Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Empty Tomb

empty tomb 2But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

Then Peter said “wow! Those women were telling the truth after all. Maybe I should have listened to them in the first place!”

Peter had to see for himself.

Many of you probably remember, at least by title, the best-selling nonfiction book of the 1990s: Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. The scene in this morning’s gospel could be taken right from that book, or others like it published around the same time. Look at the contrasts between women and men in the gospel story:

The women, when they encounter the guys in dazzling clothes, which I always call superhero outfits, are terrified. They don’t know what to make of the empty tomb, and they bow their heads. They know they are in the presence of the holy, and they intuitively act with humility and reverence. The guys in superhero outfits, on the other hand, think it’s obvious. Don’t you remember? They say. While he was still in Galilee, he predicted that he would be crucified and rise again. The women take their time letting this sink in. Ohhhh, now I remember, they each think to themselves. Could it be? They begin to believe, and they run to tell the other apostles. But to the apostles, their words seemed an idle tale, and no one believed them. Peter, the concrete guy, had to go see for himself. He went, and got religion from a pile of bloody linen rags.

We need everyone’s voice to tell the story we just heard: the guys in dazzling clothes, the women at the tomb who are afraid then exuberant, the apostles who first doubt and then believe. This day is about how to incorporate all the voices—men, women, those that proclaim, those that doubt, those that wonder. It’s about the voices of Baptists, Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Episcopalians, Buddhists, atheists. It’s about incorporating all of these experiences of faith into how we are in the world.

How would you tell the Easter story? What would you take on faith, and what would you need to see, in order to believe? What would be the turning point to make you believe?

It is easy to spend a lot of time thinking about whether or not we believe in the resurrection. We all know people—some of us might even be those people—who say: “I believe in the Jesus, but not the resurrection.” There’s not a lot of hard evidence, after all. All we have for evidence is an empty tomb. An empty thing is an odd symbol of faith.

Although I did discover recently that there are some companies that make empty tomb jewelry, coffee mugs, and t-shirts, and I even found a fascinating recipe for empty tomb cookies.

An empty thing is an odd symbol of faith. Absence is a strange symbol of faith. And so we use the cross instead. The cross is something we can see, something we can put our hands on. It is a tangible symbol for sacrifice and suffering. If we leave it bare and lay it on the floor here, it makes us sad. If our children cover it with flowers on Easter morning, it makes us happy. If we turn it sideways, it becomes the bridge we walk across to get to new life, God’s triumph over death. All of this is not proof, but faith. Which brings me back to the empty tomb. It is the empty tomb that makes the cross a symbol of resurrection rather than a symbol of torture and execution.

I don’t know about you, but I am here because of the mystery. I am here because I have no clue whatsoever about what happened between the time when they laid Jesus in the tomb and sealed it up and when the women discovered the two superheroes on Easter morning. I am here because I love that our faith teaches us that the very most important thing that happened in Jesus’ life—God’s defeat over death—is something that we actually can never know for sure. I am here because that never-knowing-for-sure has engendered some of the most beautiful art and music and writing on the planet. I am here because the empty tomb creates space for hope and uncertainty to coexist.

I am here because the empty tomb signifies the already/not yet nature of the kingdom of God. Like Christmas in Narnia, the kingdom of God is always coming, but not quite here. Unlike Narnia, we are not under a winter spell of an evil queen, but rather we are Easter people, always in the process of becoming citizens of a kingdom where the hungry are fed, captives are freed, the sick are healed, and the poor have good news preached to them. The empty tomb is the sign-post pointing to this kingdom. The empty tomb says that the wild reversals Jesus preached about really will happen, have in fact already happened, and have not yet happened.

Who are you in the Easter story? What will you do next? Whom will you tell?

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Holy Saturday: This is the Night

new fireYou are sealed by the Holy Spirit in baptism and marked as Christ’s own, forever.

This is the night. This is the night when new fire burns in our hearts.

This is the night, when you brought our mothers and fathers, the childrenof Israel, out of bondage in Egypt, and led them through the Red Sea on dry land.

This is the night when the stories of creation and deliverance rekindle our corporate memory as the beloved people of God.

This is the night, when all who believe in Christ are delivered from the gloom of sin, and are restored to grace and holiness of life.

This is the night, when Christ broke the bonds of death and hell, and rose victorious from the grave.

This is the night for deliverance, for the movement from darkness to light, from ancient story to the story of now.

This is the night when we proclaim resurrection and victory over death, ours, and Christ’s.

This is the night when we recall that our deliverance is through the waters of baptism. As St. Paul writes in the words we hear every year at this Easter service: We have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead, we too might walk in newness of life.

This is the night for baptism. The way we do baptism here is highly symbolic but I thought a full immersion tub, especially for three adults, might put the altar guild over the edge.

This is the night we proclaim resurrection by making, anew, our baptismal promises.

This is the night when we make new Christians, who drown in the waters of baptism and emerge with a new identity as little Christs. This is the night when Capers, Derek, and Megan are marked as Christ’s own, forever.

This is the night when their new clothes, their baptismal garments, are a sign to all of us of the new life we share as the body of Christ.

The white alb, which many of you are used to seeing on some of us on Sunday morning, has its origins as a baptismal garment. When those of us “up front” put on albs, it is not because we are special, but because we are ordinary. It is a symbol of the baptismal ministry that we all share. In the ancient Church, those who wore these white robes at the Easter Vigil were the newly baptized.

In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, when the baptismal robe is placed on a new Christian, the priest says something like “The servants of God are clothed with the robe of righteousness….” and the choir sings: “Vouchsafe unto me the robe of light, O Thou who clothest Thyself with light as with a garment, Christ our God, plenteous in mercy.” To be baptized is to be clothed in Christ.

This is the night when we are all clothed in Christ. This is the night, when we have renewed our own baptismal covenant, to reflect on our Christian wardrobe. Listen to these words from the Letter to the Ephesians:

Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil….Fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace…[T]ake the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

I have a friend who keeps this passage taped to her mirror, and every morning she recites it as she gets dressed. She puts on her belt, and prays that it will be the belt of truth. She puts on her jacket, and calls it the breastplate of righteousness. When she brushes her hair, she thinks about the helmet of salvation. Not a bad way to start the day.

This is the night when we suit up in the promise to join God’s army and fight for justice, dignity and peace for those who need it most. This is the night when we remember that we are prayer warriors, linked through time and around the world to strangers, enemies, neighbors we haven’t met, joined together through prayer. This is the night when we remember that it is our feet—not necessarily our words, as Episcopalians are forever shy of using words to proclaim the gospel—it is our feet, our actions, that proclaim the Good News of Christ.

This is the night when we remember not only our Christian wardrobe, but our Jesus tattoo. Each of us who has been baptized, whether or not we remember it, has been marked as Christ’s own forever. You can’t see it, but it’s there. Trace it on your forehead with your thumb. The Jesus tattoo is a cross made with fragrant oil we use only at baptism. If you’re sitting close to Megan or Derek or Capers, you might be able to smell it. Oil of anointing, because in it we are anointed as followers of Christ, marked as Christ’s own forever.

This is the night when we promise, among other things, that when we fall into sin, we will repent and return to the Lord. Not “if” we fall into sin, but “when.” This is the night when we remember that God is always there, that when we mess up and turn around, there is God. Kind of like a mother waiting patiently at the end of our street, when we’ve run away from home. We decide it’s time to return after all, and there she is. This is very good news for Megan, Derek, Capers and the rest of us. This is the good news of Easter.

A friend used to say: “What part of ‘marked as Christ’s own forever’ don’t you understand?” This is the night when we understand.

Derek, Megan, and Capers, you are marked as Christ’s own, forever. What this means to each of you is as different as each of you is from each other. To all of us it means we belong, not just to this crazy church, but to each other, and to God. God loves us, God has our number, God has our back, and we are marked as Christ’s own forever.

This is the night when there is much good news, indeed. Alleluia, Christ is Risen.

Good Friday: it is finished

crossA jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

            It is finished. It really is. The very end of what Jesus has to say to us from the cross. The very end of this dark, empty part of Holy Week. I recently heard someone describe tomorrow as “awkward Saturday.” We know that we don’t have to be solemn and despairing any more, but it’s not yet the joyful time we expect on Sunday. (Except that it is, on Saturday night.) In any case, we can’t get there without entering into and moving through this gospel story. Without getting to “it is finished.”

            It is accomplished! That’s a common rendering of what we probably are more used to hearing in John’s Good Friday gospel as it is finished. How many of you saw Martin Scorcese’s “The Last Temptation of Christ”? Remember Willem Defoe at this moment on the cross? It is accomplished!  Hard to say whether Jesus would have had Defoe’s vigor after being beaten, bloodied, tortured, and crucified. But that interpretation, not at all original to Martin Scorcese’s film, speaks to John the Evangelist’s perspective in all of this. For John, the betrayal, suffering, the cross…it’s got be all part of God’s divine purpose. It is almost as if Jesus is thumbing his nose at his captors: nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nah! I’m right where I want to be. I win!

            Ohhhhh: it’s all part of God’s plan. Okay, now I feel better! And yet, I find that I don’t want to bypass the emptiness that pervades this day, the mystery and the ambiguity of a suffering God. Even if it’s good theology, I don’t want Jesus to be shouting triumphantly from the cross. To do that would be, well, inhuman. Nor do I want him to face death kicking and screaming, running in the opposite direction, as—when I am completely honest with myself—I fear I would. Which he doesn’t. He simply says “It is finished.”

* * *

            In 2005, my father died what anyone would consider to be “a good death.” He was at home, fully lucid, surrounded by family and friends, and, before slipping into a morphine-induced coma, he was explicit with all of us that this was his choice. His last communication with me was a final wave of the hand, dismissing my offer of a miniature, modern-day hyssop branch, a pink sponge on a stick, dipped not in sour wine, but in ice water. But he was beyond all that. He was finally ready to let go completely. It was finished.

            It was a gift to witness a peaceful letting go. Sometimes Jesus’ last moments are portrayed with that same peace. I’m not sure about that. He’s got nails in his hands and feet. He’s suffocating.

            My father spent the last twenty or more years of his life trying to write his memoirs, his life story. His song, he sometimes called it. He had an interesting biography and a complicated inner life. It was a story worth telling, but for him, the process of trying to do so was both compelling and torture. Finally, he finished something he thought he could live with. He self-published it and mailed it off to a hundred friends, family members, and former colleagues. The minute he left the UPS store, he was filled with regret. “It’s not finished!” he said to his wife, almost in tears.

            He had named his book Insatiable. I hope to write about my dad someday, and if I do, I plan to use the same title. But it could be the title for a book about me. Maybe it could be the title of your autobiography.

            The words, it is finished, make me think of all the things many of us never finish: child-rearing, vocational discernment, housework, a painting we’ve always wanted to paint, a skill we’ve always wanted to master, a prolific author we’ve always wanted to read.

            For the past five years, at the beginning of Lent I have announced to anyone who will listen that this year I will read Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling. It’s not a long book, but I still cannot seem to finish it. I may never finish it. To be human is not only to leave things unfinished, but also to be unfinished. In our mortality, God calls us to let go of all that we will never be or do.

            When Jesus says it is finished, I want him to bear in his wide-open crucified arms all that is forever unfinished. I like to think that Jesus’ it is finished to be a triumph of his humanity at the moment of death, not a triumph that erases his humanity. And more. And less. It is finished, not in the sense of being over, but finished in the sense of being complete, full.

            It is tempting to want to tidy this all up, this moment on the cross when Jesus says it is finished. But I don’t think that’s what we’re supposed to do on Good Friday, make things neat and tidy. It is finished, and it is unfinished. Jesus’ life on earth is finished, his mission as a human who suffers and dies is complete. His suffering is finished, his unimaginable, excruciating pain is, thank God, finished. The suffering of others is not finished. Freeing the captives, healing the sick, feeding the hungry—not finished. The Good News is not finished. The Kingdom is not finished. It is finished, and it is not finished. Stay tuned.

Passion’s Rest

Preached by James for Palm/Passion Sunday.

On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment, and I imagine that it felt like the furthest thing from the very first sabbath which their rest was intended to recall. According to the commandment their rest was meant to imitate that first sabbath when the heavens and the earth were finished in all their multitude, and God rested from all the work done in creation. These days had felt more like destruction. For the women who had followed Jesus to Jerusalem, through the raving crowds and shouts of murder, to the cross and to the tomb, these days felt more like the unraveling of every good thing God had given them. For which, they needed rest, all the same, if not more. There was, I imagine, a certain peace to this rest, a certain comfort in finally being finished. The seams had threatened to unravel for so long, they had been exposed by glowering stares at the margins of the public squares where he had preached, they were tugged at each time his disturbing actions flew in the face of convention. Some of the women begged him not to make such a spectacle of his arrival in the holy city, and then there he was, hoisted three feet in the air, a wanted man in plain sight of all, the crowd ecstatic, their cries staked along a thin line between praise and rage. There had been no time for rest in these days among the kingdom of anxiety. Now, all that was finished. His body, once electric with the promise of abundant life, now lay still in a cavern of the earth, and eyes that had pierced anyone who dared return their searching gaze were shut. Likewise, the women rested in the grave stillness of that moment, and their bodies began the gradual unclenching of all the knots these days had bound within them.

This rest comes for us, too, who have followed Jesus on the way to the cross and tomb in our own time. The story of Christ’s passion can be exhausting. It’s telling can unfold like a mine-field of post-traumatic triggers. I, personally, cannot hear of Jesus being taunted, beaten and mocked by Herod’s soldiers without some pretty explicit flashbacks to my years as a slightly effeminate, out gay teen in North Carolina. When we get to that part of the story my body shivers and I weep at the thought of anyone having to endure such familiar degradation and contempt, let alone the love and Lord of my life. I wonder if you’ve had similar reactions to this story, also. Are there parts of it that trigger tears and memories? Are there parts that make you tremble? Perhaps you’re not the crying type, perhaps you feel the twinge of conviction in some other way, a resistance, a tightening in the gut, maybe a wave of nausea. Where does it come for you? Is it in the courtyard, beside Peter as he denies knowing the very one who brought him to new life? Is it with the women who are told that they would be better off barren in this world than with the children they have reared and loved? Is it when we stand together as a congregation, and shout “Crucify him!” every bit as complicit in his death as anyone was two thousand years ago?

Where does the pain and shame of your life rise to meet and fill this story?

That is the place where God holds you now.

In the passion of her Christ our Creator entered in to every bloody, broken thing that we have made out of this world. She has borne the taunts and kicks within us, she has stood toe to toe with our denial. At the cross, the compassion of God is made complete, for there God’s own self has entered even into death with us, that even in the bitter darkness of the grave we should not be parted from God’s persistent company.

God first rested from the magnificent birth of all creation, Christ’s companions rested from the the labors of a gruesome death and hasty burial. Our own rest now comes buried in the knowledge of a God who shares the pain of our failed and fragile human life completely. Our own rest comes amidst the re-creation of this world in an image of solidarity with the criminal, the accused, the beaten and the mocked. In the days to come we will relive this story again in new ways. We will listen to members of our community speak of how our common life rises to fill it even now. Pay attention to the places where it touches you. Rest in this story, let it seep into your bones. Let it loosen up the knotty places which the kingdom of this world has bound within you. The time will come within this rest when the body begins to stir again, and eyes open to behold the dawn.

Get your loves in order

You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.

Have you ever walked into a gathering and felt like everyone but you knew what was going on? When I read this morning’s gospel, I feel like I’m a fly on the wall of a dinner party and it takes a while to figure out all of the dynamics. It’s kind of a bizarre scene, really.

mary of bethany 2Imagine that you are at this dinner party at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. The evening would be charged with emotion. Jesus is clearly in trouble with the authorities, and at least some of the people around the table know he is not long for this world. He has already done the deed that seals his death warrant: raising his good pal Lazarus from the dead. This is an odd meal indeed, with Lazarus the undead at the dinner table. I find myself wondering: what did Lazarus look like? What did he eat?

Lazarus is joined by his sisters, Mary and Martha who, you may recall, had a bit of a spat the last time they prepared dinner for Jesus. Martha did all the work while Mary sat at Jesus’ feet.  And Judas is there, that tragic figure who thinks he is the most upright, loyal disciple, most faithful to God’s mission, but who turns out to be the great gospel scapegoat.

nardMary once again sets herself apart from the others in her family by doing something outrageous, no longer content to sit and listen when she’s supposed to be in the kitchen. She takes this jar of outrageously expensive perfume—a nearly solid substance, perfume in its purest form—and rubs it all over Jesus’ feet. With her hair. Judas questions whether or this is good stewardship. Do you blame him? Wouldn’t you question someone who showed up with a $10,000 bottle of wine for a farewell dinner? That’s the kind of money we’re talking about, in the first-century economy.

At that moment, however, Mary is doing exactly what she should be doing.

A long time ago, I heard someone say that God is constantly asking us to get our loves in order. Mary has her loves in order. Her greatest need is to express her love of Jesus in this act of unimaginable extravagance. The key word here is act.

Judas doesn’t see it this way. He is like the very sensible, sensate parish treasurer when he says: wouldn’t it be better to sell this expensive perfume and give it to the poor? In our day and age he might have added: “we’ll give money to the poor after we pay off the furnace loan.” I’ve said as much myself. Judas is not necessarily wrong, and I certainly identify with him here. I, too, have much to learn from Mary of Bethany.

Most commentators on this passage say they don’t believe that the reason Judas said this is because he was a thief. But we know this much about Judas: he does not have his loves in order. He is worrying about the budget, while Mary is worshipping God.

Jesus’ response to Judas is one of the most misunderstood gospel sayings in the bible. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me. Through the ages, it has been interpreted as being a dismissal of the poor, a proof-text that there are more important things to Jesus than caring for the poor. Or a rationale for resignation: the poor we will always have with us; our hearts might be in the right place but we can never actually do anything about the poor.

Such rationales come from a place of struggle within us, I think. Jesus spent his entire ministry reminding us that the poor are God’s beloved, and that the way we continue Christ’s reconciling, healing work is to be Christ in the world for the poor. Jesus lived and taught like someone who knew this would be a struggle for us, but he fully expected us to engage in that struggle. Judas is the person at the dinner table who is engaging in that struggle of how to help the poor.

God’s love for us, in sending Jesus become human for us, to be our God-in-the-flesh, and then dying, that he might be raised from the dead and thereby defeat death once and for all, is, on God’s part, an act of unimaginable extravagance. Just as extravagant as Mary rubbing a pound of costly perfume on Jesus’ feet. God’s love for the poor, as told throughout all of scripture, and the way that Jesus lived out that love, is his bequest to us, his extravagant gift like Mary of Bethany’s gift to him.

What will be our act of unimaginable love and extravagance? I hope that it will reflect our loves being in order.

As we prepare for Holy Week, let’s get our loves in order. I say this to myself as well as to all of you. It’s easy for me to get caught up in the quest for beauty and perfection in the liturgy, for its own sake. What we need to remember is that in Holy Week, we offer our very best—our extravagance—to the one who gave everything he had in order to proclaim victory over death, extravagance over poverty.

As the namesake of the new pope, St. Francis has been in the news a lot lately. That’s never a bad thing—Francis is the great Christ-like champion and companion of the poor. Francis had his loves in order. I’d like to close with a prayer—a blessing, really—attributed to the Franciscan way of life and prayer:

May God bless us with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, that we may live deep within our heart.

May God bless us with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that we may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless us with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that we may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.

May God bless us with enough foolishness to believe that we can make a difference in this world, so that we can do what others claim cannot be done. Amen.

Shine Your Sink

Many thanks, Jeanne Kaliszewski, for this fine sermon!

Today is grubby Sunday, and I am a hopeless housekeeper.  I am not saying this in order to get out of cleaning toilets, it is the truth.  I have given much time, effort and thought as to how to remedy this shortcoming.  One “expert” suggested the best way to keep your home clean was to eliminate what was making it dirty.  Since I could not realistically get rid of my 2 dogs, 3 kids, and husband, I disregarded that advice.

But then a few years ago I ran across the “Fly Lady.”  This is a woman who has built a huge following by providing guidance and cheerleading to the (mostly) women who seek to improve their lives and their homes.

sinkUnlike many of the homemaker gurus I have followed over the years, including the infuriatingly perfect Martha Stewart, the Fly Lady starts very simply.  Rather than bombarding you with checklists and tools, she advises you to “shine your sink”.  That’s it, shine your sink. With all due respect to Martha, I know I am supposed to vacuum behind my refrigerator and wipe down all my baseboards, but sometimes all I can really handle is shining my sink.

When we are faced with the immensity of a task, sometimes the best thing you can do is to set small and achievable goals.  I have to remind myself to shine my sink, metaphorically, during Lent. Sometimes it helps to get back to basics.

The focus on repentance during Lent can be daunting. The Litany of Penitence that we have been praying this Lenten season can feel a little like Martha Stewart’s housekeeping manual: long, overwhelming, too big to tackle.

But the Litany of Penitence is not a checklist of what we need fix by Easter.  Instead it is an opportunity for inventory and self-reflection.  A true and sincere admission of our sins is what repentance is about, not the expectation that we will never again be human, never again be envious of those more fortunate or negligent of our prayer and worship.  We also pray the Litany together and bear our penitence as a community.

The gospel lessons during Lent have an urgent quality, as if Jesus is ready and hurrying to his inevitable end in Jerusalem and Jesus spends a lot of time focused on repentance.  He is running out of time.  Jesus says that we are not any less a sinner than the Galileans whom Pilate has killed, repent now before YOU run out of time.

But after he angrily responds to his disciples that they are as much sinners as anyone, he tells a parable on how to get at this repentance.  Get back to the fundamentals and do the work.

In the parable of the fig tree Jesus gives us a very detailed account, a little like reading a biblical Farmer’s Almanac, of getting back to basics rather than giving up.  When the landlord finds a barren fig tree on his land his response is to rip it out, it had 3 years to fruit and did not, so time to purge. Martha would approve,

But the gardener replies “Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it, if it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not you can cut it down”.

The remarkable thing about this parable is that the landlord agrees.  Just as God has the power to grant us the grace to be forgiven, so too the landlord gives the fig tree a reprieve. But it is a two way street, we have to do the work in order for God to respond.

The psalm takes us back to basics as well:

“O God, you are my God, I seek you,
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry, weary land where there is no water”.

This is penitence at its simplest.  The most fundamental repentance we can make is admitting that we thirst for God. The things we give up for Lent, chocolate, Facebook, dieting are all an attempt to clear the clutter of our souls so we can connect to the holy.

The psalm reminds us that like water in the desert, we can not survive without God.  All our acts of contrition and repentance during Lent are to make sure we put God first.

The lesson from Isaiah dovetails nicely with the Psalm, the image of thirsting for God is the same. Again, the bible reminds us where our priorities should be, forgetting the consumption and noise that also was a distraction the 3,000 years ago when the prophet spoke these words:

Ho, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and you that have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come buy wine and milk
without money and without price.

Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
listen, so that you may live.

I like to think of Lent as a spring cleaning for my soul, a time to clean house to get ready for the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.

Today we also celebrate St. David of Wales.  Traditionally, St. David’s day is March 1, meant to commemorate the day in 690 when he died.  St. David was a monk from, you guessed it, Wales, who became a famous teacher and preacher founding monastic settlements and contributing to the independence of the Welsh church.

St. David’s last words were said to be in a sermon, given when he was well over the age of 100, “Be joyful, keep your faith and your creed, do the little things you have seen me do and heard about”.  “Do ye the little things in life” is a common phrase in Wales (I will not attempt it in Welsh, however, too many w’s and y’s).  Do ye the little things, shine your sink, love God, remember Christ in the work we do.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote:

“Earth’s crammed with heaven
And every common brush afire with God
But only he who sees takes off his shoes
The rest sit around and pluck blackberries”

This Lent clear away the clutter so you can see that God is crammed in everything that surrounds you, even the dirty sink, but you might get a better glimpse if you shine it up a bit.