Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Prayer of Praise and Adoration

Christmas prayer adapted from Augustine:

All praise to You, O King of Heaven and earth, this Christmas Sunday
For the incarnation;
As Adam was brought forth from the uncursed soil,
so You were born of a virgin;
When man’s Maker was made man,
that He Who made the Milky Way, might nurse at His mother’s breast;
the Bread hunger,
the Fountain thirst,
the Light sleep,
the Way be a tired Traveler;
the Truth slandered by false witness,
the Teacher flogged,
the Foundation hung upon a wooden beam;
that Strength weaken;
that the Healer be wounded;
and Life die.
For these great mysteries and for beautiful gospel of peace
we give You thanks today and forever.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Cultures cultivate. A culture is more like an ecosystem than like a supermarket. And human persons, as encultured creatures, are generally less like independent rationally choosing shoppers than like organisms whose environment predisposes a certain set of attitudes and actions.
Cultures cultivate. Not that our activities are absolutely determined by cultural influences. We are rational beings, not just instinctual beings. We can make choices that go against the conventions sustained around us. We can lean into the prevailing winds, but only if we know how to stand somewhere solid. Only if we are not being carried by the wind. We need to be able to imagine alternative ways of perceiving reality.
Cultures cultivate, so if we want to offset the influence of cultural systems that distort or misrepresent reality, we need more than good arguments that analyze the distortions. We need cultural alternatives that provide opportunities for participating in a different way of telling the story of human experience.
For example, counteracting the materialistic reductionism of our time requires practices that convey to our imaginations the coherent unity of matter and spirit. Challenging the assumptions that human beings are best understood and best treated by social structures as autonomous choosers whose choices provide meaning in an otherwise meaningless universe requires settings in which submission and obedience to some order of things that precedes our willing is known as a delight and a blessing.
Distorted institutions and practices can’t be confronted only by arguments. They require well-ordered practices and institutions. Resisting cultural confusion is more than a matter of thinkingoutside the box. We need to be able to intuit outside the box. And to encourage well-ordered intuitions to those under our care, especially our children — because cultures cultivate.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Advent Hymn #2: Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending

A Ralph Vaughan Williams processional Advent Hymn.  Enough Said.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Advent Hymnody #1 - O Savior, Rend the Heavens Wide

... Another beautiful Advent hymn we hear very little of.  It is German from the early 1600's.  And in case you're thinking it is too difficult to learn, here are a bunch of kindergartners who have mastered it.  Enjoy!