Honestly -- find a way to see it. Trust me. Really.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Honestly -- find a way to see it. Trust me. Really.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
"Lord, teach us to pray" the disciple asked and in response, Jesus offers the wonderful words we all know and love ... those we often refer to as the words "our Lord Jesus taught us to pray" "The Lords Prayer."
Note that this is the "Lord's Prayer" not the "Lord's Secret Password" or "Lord's Magic Words." The point is not the precise WORDS our Lord taught us to pray -- words that indeed vary from translation to translation -- are revised from prayer book to prayer book. This is sometimes a subject of some consternation of the faithful -- in spite of the fact that they even vary between the Gospel according to Luke and the Gospel according to Matthew.
The fact is, we can sometimes become so fixed on the "words of God" and who's getting them right or wrong that we lose sight of the "Word of God" and what it has to do with our lives and journeys.
A case in point would be my son Brian who was about ten years old when he attended the Baccalaureate service as I was graduating from seminary. He was shocked to find that people did church "different" than he was used to -- appalled that the prayers he'd proudly memorized weren't EXACTLY the same as hed learned them. The final straw was the administration of communion which, because it was a Methodist service was offered by way of intinction: dipping the bread into the cup of wine.
On the way back from the communion rail he could stand it no longer and said in a voice I'm sure he inherited from me; "You call this CHURCH? First they get the prayers wrong and then they won't let you drink the wine!"
Brian let his expectations about what the prayers were supposed to sound like get in the way of what they actually said -- and it is an example I think of whenever I'm tempted to do the same. In the final analysis, prayer is not about what we say but about who we are who we are in relationship with the God who, as last week's Collect of the Day said, "knows our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking." Or as another writer has offered: "If prayer were intended only to inform God of our desires and deficiencies, it would be unnecessary" [Nosson Scherman, "Prayer, a Timeless Need"]
And then in church today I was really struck by these words from the second verse of the sequence hymn:
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Some recent mail:
From an email in response to YouTube's "It's All Because (The Gays Are Getting Married)":
Okay, put that You Tube bit in the "don't watch it with a full bladder or you'll be sorry" category. Our marriage of nearly 27 years is going fine and we're looking forward to a sort of second honeymoon over our anniversary in September chartering a sailboat. This must be the fault of gays getting married, too.
Really, there are two guys down the street still rebuilding their house after the hurricane (and yes, gay guys have much better taste than straight guys), but other than admiring their three beautiful Weimaraners when they're out for a walk (and the work they've put into their house), I can't say that they're anymore a threat to our marriage than the man next door with his mail order bride from Thailand.
Ron's Q. I'm basically trying to understand what the justification is for hate crimes are in the first place. Consider what happened to Matthew Shepard. Even without a hate crime statute, the perpetrators were eligible for what effectively was life in prison. What difference would passing this act have on that? Why is this needed?My A. Hate Crimes are are crimes motivated by bias against an identifiable social group, usually groups defined by race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, gender identity, or political affiliation. Hate Crime legislation has been on the books since the 1960's and emerged out of the Civil Rights struggle. (See Jeff Martinhauk's blog for a reality check.)
Laws currently state that crimes directed at a category of people in order to intimidate, oppress and marginalize the whole community are defined as Hate Crimes and entitled to Federal Law Enforcement support. Current laws provide federal prosecution for hate crimes committed on the basis of a person's race, color, religion, or nation origin. The pending legislation would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list providing federal support for local law enforcement agencies.
It has the support of notable individuals and more than 230 law enforcement, civil rights, civic and religious organizations, including: President George H.W. Bush’s attorney general, Dick Thornburgh; National Sheriffs’ Association; International Association of Chiefs of Police; U.S. Conference of Mayors; Presbyterian Church; Episcopal Church; and the Parents Network on Disabilities.
PS - THANKS FOR ASKING!
See what you think:
Friday, July 27, 2007
ANYWAY the season ended with a touching tribute to Kathy's dad, John Griffin, who died in February: an Irish pub toast and a scattering of his ashes in "the old country."
She's done a great job of lampooning the very celebrity she is unabashedly seeking ... not to mention being an outspoken advocate for equality for LGBT folk.
So here's to ya, Kathy ... may your dad rest in peace and rise in glory, good luck with the Emmy thing and long may you make us laugh!
So here's the OTHER thing ...
... I've never aspired to be on ANYBODY'S list (well, Santa's when I was 5!) and I certainly can't imagine what it must be like to be on the A, B, C or D kind of list Kathy Griffin talks about. But it seems that there is a list I've managed to get on ...
... the AAC list!
Yes ... it's not the D-List and there's certainly no Emmy involved but the AAC (American Anglican Council) ... the very people who scripted, produced and are now directing the long-running "As The Anglican Schism Turns" have their own "list" ... issued by their "Office of Communique Compliance" they have just issued "Report No. 4" ...
... and I'm in it!
I made the "AAC List" for participating in the blessing of the union of John Alexander and John Lipsey on July 7th.
First of all, I'd like to say what an honor it is to just be nominated.
I want to thank the Academy ... I mean the AAC ... for including me along with such luminaries as Bishop Gene Robinson for allowing the clergy of his diocese to make their own decisions about the blessing of soon-to-be legal civil unions in New Hampshire ...
Dr. Horace Griffin for likening gay rights to the struggles of slavery, segregation and women's equality and ...
Bishop Sergio Carranza for riding in the L.A. Gay Pride Parade. (Note to "the compliance office" ... this is actually pretty old news: we've had a bishop in the parade for years ... sorry you missed +Jon and Mary Bruno the year we had a float -- I've got pictures I'd love to share!)
I know my time is running out but I'd also like to thank my parents for raising me to believe that "liberty and justice for all" really means ALL, my congregation for continuing in the struggle to turn the human race into the human family, my partner for her unflagging love and support and finally the American Anglican Council -- for continuing to demonstrate to the Church and to the Communion that the only unity they will recognize is uniformity with their narrow, exclusionist agenda and that as capitulation to that agenda is their sole criterion for communion continued good will efforts to find compromise or common ground are -- sadly -- useless.
In closing, my nominee for the next AAC List is the Archbishop of York -- surely his statement this week ... ""As long as someone does not deny the very basic doctrines of the Church - the creation, the death, the resurrection of Christ and human beings being made in the image of God - then the rest really helps but they are not the core message" ... is worthy of consideration.
Thank you. And Good Night!
First of all, echoing Elizabeth Kaeton, Mad Priest and -- I'm sure a host of others I haven't wandered over to yet -- you must check out this MOST fabulous YouTube offering: "It's All Because (The Gays are Getting Married).
OK ... next over at The Hunter's Hodgepodge there's a piece about documentary film maker Douglas Hunter's new project -- which we're filming at All Saints Church. The whole "Super 8 Citizen" film project is such an interesting one and Douglas is a great guy ... am looking forward to seeing how this evolves and quite honored to be part of it!
In "Things Anglican" I appreciated the follow-up interview with the Archbishop of York posted (among other places) over at Walking With Integrity. Key quotes:
"As long as someone does not deny the very basic doctrines of the Church - the creation, the death, the resurrection of Christ and human beings being made in the image of God - then the rest really helps but they are not the core message."
"And I haven’t found that in Ecusa or in Canada, where I was recently, they have any doubts in their understanding of God which is very different from anybody. What they have quarrelled about is the nature of sexual ethics."
It seems increasingly clear that while there will continue to be deep differences between us the willingness to come to the table in spite of them is emerging as the deepest desire of those committed to historic Anglicanism rather than hysteric Schismism.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Anyway, on days like this thank goodness for Fr. Jake who helps keep one abreast of the comings and goings of things Anglican:
On the ongoing property saga in the Diocese of Los Angeles:
You may recall our discussion last month regarding a California Court of Appeal ruling in favor of the Diocese of Los Angeles in their attempt to recover the property held by St. James Anglican Church, Newport Beach; All Saints' Anglican Church, Long Beach; and St. David's Anglican Church, North Hollywood.
I've been informed that the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division 3, entered an order yesterday denying those congregations' petition for rehearing. They now have 10 days to petition for discretionary review by the California Supreme Court.
On "the Global South:"
A week ago, a statement was issued by a group calling themselves "The Global South Steering Committee." In it, they made statements such as "We in the Global South..." which appear to imply that they are the Anglican voice in that part of the world. No signatures were affixed to this statement, leading some to assume that it had been issued by all the members of the Global South Steering Committee.
We were told that Abp. Orombi of Uganda, who is not a member, was also present for the meeting that issued this statement. Now, a week later, we learn that three Primates, Abps. Malango, Venable and Gomez, were not present for the meeting.
That means that this strong statement, intended by the authors to represent "We in the Global South," was the product of four Archbishops, Akinola, Chew, Anis and Kolini, and Archbishop Orombi, present as a guest.
Contrast this with the Walking to Emmaus consultation currently being held in Spain, at which five Global South Primates are present, and ten of twelve African Provinces are represented.
Let us not mistake those who shout the loudest to necessarily be the true voice of those they claim to represent.
From the Episcopal Public Policy Network:
The Senate could take action at any time on the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (S. 1105), sponsored by Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Gordon Smith (R-OR) with 42 co- sponsors .
This bi-partisan legislation, which passed in the House in May, will expand current hate crimes law to include crimes based on race, religion, national origin, disability, gender, gender identity and sexual orientation. It will also help local authorities investigate and prosecute bias-motivated crimes. According to the latest FBI figures, in 2005 there were 7,163 hate crimes in the United States. These crimes—motivated by fear and hatred of others—are directed at communities as much as they are directed at the victim because of who they are.
These divisive and destructive crimes contradict our Baptismal Covenant pledge to "respect the dignity of every human being."
In a recent letter to Senators in support of S. 1105, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori wrote:
"The Episcopal Church has long been an advocate of combating hate in our society. No person or group of people should be the target of violence simply because of race, gender, religion, disability, national origin, sexuality or perceived sexual orientation."
In the many years since the death of Matthew Shepard, Congress has passed similar bills but none have ever had as much chance to reach the President’s desk as this one does right now. Help send the Matthew Shepard bill to the Presidents desk – contact your Senator today.
Yes -- 69.97%
No -- 25.89%
I don't know --4.14%
Monday, July 23, 2007
By Jonathan Petre 7/23/07
The Archbishop of York has warned conservative Anglican leaders that they will effectively expel themselves from the worldwide Church if they boycott next year's Lambeth Conference.
Dr John Sentamu said the conservatives risked severing themselves from the Anglican Communion. In an exclusive interview with The Daily Telegraph, Dr John Sentamu pleaded with them to attend the conference despite their war with liberals over homosexuality.
But he told them that if they "voted with their feet" they risked severing their links with the Archbishop of Canterbury and with historic Anglicanism, a breach that could take centuries to heal.
"Anglicanism has its roots through Canterbury," he said. "If you sever that link you are severing yourself from the Communion. There is no doubt about it."
Read the rest here.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
As the young visitor was leaving the communion rail this morning he put his hand into his father's, looked up and said -- in an ever-so-audible-voice -- "Well, the cracker wasn't bad but the music is too loud!"
Saturday, July 21, 2007
[At Capital Pride 2002]
See also this Metro Weekly interview: The Words of Tammy Faye
And Kendall, of course, is absolutely right as well that “Nothing this side of glory is inevitable if God is in charge.” Even the coming of this long desired schism is not inevitable if those insisting on capitulation and compliance to their worldview and hermeneutic would put down the sabers and take up instead the traditional value of Anglican comprehensiveness.
One does indeed do “...the right thing because one is called to do the right thing.” And choosing communion with those with whom one disagrees, for all its messiness and challenge, seems to me the right thing ... the better portion ... in contrast to choosing the dogged insistence on conformity displayed in this latest GS missive. Hard to imagine that will ever change? Remember ... “Nothing this side of glory is inevitable if God is in charge.”
Friday, July 20, 2007
Actually, a tad more than that. We did make it to the Dog Park ... and I got my nails done and we stopped at OSH and bought a new mop and a fly-swatter to replace the one Luna chewed up. (Whoopee!) Then I plopped down on an actual couch with a bonfide novel and fell sound asleep.
When I came back up for air it didn't appear I'd missed much ... the "Global South" is rattling the same old sabers (Global South Primates vow to continue violating Episcopal Church boundaries) and the breaking news out of Washington is about President Bush's Dr.'s appointment making Dick Cheney "acting president." (Earth to country: He Already Is!)
And now I think it's Mojitos on the patio and some burgers on the grill. I'm going to try this day off thing more often!
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Support anti-hate act
The July 11 ad in USA TODAY by the High Impact Leadership Coalition implied that the anti-hate crime law that is before the Senate might impede the rights and freedoms of religious people to speak out against homosexuality. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, the legislation carries an explicit protection for religious speech. This law addresses only hate crimes that cause serious physical harm and death.
The people who placed this ad are actively trying to mislead the public. Sadly, I suspect that their motivations are rooted not in their faith, but in deeply held prejudice against gay and lesbian Americans.
Their view certainly does not reflect the views of the more than 1,300 clergy members who has signed a letter urging senators to vote for the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Twenty-six state attorneys general, including 23 from states with anti-hate crimes laws, as well as 290 law enforcement, civil rights, civic and religious organizations, also support it.
This bill would help protect all Americans from the scourge of hate violence and strengthen the safety of all our nation's citizens.
WASHINGTON — Opposition to the Iraq war has reached a record high, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, a development likely to complicate President Bush's efforts to hold together Republican support as the Senate begins debate this week on Pentagon priorities.
Bush's approval rating has reached a new low: 29%. More than seven in 10 favor removing nearly all U.S. troops from Iraq by April.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
So +Jon Bruno became Bishop Coadjutor in 2000 and Bishop Diocesan in 2001 and set about trying to make sure that there was a place for everybody. Even people who disagreed with him. And he brought together people who disagreed with EACH other to try to bridge the gap. I wrote back in May about some of my experience with that process.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Earlier this week there was much ado about a New York Times story entitled "Man of the Flesh to Man of the Cross" which turned out to be much ado about not very accurate facts, as revealed in Jan Nunley's brilliant investigative effort "Stop the Presses Before Someone Gets Hurt" over on EpiScope.
ANYWAY, here's the Letter to the Editor written to the NYTImes from +Jon Bruno -- a letter, I am pleased and proud to note, that sets the record straight in as faithful and measured a way as one could ask from a chief pastor. You can read it all here ... but here's the concluding paragraph:
As Christians, we always rejoice at the news that a person has been transformed by the gospel of Christ into new life, leaving behind attitudes or activities that separate him or her from the love and mercy of God. In the Episcopal Church, all baptized members are invited to be involved in worthwhile and fulfilling forms of ministry, many of which do not require ordination. We encourage Mr. Boyer to continue seeking for the path that our Lord intends for him.
The Right Reverend J. Jon Bruno, Bishop
Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles
In a word: Bravo!
Meanwhile, also over at Episcopal Cafe has a nice piece entitled "Pod world and you tube" which notes All Saints tip-toeing into the 21st century with podcasts and videocasts ... including +Gene's sermon from last Sunday. Thanks, Episcopal Cafe folk!
This week we'll be using the lessons appointed for the Feast of St. Mary of Magdalene on Sunday -- something All Saints Church has done for years now ... and so we asked Anne Breck Peterson, our Senior Associate for Leadership, Growth and Incorporation ... to share a little of that history in this week's Saints Alive newsletter.
The celebration of Mary Magdalene at All Saints began years ago when task forces exploring inclusive language and images of God were at work. Women’s Council went looking for women in the New Testament. Not many were to be found, but there was Mary-a leader of women who supported Jesus’ ministry out from their resources, a faithful disciple who stood at the cross when others had vanished, and the first to experience the risen Christ.
We celebrated this amazing woman in an evening service. The fact her feast day, July 22, was in the summer months when the liturgical calendar encouraged experimentation, was helpful. The first services, sponsored by Women’s Council, experimented with inclusive language and feminine images of God. A priest friend Anne Howard and I composed a eucharistic prayer for these occasions. We invited a variety of women priests to preside. After the services participants were invited to gather and talk about what it felt like to be in such a service. Having this opportunity to focus on a woman in our traditionally patriarchal church was moving, to men and women alike.
We have all come a long way, and Mary Magdalene is mainstream now. But the excitement of her encounter with the risen Christ will always keep us on the edge!
—from Anne Breck Peterson
UPDATE: (From the aformentioned Floridian) -- I'm not a Republican!!!! I gave up that Calvinist dominated theocracy years ago and registered Libertarian. Oh, for the days of Barry Goldwater and Harry Truman.
Welcome to our world!
Here's what I wrote to my congressional representative last night in response to his "what do you think about bringing the troops home legislation" email to constituents:
As the mother of a son on active duty in Iraq I believe it is LONG past time to see that the kids we send into harm's way are being sent in order to do what they swore to do: to defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Keeping them in harm's way to defend the failed policy of this failed administration is a travesty, a shame and a deep dishonoring of the sacrifices they make on our behalf.
Please speak for my son and vote to bring them home.
Sending the same to my senators momentarily. Please consider going and doing likewise.
Monday, July 16, 2007
MAY GOD BLESS YOU WITH ANGER AT INJUSTICE, OPPRESSION AND EXPLOITATION OF PEOPLE, SO THAT YOU MAY WORK FOR JUSTICE, FREEDOM AND PEACE. AMEN
MAY GOD BLESS YOU WITH TEARS TO SHED FOR THOSE WHO SUFFER FROM PAIN, REJECTION, STARVATION AND WAR, SO THAT YOU MAY REACH OUT YOUR HAND TO COMFORT THEM AND TURN THEIR PAIN INTO JOY. AMEN
MAY GOD BLESS YOU WITH ENOUGH FOOLISHNESS TO BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THIS WORLD, SO THAT YOU CAN DO WHAT OTHERS CLAIM CANNOT BE DONE. AMEN
[Franciscan Four Fold Blessing]
And here it is ...
... due to the Marvels of Modern Technology ...
... on YOU TUBE!
Sunday, July 15, 2007
After an opening prayer for ministers of the liturgy ...
... we were off and running with a church full of people and a bishop ready to rock & roll with a wonderful sermon on putting faith into action via the parable of the Good Samaritan. (Link to sermon here ... don't miss it!)
Aferwards it was time to greet the young ...
... and the young at heart (Canon Lydia Wilkins currently planning her 104th birthday party!)
... and Daniel Karslake, producer and director of For the Bible Tells Me So -- the documentary film featuring +Gene's story and screening here in L.A. at OUTFEST this week. (No, I still don't have tickets!)
And here we are with Jerry and Bruno who are planning a wedding here at All Saints Church in October.
Finally we gathered for a luncheon with a small group of parish and diocesan leaders ... including my sweetie pie Louise and Bishop Carranza (listening intently to something Ed Bacon is saying here ...)
So here's the best part of the whole day for me ... no media, no protesters, no security, no drama -- just a bishop feeding a flock with word and sacrament and then having a little Sunday dinner with some friends.
"It's an amazing time," said Chad Allen, a gay actor who stars in "Save Me," a fictional story exploring a love affair inside Genesis House, a ministry aimed at turning gays into straights. "Christians are standing up finally and saying there's something wrong with a theology which condemns and scapegoats gay and lesbian people for political power. We will not allow our faith, and our belief and love of Christ, to be used in that way."
PS - "For the Bible Tells Me So" screens Tuesday night at Outfest and as I don't have tickets and would LOVE to go consider this a shameless suggestion that I'd love to hear from anybody WITH tickets who isn't ABLE to go!!! :)
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Friday, July 13, 2007
So here we are ...
... a good time being had by all. (photo credit: Louise Brooks!)
Enjoyed the film VERY much ... Chad and co-stars Judith Light and Robert Gant were great and I think it's an important addition to the cultural conversation on faith, religion, tolerance, love and healing -- not of the orientation kind but of the relationship kind.
More later, probably. Back to laundryland!
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Walking With Integrity has a new piece "For the Record" which I would commend to you even if I hadn't written it myself!
Mark Harris offers a particularly insightly reflection on Bishop Orombi's "What Is Anglicanism." I'm going to give it another read tomorrow alongside Terry Holmes' classic work of the same title. Would make an interesting small group study to compare the two, wouldn't it? Hmmm ....
I did some reading about the film "Save Me" which kicks off the L.A. OUTFEST and we're going to see tomorrow night. I was up for it already as one of the stars is Chad Allen -- an All Saints parishioner -- and we were looking forward to being there and being supportive of him in his work. But the more I read about it the film the cooler it sounds ... check out this quote from Christianity Today: "One of the things that struck me about this film was how the filmmakers (some who are themselves gay as we learned during the question and answer time following the screening) portrayed the motives and stories of the conservative Christians who lead the ex-gay ministry with tenderness and grace. Is it possible that many in the gay community are more gracious in their understanding of Evangelical Christians than we are towards them?" More about that after I see the film!
Finally, in the "it must be a slow news day department" the AAC (American Anglican Council) blog is leading with the story of last Saturday's blessing at Disney Hall. Must admit to being amused (along with the several folks who emailed me about it) by comment #5 from "Dawn" ... who seems to think I work at 815.
Not so much.
Here endeth the "bits and pieces."
the Episcopal Public Policy Network
Here's the Public Policy Alert that came in my email today:
"The American people expect us to find a solution to the situation in Iraq; this legislation sets us on the right track diplomatically, economically and militarily to do so." Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO)
"I am proud to sponsor this legislation with my Republican and Democratic colleagues. ..The legislation we are offering will give the president and Congress new opportunities to work together to find solutions for a more stable Iraq." Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT)
Congress has the chance to send a bipartisan and unified message to the Bush Administration that the time is long past to change course in Iraq. There may be a number of opportunities for the Senate to consider S. 1545, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group Implementation Act, in the coming days.
The bill has broad bipartisan support and would establish a much needed foundation for a new U.S. policy in Iraq and the Middle East, including removing most combat troops by March 2008. While other bills are stronger on troop withdrawal, S. 1545 is the only one that makes the all important point that the Administration must deal with both Iraq and the Arab-Israeli conflict for peace to come to the region.
Congress rarely speaks with one voice on any issue. This is a chance for them to do so on one of the most difficult issues the nation now faces.
I've already written in support to both of my Senators -- Boxer and Feinstein -- though EPNN.
Click here to join the
Episcopal Public Policy Network
and let your voice be heard!
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
As a life-long Episcopalian I guarantee you that Rod heard this passage from Isaiah read in church many, many, MANY times. As an acolyte at St. Alban’s in Westwood or a Senior Warden at St. George’s La Canada or a parishioner here at All Saints Pasadena he couldn’t have escaped it if he tried, as it is one of the great proclamations of our spiritual heritage we read again and again to remind us not only who we are as God’s beloved but how we are to live in this world in response to that love.
And it is hard this morning to imagine a life better lived in response to that love than the too-short life of Rod Leonard.
I’m not sure if he ever sat in a pew and recognized himself in the words of the prophet Isaiah – written all those many centuries ago – but we recognize him in them today. We recognize the life of love and service and dedication he offered to family, friends and to the community at large. From the selfless giving of the college grad who worked at UniCamp serving kids in need to the young man who served as a Peace Corp Volunteer in Venezuela … throughout his distinguished legal career Rod brought good news to those who needed it and reached out to the broken-hearted.
And in retirement, according to Kathy, when he wasn’t sailing or hiking, golfing or fly fishing – grandparenting or enjoying his new practice of Yoga – a practice I was told he “embraced with more enthusiasm than is usually associated with Yoga” – or volunteering here in the All Saints office reception desk! -- Rod was working 10 – 12 hours a day writing appeals for clients now living in prison. In that work, Rod was truly anointed to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to those in prison.
The spirit of the Lord God was upon Rod all the days of his well-lived, hard-worked, energetically embraced life. And now, it is to that same God we turn today – those of who loved and knew and respected and admired and ENJOYED Rod Leonard – we turn for comfort in our grief at the loss of this gifted, joyful, compassionate friend, father, husband, colleague and mentor. And turn to the God who created us all in love and then called us to love one another – and today we give thanks for the witness and example of Rod Leonard who didn’t just hear those words in church each week – he lived them every day of his life.
The liturgy created in celebration of Rod’s life is also a celebration of the promise of that God who promises us not that we will never grieve – but promises that there is comfort for those who mourn. It is at its core an expression of our faith that nothing can separate us from the love of God – and the promise that our Lord Jesus himself has gone before us to prepare a place for us in that place where there is no death – neither sighing nor crying – but the fullness of joy with all your saints.
One of my favorite theologians is Joan Chittister – a Roman Catholic activist – and Sister Joan famously said, “We are all called to go through life reclaiming the planet an inch at a time until the Garden of Eden grows green again.”
Today, as we grieve the loss of our brother Rod, we rejoice in the MANY inches growing greener today because of his life and his love and this witness. As we share together today the stories of that life – the ways and places and times he touched and loved and encouraged us – may we also encourage each other to claim his legacy of service, of commitment to peace and justice, of bringing good news to those in need.
We, too, have been anointed – not only by the spirit of the Lord but by the example of Rod Leonard. As we celebrate his life today let us also commit ourselves to continue that celebration into the days and weeks and months ahead as we follow in his footsteps – reclaiming our own “inch at a time” – toward that day when the Garden of Eden will truly grow green again.