As I’ve mentioned previously, directly across the street from the church that I serve in Houston is the largest medical complex in the world. Yesterday morning, I walked across that street into the Texas Medical Center to visit a parishioner at Methodist Hospital. Afterwards, I ran into Dr. Henry Strobel, who is an Episcopal priest and a professor emeritus in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Texas McGovern Medical School, which is also located here in Houston at the Texas Medical Center. So I enjoyed a brief, personal tour of that sixth largest medical school in the United States. Outside, passersby are greeted by Hippocrates:
I was recently walking on the campus of Rice University and ran into a familiar face. This is John Thomas, who works at Rice during the day and, after finishing there, as a security guard across the street at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church. He always stops to greet me, and he always has a cowboy hat as part of his fashion statement.
My wife and I were able to get away together for a few days before Thanksgiving. With our kids in the hands of visiting grandparents, we headed off in the direction of Austin, stopping first in the beautiful town of Bastrop. Later, on our way to the campus of the University of Texas (“Hook ’em Horns”), we took a moment to walk through the Texas State Capitol. Here are some of my favorite views from there:
After picking up our boys at the end of school last Friday, my wife and I took them on a road trip to Camp Allen for a parish retreat over the weekend for Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church. Camp Allen is the camp and conference center for the Episcopal Diocese of Texas and located near the town of Navasota. The music for our journey came from the sound track for Star Wars. That should come as no surprise.
As the sun was setting and we were getting closer to our destination, we happened to be listening to John Williams’ “Binary Sunset.” Somewhere along the way, our youngest son, four-year-old Ben (a.k.a. John [Williams] the Evangelist), said this:
“When we get out of the car, can we leave this on so people know what Star Wars music is?”
Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church in Houston has a war memorial at the back of its nave. Flanking the doors that lead out of that worship space is a paneled, oak screen that lists the names of parishioners who served in the United States armed forces during World War II. Gold lettering highlights the names of those who died in that conflict. There is also a shelf for flowers on each side of those doors. Flowers adorning those shelves are placed in vases that were made out of artillery shells.
That sight reminds me of these words from the second chapter of the Book of Isaiah:
In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. Many peoples shall come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!
Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday that begins on All Hallows Eve, October 31, continues through All Saints’ Day, November 1, and concludes on All Souls’ Day, November 2. There’s a great reflection on all of that in a post on the Contessa-Curessa Project, which is my wife’s blog. In the meantime, here are a few calaveras for Día de los Muertos on our refrigerator at the Rectory:
MFAH stands for Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. After my wife and I picked up our boys after school last Friday, our family paid a visit there. We wanted to make sure that we experienced the awesome Shadow Monsters exhibit before it leaves town.
Here are some photos of our own shadow monsters and other adventures at MFAH:
Our youngest son’s pre-K class has a frog named Floyd, who, oddly, has wings and also gets to come home with a different student each weekend. Floyd was a guest at the Rectory over the last couple of days. He saw lots of interesting things, including Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church. I think he liked the “smells and bells” of the liturgy at the late morning service and the perfect weather outside afterwards!