Fall-ing Into a Rhythm

I cannot remember a September when the temperature and the other signals of nature seemed to so clearly signal the arrival of Fall as has happened over the days of September 21 and 22 of this year. It is as if a switch has been thrown clicking on crisper evenings, the deepening blue of the autumn sky, squirrels clamoring for acorns, and the first vestiges of leafy color.

Now, I will come clean by telling you that I have always been a person moved by the onset of Spring. Where I grew up Fall was the signal of a coming winter that was, by and large, grey and rainy with the temperature generally hovering around 34 degrees. The damp cut you like a knife. When I moved to the Chicago area for seminary there came an annual autumn trip to our rival seminary in the Wisconsin woods for a football game. Now, I grew up with the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in full Fall foliage, but never before these games had I walked knee-deep in brilliant yellow leaves the size of Frisbees. Plus, it got dark so much earlier in these more northern latitudes. It was a siren’s song, of course, because it meant that the dark grey of winter would onset in early November and it would not relent to a warming sun and clearing sky until late April or early May. I would be deprived of blue sky and green grass until long after the calendar and the planets proclaimed it Spring. Ah, it was, for me, one more lesson of “the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.”

Despite these things, I was, and admit that I still am, charmed by that crispness and the earlier arrival each day of the vesper light (no thanks to daylight savings time). There is a sense of boundaries, not hard and harsh but persistent while being gentle. Schools return to session and that means to me there is a renewal of learning. Choirs return and that means there is a renewal of singing. People return and that harkens a renewal of community.

The late strains of Fall will bring the candle-glow of Advent. Winter gifts us with the Incarnation and the Epiphany and, despite its name ushers us the challenges of Lent. Easter breaks forth in all ways of the Resurrection and floods us with new life. Those tender pale greens and running waters of Spring deepen into the full bloom and expansive daylight of summers.

God tells time by the movement of planets and the ebb and flow of tides. Never is there the need for a “leap” to correct or insert, and you never have to roll the date on your wristwatch because of a twenty-eight or thirty day month. I love this rhythm. It is natural. It is liturgical. It is God’s time.

The eyes of all wait upon you, O Lord, *
and you give them their food in due season.

You open wide your hand *
and satisfy the needs of every living creature.

The Lord is righteous in all his ways *
and loving in all his works. Psalm 145:16-18

May you find God’s rhythm in your days, in your seasons, in your prayers, in your breath and in your life.

Grace and peace,

Scott+

Just Because We Can … Doesn’t Mean We Should

Unauthorized pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge, a movie trailer (and I can only presume the whole movie), a French newspaper’s cartoon mocking the Prophet Muhammad, some years ago a Danish publication doing the same thing. Qur’an burnings. Burning Bibles and other destruction or defilement of any sacred text or structure. They are all wrong. I did not say that they were illegal, although some of the above cited events may have been. But just because some law was not broken does not mean that the action taken is in any measure appropriate.

I write this reflection under the very First Amendment banner that in our country allows vitriolic films and satirical political cartoons to be produced and shown, written and published, because it provides for both freedom of speech and freedom of religion. I know of no great world religion that does not instruct, in exact words or words so clearly close as to be synonymous, “Do unto to others as you would have them do unto you” (Matt 7:12, Luke 6:31). And, yes, the Hebrew Bible and the Qur’an go there as well. If fact, the older King James translation of the Bible gives us the saying in a more pointed fashion: “as ye would that [people] would do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” But in things both little and large it seems we increasingly embrace judgment and behavior that dismisses this teaching.

I had the honor and opportunity of spending an evening last week, along with others representing the Cathedral community and the Diocese of Michigan, at the 10th Anniversary Gala for the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU.org). It was a beautiful night spent in the extraordinary hospitality of my brothers and sisters of the Muslim community. There was humor and humility, appreciation and poignancy, and candor and challenge.

The written words of the U.S. Constitution affords them the right to their religious practice, as it affords me mine. Yet, they live in “the land of the free and home of the brave” with a burden of suspicion and discrimination that is born out of others’ fear and ignorance. The Episcopal/Anglican tradition of Christianity holds at the heart of our baptismal understanding being in relationship with God and with people, who are created in the image and likeness of God. “Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons loving your neighbor as yourself? … Will you strive of justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being?”

The printed words are not enough. Spoken words are not enough, but are sometimes a start. As I have said many times, the sermon of our actions preaches longer and louder than those of our mouths. Just as faith without works is dead, a loving heart without loving actions is an illusion. And all people are to know we are Christians by our love, by our love. This we can do and this we should do.

Salaam, shalom, peace,

Scott+

[ISPU is a scholarly think tank born out of the terrible events of September 11, 2001 to help educate and inform all parties with an interest about Islam and Muslim life in the United States, in well-researched, scholarly and relevant ways. There work highly credible and in my opinion simply outstanding.]

Thanks for the Memories

loganblessingOkay, I admit it, I am old enough to remember Bob Hope singing this song to close any number of television specials. It still touches the Normal Rockwell/Currier & Ives place in my heart. (If you don’t know who Rockwell or Currier & Ives are, Google them, and, while you are at it, look up the Saturday Evening Post as well. If you don’t know what Google-ing is, then you likely know about Rockwell, etc. already.)

This weekend we celebrate over six decades of mission and ministry – love and prayers, really – as we show our love to the Rev’d Canon Bill and Dr. Mary Logan. There are not enough words in the dictionary, no matter how oft repeated, to convey the myriad of thoughts, moments of love, and deep affection we have for them. Nor is it possible, in the same way, to describe the love and care they have given to us.

What follows, we hope, will remind you of some of the touchstones of the Logans’ journey with us. Maybe it will tickle a recollection, or trigger a fond or tender moment. Most of all, we hope it will heighten your desire to join in a Chorus of the Saints singing from the depths of our hearts, “Thanks for the memories.”

Blessings,

Scott+

Born at Harper Hospital in 1920, the Reverend Canon William S. Logan never roamed far from his Detroit roots save a few years in Philadelphia and a degree in Chemical Engineering (cum laude)from the University of Pennsylvania. Ordained (and married) in 1951, he is currently the senior active priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan. The holder of three masters degrees (Engineering, Divinity, and Counseling), his ministry has spanned seven decades, including service as a Curate at Christ Church, Detroit, Rector of St. Martin’s, Detroit, Executive Director of Program for the Diocese of Michigan, sometime editor of “The Record” (a monthly newspaper for the diocese) and Archdeacon of the Diocese including serving as District Head of the Central District before he retired in 1985.

Canon Logan served on the Executive Council of the Diocese, the Board of the Wayne State University Episcopal Student Association, as a trustee of the Bishop Page Foundation, Chair of the Department of Christian Social Relations, and as a member of the Youth Division of the Department of Christian Education. His wider community ministry included being an officer of the Michigan Council of Churches; and serving on the Michigan Commission for United Ministries in Higher Education, the Interfaith Emergency Council, and the Interfaith Action Council. He also served on the Ministerial Committee of Planned Parenthood, and is a Charter Member of the Miller District Advisory Council. He was honored by the City of Detroit for his service as a member of the Policy Advisory Committee of the Mayor’s Committee on Human Resources Development.

In 1967 at the start of great unrest in Detroit, he organized and coordinated the Inter-Faith Emergency Action Center. He transformed the Diocesan Cathedral Center into a center for communication for all kinds of agencies and governmental response teams to help negotiate and restore calm in the midst of chaos. Additionally, some 40,000 tons of food, water and clothing were distributed from this site as a result of his work. He rode buses to march in Alabama for civil rights; organizations such as Bagley Housing (now part of Southwest Solutions). He was active in the Wranglers, and the Prismatic Club of Detroit bears his considerable imprint. In 1968 his was made an Honorary Canon of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul.

Bill’s idea of retirement was to walk about 100 feet to a new “Cathedral office” in the Diocesan Cathedral Center to oversee the building of a fourteen story 150 unit apartment building for economically challenged seniors for the Cathedral Church of St. Paul. From that beginning and for twenty-eight years he was at the Cathedral three days a week and most every Sunday being “retired,” and along the way he served as Canon-In-Charge between the eighth and ninth deans

That which will bring the quickest and broadest smile to Bill’s face is mention of Mary, followed closely by any mention of their three children, Molly, Maggie and Will, and the accompanying grand- and great grandchildren. Dr. Logan’s considerable accomplishments include degrees from Goucher College, the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and decades of service as a member of the Department of Pediatrics of Henry Ford Hospital. She was one of the driving forces in the founding of the CHASS (Community Health and Social Services) Center, the mission of which is to develop, promote, and provide comprehensive, accessible and affordable quality primary health care and support services to all residents of the community, with emphasis on the underserved African American and Latino populations in Detroit. Dr. Logan retired at least three times herself, and because of her dedication and commitment, along with others, CHASS is celebrating forty-two years of mission.

Please join us to celebrate the Sabbath and give thanks to God for Bill and Mary at the 10:30 Eucharist on Sunday, September 9th. A gala reception follows the service in Barth Hall.