Monday, March 20, 2023

Spring has sprung!

Today is the first day of Spring.

Actually, not yet--it officially begins at 4:36 p.m. and it's 4:05 now.

But the temperature is almost 50 and it's been sun and blue skies all day.

Thing is, this has been the mildest winter of our 30+ in CT.

My book mark is two pictures stapled together of Brigit, our current dog, and Bela, our bad-dog, much loved last dog.

Bela is in the back yard with walkways shoveled in over two feet of snow. 

We've had only one snow that required any shoveling this year and that was about an inch or two.

How Come?

Climate change?

Tell that to people in California and other western and mid-western and even south-eastern states that have had many storms.

But, since I hate the cold, it has been a good winter for me.


Friday, March 17, 2023


I'm blessing a marriage tomorrow between Bride J and Groom J. Bride J's mother is a member of Trinity, Milton and the couple have been coming to church for a while.

They seem like a great couple.

It's a small wedding with just one groomsman and one Maid of honor, plus the Bride's 2 young children from a previous marriage. They expect about 60 people to attend.

Oh, the Bride's Maid is also their photo taker.

That's a new one on me.

Her two children seem to adore their soon to be stepdad.

That's a big point in the couples favor.


Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Wierd Weather

Today was supposed to be lots of snow mixed with some rain.

Mostly rain, hardly a dusting of snow here in Cheshire.

33 miles north (though mostly uphill) they got eight inches. 

My Wednesday trip to Milton got called off Sunday.

Good thinking.

So, I'll sleep in tomorrow after watching the Voice until 10 p.m.

I love the voice.

And I love having Wednesday off....


This week's sermon (early)

BORN BLIND March 19,2023

        The man was born blind. That is vital to the story we heard in John’s Gospel today. He was BORN blind.

        His blindness was not the result of disease or an accident or even what we would call a genetic predisposition to blindness that shows up some time after birth. He was BORN blind. It was a birth defect. Most likely his optic nerve did not develop in his mother’s uterus. He did not ‘lose’ his sight—he never had sight. He could not see because he was born that way.

        So, what Jesus did by smearing dirt and spit on his eyes wasn’t merely ‘correcting’ something that had happened to him. Jesus did not “restore” the man’s sight—he created it, out of nothing.


        The rest of the story involves everyone else besides the man born blind and Jesus.

        The disciples, for example, wanted a “reason” for the birth defect. They wanted to blame the blindness on either the sin of the man or the sin of his parents. It’s important to remember that in the theology and physiology of first century Judaism, “sin” could be visited on up to seven generations. Sin could be blamed over decades for the problems and defects of the moment. The disciples were so distracted by their theology that they did not appreciate the miracle Jesus performed. The disciples were so locked in their presuppositions, that they were blind to Jesus’ healing.


        Then there are the people who had known the man from birth. When they saw him ‘sighted’, they were not sure it was him. Some of them said, “Well, it looks like him—but he can see, so it must not be him….” They were so blinded by their limited understanding of reality that they could not see the miracle of a man born blind suddenly seeing the world around him.


        Even his parents—the mother who gave birth to a blind child and the father who helped raise him with his disability—were too frightened by the questions of the religious authorities to celebrate their son’s sight. They were blinded by their fear of the Pharisees and could not see their son returned to them all new—restored to sight.


        And the Pharisees were blinded by their slavery to the Law—to the rules and doctrines and dogmas of their religion—to see the miracle Jesus did as something beyond law and rule and regulations. They were so blinded by Tradition that they could not acknowledge the wonder of sight created out of nothing—of an accident of nature being corrected by God’s love.


        All of the characters in today’s drama were “born blind”. The blindness of the man Jesus healed was nothing in comparison to the blindness of the witnesses to his healing love.


        So too are we born blind.

        So too are we unable to see the miraculous love and grace of God.

        Our vision is impaired from birth and limited even more by the blindness of our culture and our faith and our imagination.

        We divide the world into “the good” and “the bad”. We divide the world into “the saved” and “the lost”.  We divide the world into “those like us and those who are not. We divide the world into the “familiar” and the “foreign”. We divide the world into two sides—“those on OUR SIDE” and those who aren’t.

        And in doing that, we create a world torn by conflict, ruled by fear. In doing that, we create a society of the “welcomed” and the “unwelcomed”, the “haves and the have-nots”, the “acceptable” and the “rejected”, the “safe and the dangerous”, those who “fit into” what our tradition and dogma and prejudice tells us and those whose ‘pieces’ aren’t part of our puzzle.

        We are ‘born blind’—and the darkness ever deepens as we grow.


        A wise and revered Rabbi was sitting by the river with his followers after a night of study and prayer. Dawn was breaking softly in the East. The old Rabbi looked at his disciples in the dim glow of first light and asked: HOW MUCH LIGHT IS ENOUGH LIGHT TO SEE?


        “NO,” the old man said, “THAT IS NOT ENOUGH LIGHT TO SEE.”


        The Rabbi shook his head. “NO,” he said, “THAT IS NOT ENOUGH LIGHT TO SEE….”

        Everyone sat in silence as the sun pushed its way above the horizon, bathing everything in a wondrous golden hue. Finally, the Rabbi spoke: “THERE IS ENOUGH LIGHT TO SEE,” he told them, “WHEN YOU CAN LOOK INTO THE FACE OF ANY HUMAN BEING AND SEE THE FACE OF GOD….”

That would be enough light to see, even for those born blind.  Ponder our blindness for a while….Amen.


Sunday, March 12, 2023

Daylight Savings Time wrecks my life

My alarm clock woke me up an hour earlier than 'real time'.

I ate lunch as soon as I was back from church.

I've been sleepy all day.

I ate dinner an hour earlier than usual.

Brigit, out dog, went out for her next to last pee at 6 instead of her usual 7.

I'm not sure I can stay up to watch any of the Oscars.

Or to take Brigit out for her last pee.

DST keep me confused for a few days.

We need to have it year round or not at all.

I may call the President about that...if I'm not to sleepy to talk.


Friday, March 10, 2023

All day long...

...I've thought it was Saturday.

I know it's Friday now, but it's 7P.M. and for most of the day I thought it was Saturday.

I heard about snow coming, and though I know they said on the weather, "Friday night into Saturday", I was worried about driving the 33 miles to Milton to celebrate and preach on Sunday.

I called the Diocese and was surprised when someone answered the phone, I was going to leave a message.

"What are you doing working on Saturday?" I asked.

"It's Friday," she said, "but I wish it were Saturday."

I almost set my alarm clock back an hour for Day Light Savings Time.

Luckily I didn't.

I even wondered what college basketball playoffs would be today--Saturday, though I needed to go to bed early to get up for church.

I told Bern about it and said, "You might need to put me in the home,".

She responded, "which town do you want to be in?"

I hope she doesn't--though maybe she should.


Thursday, March 9, 2023

This week's sermon


LENT 3—Jesus met the woman at the well

          I want to begin with a bit of academics. It’s important that we are on the same page when it comes to the Jews and the

          Jacob (named by God “Israel”) had 12 sons. They fathered the 12 tribes of Israel.

          Joseph, who’s 11 brothers sought to kill, was saved by God and he, in the end, saved the whole clan.

          Joseph’s two sons—Ephraim and Manasseh—were given a fruitful land that came to be Samaria.

          Later, Israel divided into two Kingdoms. The northern kingdom had it’s capitol in Shechem and later the hill-top city of Samaria. The southern Kingdom’s capital was Jerusalem.

          In 722 B.C. Assyria conquered the  northern kingdom and took most of its people into captivity. Foreigners were sent into the land with pagan idols, which the remaining Jews began to worship along with Yahweh. Intermarriage took place.

          In 600 B.C. the southern Kingdom of Judah fell to Babylon and it’s people were enslaved. 70 years later, 43,000 Jews returned to their land and rebuilt Jerusalem and the Temple.

          The northern kingdom—the Samaritans—opposed that. The Southern Kingdom detested the mixed marriages and idol worship of their northern cousins. So both sides had bitterness that hardened for the next 550 years.

          The gospels and Acts are always showing Samaritans coming in contact with Jesus’ teaching.

          The hardest person to love isn’t someone half-a-world away but your nearby neighbors whose skin color, rituals, values and customs are different from you own.

          OK, so in today’s gospel, the Pharisees had figured out that Jesus’ disciples were baptizing many Jews, so he and his disciples went to Samaria to put distance between themselves and the Jewish authorities.

          The disciples are in the city buying food when John’s Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at the well where he was resting.

          I say ‘John’s Jesus’ because Jesus is depicted differently in each of the Gospels. John’s Jesus knows everything. He is living out a script God gave him.

          He knows all about the woman he asks to give him water to drink. He knows she has been with many husbands and the lover she had now is not her husband.

          He then promises to give her ‘living water’ so she will never be thirsty again.

          Samaritans believed, as did the Jews, that a Messiah was coming. Jesus tells her he is the Messiah.

          The disciples return and are surprised to see Jesus talking to a woman. In the first century men did not talk to women who were not their wives. And they are further shocked to realize it is a Samaritan woman.

          She leaves her water jar and goes to the city to tell everyone that Jesus knows all about her and asks them if he could be the Messiah.

          Meanwhile, the disciples, not questioning him, offer him food to eat. And Jesus tells them he has ‘food to eat you do not know about.’

          “Living water” and food to eat we know nothing about—living food—is what Jesus came to give us. The water and food of heaven.

          Many of the Samaritans of the woman’s city returned with her and ask Jesus to stay with them.

          So, even though it broke the rules of the Jews who said not to visit or eat with non-Jews, Jesus stayed two days with them and taught them many things.

          Early on, I said that hardest people to love are those neighbors who are different from us. I’ll share some things about my life that shows that.

          I grew up in the southern most county of West Virginia. That county was 50% Black and 50% white. But I only knew two black people when I was growing up—Gene and Lillian Kelly. I only knew them because Gene worked in my uncle’s grocery store and Lillian was that same uncle’s housekeeper.

          My father was a racist. That didn’t help me.

          It was my senior year of high school before I ever went to school with any Black kids. The Black high school sent three male athletes and two smart girls to my school because the next year the White and Black schools would merge.

          In college I became good friends with a graduate of the Black high school named Ron Wilkerson. He’d introduce me to his friends by saying, “Jim and I went to different high schools together.”

          My first parish was an all-Black church in Charleston, West Virginia. And my two other full-time parishes had large Black membership. They were living water to me.

          I feel so fortunate having come to love people who were different from me.

          We all need to do all we can to get the living food of friendship with those who are different. We can’t be like Jews and Samaritans. John’s Jesus taught us that today.

Amen and amen.


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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.