Welcome to Ora et Exerceo, a website exploring the relationship between prayerful awareness and musical practice. My name is Rick Lord and I recently served as the Rector of Church of the Holy Comforter in Vienna, Virginia. I had the privilege of serving this vibrant Episcopal parish since the summer of 1994 and am now retired or “re-wired” and self-employed.
This blog is something of an online journal for me. While I tend to write primarily about matters related to personal faith, wholistic spirituality, and missional leadership, I have in recent years discovered a renewed passion for the study of the classical guitar (I majored in guitar performance as an undergraduate). What’s different about my recent efforts with the classical guitar is that I have come to appreciate the time I spend in practice as a musical form of contemplative prayer and that has been a rewarding and somewhat surprising discovery.
In 1999 Pope John Paul II composed a Letter to Artists and dedicated it “To all who are passionately dedicated to the search for new “epiphanies” of beauty so that through their creative work as artists they may offer these as gifts to the world.” In this Letter, he reminds us that the object of all great art is beauty, and beauty makes us nostalgic for God. Whether we consider ourselves people of faith or not, the arts arouse in us what he describes as a ‘universal desire for redemption.’
So in the days ahead, I plan to explore the intriguing relationship between art and beauty, transcendence and nostalgia, prayer and practice and other things that keep human life distinctively human. From time to time I’ll be posting video projects from my guitar studies on the portfolio page, and some recent sermons as well. I hope that you may find some inklings of beauty through these pages and that you might share a few with me along the way.
Thanks for stopping by,