Thursday, March 20, 2014

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A techie discovers a Plan B and likes it.

Act I: It Happens.

To quote Douglas Adams' "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, "  DON'T PANIC.  The laptop was in the shop with our wonderful @ITS folks for some diagnostics and system cleanup.  We decided on the more radical procedure that would mean that I would be without my regular computer for at least 1/2 a day or more.  "No problem", I said to @ITS.  After all, I had my school issued iPad and I could roll.  I wouldn't have the muscle of the laptop, but I certainly had sufficient computing power for most needs.  In fact, I'm typing this blog entry on my iPad now. I can't format the pictures at the moment, and the spell check is rough so I still need a full computer for somethings.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Dust of death and glory

Every year this day and this season come around.  Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.  This year is a little different, along with many other children, my daughter will come before me to receive ashes in chapel. On her forehead will be the sign of the cross and she will hear ancient words that have echoed the sacred rite, "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return." I am reminding her (and me) of the mortality we all possess.

I recall a time when she was an infant, and I was holding her in my arms. Pure innocence with nothing but the world and an entire lifetime before her, thinking to myself, "from the day we are born, we all have the same destiny."  There was no sadness,  this is not about willing anything into being, but rather the realization that in that moment I held life- fragile, flawed impermanent but beautiful life- in my arms.

This kind of thinking comes about perhaps because she was born on a Friday- a Good Friday to be exact; a day to think about death since Christians observe the Passion and Crucifixion of Jesus.

But it is also a time to think about about life.  The story of Jesus doesn't end on Good Friday- it begins there.  Easter and resurrection have no meaning without the events of Good Friday.  That we say Christ defeated death means something when the first song of Easter says,

Rejoice now, heavenly hosts and choirs of angels, and let your trumpets shout salvation, For behold the victory of our mighty King!

This song is called the Exultet and is goes back nearly 1600 years. It is specifically sung at the Great Vigil of Easter- which is a deep and profound liturgy that moves from darkness to light- symbolically from death to life.  Personally, this song one of my favorite aspects of this ancient liturgy.

On Ash Wednesday, we are called to reflect on our mortality, of our need to say "I'm sorry" and to repent and be reconciled with God and with others.  Jesus invites us to "take up our cross" and follow him on a journey to Jerusalem and to Calvary itself.  In other words, we are called to die. It is not a literal death-though admittedly in parts of world where Christian persecution still exists- this metaphor is a reality. We are invited to die to old self, leaving behind the sin, the shame, and the emptiness in order that our hearts might be filled with the power of the grace, love, forgiveness and redemption so many of us desperately need to hear.  In doing so, we embrace Easter joy and resurrection.  The knowledge that not even death itself can separate us from the love of God.

So on Ash Wednesday, I put ashes on my daughter's head.  I remind her with ancient words that for a child of 7 have little meaning but for her grey haired old man means so much- that she will one day die.  "you are dust, and to dust you shall return" I tell her.  Her fate in this world is a certainly- the same as all of us.


In the faith,  there is something unique.   In the service for funerals in the Book of Common Prayer there is a concluding prayer: "All of us go down to the dust, but even at the grave we make our song, Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia."  In the Christian faith, it is because of the work of Easter where resurrected life conquers death, that death does not have the final say.  Death itself is not the end.

There are times I catch myself holding her a hand a little tighter or hugging her and not wanting to let go in a desperate attempt to hold on to these moments of life.  Because I too have ashes on my forehead.  I am reminded of my mortality, my limits, my flawed self, and the forces that have shaped who I am and what I am called to be.

I have heard the words of the dust of death.  Still, my song is Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.  And I will teach my beloved daughter to sing it too.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Prayer for Listening

Teach me, O God, to listen that I may hear your voice in the busyness and the boredom of everyday life, in times doubt and times of certainty.
Teach me, O God, to listen amid the senseless noise that clamors for my attention to hear the beating of your heart.
Teach me, O God, to listen to those who are nearest me, my family, my friends, my school mates and my co-workers.
Teach me, O God, Father and Mother of us all, to know that I am created in your image.  Help me to trust the voice you have placed deep in my soul.
Teach me, O God, to listen to the whisper of the hopeless, the plea of the forgotten and outcast, the cry of the anguished.  
Teach me to listen, Holy Spirit, for your voice and in it the language that speaks to my heart; for the message that ignites my soul.
Teach me, O God, to listen.  Amen.

What Langauge Speaks to Your Heart?

"If you talk to a person in a language they understand, it goes to the head,  if you speak in their language, it goes to the heart."- Nelson Mandela

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="296"] King Kamehameha IV born Alexander 'Iolani Liholiho[/caption]

What language speaks to your heart?  What is it that makes your soul come alive?

"We are a royal school."  said the Rev. Dr. Malcolm Chun '72 now an Episcopal priest.  He recently spoke in a chapel honoring our founding patron King Kamehameha IV, his emphasis on faith, health and education.  It was the King, who, in his dedication to the faith, translated the Book of Common Prayer and a portion of the Hymnal into the Hawaiian Language,

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Sticks, stones, and broken bones. The power of words and the power to change them.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="252"] Author: zalouk webdesign used under creative commons license[/caption]

Words and language are very much a part of our lives.  If we learn nothing else from our English Teachers, we should learn that words have power.  Whether our language is English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Farsi, Arabic, Norse, or even Sign Language.  The words we use are powerful.  Words can inspire us,  they can make us cry, make us laugh, they can be prophetic and passionate.  AND they can defeat us; they can be used to enslave ourselves and others leaving scars on our souls.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Gifts of Light and Life

adoration-of-the-magiThe Year is 243 BCE .. King Seleucus II Callinicus  has gathered with the high priest in the Temple of Apollo with him are offerings to the gods:  Gold, Frankencense, Myrrh.  The Book of Isaiah, when describing Jerusalem’s glorious restoration, tells of nations and kings who will come and “bring gold and frankincense and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord” (Isaiah 60:6). Although Matthew’s gospel does not include the names or number of the Magi, many believe that the number of the gifts is what led to the tradition of the Three Wise Men.

January 6th, mark the feast of the Epiphany, a word that Webster defines as “to show forth, manifest” and “the revealing of Jesus as Christ to the Gentiles in the persons of the Magi”.  But when we more commonly hear that word, we hear "I just had an epiphany, or  “a moment of sudden intuitive understanding; flash of insight.”