Friday, April 29, 2011

RevGal Friday Five: Royal Wedding Addition

Songbird over at RevGalBlogPals offers this Friday Five:

1) Will you be watching? If so, is this your first royal wedding? I am watching, and yes it is my first royal wedding. When Diana married I was in my 20's and not interested in getting up early to watch the event. I do remember my mother getting up to watch it, making me feel as though I have become my mother (LOL).

2) The bride has chosen as her wedding cake a fruitcake. Where do you stand on this pastry? I think their wedding fruitcake will be delicious...I hear thay are also going to have a chocolate cake, which would be my preference.

3) The dress code for royal weddings has not seen the same sad decline as that for most other weddings. If you could design your own royal wedding hat, what color would it be and what special decoration would it feature? I'd probably wear a subtle shade of pink or ivory, with a fun ribbon and floral trim.

4) Any chance the Archbishop of Canterbury is using a Sustainable Sermon (tip of the mitre to the Vicar of Hogsmeade)? What would you tell the couple were you offering the homily? The Bishop of London preached (although who would have known that) and he did a fine job IMHO. I always talk about the nature of love, and how in the English language we only have one word for love, but in other languages there are different words for the different types of love. Then I talk about hesed, phylia, agappe, and one other which I can't remember at the moment. From that I talk about the nature of love maturing over the course of time and the challenges we face in relationships. I also talk about how love in marriage is intended to encourage each person to aid the other in becoming most fully who they are to be.

In this case, though, the words would have to be somewhat different because they are also public figures and will one day be leaders of the nation...so the words need to be more expansive. I thought the Bishop of London said it well. And, I like their choice of scripture, too.

5) Believe it or not, kathrynzj is getting up early mostly to see the wedding dress. By the time this post is up, the world will have seen it. Did you like it? Yes. I might have preferred it to not have that bustle thing in back, though...

ALTERNATIVELY: If you don't want to play this, and think we are goofballs, that's okay. Instead of telling us we're goofballs, why don't you tell us something fun you're going to do this weekend. We promise to get around to visit all of you eventually...well, I watched, and I played, and I don't feel like a goodball...I feel like a good Anglican who participated in a Church of England marriage ceremony.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Here Comes The Sun

A year ago around this time I flew to Tucson to pick up my car, the fated VW Passat, that had the engine sludge. If you are an owner of a 2000-2004 VW Passat you know what I am talking about, because you are part of class action suit which is about to be settled. The engine in our Passat died in December of 2009, launching us into some intense negotiations with VW. In the end we paid over $5,000.00 to have the engine replaced. When we moved in February of 2010 we were still negotiating arguing with VW and left the car at the dealer. By the end of April we forked over a large chunk of change and had it fixed. But, then I had to go get it.

Last spring was warm and dry. Day after day of sun. The leaves on trees unfolded in April, instead of the middle of May, which is the norm around here. So unlike this spring, with day after day of relentless rain.

My trip to Tucson led to a wonderful drive back to Chicago. I picked up my son, who was with friends in Phoenix, and his dog (little miss "M") and we drove north to Escalante, Utah to see my dad. The photo in my header was taken from the deck of his house, a sunrise that led to a beautiful day in the canyon lands of southern Utah. We stayed with my dad for a couple of days and then drove north to Salt Lake City where we saw a few more family members, and then in a straight through push we drove to Chicago. My son and I had a great trip together.

With rain predicted here until Thursday, and then more rain for the upcoming weekend, it seems that this photo of the sun is all I'm going to have for awhile. I can only hope that all this rain is going to lead to a beautiful May.

The truth is, last spring, while there was a lot of sunny weather, my heart was heavy. I had so many decisions to make and no real sense of direction. What to do? But this year, while spring weather is rainy, stormy, and sometimes dangerous, my heart is light and my spirit delights in the direction my life is going.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday Morning Musings

My earworm this morning is Joni Mitchell, "Woke Up It Was a Chelsea Morning" - which means I need to listen to this song on my iPod. Joni Mitchell was a favorite of mine when I was in high school back in the 1970's. I haven't listened to her since then, until I recently when I loaded a couple of her albums into my iTunes library. Anyway, the sun is not shining, it's another rainy chilly day, which seems to be the new norm for this region.

I don't mind though. I still have a fair amount to do to organize this new residence where my husband and I live. We arrived here a week ago, our belongings arrived the next day. And, now, we are mostly unpacked, just a few boxes of odds and ends remain. Today I anticipate hanging our artwork. And also I give thanks that everything made it here safe and sound, following a move from Arizona, a year in storage, and then the move here. I am especially relieved because my husband and I packed everything, and he drove the (monster)truck that moved us from Arizona to Chicago - we'd only have ourselves to blame if our things were shattered. As it is, though, we just shake our heads in amazement that all is well. It's been delightful to open boxes and "remember" this or that...

So, hanging artwork, unpacking and organizing the final items, is on my agenda for this week. On Friday our kids arrive for a short visit. And, next Monday I begin work. That's my week, what about yours?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday Prayer: Easter!

Mystery
open us
to your mystery
of love.

Open us
as you 
were opened for us
in love.

God of all
being
Reaching out your hand
in love

May we take
the hand
extended, open
for us.

And may we
offer
the same extended
love, all.
Amen.

Crossposted on RevGalBlogPals and A Place for Prayer

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

Am I a stone, and not a sheep,
That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy cross,
To number drop by drop Thy Blood’s slow loss,
And yet not weep?

Not so those women loved
Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
Not so the thief was moved;

Not so the Sun and Moon
Which hid their faces in a starless sky.
A horror of great darkness at broad noon –
I, only I.

Yet give not o’er
But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;
Greater than Moses, turn and look once more
And smite a rock.

- by Christina Rossetti

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Prayers Please, Otherwise, Let's Ignore This

I have learned that the Rev Terry Jones is planning a visit to my new home town. And, as if all of his recent behavior hasn't been in bad enough form, as it he doesn't reflect the worst of Christianity, he has chosen Good Friday as the day of his visit.

Here is a quote from an email I received:
"Jones seems to have been joined by an interesting crew. The protest won't be in front of the Islamic Center of America but they intend to hold a press conference on Good Friday between 5 and 8 pm. They will be discussing jihad, sharia and the radicalization of 'Moslems' (their spelling) in America. Participating in the press conference will be: Ahmed Abaza of The Truth TV who claims to be a former Muslim who has found Jesus, Rabbi Nacham Shifren of L.A. - right wing, West Bank settler type, and Frank Fiorello, the founder of the Order of the Dragon. They say: 'We are holding a demo about the middle east the peace process by exposing some lies about Israel/Palestine relations. We are also in protest to the thousands of people worldwide who are dying because of jihad.'"

There is a document making the rounds, being signed by houses of faith "Affirming Our Community" that is speaking out against Rev. Jones and for the dignity with which people in Dearborn live together.

Soon, I will move into this community. I ask your prayers for these people. I have found them to be thoughtful, gracious, kind, intelligent, and, faithful.

I ask your prayers for this community. May we all learn to live with gratitude and grace, trusting in a God who is bigger than we are. I simply cannot believe in a tiny, narrow, angry God.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday Morning Musings

Up early this morning to find that the rain has turned to snow. We have an accumulating snow storm, with about an inch or so and it is still snowing. It is beautiful. But a bit frustrating since I have packed everything - even my winter coat - presuming I'd be ok with several layers of fleece.

After all, today is moving day, and I will be active. We spent the weekend packing, with only last minute things to pack today. I begin my new job on Monday, May 2, so I'll be in transition for awhile...and I don't want to offer many details because some folks from my new community and parish stop by this blog. (Hi! Looking forward to meeting you in real life).

The congregation is in a transition of its own - toasting and celebrating the good work of their interim and this transition time. Endings are an important part of transitions - I want to stay under the radar until it's time for me to enter the picture in early May.

I'm also thinking about Holy Week and wondering where I will go to church and when I will go? I doubt there will be a Triduum for me this year...but we can probably manage to get to services (Cathedral? Another church?) for Easter Day. It will be strange to be in transition during this particular week - but rather symbolic, too - travelling, and preparing to begin a new life.

Anyway, that's my day, and a bit about my week. What about you and your week?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday Prayer: Palm/Passion Sunday

God of all hopefulness, God of my life
On this holy day of Palms and Passions 
and through this 
the holiest of weeks,
when our Lenten journey
finds its completion
through pain
sorrow
despair
illness
losses of all kinds,
through fear
anger
hatred
vitriol
and finger pointing.

Through a (self) examination of
all the ways we work against you -
against your hopes and dreams 
for creation
against your love poured out 
in flesh and blood -
we hang our heads and bow our hearts
seeking your forgiveness
yearning for your guidance
desiring your compassion.

Fill us we pray, with the ability to
turn to you, kneeling before your grace
open our spirit that we may take you in
let you in
receive you in 
taking You in..

Into our hearts and minds and souls 
Let you in
that we might turn to you, 
return to you, 
be transformed in you, 
through you, by you, 
for you.

Transformed 
once more,
this day, this week,
into a new self, 
me, you.

May we become a new people, 
a gentle people, 
a people of
love and compassion, 
born anew from our
deepest sorrow 
through the breadth of your 
forgiveness
and love.

And then, may we do likewise.
Forgive.
And, love.
Amen.

Crossposted on RevGalBlogPals and A Place for Prayer

Friday, April 15, 2011

RevGals Friday Five Meme: Birthdays!

Jan, over at RevGals offers this Friday Five:

April is a month of family birthdays for me: Today is my mother-in-law's 80th birthday and on Sunday my third child's 26th birthday, so I am thinking about birthdays. Easter would have been my mother's 93rd birthday, but she died when she was only 72 years old.

I love to celebrate birthdays, but I know others don't like to as much. My second child doesn't care about birthdays that much.

How about you? What do you think of birthdays?


1. What are your feelings about celebrating birthdays, especially your own? I love to celebrate birthdays. Life is a gift to be celebrated. But I don't really need to make a big deal out of them. In my family we typically have a festive meal with cake or pie and gifts. Usually that meal is home cooked (or BBQ'd) although for my birthday, since I am the primary meal preparer, we do go out to one of my favorite places.

2. Do you have any family traditions about birthdays? Always includes a meal, a cake (often carrot cake, or some decadent chocolate cake, or, for my husband, banana cream pie), followed by gifts. And usually laughter as we share stories.

3. Is it easy to remember friends' and family members' birthdays? If so, how do you do it? I use to write birthdays on the calendar that hung in my kitchen and transfer the names and dates to the new yearly calendar. But, now I rarely use calendars that way. I remember most birthdays because of FaceBook. I usually know that the birthday is coming up, but FB helps me remember the exact day.

4. What was one of your favorite birthdays? (or your unhappiest?) Favorite was my 50th. I simply dreaded turning 50, and every one knew it. My kids decorated the house with balloons and streamers - completely surprising me. Then, we went out for a great meal. I know there were gifts but what I remember is the fun I had with my family that night - which really took the edge of off turning 50.

My worse birthday was the year I turned 30 because a few weeks before my birthday I had a miscarriage. It was a sad time.

5. Post anything else you want to share about birthdays, including favorite foods, songs, and/or pictures. Our favorite birthday foods include: homemade BBQ ribs (son), grilled salmon or steak (daughter), various Polish dished for my husband, that I learned to make from his mother, and Italian food at a local restaurant for me.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday Morning Musings

I'm awake and up before sunrise. The pleasant breeze and songbirds roused me from sleep and beckoned me out of bed. A mug of hot coffee in hand and a "To Do" list forming in my head. I am anxious - filled with anticipation - the moving company loads the truck a week from today. I want to pack as much as I can in the next few days, every possible extraneous thing. And then make the big push on Friday and Saturday to pack everything else.

Frankly, we don't have that much to pack. But almost everything that remains unpacked is something we use daily. What can we do without?

I thought my summer shoes were fine to pack. Those went in a box last week. But yesterday's 87 degree sunny heat demanded that I pull out a pair of walking sandals. My husband and I spent the day in Chicago, along the lake front. Our daughter ran in the Shamrock Shuffle, an 8K race through the city. Some 40,000 people raced, and plenty of people watched and cheered. It was scalding hot and humid for the post-race festivities - where I was stunned to learn that the racers received coupons for free beer. Carbs or not, drinking beer after a 5 mile run, in that heat, struck me as a really bad idea.

A short time later, after showers for the racers, we gathered at the Cheesecake Factory at the Hancock Center: my husband, daughter, her boyfriend (Keith) and his mother, father, sister and her daughter, and me. It was the first time the parents of this dating couple (my daughter and Keith) had met. We had a great time, and, of course, good food. A few hours later we were home, walking our dogs. By that time the sky's had clouded over and rain was coming. The heat and humidity was relentless.

Now the temperatures have cooled and are not expected to rise above the 60's for the next week. So, I'll repack the shoes and tape the box shut. And I'll spend this day packing loose ends and anything I think I can live without. Most of this week will include having coffee or lunch with friends on Tues. Weds. Thurs. and Friday. And, of course as much packing as I can do. Friday through Sunday will be the final packing push.

That's my week. What about you?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday Prayer Lent 5A

Let us pray for the whole world
for all creation, for every living creature
for plants and flowers, for animals and for
fragile human beings.
Gracious God, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Let us pray for those who suffer
the sick and dying, for sorrow, and for the loss
that separates us from the love
of the eternal God.
Gracious God, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Let us pray for the nations of the world
for all people, for the land and water
that sustains and renews life.
Gracious God, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Let us pray for the leaders of nation and cities;
May they remember to lean into you and to
listen to your words.
Gracious God, in your mercy,
Hear Our Prayer.

Gracious God, protect those who have no place to
live and no one to love them. Help them to know
you, and to know love.
Gracious God, in your mercy,
Hear Our Prayer.

We offer up our prayers of concern particularly
for those we love, family, friends, and others.
Fill us with Your Spirit.
Gracious God, in your mercy,
Hear Our Prayer.

For all the blessings of this life we offer thanks,
help us to have generous hearts and giving spirits.
Help us to be your hands in the world.
Gracious God, in your mercy,
Hear Our Prayer.

Amen.

Crossposted on RevGalBlogPals and A Place for Prayer

Friday, April 08, 2011

RevGals Friday Five:Moving Toward Resurrection edition

Over at RevGals Dorcas is yearning for liturgy that enhances the season of Lent and leads us through Holy Week into Easter. (Those of us in liturgical traditions understand how powerful these liturgies are...) From that place of longing she offers this Friday Five:

Meanwhile, today I am asking for your thoughts on that movement from darkness to light. Tell us five ways in which you are anticipating, or your life is moving towards light, joy, hope--new things: new ideas, new hobbies, new people...and so on.

1. Darkness: Many years ago, at an all night prayer vigil/watch held between Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, I spent an intense hour in prayer. It was 1:00AM, and I was alone in a candle lit chilly chapel, surrounded by the consecrated bread and wine, plants, a few candles. It was the first time I had observed this "praying with Jesus in Garden of Gethsemane." It was profound. Places of darkness, while not comfortable, are always places that are leading us to new life. Like winter leads to spring, like seeds in the earth that take root in the depth of dark soil, like the times in life when we feel lost and abandoned, like Jesus in the garden. I don't like being in the darkness - because I don't know when, how, or where, new life will come. But I do know that it will come and that my job, in that darkness, is keep moving - however incrementally. And, to trust that God is working with me, holding my faith. Resurrection is the sure and certain sign that God journeys with us through all the chaos of life, and works with us to restore "order" and bring forth new life.

2. Spring: Although the weather remains chilly, rainy, and more winter-like than I'd prefer, there are buds forming on the trees and tulips pushing up through the ground. These simple signs point to the reality of the gift of darkness as a part of the path toward to resurrection.

3. Moving: In about ten days I will move, for a new job. Both my husband and I have found new jobs in the same area, which requires a move five hours east. So, we move, but are gainfully employed. In the meantime I continue to move forward some of my work with WordsMatter Expansive Language project. I am in the process of organizing a graphic designer to work on the conversation guide. Once that work is complete it will be posted on the Episcopal Church Center website in a downloadable format. My work with this project, which has been very rewarding, is winding down. Soon, my only task will be chairing the Working Group for the project. So, moving and movement, are gifts in my life that are leading toward "resurrection."

There are so many ways that my life is moving forward, wonderful and exciting ways. Spring is coming. Easter is coming. Resurrection is coming.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Monday Morning Musings

I offer this for my Monday Morning Musing, thanks to Katherine E at Meaning and Authenticity....I encourage your to watch the entire clip.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Sunday Prayer, Lent 4A

God of light and night, hear our prayers

Into the deep of night,
in a world of pain,
despair overwhelms -
for the sick, the dying,
the lost, those who weep,
those who mourn,
for those who tend to the weary
and care for the tired -
what can we do, when
You, oh God, seem
so far away?

God of light and night, hear our prayers.

Into the deep of night,
a sorrow unveiled,
the sin, our sins
hurt, and, hurting -
for the broken places,
for the wounded spirits,
for things known and
things unknown, for
all the ways we contribute
to the chaos that
separates us from you -
what to do?
O God, what?

God of light and night, hear our prayers.

God, Spirit, You
in the deep of night,
cause roots to form,
new life springs forth,
turning our hearts and minds
to your heart, your desire,
for hope, love -
what can we do?
Trust in you.

God of light and night, hear our prayers

Fill us with your kindness
like healing oil of Samuel
anoint us with your grace
name us as yours,
sanctified in your Spirit,
to do likewise
anoint, heal, love, pray, care
as you do,
with mercy and compassion.

God of light and night, hear our prayers

Crossposted on A Place for Prayer and RevGalBlogPals

Friday, April 01, 2011

RevGals Friday Five:Quick Pick Edition

Kathrynjz, over at RevGals is offering a quick pick Friday Five asking what five things are going well in our lives right now.

All five of mine are wrapped around this: The very best thing is my new call and the preparation involved to move and begin that position. I'm excited and looking forward to joining this community in ministry. I wrote about this in previous posts, you can read more if you wish.

I will with God's help....uncomplicating the complicated

I was baptized when I was nine years old. I have vivid memories of the baptism itself, of being terrified, as I was fully immersed three ti...