Showing posts with label Advent. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Advent. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

All Lit Up



It all starts off at the Tree Gulag, where captive conifers languish beneath the harsh glare of sodium arc lights. There they are, lined up for inspection and roll call as you stride along wondering at their short and spindly aspect. But we found one that seemed to have potential and took it home.




First things first, wrangle the liberated fir into a stand and move back to ponder it's bizarrely potbellied shape. Then put as many lights on the thing as it'll bear, around a 1000+ for a small tree like this. You may have a different method and that's OK, there's no system

Lights on, get the Angel up and ask yourself why this one from Germany holds a scroll of plainsong notation proclaiming "Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata  mundi." Gloria in excelsis Deo!, surely.




Leaving aside the hint of oddly wry Tuetonic humor, start decorating the tree and if you're me, recall  Christmases past when you've done the very same thing with the very same ornaments stretching back into childhood. 

Nostalgic, but of course some decorations get "old, tired, pathetic and depressing. Look, here's a plastic bag, throw it away." Thus spake Ma LSP, and she's right, what's the point of holding on to some piece of broken rubbish just because you've had it forever?




That in mind, some ornaments are better than others, which goes without saying, and you admire them the most, they inspire and uplift. Then it's done, an Advent miracle, the tree's lit up, the ornaments gleam, glint and sparkle and all's well in a raucously Victorian Christmas tree kind of way.




Well done, mission accomplished, pour yourself a glass of the right stuff. Maybe, for you, that's cocoa, a onesie and a frothing pumpkin latte, maybe it's something more fortifying. Your call.

Cheers and God bless,

LSP

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Magnificat



If you follow the strange new modernistic lectionary you'll have heard the Magnificat this morning at Mass, Mary's exultant hymn of praise to God. My soul doth magnify the Lord, sings the Virgin to Elizabeth.

Consider the depth and power of the canticle and while we're at it, here's an Advent carol from the Cambridge crew.




Some argue that the West won't defeat the twin jihad of Secularism and Mohammedanism until its people recover their faith, which is the ancient, unconquerable Faith of the Church. 

It takes Spirit to defeat spirit or to put it another way, Charles Martel didn't forge his hammer in a vacuum. 

Magnificat anima mea,

LSP

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Advent



It's the first Sunday of Advent, and we're getting ready to celebrate the birth of Christ at Christmas and preparing to meet Him on the Last Day, the second Advent. Here's a prayer, the governing collect of the season:


ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.


The armour of light. The Apostle teaches us (Rom. 13:11-14) that this is nothing less than Christ Himself.  Austin Farrer illuminates:


Advent brings Christmas, judgement runs out into mercy. For the God who saves us and the God who judges us is one God. We are not, even, condemned by his severity and redeemed by his compassion; what judges us is what redeems us, the love of God. What is it that will break our hearts on judgement day? Is it not the vision, suddenly unrolled, of how he has loved the friends we have neglected, of how he has loved us, and we have not loved him in return; how, when we came (as now) before his altar, he gave us himself, and we gave him half-penitences, or resolutions too weak to commit our wills? But while love thus judges us by being what it is, the same love redeems us by effecting what it does. Love shares flesh and blood with us in this present world, that the eyes which look us through at last may find in us a better substance than our vanity.


If you're a bit slow on the uptake, like me, you might want to read the above several times. In the meanwhile, Paris burns.

God bless,

LSP

Monday, December 18, 2017

Light It Up



This small farming community's all lit up, literally and figuratively; I know this because I've seen it. And you know what? I like it.




So don't be a sad puritan killjoy, light up the town instead and get ready to celebrate the Nativity. Just don't jump the gun and detract from the enjoyment of the Feast. This should be maximal.




With that in mind I drive around the town at night enjoying the lights. It's uplifting and given that Baptists weren't to keen on Christmas, 25 December not being in the Bible and Roman Catholics do it, encouraging. We've moved on and up in this shiny buckle of the Bible Belt.




So light it up.

God bless,

LSP

Friday, December 15, 2017

Advent Reflection




With Advent we look to the past in wonder, to the coming together of God and man in the person of an infant, Gloria in excelsis Deo! And we look to the future, when the Lord returns in His glorious majesty to judge the quick and the dead and raise up the faithful. Likewise to the present, Christ dwells in us and we in Him, Advent is here and now.

With that in mind, I find this helpful, from Austin Farrer's Essential Sermons:

None of us can be let off being Christ in our place and our station: we are all pygmies in giants’ armour. We have to put up with it: it’s the price (how small a price!) paid for the supreme mercy of God, that he does not wait for our dignity or our perfection, but just puts himself there in our midst; in this bread and this wine: in this priest: in this Christian man, woman, or child. He who gave himself to us as an infant, crying in a cot, he who was hung up naked on the wood, does not stand on his own dignity. If Jesus is willing to be in us, and to let us show him to the world, it’s a small thing that we should endure being fools for Christ’s sake, and be shown up by the part we have to play. We must put up with such humiliation of ourselves – or better still, forget ourselves altogether. For God is here: let us adore him.

Here endeth the Lesson,

LSP

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Make His Paths Straight



If you follow the newfangled innovation that is the lectionary cooked up by "experts" in the '60s, you'll have noticed that today's Gospel is all about John the Baptist crying out in the wilderness, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight."


Rev. "Rachel" Mann

Make his paths straight, what would Archbishop Justsin say about that? Let's find out, here he is in an interview with GQ as reported by Lifesitenews:

Justin Welby, the Church of England’s Archbishop of Canterbury, was asked point-blank, “Is gay sex sinful?” by GQ on Monday.
“You know very well that is a question I can’t give a straight answer to,” Welby answered, then added, “Sorry, badly phrased there. I should have thought that one through.”
According to GQ, Welby paused and looked “mildly embarrassed” after his response.
Asked why he couldn’t answer the question, Welby responded: “Because I don’t do blanket condemnation and I haven’t got a good answer to the question. I’ll be really honest about that. I know I haven’t got a good answer to the question.”

"I haven't got a good answer to the question," tell us, Justsin, is that you or the Chinos talking? Regardless, what would the Baptizer say? 


Welby's Chinos

I think we know and it doesn't take any great leap of the imagination to picture the Forerunner's career trajectory in today's Church of England. From nothing to nothing, springs to mind. 


The Baptizer

Or if the unfortunate prophet found himself within the beast itself, the CofE, where would it end. With his head on a platter at the request of a dancing girl? Or some other thing, like the curiously named trans Canon of Manchester Cathedral, Rachel Mann.


Quite

Whatever the case, I don't see the Baptist backing down. Sorry, Justsin.

Make his paths straight,

LSP


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Advent Poetry, Innit



One of the Team took time off from cleaning his FNFAL to send this in; pay attention, heathen:

Coming with the shepherds to this mystical crèche, joining Mary and Joseph in holy meditation, and seeing this child in the straw – what do we see? St. Maximus the Confessor said that we see the holy child playing at the boundary of earth and heaven, of infinity and finitude. Standing at the crèche, seeing “this thing that has happened”, we see God’s victory, and our salvation, what the devil and the rulers of this world’s present darkness could never have expected – the infinite having become a finite fact – the foolishness and weakness of the eternal God, dwelling beyond the limit of grammar but having become intelligible; dwelling beyond the building blocks of logic, language, and math, but now having become a discreet reality, wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.

In his great poem Ash Wednesday, T.S. Eliot wrote:

"If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent
If the unheard, unspoken
Word is unspoken, unheard;
Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard,
The Word without a word, the Word within
the world and for the world;
And the light shone in darkness and
Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled
About the centre of the silent Word."

And the speaker in the poem asks “Where shall the word be found, where will the word Resound?” And he concludes: “Not here, there is not enough silence…” and adds, “No place of grace for those who avoid the face / No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and deny / the voice.”
___________________________________

CS Lewis hated TSE. Whatever, I like everything about that.

God bless,

LSP

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Judgement Runs Out Into Mercy



Listen up, you lot. It's not Christmas yet, it's Advent, and you've probably forgotten this so I'm posting it again. Wisdom, from Austin Farrer:

Our journey sets out from God in our creation, and returns to God at the final judgement. As the bird rises from the earth to fly, and must some time return to the earth from which it rose; so God sends us forth to fly, and we must fall back into the hands of God at last. But God does not wait for the failure of our power and the expiry of our days to drop us back into his lap. He goes himself to meet us and everywhere confronts us. Where is the countenance which we must finally look in the eyes, and not be able to turn away our head? It smiles up at Mary from the cradle, it calls Peter from the nets, it looks on him with grief when he has denied his master. Our judge meets us at every step of our way, with forgiveness on his lips and succour in his hands. He offers us these things while there is yet time.Every day opportunity shortens, our scope for learning our Redeemer's love is narrowed by twenty-four hours, and we come nearer to the end of our journey, when we shall fall into the hands of the living God, and touch the heart of the devouring fire.
Advent brings Christmas, judgement runs out into mercy. For the God who saves us and the God who judges us is one God. We are not, even, condemned by his severity and redeemed by his compassion; what judges us is what redeems us, the love of God. What is it that will break our hearts on judgement day? Is it not the vision, suddenly unrolled, of how he has loved the friends we have neglected, of how he has loved us, and we have not loved him in return ; how, when we came (as now) before his altar, he gave us himself, and we gave him half-penitences, or resolutions too weak to commit our wills? But while love thus judges us by being what it is, the same love redeems us by effecting what it does. Love shares flesh and blood with us in this present world, that the eyes which look us through at last may find in us a better substance than our vanity.

I love that.

LSP 

Put Some Lights on The House


"So what do you do, when you go to the big city, so-called 'LSP'?" I hear you asking, with an edge in your voice. Good question, and I'll tell you.



These days, I mostly put up Christmas lights. That means clambering about on the porch roof to get the wreath in position.



Ground level is easier. Just put the lights on the hedge. Simple, and I think they look good. But that's just me.

Have fun getting your place ready for Christmas.

God bless,

LSP

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Jesus Isn't Your Imaginary Friend


Here's a helpful message for Advent. Maybe you think Jesus is some kind of imaginary buddy, in your mind. Well He's not.
At some point in our history, we began to attribute a merely mental reality to anything that was not an object and reduced the importance of objects to what they could contribute to our mental reality. We live in a sea of psychology. Things, we believe, are only what we think they are. My “relationship” with you means nothing more than the set of inner experiences and dispositions I have towards you. In many ways, a very good version of “virtual reality” is just as good as “reality” itself.
You can read the whole thing here. And while we're at it, let's have Hagia Sophia back.

Maybe you think I'm kidding about that last bit.

LSP 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Advent



Advent's here, when we look to the past for the first coming of Christ, when the Word was made Flesh, and to the future, when He will come to judge the quick and the dead and the world by fire. Also to the present, as Our Lord arrives daily to His faithful people.

So let's get serious by way of this quote from FJH:

"The old world is destroyed and a soulless world takes its place. Art is subsumed within the abstract because there is nothing concrete worth portraying. Music becomes discordant or banal for lack of spiritual harmony. Theatre devotes itself to the absurd and television to a perpetual portrayal of sexual relationships that produce neither children nor lasting friendship. No longer believing he is made in the image of God, Western man is suffering from an identity crisis he is unable to resolve. He is being persecuted by an uncontrollable ideology of his own making."

I'll leave you to draw the correlation with John the Baptist's call.

God bless,

LSP

Friday, December 16, 2011

Hitchens Is Dead


Everyone knows that Christopher Hitchens has died. He was an outstanding writer, drinker, smoker and contributing editor to Vanity Fair. VF gushed this morning:

"Christopher Hitchens—the incomparable critic, masterful rhetorician, fiery wit, and fearless bon vivant—died today at the age of 62. Hitchens was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in the spring of 2010, just after the publication of his memoir, Hitch-22, and began chemotherapy soon after. His matchless prose has appeared in Vanity Fair since 1992, when he was named contributing editor."

Hitchens, unlike his brother, didn't believe in God. Now he will find out. 

I'll say a prayer for his soul.

Dies irae, but remember Farrer's words, Advent is a time when "judgement runs out into mercy."

LSP