JULY 2015

setting sun with fireworks


After a 1954 concert in Madison Square Garden some critics wrote unkind things about Liberace. He responded to them: “What you said hurt me very much. I cried all the way to the bank.”

A Catholic Cardinal criticized Raphael’s work on Vatican frescoes, saying that the face of the Apostle Paul was too red. To this Raphael responded, “He blushes to see into whose hands the church has fallen.”

“Never have more children than you have car windows.” - Erma Bombeck

CUSTOMER: “This food isn’t fit for a pig.”
WAITER: “I’ll take it back sir, and bring you some that is.”

How do you feel after a doctor sticks a needle into you? Holier


How Old Are You? By H.S. Fritsch

Age is a quality of mind. – If you have left your dreams behind – If hope is cold – If you no longer look ahead – If your ambitions’ fires are dead – Then you are old.

But if from life you keep the best – And if in life you keep the jest – If love you hold – No matter how the years go by – No matter how the birthdays fly – You are not old.


Compassionately acknowledge a child’s wounds, no matter how slight.

Save first, spend later.

Choose not to waste your life on guilt about the past or worry about the future.

Speak what you believe to be true without trying to control others.

Speak slowly, calmly, clearly, and with confidence.

Sometimes not getting what you want is the best thing for you.

A CHILD’S EVENING PRAYER By Mary L. Duncan, 1814-1840

Jesus, tender Shepherd, hear me – Bless Thy little lamb tonight – Through the darkness be Thou near me – Watch my sleep till morning light. All this day Thy hand has led me – And I thank Thee for Thy care – Thou hast cloth’d and warm’d and fed me – Listen to my evening prayer. Let my sins be all forgiven! – Bless the friends I love so well! – Take me, when I die, to Heaven – Happy, there with Thee to dwell.

UNTITLED POEM by Laurentius Laurenti (1660-1722)

For if Christ is born within – Soon that likeness shall appear – Which the soul had lost through sin – God’s own image fair and clear – And the soul serene and bright – Mirror back His heavenly light.


“I want your resignation or we will just have to let you go.” These were the only words Kurt H. Asplundh said to me in his office in January, 1982. I walked immediately out of his office. I sent him a letter of resignation and later was informed that my term as Cathedral curator would last for another six months until the last day of June of that year. And I did serve at all the services until that time, but it was not fun. Every Sunday I greeted people as they came to worship and I received many hard looks (along with sympathetic ones.) The problem was that there was a dark sphere of suspicion that I really had done something to deserve dismissal after 15 years of day-and-night faithful service. The pastor did nothing to bring light to that darkness, even refusing to discuss the issue when a lawyer, Raymond Synnestvedt, asked him about my dismissal at a public meeting of the Bryn Church. (And to this day the pastor chooses not to make any statement of explanation or apology in the BA Post for his cruel action against me long ago.)

So I was quite used to hard looks when I walked across the parking lot of the Field House to attend a meeting which I believe was in conjunction with an Assembly in June of 1982. As I walked in the parking lot, a male relative of the pastor (not his father), got out of his car and he was in a rage. He glared at me with apparent hatred. I wanted to talk with him about the reasons for his anger. But his state was much too active for the use of reason. And even today I remember exactly what I wanted to say to him. So allow me to present the possible conversation revealing popular myths about me. Here it is:

Richard: “If you can remove some angry heat from your mind and use reason, can to tell me why you are so angry at me?”

Man: “You’re a queer.” Richard snapped back, “No, I’m not.

Man: “You cheat on your hours at work.” Richard: “No, I don’t. I probably work as hard as you. Also I don’t get vacations and unlike you I don’t winter over in places like Florida, and own several houses in scenic places.”

Man: “And you are no good with people.”

Richard: “How would you know how I conduct business at the Cathedral?”

Unfortunately this conversation did not occur, but I did have to endure this man’s hate-filled look on Sunday’s mornings at church. For many years after I was removed from my service at the Cathedral I sat in a chair at the west end of the Nave on the south side. And on many Sundays this man and his wife walked past me. And every time, he peeked at me with a mischievous look in his eyes. He revealed a half-suppressed smirk. And he always chuckled as he looked at me, skinny, gaunt and being all broken down in my old clothes and him being so successful financially and a winner in natural life and all puffed up with his self-importance. Damn, perhaps damned, fool.

So I was a bit surprised when I listened recently to his memorial service. The service indicated that this man had, as it were, a first class ticket of admittance into heaven. Well, maybe he could enter heaven, but not until after being reformed of his most contemptuous view of me and perhaps of other people. Love of self and contempt for others in comparison with self, as we know, are grievous evils that must be removed before anyone can become angelic. I do wish well to this relative of the pastor of long ago. But he probably left a lot of emotional scars in me that had to be accounted for at the time of his soul’s judgment to eternal life either in heaven or in hell.


Lift up our thoughts, lift up our songs – And let Thy grace be given – That while we linger here below – Our hearts may be in heaven. - C.F. Alexander

(NOTE: Grace can be defined as the merciful love given to us by God because He desires us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it. RL)

Just as God leads me I would go – I would not ask to choose my way – Content with what He would bestow – Assured He will not let me stray – So as He leads, my path I make – And step by step I gladly take – A child in Him confiding. - Lampertus Gedicke, 1683-1735

One thing alone, dear Lord! – I dread – To have a secret spot – That separates my soul from Thee – And yet to know it not. - Frederick W. Faber, 1814-1863


Give yourself time to adapt to change.

See that others are right often and stop correcting them.

Let someone else take the stage.

Most things that you worry about never happen.

Break the habit of wasting time.

He who encourages us to do what is right, is a friend.


The Altar

Jon Alley carved the new altar at his home in Churchville, Pa. It was installed in 1995. It is made of cherry wood from a tree that had fallen during a storm about a dozen years before Jon carved it. The tree had been growing on the property of the Academy of the New Church, near Buck and Tomlinson Roads. Jim Rickerts, a stone mason at the Cathedral, told me that this fallen tree was to be brought to the Cathedral but it was quite heavy. A local gas station had just purchased a new truck for hauling cars and the owners were hired to move the cherry tree. However their truck was unable to lift and move the heavy tree. So the men who worked at the Cathedral got their ancient green Dodge truck. For balance they had attached a heavy log on the front bumper and the crane on the back of the old truck lifted the tree with ease. Jim observed that his fellow workers smiled and that the crew from the gas station had blank faces and dropped jaws!

Here is some information from a leaflet about the altar. “The corners of the altar are carved as trees to symbolize the two witnesses mentioned in Revelation chapter 11. These witnesses stand for the two essentials of the New Church: the acknowledgment of the Lord and a life according to the precepts of His Word. These constitute the supporting structure of our religious life.”


Difficult and painful times should make you better, not bitter.

Love will find a way.

Simple words can have profound meanings.

He who is all for himself is often all by himself.

Pass on insights that you have discovered along your journey.

When you cease to grow you begin to die.

A society is only as good as its people.

Ask a loved one to choose a number between 1 and 10 and then give him/her as many kisses/hugs as the number he/she chose.


“Fear follows crime, and is its punishment.” - Voltaire

“If it were not for hopes, the heart would break.” - Thomas Fuller

“I myself must mix with action, lest I wither by despair.” - Alfred, Lord Tennyson

“The man who most vividly realizes a difficulty is the man most likely to overcome it.” - Joseph Farrell

“Reason, with most people, means their own opinions.” - W. Hazlitt


August 3, 1944 Captain Robert Walter arrived home Thursday night of last week, after being in England since last November. Captain Walter was the pilot of a B-17 which completed thirty-two missions over enemy territory, one of which was so exciting that in his own words, “We expected to be ten more men walking around France.”…. He went on over two operations on D-Day, and tells of three long lines of ships stretched across the Channel from England to France, with small craft milling around….

(NOTE: In the Winter of 1966, Mr. Walter telephoned me at my home on Alden Road in Bryn Athyn and asked if I wanted to be the Curator of the Bryn Athyn Cathedral. I certainly did and over the years Mr. Walter fully supported me in my service to the Church. Near the end of his life on earth I met him at the Barnes and Noble store in Willow Grove. He extended his hand to shake mine and we shared, I believe, a sense of mutual respect. We spoke briefly and I reaffirmed my belief that he was and is a genuine New Churchman. RL)

August 3, 1944 Lt. David Simons arrived home after nearly a year in England….Lt. Simons was co-pilot of a B-24, and is home after completing thirty missions over enemy territory. (NOTE: David, my neighbor in Pine Run Park for many years, once told me that many of his missions were over Pas-de-Calais in northern France. He seemed to me to be a happy man who enjoyed being alive every day. And he readily shared his over-flowing cheerfulness and wonderful smile.)