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Showing posts from July, 2010

God in the Ordinary, or For the Love of Bread

A reflection on Proper 13C, Colossians: 3:1-11 and Luke 12:13-21 12:16, St. John’s Burlington, WI, August 1, 2010

A few weeks ago in a sermon I preached at another church I used an illustration about making pie crust from scratch, which I love to do. Today I find myself thinking about bread. There’s something about the Gospel of Luke that is causing me to find connections between the ordinary things I do and love in life and the readings. So, I’ve been thinking about making bread and more specifically about making bread for communion. For one thing, at this church, you make your communion bread and have for a long time. It’s an art to make bread and a ministry of love to make communion bread.
A few days ago, on a really hot and humid day, (ok that could be any day this summer), I made bread. There I was early in the morning, mixing yeast into a warm water and honey. Before long the mixture was foamy, evidence of life bubbling within. I added a little butter and salt and then enough…

RevGals Friday Five Meme

Kathrynzj offers this Friday Five Meme, asking us to list five things we like about where we live and one thing we don't....

Five things I like:

1. I'm back in Chicago, 'nuff said (ok, I'll say a bit more)

2. It's not where I lived for the two years prior, although there were some wonderful things about THAT place too - like the view from my backyard and the wildlife

3. Family and friends near by

4. I've found some work here, albeit temporary

5. the gym, where I've been working out for four months

and one I don't...."Tornado Warnings" (which are thankfully few and far apart, even during this hot and stormy summer)

Bread

Bread has been on my mind lately. I'm thinking about the process of mixing yeast into a warm water and honey mixture. Before long this mixture becomes foamy, evidence of life within. Add a little butter and salt and then enough flour to thicken the mixture into a sticky ball. Pour this ball out on a floured table top and kneed more flour into the mixture until it becomes elastic and holds its shape. Smooth some oil onto the surface of the bread ball and place it into a bowl to rise, covered with a cloth. An hour later, maybe less, the bread ball has doubled in size. And then comes one of my favorite parts, plunging my fist into the center of the bread/ball. When I placed the dough in the bowl it was a small dense oily ball at the bottom. But now it fills the bowl like a deep breath. If I don't release the air the yeast will stop growing and the ball will eventually collapse back into itself, and the dough will be ruined. This ball of living dough, soon to be bread, is waiting …

Words Matter, A Conversation of Interest

I spent the better part of six days working on two versions of the press release announcing the Expansive Language conference coming up in two weeks. I am on the planning team working with a group of fabulous women, all of whom are excited about this. Here is a link to the NCC release and below is the other  version of the press release I worked on which we hope will be picked up Episcopal News Service:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Office of Communication, Diocese of Chicago


NCC group to meet in Chicago August 9-11
to discuss the words we use to talk about God


Chicago, July 23, 2010 -- A diverse group of Christians will gather here August 9-11 to talk about the language people use to talk about God and faith.

The National Council of Churches (NCC) symposium, “Language Matters,” will discuss how to talk about God and faith in ways that respects the sensibilities of people from a variety of Christian traditions and viewpoints.

The conversation will focus on the language, images, and symbols used…

Monday Morning Musings

A week from now I'll be in a car somewhere in the middle of Nebraska. I will have left on Sunday afternoon to drive with my friend M2 to San Fransisco. We hope to arrive in SanFran by Wed. And then I fly home on Friday. She, will remain, waiting for her furniture to arrive and the beginning of a new job in a town in So Cal.

In the meantime I have much to do to prepare for that trip, for the Expansive Language conference that follows the week after I return and two sermons to write, one for this Sunday and one for the following. And then there's the stuff of daily life to take care. All that is to say, I'll be a little busy.

That's what I'm thinking about this morning. You?

A Sunday Prayer, Proper 12C

Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life, and for the mystery of love.

We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for the loving care which surrounds us on every side.

We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy and delight us.

We thank you also for those disappointments and failures that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone.

Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying, through which he overcame death' and for his rising to life again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom.

Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know Christ and make him known; and through him, at all times and in all plac…

Prayer is?

A reflection on Proper 12C Luke 11:1-13, St. James West Dundee,IL on the Feast Day of St. James.

A couple of weeks ago I participated in leading Vacation Bible School for a local parish. The lay leaders
who organized the VBS were excited to have 34 kids registered. Of these 34 kids 18 of them were Japanese, and 30 of the kids were under the age of 4, with most of them being around 2 years old.

My assignment was to lead the daily opening and closing worship which was comprised of a prayer, some songs, and a brief discussion about the theme of the day.

I knew, even before we began, that this would be a challenge with such a young and diverse group of kids....

did I mention that the Japanese kids and their moms don’t speak English?

The first day, as we gathered, was the epitome of holy chaos – crying babies, running toddlers, significant language barriers, and a trial and error process of figuring out how to contain this group.

Clearly my work had to be basic.

So I taught them that …

RevGals Friday Five Meme - Decisions, decisions, decisions....

Songbird offers this simple Friday Five Meme about decisions, what do I prefer?

Here they are:

1) Cake or Pie I love both. I love to make both, from scratch. I think of pies as seasonal - berry pies in the summer, Thanksgiving pies, and a banana cream for my husband's birthday. On the other hand I make cake all the time. I am particularly fond of my grandmothers raisin cake with caramel frosting, following a recipe written by her as her handwriting failed. I also love chocolate cake with homemade chocolate frosting.

2) Train or Airplane Usually I prefer flying, I just like to get there. Or if its public transportation I prefer to drive. I find trains, while I love the idea of them, to be noisy. Public transit trains are filled with people talking n their cell phones so loudly that I can every word, even if they are half a car away. Once I took the train in to Chicago on a Sunday morning and it was filled with people going to the Blackhawks game, people who were not drinking water (v…

Four

Image
(photo from the files of mompriest of BE 2.0, that's my foot at the 5:00 position)
In celebration of the RevGalBlogPals fifth anniversary of blogringing, I offer this reflection.

The summer of 2006 was primarily consumed by a job search, one I found myself in quite unexpectedly. It was for a position a bit above what I was doing at small church but with a strong social justice component, which appealed to me. If I got that job it would have required a move across country. In the end I did not get that job, a fact that really saddened me. A number of areas were a concern for me that summer, but if I had known then what I know now, I wouldn't have worried about any of it. Hindsight being what it is....

The best part of that summer four years ago was an article I read in Christian Century about a blog ring for women clergy and their "pals". I didn't even know what a blog was, not really. I was busy trying to have a decent web page for small church and take care of al…

Sunday Prayer Proper 11C

Gracious and generous God, creator of all,
Birth giver of summer, of sun and warmth
Of the green earth and blue seas,
We give thanks for the many blessings
Flowing from you to us, like
A basket of summer fruit.

Gracious and generous God, creator of all,
Pouring your love into Christ Jesus,
Your steadfast promise of love, of
Hope, to us, our faith.
May we hear your words calling,
us to be your Body.

Gracious and generous God, merciful lover
Of souls, tend to those who grieve.
We pray for the suffering of this world
Of body, mind, and spirit, may your
Healing love embrace the pain
Holding it with tender care.

Gracious and generous God, merciful lover
Of souls, take our worries and the
Brokenness of the world and heal it
As only you are able. Speak into
Our lives and show us the way
To be your love, healing.

As Martha offers hospitality to the stranger
As Mary listens carefully to your word
May we learn from our sisters to
Be your hands and heart in the world.
Amen.

Crossposted on RevGa…

Sunday Prayer Proper 11C

Gracious and generous God, creator of all,
Birth giver of summer, of sun and warmth
Of the green earth and blue seas,
We give thanks for the many blessings
Flowing from you to us, like
A basket of summer fruit.

Gracious and generous God, creator of all,
Pouring your love into Christ Jesus,
Your steadfast promise of love, of
Hope, to us, our faith.
May we hear your words calling,
us to be your Body.

Gracious and generous God, merciful lover
Of souls, tend to those who grieve.
We pray for the suffering of this world
Of body, mind, and spirit, may your
Healing love embrace the pain
Holding it with tender care.

Gracious and generous God, merciful lover
Of souls, take our worries and the
Brokenness of the world and heal it
As only you are able. Speak into
Our lives and show us the way
To be your love, healing.

As Martha offers hospitality to the stranger
As Mary listens carefully to your word
May we learn from our sisters to
Be your hands and heart in the world.
Amen.

Crossposted on Rev…

It's a Love Thing

A reflection Luke 10:38-42 for Proper 11C

I happen to love making pies from scratch, crust and all.

I don’t remember how I learned to make pie crust. I think my mother taught me once, but back then I found the process tedious. Years later when I wanted to make a pie I had to use my “Joy of Cooking” to teach myself again. In those days, some 25 years ago, I always used lard for the crust, which makes it very flavorful and flaky, but is incredibly unhealthy.
Around the fourth of July I was watching Martha Stewart make pies crusts on her show – berry pies – and that got me thinking about a fresh blueberry pie. Mindful of Martha Stewarts’ instructions, as I began to make my pie crust I chilled the shortening, the flour, the water, and the bowl and the utensils for mixing the dough.

Once everything was well chilled I began the slow and arduous process of cutting the shortening into the flour, the really old fashioned way, using two table knives. A friend of mine was over and she asked wh…

Friday Five: Pets or Not?

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Jan, over at RevGals, posts this Friday Five Meme on family pets:

1. Did you grow up with pets? Yes. We had a orange tabby named Samantha and then another one named Tabitha. They were outdoor cats, loved to roam the farm lands around our house when we lived in Idaho. Later,when we lived in Wisconsin the roamed the woods behind our house. Often they'd bring us, uhm, their catch of the day. We also had a basset hound named Lady. Later, when I was in high school we had a toy poodle named Hair-Bear, because we kept his hair long.

2. Do you have any pets now? Two cats, Bootsie (soon to be 13), and Shadow (soon to be 5, in this photo)

and two dog - Roxie, a lab/red heeler mix age 12, and Ruby, a Viszla age 8.



Our son has a 9 month old puppy (who lives with us). Her name is Emmy and she is a pit-pull/border collie mix.

And our daughter has an almost 2 year old Weimaraner named Ollie.




3. What is the funniest or worst thing any of your pets have ever done? uhm, see photo above of Ollie. He i…

Night

Just before bedtime I or, usually, my husband takes our dogs outside for one last opportunity to take care of business. This is not an activity that enables us to be passive, we can't just open up a door and send them out. First of all in most of the places we have lived, and we have lived in a number of places in our 25 years of marriage, most places have not had a fenced in yard. So we've had to leash 'em up and take them out. Or attach them to the tether we constructed and send them out. Even then, though we go out with them. My husband usually has a smoke while out with the dogs. He is one of those few people who still smokes. I kind of like that about him even though I am not a smoker. True, I don't let him smoke in the house, I haven't actually seen him smoke in 22 years, since I was pregnant with our daughter. But I know he has one when he takes the dogs out for their late night duty.

For a few years we did live in a house with a fenced in backyard. But thos…

Monday Morning Musings

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(photo from here)

Today we begin five days of Vacation Bible School using the Baobab curriculum from Augsburg. I'm just helping out at this church, I'm not the official priest or clergy in charge. I'm interested to see how it goes, we will have about 34 kids, ages 1-8. Since I start the day off with prayer I'm wondering about a prayer on the theme of Trust that would have some sort of meaning for 2 year olds. Oh, and did I mention that 18 of these kids are Japanese? And two of the two and half year old are my twin god-daughters. The VBS leaders are really excited and invested in the kids having a good time. I think the prayer will have to be very simple. I know from previous years that I won't really know what works for this group until about Wednesday, when the newness has worn off and we have some sense of the routine. No matter what though, we will pray in some capacity, even the intent to pray is a form of prayer, right? And I'm sure we will have fun!
In addi…

Sunday Prayer Proper 10C

God of love and compassion
have mercy on us
lying here in this ditch of life
give us your hand
tend our wounds with your love.

God of love and compassion
tend to the suffering
in the world today and every day
be a gentle balm
that soothes our pain of body and spirit.

God of love and compassion
reach out to those
afflicted by war, famine, oil spills,
tragedies of weather or economic failure
and comfort them as only you are able.

God of love and compassion
embrace those who have died
lift them into your arms of love
comfort their families and friends
with the assurance of your grace.

God of love and compassion
we give you thanks
for the gift of life, and especially for
the gift your love poured out in Christ Jesus.
May we be that love in the world. May we be
the hands and heart of Christ.
Amen.

Who's That In The Ditch?

A reflection on Proper 10C - Luke 10:25-37

The phone rang, it was a colleague of mine, she had something she wanted to discuss with me and wondered if we could talk over lunch. A few days later while we ate our salads, she told me about Dorothy, a single mom with a young daughter, living on disability and public aide. My colleague assured me that she had visited Dorothy; that her situation was legitimate and that what she needed was some assistance until her daughter was out of high school. Up to this point my colleague was providing that assistance but now she was leaving her church and moving out of state. She wondered, since the woman lived near my church, if we could help? I thought perhaps my church might want to help. I took Dorothy’s situation to our leadership team and we talked about it. In the end we agreed to help with monthly groceries and PACE bus passes. We held food drives and had people bring in chicken and hamburger, cereal and cheese, vegetables and fruit. Sometim…

The Ditch

A reflection on Luke 10:25-37 for Proper 10C

The phone rang, it was a colleague of mine, she had something she wanted to discuss with me and wondered if we could talk over lunch. A few days later while we ate our salads, she told me about Dorothy, a single mom with a young daughter, living on disability and public aide. Dorothy’s husband was murdered a number of years ago, no one knows the circumstances surrounding that death. But in the years since Dorothy has become a scrapper – one who knows how scrape by on very little. My colleague assured me that she had visited Dorothy; that her situation was legitimate and that what she needed was some assistance now and then until her daughter was out of high school. Up to this point my colleague was providing that assistance but now she was leaving her church and moving out of state. She wondered, since the woman lived near my church, if I could help? I thought I could, and I thought my church might want to help too. So I took Dorothy’s sit…

In Fond Memory Of....

A funeral homily based on Matthew 25:34-40
"Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

We are gathered here this morning to celebrate the life of RFS, know to us as D. D was a man of man…

Sunday Prayer Proper 9C

God of all creation, of Me and you, of
Earth and sea, of Sky and stars, God of
All, bless us this day with the freedom
Of your love, freely given, freely shared.

God who suffers when we are arrogant,
When we are prideful and hurtful,
God who weeps when we turn away
From your love, freely given, freely shared.

Be with those who suffer this day and night
Suffer at the end of life. Suffer from rich oil which gives
So much to life and yet can take life just as easily.
From all the tragedies of the world, love us whole.

God bless us with prophets who dare to
Speak to us in the ordinary, in the every day
Unnamed voices calling out and showing us the
Depth of your love, freely given, freely shared.

May we listen, may we hear, may we follow,
may we lead, may we pray in your name,
may we heal in your name, may we be your heart
may we help as once again you make the world whole.

God transform us with your love, make us whole
That we can make whole those we meet, strangers,
Family, friend…

Finding God

A reflection on Proper 9C: 2 Kings 5:1-14; Luke 10:1-11, 16-20

A few months ago I drove from Tucson Arizona north through southern Utah and then east to Chicago, over 2000 miles of driving. Along the way I visited family and places where I have an ancestral connection. My family, on both sides, were pioneers who travelled west in the late 1840’s to settle Salt Lake City and northern Utah. One of these, my great, great, great, great, great, grandfather was named George Washington Hill. He was born in Ohio, moved to Missouri where he met Cynthia Utley Stewart, and after some time asked her to marry him. She refused telling him that she was a Mormon and reportedly said, “You don’t want to marry a Mormon.” He persisted and finally she relented and married him. He later converted and then led his new family on the journey west in 1847. Cynthia and George had nine kids – so somewhere out there I have a lot of cousins. A few of them have written biographies of George, which can easily be fou…