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969Today's blog, better late than never?

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  • Jon Kennedy
    Jan 10, 2014
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      Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
      his soj
      ourn in Northern Ireland'
      My Google+ diary and Belfast blog

      Jon Kennedy        
      JONAL ENTRY 1376 | FRIDAY, JANUARY 10 2014

      Today's Scripture: . . . grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore it is said, "When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men." (in saying, "He ascended," what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is he who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
      From St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians, chapter 4,
      from today's Orthodox lectionary readings.
      See the homiletical thought below.

      Today's diary

      A too-busy day. I had to omit my cappuccino hour because there was a cross-community meeting in a large charismatic church, New Life, that I attended with Marda (Ward was at his poetry group at that time). New Life's pastor, Jack McKee, is planning a visionary program called 39+1 (for 40 days), to end on Good Friday. He is challenging religious and political leaders, paramilitaries, the police, even drug dealers, to take measures to create goodwill between the communities on both sides of the "peace walls" that keep erstwhile warring factions in this city apart.

      Then I went directly to work at the Dock Cafe for my weekly volunteer shift. Though the weather was wet and chilly (but not too cold and not too windy, thankfully), the students from the college across the street were back in force, this being their first week back after New Years. It was a very busy two hours.

      A week from tonight we have scheduled the launch meeting of the C.S. Lewis Society of Northern Ireland (which will be held at the Dock Cafe after it closes that day), and once I got home I was very busy getting together and mailing the invitations to support it. Anyone interested can read the invitation/launch announcement here. And if you're in Northern Ireland, please consider joining us and bringing a friend or friends.

      Mailings to new constituencies are something I do too seldom to remember from one instance to the next how to expedite the steps; it's very time consuming, which is why today's blog is so late. And tomorrow I hope to get back to my topic started yesterday, Little Distractions.

      Today's Inspiration

      Frederica Mathewes-Green, widely read Orthodox author, the wife of an Orthodox pirest in Maryland and a Facebook friend, posted this on her page. I found it quite inspiring.

      This past Thursday night, since my husband and I were traveling, one of our chanters, Ben, led the service. Only four other guys were present. At one point Ben began hearing a deep, male voice from the back of the room, joining in and chanting . . . the ison. (The "ison" is a line of harmony in Byzantine chanting, and it's tricky because in Byzantine music the intervals are different than we're used to; they have extra notes in between our piano keys.)

      It's hard to get the ison right, but whoever the singer was, he was chanting it with perfect pitch. Ben figured that one of the other regulars had come in and was chanting from the back of the church. So when the service was over and everyone was talking by the church door, he said, "Whoever was doing the ison, it sounded pretty good."

      But nobody else could take credit for it, though others had heard the voice too. Nobody had come in during the service.

      "Since therefore we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses..." Hebrews 12:1.

      Today's Christmas fare (just once more)

      Yes, the Christmas decorations are down, but I felt constrained to share this little reminiscence. I found it today in a blog by a Catholic writer who thought it might be an attack on Christmas or at least Christmas carols. Maybe it is. It's rather cynical—not something I'd expect from KFC—but mainly I suspect its edginess was meant as a bit of comedy. It might help to say it was produced for the UK audience, not the USA. So what do you think?

      Click here to watch the video online if you can't see it in your email.
      And my apologies to those who read these blogs through email; yesterday I put an incorrect link in this space. If you're still wondering what that Coke commercial was, look for it here.


      Today's quotes and fun facts

      I couldn't resist another fun fact about sheep, yesterday's having been such a hit. Again, this is from a BBC online article.

      Buying a ram can cost thousands. In 2009, a tup lamb ["tup" is a term for stud rams] was sold for £231,000. Deveronvale Perfection, bred in Banffshire, was bought by a fellow local sheep farmer at a sale in Lanark. It was sold for breeding. At the time, the UK's previous most expensive sheep, Tophill Joe, who was bought for £128,000. Before he died, Tophill Joe fathered lambs worth more than £1m.

      Evil labours with vast power and perpetual success—in vain: preparing always only the soil for unexpected good to sprout in.
      — J.R.R. Tolkien

      Christ says "Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You."
      — CSLewis'.

      I am not asking anyone to accept Christianity if his best reasoning tells him that the weight of the evidence is against it. — CSLewis

      Homiletical thought:
      Today's reading is the source of the clause, "He descended into hell," in the Apostles' Creed, a statement that some Protestants who sometimes recite the creed omit, because the biblical support for the doctrine that Jesus went into hades to set free those dead who were united with Him in faith (as the Orthodox church teaches), is not much deeper than this passage. And the Orthodox use only the Nicene Creed, which does not mention a descent into hell, not the Apostles' Creed. But as Paul indicates, Jesus "descension" into the place where those departed from this life were being kept until His resurrection, known in some traditions as "the harrowing of hell," is a doctrine strongly supported by the Tradition of the Apostolic Churches. The Orthodox icon depicting His victory over hades is shown above.
      §     §     §
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      § I have now uploaded over 2,700 photos and videos, mostly from my current visit to Northern Ireland, but also including several hundred photos and videos from my summer in Pennsylvania (2012), and some photos of the family, on my Flickr site. Most of these are now organized by sets. Click here for the Flicker site.
      For more and more spontaneous posts, follow me onand (click on either icon to go to the site).

      Google+ works more automatically, so most of the pictures I post (excluding Flickr) are posted there. Feedback: Please comment on anything in today's blog on the Facebook and Google+ pages linked above, and of course via email to jrk@....

      Feedback is always welcome.
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      Please pray for my mission to Northern Ireland. You can read my background overview of this undertaking here. My residence/postal address is 227 Crumlin Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT14 7DY, UK. Mobile: 44 7455 980890.

      related pages

      The Nanty Glo Home Page


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      C.S. Lewis Themes and Threads, is available for purchase at $2.99. Purchase supports the author'
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      Jon R. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis Writer in Residence