Happy Pentecost Day!

I'll post more on the significance of May 30, 2004 in approximately 24 hours.



Tonight I'm finishing a sermon concerning the following two passages of scripture:

Deut. 6:1-9 (NRSV)

Now this is the commandment--the statutes and the ordinances--that the LORD your God charged me to teach you to observe in the land that you are about to cross into and occupy, so that you and your children and your children's children, may fear the LORD your God all the days of your life, and keep all his decrees and his commandments that I am commanding you, so that your days may be long. Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe them diligently, so that it may go well with you, and so that you may multiply greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, has promised you. Hear, O Israel: The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

John 13:31-35 (NRSV)

When he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, 'Where I am going, you cannot come.' I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

Your commentary, ideas, & reactions are very welcome!


The Queen's Birthday Party

I had a great time celebrating Queen Beatrix's birthday yesterday. It's amazing what happens in this country every April 30: The main streets of every village, town, and city are transformed into rows upon rows of endless flea markets! Days ahead of time, folks reserve their plot of sidewalk with chalk or tape, and on the morning of the 30th (or, in some cases, on the evening of the 29th), people begin peddling their wares. Bargaining is encouraged. Everyone is off work, with the rare exception of those working in restaurants or with public transportation. Almost everyone wears orange (the royal color), and almost everyone is outside.

The hottest spot to celebrate Koninginnedag is Amsterdam. They say that 3 million people converged on the city last year. (Less than a million live in Amsterdam, and only 16 million live in the whole of Holland!) Last year I went to Amsterdam, but this year I (mostly) stayed put in Almere. I biked with my friends Marjan and Maaike to Almere Haven, the oldest part of our city, and we very much enjoyed ourselves there. My most prized purchases include: a copy of the video Abba: The Movie and a brightly colored shoulder bag from Greece.

Last night I traveled to Utrecht and had dinner with my friends Heidi and Michel. The main course: asparagus. It was incredibly delicious.

Fact of trivia: April 30 is actually the birthday of Beatrix's mother, not that of Beatrix herself. Because Beatrix was born in January, the royal house decided to maintain the celebration in April, when the weather would be more conducive to outdoor celebrating!
A Great Quote

It is not only prayer that gives God glory but work. Smiting on an anvil, sawing a beam, painting a wall, driving horses, sweeping, scouring, everything gives God some glory if being in his grace you do it as your duty. To go to communion worthily gives God great glory, but a man with a dungfork in his hand, a woman with a slop-pail, give him glory too. He is so great that all things give him glory if you mean they should. So then, my brethren, live.
-- Gerard Manley Hopkins

Let us forgive Hopkins his non-inclusive language, if for no other reason, then because of his tremendous way with words.

More on this great poet-priest here.