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Monday, November 03, 2008

Meet and Greet

We have one new member to Greet this week:

Sophia She has this to say about her blog and herself: Theologian, spiritual director, preacher; wife and mother of four children (two here, two in heaven); ENFJ, Enneagram 2, and AKV. Welcome Sophia!

And, continuing the spirit of All Saints' let's share something about our favorite Saint. In the Episcopal Church we have a black book, called Lesser Feasts and Fasts, updated every three years following General Convention, with the Saints whose lives we celebrate. Many Episcopal churches choose to celebrate the life of a saint during their week day service. For example, in the Episcopal Church today is the Feast for Richard Hooker, THE theologian who established what it means to be Anglican.

Now I will spare you all the details of my google search for Richard Hooker from a few years back...but suffice it to say that I was glad I was on my home computer and the not the church's.

Richard Hooker was born in 1553 in Heavitree, near Exeter. In 1567 he was admitted to Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he became a Fellow in 1577. He was ordained an priest in the Church of England and married in the year 1581, while living in Buckinghamshire. Later he served parishes in Boscombe, Salibury, and Bishopsbourne near Canterbury.

During the controversey with a noted Puritan led Hooker to write a comprehensive defense of the Reformation settlement under Queen Elizabeth I. This work, called the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, is grounded in Aristotelian thought with a strong emphasis on the idea that God is active and alive in all creation. Hooker is credited with designing what Anglicans call the "Three Legged Stool" - using Reason, Scripture, and Tradition, to understand life, God, faith, scripture itself. Book Five of the Laws defends the Book of Common Prayer (the foundation of Anglican worship, prayer, and belief) against the Puritan's. Richard Hooker died in 1600.

Another favorite Saint is


whose feast day is celebrated on February 1 in TEC. Brigid is an Irish saint born in Fauchart sometime in the middle of the fifth century. She is said to have been raised in a Druid household, the daughter of poet to King Loeghaire. Brigid founded a nunnery in Kildare, in 470. The surrounding country side was deeply pagan and worshiped a pagan goddess of sacred fire. Brigid successfully blended the pagan culture into her Christianity. She cared for needy and poor and is known for being a healer. Some say she was consecreated a Bishop. There are some fabulous folk stories about Brigid and her profound, inclusive ministry.

One more favorite is


Herbert, whose feast day is February 27. Born in 1593 Herbert was a member of an ancient family and the cousin of the Early of Pembroke. Herbert was was a priest in the Church of England, dying in 1633. He is famous for his poetry and prose, many of which have been set to music and sung as hymns in church. Here is the text for my favorite:


LOVE bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lack'd anything.

'A guest,' I answer'd, 'worthy to be here:'
Love said, 'You shall be he.'
'I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
I cannot look on Thee.'
Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
'Who made the eyes but I?'

'Truth, Lord; but I have marr'd them: let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.'
'And know you not,' says Love, 'Who bore the blame?'
'My dear, then I will serve.'
'You must sit down,' says Love, 'and taste my meat.'
So I did sit and eat.

George Herbert

In the sermon today the guest preacher spoke about his great grandmother, who was affectionately described by one decendant as her "sainted grandmother." This despite the fact that she used to cheat at poker in order to win back grocery money her husband had lost to his friends in their weekly poker game.

Do you celebrate the lives of saints in your worship? Who are the saints in your life? Are they formally recognized saints or do you think about the lives of parishioners, family, and friends as saints?


  1. Welcome, Sophia! and thanks, MomPriest, especially for the George Herbert. Mmmm.

    I wrote yesterday about a dear saint who left us for the heavenly banquet last year.
    You can read it here.

  2. Love the George Herbert poem mompriest, and also St Brigid, I wear a Brigid;s cross and have a real empathy with her love for the pagan community.

  3. Welcome, Sophia!
    I'm from a tradition where we celebrate the cloud of witnesses, and we made a little fuss yesterday over some "everyday saints" of our church.
    I did attend an Episcopal day school as a young girl, so I guess my favorite saint needs to be St. Agnes, who bravely refused to marry some creepy Roman boy. Although in seminary I became quite taken with Perpetua.

  4. Macrina is one of my favorites (July 19th is her day). At a time when women were thought to have little or no influence, she persuaded her mother to turn the family property into a monastery for men and women and convinced all three of her brothers to be priests. All were elevated to bishop and two are also remembered on our calendar: Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa. Not bad for a woman who died in 379!

  5. did you know that that particular poem by George Herbert was the "means of conversion" for Simone Weil? And did you know that the novelist Vikram Seth now lives in Herbert's old rectory? According to Mr. Seth, George is still around the premises too.

  6. Both Agnes and Macrina are favorites of mine too....and Perpetua....but wow her story is so tragic...we had to read her diary in a seminary early church history class...

  7. I love Brigid - especially the part of the prayer attribute to her "I'd like to give a lake of beer to God...and every drop would be a prayer".
    Would love to go for a night out with Brigid in the party!

    Also Teresa of Avila - and the story that once, travelling with a younger nun, Teresa's companion was a bit shocked at the sight of teresa tearing into a roast partridge with great relish.
    "Aren't we meant to be devoted to a life of prayer?" asked the younger nun, obviously associating enjoyment of partridge with some sort of sin of the flesh. Teresa paused to wipe her lips and said "at prayer time, prayer; at partridge time, partridge!".

    Beer, partridge - maybe it's lunchtime!


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