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Showing posts from November, 2011

An apprentice to the ordinary

Looking out across the field and yard behind the church, what was once ripe with vegetables, leaves and flowers, the bare trees offer up an open sky and the land lays fallow. Even the ground is cleared of fallen leaves. The garden has been harvested, cleared out, and tilled, so it can rest until planting begins next spring. The grass, still green is heading into its dormant season. I find myself spending less time outside, more inclined to sit by the fire or read in doors than take a walk or ride my bike. Fall is heading straight into winter, and snow is in the forecast.

Personally I delight in the changing seasons. I love that the darkness of night comes early. I feel compelled to bake cookies, drink hot tea, and curl up with a book or a new knitting project. This time of year fills me with anticipation as I wonder what the winter will be like. How many heavy snow storms will we have? How cold will it get? How long will it last. This anticipation comes to me anew every winter with …

Friday Five: Free Gifts, edition

Sally over at RevGals offers this Friday Five:

Following on from Thanksgiving, and picking up the "Black Friday" theme of boycotting the Christmas rush for bargains I thought it would be good to set a simple Friday Five yet one to get you thinking. I am sure that you'll agree that some of the best gifts we receive do not come in fancy wrapping paper but might be the gift of an unexpected afternoon with a friend or coming across a long forgotten photograph, or- well the list is endless...

So take a bit of time to think back over the last year and ponder the gifts it has offered to you, then list five of those gifts, in no particular order- there is only one rule- all of these gifts must have been free, neither you nor anyone else should have spent money on them!

1. A job: not exactly a "no money spent" gift, but the best gift I received this year is a new job, a new call. I have been blessed with a fabulous community to work with - creative, intelligent, energetic…

Monday Morning Musings

Today is the day after. The day after we hosted the Michigan Holiday Alternative Market at the church. Our idea was to invite local vendors from the farmers market, local artists, and craft makers to come to the church and sell their wares.

We began the evening with an Evensong, which is Evening Prayer put to song.

We had 27 vendors come - selling things from handmade dishcloths, handmade gift cards, handmade soaps and candles, hand made sterling silver bracelets and jewelry, hand blown glass jewelry, vases, sculpture, hand made soft sculture (dolls), cheeses, Christmas greens, free range organic turkeys. We also had Creating Hope International (who uses space in our building) sell hand made fabric, lace, ties, purses, bags, made by women in Afghanistan - all the proceeds from those go back to the women, assisting in the education of women and girls.

A local hot dog vendor brought his steam table and served meat, turkey and veggie dogs, with all the fixings including chili. He also…

Eyes, Hands, and Heart, or What it means to have faith with feet...

A reflection on Matthew 25:31-46

Many years ago, on the exit ramp of I-90/94 in Chicago, I encountered a woman with a sign saying something like, “Unemployed homeless mother with three kids. Need food and money.” A car or two stopped and offered money, but many cars drove by without stopping. With my two young children in the car I felt compelled to give her all the cash I had on me, it wasn’t much. I don’t know why I was so moved by this woman, maybe it was the first time I had seen a young mother asking for a handout? I thought of her many times over the years, and wondered how she was, although I didn't see her again for a very long time.

Some ten years after I first saw that woman on the exit ramp of the highway, I saw her again, with the same sign, asking for money. Ten years later and her life remained unchanged. Or so it seemed. I was startled and a bit dismayed.

A few years later a wild woman appeared at the church I was serving. It was during some event and the place wa…

RevGals Friday Five: A Thanksgiving Edition

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Jan, over at RevGals offers this Friday Five:

I've been home from Russia for less than a week, and in less than a week it is Thanksgiving Day in the USA (Nov. 24). So for this Friday Five, answer these questions (and if they don't apply to you, list five things you are grateful for):

1. Where will you be on Thanksgiving Day? With whom? I will be home on Thanksgiving with my husband and our son. We plan to grill steaks and twice baked potatoes, watch the Lions-Packers game, and relax. Then, on Sunday our daughter and her boyfriend will join us and we will have a regular Thanksgiving meal and celebration of my husband's birthday.

2. Are there any family traditions or memories associated with Thanksgiving? Watching the parade, going to a movie the next day, putting up the Christmas tree and beginning our decorations. This year we are hosting an open house at the rectory on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, for members of the parish - just coffee, tea, cider, and cookies. But that …

Monday Morning Musings

I am taking some time this morning to just rest. I have enjoyed a cup of coffee, listening to Bach Adagios, and reading various Facebook and Blogs.

Now it's time to get going. On the agenda" house cleaning, laundry, exercise, and sanding some furniture I am going to paint.

The rest of this week will be spent preparing for Evensong and Alternative Market the church is hosting. Evensong at 4pm, Market begins at 5. We will have live music, food, and over twenty artists and vendors offering their creations. I hope a lot of people come and do their Christmas shopping before Advent begins, and also shop local!

That's my week. What about yours?

Monday Morning Musings: Sometimes One Just Has to Trust Their Gut

I took a different approach to the Gospel reading in my sermon on Sunday. I was inspired by two other people who are named and linked in my previous posting of that sermon. One of my friends commented on the blog posting that she could not hear the third servant as someone who was courageous. I know what she means. And yet, every time I read the passage I could hear the courage it took for that third person in the parable tell the manager that he was corrupt. I heard the courage in light of my own efforts to be a truth teller, and the subsequent reactions of people who made me the problem instead of the problem being the problem. And then, when I preached this sermon, I heard the third servant, or slave, as the text had it, in light of the people in congregation who are of color - some born and raised here, some from other parts of the world. I found myself adding more, speaking about how problematic the word "Slave" is and how even the text itself is a source of pain for so…

No Country for the Status Quo in God's Reign

A number of years ago the film, “No Country for Old Men” came up in the queue of my Netflicks orders and Dan and I set aside an evening to watch this film. It had already won two Golden Globes and four Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best supporting actor. Directed by the Joel and Ethan Coen and starring Tommy Lee Jones, Woody Harrelson, Javier Bardem, and Kelly MacDonald, I anticipated an engaging, thought provoking film.

It’s the story about an ordinary person who discovers two million dollars in the middle of the desert of western Texas. Out for a ride on his horse the man inadvertently wanders into the aftermath of a drug deal gone horribly awry. When he decides to abscond with the cash a violent chain reaction is set in motion. The violence plays out through the hit man, who comes to retrieve the money, and decides the fate of his victims through a coin toss, heads or tails. Critics describe this movie as an examination of fate and circu…

Monday Morning Musings

Life has been full, rich, complicated, and busy. Ten weeks have flown by since the middle of August when I returned from a short vacation. I have had meetings, worked with creative, high energy, good ideas people as we make plans for some fun parish activities. Being on the upswing of the "life cycle" - a time of new life and creativity, is fun. Going with that energy is exciting, even as we recognize the need to channel and focus it, a bit.

So, this morning I am enjoying some peace and quite. It comes after a delightful weekend reflecting on and celebrating our stewardship, the ways we give of our time, talent, and treasure - and the way we hope to give in the future. I am enjoying a cool, cloudy fall morning, a cup of coffee, and a day without a whole lot to do. I have some plans for this day "off." I plan to do some laundry, exercise, walk the dogs, and do some light house cleaning. I may read some of Richard Rohr's book, "Falling Upward."

The re…

Sunday Prayer:All Saints' Day

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Holy One, Creator of all
To You, we give thanks
For every blessing, for You
Are generous, O lover of souls.

Form within us,
Wisdom,
Sustained and nurtured by your
Holy Spirit
That we might,
have the grace to listen
deeply
and respond with compassion

May we be filled with gratitude
For every gift of life,
For family, friends,
And the Saints who have gone before us.

From those who are peacemakers,
May we learn, and follow their example
From those who are pure in heart
May we become likewise, Christ-like.

Holy One, Creator of all
To You, we give thanks
For every blessing, for You
Are generous, O lover of souls.

For those who suffer, we ask for comfort
For those who are ill, we ask for healing
For those who struggle, we ask for peace
For those who worry, we ask for guidance
For those who are anxious, we ask for solace
For those who are hungry, may we give food
For those who are homeless, may we provide shelter
For those who are poor, may we bring sustenance
For all the worries and cares of this earth,
May we be your…

Sunday Prayer: All Saints' Day

Image
Holy One, Creator of all
To You, we give thanks
For every blessing, for You
Are generous, O lover of souls.

Form within us,
Wisdom,
Sustained and nurtured by your
Holy Spirit
That we might,
have the grace to listen
deeply
and respond with compassion

May we be filled with gratitude
For every gift of life,
For family, friends,
And the Saints who have gone before us.

From those who are peacemakers,
May we learn, and follow their example
From those who are pure in heart
May we become likewise, Christ-like.

Holy One, Creator of all
To You, we give thanks
For every blessing, for You
Are generous, O lover of souls.

For those who suffer, we ask for comfort
For those who are ill, we ask for healing
For those who struggle, we ask for peace
For those who worry, we ask for guidance
For those who are anxious, we ask for solace
For those who are hungry, may we give food
For those who are homeless, may we provide shelter
For those who are poor, may we bring sustenance
For all the worries and c…

Friday Five: Time with Friends

kathrynzj over at RevGals offers this Friday Five:

For today's Friday Five please tell us 5 things you like to do with friends. Are they local - do you hit a favorite coffee shop or nail salon? What about the friends who come in from out of town? Do you have a restaurant or museum you like to show off?

1. Yesterday I had lunch with two women clergy colleagues. All three of us are new to this town, new pastors in the churches we serve. We are each from a different denomination. It was our second lunch, but we are planning to meet monthly, to share a meal, pray, share stories, be present for each other. We are also going to read a book together, "Falling Upward" by Richard Rohr.

2. I have a lot of friends that I only speak with via Facebook, blogging, email, or a phone call. We live in different states and time zones. So, we talk as, and when, we can. But that does not diminish the reality that we are friends, here for each other.

3. When friends or family come in from out …