Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Canterbury tales

In one of the many saints calendars, today is the commemoration of Geoffrey Chaucer, author of the "Canterbury Tales." As a teenager, my knowledge of this unique collection of stories didn't extend much beyond the fact that most of them seemed too offensive to print in our high school literature text books. But as I grew up, I came to view this collected works as an example of risus paschalis, or holy laughter.

Did you know that preachers in the medieval church had to include an amusing story in their Easter sermons to get the congregation to laugh. It was a response to leaving the solemnity of Lent and entering into the joy of God overcoming the world in the Resurrection.

Laughter is often a tonic for the soul, and unfortunately in the midst of crisis laughter is the first thing that gets thrown out the window. The leaders of the Anglican Communion might do well to learn again how to laugh with one another. For there seems to be a lot of overly serious ranting and not enough laughter to keep us all honest.

So in honor of Chaucer and his gift of laughter in the form of the "Canterbury Tales," I'll end this entry with a joke instead of a prayer....

During a recent audience, a businessman approached the Archbishop of Canterbury and made this offer: 'If he changed the last line of the Lord's Prayer from "Give us this day our daily bread" to "Give us this day our daily hamburger" McDonald's would give the church $1 million every time His Grace prayed it in public.' Of course the Archbishop declined, claiming he could not change the sacred text.

The next week, the businessman offered him $50 million for every time he prayer it in public. The Archbishop said he would have to consult with his council, and the following day met with the other Primates of the Church.

The Archbishop began the meeting by saying, "Boys, I've got good news and bad news. The good news is the church will never have to worry about money again. The bad news is we have to figure out some way of getting out of our contract with Wonderbread!"

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Shaking the dust off

In my prayer group today, God gave us each the desire to pray for revival in the Church. And in doing so, Ezekiel came to mind. God gave Ezekiel the command to preach and prophecy to the dry bones that life might be restored to them. And I thought if God can give life to dry bones, how much more can He work through the lives of you and me!

In the end, all it takes is for the Spirit of God to shake off a little of the dust that gathers and give us wisdom and strength for the journey ahead. The key is to remember we don't do the work of revival, that is the job of the Holy Spirit. We are simply His vessels. And sometimes all we need is God to clean us up a little.

All this brought to mind a song from my youth, There Shall be Showers of Blessing. In it, God is bringing the abundance, and it is just our job to receive it...

There shall be showers of blessings,
this is a promise of love;
There shall be seasons refreshing,
sent from the Savior above.

It's my prayer that we might all open our hearts to this shower of abundance that God wishes to pour out in our lives and in the life of the Church.

Monday, October 17, 2005

The announcement has been made

These have been interesting days in the life of the Queen-Thompson household. After much prayer and searching and after an extended period of consideration, I have accepted the call as the next rector of the Episcopal church in my hometown. It seems that this country boy is going back to the country!

It has been a surprise for many, including myself. When I left 15 years ago to attend college, I never assumed I'd return. But times change, and God has given me and my family an opportunity that we could not turn away.

I feel blessed and fortunate to be able to minister among my own people. And in many ways, I've been preparing for this my whole life.

The announcement has been made, and the transitions have begun. I will begin my tenure as rector of All Saints, Portsmouth, after the first of the year. What God has in store I can only guess, but I know it will be exciting!