25 Jan 2017

St Xenia’s Day

For the past few years, I’ve marked St Xenia’s Day by writing about a topic that has become dear to my heart: miscarriage. Although my family has been through the pain of miscarriage several times, the first stillbirth I was close to in physical proximity was named Xenia, the daughter of close friends. Of our named lost infants, the first, Kaylee Dawn, was born before we knew anything about saints and their celebrations; and the

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
11 Jan 2017

Water and Fire

There’s water in everything and everything is in water— except fire. Fire changes water completely: too much fire makes steam, which returns back to water as it cools; and too little fire makes ice, which melts. We are all steam engines: mostly water, with a fire in our bellies making us do more or less based on temperature and control. We can be hard to keep stoked up and fed with enough coal. Jesus didn’t

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
14 Dec 2016

Dark and Still

There was a universe wrapped in dark In silence and waiting for the “Hark!” Planets moons and stars inside it spun All processing around a rising sun Within this whirling assembly Was a whole world made for you and me And dark and still, and still and dark Waiting for “Let it be” and “Hark!” There was a world wrapped in dark In silence and waiting for the “Hark!” The nations had sent their wisest

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
09 Dec 2016

Adventus

Time dawned and chaos was made order, man came alive within a garden’s border, within the garden’s border man died when he disobeyed God and bowed to pride. Darkness and chaos twined the world ’round, but with the curse a promise was found, up would grow a tender young shoot; A King would rise from Jesse’s root. A King would rise like light in the dark, One unbranded by sin’s cruel mark, to free his

Johanna Byrkett 1
30 Nov 2016

A Holy Hallelujah – A Tribute to Leonard Cohen

2016 seems destined to be remembered for some time as the year we lost the most icons. Obviously, I mean that in the popular entertainment sense, rather than the religious sense. Growing up Fundamentalist Baptist, I was not introduced to pretty much any of these folks until well into my adulthood at best, and so I’ve been getting acquainted with them posthumously, in turn as they each pass. The latest loss, Leonard Cohen, has been

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
16 Nov 2016

Crucifixion Night 2016

I had to get up out of the muck and mud slinging – you can’t sling mud without getting your own hands dirty – so I climbed up the only thing high enough to be looking down on the world, a cross. I had some help up; some friends who knew I needed crucifying nailed me. From up here I can see a lot of other crosses, people put there against their wills, the people

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 10
14 Nov 2016

Anointing of the Sick – A Reflection

Anointing of the Sick Song of Songs 5:2-8   What voice called when I lay silent on my bed?   Was it the voice of my Beloved, soft as the thief who enters when the light has fled; come to break my lesser loves from where they lay in jars and by a sacred power change the spilling oil– the slow oil of suffering into the shining oil of gladness poured on my hands, dripping

Daniel Hyland 2
11 Nov 2016

Swallowing Light

i am alive. i am awake. i am aware of what [life] tastes like.1 It tastes like meteors. Like sunshine spilling warmth over me as I lie on a mound of wood chips. Like black currant tea and dark chocolate. Like thought-full and heart-felt conversations. Like fear from a film—and fear of the unknown. Like crisp autumn air, scented by leaves crunched. Like solitude under the moon. Like sorrow piercing my heart. And it tastes

Johanna Byrkett 0
02 Nov 2016

A Psalm for Tearless Eyes

Why art thou not cast down, o my soul, Why art thine eyes not flowing as rivers after the winter thaw, washing away thine every stain and uncleanness? Thou liest with unplucked eyes and uncircumcised arms and unquenched passions for the unquenchable fire. If a thou burnest a candle from both ends thou art in timeless darkness. Why, o my soul, dost thou not sleep in peace, since thou eatest the bread of idleness? Instead,

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
19 Oct 2016

We Don’t Belong in the Woods

This poem was mostly written on the Appalachian Trail between Max Patch and Hot Springs, NC, where I was walking for two days with my son Andy last week. You can see our hike in photos here: Ken & Andy Hike the AT I suppose my attitude may morph with remembrance rather than endurance, but I think my final conclusion still holds true.   God put nature out where we Can ignore it except on

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 3
21 Sep 2016

Walking on Waves

I am always walking on waves – the formless void of earth Whose walls are made of the wind And whose roof is the cloud Like Peter I sink in the storm Thinking it is the storm outside And not the Charybdis within Although I am looking only inside I reach up before I look up Hands have more faith than eyes What comes into an eye twists And colors everything wrong You see with

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
24 Aug 2016

#OneLifeMatters

Lest I be misunderstood: ____ Lives Matter because this one does.   One life matters, there is no other Passed down to you from Son to mother A life that only begins with death A spirit bequeathed with latest breath A breath that whispered a single Word That by the hosts of Heaven was heard And even the depths of Hell were stirred As living corpses were given breath Having died with that one in

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
10 Aug 2016

Hey Jude

~Apologies to Paul McCartney   Hey Jude, don’t leave her burning Save a lost soul out of the fire Remember, hate the garment spotted with sin Then you’ll begin to make it better Hey Jude, build up your faith You were made to go out and get her In God’s love and in the Spirit pray Then you can say it can be better And any time you feel hope’s gone, hey Jude, keep on

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
27 Jul 2016

St Matthew

Matthew was only working the system Didn’t make him right or wrong, just smart You know you would have done the same If you had been the one playing his part You’ve got to play by the rules If you want change the game Then the rulemaker came And nothing was the same   Why would the rabbi sit and eat with you? Doesn’t he know you are not a good Jew? Consorting with sinners

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
13 Jul 2016

Two Theives

Everything is contained in the crux Alpha and omega, beginning and end Foundation and destruction Shame and glorification Sin and redemption Wrath and love As infinity figure-eights around We get two sides to the story Right and left, down and up Scorn and supplication Sheep and goats Heaven and hell Let’s steal a look at the two thieves Also lifted up on the cross drawing us One on the left hand, on on the right

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
29 Jun 2016

Ascension

This could be the sky Jesus flew up through And this could be the ground with the city around Where he left his disciples to wait for him too Because we still stand looking where he went Even though the angel is here we don’t seem to hear That he went away so we could stay and be sent Perhaps we are those same five hundred fed Who want to be given things and make

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
20 Jun 2016

Charred Pillars

Have  not the poets said “The woods are God’s temple”? But throughout time man hath said, “The waters and woods are gods!” So they whisper in the wilderness, they shout from the mountain’s brow, raise arms in homage to the forest crown, and kneel to honour the ‘sacred’ ground Yet their precious Nature holds a scourge whipping fire-cords upon the earth; pillars of pine blaze a burnished bronze, the wood-god’s spirit spirals away in smoke

Johanna Byrkett 0
15 Jun 2016

Dressing the Dead

This weekend, we buried a beloved member of our parish, retired priest Father Gregory Heers. As a member of our burial society, I had the privilege of participating in his preparation. We wash and anoint the body, and dress the reposed, in this case in the vestments he wore in caring for us. It is humbling to be allowed to pay your respects to another member of the body in this way; and, like Lent,

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
06 Jun 2016

Named

O LORD, how weak I am, give me strength—Yours— to own You and to wear Your Name indelibly. Let me be Your own chosen bride, choosing to be covered by Your blood —Your name my identity.

Johanna Byrkett 1
01 Jun 2016

Coffee Hour

An essential part of any Orthodox Sunday morning liturgy is the coffee hour. Whether it’s literally just coffee and baked goods, or a full meal, this is where the Church, renewed as Christ’s body through the Eucharist, practices self-care before going out to work in the world. Everything culminates in coffee hour Not that being on time isn’t important, But the Kingdom will be blessed before you’re there Just like the food will be blessed

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0