The Ute Indians were mystified by hot water flowing out of the earth adjacent to the frigid waters of the Colorado River. Because they couldn’t explain it, they considered the springs sacred. Today, we know that these waters are heated by lava 30,000 feet beneath the earth’s surface. However, that doesn’t make them any less sacred. For people of faith, that knowledge is another sign of the Creator’s hand at work, prompting us to accept the gift of this water and offer thanks to the Giver.
While making the video, I had to keep my voice low out of respect for the others who were bathing in this spring. That, coupled with the sound of the water, makes it a little difficult to hear. If you will turn up your volume it will help. RDP+
My frequent walks on Galveston's seawall brought this e-piphany to mind.
This is a benchmark. At some point in time, surveyors arrived at a precise calculation of this location and its elevation above sea level. Then, they placed brass plate here so that it could be used by others a reference point in tidal observations and surveys. A surveying team places a transit directly over this benchmark and then uses other instruments to attain precise measurements. People have returned to this benchmark time and time again to orient themselves.
For Christians, the Holy Bible is a benchmark, a fixed reference point to which we turn to orient our lives and our actions. The Bible, like this one at Galveston’s Trinity Church or the one on your desk, is a revelation of God - God’s nature, and God’s purpose for creation. God gives us additional instruments which are necessary to apply the divinely inspired writings of the Bible to our lives: the instrument of reason and the instrument of tradition. Reason is necessary in order for us to find the truth of the scripture in relation to the world and the time in which we live so that it is ever relevant, as fresh as the morning newspaper. Tradition, the accumulated wisdom of surveyors of the faith through the centuries. It is necessary in order for us to see how others who have gone before us have applied the teachings of the Bible to their circumstances. We can learn so much from their experience and insights.
In this way, scripture serves as our benchmark for the proper orientation of our life and our faith, helping us find our way as we walk with God. Read the scriptures and use the God-given instruments of reason and tradition to orient the life God has given you. The Book of Proverbs promises, when you do, “Then, you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; prudence will watch over you; and understanding will guard you.” (Proverb s 2:9-11)
e-piphanies on the Anniversary of The Great Storm of 1900
We are here at the Seawall on Galveston Island on September 8, 2007, the 107th anniversary of the Great Storm of 1900, which devastated this island and killed over 6,000 of its inhabitants. Today, 107 years later, that storm remains the worst natural disaster in American history. There were epiphanies in the storm for the people of Galveston. In the aftermath of the storm, they discovered blessings they might never have recognized.
Engineers designed this Seawall, which rises 17 feet above the beach below, to protect the island from other storms by breaking the force of a tidal surge. It is an amazing example of pioneering engineering and construction. The level of the island was raised six feet in some places. People not only wanted the island to be habitable again, but they also wanted it to be beautiful, so they planted oleanders and other flowering plants. A new form of city government was developed to facilitate the rebuilding of the city. That form of government not only served this city well for over 50 years, it was copied by more than 300 other cities across the country. And the people! The people of Galveston discovered spiritual resources that made it possible to overcome differences, transcend barriers of race and class.
In the midst of devastation, God gave the people of Galveston the intellectual, physical, economic, and spiritual resources to rebuild their island home and their lives. That’s the way it works. If we look into the difficult times with eyes of faith, we discover God’s hand at work, helping, healing, and providing for us all we need to move forward into the future. “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Last week we removed the brass pulpit from Trinity and took it to Houston where it was refinished and sealed. On Friday we reinstalled it and I must say that results are lovely. The altar guild is pleased because they no longer have to polish it. We thank those members whose gifts made this improvement to our worship space possible.
e-piphanies from the Trinity Pulpit
This is the pulpit of Galveston’s Trinity Church. It is a memorial to the Right Reverend Alexander Gregg, who was elected the first bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas at a convention held in this very place in 1859. I am honored to be able to proclaim the good news from this pulpit, where so many faithful preachers have stood before me. The important thing is not the pulpit or the preacher. The important thing is what happens in a pulpit – sermons. A sermon is an event through which divine inspiration intersects human intelligence and emotion so that transformation occurs. Terry Holms compared preachers to Hermes, the mythi-cal messenger of the gods. He said that there are three important things to understand about Hermes in Greek mythology: first, he had to travel through chaos to deliver the message entrusted to him; second, he had to subvert perceptions; and third, the message did not belong to him, but to the hearers of the message. Any preacher will tell you that the process of preparing and delivering a sermon is often chaotic, that subverting perceptions, getting people to look at things in a different way, is usually necessary, and that the Holy Spirit at work in the lives of the hearers pro-duces results we preachers never dreamed of. This pulpit and millions of other pulpits around the world, is the scene of count-less epiphanies every week. People are helped, lives are trans-formed, Christ’s Church is built up. So, whenever you see a pulpit, thank God for the times a preacher has helped you through a sermon and offer a prayer for those who are called and ordained to preach.
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