The building was empty…

this morning, the parking lot, too. Tuesday morning and time to make ready.

Some times its good to be alone in the church. It gives perspective. Just time alone in the nave and the sanctuary, setting up candles, making sure the readings are in place. Cleaning up after the altar boys. When no one is there a wonderous silence pervades it all.

Yes, the building is indeed for use. Its a place of worship, of service, of learning, of confession, and of hope. Its probably true the place is empty far too often and that emptiness is a sign of opportunities lost, of things left undone, and thwarted possibilities.

Yet on an early Tuesday morning, caugh up in the routine of preparation there is a beautful silence to the place. One can think. One can pray. One can rest in the presence of holiness even as the mundane is accomplished.

It’s a kind of worship, setting candles, polishing icons, making sure the things that need to be full are full and that which requires emptying is emptied. The music is the sound of the cloths on the altar. The readings are in the quiet arrangements. The glory is in realizing that even in the absence of people the holy remains.


with the windows down is the only way to smell the passing world and feel the heat give way to the cool of night. There is music in the air, there always is, and Stillwater is beautiful as the shops close and darkness takes back the streets. I wonder sometimes, if heaven may be partly like this, cool sunny evenings and music on the boulevard. Who knows? Yet I can smell everything that goes past my car, the river, sleepy Bayport, cooking and firecrackers, grass in the night, and everything is good.

I've figured out…

why the whole Brett Favre thing bothers me. It’s a reminder of the illusion.

Sports are mercenary, always have been. The athlete is a commodity and as a commodity they’re used until there is no longer any need. Now, in the era of free agency, teams are increasingly also a commodity and the best athletes can pick a team as surely as a team can draft a player.

Favre’s move to the Vikings is a reminder of that, the reality of pro sports as a business and another stab in the illusion of loyalty to team and place that occupied us when we were kids. It’s the stabbing of that illusion that bothers me the most, a reminder that I’ve grown up and the world I wished isn’t, and probably was never, real. Were my childhood Packer heroes with us because they wanted to be or because they made a business deal to provide entertainment? I’m not always going to be sure and as a fan that makes me feel like a commodity as well.

And that’s why I’m rooting for the Saints tonight, it’s the hope that a washed out city could use the lift that a trip to the Super Bowl would mean, even if its only a dream.


65 above zero:
Floridians turn on the heat.
People in Minnesota plant gardens.

60 above zero:
Californians shiver uncontrollably.
People in Minnesota sunbathe.

50 above zero:
Italian & English cars won’t start.
People in Minnesota drive with the windows down.

40 above zero:
Georgians don coats, thermal underwear, gloves, wool hats.
People in Minnesota throw on a flannel shirt.

35 above zero:
New York landlords finally turn up the heat.
People in Minnesota have the last cookout before it gets cold.

20 above Zero:
People in Miami all die.
Minnesotans close the windows.

Californians fly away to Mexico .
People in Minnesota get out their winter coats.

10 below zero:
Hollywood disintegrates.
The Girl Scouts in Minnesota are selling cookies door to door.

20 below zero:
Washington DC runs out of hot air.
People in Minnesota let the dogs sleep indoors.

30 below zero:
Santa Claus abandons the North Pole.
Minnesota get upset because they can’t start the Snow-mobile.

40 below zero:
ALL atomic motion stops.
People in Minnesota start saying….’Cold enough fer ya?’

50 below zero:
Hell freezes over.
Minnesota public schools will open 2 hours late

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