-tweeted that point, but there it is. Here we are being Canadian… thoroughly proud to the core of all our athletes who scored a podium finish, and feeling sorry for those who didn’t, whether those others are Canadian or not.

Bonhoeffer on Christmas in Prison

Dietrich Bonhoeffer Dietrich Bonhoeffer spent Christmas of 1943 in prison where he’d been since April of that year. Most of you know the story — a German Lutheran pastor, theologian, member of the German Resistance movement against Nazism, and a founding member of the Confessing Church. Bonhoeffer had been arrested for his involvement in plans by members of the Abwehr (the German Military Intelligence Office) to assassinate Adolf Hitler. As Christmas approached in 1943, he wrote the following in a letter to his parents:

Advent 2009

Today begins another Advent season, and marks the start of another year in the liturgical calendar (for the non-Celtic, anyway). Advent for me always seems to be a time of refocusing, of regaining my center. This can be facilitated in a variety of ways, but becoming a little more intentional about some of the habits and practices of the faith is one of the best ways to go about this, but simply being more mindful is a great first step as well. There are a lot of great Advent resources online, including my 2007 Advent Series, which includes not only my posts, but links to all the posts in a Synchroblog I organized that year with eighteen other bloggers. On the summary page, I’ve also listed a number of other related posts and resources collected at that time. That was the year I wrote and release my first book, That You Might Believe: Praying Advent with the Gospel of John. Continually though, one of the best sources of online Advent materials is Christine Sine, who recently posted about Celebrating Advent with Kids, Daily Bible Readings For Advent, and has now posted her annual Advent video, The Coming Of the Lord is Near.

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Hymns of My Youth #103: Come and Dine

dinner-table.jpg It’s time to add another hymn to my collection, Then Sings My Soul: The Hymns of My Youth. I didn’t really set out to find one that relates to Mother’s Day in any fashion, but if we stretch it we can say that the hymn is an invitation to dine, which is what a lot of families are doing with their mothers today. At least, that’s apparently what we discovered when we attempted to make reservations.

A Centurion’s-Eye View

centurion.jpg I was fortunate to draw the duty of attending to these three crucifixions. It’s an assignment that every centurion wants to receive. There’s no real difficulty to it, no heavy marching — just standing by and joining the jeering and cheering of the crowd. Friends and neighbours often come by, allowing for a bit of a visit while on duty. You’re there as a guard, but what’s going to happen? Is one of them about to fight his way off his cross? Ha! There’s a certain stature that comes with being seen in this role. People fear you, associating you with the power to put these criminals and insurgents to death. The sight of the crosses from past crucifixions further along the road, with the bones still hanging off them after the birds had taken away the flesh always inform the sight of the men currently being nailed to their crosses with an immediate horror. Not for us centurions of course, but for the condemned men and for the onlookers. Not the kind of horror that makes them turn away, but the kind that makes them call out their support of the death sentence, that makes them go to extra lengths to make it known that they fall in step behind our Roman rule. Everything as it should be. There’s no better deterrent than the specter of a public crucifixion.

The Holiness of “Place”

patmos-monastery.jpg The other day I was talking with a friend about his week-long visit last year to Patmos. While there he of course visited the Greek Orthodox Monastery of St. John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse. Designated a World Heritage Site in 1999 by UNESCO, it was established about 1,000 years ago, or about 1,000 years after John did his stint on the island and wrote the book of Revelation. As one tours the cave, some very specific matters are pointed out — this is where John slept, this is where he put his hand in an indentation in the cave wall to help him stand up, and this is where he dictated the book of Revelation.

Peter Rollins on The Last Supper

rollins_orthodoxheretic.cover.jpg Here it is, Holy Week already, and I’m still mentally behind the curve, having barely entered into Lent. We’ll see if I can manage to catch up a little, as this evening we’re taking the kids to do the stations of the cross at St. Ben’s, this evening being geared particularly toward children and families. Thursday evening we’re gathering together for a meal with our little band of ecclesiastical vagrants — we’ve done this every year on Maundy Thursday for the past number of years, and it generally promises to be a good time. Hopefully I’ll come up with some thematic things to say around here for the balance of the week too, as I’ve done in past years (see last year’s list of past Holy Week posts), including a detailed retelling of the events of Holy Week both for adults and for kids.