Archive for February, 2014

The Bach Experience

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

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Brother Lawrence Whitney:

Credo

First: confession.  Second: glorification.  Third: belief.

Here, at last, we turn with Bach in the movement of the Mass to belief.  “Credo…” “I believe…”

“Br. Larry, I’m not sure I believe in hell anymore,” a student stated with no small hint of trepidation.  “So?” I asked in reply.  “Br. Larry, don’t get me wrong, I’m totally down with Jesus,” another student remarked, “I’m just not sure he’s the only way to God.”  “Should you be?” I inquired.  “Br. Larry, how can I believe in an almighty God who let my friend die like that?”  After a period of silence I wondered aloud, “After such a tragedy, can any of us believe in such a God?  Should we?”

There is an underlying concern in these inquiries.  This is the reason to bring them to a chaplain, even one who refuses to give a straight answer.  The concern is what impact these beliefs, at odds with received tradition, might have on the salvation of those who hold them.  If I believe the wrong things, can I be saved?

This reduction of salvation to doctrinal conviction is not classical Christianity but rather a modern phenomenon.  It is a result of the encounter of Christianity with particular forms of Enlightenment rationalism, admittedly itself an evolution of Protestant thinking.  Ironically, Christianity as right belief in this way takes a pernicious turn toward humanistic works righteousness.  It insists that salvation is achieved by intellectual assent and not in the first instance by the grace of God.  Frequently it turns to idolatry by turning the bible, and belief therein, into the gatekeeper of heaven.  As the slogan goes, “The bible says it, I believe it, that settles it.”  This is Christianity become Biblianity, in spite of Paul’s injunction that “no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ.”

If this misplaced emphasis on belief were limited to the Protestant Christians from whom it arose it would be bad enough.  Alas, given the ways in which belief-oriented Christianity has become a taken-for-granted stream in the American conscious, it has become the predominant paradigm for interpreting all religious orientations in our pluralistic society.

As we speak, the United States Supreme Court is in the process of hearing several religion cases. One regards prayer in legislative sessions.  Two regard the right of corporations to deny birth control coverage on the basis of the religious beliefs of their owners.  If their decisions in these cases follow their track record, and we should expect they will, it is likely the Court will err.  The errors will not be on the basis of jurisprudence, but rather on the basis of a fundamental misunderstanding of religion as belief at the very foundation of American jurisprudence.  In spite of the fact that there are no Protestants left on the Supreme Court, it is likely that all of the justices will prove themselves Protestant by proxy in making decisions based on a particular Protestant understanding of religion as belief.

Given the transitions in the field of religious studies over the past fifty years, it is unlikely that any undergraduate religion major could graduate without a thorough understanding that belief is but one aspect of religion, and a minor one in many traditions.  Little wonder, then, that Secretary of State John Kerry said, “if I went back to college today, I think I would probably major in comparative religion, because that’s how integrated it is in everything that we are working on and deciding and thinking about in life today.”

Religion reduced to belief is dangerous.  Assertions of belief are ways of delineating in-group, out-group boundaries.  Right now, Arizona awaits the signature of their governor on legislation that would allow religion as belief to be cited as grounds for denying services to gay and lesbian couples.  Beliefs become justifications for standing your ground against those who believe else or otherwise.  For most of human history, the function of religion was in fact to just so delineate groups from one another.  In the Axial Age, however, figures such as Socrates, Buddha, Confucius, and Jesus, among many others, were instrumental in the transformation of religion toward a universality that transcends difference.  And so it is that Jesus rejects any justification of “Stand Your Ground:” “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also… You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

This is not to say that belief has no place in religion at all.  The “Credo” in its proper context in the Mass setting is an excellent example of belief within the wider framework of the practices of religion.  The “Credo” is sung, that is, it is embodied in the voices of the choir, the tintinnabulations of the orchestra, and the gestures of the conductor.  It is the belief of individuals who belong to a community and to God.  It is belief enacted, not belief intellected.  Dr. Jarrett, tell us more about what we believe with Bach this morning.

Dr. Scott Allen Jarrett:

In October we began our journey in this great cathedral of music, Bach’s Mass in B Minor, entering first the narthex with the supplicant Kyrie. In December we joined the mighty congregation in the nave in the Gloria in Excelsis Deo. Today we come to the Cathedral crossing – where the tenets of the faith are taught, affirmed and observed.

Written late in Bach’s life, the Credo is an unparalleled compendium of compositional style and skill. Marsh Chapel congregants are now well familiar with Bach’s interest in symmetrical structures and architectures. The nine movements of the Credo unfold in such a way that the Crucifixus text comes as the centerpiece with Et incarnates est and et resurrexit on either side. These three movements, the crux of the faith, form the central portion of this grand Credo setting. On either side, Bach sets extended portions of text for arias – first a soprano/alto duet and later a baritone solo. The first depicts the three in one nature of God. You’ll hear the alto melody as an extension and mirror of the soprano, interweaving and informing one another, as if to depict being of one substance of the father.

The capstones of the Credo are two pairs of choruses. Each set begins with a movement proving Bach’s skill and interest in the old 16th century style of a Renaissance motet. These two movements – ‘Credo in unum Deum’ and ‘Confiteor’ –draw their compositional model from Gregorian Chant melodies. Both movements yield in spectacular display to music in the high Baroque style with trumpets, timpani and full-on display of Bach’s unmatched mastery of the contrapuntal style.

For the performer – and we hope for the listener – Bach’s music impels these texts to leap from the page. As Luther wrote, “The Notes makes the texts live.” And as Br. Larry reminds us today, Bach’s music calls us to a belief re-imagined, a belief quickened, revitalized, and transformed. This is a Credo of cosmic utterance, new realities and possibilities of faith far beyond the sum of the parts.

Brother Lawrence Whitney:

Dearly beloved, what we believe with Bach this morning is the living and breathing of the life of faith.  The words are ancient, the spirit is fresh.  Believe then in God who “makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.”  Amen.

make haste slowly

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

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The sermon text is unavailable at this time.

~Ms. Liz Douglass, Chapel Associate

Aggiornamento

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

Ephesians 4: 1-7

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Robert McAfee Brown

 

One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism…

 

It is hard if not impossible for many of us, who studied at the feet of Professor Robert McAfee Brown, to hear these words spoken with anything other than his own excitement, spirit, and love.

 

Over time you will sift out for yourselves, at whatever age, the teachers who have not only informed but have formed you.  Information is good.  Transformation is really good.   In that spirit it is hard to hear Ephesians 4 and to face the fact that our teacher Robert McAfee Brown is not here any longer to recite the passage.

 

We washed up on the venerable shore of Union Theological Seminary in the autumn of 1976, there to stay for the better part of three years.  Dr. Brown came and left in the same time period, three short years.   He was a Union man.  He said, often, ‘you can always tell the Union people’.  He meant by that the emphasis in life not only on a deep personal faith but also on an active social involvement.  We here would quote Mr. Wesley, ‘there is no holiness save social holiness’, and add, ‘you can always tell the Boston people’.

 

President Shriver somehow convinced the Browns, Bob and Sydney, to come back from the sunny west coast to their alma mater, Union, where 2o years earlier they had come of age with Tillich, Niebuhr, Knox, Terrien, Heschel, Fosdick, Steimle, Scherer and all.  Perhaps they felt they owed it to their forebears.  The match lasted only briefly, but for those of us there in the same brevity, it was a brief shining moment.  A transformational moment

 

The first Christmas, in what was to become a series of jovial parties, Robert McAfee Brown brought a stack of telegrams sent ostensibly from the North Pole.  They played on ‘Claus’, one being a commendation of Union for affirming the ongoing ‘claus struggle’—workers of the world unite.

 

One spring he preached at the wedding of friends in James chapel, citing Jeremiah and ‘the old paths’.  Strikingly, for that setting and those days, and much to my appreciation, he warned the couple that many things they could share with others, but not the most intimate things–‘dining room but not bedroom’ was the way he put it.  I can hear the sermon as if it were given this morning.

 

The next autumn he invited about 10 couples to have dinner with him and his wife Sydney in their apartment along Riverside Drive.   The Browns had invited also as their guest a relatively young Jewish scholar, recently connected to Boston University, but living and working also in New York.  Brown was to provide later a new and moving introduction to a short book many of us have used and reused in teaching over decades.  The book:  NIGHT.  The scholar:  Elie Wiesel.

 

You see how information pales before transformation, how life stands out from work, how hospitality invades ingenuity.  You see all too easily what homiletically the sermon is up to.   You are, or will be, many of you, teachers and preachers still in 2060, but remembering perhaps the influence of Brown, born in 1920.  Kierkegaard was right about the ‘what’ and the ‘how’.  Mark that.  We want to connect you, a generation behind us, with others, a generation ahead.  The past is not dead, it is not even past.

 

Robert McAfee Brown is a model for many because he was an unapologetic generalist, in the forest of specialists.   For him the fun of the university is the universal part.  Oh, he had many specialties, over the year:  theology, church history, world religions, liberation theologies, and others.

 

But Brown was a model because he continued to evolve, change and grow year in and out, decade by decade.  He would celebrate the life of this University if he were here.  He would attend the annual honored University Lecture, participate in the University Faculty, celebrate at University Commencement, Baccalaureate, Matriculation, attend University Chapel worship on Sunday, and read BU Today, day by day.

 

I see him walking the quadrangle.  I peer at him in the refectory.  I hand him in memory a book he has requested from the library stacks.   I admire still their happy marriage, which lit and warmed and brightened just by manner of being, happy.  I rue the lasting awfulness of death that takes such a life out of life–at least this life.  I am grateful for the wealth of teachers and teaching I was given, whose full merit I could not appreciate, and whose full measure, I have not taken even to this day.

 

His wife Sydney Thomson Brown wrote:  “Grounded in the traditional, the traditional never contained him.” (Memoir, 121).

 

The Ecumenical Revolution

 

At last, in the final year, there was a place in a class with Professor Brown.   It was titled for one of his other specialties, and one of his books, THE ECUMENICAL REVOLUTION.  Brown had been a protestant observer, in some ways THE protestant observer, at Vatican II.   For the rest of his life, he exuded the spirit and theme of that remarkable Council: aggiornamento.

 

Now,  Boston.  Over the last several months we have faithfully, culturally remembered other anniversaries: I Have a Dream, the Civil War, the Gettysburg Address, the death of JFK, and even this week the Beatles on Ed Sullivan.   What have we remembered about Vatican II? James Carroll did write a compelling column in the fall, and a few others have done similar things.  But in the main?  We have missed the anniversary.

 

A thunderous silence somehow has hidden, this year, a great anniversary.  A celebration that should have already begun.  A festival!  Yet, I have not heard or read a single word of it.  Vatican II?  Of this celebration, I hear nothing.  Somebody needs to be throwing a party, a thirty year birthday party, a festival!  So, rather than curse the media darkness–a not unenjoyable pastime–I today light one candle, one birthday candle.

 

One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism…

 

These years mark the 50th anniversary of Vatican II, 1962-1965.  In the fall of 1965, Pope John the 23rd’s great three year meeting came to an end.  So much went off-track in the 1960′s that we sometimes throw out the baby with the bath water in our generational sifting.  We forget people and moments of genuine courage.

 

One Lord, One faith, One baptism…

 

Pope John 23, that happy, rotund, gracious, thankful Italian pastor, had an inspiration late one night in 1959.  From the corners of the earth, he would gather church leaders, including non-catholics, to meditate on Paul’s teaching about “the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace”.  The Council opened in the autumn 1962 and ended in the autumn 1965.  The Bishop of Rome felt that the time had come for “aggiornamento”.  A renewal.  An updating.  Change.  Times were changing, and the church, he felt, would need to change with them.  And yes, my teacher, Robert McAfee Brown, a Presbyterian, attended and wrote the best available summary of the council, The Ecumenical Revolution.

 

Venerable, conserving, religious, beloved institutions can change to serve the present age.  If you wonder whether anyone, anyway can ever bring renewal, updating…change (ooh…) then I see this birthday candle lit today.  We remember R. M. Brown’s stories about John 23 and recall that fifty years ago a then 700 million member venerable, conservative, religious, beloved church—threw the windows open!

 

One Lord, One faith, One Baptism.  One God and Creator of us all who is above all and through all and in all!

 

Aggiornamento–renewal, updating, change–can even come to big institutions, even churches, with the right leadership.

 

John 23 championed principles of change:  constant reformation, study of the Bible, collegiality, religious freedom, the role of the laity, diversity, ecumenism, dialogue, and mission.

 

Here is the good news, from Ephesians, and from the portly Bishop of Rome, 1964:  the church can change, and in so doing, can gain its life by losing it.

The pronouncement of the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the lasting ultimate victory of substance over form!

 

After all, Ephesians 4: 1-7 was written by a student of St. Paul, as the early church was moving from diversity to unity, and finding its way toward an ecumenical shape, at the end of the first century.

 

I’m waiting for an invitation from somebody to attend a party!  I hear nothing. As Gabriel Vahanian said at the time of those courageous council leaders, “the Catholics have become the real Protestants today.”

 

Three applications—serve, listen, change.

 

One Lord

 

First.  With all Christians, we serve one Lord. Aggiornamento today should mean for us, the freedom to serve.

 

An old documentary film depicts Mother Teresa visiting the tenderloin, red-light district of San Francisco.  Teresa and three other Sisters of Mercy are shown touring one of the houses in this area, which they have bought to use as a haven for battered women.  The contractor, who has recently renovated the beautiful 19th century great house, proudly guides the Saint of Calcutta through American opulence.  He shows her the great hall, the carpeted rooms, the fine draperies, the posted beds, the ample lighting, the mirrors.  He hopes she will admire the repairs to the porcelain in the baths.  He has donated some of his labor and is clearly honored to be with this great woman.  During the tour, Teresa says nothing, jotting a few notes.

 

As they return to the front door, the contractor asks Mother Teresa whether she will need anything else.  The film focuses on her face, as she gives a quiet response.  She thanks him for his work.  She compliments the beauty of the house.  She expresses admiration for such finery.  Then she says:  “the mattresses can stay.  Everything else must go:  the drapes, the mirrors, the beds, everything.” The contractor takes notes to undo his handy work, but cannot resist asking the saint at the end: “Mother, Why?”  “Because, we are here for people.  We cannot let any distraction interfere with our connection to these for whom Christ died.  What matters is their healing, their life.  We must not let anything get between us.  We’ll keep the mattresses.”

 

Pope John Paul II once said: “You need courage to follow Christ…especially when you recognize that so much of our dominant culture is a culture of flight from God…”  And Pope Francis:  ‘who am I to judge?’

 

Paul Baumann:  “In the emerging struggle against the spiritually stultifying effects of technological society, Protestants and Catholics need to join forces.”

 

Service can unite where doctrine divides.  You are the salt of the earth.  You are the light of the world.  Let your righteousness exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees.

 

One Faith

 

Second, with all Christians we hold one faith.  Aggiornamento today should mean for us the freedom to listen to others’ journeys.

 

One summer we shared a late Sunday dinner, with two very close friends, children of Vatican II, Catholics from the north country.  It was a good dinner.  Fish, potatoes, sunset, candles, and the quiet rosy warmth of friendship.  When dusk comes, what do you have anyway, but your faith and your friends?  Over dessert, we talked religion, which often we do.  Coffee and dessert came, but the real end of the conversation eluded us.  I wanted to know what worship meant for my friend.  It was important to me, and maybe for that reason, I at last could hear her response.  I had entered that prized moment when one suspends disbelief.  What of the mass, the weekly eucharist, the liturgy?  “I just feel so thankful”, she said.  “I go to communion and I just feel so thankful.”  In a quiet voice, with a full heart, she spoke God’s truth.

 

What a joy to see windows opened, and saving renewal occur.  We know this well on a personal level, and hear it in each others’ stories.

 

In therapy, a man has the hurt of 20 years exposed to the healing light of acceptance.  A clean wind blows upon his heart.

 

In surgery, a woman has the disease of a decade removed through the light of skilled hands.  A clean wind blows upon her body.

 

In work, a man has the opportunity to fail, and does fail, and has his real calling suddenly exposed through the light of grace.  A clean wind blows upon his life.

 

In marriage, a couple finally faces the truth:  this is not going to work without some change.  The anger of so many fitful nights is exposed.  A clean wind blows upon their future.

 

Aggiornamento is real hard.   And real good.

 

In fact, this year, our musicians are leading us home.  Piece by piece they are presenting the Bach B Minor Mass.  John Eliot Gardiner’s new book on Bach ‘like other biographers, ponders whether the work is Lutheran or Catholic…If Bach had lived longer it is likely that he would have created a definitive fair copy of the Mass…There he might have confirmed the Catholic nature of the whole…Bach’s music sets in order what life cannot’ (G Stauffer, NYRB, 2/20/14, 25).

 

 One Baptism

 

Third, with all Christians we share one Baptism.  Aggiornamento for us should mean the freedom to change our minds.

 

After fifty years, I think the church of John the 23rd still has some things to teach us all, especially bout Christ transforming culture–that is Augustine of Hippo.  About feeling thankful. About the physical body, and respect for the body.   About the Body of Christ, the church.   About natural and moral law.

 

And so I light a birthday candle today.  I am so thankful that I grew up in a time of aggiornamento–renewal, updating, change.

 

So I was advised by Raymond Brown, S.J., for eleven years was served by a Roman Catholic secretary, have shared countless weddings and funerals, enjoy the opportunity to teach, still, in a Jesuit school, am grateful for BU Professor Jay Corrin’s new book on liberal English Catholics in the 1960’s, and enjoy the fellowship of many traditions in the Boston Ministers’ Club. Without the Catholics in my life I would have been much less of a Protestant!

 

You know, life is a smorgasbord, and some of us are going hungry.  I mean, others, different others, can teach us, show us, and help us.  But we have to have the courage to think again, think twice, and change the mind.

 

I think of those who have given up their churches for the sake of the larger church.  The leaders in Canada in 1925 who gave up the name Methodist and became part of the United Church.  The leaders of the EUB in this country who gave up their name and history to become part of the United Methodist church.  I remember my dean and friend, playfully asking, in one letter:  “Is God a Methodist?”  Maybe if we are really thankful for what counts we will become freer about what counts a little less.  We may be able to move out of our religious families of origin with a little more ease.

 

“New occasions teach new duties, time makes ancient good uncouth, one must upward still and onward, who would keep abreast of truth.”

 

We have a number of listeners to our broadcast in Albany, NY.  The downtown churches there, some five of them or so, share the challenges of urban ministry, Presbyterian, Methodist, Congregational, Baptist.  Older buildings, smaller congregations, aging roofing, uncertain boilers, many empty pews.  Twice each summer, though, and three times again during the year, all five come together in one sanctuary:  the place is full, the hymns are sung well, the fellowship is warm.  You wonder whether what they are doing now and then might well be done every week, and not just in Albany?

 

One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism.

 

Let our prayer be that of Thomas Aquinas:

Give us, O Lord,

                        steadfast hearts which no unworthy thought can drag downward

                        unconquered hearts, which no unworthy purpose can wear out

                        upright hearts, which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside

                        Bestow upon us also, O Lord our God,

                        Understanding to know you

                        Diligence to seek you

                        Wisdom to find you

                        And a faithfulness that will finally embrace you

                        Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

                       

(St. Thomas Aquinas)

~The Rev. Dr. Robert Allan Hill, Dean of Marsh Chapel

The Means of Grace

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

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                        John Wesley taught his poor bands of early Methodists the effectiveness of prudent means of grace, ways by which to receive the freedom, love and faithfulness of God.   By precept and example he taught fasting, abstaining from food Tuesdays and Fridays—he exercised the body, mens sana in corpore sano.  By precept and example he taught the full study of Scripture, truly trying to live as homo unius libri, a person of one book.  By precept and example he applauded Christian conference, ordinary conversation if engaged with heart and mind.  By precept and example he commended the sacraments of baptism and the lord’s supper, not endlessly quibbling about their theological nor the proper modes of celebration:  use them, use them, use them, he exhorted.  By precept and example he coveted prayer, the sitting in silence before God.   You struggle and stumble, it may be, do to lack of nourishment, unintended abstinence from grace in exercise, study, sacrament, talk, and prayer.  Find meaning this winter in the means of grace!

 

1. Fasting

 

Fasting is a way to discipline the body.  Many of you do so through regular exercise.  (Having been caused to stand for 7 minutes for the gospel as ung, you may feel your work today is done!) Several here will run the marathon April 21.  Some here will walk in the winter along the river.  A few here will walk or take the T this afternoon to the Common to skate at 1pm, our annual Ground Hog Day observance.  Yesterday here at Marsh Chapel several dozen students exercised their voice in all day choir practice.  Yesterday here at Marsh Chapel several dozen other students exercised their minds in study retreat on the theme ‘the blueprint of life’.  Let us find grace this winter in exercise.

 

2.  Scripture

 

Scripture is holy especially when pursued in holiness.  What a loss not to fall in love with Scripture, not to befriend Scripture, not to be guided by Scripture!  Read in college Plato, Shakespeare, and Bible.  Prize your time now you have it.   Listen today to Micah.

 

The twelve minor prophets (named) include the prophet of righteousness, Micah ben Imlah.

 

Since we are in the middle of some old time religion winter weather, with school children sleeping in school in Atlanta and temperatures cascading in Albany and wind sweeping the frozen plains of Arkansas, we might hearken again to the prophet Micah, whose own voice carries three thousand years later with the harsh, crisp and freezing jolt of a blizzard.

 

Other windswept, snow covered scriptural peaks stand at the same height as Micah 6.   Deuteronomy 6:5 stands just as tall:  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength.  Leviticus 19:18 stands just as tall:  You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  Jonah 4:2 stands just as tall:  the Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.  Amos 5: 24 stands just as tall:  Let justice roll down as waters, and righteousness as an ever flowing stream.

 

                        Then there is our joy, our memory verse for today (and you will want it memorized):  What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God?

 

These verses are not religious.  They are helpful to religious people.  They are beneficial to religious communities.  They are nourishing to religious sentiment.  But they are not in themselves religious.   They require no creed, save that common to all people.  They demand no cult, save the culture of the human being at her best.  They depend on no special experience, no esoteric experience, just that shared by every mortal, of three score and ten years.  They rely on no foundational history, save the history common to the planet.  These verses are not religious.  They are merely true.

 

Look for a minute at Micah.

Let us find grace this winter in Scripture.

 

3. Conversation

 

Luncheon awaits us, and group life, and conversation, today.   More than we regularly admit, in this brief life, conversation among friends is lastingly meaningful.   To say ‘good morning’ and really mean it.  To inquire about another’s well being and tune to the response.  To journal and record memorable phrases, odd silences, dream sequences, and the mind waking in the morning.  We greet one another in communion, and then following service to acquire the knowledge of names.  It is all right to ask more than once.  We are all more human than anything else.  For all our vaunted differences, we utterly resemble each other, as we admit and relearn in conversation.

We are all more human and more alike than we regularly affirm, all of us on this great globe.

            We all survive the birth canal, and so have a native survivors’ guilt. All six billion.

            We all need daily two things, bread and a name. (One does not live by bread alone). All six billion.

            We all grow to a point of separation, a leaving home, a second identity. All six billion.

            We all love our families, love our children, love our homes, love our grandchildren. All six billion.

            We all age, and after forty, its maintenance, maintenance, maintenance. All six billion.

            We all shuffle off this mortal coil en route to that undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns. All six billion.

Let us find grace this winter in conversation.

 

4. Sacrament

 

                        Today in community, or later in the week in pastoral visit and communion, we will receive the lord’s supper.  Two sacraments and five sacramental rites.

 

One such, the moment of memorial, 600 of us entered, last Saturday in remembrance of a son of Boston University, Dr. Kenneth Edelin.   The truth and love in the afternoon made of that cold day a warm sacramental gathering.  Listen to the voices of those who spoke:

 

Governor Patrick:  Justice is what love looks like in real life.

 

Rev. Liz Walker:  Truth without love is brutality.  Love without truth is sentimentality.

 

                        Ken Edelin:  the seamlessness between doctor and patient (or, I would say, between pastor and parishioner, minister and congregation).

 

                        30 standing as students who were studying medicine through his influence and support.

 

Barack Obama, Gloria Steinem, Jeh Johnson (later on The State of the Union address).

 

Charlene Hunter-Gault:  The Lord is my Shepherd

 

                        Arthur Ashe’s physician:  Days of Grace

 

                        All days are days of grace and all days of grace offer means of grace

 

Let us find grace this winter in sacrament.

 

 

5. Prayer

 

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

 

 

            Let us find grace this winter in prayer.

 

Wesley taught us prudently to use the means of grace:  exercise, scripture, conversation, sacrament, and prayer.  But let us use them, use them, use them!

 

~Rev. Dr. Robert Allan Hill, Dean of Marsh Chapel