As dawn breaks on this Saturday morning, I decided to take a pause from my daily reflections and Facebook posts about Faithfully, Lucy and start collecting them as blog posts. For those that have been reading the Love of My Life for a while, you know that I was blessed by almost 25 years of marriage to my bride, Maureen. Our life together was cut short by the ultimate fatal consequences of breast cancer on October 21, 2014. Her love and my love for her motivates all that I am and all that I do. However, I’m discovering in my reflections, I can be inspired by others.
I have been inspired by reading Lucy Nazro, head of school for St. Andrew’s Episcopal School for 33 years. She led the school until 2012, and a collection of her chapel talks and other addresses were compiled into this great book, Faithfully, Lucy. Having just moved, as I pulled it out of the box, I was called to read it. For eleven days already, I’ve been blessed by both the scriptures she selected (likely from the lectionary), as well as her reflections. Part One is those first 11 posts on Facebook. Tomorrow, Sunday, I’ll go back to my daily posts.
September 29, 2020
As I unpack boxes, I am finding lots of gifts. One is a collection of homilies, chapel talks and writings of Lucy Nazro, longtime former head of St. Andrew’s. It is called “Faithfully, Lucy.” I’m treating myself to one each morning, putting myself in a great mood each day already. I’m going to post the scripture verse each day upon which the talk is based. (p.s. Catherine Herter Ervin – we should find a way for people to order these!)
September 30, 2020
As I read “Faithfully, Lucy” this morning, she was reflecting on Matthew 5:11-16. She gave this particular chapel talk May 1. I am not sure what year, but this line towards the end jumps out, “Listen to the songbirds, not to the grackles. Let’s train our ears to hear the sounds of hope in the world.” Beautiful advice!! 💖💖
I’m discovering a few things reading “Faithfully, Lucy.” Scripture. Her wisdom. And some great scenery when you Google images to post with the scripture verse upon which her chapel talk is based! In my reading from her collection today, it is based on Matthew 6:25-34. (For those catching up with my new daily post. Lucy Nazro was former head of St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, leading it for over 30 years)
It must have been exam week when she gave this talk, making this scripture poignant. However, this section jumped out, “Do not be anxious. Do your best. God is with you. You always need to be present in the world, doing the work you were given to do.” So true. And, makes me think about my #onething. I’ll reflect on that later. For now, the gift of Lucy. Can’t wait for tomorrow!! 🙏🏻
October 2, 2020
As I read “Faithfully, Lucy” this morning, I love not just her wisdom but the chapel talks she has chosen out of the many she gave. Today’s is from Matthew 7:1-12. Peeking ahead, I see that tomorrow’s is on the same passage. I can’t wait!
Lucy reflects today on something I’ve reflected on with Taylor, Kyla, and Katelyn, and as I read, I clearly understand that Matthew 7:12, the Golden Rule, is the foundation for what I have taught them, like Lucy said in her talk, “The focus is on doing for others, not on what we get in return (“as you would have them do to you”). The action is totally on giving to others, not on expecting anything in return.”
I love this Lucy. I tell the kids it is God’s giving economy. If we all give, just give, then when we are in need, somebody will be there to give to us. It will be God, of course, acting through one of His servants, but giving is what we each choose for our own hearts. I give of myself, because of how many have blessed us. What a beautiful world we could have if we all adopted the Golden Rule. Thanks Lucy!! Another great morning with your book. 🙏🏻💖🙏🏻
Today’s “Faithfully, Lucy” is clearly a chapel talk just before Christmas. She is talking to the kids about her upcoming trip to London. Part of me is thinking it is too soon to think about Christmas, here before Halloween, but then again, stores already have Christmas stuff showing up on shelves!!! So why not talk about anticipation? About John the Baptist who anticipated Jesus?
As Lucy Nazro reflects on her family’s trip to London in her talk, she also reflects on an old trip from 1983. That is how she digs into John. As she points out, John the Baptist expected Jesus to be a messiah in the mold of a king like David. Powerful. Mighty.
Of course, Jesus was and is powerful and mighty, but in a new way. This is where Lucy beautifully points out the difference between John’s role and Jesus’. “John is like the doorman who opens the door and ushers the rest of us through it, pointing the way to a life more glorious than what we have come to expect or imagine. He points to a life that is brand new.”
As Katelyn and I usher in our second month in our new home at the Santal, close to the Upper School that Lucy Nazro dreamed of and crafted, I am thinking about the new. People thought she was crazy when she did this. Southwest Parkway is soooo far out there they said!! Like Jesus, Lucy was willing to see the new. Excited to reflect on her talk today and think about the new. Thanks Lucy.
October 4, 2020
There are dozens and dozens of talks left in my book, “Faithfully, Lucy,” but I think I’m going to need to send her an email for more. I don’t want to run out!! I’ve only read 6, but in less than a week, I feel so richly blessed by this morning ritual. Blessed by the scripture. Blessed by her wisdom and insights. Blessed thinking about St. Andrew’s Episcopal School and what a gift it has been to our family these past 15 years. So pleased that Katelyn has a few more years still.
St. Andrew’s has four pillars: academics, athletics, arts, and service. There is no doubt reading today’s chapel talk from the beginning of a school year why service is one of the pillars. Lucy ends this way, “Take a good look at all the responsibilities you have this year at St. Andrew’s and remember, your first responsibility is always to care for others.” 🙏🏻🙏🏻
October 5, 2020
“In the beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the son of God.” As I read from Faithfully, Lucy this morning, it is clear that this chapel talk is some time after St. Andrew’s Day (Maureen Diercxsens Thompson and my favorite celebration) and before Advent. Today’s scripture from Lucy’s talk is Mark 1:1-8.
Lucy points out how Mark jumps right in. To the public ministry. Skips Jesus’ birth, growing up, and all the rest of it. Unlike Luke and Matthew, Mark starts at the beginning of his life’s work.
I just imagine being one of the kids sitting in chapel; listening to these words; listening to Lucy; listening… and just maybe changing my life as a result. Think about that for a minute. By speaking truth. By being Lucy. By being the head of St. Andrew’s for 33 years, how many lives were changed by her courage, by her boldness, by her preaching of the Gospel? How many lives are still being changed?
7 days in to this collection, I’m starting to realize that is her point. Like the Golden Rule a few days back and my own thinking about our #onething, Lucy is pointing us to the best in ourselves. With Christmas looming, this closing line is so compelling, “I am here on this earth to make life better for my friends, my family, my classmates, my school, my world. Advent is a chance to prepare for this way of living.”
Thanks Lucy. You have. You are. And, I will. 🙏🏻🙏🏻
October 6, 2020
Lucy. Disciples. Decisions. That’s how “Faithfully, Lucy” rings out today from Mark 1:14-20. This passage is well known to many of us and especially at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School because it speaks of Andrew, our patron saint, following Jesus.
Lucy points out something really important, though. This wasn’t an easy decision, although it appears to be a very fast one. The disciples weren’t taking a day of vacation at Port A (or the Sea of Galilee in this case). This was their livelihood. What they did. They dropped more than nets. They dropped careers as fishermen. In Peter’s case, Lucy notes he was very likely married.
Lucy talks of her decision to leave Waco to attend the University of Texas at Austin. Her decision to go to Japan. Her decision to lead St. Andrew’s. And, then she says this, “Our lives will never be the same after we make big decisions. My life was never the same after I went to college: a whole new world opened to me…”
As a Fourth Year at UVa, our son, Taylor, is making some big decisions for his future. As a First Year, Kyla, is living into the first weeks of her big decision. And, of course, Katelyn and I, are living in our new home, after selling our home of 23 years this summer, a big decision. Which is why this other line in Lucy’s chapel talk resonates so deeply , “Last but not least, did you pray about it? If you have faith in God and pray for his help, I believe you will see his hand in your decisions.” Amen. 🙏🏻🙏🏻
October 7, 2020
OK. I’ll admit it. I had fun picking this photo for today’s “Faithfully, Lucy” installment. Today’s talk from Lucy is based on Mark 6:1-13 and must have been given in the spring, because she is talking about a session with parents where a discussion about seniors leaving for college had been had.
It is a pretty appropriate passage, because it has been about 6 weeks since Kyla left for UVa. We are living this experience. And in several weeks, she and Taylor will be home for Thanksgiving. As Lucy points out, and as Mark pointed out with Jesus, we parents have trouble seeing our children for who they are becoming. We remember them for who they were. Our little ones. The ones we carried. The ones with whom we held their hand to walk to school.
The same was true for Jesus when returning to Nazareth. When he returned and read the scriptures in synagogue, he was asked, “how does he read them with such authority?” Mark 6:3 put it this way, “Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us? And they took offense at him.”
As I reflect, I realize that this passage isn’t just true about our children but about all of us. The gift of life, the gift of Jesus and his resurrection is that today is not yesterday. We are each forgiven, not just to become who we want to be but who He wants us to be. And maybe we don’t just need to see others that way, but ourselves.
Thanks Lucy! Another great morning. 🙏🏻🙏🏻
October 8, 2020
I finished today’s “Faithfully, Lucy” a few minutes ago. It has taken me a few minutes to compose myself. I’ve been crying. With three kids growing up at St. Andrew’s (one still there), serving with Lucy at All Saint’s Episcopal Church as lay Eucharistic ministers, and having been mesmerized by her husband, Phillips’, sermons, I have been blessed to know Lucy for somewhere around 20 years.
However, the last line of this chapel talk, which interestingly was given the year of the H1N1 flu or swine flu, brought the tears forth. In just a few words, she not only reminded me why Maureen loved St. Andrew’s, why I love St. Andrew’s, but why Lucy not only loved St. Andrew’s but because of her love, there is a St. Andrew’s.
“We are a caring, compassionate community who sends our graduates into the world to make a difference for the good. In the end, it is all about being kind.” Amen Lucy. Amen. 🙏🏻🙏🏻
October 9, 2020
There are two stories of Jesus feeding large groups of people, the 5,000 and the 4,000… today’s story in Mark 8:1-10 is about the 4,000. As Lucy Nazro noted in her chapel talk from today’s Faithfully, Lucy, “they were so excited to go out and see Jesus, they forget to pack a lunch.”
I always try to imagine these scenes from 2,000 years ago. What did they look like? Obviously, without photography or even sketches from the time, it is hard to know, but Lucy has a beautiful capacity to bring it into the here and now. Lucy talks about a tradition at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School known as the Harvest Bowl, which tells me this chapel talk was probably right around this time of year, as we get closer to Halloween and then Thanksgiving.
St. Andrew’s and St. Stephen’s work together to feed thousands of people who depend on El Buen Samaritano’s (https://elbuen.org) for their food. As Lucy recounts, one of the clients commented to Father Gomez, “Father, I got too much food this year. I had enough to invite my next door neighbors over for dinner. I’ve never done that before. I’ve never been the host.”
Let that sink in for a moment. Really dwell on it. I’m feeling it wash over me. I’ve never been the host. I’ve never been the host. Wow. It really isn’t about the 4,000. It is about the one. And it isn’t about the one receiving. It is about the one giving. It is about us. Who will we “feed” today. And, as Lucy notes, it isn’t just food. It might be education, medical care, safety and security, or even for those who have enough of all of that, it may be we are starving for attention, appreciation, or a word of kindness.
We don’t have to wait for tomorrow. We don’t have to wait until we have enough. We don’t have to wait until November 3. We can make a difference today in the life of another. We can begin to feed the 4,000 right now. By feeding the one. 🙏🏻🙏🏻