God help us to live slowly:
To move simply:
To look softly:
To allow emptiness:
To let the heart create for us. Amen - Michael Leunig
If every morning,
You can find a reason to say,
“Yes, it’s going to be a beautiful day.”
And every day, you find a reason to say,
“Yes, it is a beautiful day.”
And every night, you find a reason to say,
“Yes, it was a beautiful day.”
Then one day,
You’ll look back and easily say, “Yes – it was a beautiful life.”
“Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.”
“We lie the loudest when we lie to ourselves.”
“The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.”
“Anger is the prelude to courage.”
“It is easier to love humanity as a whole than to love one’s neighbor.”
“I do myself a greater injury in lying than I do to him of whom I tell a lie.”
“My art and profession is to live.”
On Friday February 24th I had lunch at a local restaurant. I enjoyed the meal, and after I paid the check, I rolled up a 5x6 feet vinyl table-cloth, tucked it under my arm and walked out the door.
Now don’t get to wondering about the nature of my mind at that time. I was quite rational but perhaps I should add another fact. One of the owners of the restaurant was replacing his old table-cloths with new ones. I asked him if I could have one of the old, used table clothes and he said “yes.” So I rolled it up and took it home.
Facts surely do help us to make good decisions so it seems to be a good idea to try to gather as many facts as possible when we are tempted to make a quick and harsh judgment about the actions of our neighbors. Being rational adults means that we seek for more than one superficial view of any situation, especially regarding our neighbors’ lives.
A few times a year I receive the Bryn Athyn College Alumni Magazine. In the latest Fall/Winter issue on page 41 there is a photograph of ANC teachers including most of my former high school male teachers. Nearly all of the 15 male teachers appear to be grim-faced. I think that the picture was taken about mid-day and the sun’s rays may have been in the eyes of some of the men. But I can perceive slight smiles on the faces of a few of these teachers.
I believe that they were very intelligent and effective communicators of the various subjects they taught. And many of these teachers were quite inspiring to us boys of long ago. In general they seemed to be examples, to us teenage boys, of honesty, intellectual industriousness and a love of the good useful life.
I guess that being good examples to us is how they showed their love for us. I assume they did love us boys in their own ways. But I rarely if ever felt their love in spoken words. It would have been nice to have been welcomed back to school in September with a cheerful, “Hello, Mr. Linquist, it is very nice to see you again. How was your summer?” Well, I cannot recall ever hearing any talk like that.
I have read in New Church literature that when the dorm students returned for school opening in the autumn, many, perhaps most of the citizens of Bryn Athyn had a social gathering to welcome them back to Bryn Athyn for another year. I believe that occurred in the teens and twenties of the last century; perhaps at other times also.
Now if I were to say that my male teachers did not reveal their loves for us boys I would be forgetting, for example, Stan Ebert who, as I recall, often cheered me by his outgoing, warm personality. And I would be forgetting Ken Rose who was always ready to teach us with kindness. We knew he was there for us, day and night. I would be forgetting Dan Pendleton who seemed to embody a strong zeal for spiritual truth. This was very inspiring to our youthful idealism. I would be forgetting Rev. Cairns Henderson who encouraged us to search for and balance spiritual truths in a quest for deeper understanding. I would be forgetting Bruce Glenn who revealed his deep feelings for beauty and truth to us students in his classroom. Yes, he shared his deep loves with us and he encouraged us to share our feelings in written words. And I would be forgetting Grant Doering who was very sweet-natured to us boys as he revealed his knowledge of the natural world. I would be forgetting Don Fitzpatrick whose calm demeanor calmed his adolescent students. I would be forgetting Charlie Cole and Dick Gladish who seemed to be companions to us young minds, like grown-up adolescent boys themselves, as they charged ahead searching for and enjoying natural, spiritual and moral truths. BUT I have not forgotten them and surely they cared deeply for each of us boys who were under their care a long, long time ago.
On Wednesday, March 1st I was at the Cathedral talking with Peter Boericke when he revealed a memory he had from his childhood. He said that when he was a young boy, one day at the Cathedral, the curator, William Cooper, asked him if he would like to meet Helen Keller. And indeed he did meet her there.
I was unaware that Helen Keller visited our Cathedral, but it is quite reasonable that she would do so because of her Swedenborgian beliefs.
To the best of my knowledge Mr. Cooper, the Cathedral Curator, did not keep a diary of visitors to the Cathedral. Members of his family have informed me that he they were unaware of any diary. Too bad he did not record the names of well-known people who visited our Cathedral. That would have enriched the knowledge of us cathedral-buffs.
Also on March 1st I obtained the following information from the BRYN ATHYN CATHEDRAL NEWSLETTER: “This summer we are launching a new series of four Sunset Organ Vespers. The Cathedral hill has long been a destination for members and friends to come and enjoy the setting sun. Once a month we are planning a special vespers that will be timed to finish just before the sun goes down, so that those attending can end their inspirational experience by viewing the sunset. The vespers will be comprised of mostly organ music with a minister on the chancel offering an opening welcome and prayer, and brief readings interspersed throughout the music. This will be an opportunity for affections to be uplifted by beautiful music and thoughts turned to the Lord at the close of the day.” Let this just be a beginning of organ music and doctrinal instruction designed to reach out to those who visit Cathedral. Here are a few ideas: 1. If the first and second vespers are very successful this summer maybe plans could be expanded to have vesper serves every Sunday evening in August. 2. Maybe, during October/November with the colorful, changing leaves on trees seen from Cathedral hill, late afternoon musical services could be offered to our guests.
My neighbor and friend, Larken Rose, spent ten days in Mexico in the first part of March. I asked him what he took to wear. Well, he took just one set of clothes – a pair of shoes, slacks, undershirt, a long sleeved shirt, etc. I believe that he did buy a couple of t-shirts in Mexico. Anyway I can’t imagine how many jackets, hats, shoes, changes of clothes, suntan lotion, etc I would take on such a trip.
Also one day in March I walked outside of my home and met celestial angels. I sensed them within the cute face of Bowan Carpenter, the son of Benjamin and Shilah (Rose) Schrock. He was born on September 7th of last year. So there he was in his baby cart, being pushed around the neighborhood by his mom. And when I arrived on the scene, his beautiful blue eyes caught sight of me. He lifted his right eyebrow and then his left eyebrow as he stared at me. Then he moved his lips in an apparent attempt to communicate with me. Next, tough old Richard, (me) starts making high-pitched, gentle sounds and the infant responds with his lips and eyes. For sure I met an innocent soul that day who lived with the celestial angels. Thank you, Lord.
In recent issues of Sunshine I have made comments about a former cathedral director. And I suggested that Kent (Cooper) should have been chosen for the job. The man hired for this position about 15 plus years ago, had an Italian sounding name. I guess that I unconsciously assumed that he was a Catholic. Anyway he was married to a member of our church and they had some children. But I have wondered if he ever joined the General Church of the New Jerusalem.
I researched past issues of New Church Life and discovered that his children were baptized, but I could not find any record of him having been baptized into the General Church. For now I shall assume the new director then was not a member of our church.
This director was always polite and respectful to me and I tried to be the same toward him. And I do not desire to critique him and his manner of governing. But I cannot be silent in all matters because I can still see Rev. Douglas Taylor’s alarmed and a bit angry face as he, the director and I stood in the Choir Hall many years ago.
Here is some background: As I understand it, a relative of the director; his brother, I believe, wanted to be married in the Bryn Athyn Cathedral. He was not a member of our church but anyway the director contacted the pastor here in Bryn Athyn. Apparently the matter was discussed at a meeting of the pastoral staff. The result was that permission was granted, reluctantly I believe, to have a wedding in a non-worship area of the Cathedral, that is, in the Council Hall.
So about a week after the wedding ceremony, Doug, I and the cathedral director were in the Choir Hall. Doug asked the director if the wedding of his relative was held in the Council Hall. The director told him that it was not. The director gave permission for the wedding to be held in the main worship area of the Cathedral, namely in the Nave and Chancel. Doug was really angry at this turn of events. I am a bit angry myself when I envision, perhaps, a Catholic priest, entering the Sanctuary of the Cathedral and then conducting a Catholic wedding service in the Bryn Athyn Cathedral. Maybe the name of Mary, the Queen of Heaven, was invoked then. Yes, this happened in our Cathedral, which is dedicated to the worship of the Lord Jesus Christ as He is now revealed in the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.
I liked Doug’s spirit and I stand with him and many of my friends who themselves stand tall and strong in support of spiritual truth. I feel part of a religious community of men and women who have seen the Lord and allowed their lives to conform to His new revelation. (I hope to be with them in the new heaven which the Lord is forming.)
Well, the pastor of the Bryn Athyn Church supported this cathedral director for the next nine years. Many activities occurred at the cathedral after the time of this unapproved wedding ceremony which I found to be offensive. Believe me, I could describe them if I wished, but to what purpose? I will drop this matter now but I can assure interested parties that I have many arrows in my quiver to shoot if needed. Let me say again that I found the cathedral director in those days to be a fine gentleman but apparently his activities were not overseen very well by the pastor at that time.
April 20, 1967 Peter Rhodes was elected to Beta Gamma Sigma, [the] highest scholastic honor society at Indiana’s School of Business. The same week he was among the finalists at the AAU National diving championships in Texas.
June 22, 1967 The Epsilon Society is planning another Open-House at the Cathedral with tea following at Cairncrest, July 16, for residents in the Bethayres area. This program will be a repeat of the very successful and pleasant open-house that we had recently for our “Justa-Farm” neighbors. [Leon and Judy Rhodes guided these useful projects.]
August 10, 1967 The C&S Club supper committee proposes to make each supper during the coming season – September to June – represent a different country with décor and waitresses in appropriate attire. Anyone interested in heading one of these committees please phone what country you would like to represent, i.e. Italy, Sweden, France, Germany, Java etc. to Mrs. Dan Echols 0546 or Mrs. Ridgway 1032.
August 17, 1967 Mr. Gustaf W. Soneson passed into the spiritual world on Monday, August 14th…. Mr. Soneson was in his 83rd year. He and his wife would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on October 12th. He is survived by his wife, Hilda and five children: Mae Linquist, Esther Johnson, Marion Murray, Carl Soneson, Rev. Lorentz Soneson and 24 grandchildren; also 32 great-grandchildren.
QUOTATION: “I avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward.” - Charlotte Bronte