Also this week, I was very sad to see that organist Gerre Hancock died. He was a master of improvisation, as you will hear if you listen to the improv at the end of this post. "When asked about the difference between sacred and popular music, Hancock replied: 'It's all sacred as far as I'm concerned. Some works better in nightclubs than in churches, but anything beautiful is sacred.' A fitting epitaph, and by that measure, he gave the world a vast treasure of sacred music." Amen.
New Words for Holy Communion, a monthly, downloadable resource providing prayers, intercessions, acclamations, biddings and blessings for use in the eucharistic services of the church. He does very good work, and I can imagine this being an excellent resource.
Ta-Nehisi Coates has done an amazing series of posts this week confronting some "comfortable history" about the Civil War. They are long, but well worth reading. Part I addresses the situation facing Lincoln when he took office; Part II speaks of the economics of slavery; Part III compares the American Civil War with the end of slavery in other nations.
Part I ends very powerfully this way:
I have come to a fairly recent regard for Lincoln. He rose from utter frontier poverty, through self-education and hard work, to the presidency and the upper reaches of American letters. His path was harsh. His wife was mentally ill. His son died in office. He was derided in newspapers as ugly, stupid, a gorilla and white trash. For his patience, endurance, temperance and industry in the face of so many troubles, Lincoln was awarded a shot to the head.
Now in some sectors of the country for which Lincoln died, patriotism means waving the flag of his murderer. The party he founded supports this odious flag-waving and now gives us a candidate who would stand before that same flag and peddle comfortable fictions. What hope is there when those who talk of patriotism brandish the talisman of bloody treason?
The matter falls to you. Don't conned. Don't be a mark. Live uncomfortable.