Showing posts from May, 2009

The Spirit Intercedes

A reflection on Acts of the Apostles 2:1-21 and Romans 8:22-27 for Pentecost

For a year or so when I was a little girl I was very afraid of the monster that lived under my bed. Now the monster was curious because it only came out at night. During the day I could sit on my bed and do homework or read without fear. But at bed time, pajamas on, teeth brushed, I’d enter my room and flip off the light switch for the over head light. (Apparently I did not have a lamp on a nightstand, although I don’t really remember). Anyway, once the light was off I had to walk across the room and, from a distance several feet away, jump into my bed to avoid the long arms of the creature that was surely waiting to reach out and grab me. The monster had these long tentacle kinds of arms – it could stay in the center under my bed and just reach its arms out around one side of the bed or the other to get me. I solved part of the problem by having one side of the bed against the wall – apparently the creatures…

From Loose Strands to a Mantle Upon My Shoulders

The first 13 years of my life were spent worshiping in a non-liturgical church. In fact most of that time was actually spent in Sunday School or the Tuesday afternoon youth group, kids were not invited into the corporate worship.

The first time I remember being in church with adults was one Easter morning when we went to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing at Temple Square. I must have been 4 years old, and like everyone else, dressed in my new frilly dress Easter dress, white gloves and hat. The second memory I have of corporate worship is many years later at a church outside of Madison, Wisconsin. I remember a dais with a podium and someone speaking. It is my first memory of receiving communion - people passing trays with little white paper cups, one cup with broken pieces of crustless white bread and the other cup with water.

A year or two after this memory my family and I stopped going to church. It was 1970 and the landscape of the world had changed. MS magazine was published. …

The Battle Within

A reflection for Easter 7B on :John 17:6-19
"I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them.
And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture mi…

Complete Joy

A reflection on the readings for Easter 6B: Acts 10:44-48, John 15:9-17

Yitzak was liberated from a concentration camp in 1945 after which he came to America and built a new life for himself. He studied, worked hard, and became a research physicist. Many years later, when he got cancer he enrolled in a workshop at Commonweal with the hope that he could recover from the disease through a variety of healing processes.

Commonweal is a nonprofit health and environmental research institute in Bolinas, California, founded in 1976. Among other things they offer retreats for cancer patients like the one Yitzak enrolled in. The retreats last a week and include a lot of different avenues for support and healing including, hugging, silence, yoga, walking, and meditation. Yitzak was not very comfortable with hugging, but he allowed others to hug him nonetheless.

On the fourth day, when the effects of the silence, meditation, and daily yoga, were beginning to affect the attendees Yitzak had an unus…

Embracing the Feminine, Celebrating a Mothering Day

I had only been ordained a few months, and serving in my first call as a Curate in a large multi-clergy staff congregation, when I preached on Mother's Day for the first time. I chose to approach the sermon without rose colored lenses. I also chose to avoid flowery romanticized views of motherhood, although I was (am) the happy mother of two healthy, almost grown children. I used an illustration of a challenged mother, with a temper and bit of an inability to understand her kids. I think it included another woman who nurtured the children when the mother could not. I think I got it from Rachel Naomi Remen's book, "Kitchen Table Wisdom," but I could be wrong. I worked hard on the sermon, preparing to preach in the mandatory no notes, internalize the sermon, method of this congregation. I'm sure it was not a very good sermon, I had only been preaching a few months and still had no idea what I was doing.

The next day, in our Monday morning sermon review, I was scold…

The Way of the Three Steps

A Native American Way to Begin the Day:

Stand on Mother Earth. Face any direction you choose. Take one step forward, looking all around.

O Great, Holy Spirit, I take this step into the day you have given. I embrace all I see - the season, the wind, the fragrances, the weather. Let me always accept the day given with a grateful heart.

Take another step forward.

O Spirit of Life, I put my arms around myself, all that I am, all that I can be. I stand here in my own history, with all my mistakes and victories. I hold all those I will meet today, in my journeying and in my work. I try to walk gently on this earth. Let me walk gently through the lives of my work companions and friends. Though they make way for my passing, may they spring back, neither broken, nor bruised.

Take another step forward.

O glorious Spirit of Mystery, I put my arms around you. I do not know what will happen to me today, but I accept it. Give me a heart of courage and believing, so I may put my trust in you, and fear no…