Tuesday, May 25, 2010

In anticipation of Trinity Sunday

Until a month or two ago I had forgotten that I'd written this piece! This is Year C in the lectionary, not Year A as it was when I wrote the essay highlighted in the previous sentence, but perhaps some of you will find this helpful as you prepare sermons for Trinity Sunday or as you prepare to celebrate the feast.

(Cross-posted on Facebook, but without the icon.) 

Monday, May 24, 2010

The state of the hydrangeas

Hydrangeas after the rain, when I got home from long workshop at school.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Some +Maya photos from early spring

It's been too long and you have been waiting patiently for the latest photos of the Right Reverend and Right Honourable Maya Pavlova, Feline Bishop Extraordinaire. Enjoy.

Slightly edited --two photos added-- 15 minutes after initial posting.
As always, click on photos to enlarge and see detail.

In the late winter especially, +Maya was very fond of sleeping on the desk chair in my study.

It was a long, cold winter. Flannel sheets, anyone?

The house is all right, but not half as pretty as our old place, the one on which the tree fell. No more pretty windows with wood trim. Cement walls, windows cut out of the walls with no window sills, a bit of peeling paint, a bit of rust. But it's still cozy: a cat lives here.

The author of the definitive pastoral letter on naps continues to be very good at zonking out.

She's also good at waking up.

She's not bad at balancing on the mantel, either.

And here we have Lady Radar Ears (who made an appearance on Facebook recently).

This is when we were working on a sermon about a passage from the book of Revelation...

She likes to help me write.

+Maya has several sleeping places. This is a perch in the bedroom. The pillow is all hers.

Of course, one has to clean up after naps.

This is +Maya seen from outside through the living room window on a sunny day in early May.

Alert, wise, thoughtful, and lovely. The perfect feline bishop.

She is a good Anglican with an inquiring mind.

These next two photos, taken with my BlackBerry, have already made their appearance on Facebook:

Get me away from the paparazzi!

Yes, Your Grace. For now.

Apollonia, the toothy saint

I had oral surgery a few days ago and have been meaning to write this post since last week, but life has been busy, first with a little road trip out of state to a family Bar Mitzvah (photos on Facebook for those of you who are FB people) and then a wedding of two young Guilford alumns (ditto, smaller album), then getting ready for the surgery, and finally the surgery and recovery. I am doing fine, healing slowly and being creative with liquid and soft foods, but the point of this post is the saint for tooth trouble and dentists, Apollonia.

Apollonia was a Christian woman from Alexandria, Egypt, in the 3d century of the Common Era. Part of her martyrdom involved getting her teeth smashed and/or pulled out; hence she is often represented in Christian iconography with pincers and a big tooth.

Apollonia's torturers threatened her with death by fire if she did not renounce the faith. In her zeal for the faith she threw herself on the pyre before they could take her there.

One of my old friends says she bets that it had nothing to do with zeal for the faith and much more to do with the fact that the tooth pain was so horrid that anything was better than enduring it any more! She's got a point... The fact remains, though, that Apollonia had already lived a long life of holiness and service and that she was a woman of deep devotion and determination.

The image above is from an English church. You can find it on an interesting website on Norfolk churches.

Both Orthodox and Catholic Christians observe Apollonia's feast day (February 9). I think we Anglicans should join them. After all, she is an ancient Alexandrian martyr.

Note: Alexandria was a virgin but probably also a deacon. parthénos presbûtis, the phrase used to describe her in the martyrologies, does not necessarily mean "an older virgin" but more likely, according to the scholars, an ordained deacon/ess. There is plenty of scholarship on women deacons, not just as deaconesses as an unordained order, but as ordained deacons.

Did you know there has even been an international Orthodox conference on women in the diaconate whose proceedings, published in 1998, have been endorsed by His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew, the Ecumenical Patriarch?

Here's a rather dreadful 15th century painting of Apollonia's torture. I mean the torture is dreadful, not the painting.

And then there's this (Heilsbronn Cathedral, Bavaria, 16th century):

This is likely a modern facsimile of medieval iconography. It is the illustration on a dental office called "Apollonia House" in the U.K.

This is a serigraph from the 1980s.

This is probably the best known representation, a painting by Francisco de Zurbarán (early 17th century).

I am rather more fond of the English one at the top of this post.

There are images of Apollonia all over Europe.

There are also reputed pieces of her in several countries including Italy, Belgium, Germany, and Portugal.

Saint Apollonia, pray for us!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

And now, the big white magnolias

We (journalistic we) covered the earlier magnolias, which I think are called tulip magnolias and are pink. Nearly two months later, we have the big white fragrant magnolias whose scent hangs heavy in the air on hot spring evenings. The evenings have been cool, though, so you have to bend down toward the flower to smell it. The buds have just started opening up. These are the magnolias you think of when you think of the South (Southeast, really), with the big waxy green leaves. Paul the BB took a photo of me smelling them in Davidson, NC last Memorial Day Weekend before Doxy and Dear Friend's wedding.

Here are some blooms from the Guilford College campus. Like the earlier magnolias, they are from trees in front of my office and classroom building.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Yes, we're still here

Stay tuned for the return of blogging now that the academic year is ending. 'tis a harsh and demanding job here. I've been in campus, parish, and urban ministries, and they are a walk in the park compared to teaching at an undergraduate institution. Or maybe I should say at this undergraduate institution. Or perhaps I should say at an undergraduate institution in this day and age. Hard to tell sometimes. Anyway, we're back. +Maya is well. I am too, and catching up on sleep. Soon my writing brain cells will return. Over and out.

Photo: +Maya helps Jane write. BlackBerry camera photo taken with Jane's right hand, spring 2010.