Saturday, December 24, 2011

What a Mighty Love Was Thine... A Message for Christmas, 2011

See Amid the Winter’s Snow…
See amid the winter’s snow,
Born for us on Earth below,
See, the tender lamb appears,
Promised from eternal years!

One of my favourite Christmas Carols is See Amid the Winter’s Snow. Although it was voted one of England’s favourite carols (at least according to the BBC website) many do not seem to be familiar with it.  It is a great Victorian carol with words from Edward Caswall (1814-1878), set to the tune “Humility” by John Goss (1800-1880). Caswell is also known for several other favourite Victorian hymns, perhaps the best known being When Morning Gilds the Skies, and Earth Has Many a Noble City.  Goss is known for composing the tune to the perennial favourite, Praise My Soul, the King of Heaven.

 The carol See Amid the Winter’s Snow, is one of those carols that captures the deep theological mystery of Christmas, that profound and moving reality of God with us.   The first two lines of the second verse makes this proclamation, at once majestic and humbling:

Lo, within a manger lies,
He who built the starry skies …

The God who created the heavens and the earth is found in the lowliest of estates, lying in a cattle trough.  The one the universe cannot contain allows himself to be contained in the womb of Mary his mother.  The one who knew neither time nor space enters into time and sleeps on bed of straw.  The one whose majesty is beyond compare condescends to make himself known in the most humble of conditions, a child in poverty.  The one who is beyond human comprehension becomes the one who can be cradled by loving human arms.  The mystery of Christmas is that the God who is above and beyond all, chooses to be a part of our small world and a part of our lives. 

Sacred infant, all divine
What a mighty love was thine,
Thus to come from highest bliss,
Down to such a world as this?

As we look about the world around us, it may seem at times that it is not worth saving, that things have gone from bad to worse and that it is beyond repair and restoration.  But through the eyes of God, it is worth it, we are worth it. The world and all its people are worth saving and are of immeasurable value to God.  Yes, the creator of the universe cares for this world and loves all its people, so much so that from highest bliss, he comes to us as a little child.  What a mighty love was thine. 

Thus, as Christmas comes one again, we extol that mighty love with our hymns and carols of praise and humble gratitude.  We sing our carols to give thanks, we sing them to remind ourselves of the love of God poured out for us, and we sing them to offer a word of hope to the world and those around us that the loving God is forever reaching out to us in the sacred infant of Bethlehem.

Hail, Thou ever blessed morn!
Hail, redemption’s happy dawn!
Sing through all Jerusalem:
Christ is born in Bethlehem!

The Choir of St. Paul's Cathedral, London

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I and Thou, and Indaba

Whoever welcomes you, welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me, welcomes the one who sent me.

Earlier this month, members of the the Diocese of Toronto (along with members of the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, and members of the Province Hong Kong) had the privilege to be part of a pilot project in the Anglican Communion called Continuing Indaba. Continuing Indaba is part of an ongoing listening project in the Anglican Communion in which we seek to journey together in unity amidst the issues that threaten to divide us. There are many things that divide us as Anglicans, not least of which are issues concerning human sexuality, but beneath the surface and the presenting issues that ignite conflict are deeper differences, many cultural, some linked to our varied and differing experiences of colonialism, and others linked to the shape of Christianity and Churchmanship we inherited and which endure in our post-colonial contexts.

When relationships break down, it is easy to caricature the other, and to deride the opinions and positions held by the other when they are so different from own. This is especially true when a vast geographical distance separates us as well. But the question was asked, what if we were to meet face to face? What if we were to welcome one another into each others’ homes, parishes and communities, and into each others’ lives? What would be the gifts that we would share and receive? What if we were to become vulnerable to each other, to become like children to one another, and to practice welcoming hospitality to one another, in spite of our differences?

And so we met for eight days. Part of that time was in the setting of the Convent of the Sisters of St. John the Divine, and another part was in local parishes, in local communities. I have been asked what the entire experience was like. I have half-jokingly responded that it was a bit like being in group therapy for eight days. It was hard emotional work, but fruit of the labour was wonderful. It was more than a week of group therapy, though; it was a time to journey honestly and authentically through the challenging questions we face and ask seriously the question, is there a future to this relationship? To our great surprise, we realized that we had only barely begun the work of relationship; and as the bud of that relationship began to open, we knew the joy of sisterhood and brotherhood. Our time together was punctuated by moments of depth, both painful depth and joyful depth.

Following our time together, I began to think about, and to read the work of the great Jewish philosopher and theologian, Martin Buber. The seeds to explore Buber were planted last fall in the visit of a former teacher. We had not seen each other in over twenty years, although we had had some recent wonderful correspondence. When we met we simply embraced each other, a few tears fell, and he quoted Martin Buber, “All real living is meeting.”

All real living is meeting.These words come from Buber’s beautiful little book, I and Thou. In that work Buber suggests that we cannot conceive of ourselves, except in relationship to the other. This is done in two ways. There is either the pairing of I with it/he/she; or there is the pairing of I with Thou (or you). In the world of I-he/she/it, we seek to control the world, shape it, and understand it. We are the subject, and everything else is object. The object, the he/she/it of the other is to studied, classified, explained, understood, theorized about. We are detached from the other, set apart from it, distinct from it. “I” is over “here” observing the “he/she/it” which is over “there.” This, according to Buber is the realm of experience. We seek to understand the other by learning about it, or him or her.

But the realm of I-Thou (I-You), Buber claims, is the realm of relationship. It is the place where hearts meet; it is the place where we see in each other the “I” of subjectivity; where we behold rather than experience; where we are indeed drawn into the life of the other, and where we realize that there is no “I” without “You.” It is the realm in which we are not longer objects to each other, no longer he/she/its to each other, but “Thou,” but “You”, and hence beloved. We encounter one another, and with the other, behold the eternal “Thou” and are drawn into the great “I-Thou” world of our creator. This is not the objective world of experience, but the realm of encounter, the realm of relationship, in which our shared subjectivity is woven together in a divine tapestry, where our individual steps move in concert with the other in a divine dance.

For me, the struggle of Indaba was the toggling between the realms of experience and relationship. At least part of our mandate seemed to be to offer an experience of the Canadian Church (and alternately an experience of Jamaican and Chinese responses to this experience), and an experience of how each of us do things (in particular, theology, sexual ethics, youth ministry, and social justice & engagement) in our own contexts; to experience how we understand and engage our mission and ministry in unique ways. It seemed to me, though, that the harder we tried to demonstrate who we were, the more difficult understanding became. We manufactured a program to give people from far and wide an experience of us, and yet it seemed like they still didn’t get us, and we still didn’t get them. Customs and traditions and ways of doing things seemed even more baffling and troubling.

However, at the heart of Indaba, and dare I say, at the heart of the Christian life, is another way of being, a way that moves beyond and more deeply than the way of experience, and that is the way of encounter, the way of relationship. This is the “I-Thou” relationship of which Buber speaks. The genius of Indaba was not so much that we learned about each other and experienced each others’ worlds, but rather that we encountered each other, that through living and being together for a time, even through bafflement, we grew in relationship with one another. Through encountering each other, beholding each other as beloved children of God, and hence the beloved of our beloved, we became no longer objects to be understood by each other, no longer he/she/it, but I and You, I-Thou. We encounter one another and behold within each other the eternal I and the eternal Thou, in a dance of reciprocity and mutual subjectivity. In our Indaba encounter, it was surprising how quickly, through the grace of the abiding presence and promise of the Holy Spirit in the Church, we moved from I-he/she/it, to I-Thou, and the interesting thing is that an unexpected gift began to emerge, namely, some very small seeds of understanding.

Buber concedes that the I-Thou moments of life are fleeting moments, but they are moments that inform and transform the everyday world of I-he/she/it that we inhabit most of our waking hours. Relationship shapes experience, not the other way around. Understanding does not come primarily through an experience of learning about each other, through objectivity, but through a relationship with another, through an encounter, when heart meets heart, when I meets Thou, when we realize that there truly is no “I” without “Thou” and that I and Thou are one.

This is the truth behind the saying of Jesus, “whoever welcomes you, welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me, welcomes the one who sent me.” In the faithfulness of welcoming each other, not as he/she/its, but as Thou, as another I who beholds me as Thou, we welcome another, Christ our God, who takes us beyond the surface layers of our lives and into the deeper places of encounter and relationship. When we plunge into this authenticity, through the risk of hospitality and welcoming, we are given the greatest gift of all, namely, through relationships formed with new friends, the friendship of Christ our God.

c. 2011, the Rev. Daniel F. Graves

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Back Pew

Anglicans love the back pew. I suppose an interesting social history might be written on the subject putting forward all sorts of reasons that the front pews remain empty while the back pews are always occupied. I have heard several reasons put forward over the years, the most interesting being the suggestion that occupation of the back pew dates back to the days of pew rents. The pews and boxes in the middle of the church were the “property” of those who paid for them, while benches along the walls, at the back and in the gallery were open to those who could not afford to pay the pew rent. I have no idea if this is true or not and I can’t even remember where I heard it. I once asked my English grandmother why no one ever sat in the front pew of a church. She told me that it was kept free just in case the Queen showed up. Again, I don’t know if there’s a kernel of truth in that somewhere, but as a child I certainly believed it. It does seem to be in concord with the concept that those of a certain socio-economic class and social status get the best seats in the house, while those less fortunate should be satisfied with what is left over. Fortunately, in the eschatological scheme of things, “the last shall be first.” It’s just too bad that the church has had such a hard time hearing its own Gospel. I have been in churches with side aisles pews where it was painfully obvious that a greater number of visible minorities occupied those seats.

Even if the Anglican attachment to the back pew had its origins in pew rents, I don’t think that there is anyone alive in the Canadian Church today that would remember pew rents. Thus it is unlikely that those who sit in the back pews today do so because of the historic influence of pew rents. It is more likely that those who warm the back pews of the church do so out of a desire to remain slightly anonymous, slightly at a safe distance, participating fully, but with caution. Even long-time churchgoers seem to like to sit as close to the back as possible. Perhaps it is akin to the student who sits at the very back of the classroom with collar up, sunglasses on and the peak of the ball-cap turned downward, exuding the attitude, “teach me if you dare.”

My father, who is a retired Hydro executive, once told me of some sort of industry meeting that he attended at which the late Archbishop of Toronto, Lewis Garnsworthy, was keynote speaker. Lewis Toronto is reported to have extended his index finger, gazed across the expanse of the room, and uttered in his own inimitable style, “Don’t think you people at the back intimidate me; I’m an Anglican bishop!”

Whatever the origins of the back pew phenomenon, the back pew continues to hold an allure for Anglicans. Even if we place a sign midway through the nave inviting people to sit ahead of the sign (as was the summer custom in my home church), the pleading will be ignored and at least one or two faithful will fly the Anglican flag high from the back pew.

At a recent clergy event in the Diocese of Toronto (at a church that shall remain anonymous to protect the guilty), along with my good friend Fr. Jason Prisley, I was looking for a place to sit. We jokingly said that we should try out the back pew and see what all the fuss was about. We headed to the back of the modern nave and Fr. Jason began to laugh, “Dan,” he exclaimed, “you have to get a picture of this! This is the classic Anglican back pew!” He was right. A quick glance revealed the startling find that although the building was only about ten years old, the back pew was well worn! The contrast with the pristine penultimate pew is quite amusing (see accompanying photo).

Lest we be too hard on those who keep the back pew warm, let us remember that they are not the only ones guilty of claiming a particular ownership over their ecclesiastical seating. Those in the chancel have their special places: the bishop’s throne, the rector’s stall, the choir pews. Is it any wonder that the laity wish to stake their claim? In one parish in which I was a student, I was told of an elderly man who had carved his initials into a certain pew as a boy and he sat in that same pew all his days. A clergy spouse I knew always sat next to a pillar no matter which church she was in. One could ponder the psychology of that piece of seating strategy for some time. We are all familiar with the stories of those who have been told, “You’re sitting in my pew.” Perhaps some readers will have been accused of this when visiting another church. I know of a bishop’s spouse who had this happen in a church in this diocese. Ouch.

So, to be fair, not all Anglicans have a need to sit at the back. There are some (few) who do enjoy sitting up front, and as a preacher, I do appreciate the opportunity to make visual contact with people in the congregation without the aid of opera glasses. It seems, though, that we do like to carve out our particular favourite spots in Church. We all have niches in ministry, and perhaps the little niches we carve out in the nave (and chancel) in some way reflect that. Maybe, when we get too concerned about where people are sitting in the church, we should for a moment consider the alternative: the empty pew. Perhaps we should simply be grateful that God’s Holy Spirit has drawn folk into the Church at all, no matter where they choose to sit.

c. 2011, the Rev. Daniel F. Graves

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Canadian Churchman's Round-up, #1 - A Compendium of Thoughtful Anglican Blogs

The Anglican blogosphere seems to be dominated by a group of stridently conservative bloggers whose voices tend to be overpowering. As you will all know, your friendly neighbourhood Canadian Churchman eschews association with any particular “church party.” I am pleased to be in conversation with church-folk of all types and read blogs that are intelligent and fair. I am not interested in close-mindedness or in highly polemical blogs. I do read the latter, from time-to-time, as an exercise in understanding, but I will not promote or commend them. There are, however, some very excellent, broadly-minded, Anglican writers out there in internet-land. Your Canadian Churchman feels that it is worth highlighting their work, and as such, I hope to offer this “round-up” feature on a semi-regular basis to commend their work to readers of this blog, with the view to building a community of bloggers who speak from the centre. I would be happy to learn of new blogs that are worth sharing.

This past Sunday was Trinity Sunday, a Sunday that is reputedly feared by preachers, but several of the Churchman’s online friends have posted very thoughtful homilies. For example, The Vicar of Wakefield tackled the subject head on in a reflection on the Nicene Creed. In as sermon entitled “On Belief, Doubt, and the Nicene Creed,” he has written, “I think of the creed as the skeletal structure of our faith. We each have bones and frames that look more or less the same, but the way we flesh them out, the way we bring them to life, is different for each of us.” For the Vicar, the Creed is both inclusive and yet, in its brevity, permissive. To recite the Creed rather than asking parishioners to sign on to complicated confessional statements or subscribe to hundred page catechisms is a truly Anglican way of growing into our faith.

Over at Refractions, in a post entitled, “From Entitlements to Practices,” the Rev. Dr. Michael Thompson took his lead from our Lord’s Divine Commission offered at the end of St. Matthew’s Gospel to make disciples through baptism in the name of the Trinity. He ponders the tension between discipleship and membership, reminding us that while membership is touted as something having privileges, for Christians “membership comes with a covenant, a purpose.” He goes on to articulate that purpose as expressed in the baptismal covenant.

Fr. Michael Marsh, at Interrupting the Silence, has written about “The Choreography of Love,” as a way of understanding the Trinity. Fr. Marsh stands in awe of the doctrine of the Trinity, and when speaking about the Trinity, much like speaking about love, he recognizes that words often fail us and lead us astray when we try to articulate what both the doctrine of the Trinity and what love mean to us. He helpfully offers up the language and analogy of relationship as a way into understanding the Triune life.

The Rev. Dr. Richard Leggett at Liturgy Pacific does not seem to have posted a Trinity homily, but has a fine homily for Pentecost entitled, “Would that All God’s People were Prophets,” in which he reflects on the vocation of a prophet: “For us the prophets do not foretell the future; they ‘forth tell’ God’s word to God’s people in particular times and particular places.” Given the “epic fail” of a recent rapture-predicting American preacher, his words serve as a solid reminder as to what a prophet is called to do and of our shared vocation to prophecy as inheritors of the Holy Spirit at the first Pentecost.

Fr. Tay Moss, long-time blogger and everyone’s favourite Ninja Priest, has posted some intriguing thoughts of “the Church-as-folding” after reflecting on a piece of origami. He brilliantly suggests an approach that can take us beyond what he delightfully dubs, “the confetti of postmodernism.”

The Rev. Maggie Dawn’s Pentecost reflection considers the word “inspiration” and views it as a gift to western culture, art and literature, descended from that first Pentecost. She also offers some thoughts on what that means to her as an author.

Rudolf Bultmann famously asserted that the three-tiered universal is an impossible article of faith in the age of the wireless. This is why the Ascension can be such a difficult subject to preach on. In a homily entitled, “Where is he Going?”Dr. Andrew McGowan, over at Andrew’s Version, offers some cogent and helpful thoughts on what the Ascension means, both in terms of the absence and abiding presence of Jesus, with the assistance of a classic text from St. Theresa of Avila.

On another note completely, Laurel Massé at Voice of the Swan has written thoughtfully in her post, “The City that Never Sleeps,” about ministry in the city and has shared a friend’s wonderful prayer for the life and work that goes on in New York City.

This should give you just a sampling of some of the many thoughtful homilies and reflections that Anglicans are posting these days. The Canadian Churchman hopes that you will visit these sites regularly, make comments on them, and commend them to others. Look for further installments of “The Canadian Churchman’s Round-up” in the not-too-distant future.

Fr. Dan

Sunday, June 19, 2011

God Endures Unchanging On - A Reflection for the 160th Anniversary of Trinity Anglican Church, Bradford

One hundred and sixty years is something to celebrate; but let us never forget who it is that we proclaim in our shared life, and in whose ministry we rejoice today. Let us give thanks and praise to Christ our God.

Often, I take a moment to study the faces of the past rectors of Trinity Church, so wonderfully displayed in the Upper Room (our Narthex). I feel deeply humbled to follow in the footsteps of such faithful clerics. Many of these are remembered fondly by our current generation, but as my gaze wanders back across our 160 years of history, I soon realize that many of my predecessors are but names and faces, and a few of them just names. The contours of their ministry are no longer within the landscape of our gaze. They served, and they served faithfully, and their faithfulness is now known only to God. I wonder what challenges they faced in their ministries. I wonder what joys they knew and what tragedies they ministered through. Perhaps it does not matter; what matters is that their faithfulness has served to bring us to this day.

More important than the faithfulness of any priest, though, is the faithfulness of God’s people who make up the local church. I can now look upon another wonderful display of photos and clippings, prepared especially for this celebration, and see faces that have lived and faithfully served in this community. Some of them I know while others are fondly remembered by our senior parishioners. There are many faces that do not grace the display and are remembered only to God. How humbling it is for us to know that we are but one generation in a long line of faithful Christians in this place who have served the living God. Consider for a moment how the faithfulness of our mothers and fathers has served to bring us to this day.

More important than the faithfulness of priests or people, though, is the faithfulness of God in Christ. What makes the church more than just a society of people and clergy is the love that binds us together in Christ. What make us more than a family is the faithfulness of the one who gave us life, redeems that life, and empowers us to live into the divine likeness. The most important thing, and may we never lose sight of this truth, is the faithfulness of the God. The faithfulness of God is what has brought us to this point and what will move us forward. In another hundred years when our successors take a long gaze backward and wonder who we were and ponder our faithfulness, be it ever so fragile, they will be sure of one thing, that we served, and that they serve a faithful God who shall never leave nor forsake.

The words of a favourite hymn comes to mind:

“…Frail as summer’s flower we flourish, blows the wind and it is gone, but while mortals rise and perish, God endures unchanging on.”

So let us “praise the high eternal one” for his unending and unchanging faithfulness, for his faithfulness shown in and through our mothers and fathers in this parish, for our frail faithfulness, and for his faithfulness yet to be expressed in generations yet to be.

A happy 160th anniversary to you all.

Fr. Dan Graves

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Thou Hatest Nothing Thou Hast Made -- A Reflection for Ash Wednesday, 2011

Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou has made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting ours sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

-The Collect for Ash Wednesday

God hates nothing that he has made. This is perhaps the most difficult truth we profess as Christian people. There are times in our lives when it is hard to believe that God loves us. We find ourselves to be broken, and yes, even as the old collect says, wretched. Oh, the times that I have wept at being unequal to the task that has been set before me and the mistakes that I have made along the way. If we are honest with ourselves, we will all be able to readily identify moments in which we have failed miserably at something we so confidently undertook. No one wishes a job to end in termination. No one plans on a marriage ending. No one sets out to fail a course or drop out of school. We take up tasks with the best and noblest of intentions, with every hope and belief that we shall see them through to completion. However, it is a reality of life that we shall all fail at one time or another. Sometimes we are not the only one to blame, but more often than not, we have played our part. What shall we do with the guilt and shame we carry over the mistakes we have made?

From time-to-time individuals will appear in my office or drop by the church. I may know them, or sometimes they are complete strangers. The thing they have in common, though, is that they are carrying a burden. The burden they invariably carry is the burden of a wrong, a mistake, or some unfinished business that has weighed heavily on their hearts. Often, words to this effect are spoken: “How can God love me? How can God forgive me after what I have done?” I think that most of us have felt this way at least once or twice in our lives.

God does love us though, even when we are at our worst and even when we fail in the most destructive ways possible. The question really is, “can I forgive myself?” Often we cannot forgive ourselves for the pain of the mistake is too great. Because we cannot forgive ourselves, we cannot believe that God could forgive us. Fortunately, though, our God is a God who forgives us and who loves us through every deep valley that we travel. As Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “God makes the sun rise and set on the evil person as well as the good person.” Sometimes we are that evil person, and yet God has a heart big enough to embrace us, even when our hearts are broken into pieces. God has a will strong enough to set us upon the paths of righteousness even when our will has drawn us from the path of life.

Thus, when people come to me -- and I venture to say when anyone who is weighed down with regret over things done and left undone comes to any of us as Christian people -- it is our sacred task to proclaim the truth of the Gospel, that God loves them, for he hates nothing (and no one) he has made. Every one of us is precious in his sight. Every one of us, broken as we may be, is worthy of being put back together, every one of us has a place around his table and chair at his warm and loving hearth. Perhaps the greatest Lenten discipline of all might be not to give up something precious, but to share something precious, namely, this word of hope, this word of God’s love, to those who journey without hope and have no sense of his love.

c. 2011, the Rev. Daniel F. Graves

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Arise, Shine - A Reflection for Candlemas 2011

The lections through Epiphanytide radiate with themes of light. As we are gradually drawing away from the longest night, it may seem as though we remain in an unending season of longest nights, for even days filled with sunlight are fleeting. But the days are getting longer, even if this reality is not always perceptible, and the light is returning. While we move forward, slowly, through this dark time, the Scriptures continue to sing out about the light that comes into the world, the light that enlightens our darkness; both the darkness around us, and the darkness within us.

We move forward into a time of year that is difficult for many. There are many who make the pilgrimage south and abroad, not only to escape the cold, but to seek warmth and light. I am convinced that “seasonal affective disorder” is no imagined malady, but truly the result of living in a climate in which we are deeply deprived of light at this time of year. We desperately need to know the light is returning. We desperately need to hear from the lips of a trusted friend that darkness will not cover the face of the Earth forever. We need to know that a day will come when we will feel the warmth of the rising sun once again on our faces.

The darkness of the days and the length of the nights may make our personal moments of darkness seem all the more impenetrable. During this season we have felt some loss in our community through the deaths of dear friends. Many will be on personal journeys through illness, unemployment, and trying times of various sorts. Oh, that the light would come!

Yet, we continue to celebrate that light, even when it seems so fleeting. We continue to bask in its rays, even when the clouds clear for just a moment. We continue to read the words of our sacred story about the light, the true light, our Saviour, even though as the annual joyous celebration of his coming slips at once quietly into our past and distantly into our future.

Then appears a day on our horizon: it is not the end of the night, but let us call it the early morning watch. February 2nd is known to most as “groundhog day” – will he or will he not see his shadow? Shall winter end soon, or shall it continue for six more weeks? Christian people celebrate this day for another reason, though, and we call it The Presentation of the Lord in the Temple, or Candlemas. Like its secular sister, it falls at the midway point of the duration of Winter, but unlike its secular sister, Groundhog Day, which is filled with ambiguity about the return of the light, on Candlemas we proclaim boldly, once again, that the light has not been put out; that the light shines in the darkness; and that the darkness never has, and never will, overcome it. The spring shall come! The sun shall rise! Light breaks forth! Alleluia!

In the springtime, the Easter reality that we proclaim, that Jesus is Risen, is reinforced in the lengthening of days, the return of the light, and the return to life of the earth. But here at mid-winter, at Candlemas, we have no such signs, only faith and hope. Thus, in such a faith and with certain hope we gather to bless and light candles and proclaim our hope in the light of the world, in an Eastertide that is but a distant vision, but we do so without ambiguity but basked in the Light that never goes out.

c. 2011, the Rev. Daniel F. Graves