TEEMING: swarming, overflowing

There’s a huge difference between the meaning of the words crowded and teeming.   It has to do with the feeling of the situation. A funeral home may be crowded with mourners or a bus stop may be crowded with commuters.  It means that there is a large group of people in a place that may […]

“ALL THE COMPANY OF HEAVEN”: a euphemism for all those who have died

In the liturgy of  The Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church in the United States there is a phrase used when the Priest who is celebrating the liturgy of Holy Communion says, “…and so, with Angels and Archangels and with all the company of Heaven….” It is meant to indicate that what is […]

CATALYST: something that inspires a change in direction

It only takes a word, a speech, a performance,  a brave action, or a stupid action to trip the wire and get something started.  The shooting death of an Austrian leader started a war.  The arrival of the Beatles on the scene started a paradigm change in popular music.  A key hanging on a kite’s […]


I attended an event last evening at which the speaker was The Rev. Dr. James Forbes, Senior Pastor Emeritus at the famous Riverside Church in New York City.   It is not the first time I have heard him speak; each time he has me at the words, “Good evening, Brothers and Sisters.” There are always […]

GROUND ZERO: the point on the earth’s surface where an explosion occurs

Prior to 9/11/01 the term ground zero was a generic term, primarily military, which referred to any point on the earth’s surface beneath which a designated explosion took place.  It was first used, according to Wikipedia, to refer to the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Since 2001, however, the term has become synonymous with that […]