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Showing posts from November, 2009

Advent Virtual Retreat

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A meditation on the readings for Advent 2C for the RevGalBlogPals Virtual Advent Retreat:

Entering the Advent journey is an invitation to travel, intentionally, into the wilderness – the dark night of the soul. One hopes that the Church guides this journey offering opportunities to pray, ponder, stirred up, conflicted. John, the desert prophet, proclaims the burning chaff, the background to our Christmas shopping. Advent sings of incongruous images - new birth and end of life, the Alpha and the Omega, of oppression and freedom, of despair and ultimately of hope. The path is uneven and twisted, spiraling in to the depths of our being, certain we are lost. And then, quietly, the Spirit of God calls to us, “Awake, arise, my love, my dear one.” The early morning desert sun illuminates the way - through the valley to Jordan’s bank - our God is near. Awake and hearken, let each heart prepare a place for the Word to break in, a child to come anew, whispering peace into you and me. Come, our l…

Happy Thanksgiving

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Most gracious God, by whose knowledge the depths are broken up and the clouds drop down the dew: We yield thee hearty thanks and praise for the return of seedtime and harvest, for the increase of the ground and the gathering in of its fruits, and for all the other blessings of thy merciful providence...And, we beseech thee to give us a just sense of these great mercies, such as may appear in our lives by a humble, holy, obedient waling before thee all our days....Amen. (Book of Common Prayer, page840)

Wishing everyone a blessed day of Thanksgiving.

Still

The light slants from the south
casting shadows in its wake
startling the afternoon
- a breath of brilliance
before the final
sigh -
and the sun falls
into darkness

Daylight comes late and leaves early
dark more than light,
Advent,
and yet,
Christmas
busyness takes over
calling out You must!

while inside
my soul whispers
be still
for just a
moment
be still.

It's Coming Around Advent

Advent
Endless indigo
beckoning inward
dark night, soul

Expect
another dawn
anticipate warmth
new light life

Wait, pause
Slow down, take time
let the moment
resonate

Finding Beauty in a Broken World

I am trying to prepare the discussion for this book, which will appear on the RevGals blog on Monday. I have over three pages of quotes....

and a sermon I wrote about refugees from Rwanda and preached on Pentecost 2008.

Here are a few quotes from the book:

Page 264: It is so easy to spiral into fear toward paranoia. We become the terror that possess us.
Page 253 Compromise is fine on anything that is not essential, but you cannot compromise your principles. You cannot compromise the dream or the dream dies, and you suffer spiritually.

Page 249: The full range of emotion: A bag of skulls, a bag of potatoes, both tilled from the same fields.

Page 248: I I hear William Coffin’s voice: “The world is too dangerous for anything but truth and too small for anything but love.”

Page 228: If you do violence to me, you do violence to yourself because we are all human beings.

Page 167: I close my eyes. Two images emerge: one man spitting on the prairie dog on the side of the road and Sarah pressing her l…

The Mullygrubs: A RevGals Friday Five (LOL)

The Cure

Lying around all day
with some strange new deep blue
weekend funk, I'm not really asleep
when my sister calls
to say she's just hung up
from talking with Aunt Bertha
who is 89 and ill but managing
to take care of Uncle Frank
who is completely bed ridden.
Aunt Bert says
it's snowing there in Arkansas,
on Catfish Lane, and she hasn't been
able to walk out to their mailbox.
She's been suffering
from a bad case of the mulleygrubs.
The cure for the mulleygrubs,
she tells my sister,
is to get up and bake a cake.
If that doesn't do it, put on a red dress.

--Ginger Andrews (from Hurricane Sisters)

So this Friday before Thanksgiving, think about Aunt Bert and how she'll celebrate Thanksgiving! And how about YOU?

1. What is your cure for the "mulleygrubs"? If I wake up with a strong case of them, which I have prone to do, Strong coffee followed by my exercise routine (ab work and arm weights) followed by yoga followed by a vigorous bike ride followed by a shower. Then I…

A Prayer by Gertrude of Helfa

Lord, in the presence of your love, I ask that you unite my work with your great work, and bring it to fulfillment. Just as a drop of water, poured into a river, becomes one with the flowing waters, so may all I do become part of all that you do. So that those with whom I live and work may also be drawn to you love.

Gertrude of Helfa, Germany, 1256-c.1302

Is It Wrong?

This morning I am drinking my coffee from a large mug decorated with a couple of snowmen, Christmas tree lights, and snow flakes. The temperature outside is probably 50 degrees at 8:30am, but before long it will a sunny 79 degrees. November and December find me yearning for chilly weather, snow, even some cloudy sky days. Is it wrong?

When I was in Chicago a few weeks ago I delighted in the chilly overcast days. I sat in a Sweet Tomatoe's restaurant drinking coffee with a friend and my daughter and happened to mention this. They, those who have more overcast days than they like, just rolled their eyes. I found however that the cloudy day was easy on my eyes and I appreciated the comfort of wearing a sweater and jeans.

There is a part of me that misses those wintery days when a blizzard locks you indoors. There is a part of me that simply cannot imagine putting up a Christmas Tree when it's sunny and 70 degrees.

Gathering Of Leaders: Christian Formation for the Missionary Church

The highlight for me of the Gathering of Leaders was a presentation offered by The Rev. Dr. Christopher Beeley, professor at Yale Divinity School (in Patristics, I believe). Christopher spoke from The Works of John Newton, "Grace in the Ear" from the fourth chapter of the Gospel of Mark (the parable of the Sower), letter XI. John Newton is the author of the hymn known as "Amazing Grace." He was a ship owner and slave trader before becoming a priest in the Church of England. He went through a mighty conversion, worked to end the slave trade and spent his last years as Rector of united parishes of St. Mary Woolnoth and St. Mary Woolchurch in London.

Beeley focused his presentation on a three step process of faith formation offered by Newton and developed from a reflection of Newton's on the parable of the sower. The first step is "Desire." A person wanders into a church one Sunday morning because....and we were asked to offer up a variety of reasons a pe…

A Friday the 13th Friday Five

From Sophia over at Revgals comes this Friday Five:

1. How is this Friday the 13th looking for you? It's is a rare cloudy, blustery day here with hints of rain, although that won't happen...a few sprinkles, maybe. It's a day off for me and my husband, but no plans yet.

2. Have you ever had anything unlucky happen on Friday the 13th? I suppose one could say that I've had lots of "unlucky" things happen in my life - but I don't think any of them are related in any way what so ever with the 13th of the month falling on a Friday.


3. Did your family of origin embrace or scorn superstitions? Not really. I had a great grandmother who was a Christian Scientist, and she had a deep belief in the power of prayer. My mother had no belief in prayer. This despite her deep love and affection for the grandmother. So, I suppose I could say that prayer was embraced by some of my family and scorned by others. And, so for some, prayer was like a superstition.


4. Are there any …

Gathering Of Leaders Part 3

The Gathering of Leaders conference focused on what it means to be a Misional church. Much of the initial conversation is now old news for those of us who have been doing church for a number of years, but later on the conversation deepened. We began with the typical questions a church must ask of itself: "Who are you?" and "Where are you going?" and, "What do I/we need to put aside in order to be who it is that God intends for me/us to be and to go where God intends for me/us to go?"

I have found that churches may look at these questions but many do not take the time to consider them and answer them with depth and insight. To do this a parish needs to understand how to pray and discern corporately as well as individually. As clergy and lay leaders our role in this process is to build trust with the congregation and discerning group from which the discerning work can take place. The leadership needs to also take care of all pressing needs - whatever those m…

Gathering Of Leaders part 2

The impetus for this, Gathering of Leaders series, stems from the work of Bishop Payne, retired from the Diocese of Texas. The purpose of the Gathering of Leaders is to assist in the empowerment, support and development of such leaders. To this end, the Gathering provides a place for leaders to come together without contentiousness and partisanship to share their love of the Christ and of the Church, to empower each other through mutual encouragment, to deepen their skills as transformational leaders, to establish networks which will aid their ministries, and to clarify their understanding of God's emerging vision for the renewal of the Episcopal Church.

The Gathering of Leaders is committed to the following core values:
>The Missionary call of Christ
>A hope-filled vision for the Episcopal Church
>Respect for differences
>Creative and innovative leadership
>Spiritual and numerical growth
>Peer learning

The opening session unpacked what this means. The GOL brings togeth…

Gathering Of Leaders

A few weeks ago I attended a three day conference called, "Gathering of Leaders." It's premise calls lay and ordained church leaders to gather and reflect on that which brings us together, our common mission as disciples of Christ. To do this we set aside that which might divide us, choosing to acknowledge that all that divisiveness is, in the end, fleeting and futile. Or, as Mary Oliver says,

" ...and how could anyone believe
that anything in this world
is only what it appears to be."

In other words, there is a mystery of God's grace at work and we only see dimly what that mystery might be. Best then to focus on how we are being called to bring forth God's grace and love.

It was a wonderful three days of sharing and exploring. I'll share some of that here in a series of reflections over the next few days or so.

Driving Home

The wedding last Sat. night was delightful. I thoroughly enjoyed officiating at it and spending some time afterward mingling with the guests. My husband was with so that made it even more enjoyable for me. The next morning I rose, not nearly as early as I intended, and began my journey to return Ollie, the giant puppy, back to his rightful owner, my daughter. This meant driving to Chicago. And back.

Our drive to Chicago was uneventful although seemingly endless. I drove straight through stopping only for a four hour nap at a rest stop east of Amarillo Texas, and about seven other breaks (every two hours) to walk the dog, stretch, and eat. It simply seemed to be too much to try and find a hotel to accommodate me the dog. And the rest stop in Texas (I knew from [previous experience) was clean and secure. The stops are staffed with security folk who watch monitors all night. I felt comfortable enough to go inside and wash my face and brush my teeth. Returning to the car I put the seat ba…