I’m still here!!!!

Whew! That was a close one. I received Chris’ cry to return to the blogfield, and was a bit confused until I saw the dreaded “Not Found” URL page. How can this be? Could I have lost all that work? A year and an half of thoughts and discussion? Travel stories, struggles, poems, updates, laughs, and tears – all lost to the black whole of the world wide web??? And then I hit “Republish blog”. I’m not sure why I had to do that, but my universe has been restored. The doctor says I’ll recover.

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The Altar Cross

In an homile on the Holy Cross, the Priest mentioned that the practice of putting a cross on the Altar is actually a Reformational practice. I looked into it a bit and found that there is no evidence for any altar crosses before the 13th century, and even then it was not widely employed. We know that Bede’s “Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum” contains reference to a Processional Cross going before St. Augustine, so that is an ancient practice. And there are citations that later (13th-14th C.) the cross was taken off the pole and placed onto the altar during service. So there was the idea of having a cross on the altar, but no such thing as the Altar Cross we are familiar with. I am still looking at things, but it would seem that the Reformation popularized the practice of having an altar cross, and particularly in England (spreading from there to the continent). I thought this was an interesting bit of history, has anyone else heard anything about this, or maybe could find more info?

The Church: Word, Water, Feast

A trochaic poem.

The beauty captures blinded eyes with sight,
As squinting ears lean in and heed those words
That lie unfolded upon wood so white,
And yet so scarlet-dyed for words unheard.

So great the strength within the clear water,
That prove the spear was true indeed, and now
They come to us from throne and font to give
Salvation strong – forever must endure.

As mouth and heart together take the grain,
A banquet lies aright with grape and yeast.
Within the lintels peace and joy are lain,
And voice cries out, “Made ready now the feast.”

The people fast in solidarity
Make way in fear with glad and unity.

If everyone had a name…

From the beginning God named that which He loved. “Adam”. “Eve”. He next told Adam to name the animals, and naming became part of taking dominion. There is an authority involved in placing a name on something, and we name things we care about and things that we own. We put names on our children, we give nicknames to our friends, we bestow titles like “dad” on ones we love. We are naming creatures.

When Christ came, Mary and Joseph were not allowed to name their child because He would have a greater Father. And when Jesus began His ministry, He felt free to rename those who would be his disciples, such as Simon called Peter and the sons of Zebedee called “Boanerges”. He named those He loved.

When we go to buy milk it is a quick task. But what if you knew everyone in the market? And even more, what if you cared about them? Then you would have the heart of Christ. In saying that, though, Christ didn’t touch everyone or stop to call every person by name – He had a particular ministry with particular people in particular areas for particular purposes. He had a calling.

I am learning to trust my Gardener to prepare the soil of some particular plots. My calling is to the poor and needy, but they are too many and I am overwhelmed. I realized this week that if everyone had a name my heart, soul, and body would break. So I asked the Name above all Names to bring to me the faces He wants to name for me in order to fulfill His purposes and ministry.

An old friend has told me a number of times (in different ways), that the things which distract holy-livers aren’t Saturday-night parties or adultery, they are the needy and hopeless situations that are outside of their focus or calling. If everyone in the market had a name, the milk would never be bought. But if you remember that the milk is the focus then you might very well enjoy one or two conversations along the way.

Prayers

I received word that the Afrikaans missionary I worked with in S.Af. had an emotional breakdown on Monday. Please pray for both her and the orphanage, which will be sustained only by Christ in her absence. Also pray for one of the HIV+ babies (6mo. old) who has caught pneumonia and is in hospital. The prayers of the righteous avail much, thanks be to God.

Movie-watching

Last night I had my parents, a friend, and my 13-yr-old brother sit down to watch “Beyond Borders” with me, and realized something about my movie-watching habits. Since I have returned to the States I have this handful of movies that I want everyone I know to watch with me – why? They are good movies, but not all excellent films….maybe it would help if I told you the titles: “Yesterday”, “Tsotsi”, and “Beyond Borders” are the main ones so far.

In last night’s film there is a scene near the beginning when “Sarah” stops the caravan to pick up a child who is scarcely recognizable as that, and being eyed by a vulture. My friend said, “Oh come on, there can’t be children like that”, as he turned toward me all I could do was nod. And it clicked all of a sudden why I show the same movies to everyone – because a handufl of scenes in them show the things that I can’t say. I can’t explain what it’s like to hold a child dying of starvation or how hard it is to tell a woman she is HIV+ or what it’s like to live in a place where one block is mansions and a mile down the road is corrugated shanties. Each of these films expresses a scene, a story, or a context that I know but cannot share.