October 25, 2008

Book: Life’s Journey

From 1932 until his death in 1952, George W. Jones published The Booklet – a quarterly report of activities at Epiphany Mission in Sherwood, Tennessee. Life's Journey is a collection of essays and poems that appeared in issues of The Booklet.

After the death of his mother in 1939, family and friends tried to encourage him to come home to Georgia to live. “Are not ten years of service in Sherwood and three thousand Masses at those altars enough? Why not come home to your people and the soil you love and grow roses and write story books?” His response was simple, “Lonely without mother! Home to brethren! They so little understand. These Sherwood people, ...these souls growing in God’s Sherwood garden – these are the priest’s mother and his brethren.”

It was through The Booklet that George W. Jones would write about daily life in this small remote area of the Cumberland Mountains, the hardships of living through the Great Depression and World War II, and include his inspirational and spiritual writings. Through his writing, he not only touched the lives of the people at the Mission and in the valley, but also the host of people that comprised the "Greater Congregation" – friends and supporters of the Mission all across the country.

"His were the hands and his was the labor that God used to build Epiphany Mission. His invisible memorial remains in the lives and the hearts of the people of Sherwood." – The Rev. Joseph S. Huske

Life's Journey (Lulu.com, Hardcover, 278 pages) also includes black and white photographs that appeared in issues of The Booklet, and an essay on George W. Jones. All proceeds from the sale of Life's Journey go to Epiphany Mission Episcopal Church.

For more information on Life's Journey and view a preview of the book, visit www.epiphanymission.org/lifes_journey.htm.

October 18, 2008

The Cathedral

The love of God
constrains His child
to conceive that the mountains
have walled Sherwood
into a vast cathedral
with the arch of the firmament
its dome.

The mountain
squarely west
becomes the high altar
of the cathedral.

The trees
holding half their leaves
are bright red gold,
the corn is ruddy gold,
and the warm light
filtered through autumn haze
is pale glowing gold.

Fallen leaves
carpeting the temple
and raked into a hundred mounds
by a hundred thurifers
make incense.

And the smoke rises thick
before the mighty altar
and dims the great cathedral
as it climbs, spirals, weaves
upward and upward
into the celestial dome.

The earth smells of ripeness –
ripe harvest,
ripe apples,
ripe fodder –
spicy and sweet.

The last warmth
of the aging year
is tenderly caressing.

The day is breathless.
There is neither speech
nor language
but nature is very clear,
“Be still. Know God
in the work of His hands.”

The sinking sun all day long
veiled by golden haze
at last becomes visible,
then portentous,
as the huge disk
above the mountain altar
sinks lower, lower
to the altar throne
and into the far-flung monstrance
of golden sunset clouds.

All the daylong
the heavenly dome
and all its roof
has declared His glory.

And then day is done
and the shadows of the evening
as the vanguards of night
steal across the sky.

The sun,
through the haze of incense
the color of blood,
even His precious blood,
is the symbol of the Host
in benediction.

The gates of heaven
seem open very wide
to man below.

O Jesus,
now the day is done,
with Thy tenderest blessings
of calm and sweet repose,
put Thy weary people to bed
like little children all.

The great altar is dark
and it is night.

George W. Jones
From the book "Life's Journey".

Photo by Dan Hardison
Balsam, North Carolina

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October 11, 2008


Splash of scarlet, splash of gold,
Mornings touched with autumn's cold,
Weary fields beneath the sun
Resting with their labor done.
Scythe and sickle put away.
Night is longer now than day.

Later now the sun to rise.
Gone are birds and butterflies.
Just a few brave blossoms stay,
Relicts of their kindred gay
Still with courage carrying on
'Till their strength is wholly gone.

Neither field nor forest taints
Nature's purpose with complaints.
Chilled by frost unto the heart
Silently the flowers depart.
Stand the trees, like warriors bold
Dressed in scarlet and in gold.

Nothing sad or tearful here
At the twilight of the year.
These October mornings glow
Just as if they seem to know
Past all doubt and questioning
Life is an eternal thing.

Edgar A. Guest
From the book "Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest", 1934

Photo by Dan Hardison
Blue Ridge Parkway, Western North Carolina

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October 4, 2008

The Leaves Are Falling

The leaves are falling

as I walk a path
once tried and true.

The leaves are falling

where once the path
was bright and clear.

The leaves are falling

and I am unsure
about the path I follow.

The leaves are falling

and it is hard to see
from whence I came.

— Dan Hardison

Photo by Dan Hardison
Bald River Falls, East Tennessee

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