Posts

Showing posts from 2013

A people have walked in darkness

A reflection on the readings for Christmas Eve: Isaiah 9:2-4, 6-7;  and Luke 2:1-20



A young woman reflects back on her life and ponders the course it has taken. She is the first born child to a young father and an even younger mother, both still teenagers. More children are born into this small family, but she remains the only daughter. Eventually the parent’s divorce and the mother’s health declines. Fragile to begin with, the mother falls into a deep depression, one that would last the rest of her life.

The daughter, the primary character of this story, works to hold the family together. She tends to her younger siblings and her mother. She works her way through college and finds a job. Eventually the brothers are raised and the mother is settled safely in place where she cannot harm herself. The woman marries and begins a family of her own. It is hard work to overcome the scars of her difficult childhood and learn to love, to trust, and to be a healthy person. As a mother, a wife, an…

The Risky Business of a Prophetic Mission

Image
One of my favorite photographs of the children’s Christmas pageant last year is a picture taken while the children sang Santa Lucia. Most of the children are standing on the chancel step, all dressed in children sized choir robes. K is in the center, wearing a crown of candles, portraying St. Lucia. J, K's brother, stands at the first pew, holding a row of candles. J has his head turned, looking back at his sister. E is at the microphone, telling the story of St. Lucia. M, little I, L, J, H, and P, are standing around K, each preparing to sing when the narrative is finished.  The expression on the face of each child is so reminiscent of who they were a year ago. These beautiful children are a significant part of our mission and our ministry.

The feast day of Santa Lucia was Friday, December 13. Her story is remarkable. It is also typical of what happens to prophetic voices throughout history. Lucy lived in Sicily in the third century. She was a rich, young Christian of Greek ancest…

Adventing through anxious times

The other day my daughter sent me a text message asking for help finding jokes that would be appropriate for a company Christmas party. I posted her request for help on my Facebook page and instantly I had a dozen jokes.Here are a couple of them:Q. If everyone in America had a pink car, what would we have? A. A pink carnation

What do you call a snowman in June? A puddle

What does a snowman eat for breakfast? Snowflakes

Which reindeer is the cleanest? CometToday is the second Sunday in the season of Advent. Advent is distinctive for us – evidenced by the simplicity of the worship space, the beautiful but simple glass chalices and patens, the color blue, the Advent wreath which replaces the Paschal Candle, and just a hint of the greenery that will come with Christmas. Advent is a time when we focus less on the instantaneous nature of the world around, instant gratification, instant information and news, instant food, many many things are available to us in an instant. Advent invites …

When the Quest for Certitude Becomes the Excuse for Not Actiing...

A reflection on the readings for Proper 21C: Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15; 1 Timothy 6:6-19; Luke 16:19-31

Currently I am reading Anna Quindlen’s memoire titled, “Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake.” In this book, as a woman in her fifties, Quindlen reminisces over the years of her life. Here is a brief excerpt:

“We were living odd patchwork lives in (the 1960’s and 1970’s)  because of an accident of timing. We were the daughters of women who had moved directly from their parents’ homes to those of their husbands, gone right from high school to marriage and motherhood. But my friends and I had gone to college, entered the work world, under the rubric of the New Woman, suddenly able through vast changes in societal mores to use our abilities in the world and combine them with a domestic life at home…But we were completely making it up as we went along, at work, at home, in our own minds, trying to be both our mothers and our fathers simultaneously….

We were all a little happy and a little crazy an…

Friday Five: I'll take joy, thank you very much.

Image
RevDeb over at the RevGals blog offers this Friday Five meme:Sometimes as pastors, chaplains, professors or caregivers, our lives are so very full and our hearts ache with worries for others (or, if we are honest for ourselves!) So for this week’s Friday Five, let’s list things that are on your happy list! (We’ll assume that your family and friends and pets are included, so branch out a little, if you can!)What are your joys? Places? Food? Activities? Books? Season? Hobbies? Smells? Colors? To inspire you, Mindy came up with THIRTEEN things that bring her joy or make her happy. So go for it!
1. My new home office with the desk I refinished this summer.In fact I am sitting at it right now. From this desk I have a great view over the backyard and church property: beautiful trees, the labyrinth, and the community garden.(we've done some work on the labyrinth area, adding a pet memorial garden and more benches, flowers, and trees, this view is from the opposite direction and taken mor…

Prophetic Fools

A reflection on the readings for Proper 19C: Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28; 1 Timothy 1:12-17; Luke 15:1-10We are currently holding a weekday Bible study on Tuesdays on the Gospel of Luke. Michael Johnston in his book, “Engaging the Word” suggests that there are three ways we can engage scripture in a Bible study. These three are: the historical context, the literal context, and the prophetic context. The historical context refers to what was happening in the world at the time this scripture passage was written. The literal context is a reminder to us to pay attention to what the text actually says. By this he means that sometimes we have heard a story so often that we begin to fill in pieces of subtext. This is particularly relevant in the Christmas, Holy Week, and Easter narratives. For example the Christmas story, the birth of Jesus is found in two of the Gospels, but they tell a different part of the story. In Luke we hear of the story of the conception of Jesus, the travel to Bethlehem…

What is my role....

It's been a bumpy road and at times I've wanted to get off or change direction. But for some reason I just keep going. You see, a few months ago I thought it would be a good idea to see a clergy coach/counselor. The fact that I am not sure if the work we are doing is coaching or counseling is a good indicator of why this endeavor has been clunky. The person I am working with gets this too, we are both figuring out if the work we are doing is counseling or coaching. When I saw CCC (clergy/counseling/coach) this morning I had some insight. I think we are doing vocational counseling. By this I mean, I am not exactly doing the personal counseling I have done in years past where I took apart my childhood, examined it under a microscope, dissected all the painful parts, and put myself back together with greater insight. No, I've done that, I get what makes up who I am and why I am the way I am. This vocational counseling is not exactly coaching because I am not looking to find a…

A question, what shall we do....?

A reflection on Proper 18 C: Jeremiah 18:1-11; Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18; Luke 14:25-33

Looking back over the years I remember a few things about the summer of 1977. I lived in Southern Illinois and worked two part-time jobs earning money for my third year of college. The Eagles were a popular band and their recent hit, Hotel California, played on the radio. The days were long, hot, and humid. I rode my bike to work and back.

Nights brought little relief, the humidity remaining thick despite the lack of sun and slight reduction in temperature. In the evenings I rode my bike to a near-by art studio where I was taking a class on pottery. Part of the class was learning how to make pots on a potter’s wheel. The rest of the class was building pots by hand. I loved working on the potter’s wheel. I never knew exactly what form would rise up from the mound of wet clay as the wheel spun. My thumbs would plunge into the center of the mound working with my fingers and hands to bring forth a shape. The …

Friday Five: Let's Eat!

3dogmom over at RevGals offers this Friday Five meme:1) Is there a food from a foreign land whose reputation led to trepidation when you had a chance to give it a try? Did you find the courage to sample it anyway? If so, were you pleasantly surprised or did you endorse the less than favorable reputation that preceded it? I have tried many foods over the years. I think caviar may be the one that most stands out for me. I haven't had it in years but it was one of the appetizers offered in the 1980's when I worked for the famous interior designer. I found caviar to be salty and squishy but otherwise not something I disliked nor something I'd go out of my way to eat. 2) What food from your own country/culture gets a bad rap? I from a line of people whose origins are in Scotland and England. My mother use to say we were part Irish, but I have no evidence of that in our lineage. So, I guess that bad rap food would be haggis. I have never tried it. Probably never will since I see…

Exercise Paradox

As I prepare to return to work following two weeks of stay-cation time, I am thinking back over how I spent my time and what I carry forth with me into the program church year ahead. I did a lot over these two weeks, none of them exactly what I thought I was going to do. I anticipated a quiet two weeks of reading, writing, yoga, walking, and maybe a drive up to Door County Wisconsin to visit a good friend. Instead, when my husband also managed to get much of this same time off, we became project oriented. Our biggest project was refinishing an old make up table and converting it into a small desk for my home office. We also entertained and celebrated our twenty-eighth wedding anniversary and our daughter's twenty-fifth birthday. It was a fun, busy time.In contrast to the busyness of this stay-cation I also took time every morning to read and reflect with an on-line retreat offered by Jane Redmont on the writings of Dorothee Soelle. Redmont posted each day a poem, a meditation, a p…

Moving: Same blog new site

I am playing around with the idea of moving my blog from blogger to wordpress...so, for the time being you can find me here

Movement

Image
Summer is one of my favorite seasons. One of them because I like all four. Here in southeast Michigan we do have four seasons, and spring can be lovely. Spring in this region can bring blooming fruit trees and yards full of spring flowers with comfortable temperatures that last three weeks or more. (Hey, that is not bad considering other nearby regions have a dreary spring that feels more like winter and then suddenly it's hot and summer).

Still, despite the lovely spring climate here, summer is one of my favorite seasons. I don't really mind being hot although I am not fond of high humidity. Being drenched all the time is just not my thing. Aside from the stickiness of humidity I like the ease of slipping on a pair of sandals, shorts and a T-shirt and heading out the door. No need for layers of attire, summertime walks are easy.

Walking, for me, is a means for maintaining good health and a social justice statement. Instead of driving I walk every where I can anytime I am able. …

Friday Five: Firsts

Marybeth, over the RevGals, posts a Friday Five about Firsts. In part it is a reminder that the RevGal's blog is moving to a new site, from Blogger to Wordpress. But also, there are other first's to consider:

1. Your first "place" - whether it was an apartment, dorm room, or home with a new spouse, the first place where you really felt like a grown-up: I graduated from high school a year early and headed off to college just about this same time of year when I was 17. Oh I felt so ready to be on my own. I lived in a two-person dorm room and shared a bathroom with another pair of women. The four of us managed well enough. I remember my room was orange. It was 1974. The next year two girlfriend's and I rented a house near campus. It was a typical run-down, ignored by the owner, college house.  The furnace was old and  burned oil during the time when oil was very pricey and hard to come by. We were cold a lot. BUT we were truly on our own and making due well enough.…

Living Life Fully

Image
“Listen--are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?"
 (Mary Oliver quote found on "Goodreads").

I was working at my dream job. Naive, with stars in my eyes, I was a mere twenty-eight years old and part of a design team at a high profile interior design firm.  The clientele included the wealthiest people in Chicago. I traveled around the country assisting the designer as he created second, third, and fourth homes for his clients.

 I had my sights on making it big - and making big money  - all the while being creative too! (I did say I was naive, right?).

Before taking this "dream" job I was working at Eddie Bauer on Wabash Avenue in Chicago, selling hiking boots. Now that WAS a fun job. I knew all the stats for the boots and could do a proper fit ensuring my customers had a good hiking experience. But then this opportunity arose. A friend of mine from my first career in the dance world wondered if I'd like to interview for his entry level job at…

Friday Five: Packing, no rats thank you very much.....

Deb, over at the RevGals, offers this Friday Five in response to a week of packing college bound and otherwise moving daughters:

1. Are you a sorter or a pack rat? What I mean by that is, do you select what you are taking with you (on a trip, a new assignment, a vacation), or do you pack with abandon (overweight suitcases be damned!)  I sort. I usually take a lot but I still sort, eliminate, make a list, double check, and try to plan for weather variables. I also always take my pillow and yoga mat - so that means a bigger than otherwise necessary suitcase.

2. Who first helped you learn how to pack? Or did you just come into it by osmosis or natural gifting  (and need)? My family moved a lot when I was kid. Usually we had a moving company come in and pack us up and move us. I learned a lot from watching them. I've moved a lot as an adult too...and much as I don't like to move, I am pretty good at it. The real test was moving ourselves back to the Midwest from the Southwest. W…

Be Ready to Receive a Blessing.