For a’ that

January 25th is celebrated in Scotland as Burns’ Night, when the famous poet Robert Burns is fondly remembered and Haggis consumed, with an evening of toasts, foods and dancing. Burns’ Suppers are enjoyed throughout the world and as is so often the case those who follow such traditions more closely are those who no longerContinue reading “For a’ that”

Crossing The Bar

Looking towards Freshwater Bay from Tennyson Down Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) was the fourth of 12 children. Their father Reverend George Tennyson, tutored his children in classical and modern languages. Home life was difficult, their father suffering frequent mental breakdowns and alcoholism. Alfred though escaped the troubles of home when he was admitted to TrinityContinue reading “Crossing The Bar”

“A Flame Within Us”

We who live in the Midwest, and south of Chicago, have so far had only a small fall of snow to contend with unlike so many other others close to the great lakes and Buffalo in particular. However, winter has not yet run its course! Edward Hirsch in his book Poet’s Choice in just 400Continue reading ““A Flame Within Us””

Coffee Houses

Yesterday evening I was turning the pages of Simon Armitage’s book of selected poems 1989-2014 titled Paper Aeroplane. On reading the poem To the Women of the Merrie England Coffee Houses, Huddersfield, I immediately recalled a piece of prose I shared almost two years ago from Mike McCormack’s novel Solar Bones. I will share bothContinue reading “Coffee Houses”

Journey of the Magi

Since 1982 I have read T.S. Eliot’s poem Journey of the Magi in Christmas worship every year. I could not imagine an Advent season without Eliot’s words and questions. Early on in my many years of serving a most caring congregation in Kansas City I mentioned my love of this poem and from that momentContinue reading “Journey of the Magi”

Then and Now!

We had hoped that the lesson of the Christmas truce in 1914 would serve us all. Alas! We had hoped that WWI might have been the war that ended all wars. Alas! Today, just days before Christmas we have another war raging in Europe. Alas! Although this outrageous war is confined for now within theContinue reading “Then and Now!”

Inside the Miracle!

“Rise Up,” a stained glass window bank by Cbabi Bayoc at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion in University City, Missouri. Photo source: Episcopal Church of the Holy Communio In this the second week of Advent, we move ever closer to the celebration of Christmas and the retelling of the story of Christ’s birth.Continue reading “Inside the Miracle!”

Lo! faithful Virgin

Madonna and Child possibly 1230s Of solemnly hieratic beauty, this is one of only two works that can be confidently assigned to Berlinghiero, the leading painter in the Tuscan city of Lucca. It follows the Byzantine type known as the Hodegetria (“She who shows the way”), familiar from icons that arrived in Italy following theContinue reading “Lo! faithful Virgin”