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Showing posts from July, 2011

Monsters Under the Bed

A reflection on the readings for Proper 13A: Genesis 32:22-32

When I was a little girl I had, for a time, this fear that a monster lived under my bed. I was old enough to know that the fear was irrational, so I didn't tell anyone about it, but I was young enough that it still took hold of me every night. The monster only liked the night time, after my bedroom light was turned off for the night. During the day I was perfectly fine in my room. But every night, after I turned out the light I would have to leap into my bed in order to avoid that monster that was suddenly present under the bed.

Now, it wasn't the sort of monster that was going to come out from under the bed. No. This monster laid on its back under the bed and had long arms that would reach out from underneath and grab me! Or at least that was my fear, it never actually got me. Once I had successfully jumped into bed and covered up I had to sleep in the center of the mattress. If I ventured too close to either edge…

Friday Five: Repeat Edition

Sharon, over at RevGals, posts this Friday Five, an updated repeat of one of her favorite Friday Fives.

A decision from history: There is a chair that still sits in the Assembly Room of the Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hall). Legend has it that it was George Washington's chair, the back carved with a half sun. Benjamin Franklin would look at it and wonder whether it was a rising or a setting sun. Eventually Franklin decided it was the hopeful symbol of the rising sun, a sign of the future of our new republic.

How do you decide? Check out the following pairs and tell which one of each appeals to you most:

1) Sunrise or Sunset: both, although I tend to see more sunsets as I am usually. Ot up early enough to watch sunrises. However when I lived in Arizona I had a great view from my backyard and appreciated many sun rises and sets.

2) To the Mountains or To the Beach: Mountains., born in Utah, mountains are part of my childhood, my spirituality, and a place of awe.

3) Coffe…

Relief

The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep!
You must ask for what you really want
Don't go back to sleep!
People are going back and forth
Across the doorsill where the two worlds touch
The door is round and open
Don't go back to sleep!
(Rumi)

Like most of the country we have had two weeks of record breaking temperatures and high humidity. We've had bad storms and power outages, no rain or too much rain. It's been a brutal summer.

But today, oh my. Today the humidity broke, and the temperatures dropped to the 80's. It's one of those beautiful summer days that make one's heart sing in harmony with the birds outside. A gentle breeze wafts through the trees, windows are open, and the air is soft.


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Sunday Prayer 12A /Pentecost 6

Oh God, how are we to understand the tragedies
that befall your creation?
Humans inflicting pain on others -
economic pain,
emotional pain,
physical pain,
even the taking
of life.
Why all this violence?
Why so much anger?
Why?
How are we to pray?
What can we say?
We give it all to you.

To you, O God,
We incline our lives.
Giving you our silent
tears, the screams that cannot
leave our chest, the agony of
grief so deep we do not know
how to pray.
What are we to say?
We give it all to you.

With sighs too deep for words,
we give it all
to you.

Trusting in your Spirit
to do that which we
cannot.
To guide our lives
to turn our hearts
to transform this
broken world
and bring forth
healing,
as only You
can do.

We know not how to pray
but with sighs too deep
for words, Your spirit
births us whole, again.
Amen.

Prayer Primordial

Our scripture readings this summer are following three primary texts: Genesis from the Hebrew texts, Romans from the New Testaments, and the Gospel of Matthew. We've talked about Genesis being a collection of stories told around the camp fires of nomadic people which were finally collated into a written text some 3000 years ago. Matthew, one of the Gospels is interested in showing how Jesus is the fulfillment of Jewish Law – of what it means to love God, love self, and love others. Our reading this morning gives us images of the kingdom of God – what it looks like when God is active in creation, these are images of transformation and growth.

Paul's Letter to the Romans was written about 57/58, to a Jewish community in Rome that had been followers of Jesus for about a decade. It was written before the Roman Jewish war of 70, which divided the rabbi following Jews from the Jesus following Jews.

As the longest letter written by Paul, Romans is the most complicated and the most …

Friday Five:Overcoming

Sally, over at RevGals, offers this Friday Five;

Today is the Feast day of St Mary Magdalene, and as I've been pondering her life, and the inspiration she is I find in her a wonderful mix of struggle and devotion. She is both the woman who needed a deep healing and the woman who was declared (by many) to be the first amongst the apostles. She inspires me by the way she overcame so much to become so much. When I stop to think about the folk who do inspire me they are almost always overcomer's in some way or another.

With that in mind I bring you this Friday Five; List five people who inspire you to dare to step out into becoming more: Bonus question, a song or fictional character that inspires you to move beyond boundaries!

1. From a young age I had an active prayer life, and through that a relationship with God. Like any relationship, my relationship with God has had it's challenges. I suppose I have been a challenge for God, too....although God never mentions that. I have l…

Monday Musings on Tuesday Morning

Yesterday was a day of errands. It began with an early morning dog walk, in a vain effort to beat the heat. It still felt as if we were walking through soup. The air thick, humid, even our windows are steamed. It rained briefly, but that only added to the rainforest effect of moisture heavy air.

Most of the day was spent indoors. I exercised, gave myself a manicure and pedicure, French-tip style. And, I read "Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life" by Karen Armstrong. We are having a summer book discussion group with our first meeting today. If you are interest in this book you may enjoy this video of Karen Armstrong presenting at St. John the Divine in NYC.

Today, and most of this week will be filled with meetings, and efforts to keep cool. What about you and your work? Stay cool!


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The contents on t…

Weeds Crop Up, Sometimes That Is How God Works...

A reflection on Genesis 28:10-19a and Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43, for Proper 11A
Our reading from Matthew today is another parable. Last week I talked about parables and shared a reflection on weeding my garden. That reflection would not have worked for this reading because last week I talked about the pleasure I find in weeding my garden, but in this parable Jesus suggests that we leave the weeds to grow along side the wheat. Any gardener knows that this is not really good advice – since the weeds will compromise the health and productivity of the crop. But Jesus is not talking about food, he's talking about human beings. In this parable he's suggesting that human beings learn to live together, that we accept our differences, and strive to live without judging others, trusting that God will sort it all out in the end.

Our reading from Genesis continues the story of Isaac and Rebekah and their sons, Esau and Jacob. The battle between Esau and Jacob began in the womb and continues…

RevGals Friday Five: Gratitude in a Name

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Jan, over at RevGals offers this Friday Five meme on Gratitude:

A wise person once told me to make an ABC list of things I am grateful for any time I feel sad or depressed. It is a good practice when one is feeling happier than that, too. So for this Friday Five, I suggest that you use your name or nickname of about five letters and express your gratitude about something that starts with each letter. Some people have longer names, so you decide how you will go about this! (Last names, middle names, and nicknames count!)

I'll have to think about this one, gratitudes that begin with T.E.R.R.I.

T - Topsoil, which helps my garden and flowers grow. Tomatoes, which are growing thick in my garden - Roma, Cherry, and Big Boy. Today, a day off. Tomorrow, because I live in hope.

E - Environment, I have lived in a many different environments from cold to hot, from progressive to traditional, but my current environment feels just right. I do worry about the global environment and global warmin…

Interfaith Worship at Christ Episcopal Church, Dearborn, Makes the News

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This article appeared in the Detroit News today.



Interfaith worship provides education, understanding
The Rev. Terri C. Pilarski,Gail Katz and Eide Alawan

Imagine the primary Sunday morning service in a Christian church that begins with a 9-year-old Muslim boy offering the Islamic Call to Prayer, followed by a woman lighting candles on a table set with bread, wine and grape juice and offering the Jewish prayers that begin the Sabbath worship, followed by an Episcopal priest offering the "collect of the day."

So began the interfaith service over the weekend at Christ Episcopal Church in Dearborn. Parishioners specifically requested the service after reading about the national "Faith Shared" project, organized by Interfaith Alliance and Human Rights First. The challenge in planning such a service was in knowing who from the other faith traditions to invite to help organize and participate in the service.

It was a serendipitous coincidence, in which the date scheduled n…

Monday Morning Musings

I am having a good time this summer remembering how to preach without a text. For me this reflects two realities. One is that my inner self is feeling peaceful, and from this peaceful state I can hold onto the points I want to make between scripture and life. Instead of using the pulpit I am coming down into the congregation and preaching from the center aisle. The second reality is that I feel comfortable with the congregation and value being closer to the people, it's more intimate preaching for the smaller summer community. To be this intimate requires a level of trust. And, so the third reality is that I feel a sense of trust building between me and the congregation. From that place of trust I find myself inviting the congregation into a dialogue for some of the sermon time. It's a process for them, too, finding their voice and feeling safe enough to speak up.

Yesterday I planned to walk my dogs and then ride my bike to a yoga class. But after the dog walk, and a 30 minute…

Sunday Prayer

For all the blessings of this life,
we give thanks to You, Creator God.
For: families, friends, colleagues,
neighbors, and strangers, who nurture
us, that the love of God may grow
within. That Your love, your Word,
like a seed, may grow to produce
in us, good fruit.

May your love, be like a seed, taking root and growing strong.

For the leaders of various nations
and cities, that they may lead with
strong hearts and gentle hands and
generous spirits, with compassion
and mercy, with wisdom and grace.
May they reflect your will guiding
all their actions and decisions.

May your love, be like a seed, taking root and growing strong.

For those who serve in harms way,
those who live in dangerous places,
those who live in areas of war and strife,
those who live in fear, those who worry
about employment, bills, food, and
struggle just to find dignity in life.
May your grace bring peace and safety
to all people, one to another.

May your love, be like a seed, taking root and growing strong.

For…

Weeding for Life

A reflection on Matthew 13:18-23 for Proper 10A

I use to hate weeding. It was one of those nasty projects that I tolerated, and rushed to complete because I found it so tedious and boring. Recently I was unable to tend to the weeding in my plot for more than a week, I found that I had a jungle of weeds. It was overwhelming. One day I went out with the intention of weeding the entire thing, but after an hour I had one small section done, was over heated, and out of time. So the next day I went out again for about an hour. Then each day I went out for about an hour and did what I could do. Eventually I eased into a comfortable rhythm of weeding, the hour time frame fit into my schedule, I was slowly making progress with the jungle, and I discovered that weeding had become a calming discipline – weeding slowed me down, and invited me to just appreciate the act of tending to the garden.

I remember other occasions when I have weeded gardens that I did not plant. Then, looking at some myste…

Creative Cooking

Every Friday I visit the local farmers market. After several weeks of shopping I have found a number of favorite vendors. I try to. Uy a little something from about five or six different stands: bread, cheese, tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce, onions, and so forth.

Yesterday one of the vendors was selling his homemade ricotta cheese, half price since it was about to expire. I stood at his booth and created a recipe in my head, which convinced me to buy a container of the ricotta.

Here is what I made:

Ricotta White Sauce for Pasta

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
1 small sweet onion, chopped
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 can of chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 can of diced tomatoes with juice (or several Roma tomatoes)
2 cups of broccoli flowers, cut smallish
1 cup of ricotta
Fresh basil, I used a good handful of leaves, some shredded, some whole
Fresh oregano, I used less oregano than basil, but still a good amoint
Pepper and salt to taste

Sauté garlic, onion, celery in olive oil in a skillet. Whe…

Friday Five: Summer Fun!

So, what's up, Rev Gals and Pals? How are you spending your summer? (I know, some of you are in a different hemisphere and it may be chilly...sorry!) Are you experiencing fire or floods or tornados? Vacationing? Working harder than ever? Experiencing change? Longing for change?

Share five things that are happening in your life, personally or professionally or some of each, in this season of life.


1. I am coming to know the people in the parish through small group meetings. Most of these have taken place in parishioners homes. They have prepared tea and coffee, or sangria with fresh fruit, homemade spring rolls, fabulous deserts, and gathered members of the parish to help me get to know them and they, me. We have sat outside in beautiful backyards, or been charmed by lovely homes. They have been a lovely way to come to know one another.

2. Gardening is a source of summer delight. I even enjoy weeding, it's become a calming discipline for me. I try to weed for an hour at a…

Monday Morning Musings

"We've broken all tradition," said my husband, as we settled into a morning cup of coffee. I was just thinking the same thing. With our children grown and living in another state we haven't done the usual round of holiday BBQ's and festivals, and fireworks. We didn't even have our traditional Wimbledon brunch on Saturday. Instead, with his work schedule, we grabbed a quick breakfast, saw some of the women's playoff game, and then walked the dogs before he left for work. His schedule most days: the 2-11PM shift. And, he's worked every holiday since we moved, often working closing the store ten days in a row before getting a couple of days off.

That means I am left to my own devices most afternoons and evening. I can manage to fill up that time with yoga, reading, my exercise DVD, a bike ride....and time spent on Facebook or blogging. But, this is not our tradition.

I guess we will begin to create new traditions as time goes on. I am leading a Fourth of…

Sunday Prayer 9A

Holy and Gracious God,
we give thanks for all
the blessings of this life.
For, the degree to which we
know freedom and justice,
for the leaders of our nations
for the those who strive to
bring peace into the world,
may we know your mercy and
act with compassion.

We give thanks
for family, friends,
and those care for us.
May we know your love
in them, through them.
May those we know and
love, be safe this day,
protected from all trials,
comforted in strife,
healed in illness of
mind, body, or spirit.

We give thanks
for this earth, the various
lands we live in and on,
for water, that it may be clean
for those who need water,
for those struggling with
drought, wildfires, forest fires,
or an over abundance of water,
may they know balance and relief.

We give thanks
for food, that all may be well fed,
that those who are in need, will be
satisfied, that those who have
plenty will share, that all will
filled and nourished.

We give thank
for our health, and ask your blessing
on those wh…

Family Stories

A reflection on Genesis 24 for Proper 9A

The other night I found myself watching the movie, “Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood,” starring Ellyn Burstyn and Sandra Bullock. Its one of those movies I’ve seen a dozen times but still enjoy.

The plot revolves around a dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship, and a group of the mother’s friends who have known one another all their lives.

The daughter, a playwright in NYC has an interview published in the NY Times magazine, and it comes across as highly critical of the mother.

The mother reads the interview and flies into a dramatic rage. Correspondence flies back and forth, cutting the daughter from the will, sending the mother an invitation to the daughters wedding but the date and place have been cut out of the invitation, phone calls where one hangs up on the other.

Finally in exasperation the mothers friends fly to NYC, and with the fiancés help, kidnap the daughter and bring her back to the New Orleans area.

There they spend a we…

RevGalsFriday Five:

kathrynzj, over at RevGals is lamenting the days when we all did a lot of writing and meme playing and reading of blogs...and wonders about the following:

1) Have your blogging (writing/reading) habits shifted since the days of yore? I still make a daily effort to scroll through my blog roll and read the updated blogs. But every day I lament the number of blogs that haven't been updated in months. Recently I even deleted a couple of them. My blog, never one that received a lot of comments, now can go days without a single comment. I write on this blog about three times a week, not daily. I post something on Monday, play the Friday Five, and usually post my sermon for Sunday. Starting a new call keeps me busy and unable to write daily...

2) Do you have some favorites that you miss? In the early days I read a number of blogs: RevSS and BarbB were regulars, but almost never post on their blogs. I do talk to RevSS on Facebook, but Barb???? sigh. She always had witty blog posts about her…