We travel in the company of the blessed, in Jesus’ teaching: the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, those persecuted. We travel among the many, the communion of saints. Lift up your hearts.
We travel in the company of the blessed, those over whom Paul gave his benedictions, in the radiant letter to the Philippians.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit
To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever
The God of peace will be with you
The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus
God is at work in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure
May your love abound more and more with knowledge and all discernment so that you may approve what is excellent, and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruits of righteousness which come through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God
We travel among those who also have been found in the heart of an addressable community, those addressed and blessed by benediction. Lift up your hearts.
The Beautiful and the True
We travel in the company of the blessed, those who have guided us into the deep and the good, the beautiful and the true.
Dante calls to us. As Peter Hawkins taught many here:
In Virgil’s company he (Dante) learns that the ascent must be prefaced by a descent, for to move toward the light he must confront everything that is murky and tangled not only within himself but within all of humanity (Hawkins, 7)
Hopkins makes us shiver:
Thou mastering me
God giver of breath and bread;
World’s strand, sway of the sea;
Lord of living and dead;
Thou hast bound bones and veins in me, fastened me flesh,
And after it almost unmade, what with dread,
Thy doing: and dost thou touch me afresh?
Over again I feel thy finger and find thee.
We travel along behind those who have opened the world to grace. Lift up your hearts.
Newton Falls NY
We travel in the company of the blessed, among those who know that all of this, life as given, is not about somebody else. It is about you and me and we together.
Remember: You can if you think you can.
Eight years ago the paper mill closed in Newton Falls, taking with it 100 jobs out of a town of 75 houses in the Adirondacks. The mill is open again, as of June 5 2008 (NYTimes). Levi Durham and Andy Leroux would not let it die. Starting in 2000, they cleaned the closed mill. They kept the machinery oiled and running. ‘We had to do what we had to do to get our mill going again’, said Leroux. Today the mill is open, running 24/7, making paper for cookbooks, for newspapers, for catalogues, for biology textbooks. 104 people have good jobs there, near the great timber forests of the great Adirondack mountains. ‘We decided to stop thinking about our mill and actually do something to save it’. They worked almost for free for many. At 20 below with 30 mile winds, winter after winter, they shoveled the roof. ‘To us, the mill was idle. There’s a difference between closed and idle’. A town group of small business people, retirees, teachers, and elected officials hunted for a buyer, a buyer who would let the mill be the mill, as a whole, not sold off bit by bit. They called people. They searched the internet. Finally they found Dennis Bunnell of Buffalo who, along with a Canadian partner, bought the mill for $20M. Bunnell said: ‘All there is to a mill is machinery and people. What makes a difference in this case is that the people who work here truly care about this mill’. Maple trees, birch trees, spruce trees, responsibly harvested nearby, produce fiber that is bleached, soaked, stretched, smoothed and steamed in a 300 foot long machine. All of this adventure, in the middle of nowhere. 7 hours north of NYC, in a picturesque setting of rivers, lakes and mountains where you can buy a home for $20,000. ‘We’re hard workers. We’re stubborn and even when it looks like the whole world is against us, we don’t give up. Today 100 workers make $22\hr and have medical, dental and retirement plans.
We travel in the company of those who wrestle with angels, who wake in the morning to say, ‘Surely the Lord was in this place, and I knew it not’. Lift up your hearts.
Prayer for November 2, 2008
We travel in the company of the blessed, like my friend Ken Carter whose prayer, SURSUM CORDA, is ours today:
you are the source of every blessing,
the judge of every nation
and the hope of earth and heaven:
We pray to you on the eve of this important and historic election.
We call to mind the best that is within us:
That we live under God,
that we are indivisible,
that liberty and justice extend to all.
We acknowledge the sin that runs through our history as a nation:
The displacement of native peoples, racial injustice,
economic inequity, regional separation.
And we profess a deep and abiding gratitude
for the goodness of ordinary people who have made sacrifices,
who have sought opportunities,
who have journeyed to this land as immigrants
and strengthened its promise in successive generations,
who have found freedom on these shores,
and defended this freedom at tremendous cost.
Be with us in the days that are near.
Remind us that your ways are not our ways,
that your power and might transcend
the plans of every nation,
that you are not mocked.
Let those who follow your Son Jesus Christ be a peaceable people
in the midst of division.
Send your Spirit of peace, justice and freedom upon us,
break down the walls of political partisanship,
and make us one.
Give us wisdom to walk in your ways,
courage to speak in your name,
and humility to trust in your providence.