Sunday, June 29, 2008

Remember the Fourth of July 1865

The picture above appeared in Harper's Weekly July 8,1865 and bears closer examination. Entitled "PEACE-FOURTH OF JULY, 1865", the image contrasts the dark and ominous skies on the left (over what appear to be the soldiers of the Confederacy) with the brighter right side from whose skies angels cast laurel wreaths down upon the heads of what we presume are the victorious Union troops. Notice in the skies of the left side of the image, the shadowy hooded figure carrying a torch. Could this be the angel of death? Or, is this an ominous prophetic vision of the K.K.K.? If you look closely at the smoke coming from the torch, you see that the smoke cloud has two projections that look suspiciously like devil's horns. Returning to the right hand side portraying what I believe represent the Union soldiers, look at the man in the foreground grasping the horns of the steer. This man appears to be stealing cattle, so the artist is displaying some historical accuracy in this small respect. After Union troops had passed through the South, and victory was lost, the people of the South were left with precious little livestock for food or for plowing because of such thievery. And what about the other soldier holding the thresher in one hand and the woman in the other? I get this uncomfortable feeling that more things were being taken than cattle and sheaves. Perhaps the artist was making comments that could not be said out loud. Perhaps the artist had Southern sympathies and he might be represented by the lone Confederate soldier leaving the scene in the lower left.

After seeing this picture, I think I shall never hear this song without thinking of "Peace-Fourth of July, 1865.",

Sowing in the morning, sowing seeds of kindness,
Sowing in the noontide and the dewy eve;
Waiting for the harvest, and the time of reaping,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves,
Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves,

Sowing in the sunshine, sowing in the shadows,
Fearing neither clouds nor winter’s chilling breeze;
By and by the harvest, and the labor ended,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.


Going forth with weeping, sowing for the Master,
Though the loss sustained our spirit often grieves;
When our weeping’s over, He will bid us welcome,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.


1874 by Knowles Shaw, from Psalm 126:

1 When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.

2 Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them.

3 The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.

4 Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south.

5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.

6 He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

Verses 4-5 might have given comfort to the vicitms of Reconstruction, or am I off course?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Cruises are for Sissies

I was asked to help out my old friend the Underground Pewster by filling in at Not Another Episcopal Church Blog this week.
The poor soul needed a vacation.

Vacations are for sissies. Back in the day when men of iron walked the decks, there was no such thing as a pleasure cruise. Entertainers were brought on board the great liners to sooth the souls of people as they voyaged from place to place. The purpose of the voyage was not pleasure. There is something bothersome about the notion of a pleasure cruise. I can't quite put my finger on it.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Another Titanic Band

This is the sound of the song sung by those who opt to remain in the Episcopal Church. In his article at the Anglican Communion Institute the Rev. Russell Levenson, Jr. Rector, St. Martin's Houston, Texas sings,
"Every time a parish, or a group of Christians like you make the decision to leave, it certainly makes it more difficult to do the very thing you have asked me to do...nevertheless, we will try and do just that."

I urge those consdering departure, to consider the CPP(Communion Partners Plan), (whether Diocese, Bishop, Rector or Parish). It is not a perfect solution; far from it. But as one of my colleagues who has been in this battle for a very long time recently said to me, "This is my only viable option...I just don't have a 'plan B.'"

Not exactly a Siren's song. I want something more positive, more convincing.