Monday, November 30, 2009

Feast of St. Andrew, Προτοκλετος

Almighty God, who gave such grace to your apostle Andrew that he readily obeyed the call of your Son Jesus Christ, and brought his brother with him: Give us, who are called by your holy Word, grace to follow him without delay, and to bring those near to us into his gracious presence; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

As is usually the case with first century saints and especially with the Apostles, we don’t know much about Andrew. There are twelve passages in the New Testament which mention Andrew’s name. The passages from the synoptic gospels are two about Jesus calling Andrew and his brother Simon Peter, three which are what we may call the List of the Twelve, one which mentions Jesus entering Andrew and Peter’s home (to heal Peter’s mother-in-law so that she could make lunch), and one passage in which Andrew is with a few members of the Twelve who ask Jesus about the eschaton. But the Gospel of John contains four references to Andrew, and he plays a different role than that in the synoptics. He is the first person Jesus called to follow him; there is a reference to the city of Bethsaida being the city of Andrew and Peter; Andrew brings the little boy with the loaves and fishes to Jesus at that famous lunch, and Andrew also serves as an intermediary between Jesus and some Greeks who asked Philip to let them see Jesus to ask him some questions. The final biblical reference to Andrew is in the Acts of the Apostles where he is listed as one of those in the Upper Room. Eusebius’ only refers to Andrew as being assigned the area of Scythia for his missionary work. I read the Acts of Andrew, which is a book which was denounced by the Church Fathers (and by Eusebius), but tells some wild stories about Andrew. I’ve used some stories from the Acts of Andrew for this post, especially the description of Andrew’s martyrdom.

As I stated in the paragraph above, the Gospel of John claims that Andrew was at first a disciple of John the Baptizer. When John the Baptizer pointed out Jesus as the Christ, Andrew and another of John’s followers both became His disciples. Andrew took his brother, Simon, later to be called Peter, to meet Jesus. He is called the Protokletos (the First Called) in the Orthodox Church because he was the first Apostle to be summoned by Jesus into His service. In the accounts in the synoptic gospels, Andrew and his brother Peter made their living as fishermen on the Sea of Galilee and both dropped their nets and followed Jesus when he called them. Both men became Apostles, and while Peter, who was martyred in Rome, symbolically came to represent the Church of the West, Andrew, whose relics were transferred to Constantinople, likewise came to represent the Church of the East.

According to the traditions of the Church of the East, Andrew began his missionary activity in the Provinces of Bithynia and Pontus on the southern shores of the Black Sea. He then to the city of Byzantium and founded a church there, ordaining the first Bishop of Byzantium, Stachys, who was one of the 70 disciples Jesus sent out to heal the sick and proclaim the Good News. The Apostles began their missionary work after Pentecost. Andrew went to several cities and countries to teach, including Byzantium, Thrace, Russia, Epiros, and Peloponnese. In Amisos, he converted the Jews in the temple, baptized them, healed their sick, built a church, and left a priest for them (I don’t know if he was a priest who had been traveling with Andrew or a local person. Historically, there weren’t any priests in the Church yet). In Bithynia, he taught, healed their sick, and drove away the wild beasts that bothered the people. His prayers destroyed the pagan temples, and those who resisted his words became possessed and gnawed at their bodies until Andrew healed them. Many of the stories about Andrew seem to deal with demon possession.
According to the Acts of Andrew, he visited the City of Patras during one of his several missionary journeys to Greece. Through his preaching and the miracles of healing he performed in the name of Jesus, many persons were converted to Christianity. Among those healed was Maximilla, the wife of the Roman Proconsul, Aegeates. Seeing this miracle of healing, Stratoklis, the highly intellectual brother of the Proconsul, also became a Christian, and Andrew consecrated and enthroned him as the first Bishop of Patras. As a prophet, he foretold of the greatness of Kiev as a city and a stronghold of Christianity. In Sinope, he prayed for the imprisoned Apostle Matthias, and his chains fell from him and the cell door opened. This angered the people and they beat Andrew, breaking his teeth, cutting his fingers, and left him for dead in a dung heap. While Andrew was lying in the dung heap Jesus appeared to him and healed him, telling him to be of good cheer. When the people saw him up and around with all his teeth and fingers the next day, they were amazed and they converted. Another time, he raised a woman's only son from the dead. All this activity made the people of Patras and Sinope and Kiev love him, but it did not endear him to those in power, of course. According to the Acts of Andrew, the conversions to the Christian Faith by members of his own family infuriated the Proconsul Aegeates, and he decided, with the urging of his pagan advisors, to crucify Andrew. The crucifixion was carried out on an X-shaped cross with the body of the Apostle upside down so that he saw neither the earth nor his executioners, but only the sky, which he “glorified as the heaven in which he would meet his Lord.” Aegeates had him tied to the cross in this manner so that he would live longer and suffer more. According to the account in the Acts of Andrew, the Apostle went to the cross “and spake unto it as unto a living creature, with a loud voice (and in Elizabethan english!):” Hail, O cross, yea be glad indeed! Well know I that thou shalt henceforth be at rest, thou that hast for a long time been wearied, being set up and awaiting me. I come unto thee whom I know to belong to me. I come unto thee that hast yearned after me. I know thy mystery, for the which thou art set up: for thou art planted in the world to establish the things that are unstable: and the one part of thee stretcheth up toward heaven that thou mayest signify the heavenly word: and another part of thee is spread out to the right hand and the left that it may put to flight the envious and adverse power of the evil one, and gather into one the things that are scattered abroad: And another part of thee is planted in the earth, and securely set in the depth, that thou mayest join the things that are in the earth and that are under the earth unto the heavenly things. O cross, device of the salvation of the Most High! O cross, trophy of the victory of Christ over the enemies! O cross, planted upon the earth and having thy fruit in the heavens! O name of the cross, filled with all things. Well done, O cross, that hast bound down the circumference of the world! Well done, O shape of understanding that hast shaped the shapeless! Well done, O unseen chastisement that sorely chastisest the substance of the knowledge that hath many gods, and drivest out from among mankind him that devised it! Well done, thou that didst clothe thyself with the Lord, and didst bear the thief as a fruit, and didst call the apostle to repentance, and didst not refuse to accept us! But how long delay I, speaking thus, and embrace not the cross, that by the cross I may be made alive, and by the cross win the common death of all and depart out of life? Come hither ye ministers of joy unto me, ye servants of Aegeates: accomplish the desire of us both, and bind the lamb unto the wood of suffering, the man unto the maker, the soul unto the Saviour.

Twenty thousand of the faithful stood by and mourned. Even then, Andrew taught them and exhorted them to endure temporary sufferings for the kingdom of heaven. Out of fear of the people, Aegeates came to remove Andrew from the cross. Andrew, however, told Aegeates that there was still a chance for Aegeates to become a Christian, but that he (Andrew) had already seen Jesus waiting for him and he would not allow himself to be removed from the cross. Many tried to undo the knots, but their hands all became numb. Suddenly, a heavenly light illumined Andrew for about a half hour. When it left, Andrew had given up his spirit. His body was tenderly removed from the cross by Bishop Stratoklis and Maximilla, and buried with all of the honor befitting the Apostle. Soon countless numbers of Christians made their way to Patras to pay reverence to the grave of Andrew, and when Aegeates realized that the man he had put to death was truly a holy man of God a demon fell upon him and tormented him so powerfully that he committed suicide (In many of these non-canonical books, the one who had someone martyred would commit suicide or explode or fall dead for no reason, as a way of avenging the death of the martyr).

The actual historical record tells us that in the month of March in the year 357 the Emperor Constantine (son of Constantine The Great) ordered that the body of Saint Andrew be removed from Patras and be reinterred in the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople. This was a church built by Constantine the Great, and he had wanted to have the relics or remains of all twelve apostles interred in this church along with his own body. This is because the Christians of that era believed that there was great spiritual power contained in the bones of the Apostles and other martyrs, and to have the relic of an apostle or martyr in the altar made the church a center of great spiritual power. St. Andrew’s bones were returned to the very city which had first heard the Good News from Andrew’s own lips, and with all the pomp and honor and liturgical magnificence of the Byzantine Empire, they were laid in the Great Church of Christ at Constantinople. There is a tradition that some of his relics were taken to Scotland. The skull of Andrew was kept in Patras until the year 1460 when Thomas Paleologos, the last ruler of the Morea, brought the skull to Rome. In 1967, under the orders of Pope Paul, the skull was returned to Patras. He is the Patron Saint of Fishermen and the Patron Saint of Russia, Scotland, and Romania. So, today let us remember and celebrate the ministry and example of Saint Andrew, who continues to call on all Christians to tell others just what he told his brother Simon Peter: “We have found the Messiah!”

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Is This. . .

. . .the White Culture Glenn Beck is always going on about? Be afraid! Be Very Afraid!!

Nicked from Tommy T at First Draft

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Time For A Cute Overload

Yesterday at the Rectory

Yesterday we had our Thanksgiving dinner with our extended family. We had plenty to eat and drink, lots of laughs and fun conversation AND three children in the house. Here are photos of the fun.

The table before the guests arrived

The table ready for our guests


The star of the table


Alejandra. She knows when she visits los abuelos she can surf the internet AND make noise on the electric keyboard.


Our daughter Yasury y Eva Victoria

Freya y Chompita y "Bunrab"


Wadda fun bunch!









Let's eat!




Desserts: pumpkin pie, punkin cek, cheese cake con fresas, y bun

Feast of Sts. Kamehameha and Emma

Today is Independence from Spain Day here in Panamá, but we don't want to forget these two wonderful people!


O Sovereign God, who raised up King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma to be rulers in Hawaii, and inspired and enabled them to be diligent in good works for the welfare of their people and the good of your Church: Receive our thanks for their witness to the Gospel; and grant that we, with them, may attain to the crown of glory that never fades away; through Jesus Christ our Savior and Redeemer, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

I'm not big on Royal Saints, but these two were different than most.

The government of the archipelago of Hawai'i was originally a group of small chiefdoms on the various islands. From the years 1795 to 1810 the chiefdoms were brought under a single authority by the warrior chief Kamehameha, with the help of British sailors John Young and Alexander Adams and their western weapons. A constitutional monarchy much like that of the United Kingdom was formed. Alexander Liholiho 'Iolani was the nephew of King Kamehameha III, and was adopted by him and named his heir. Alexander and his brother, Lot, were educated by Anglican missionaries at the Royal School in Honolulu. King Kamehameha III believed that the boys' education would benefit from extensive travel, so in 1849 they sailed for California with their guardian. After California, they came here to Panama, before moving on to Jamaica, New York, and Washington D.C. and then to England and Europe. In 1855, Alexander, as King Kamehameha IV assumed the throne with his Queen Consort, Emma. Emma was the granddaughter of John Young, the British sailor who helped establish the Kingdom of Hawai'i, and she was also the great grandniece of King Kamehameha I. Kamehameha IV was only twenty years old when he assumed the throne.

Past kings and queens of Hawai'i had ruled with pomp and power, but Kamehameha and Emma were different. The year before Alexander's coronation, Hawai'i had been hit with an epidemic of smallpox. King Kamehameha and Emma went about Hawai'i with notebooks taking down information and soliciting funds to build a hospital. Queen's Hospital, named for Emma, is the largest civilian hospital in the islands. In 1860, Kamehameha and Emma petitioned the Bishop of Oxford to send missionaries to establish the Anglican Church in Hawai'i. Bishop Thomas N. Staley and two priests arrived in Hawai'i on October 11, 1862, and a month later Kamehameha and Emma were confirmed. Kamehameha translated the Book of Common Prayer into Hawaiian and also translated quite a bit of the hymnal. The Royal Family's life was marred by the death of their only child, Albert, at the age of four. Kamehameha blamed himself for the child's death and was overcome with sadness. Kamehameha died only a year later, of chronic asthma, at the age of 29 years. Emma declined to rule and committed her life to good works. She worked for the poor and the sick, and built hospitals and schools throughout the kingdom. Kamehameha and Emma worked for their people and also established the Anglican faith in their country, and that is why we celebrate them as saints today.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Weekend Red Mr. Peanut Bank and Gallito Mescalito Blogging

Last week Red Mr. Peanut Bank promised to tell Padre Mickey's twisted, totally warped enlightened version of the Myth of the First Thanksgiving. As we would never want a toy bank to go back on Padre's its word, we now present Padre Mickey's Dance Party's Friday Red Mr. Peanut Bank and Gallito Mescalito Blogging Players in The First Thanksgiving

Narrator Once upon a time, several centuries ago, there was a group living in England, who, having been driven insane by the more fringe elements of the Protestant Reformation, decided that everyone in England must believe as did they, be as pure as were they, and be just as grumpy. They were known as Puritans The majority of Believers in England disagreed, and made life even more miserable for these folks, until they finally left England for the Netherlands, where, soon tiring of a diet of chocolate, edam, and tulips, they made their way to The New World to make life miserable for Padre Mickey's relatives. Europe's favorite population decimator, small pox, had already cleared the way for the Pilgrims (as they were now called) so that there was plenty of room! Landing in an area they named Plymouth, after the place from which they had been evicted, their leader gave thanks to God. . .

Red Mr. Peanut Bank Now thank we all our God, with hearts and hands and voices, that we have arrived safely in this heathen, yet almost empty land, where we are free to worship God in our own manner, and may make sure that everyone else worships God in our own manner, too!
Other Pilgrims Amen!


Narrator The Pilgrims soon met the indigenous inhabitants of the land. . .

Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy Hey dere, peoples wut don' look nuffin' like us! Watcha up to?
Red Mr. Peanut Bank We are the Pilgrims, and we have come to this nearly empty land to live in peace and worship our God in our own manner. We are trying to plant our crops. And what is your name, almost naked guy? And why are you wearing that feather?
Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy My name is Tisquantum, but you kin' call me Squanto. An' I weahs a feddah cuz it looks much coolah dan dat ting on toppa yer head! Uhm, ya know, dem seeds won't grow in dis climate.



Miss Egyptian Hippo of Love And how did you learn our tongue? Hast the Holy Spirit descended upon you to give you this gift? I doubt it, you being such a heathen savage!
Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy No, no Espíritu Santo. Sum sumbich white guy captured me and my friends Manida, Skidwarres, Nahanada and Assacumet a while back n' dragged us kickin' an screamin' in a big nasty boat to your pitiful island and taught us yer funny langige. But, like I sed, dem seeds won't grow in dis climate. . .
Miss Egyptian Hippo of Love Sir, these are the seeds our God commanded us to bring and plant!
Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy Well, dat's too bad 'cuz dey ain't gunna woik heah. Hey! Massasoit! Go grab some maize and some fish. Let's show dese rubes howta do it, or dey gonna starve and be botherin' us all wintah for food!


Narrator And so Squanto and Massasoit and their people taught the Pilgrims how to plant corn and squash and pole beans and which nuts were safe to eat. . .

Mighty Moose of Vermont See, you dig a little hole,put a dead fishy in it, place a kernel of maize on top of the dead fishy, then cover it all up; make a little hill. Then move over about eight inches and do it again.
¡El Penguino! 'sup with the dead fishy?
Mighty Moose of Vermont It fertilizes the maize so you get a nice, big, healthy plant. And it's not as nasty as that manure your people use!
¡El Penguino! Heh! You savage! Poop is great!
Mighty Moose of Vermont Yeah. Sure. So, why aren't you wearing a hat with a buckle on it?
¡El Penguino! I AM wearing one. It's just so tiny you can't see it with your heathen eyes.
Mighty Moose of Vermont Oh-kay. So, dig another hole, take a dead fishy. . .


Narrator Eventually, the song of Harvest Home was raised, all was safely gathered in, ere the winter storms began, and the Pilgrims decided to thank the Lord of the Harvest with a feast. . .

Fuzzy Southern Mountain Moose An weyul invaht Squanto an' hiyus friens', too, as theyah wuah SUCH a biyguh haylp!
Red Mr. Peanut Bank That's a great idea. What will be the main course? We don't have any cattle for roast beef, and they eat venison all the time.
Gallito Mescalito Shrie--cough, cough--er, gobble gobble!
Fuzzy Southern Mountain Moose Hmm, thayut maht be reyul good!
Red Mr. Peanut Bank Er, how about pumpkin soup in the pumpkin? That could be Very Elegant!




¡El Toro! Yoohoo! Mr. Pavo!
Crocagator Heh Heh Heh Thanksgiving dinner.
Gallito Mescalito Gobble gobb--¡¡¡SSSSHHHHHRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEKKKKKK!!!




Red Mr. Peanut Bank Well, we're gathered together to ask the Lord's blessing, you at your table and we at ours, as we really can't be mixing with the likes of you. You know, He, the Lord, hastens and chastens, His will to make known!
Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy Really! Well, ya know, we gots a little diff'rint teolugie an' understandin' of da Great Spirit! Ya see, WE believes dat. . .
Red Mr. Peanut Bank No one wants to hear your heathen ideas! We came here to worship God in OUR OWN MANNER, and we expect everyone else to worship God in our own manner, too! Now eat your pumpkin soup!


Narrator' And everyone gave thanks to God, with heart and hands and voices, and ate and had a wonderful time.

Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy Well, dat was great! burb See ya next yeah!
Red Mr. Peanut Bank Don't count on it!




Miss Egyptian Hippo of Love What hath the Lord in store next for the Pilgrims in His Divine Plan?
Red Mr. Peanut Bank Well, we survived our first year and survived dinner with the Heathen Savages. Now it's time to get to work! Time to start taking their land and pushing their sorry heathen bottoms West until they can go West no further!




Gallito Mescalito Gobble Gobble!, er, ¡¡Shrrriiieeekk!!

Ewww!

Friday Random Top Ten


Ya pushes "shuffle" and ya takes yer chances. . .

1. The World Is A Ghetto War
2. Birthday The Beatles
3. You And Me Neil Young
4. The Birds And The Bees Sam Cooke
5. Miles From Nowhere Cat Stevens
6. The Christian's Automobile The Dixie Hummingbirds
7. Crime In the Desert Brian Eno and John Cale
8. September Gurls Big Star
9. Ne M'a Pas Oublie' Anonymous 4
10. Omnibus XTC

This is the Padre's In The Kitchen list, as we're celebrating Thanksgiving today and I got a hella big bird in the oven. I'm cookin' all day while the Lovely Mona teaches flute over at Instituto Episcopal San Cristóbal. Our guests should start arriving by four or so, and then the fun will begin!

The list is very interesting, especially the "Christian's Automobile." And Birthday is appropriate as it is my cousin Linda's birthday! Happy Birthday, cuz (I doubt that she reads this blog, but what the hey). I believe this is the first time War has appeared on our list; with over 3500 songs on my iTunes I think the shuffle tends to pass over certain stuff. Mr. Sam Cooke makes his first appearance, too, while Yusef Islam is here again; I think he's competing with XTC, Tom Waits, Neil Young, and the Ramones as regulars around here! Using the home computer, which has some different music than the church office computer, makes for a slightly different list. I didn't walk to church today, so nothing from the iPod shuffle.
Now that I think about it, everbuddy needsta hear Christian's Automobile, so here ya go:


So, waddaya listenin' to? Tell me all about it in the comments.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, it's Thanksgiving Day again, the only estadoünidense holiday the Lovely Mona and I still celebrate. We'll be having our extended family over for turkey and all the trimmins' (as the kids say) on Friday, as today is not a holiday in Panamá and everybody is working. Tomorrow, however, is an official day off in honor of Día de Independencia de España, which actually takes place on Saturday. So it all works out! Another member of the family will be missing from the table this year, and that's tough for us all. I give thanks for the friendship of both Janet and Elizabeth and really miss them both.

I'm thankful for so much, especially for the Dance Party community and your generosity in helping fund our sabbatical this year and for helping us purchase this computer. I'm thankful for all your thoughtful and clever comments and for meeting the East Coast Contingent earlier this year. I'm thankful that we got to meet so many blogger friends, and it's always good to see Matty Boy. I'm even thankful for FaceBook onnacounna I've found many old friends from the old days. I'm thankful that we were able to spend time with Miss Bebé and her parents, and her auntie and cousins in Boston. I'm thankful that we were able to spend time with our parents and siblings and their families and our cousins and nephews and nieces and for the fact that they all live some 3287 miles away, more or less.

And now, the traditional and offical Dance Party Favorite Thanksgiving Day Message:

"You have taken the land which is rightfully ours. Years from now, my people will be forced to live in mobile homes on reservations. Your people will wear cardigans and drink highballs. We will sell our bracelets by the roadsides. You will play golf and enjoy hot hors d'oeuvres. My people will have pain and degradation. Your people will have stick shifts. The gods of my tribe have spoken. They have said, "Do not trust the pilgrims, especially Sarah Miller. And for all these reasons, I have decided to scalp you and burn your village to the ground."
Wednesday Addams in Addams' Family Values

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Padre Mickey's Feminist Theatre Presents. . .


Big freakin' hat tip to Dr. Zaius of Zaius Nation

Ayer en Parroquia San Cristóbal

Yesterday was our Harvest Thanksgiving service at Parroquia San Cristóbal. We usually have two services on Sunday: and English-language service at 7:30 am and una Misa en español a las 10:30 am, but we had a single bilingual service yesterday at 10:30 am. It was nice to sleep in a bit on a Sunday! The Altar Guild had decorated the church with vegetables and fruit and everything looked wonderful.






Our Coro de los Jovenes sang the offertory anthem.




The children of the parish brought up more baskets of fruit and vegetables at the Offertory. It was difficult to cense the altar as there was so much around the altar. All the fruit and vegetables are given to the poor.






I'm not yelling; we're singing the Doxology!



Our newest choir, the Young Men's Choir (which is really more of a quartet, but new members may be added soon), sang a special song after communion.



Then we all went across the street to the patio at Instituto Episcopal San Cristóbal for our parish family thanksgiving luncheon. We had six turkeys, lots of rice and peas and salad and vegetables AND pumpkin pie for dessert. A grand time was had by all!












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