Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Reverend Laurie's Blog

"Your Real Name" - 12/29/17

I have a 19th century steamer trunk in my attic filled to capacity with mementos. There are the ring sized plastic hospital bracelets my infant children wore when they were born, 1940’s movie star stills that used to hang in my high school locker, a small braid of dark brown hair from when one of my best friends in college cut her long, beautiful mane, (which is now entirely gray) and broke my heart by transferring to another school. She knew how badly I wanted her to stay where she was, with me, and us to stay the same, so she sent me the braid with a letter from her trip across country. Did you ever hear that you have an entirely new skin every seven years? I just found out that’s a

Nothing Will Be The Same - 12/22/17

Early in my priesthood I got an urgent text from a couple who had recently joined the small church I pastored. Alarmed, I met them early at the coffee shop where our weekly Bible Study group gathered. When Josh and Mike joined we started reading Mark’s Gospel and after two months we were nearing the end. When Mike and Josh got to the coffee shop they looked a little like they’d been in a minor car accident; shaken and trying to get their bearings. I asked if they were okay and they didn’t say yes or no. Instead, Josh said “We don’t know what we’ve been doing.” Then Mike launched into the story of their ten years as a couple. They’d both grown up in traditional, middle class familie

Mary's Baby - 12/15/17

Mary had a baby (My Lord) Mary had a baby (Oh My Lord) Mary had a baby (My Lord) The people keep coming but the train has gone Yesterday I was listening to Odetta sing “Mary Had a Baby” and its stark beauty made me cry. The song is usually sung A cappella and it’s about thirty words long. At another time its repetitiveness would have bored me, but that was before I’d spent hours comforting my infant children while exhausted, humming and rocking before the sun rose. I also wouldn’t have noticed then that the melody is shaped like a rocking chair and that even though its category is “spiritual”, its utility is as a lullaby. There is no first-hand account of the song’s composer but

An Advent Reflection from Our Bishop: Mark Beckwith - 12/8/17

Growing up I was afraid of the dark. For me, the 19th century Scottish poem, “from ghosties and ghoulies and long-legged beasties, and things that go bump in the night, good Lord deliver us”, was not all that helpful, because the mere mention of ghosties and ghoulies gave credence to their existence. To ask the Good Lord to deliver them was not much consolation: I just wanted to make sure they weren’t there in the first place. So I would occasionally (no, regularly) check under my bed or in the closet for monsters, ogres or escaped serial killers before I dared to turn out the light. When I was old enough to babysit for my younger sisters, there were more than a few times I would wake up the

"Stay Awake." - 12/1/17

One of the iconic scenes in the groovie movie, Harold and Maud happens in a field of daisies. When Harold observes that all of the daisies are alike, Maud responds: Oh there not, see? Some are smaller, some are fatter, some grow to the left, some grow to the right, some even have lost some peddles. There are all kinds of observable differences…..I feel that much of the world’s sorrow comes from people who are this (Maud holds up one daisy) yet allow themselves to be treated as that. (she waves her hand across the field of thousands of daisies) Most any theology book will point to evidence of what God is like in the natural world. The three thousand, five hundred known species of just mo

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Grace Church Van Vorst  | 39 Erie Street  |  Jersey City, NJ 07302  |  Phone: 201-659-2211  |