Friday, August 24, 2007

Jump and Run

A few weeks ago Carrie and I decided to take our dogs to the dog run at White Oak Park. If you have never been, you should go and see it sometime. They have taken a very large field and enclosed it with a 5 ½ ft chain link fence. You can let your dogs off-leash and they can run around as much as they want. We had been there many times before, but this time was different.

We noticed Lulu running alongside the fence and jumping, as if to gage how high the fence was. A minute later, I had turned my back and she had jumped clear over that fence. The people all around us were shocked, they had never seen a dog jump that high before (you can see why they are called “springers”).

I grabbed the leash from Carrie, hopped the fence myself, and began to chase after her. I finally picked her up about 300 yards away. Thankfully she had gone to meet another dog, and that dog's master grabbed Lulu's collar until I could catch up.

So why did she jump and run? Because it is in her nature to do so. It very much reminds me of us as God's children and our tendency towards sin (otherwise known as original sin). No matter how much we try, we still find ourselves sinning and running away from God. It is a constant struggle for each one of us. And just as we think we have sin put away forever, the Holy Spirit convicts us again and shows us more ways that we are falling short.

The grace of the matter, however, is that we have a father who will always chase after us, and will always bring us back to the fold. Just like I jumped that fence and ran after Lulu.

It brings to mind the third verse of a hymn by Henry Francis Lyte. “Father-like he tends and spares us; well our feeble frame he knows; in his hand he gently bears us, rescues us from all our foes. Alleluia, Alleluia, widely yet his mercy flows.”

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Our New House (Almost)

Carrie and I are now about two weeks from closing on a house. It is really a pretty amazing story. We had been looking at some other houses, and we even got ourselves into a contract on one before noticing that it was a mess of a house (Thank God for Richard Malin, the best house inspector in the world!). After all of that, Carrie and I decided it was time to take a break for awhile.

That break lasted all of about two weeks. Our friend and real estate agent called us up on a Monday morning and said, "I know you aren't looking for a house anymore, but you've gotta see this!" We reluctantly agreed to see it the next Saturday. From that point on we were in love. Check our these pictures and you will see why.

Our New House

The house has passed the inspection to our satisfaction, and we are just working through a few plumbing issues with the company that owns it (it was a foreclosure). But assuming everything goes well, we will close on the 27th.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


The Following is taken from an article I wrote for the St. Martin's newsletter. Many found it helpful, so I though more people might find it useful if I posted it on this blog. Enjoy.

Dear People of God,

A few months ago the topic of confession found its way into our discussion in adult education. As we talked together, I realized that very few episcopal priests ever teach on the sacrament of confession. Because of this, many of you may never have confessed your sins to a priest, and you might even be scared to do so. Let me ease your fears.

The classic Anglican teaching on confession is that “All may, none must, and some should.” Sacramental confession is not a requirement in our church as it is in the Roman Catholic Church, but that doesn't mean that it isn't worth doing. You might be saying, “I don't need to confess my sins to a priest, I can confess them directly to God.” If that is you, you are right, you don't need to confess your sins to a priest, and you can confess them directly to God. Be careful, though, because you may be missing out on two important things.

The first is that confessing to a priest requires that you take time to meditate on your sinfulness. For most of my life, I didn't like the idea of confessing to a priest, so I didn't. What I have realized though is that in all of that time, I rarely took time to examine myself and to ask for forgiveness for all of the ways that I had sinned. Thus, I wasn't keeping short accounts with God, and I really lacked in accountability.

The second important thing about the sacrament of confession is that it is a wonderful tool to use against Satan. Have you ever had a sin that you didn't really feel forgiven for? Even if you know in your head that God can forgive anything, you still might have a nagging suspicion that you haven't really been forgiven for that one thing. Satan knows this and he loves to use it against us. When you confess in the presence of a priest, however, you receive a definite assurance of forgiveness. You have conquered your shame by naming your sins to the priest. The priest says, “I absolve you,” and it is done.

That absolution is so final, that the priest can never bring it up ever again. Most of us know that a priest cannot tell the things they hear in a confessional to anyone else, but do you know that the priest cannot even mention your past sins to you? If you want to talk about a sin in your past that has been forgiven, you yourself must bring it up. Once it has been forgiven, it drops away. In fact, God frequently removes even the memory of that confession from the mind of the priest. As far as the east is from the west, that is how far your sins are removed from you.

If you have never before made a confession (or have not done so for a long time), this Lent might be a great time to begin the practice. I would encourage you to set up an appointment with me so that I can help you through the process of your first confession, and this way we can allow as much time as you need to feel comfortable. After that, you can check the Lenten schedule for posted times of confession, or your can always set up an appointment with me if none of those times work for you.

May God give you the grace to keep a holy lent this year.

Fr. Chris+