A Shower of Rose Petals for Pentecost

Pentecost 2019

On Pentecost St. John Cantius Church follows an ancient tradition of dropping red rose petals from above on to the congregation. I’ve never seen that done before. It’s a shame I can only watch it on YouTube tomorrow.

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Relics

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For All Saints Day, St. John Cantius Catholic Church displayed their massive collection of saints relics, which are little slivers of bones or tresses of hair. It seems kind of a weird thing to put into a gold case, right?

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In his homily (aka sermon) the priest explained how before he became Catholic, he did think this was odd.

Now he made us consider his story of the Cub’s winning the World Series in 2016. Everyone in the city was gung ho for the team and in a celebratory spirit. He recalled the day of the homecoming parade, he was on a train platform and saw a piece of confetti and reflexively he reached down for this discarded piece of paper. An older man beat him to it.

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Upon reflection, he believed that it’s human nature to want to keep a piece of greatness or joy. By keeping and displaying these relics he felt we’re making visible those Christians who’ve gone before us who are cheering us on and inspiring us on how to live as we were designed to live.

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Tuesday Photo Challenge: Worship

 

This week’s Tuesday Photo Challenge, which I’m joining for the first time after seeing Cee’s post today, inspires bloggers to search their archives for photos that portray worship. After the horror of the Notre Dame fire, the sacred is on the minds of many.

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Melbourne. Australia

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Catholic church in Pekanbaru, Indonesia

If you want to join, create a post that depicts worship and link to Dutch Goes the Photo. Tag your post with: fpj-photo-challenge.

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Temple, Thailand

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Chiang Mai, Thailand

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Chicago, Illinois

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Westminster Catholic Church, London

Poem of the Week

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Ring Out , Wild Bells

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

 

~ Alfred Lord Tennyson

12 Books of Christmas #2

off to bethlehem The children’s book Off to Bethlehem! by Dandi Daley Mackall is a breezy, poetic telling of the story of the nativity has endearing illustrations by R.W. Alley, though I was surprised how much older Joseph looks than Mary. (I guess he looks like he’s 40 while she’s a teen. There’s nothing I know of in the Bible about their age difference. I’d be happier with a younger Joseph. How about 20?)

Off to Bethlehem! is a great introduction or reminder of the reason for the season.

 

Poem of the Week

A Thanksgiving to God, for his House

BY ROBERT HERRICK
Lord, Thou hast given me a cell
Wherein to dwell,
A little house, whose humble roof
Is weather-proof:
Under the spars of which I lie
Both soft, and dry;
Where Thou my chamber for to ward
Hast set a guard
Of harmless thoughts, to watch and keep
Me, while I sleep.
Low is my porch, as is my fate,
Both void of state;
And yet the threshold of my door
Is worn by th’ poor,
Who thither come and freely get
Good words, or meat.
Like as my parlour, so my hall
And kitchen’s small;
A little buttery, and therein
A little bin,
Which keeps my little loaf of bread
Unchipp’d, unflead;
Some brittle sticks of thorn or briar
Make me a fire,
Close by whose living coal I sit,
And glow like it.
Lord, I confess too, when I dine,
The pulse is Thine,
And all those other bits, that be
There plac’d by Thee;
The worts, the purslain, and the mess
Of water-cress,
Which of Thy kindness Thou hast sent;
And my content
Makes those, and my beloved beet,
To be more sweet.
‘Tis Thou that crown’st my glittering hearth
With guiltless mirth;
And giv’st me wassail-bowls to drink,
Spic’d to the brink.
Lord, ’tis Thy plenty-dropping hand
That soils my land;
And giv’st me, for my bushel sown,
Twice ten for one;
Thou mak’st my teeming hen to lay
Her egg each day;
Besides my healthful ewes to bear
Me twins each year;
The while the conduits of my kine
Run cream, for wine.
All these, and better, Thou dost send
Me, to this end,
That I should render, for my part,
A thankful heart,
Which, fir’d with incense, I resign,
As wholly Thine;
But the acceptance, that must be,
My Christ, by Thee.

(I think this house has a lot of hygge.)

The War Room

 

I knew that The War Room was number 1 at the box office when it opened in the summer. I also knew that it was made by a group of Evangelical Christians known for their low budget films. So I feared this film might be low quality and rather preachy. Yet a couple friends had seen the film and recommended it.

When I flew back to the US from China, The War Room was offered on my flight. It seemed like a low risk chance to watch it.

While there are no big name stars and the story is overtly Christian, The War Room held my interest and was worth my time. It’s the story of an affluent couple who’re drifting apart, bickering and arguing a lot, becoming more materialistic and losing respect for each other — two pitfalls that are all too common.

The wife is a real estate agent, who meets a wise widow who regrets letting her own marriage slide. The widow is deeply spiritual and challenges the heroine to pray for her husband in a “War Room.” She insists that it’s not the wife’s job to fix her husband, but to love him and pray for him.

As you’d expect the praying works. What I liked about the film was that although it wasn’t subtle or polished, it touched on an aspect of life that so many people struggle with. It came across as real. All the actors were believable and the story satisfied. I wouldn’t say it was my favourite film of all time, but I am glad I saw it.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Joy

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Here’s how it works:

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.

3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great photos from each month’s most popular challenge.

Wishing you peace and joy all through 2014!

Other joyful photos:

The End of the Affair

end of the affair My online bookclub read Graham Greene‘s masterful The End of the Affair. I love how he makes Christian theology and faith real and meaningful to his characters – even nonbelievers. I’m impressed that he can make unlikeable people engaging despite their flaws. He captures Bendrix, the narrator, Sarah (the wife/mistress), Henry (the cuckolded husband) and the priest and the atheist preacher in such a way that you feel that God really does love them and us when we’re so flawed.

Here are some more thoughts:

I read this book years ago, but don’t remember how long ago. I now realize that it’s a book for mature readers, or one that the over 30 (maybe 35) crowd must get much better than young adults.

I loved how Greene writes from the point of view of an ordinary man, i.e. not a monster or villain, but a middle class, educated man who must seem quite normal to all around him and how he fills this man with self-acknowledged, un adulterated hate. It’s bold and honest. My guess is few if any writers today would deal with such a strong emotion without overdoing it or making the character implausible.

I loved how theology is absolutely in the water, air and earth of this world. The characters, all non-believers for most of the book, grapple with sophisticated ideas about God in a deep, unflinching way. Again this is bold and I don’t see it much in the modern era. I wonder how an atheist would take this book. Many seem to like their Christians to be simple-minded, superstitious fools (straw men)  and a good many of us just don’t fit that mold. Since Greene carefully chose his characters’ traits and background I wonder who his imagined audience was. Was he trying to show non-believers the Christian God more so than to write for “the choir”?

I thought the writing was so masterful and the phrasing strong and riveting. That made the book a “quick” read, while there were also several passages I underlined and hope to remember or come back to.

There is amazing power and significance in a love story with a “sad” ending. (Yet is the break up of an affair sad? I think Greene would say no. I’d agree.) Because we have so few stories that have the courage to take this route, readers and viewers don’t get to experience this catharsis and emotion. It’s quite sophisticated to have an audience experience a character walking away from a relationship. The marketers don’t understand that they’re stunting American audiences’ emotional growth by mainly (only) giving us stories that provide the happy endings that young people crave. I just showed one of my classes Once, a film where the couple doesn’t wind up together. It’s a beautiful, compelling story, rather noble actually.

I’ve been digging around the internet and found some articles on the book. I’m plowing through one scholarly article that looks at desire and desire. It’s quite erudite so it’s slow reading, but I think it’s worth it. I’ll offer more insights soon.

There’s a recorded version of the book with Colin Firth as the narrator, which should be worthwhile and there’s a fairly recent movie that changed the ending, which I won’t bother with.