Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mr. Happy Man

Here's another little video gem I found via Facebook Friend Deborah Schaben. Johnny Barnes is an 88-year-old retired railroad worker from Hamilton, Bermuda who stands at a busy intersection in the city every weekday morning blowing kisses to commuters and telling passersby—most of them complete strangers, no doubt—that he loves them.

What a simple and remarkably revolutionary act! Isn't it one of our deepest longings—if not the very deepest—to be loved? To be told we are loved? That we matter and are worth something? Johnny Barnes does that every day for the people around him. Just think how different the world would be if we followed his example! As Johnny himself points out, there would be no murders or rapes because we would be too busy truly loving one another. Notice too, that Johnny's love for those around him is not rooted in some vague, generalized quasi-socialist love for all humanity. It is rooted in Johnny's love for God and in his awareness of God's love for him. "I'm just a little small instrument in the hand of God to be used any way  He sees fit," says Johnny.

God Bless You, Johnny Barnes! And long may you continue to bless the people of Hamilton.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Still Tweaking

As you may have noticed, I'm still experimenting with the look of the blog. Comments and feedback are welcome. We'll get it settled eventually.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Accidental Makeover

So, you may have noticed the new look for the blog in the past couple of days.

Yeah, about that . . .

Y' see, I was perfectly happy with the old blog layout except for one minor detail. I went in hoping to make just a small tweak, started clicking on stuff without really knowing what I was doing, and the next thing I knew, I had lost the old template and had no idea how to get it back. I looked at the choices Blogger now has available for templates and this one seemed the most attractive and the most like what I had before. It's not perfect (In some posts the embedded videos overrun the area allowed for posts) but I can live with it. I hope you can too.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

"I Sing Because I'm Happy"

Today is Easter Sunday. The whole Christian world rejoices in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. I must confess, however, that the joy I would normally feel at recalling the Resurrection of the Lord is tempered by two things: the sad news that my dear friend Lauren passed away Thursday afternoon after a long and painful battle with cancer; and by my own medical problems that have made me a virtual shut-in for weeks now.

Yet my faith in that same Resurrection of the Lord gives me hope that one day, by the grace of God, I too may rise to the glory and beauty of eternal life with Christ in a new and glorified body free from pain, suffering, disability, or defect of any kind; and that Lauren will enjoy all eternity in communion and fellowship with the God she loved, sought, and served with all her heart. She was the kind of person who radiated the love and joy of Christ everywhere she went and in everything she did.

This was actually Lauren's second bout with cancer. She was first diagnosed several years ago, had extensive surgery and radiation, and made a recovery that was nothing short of miraculous, thanks to her own rock-solid faith in Christ and the love, support, and prayers of those around her. She seemed healthy for several years and resumed a normal life, but when this recurrence of cancer was diagnosed a few months ago, it was just too much for her to overcome, despite extensive treatment.

I recall one Sunday several years ago after Lauren was first diagnosed, or perhaps it was after the cancer had gone into remission--that Lauren, in her role as music director for our parish, stood up and sang the old Gospel hymn "His Eye Is On The Sparrow" as a post-Communion meditation. It was so beautiful that it sent shivers down my spine. I think it was her declaration that she was going to trust God no matter what the future held for her. I think of that song now as I think of Lauren. Here is a version of the song as performed by Ethel Waters as Berenice Sadie Brown in the 1952 film The Member of the Wedding with Julie Harris as Frankie Addams and Brandon De Wilde as John Henry:

I sing because I'm happy,
I sing because I'm free
For His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me.

The Resurrection of Christ sets us free. Let us not merely be happy, but joyful in the face of it. A joyful Easter to all of you!

Friday, April 06, 2012

Good Friday

While searching YouTube for something appropriate for Good Friday, I found this lovely antiphon from the Byzantine tradition translated into English and sung by Vassilis Hadjinicolaou.

The lyrics in English:

Today He who hung the earth upon the waters is hung on the tree,
The King of the angels is decked with a crown of thorns.
He who wraps the heavens in clouds is wrapped in the purple of mockery.
He who freed Adam in the Jordan is slapped on the face.
The Bridegroom of the Church is affixed to the Cross with nails.
The Son of the virgin is pierced by a spear.
We worship Thy passion, O Christ.
We worship Thy passion, O Christ.
We worship Thy passion, O Christ.
Show us also Thy glorious resurrection.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Itz Teh Soopah Frenz!

funny dog pictures - The Super Friends
see more dog and puppy pictures

Holy Thursday

Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend tonight's Holy Thursday liturgy due to illness. For all those in a similar situation, whether due to illness or some other reason, I offer this, the beautiful Eucharistic hymn "Tantum ergo sacramentum," traditionally sung as the Eucharist is removed from the Tabernacle to a place of repose. The lyrics in Latin and in English are as follows:

Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Veneremur cernui:
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Praestet fides supplementum
Sensuum defectui.

Genitori, Genitoque
Laus et iubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio.

Down in adoration falling,
Lo! the sacred Host we hail,
Lo! o'er ancient forms departing
Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith for all defects supplying,
Where the feeble senses fail.

To the everlasting Father,
And the Son Who Reigns on high
With the Holy Spirit proceeding
Forth from each eternally,
Be salvation, honor blessing,
Might and endless Majesty.

A Blessed and Holy Easter Season to all my readers!