Monday, March 30, 2015
Palm Sunday at Smokey Matt’s
Before driving back home
from a blessed visit to Denton, Dallas (The King’s College Choir concert with
an old friend was blessed, but NOT the traffic.), and Pilot Point, I finally
got to visit Smokey Matt’s for their Palm Sunday Solemn High Mass.
I say “finally” because I
have not been able to visit in years.
Fr. Duncan was still the rector when I last visited. Long time readers know I affectionately
refer to this parish church as Smokey Matt’s because Fr. Duncan loved to use
incense generously. When I
informed the current rector, Fr. Christopher Cantrell, of this before the main
service, he remarked with some pride that he smokes things up more than ever.
The liturgy was of a high
standard, of course, including my first outdoor Palm Sunday procession. I know – shocking that I had not done a
Palm Sunday procession before, and it was past time for that to be remedied. It was pleasant weather for it, and I
heartily enjoyed singing All Glory, Laud,
and Honor as we processed around the front of the church holding our palm
During the Mass,
particularly as I received, I felt a sense of gratitude and also of sorrow and
of my own unworthiness as I reflected on the Passion. It is difficult to put
into words, and I cannot recall feeling quite that way during Holy Communion. As the sermon pointed out, Palm Sunday
liturgy is jarring by design, moving quickly from the Triumphal Entry to the
Passion of our Lord. And it did
jar me, as it should.
Afterwards, Fr. Cantrell
asked if the use of incense lived up to the moniker of Smokey Matt’s. I answered it did indeed. He was quite pleased. :)
Labels: Holy Week, Palm Sunday, Smokey Matt's
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
An excerpt from Pilot Point for Passion Week
many church traditions, including my traditional Anglican one, of course, this
week is Passion Week, which focuses on the Passion of Christ. It serves as good preparation for Holy
Week, which begins this Palm Sunday.
I think this a good time to post the following
excerpt from Pilot Point based on a
location on Interstate 20. For
years, the Kendrick Religious Diorama portrayed Bible events, including the
Passion. And they placed on a
mound just off the north side of I-20 in West Texas a freestanding portrayal of
Jesus carrying his cross to remind people of Christ’s Passion and to make
people aware of the diorama.
Here you may find some history concerning the
Kendrick Diorama. I’ve called a
number I found to see if perhaps it has reopened. But I received no answer. So I guess it is still closed. And, as it has been many years since I’ve driven that
stretch of I-20, I do not know if any remains of the little statue remain on the
Here is the passage in which the 13-year-old orphan
Clayton Hays first sees the statue of Jesus in the midst of a dust storm. Yes, this location is of significance
to the novel more than once. But I
shall not say more.
sand blew away from him. He focused on them, following them until they
disappeared. Then, he made out waves of dust and sand surrounding him. The
waves blew past and away from him. He gazed at them, wave after wave. Soon, the
sand blowing away from him looked to him like a tunnel of dust with
never-ending walls. The walls of dust led to a point of nothingness. The point
shifted around with the shifting wind. Laying his head against the seat, he
kept gazing out his window at the dust blowing away from him in a tunnel of
chaos. His mind drifted off with the dust. It seemed time and the world was
being blown away past him into an infinity of dust.
was almost drifting off to sleep when something caught his eye. He lifted his
head and saw something to the left of the road that he had noticed on drives
before. But seeing it through the dust made it strange and haunting. He turned
toward it. On the side of a rough, steep mound were large letters stuck into
the soil. Clayton could make out “KENDRICK RELIGIOUS DIORAMA.”
top of the hillock was a lone small statue of Jesus. The statue was draped in a
light blue tunic—light hues out of place in the brown darkness—and crowned with
a garland of thorns. His eyes were fixed downward on the dark way ahead of him.
He was walking weighed down, carrying a cross amidst a field of crosses.
and dust were whipping around him. And the cross was heavy. But, though
burdened and weary, he did not totter or waver.
boy had seen many paintings and statues of Jesus, but this one was different
somehow. This Jesus was so forlorn and windblown, and so alone, as he carried
his cross. Seeing the lonely shadow of Jesus bowed over through the dust, it
seemed he was carrying the whole weight of the dust storm as well.
dust thickened and obscured the lonely hillock, and Clayton could see it no
the boy had always thought the mound was overly religious. But now he was
strangely moved by it. He stared back into the dust toward the veiled hill.
turned back forward in his seat and let his mind wander.
is available in both print and Kindle on Amazon.
This Friday and Saturday, I will be doing book signings
for Pilot Point in Denton and in the
town of Pilot Point itself. The schedule
is as follows:
3-6pm Recycled Books (A great
used book and music store, by the way, where I’ve bought any number of books,
including from the Victorian era.)
Sweetwater Coffee House
Point Community Library
Labels: Pilot Point, Texas
Monday, March 23, 2015
A favorite hymn of mine is Ride on! Ride on in majesty!, particularly
by the tune of Winchester New. (On Jordan’s Bank, another favorite, is a
more well known hymn commonly sung to that tune.)
Since the subject of the
hymn is the Triumphal Entry, it is associated with Palm Sunday. But my parish sung it as the
recessional hymn this Passion Sunday morning yesterday, and it indeed does meditate
on the Passion of our Lord.
I’ve always found the
contrast in the following lyrics brilliant and moving.
In lowly pomp ride on to die.
Christ’s Triumphal Entry is majestic, yet at the
same time lowly, on a donkey even, and a ride to his death on the cross. And Henry Milman captured that so well
in so few yet clashing words.
I have to confess I could not quite finish the last
verse yesterday. The words of the hymn and my inability snuck
up on me and suddenly caught me unawares. Those
darn allergies made me tear up, don’tcha know.
Ride on, ride on in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die;
bow your meek head to mortal pain;
then take, O Christ, your power and
May you, too, find this Passion Week and the coming
Palm Sunday and Holy Week moving with a fresh vision of the majesty, humility,
love and Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Labels: Holy Week, hymns, life, Passion, worship
Friday, March 20, 2015
Seeing the Choir of King’s College Cambridge Again
In addition to doing book signings for my novel Pilot Point
next week in Denton and in the town of Pilot Point itself, I am looking forward
to seeing the Choir of King’s College Cambridge again in Dallas on the 26th. It is part of their U. S. Tour that I
believe begins tonight in New York.
This, of course, reminds me
of the very first time I saw this great choir just over ten years ago, also in
Dallas. It was a wonderful night. And my attachment to the
Choir has only grown through the years.
This will be the third time
I’ve attended a U. S. Tour by this choir.
It has been excellent the past two times and surely will be again. If you can get a ticket, I highly
Labels: King's College, Pilot Point
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Return to Pilot Point
I’ve long desired to return
to the town of Pilot Point with my novel Pilot
Point. That time is now
near! Also, I will get to return
to Denton as well to have a book signing in the very same building on the
Square where I lived for four years.
3-6pm Recycled Books (A great
used book and music store, by the way, where I’ve bought any number of books, including
from the Victorian era.)
10am-noon Sweetwater Coffee
Point Community Library
If you can make one of
these appearances, be there! If
you cannot, Pilot Point is available
in both Kindle and print at Amazon.
Also, do like Pilot Point on Facebook.
Labels: life, Pilot Point
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
What Every Leftist Should Be Told
Ace of Spaces regularly has
a comment of the day or two. And one
they picked for overnight probably should be Comment of the Month at least.
But first, a little
background. The People’s Republic
of Seattle recently passed a $15 an hour minimum wage in the face of warnings
that it would result in business closings, particularly restaurant closings,
and lost jobs.
Now, lo and behold, popular
restaurants are closing by the score amidst much handwringing. Gosh, who would have seen that coming?
But at least one good thing
is coming out of this debacle – an object lesson that feel-good “progressive”
solutions do not work. Of course,
some (most?) Leftists refuse to get it and remain as self-righteous as ever, e.g.:
This thread and discussion has been hijacked by
thoer [sic] who believe greed is a virtue. Those are the same sociopaths and
trolls that are uncapable [sic] of having a [sic] intelligent discussion about
community or society, the same unintelligent trolls who think socialism and
communism as the same thing, the same people who think Obama is a American
hating Muslim. You made my my [sic] point. See ya.
Which comment on a thread prompted
the following comment. And its
application applies far beyond Seattle.
This should be read to everyone who voted for Obama twice and has otherwise
acted to impose tyranny on those not as enlightened as they.
No you don’t get to get
away with that. You don’t get to advocate policies which allow you to use force
to deprive people of their jobs and their opportunities and then claim that
those who would have provided the jobs are the heartless ones.
You don’t get to trot
out the insipid, mindless, tendentious talking points about how you are morally
or intellectually superior when every “solution” you proffer is destructive and
is based upon forcing others to do your bidding. You don’t get to decide whose
job is worth preserving and whose isn’t and still claim the moral high ground.
You have to own this.
You have to accept responsibility for the suffering your ignorance has caused
and you have to understand that there is no way forward as long as you remain
ignorant. Until you can begin to think rationally instead of being so full of
hate that you think the best solution to every problem is to use force against
those you disagree with then you can’t be accepted into the company of decent
people and will always be seen as supporting those who would oppress us because
that is exactly what you are doing.
which I can only say, “Hear! Hear!”
Labels: Leftists, Seattle, tyranny
Thursday, March 12, 2015
Lois Lerner, Lisa Jackson, Hillary, Eric Holder . . . Sense a Pattern?
On the heels of Hillary
Clinton’s e-mail scandal comes word that Eric Holder used e-mail aliases to
conduct business, not unlike former EPA czar Lisa Jackson.
And, of course, the IRS and
Lois Lerner are still trying to cover up their attacks on the unapproved free
speech of real Americans even though the IRS story of Lerner’s magically disappearing
e-mails has been exposed as a big lie.
This is a regime that
conceals its misconduct and attacks on Americans by using secret e-mail
accounts and aliases to evade accountability and violate the Open Records Act. And then it “loses” or erases e-mails
for good measure ala Lois and Hillary.
One does not have to be
conspiratorial to see this. It has
become obvious by now.
This is a
criminal regime disguised as an administration.
Labels: Emailgate, Obama, Obamagate