Celebration of a Life: Terry Sanford

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Hand Drawn Angel

One of the truly remarkable aspects of Christianity is gathering friends, family, and faith community together to celebrate a life. Outside any of the traditions connected with a “memorial Service”, I can’t help but think back to the text written for my choral work named “Horizons” which says:

Everyone we’ve ever known has offered us a gift, sharing their uniqueness with those of us who live. Let us take a silent bow, a private kiss of peace, share the blessings of their lives, and honor their release in love.

Today, I will be able to participate in a public expression of a a silent bow,  a private kiss of peace. I will be able to tell Terry’s grieving partner, Richard, how much both of them mean to me.

Sermon: Yes, here I am

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Sermon delivered at St. George’s Episcopal Church, La Canada, January 18, 2009

1 Samuel 3:1-10(11-20)
Psalm 139:1-5, 12-17
1 Corinthians 6:12-20
John 1:43-51
2 Epiphany, B

As I read the opening lines of our reading from 1 Samuel it sounded to me as though it might be the perfect lines for a movie trailer. Just imagine a voiceover artist saying….“Now..the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days, visions were not widespread,” and with a woooosh of sound effect comes the title, “Samuel, the Prophet” opening at selected theaters near you.

But then, as I looked a closer look at the characters contained within our lections, I realized we have three totally different people; Samuel, the prophet, Paul, the prude, and Nathaniel, the snob.  Despite these labels, the underlying strong message is that God uses individuals of all types, with varying backgrounds, any place and in any time to promote God’s sense of justice and peace throughout the world, in small and large ways. Read More


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When I first got to know “Chucky” I knew he was different. Besides being a good person, I sensed an eternal breath of compassion residing in his soul. In him I find a natural spirituality which touches me time and time again. For those who are active in institutionalized religion, he might be classified as “spiritual but not religious.”

inhandOn Christmas day we were able to spend a few hours together before he finished packing to fly to Japan to visit family, and would be gone for over two weeks.  Before we parted, he allowed me to lay hands on him, and pray for a safe trip, a good visit, and a happy return. I then handed him a prayer stone similar to the one in the picture. It was a stone which was blessed and given to me, and had already been soaked in prayer.  I said that he may want to keep the stone in his pocket, roll it around in his fingers, and hands now and then; it may bring comfort and peace. Read More

Desolation and Understanding

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In the year 2009, when using the word “desolation”, we might think in material terms, or a location uninhabitable, and lifeless, but from a spiritual center, desolation takes on a different meaning. Upon entering a desolate spiritual plain, pretense is lost, illusions are shattered, and raw reality takes hold. It is a place where one might be tired, alone, distraught, or suffering from a sense of dismay. In this garden of desolation, God can be found, because when resting in this state, we are open to learning, and understanding.

The last words “Chucky” said to me on Tuesday my time (New Years Eve in Japan) was that he would chat with me at the same time the next day. That was the last I heard from him and I have no other means of contact other than email which has not been answered – from this side of the ocean, he’s vanished. Frustration turned to anger, and anger turned to worry, and now worry has turned to dismay;  I have entered a land of desolation. Read More

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