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  • Daily Meditation May 1, 2018

      The Collect: Almighty God, who gave to your apostles Philip and James grace and strength to bear witness to the truth: Grant that we, being mindful of their victory of faith, may glorify in life and death the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.      
  • Daily Meditation April 30, 2018

      The Collect: Gracious God, we bless your Name for the vision and witness of Sarah Hale, whose advocacy for the ministry of women helped to support the deaconess movement. Make us grateful for your many blessings, that we may come closer to Christ in our own families; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.   Sarah Josepha Buell was born in New Hampshire in 1788 to Captain Gordon Buell and Martha Buell, both of whom were advocates for equal education for both sexes. In 1813 she married David Hale, a promising lawyer who shared her intellectual interests. In 1822, David died four days before the birth of their fifth child. Sarah Buell Hale wore black for the rest of her life and to support her family she turned to her considerable literary skills. In a year a volume of poetry appeared, followed by a successful novel, Northwood: A Tale of New England, which was the first American novel by a woman and one of the first dealing with slavery. The success generated by Northwood enabled her to edit the popular Ladies’ Magazine, which she hoped would aid in educating women, as she wrote, “not that they may usurp the situation, or encroach upon the prerogatives of man; but that each individual may lend her aid to the intellectual and moral character of those within her sphere.”   In 1830, she published a book of verses for children aimed at the Sunday school market; it included the now-famous “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” originally called “Mary’s Lamb.” Following the examples of her parents, she labored consistently for women’s education and helped found Vassar College. Her publications, including the influential Godey’s Lady’s Book, promoted concern for women’s health, property rights, and opportunities for public recognition. Hale’s influence was widespread, particularly for middle class women, in matters of child-rearing, morality, literature, and dress. Although the editor of Godey’s instructed her to avoid party politics in the publication, she dedicated much energy to causes which could unite North and South across party lines. She worked diligently to preserve Bunker Hill and George Washington’s plantation home, Mount Vernon, as American monuments. She is perhaps most famous for the nationalization of the Thanksgiving holiday, toward which she worked many years and which finally received presidential sanction under Abraham Lincoln.   Her work, in both the women’s and national spheres, was exemplary for its conciliatory nature, its concern for the unity of the nation, and for her desire to honor the work and influence of women in society.   From Holy Women, Holy Men  
  • Daily Meditation April 29, 2018

    Our Lenten adult ed series used a booklet from the Society of St. John the Evangelist called, “Meeting Jesus in John.” One of the meditations was by Br. David Vryhof in which he said, in part:   "I remember when I was in college, I worked with children who had special needs. And I remember one evening being at supper and watching a young boy who was struggling to cut a piece of meat, but his hands lacked the strength and coordination to be successful in the task. And finally he looked up and asked for help. And one of the staff members came around behind him, wrapped her arms around his, put her hands over his, and helped him cut the meat. And I thought that was an apt image for our relationship with God. When we realize that we can do nothing on our own, that we are dependent on God’s life and strength within us, then we yield ourselves to that strength, and God’s strength becomes one with our strength, so that we can’t tell where our strength leaves off and where God’s strength begins. It all becomes one."   What a beautiful image of how God enfolds us and gives us strength when “we yield ourselves to that strength.” What is keeping you from yielding to that strength?   Peace, Nancy
  • Daily Meditation April 25, 2018

      A mosaic of St Marks body welcomed into Venice, at St Mark's Basilica, Venice   The Collect for the Feast Day of Saint Mark the Evangelist: Almighty God, by the hand of Mark the evangelist you have given to your Church the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God: We thank you for this witness, and pray that we may be firmly grounded in its truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.   From Holy Women, Holy Men A disciple of Jesus, named Mark, appears in several places in the New Testament. If all references to Mark can be accepted as referring to the same person, we learn that he was the son of a woman who owned a house in Jerusalem, perhaps the same house in which Jesus ate the Last Supper with his disciples. Mark may have been the young man who fled naked when Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. In his letter to the Colossians, Paul refers to “Mark the cousin of Barnabas,” who was with him in his imprisonment. Mark set out with Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey, but he turned back for reasons which failed to satisfy Paul (Acts 15:36–40). When another journey was planned, Paul refused to have Mark with him. Instead, Mark went with Barnabas to Cyprus. The breach between Paul and Mark was later healed, and Mark became one of Paul’s companions in Rome, as well as a close friend of Peter’s.   An early tradition recorded by Papias, Bishop of Hieropolis in Asia Minor at the beginning of the second century, names Mark as the author of the Gospel bearing his name. This tradition, which holds that Mark drew his information from the teaching of Peter, is generally accepted. In his First Letter, Peter refers to “my son Mark,” which shows a close relationship between the two men (1Peter 5:13). The Church of Alexandria in Egypt claimed Mark as its first bishop and most illustrious martyr, and the great Church of St. Mark in Venice commemorates the disciple who progressed from turning back while on a missionary journey with Paul and Barnabas to proclaiming in his Gospel Jesus of Nazareth as Son of God, and bearing witness to that faith in his later life as friend and companion to the apostles Peter and Paul.
  • Daily Meditation April 24, 2018

    Mother Theresa was once asked about her prayer life.   The interviewer asked, “When you pray, what do you say to God?” Mother Teresa replied, “I don’t talk, I simply listen.”   Believing he understood what she had just said, the interviewer next asked, “Ah, then what is it that God says to you when you pray?” Mother Teresa replied, “He also doesn’t talk. He also simply listens.”   There was a long silence, with the interviewer seeming a bit confused and not knowing what to ask next.   Finally Mother Teresa breaks the silence by saying, “If you can’t understand the meaning of what I’ve just said, I’m sorry but there’s no way I can explain it any better.” -----------------------------------------------   Prayer often is seen as the act of asking for divine intercession in the troubles of life, to gain healing and relief for family, friends and institutions we know and love. This is understandable, as we do whatever we can to relieve the pain and suffering in our known world. Yet, there are other realms, both within our closest being and beyond our known experience, that can benefit from such practice, and I am deeply moved by this glimpse into the spiritual perspective of Mother Theresa.   Bob Jones
    Bob Jones
  • Daily Meditation April 21, 2018

    Since it's time for Spring Cleaning, instead of a 'regular meditation' we thought we'd share some hints for using common household products that are safer and more environmentally sound that commercial products.   The world and all that is in it belong to the Lord; the earth and all who live on it are his. Psalm 24:1   Substitutes for Household Products which May be Hazardous + Polish furniture with 1-2 teaspoon(s) lemon oil in 1 pint mineral or vegetable oil in a spray bottle. Spray, rub in and wipe clean. OR mix together 1 teaspoon olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, 1 teaspoon whisky or brandy, 1 teaspoon water. Rub on furniture with cloth, then buff with chamois for a deep shine. +Clean windows using 1-2 Tablespoon(s) vinegar in 1 quart water. Rub with newspaper OR 3T ammonia, 1T white vinegar and ¾ cup water in a clean spray bottle, 1 or 2 drops blue food coloring optional. + Clean oven spills as soon as the oven cools using steel wool and baking soda for tough stains add salt OR use salt, baking soda and water. Place nonaluminum dish of ¼ c ammonia in water in oven overnight (not in self-cleaning ovens) +Remove odors by setting out vinegar (can heat) in an open dish, use fresh flowers or baking soda. + Soak silver in 1 qt. warm water containing 1T baking soda 1T salt and a piece of aluminum foil and heat until water boils. Remove silver, wash in spay water and polish dry. + Use soap, baking soda, vinegar, ammonia for most general cleaning OR in 1 quart warm or hot water, mix 1 teaspoon liquid soap, boric acid (borax), lemon juice, and/or vinegar. Make stronger according to the job to be done. + Clean toilet bowl with ½ cup bleach, baking soda or vinegar. Let stand 30 minutes, then scrub. + Use baking soda for bathroom cleaning. + Sprinkle clothes with cornstarch and water before ironing. + Use humidifier to dissipate static build up in fabrics. + To clean drains: pour ¼ cup of baking soda followed by ½ cup vinegar down the drain. Close drain tightly until fizzing stops Flush drain with boiling water. Use a plunger or metal “snake” if drain is severely clogged OR pour boiling water down the drain once a week. + Clean ceramic tile: mix ¼ cup baking soda, ½ cup white vinegar and 1 cup ammonia added to 1 gallon of warm water and stir. (Also works well as a general multi-purpose cleaner.) + To clean floors: mix ½ cup liquid chlorine bleach, ¼ cup white vinegar, 1/4 cup washing soda and 1 gallon of water in a pail. + To clean/deodorize carpets: generously sprinkle baking soda over dry carpet. Wait 1 hour then vacuum. OR mix 2 cups cornmeal and 1 cup borax. Sprinkle mixture on carpet. Leave on for one hours. Vacuum thoroughly OR to clean – mix1 quart white vinegar and 3 quarts boiling water,. Apply t vacuumed rug with wet rag being careful not to saturate rung backing. Dry thoroughly. Then vacuum. + For household insect spray: grind or blend 1 garlic clove and 1 onion. Add 1 T cayenne pepper and 1 quart water. Mix, let steep 1 hour. Add 1 T liquid soap. + For aerosol containers: substitute preparations in pump or mon-aerosol containers like creams, solids, and liquids. + Oil base paint: use water-soluble paints that eliminate the need to use paint thinners and paint outdoors or in well ventilated areas. + Polish floors and/or furniture by melting carnauba wax missed with mineral oil. + Mothball substitute: use cedar chips, lavender flowers, rosemary, mint, white peppercorns or spread newspapers around closets. + Garden pest insecticide: mix 1 tablespoon dishwashing detergent with 1 cup vegetable oil in airtight jar. Add 1-2 ½ teaspoons to 1 cup water. Spray on plants covering all leaf and stem surfaces. + Roach and ant repellent: sprinkle powdered boric acid in cabinet edges, around baseboards, and in crack. + To clean brass: mix 2 tablespoons flour, 2 tablespoons salt and 1 tablespoon water. Add water as needed to form a thick paste. Rub on with soft cloth; rinse and rub again to burnish. + To fight fleas: mix brewer’s yeast, onion or garlic in your pet’s food; sprinkle fennel, rye, rosemary, or eucalyptus seeds or leaves around animal’s sleeping areas. Apply flea powder out-of-doors and vacuum floors and carpets thoroughly.   CAUTION: Never mix products containing ammonia with chlorine bleach, tolet bowl cleaners, rust removers or oven cleaners. The results are POISONOUS. 4/18
  • Daily Meditation April 20, 2018

      The Environmental Affairs subcommittee of the social justice committee would suggest the following for folks in celebration of Earth Day.   Quick List Take hazardous materials to Transfer station  (used oil, pesticides, oily rags, other chemicals you have not used in years and have no plans to use Replace old weather stripping around doors and windows Use a clothes line or clothes rack rather than dryer Install programmable thermostats Insulate and air seal attic scuttle (access to attic)   Longer-term list Get an energy audit When it is time to replace your existing car, buy a hybrid car Heat your house with wood Install insulated window treatments  
  • Daily Meditation April 19, 2018

      From St Basil the Great (c. 330-379)   O God, enlarge within us the sense of fellowship with all living things, our brothers the animals [and all creatures] to whom you gave the earth as their home in common with us. We remember with shame that in the past we have exercised the high dominion of humans with ruthless cruelty so that the voice of the earth, which should have gone up to you in song, has been a groan of travail. May we realize that all creatures live not for us alone but for themselves and for you, and that they love the sweetness of life.   This is a prayer for Earth Day, as we try to comprehend our dominance of Earth and the ever-increasing damage that has been done with our current technology. The Pacific Ocean now holds several un-filterable gyres of ‘plastic soup’, perhaps the size of France, that are now the toxic environment of our marine fellow creatures. The very meaning of 'ruthless cruelty’ has changed so dramatically in the 1800 years since St Basil wrote this prayer that it is a challenge for us all to even understand how we are complicit in this disaster, and what we can do to try to reverse it.   Bob Jones
    Bob Jones


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