Friday, June 20, 2008

Big silver bird

Early tomorrow we fly into Hartford, spend two nights in New Haven, and then take the train into NYC for the Episcopal College Chaplains' conference at General Seminary. I look forward to staying at the new Desmond Tutu Center and meeting others whose work connects them to college campuses. I'll see at least one seminary buddy there!

I'm not taking my laptop, so will be generally out of this loop until June 29. In the meantime, I'm thinking of Derrick and Jamie (who marry tomorrow) and looking forward to seeing some of you at the Iowa City Shakespeare Festival in July.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Oh, my.

This morning's psalm for the Daily Office is Ps. 69:

Save me, O God,
for the waters have risen up to my neck.

I am sinking in deep mire,
and there is no firm ground for my feet.

I have come into deep waters,
and the torrent washes over me.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Please send an ark

On Tuesday, the headline in The Daily Iowan, Iowa City's independent newspaper, read "Hell and High Water." That was two days ago, and the rain hasn't stopped. Today in eastern Iowa, we've had blinding rain, hail, tornado warnings, rising river levels, continuing road closures and mandatory evacuations of homes and businesses.

We're okay at home, but conditions are far worse nearby, with major power outages and record-breaking flooding. Had I gone to Iowa City today, I would not have gotten home: a portion of Interstate-80 is closed because the Cedar River has flooded the roadway. I felt guilty for not venturing in to work, and spent a portion of the day writing my lengthy report for the annual Diocesan Journal (zzzzz).

Tonight's storm has even unnerved the dog. I distracted her by tuning up my viola (after not playing since 2001!) and playing through all the hymns in my head till my fingertips hurt. "All my hope on God is founded" was first and last. God almighty, it's good to play again.

I think that if we had to vacate the house suddenly, I'd want my hymnal. What does that say about my Dork score?

The people in Iowa need your prayers -- lots and lots of them.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Flood of prayer

These past days in Iowa City have been dramatic, not only because our friend Brad is here rehearsing for the Shakespeare Festival, opening this weekend.

The rains continue, and the flooding worsens. We haven't seen flooding like this since 1993. Many streets (including the main route into Iowa City from I-80) have been under water since last weekend. I've learned how to find my way to church down back roads. The church and surrounding downtown area are fine, but much of the lower campus is not. A music professor from my parish relates that the School of Music building, with its renovated performance center, is being evacuated and closed as of 5 p.m. today -- for the summer! This seems extreme, but apparently the impending flood will also require summer classes and offices to relocate, as well as the Shakespeare Festival itself, originally scheduled for City Park. City Park is under water.

In addition to the rising rivers, I've been in the midst of a flood of prayer, with more critical family situations going on at once than I could list here. One of most moving life passages happened on Sunday and Monday: our seminary friend, Joyce, called to ask if I could visit her seriously ill brother again (I'd visited him at Iowa City's University Hospital a few weeks ago); when I arrived on Sunday I gathered the extended family and anointed him in the ICU. He died yesterday. It was a gift to me to have met him and to be with the family; the oil stock I carry is from my seminary friend and former Field Ed supervisor, Leigh.

This all happened on the same weekend as my dear friends Laurel, Court and Brad were ordained to the transitional diaconate; other friends were gathered further away in memorial services for family, or having babies, or moving.

I'm astounded by how deep the seminary connections reach. And the good part? These connections don't stop at graduation, when we all disperse. Laurel visits soon; so will Gary and Kathy and Donna. We receive word, one way or another, of life changes and visits. If we're lucky, we get to be part of the mystery of it all, moving in and out of one another's lives once more.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Down by the Riverside

It's wonderful to have our Seabury friend and all-around fantastic actor Bradley here for two months, rehearsing and performing with Iowa City's residential professional theatre company, Riverside Theatre. The theatre is only a few blocks away from my downtown church, so Brad's coming to Eucharist every Sunday now, after which we walk to a coffee house or great lunch spot. Such luxury this is! And how much I'm going to miss him when he goes back in mid-July!

This summer's Shakespeare Festival features Comedy of Errors and A Winter's Tale. Brad's acting in both. Anyone want tickets? ;)