The Hermit at Midsummer

He’s watched his body age. Its taut topography — Never a greedy eater, always active — Loosens as its man-shaped coastline, worn By battering years, surrenders to the gravity That pulls the tides. If life means to dissolve — Is this the rule? And is the rule commutative: If birth is death, to die is…

Tracts for the Times 2.0

The launch of the Oxford Movement is traditionally dated (following John Henry Newman’s reckoning) from John Keble’s Assize sermon on Bastille Day, July 14, 1833. But it wasn’t until the inauguration of The Tracts for the Times, also in 1833, that the Oxford Movement became a public movement for the renewal of the Church of…

Commandment Boards and Catechesis

Recently my friend John Wallace, an avid church-crawler, posted on Facebook a photograph he had taken of the old commandment boards from the original building (built 1752-3) of Trinity-on-the-Green, New Haven, CT. The commandment or decalogue boards originally hung behind the Communion table. Though not very familiar to most Anglicans today, they were a staple…

Common Authority in the Midst of Uncommon Prayer

The advent of the ACNA 2019 Book of Common Prayer raises an important question: what authority does it have in comparison with the other historic Books of Common Prayer? After all, the 1979 Episcopal Book of Common Prayer varies from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer not merely in liturgical form but also in doctrine…

Silent Retreat: Grand Coteau, Louisiana

You followed to a stone, And there the trail was lost. (Yvor Winters) With morning prayer fulfilled, I kneel beneath A dampened oak to brush away a wreath Of moss from lichened stone. Two names appear: Deceased from Mother’s side. Nervous, I peer Beyond the lilting rows of buckled tombs Toward the seminary’s waking rooms…

Calvinism and Eucharistic Sacrifice

Anyone who reads the early church fathers (Irenaeus, Tertullian, etc.), knows that they used the language of ‘sacrifice’ to describe the Eucharist. The Protestant Reformers also read the fathers, and read them more thoroughly than most of us today. As recent scholarship in Post-Reformation Reformed theology has shown, for all the confessional agreement among the…

Against Modernity: Liturgy as Quiet Resistance

From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, things follow patterns. This is as inescapable as it is undeniable. Night follows day, the moon waxes and wanes, the tide ebbs and flows, man rises up and lies down again. This is life under the sun. But that which seems monotonous…

Ordinations

priest, poet Younger than I by nearly forty years, He stands for examination, then kneels, The bishop laying hands upon the head Of one who prays for strength to rise again, Holding on tight to a Bible, the gift A bishop gives to all whom God has called To preach the Word and offer bread…

Altar Call

I began my sacramental education in a rural Baptist church. There, every service ended with an altar call. Music plays as the pastor waits expectantly to receive anyone who is ready to make a decision to follow Christ. The decision, once made, indicates salvation. The rite is so important, that no Baptist pastor would dare…

Taste and See

A tumble of dancing memories, Bits of yesterday on parade, Inscribe their indelible signatures Upon the pink pavement. Those early childhood mornings; That first hunt; Daddy holding the hook, And I the worm; sore fingers Shelling peas picked, plucked Fresh from Grandmother’s garden. Chewing and eating is time well-tasted; Every morsel a moment, bittersweet. Each…

(c) 2019 North American Anglican