Advent I

The Art Blog at Episcopal Cafe ...this week

Sr. Claire Joy offers this portrait of Mary and Elizabeth, celebrating "one elusive moment of joy and wonder" as we begin this season of Advent. See more here.


I am, O Anxious One. Don't you hear my voice
surging forth with all my earthly feelings?
They yearn so high, that they have sprouted wings
and whitely fly in circles round your face.
My soul, dressed in silence, rises up
and stands alone before you: can't you see?
don't you know that my prayer is growing ripe
upon your vision as upon a tree?
If you are the dreamer, I am what you dream.
But when you want to wake, I am your wish,
and I grow strong with all magnificence
and turn myself into a star's vast silence
above the strange and distant city, Time.

Poem by Rainer Maria Rilke
Image: "Waiting" by C. Robin Janning

Hymn To Creativity

Moved by the Gospel, let us move with every gift and art.
The image of creative love indwells each human heart.

The Maker calls creation good, so let us now express
with sound and color, stone and wood,
the shape of holiness.

Let weavers form from broken strands a tapestry of prayer.
Let artists paint with skillful hands their joy in lament and care,
Then mime the story: Christ has come.

With reverence dance the Word.
With flute and organ, chime and drum,
God’s praise be ever heard.

O Spirit, breathe among us here, inspire the work we do.
May hands and voices, eye and ear attest to life made new.
In worship and in daily strife create among us still.
Great Artist form our common life
according to Your will.

Photograph by Diane Walker

Words from the Gather Hymnbook (#685):

Title: Moved by the Gospel, Let Us Move
Author: Ruth Duck, 1947-
© 1992, GIA Publications, Inc.

Tune information:
Harmonizer: Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1872-1958

Thoughts on Grace from an ever-seeking non-theologian

Nature's Font by Dawn Glascock, all rights reserved

Grace is something with which my highly tuned analytical western mind has trouble. There are those who would respond that you cannot receive (accept) grace with the mind; that grace is a gift that must be received by the heart. And yet, how do we separate the two? Our Prayer Book teaches us that "Grace is God’s favor towards us, unearned and undeserved; by grace God forgives our sins, enlightens our minds, stirs our hearts, and strengthens our wills." (BCP page 858)

As Advent approaches and we await the coming of "The Light of the World" I find myself longing to grasp the gift of grace - to have it embrace me and to effusively share it with others. I see glimpses of grace from time to time, but, as Christians, should we not consistently experience grace? Surely that was what the creator intended and what our faith teaches us. Is this not what Christ gave to us? It is, again, what our faith teaches us through the sacraments: "The outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means by which we receive that grace." (BCP p. 857)

Perhaps when we find it difficult to see grace in our selves or others, we receive the gift through God’s creation. I can always find grace in nature. Is the beauty we receive through nature the "on ramp" to receiving and seeing grace in each other? I am not sure of the answer, but to borrow the lyrics of Justin Kensrue:
"And it is safe to say we’ll never know everything, still blessings we receive. And it is safe to say I really don’t know a thing, still I choose to believe....And all the answers that I find only take me so far down the line. The tracks always give out, yeah it’s a leap from the lions mouth."

So this Advent I shall pray that as we await his coming, we shall all be blessed to celebrate grace in ourselves and each other.
Dawn Glascock


On the Journey Towards Becoming a Peacemaker
by Rabbi Albert M. Lewis

What if God were to speak to us now; to give us a fresh look at what's real, true, and the core of our world? Might God say, "Be just, be kind, care, share, give, take, love, laugh, cry, feel the pain, and dance in the time of joy"? And what would we hear? Would it be what we want to hear, or what was said? Could we each hear in our own way? Must we all be of the same mind? Must the one who hears at twelve feet fight with the one who hears at twelve yards? Will the black one and the white one and the child of the land all know God in the same way? And if not, will they then fight?

What if God said, "I grant you a gift: a world full of peace, health, and food for all. I give you a time, now, when each may sit by his vine and by her fig tree and none will cause you fear"? Would we heed the words? If God came to each of us in a dream, would we hold the dream in our hearts and souls, or would we cast it off as just a dream? What would it take to look deep with in, where we live and know truth, and there to find the one God, who cries for us and waits and hopes and says, "I am here. Do not fear. Live, love, talk, and walk hand in hand with me. Let no child learn war anymore, but let each bring what is right and just in his home and in her land!"-

(Rabbi Lewis has written this reflection using only one-syllable words. It is an old discipline, intended to be simple but not simplistic.)

RABBI ALBERT M. LEWIS is the Director of the Emeritus College at Aquinas, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a weekly columnist for The Grand Rapids Press

Seen above: Contemplating Vincent by artist Barbara Desrosiers

In Your Light

How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.
- Psalm 36:7-9

Seen above: photograph by The Rev. Scott Fisher, St. Matthews, Fairbanks

Things To Be Discovered

The Art Blog at Episcopal Cafe ...this week

Ellen Wiener is an artist whose work invites the viewer to an intimate participation in things already known. She also tucks into each page the promise of things to be discovered. Much like worship, her small works are often segmented into portions, with an organically rhythmic organization that shepherds the viewer into quiet reflection. Read more HERE.

On View: Three Logics by Ellen Wiener. Oil on three panels, 9" x 36", 2003. From An Album of Hours by Ellen Wiener. See her book, The Still Small Hours, 2007, HERE.