Saturday, November 26, 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 equal parts excitement for the first snow and dread, knowing that the cold and snow always over stay their welcome. Winter is a quiet season when the earth lies still, just waiting to burst forth again with new life.

And, like the seasons of the calendar year, we have seasons of the church, the liturgical year. Today marks the first Sunday of the church year and the season of Advent has begun. Advent is a season of waiting, of the deep darkness of night, a season that holds the promise of new life and hope. This is a season of candle light and the fragrant scent of pine. The color of Advent is sometimes purple, attaching it in a similar way to Lent, as if it were also a penitential season. But more often, it is blue season, blue for the dark night sky. Advent is a season that ushers in a time of waiting, expectantly, for the birth of Christ, for the Word made flesh, for God who comes as a human baby, it is a season of anticipation. A season of darkness like a womb anticipating new life. A season of darkness, like soil nurturing the roots of trees, digging deeper into the earth. Advent invites us to ponder how and where, in the year ahead, we might see signs of new life, signs of the Christ child in our lives and the world around us. Advent invites us to wait expectantly like a heavy with child, waits to give birth. Like Mary, the mother of God, anticipating new life.

Advent launches the new liturgical year for the church and brings with it a new Gospel which will focus our reflections on God in a particular way for the year ahead. Last year we heard the story of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. The Matthean community wrestled with the reality that Jesus, as the Messiah, is the fulfillment of the Law of Moses. And, therefore what it means for a Christian to Love God, Love self, and Love others. The Gospel of Mark will point us in a similar direction – but with distinctive differences.

The Gospel of Mark is believed to be the oldest of the four gospels. Scholars think it was written in Rome, in a Jewish community addressing a mostly Gentile region, sometime around the late ‘60’s – or about 30 years after the death of Jesus. Given the content in this Gospel, scholars believe this text was written before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem but during a time of mounting persecution of Jews by the Roman government.

Reflecting the experience of persecution today’s reading has a tone of terror and fear. It comes toward the end of the Gospel, chapter 13 out of 16 chapters. It points the reader toward the crucifixion, toward the end, and is apocalyptic in tone. This reading like the gospel itself intend for us to understand how , like winter leads to spring, dying leads to new life/ Suffering is a birth process that enables that new life to come forth.


As the earliest gospel put into written text the Gospel according to Mark may have been created simply to have a record of the oral tradition in order that the stories would not be lost. The Markan gospel may have been written to counter a number of heresies – false teachings – that were cropping up about Jesus and his life and ministry. It very well may have been written to counter the tragedy of the crucifixion and argue for a theology that reconciles that violent death with the intentions of God – how the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is a success story not a tragedy ending in a violent crucified death. But most likely it was written in order to show how God is active, for our sake, in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. (From Westminster Bible S Companion, Douglas A, Hare) (and, from Karoline Lewis at working preacher) Mark's theology, is a theology that first and foremost asks, “Where do we find God?”

The primary point of this Gospel, in asking us, “Where do we find God,” is to then ask us to consider the question of discipleship and ask ourselves, as followers of Jesus, “What must I do?”
Our theme this year, the theme that has focused our conversations on Stewardship and prodded me in my reflections in the newsletter, is, “Discipleship, What does that mean?” This theme comes in part from the reality that all of the Gospels are calling us to be followers of Jesus, and that through Jesus we will come to know God in a particular way, and are therefore called to act. Pondering discipleship in the Gospel of Matthew pointed us to consider how we were living the greatest commandment to love God, self, and others. Discipleship in the Gospel according Mark uses a particular word that means discipleship but also means “learner” or an “apprentice.” This year, as we ponder this Gospel we will consider what it means to be a learner, an apprentice of Jesus.

The gospel will call us to reflect on how - following Jesus, as a disciple, a learner, an apprentice, means – feeding, healing, praying, and, caring for others. How discipleship is ordinary work, framed through the lens of understanding that this is what God is doing in and through the life of Jesus. It’s the ordinary work of compassion, which God asks of us, as well.

Friday, November 25, 2011

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, kind, and thoughtful. I really appreciate this community and have come to love them all.

2. Dog walking: and, the young woman, a parishioner, who helped me walk my dogs over the summer. I enjoyed our walks and conversations, and I miss her now that she has gone off to college. We also have a delightful neighborhood to walk in.

3. Music: I am enjoying music in worship, on my iPod, and, once again on our stereo system (which was in storage for two years). We have a lot of musicians in the church - a recorder ensemble, some fabulous soloists, pianists, guitarists, dulcimer, flute, cello...it's great fun!

4. Fireplace: the house we live in (a rectory) has a fireplace. I enjoy sitting near it, knitting, enjoying a cup of tea or coffee. It affords me one of the primary places I can rest and relax.

5. Garden and yard: we were able to participate in the community garden hosted by the church. It did cost a little bit of money for the starter plants - but in comparison to the produce I received it was practically free! I thoroughly enjoyed spending time planting, weeding, and harvesting the garden, and all the conversations that took place between me and others who had lots in the garden.

I am always grateful for the gift of my family - my husband and children, our dogs and cats. We have reached a very comfortable place in family life, with children mostly grown and can appreciate the fruits of the labor that went into birthing and raising children. Our dogs, too, are mostly grown and established in good mannered behavior. It's a gift to just be with my family.

Monday, November 21, 2011

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 brought water and soft drinks. He was very busy all night long. A couple in the parish offered a wine/beer tasting of local Michigan produced wines and beer - some pretty good stuff, too!

And, some of the muscians of the parish played music through out the night - dulcimer, guitar, drums, bass guitar, and the baby grand piano. It was delightful!

I did a fair amount of my Christmas shopping!

So much fun! I am however, exhausted from being at the church from 6:45am until 9:30pm. Worth it, though.

Today I get to rest. Our son arrives tonight so all I have to do is make his bed and clean the house. I may do a little decorating too, in preparation for our Open House next Sunday - which will be a simple coffee, tea, cider, and cookie gathering. But we hope to have our Christmas tree up and the house decorated. So, its good our son is coming - he can help! Our plan is to cut a Christmas tree on Wednesday and spend Thanksgiving decorating it.

Anyway, a fun time was had, with more fun to come. I do have much to be thankful for!

That's my week. What about yours?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

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 was crowded. This woman, intense and a little abrupt, did not respond well when I told her we had nothing, no gift cards left. She stormed out making a bit of a scene. I was left feeling badly, as if Jesus had come to me and I had not cared for him.

I remember a sermon a friend of mine preached in seminary. She used two illustrations of people she had encountered in AA. One was a man who told a story about his homelessness and addiction, and how – because of the assistance of others giving him money and help – he was able to go into recovery and rebuild his life.

The other was a story of a man who, when homeless and actively alcoholic, no one gave him money or assistance. He hit rock bottom, and in his words, “no one enabled him to continue in his destructive behavior.” His realized life had to change, and from that desperate place he went into recovery and began to rebuild his life.
And so I ask myself this question, “Lord, what does it mean to see you? What does it mean to help?”

You remember this joke: There was a terrible flood and the people in the town were leaving in droves. One man stood in the doorway of his house watching the water rise. A women came by and offered him a pair of boots so he could walk with her through the flooded street to safety. “Oh, no,” he said,” God is going to rescue me.”

The waters rose and the man had to move up to the top of his stairs. A man in a row boat came by and offered him a ride in the boat to escape the waters. “Oh no” said the man, “God will rescue me.”

Soon the waters rose more and the man stood on the roof of his. A helicopter flew over and the crew called out to grab the rope ladder and climb up! But the man once again said that he was waiting for God to rescue him.

Unfortunately the man drowned in the flood. When he arrived at the pearly gates he said to God, “I thought you were going to save me!” And God said, “First I sent you a woman with boots, then a row boat, then a helicopter….”

Not only are we considering what it means to help, but also, what it means to see God. To see the face of Christ in one another and in the people we meet. And, what it means to know that at times we will fail to do this well, even when we are trying.

Jan Richardson, in her blog The Painted Prayerbook, offers this thought:

“….. I think of how my deepest regrets—what few I allow myself—are most often attached to occasions when I didn’t see. Didn’t know how to see, didn’t yet have the eyes for seeing. The realization of it—the dawning knowledge of where my vision was lacking—is itself a kind of punishment. But an invitation, too. To learn to look more closely. To take in what I have rushed past.
When was it that we saw you?”
(The Painted Prayerbook)

Today we celebrate the last Sunday after Pentecost, Christ the King Sunday, the Reign of Christ, and – as Christ Church – our “Feast of Title” day . It is the day we celebrate who we are and whose we are – We are Christ Church – shaped and formed by Christ, through baptism, through prayer and the Eucharist, through our relationships with others, through coming to this place, through a relationship with God and Christ, which gives us our identity as a people of faith. On this day we are invited to look carefully at who we are, and how we are living out our faith. It’s a call to do three things – to seek to be the hands and heart of Christ in the world, recognize how it is that Christ comes to us, and how we can be more attentive to being, doing, and seeing Christ.

As Christ Church we serve as the hands and heart of Christ in the world through all this food we are generously giving to Crossroads , not just today, but every week, so that others may have food on their table. As Christ Church we serve as the hands and heart of Christ when we participate in the soup kitchen at Spirit of Hope in Detroit. We are the hands and heart of Christ when we give of our treasure so that I can purchase gift cards to Kroger and offer those who come looking for assistance, a chance for some food or gas. As Christ Church we serve as the hands and heart of Christ when we open our doors and welcome the many groups who use our building. As Christ Church we serve as the hands and heart of Christ when we host the Alternative Market today – inviting in thirty artists and local vendors to sell their merchandise. We are not taking a penny in commission – we are offering people a free place to advertise and sell their art, food, and merchandise. (I hope a lot of people come and do their Christmas shopping! And that the artists and vendors have a good time here!). As Christ Church we are hosting this event, greeting people and working to ensure that everyone has a good time. Much work has gone into this event, from many different people. It seems appropriate that we have this event on this day, Christ the King, the Reign of Christ.

There are many ways that we see Christ in others and offer love, compassion, and a helping hand. There are many ways that Christ comes to us and invites us into a deeper relationship – whether it is through the people we know and meet here, or the music and worship we participate in, or some other experience we have.
Regardless of who attentive we are, there are always ways that we can deepen this experience. The liturgical seasons of the church year offer an opportunity to be mindful, attentive. Next Sunday we begin the season of Advent, a season that asks us to ponder how Christ is coming to us anew this year, and how we can be Christ to the world around us.

As we journey through Advent let’s be attentive, wondering -
Lord, when did we see you – and - when did we miss you?

Friday, November 18, 2011

RevGals Friday Five: A Thanksgiving Edition

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 means the push is on to decorate! Which, we are looking forward too!

3. What will be on your Thanksgiving menu? See above - something very unusual. But then for our traditional dinner on Sunday evening, the usual - turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, salad, rolls, pie. I will probably make the apple/pear/cranberry pie that I made a few years ago - its really good!

4. Are you trying anything new this Thanksgiving? Yes, we are going to host the parish open house on the Sunday after, just a 2-4pm gathering with Christmas ornament making for the kids (and adults).

5. What is the weather forecast for this day (next Thursday)? I have no idea.

Bonus: Prayer, poem, song, or whatever you choose to exemplify your image of Thanksgiving (giving thanks).

Monday, November 14, 2011

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 some who hear it.

I found myself thinking about someone who recently shared with me their pain over being called the "N" word. And the people I am aware of who are victims of child sexual abuse, or domestic violence, those who have been caught up in the violence of war and tortured....and those who have suffered other forms of abuse I don't yet know of.

People of all ages who heard this sermon yesterday told me how much it spoke to them, and how much they appreciated hearing it. The notion that one can be both fearful, fear-filled, and try to hide, while at the same time summoning up just enough courage to speak the truth, is clearly something the people in my congregation understand.

It was a reminder to me that we have to trust our gut when preparing a sermon. Trust where the Spirit is leading us, even when She is taking us down an uncertain path and a new understanding of the text. I am grateful for others who wrestled with the text and pushed the envelope and helped me see it in light of the events in the world today as well those in the lives of the people who come to this church.

Today is a day off. I am listening to Bach Adagios, drinking coffee, and thinking about the chores I want to accomplish today. Little things, sweeping and vacuuming, laundry, and sanding some furniture so I can paint it.

But mostly I am just trying to rest. We have a busy week ahead as we prepare for our Evensong and Michigan Alternative Holiday Market - we have over twenty vendors coming next Sunday night - to sell their arts and crafts, cheese, and vegetables, and gift baskets. We are encouraging everyone to come and do their Christmas shopping before Advent begins, to support local people, and some international efforts like, Creating Hope International, who assists women and girls acquire an education in places like Afghanistan. We will have the opportunity to buy some handmade work by Afghan women. Included in this event will be musical offerings by the various musicians affiliated with the parish, and food. I hope it proves to be a great venture!

Taking risks for the Gospel. Speaking up, stepping out, trying new things, seeking to live life fully. That's what I'm thinking about this week. And ever so grateful to be exactly where I am. God is good.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

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 circumstances.

Regardless of the numerous awards this film won, I did not like this bleak, violent, and depressing movie. Most of all I dislike it because the violence and corruption prevailed without an ounce of hope.

I am left feeling much same from the news this week. Abuse of young boys, abuse of women, the abuse of one doctor and his patient, and the tragic abuse of a music icon from his own addicted behavior, to occupy Wall Street, and the protests, justified or not, against greed and corruption - all of these stories, in one way or another, are examples of the perpetuation of denial, ignorance, and a blame the victim mentality. Add to these the stories of war and the efforts toward peace that we are learning about in the Women, War and Peace series on PBS, and all told, these unfolding events paint a dismal picture of our world today.

This dismal picture of the world today fits right in with the perspective portrayed in our readings from scripture.

In the Gospel of Matthew we have come to the third in a series of three parables. First, from Matthew 24:45, the story about a wicked slave who mistreats other slaves, then in Matthew 25, the story about the ten maidens, some of whom are prepared because they have oil for their lamps, and some who are not prepared and are left out, and then the story today about the slaves who invest the money given them. One slave turns his five “talents” into ten, the other turns his two talents into four, and the third who buried his one talent and returns only the one, saying; “Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.” And, as a result, this slave receives a thorough reprimand for being lazy. His one talent is given to the man who now has ten, with the master offering this rationale: “For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.” The parable ends with the master’s command to throw this “worthless slave…into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

That’s harsh!

So, let’s take another look at the third servant. He knows his boss is wicked, evil, and greedy, and he calls him on it. Whereas the first two did exactly what was expected of them without question, the third person calls it like it is, has the courage to speak up against the corruption. This third person shows courage, integrity, and perhaps a reasonable sense of fear because he knows that he will be ostracized for speaking up and telling the truth.

Then, as now, human beings have a tendency to dislike truth tellers. It often seems easier to just hide or do what one is told to do, do the expected thing and keep quiet. Even if that means perpetuating acts of injustice.

Jan Richardson, on her blog, The Painted Prayerbook writes,

“I find myself wondering, why is it that we most often read this passage as a judgment against the third servant and not against the man who has perpetuated an unjust system? Do we really think that the harsh and reportedly corrupt master of this parable represents God, who, after a period of absence, comes back prepared to throw out those who have not performed as expected? Do I really want to be like the first two servants, willing to participate in and perpetuate injustice?

Much like the wise bridesmaids, the two multi-talented men serve as the foil for the one who proves inept and unprepared. One could say they are the suck-ups who provide a contrast to the screwup. We might wonder at a parable that presents a narrative ecosystem in which the only available choices seem to lie either in perpetuating the master’s corrupt business plan or hiding his loot in the ground.”

Of course we may wonder, are these two choices the only options – perpetuate the corruption or hide? In each of these stories there is a character who chooses to be passive, unwilling to take responsibility, foolish. Which reminds me, again, of the news stories this week. People unwilling to take action, or look for other options, that will enable justice to come forth.

When we hoard, hide, and cling to what feels safe and comfortable we contain God and ultimately limit the fullness of our own lives. When live passively we limit the fullness of our lives and contain God. We can see examples of how these limitations play out in the tragedies of the world around us. People who, for lack of taking risks and acting for justice, have had their lives ruined, not to mention the lives of others who would have benefited from someone speaking up and taking action on their behalf.
This parable calls us to examine and then remove the barriers to our lives. To take seriously God’s call to us. Last week when we renewed our baptismal covenant we were reminded what God’s call to us is:

Will you continue in the apostles teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers? Will you persevere in resisting evil, and whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord? Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ? Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself? Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?

To each of these questions we answered, “I will with God’s help.” Even in our context, in the interfaith culture of Dearborn and this church, where we strive to live with integrity for self and others, where we actively work at hospitality and kindness, and what it really means to love our neighbor, even for us, there are ways we could live with a more expansive awareness of justice and respect for the dignity of everyone.

My friend, Janine in a reflection she wrote on our readings today, ask this:

“Have we acted justly toward God and others? Have we used everything God has given us, not just our money, but our whole selves, wisely and well?”

Because ultimately living that way, completely spent in acts of compassion and justice, having used everything God has given us, is the only hope we have.

Monday, November 07, 2011

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 rest of the week will include a few meetings, and a fair amount of preparation for our December worship. In particular we will have a Bishops visit and confirmation. But for now, I'll rest.

What about you? Are you able to find some time to rest? Or are you busy with plans and work?

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Sunday Prayer:All Saints' Day





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 heart and hands
May we be generous as You.

Holy One, Creator of all
To You we give thanks for every blessing,
for You are generous, O lover of all.
God of every nation, tribe, people, and language,
God of all creation, this great multitude of life
We give you thanks.

Bless us, that we may be a blessing in return.
Amen.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday Prayer: All Saints' Day



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 heart and hands
May we be generous as You.

Holy One, Creator of all
To You we give thanks for every blessing,
for You are generous, O lover of all.
God of every nation, tribe, people, and language,
God of all creation, this great multitude of life
We give you thanks.

Bless us, that we may be a blessing in return.
Amen.

crossposted on RevGalBlogPals, A Place for Prayer, and WordsMatter.Episcopal

Friday, November 04, 2011

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 of town we visit the local museums. In particular we like to visit the Henry Ford. This is a fun museum, with an IMAX and an outdoor exhibit called, Greenfield Village, an entire town filled with houses and business from the past. When our son was here we went to Greenfield Village for the Old Car exhibit and saw a car built in the 1700's in France. It was a great day.

4. I am always content to just relax over a cup of coffee with friends. We can meet at a home or at a local coffee shop.

5. It's also fun to go for a walk and talk. In a previous diocese, at our clergy conference, I use to take a long walk every morning around the lake. Me and another friend, or a group of friends. It was a long walk, close to an hour. But it was beautiful. I have many fond memories of those walks and friendships.

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