Showing posts from April, 2012

Garden Blessings: A Rogation Day Liturgy

On Saturday we blessed our church community garden as we celebrated Rogation Day: Rogation Day celebrations have their roots in church of fifth-century France. Special prayers were offered just before the Feast of the Ascension with hope of preventing earthquakes and the desire for healthy harvests. The early Roman church celebrated Rogation Days with a Christian procession around the fields on the Feast of St. Mark (April 25) to transferring the tradition of honoring the ancient pagan roman celebrations to the god "Mildew" and the goddess "Rust".
Here are some photos and excerpts from the liturgy:
Leader: Blessed be the source of all creation, the One Holy and Living God. People: We give thanks to God, our Creator, Redeemer, and Giver of Life. Leader:Let us pray. Gracious God, our Creator, You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures for evermore (Psalm 16.11). Open our hearts that we with gratitude we may …


Wisdom is
sweeter than honey,
brings more joy
than wine,
more than the sun,
is more precious
than jewels.
She causes
the ears to hear
and the heart to comprehend.

I love her
like a mother,
and she embraces me
as her own child.
I will follow
her footprints
and she will not cast me away.

Makeda, Queen of Sheba ca. 1000 BCE, from Women in Praise of the Sacred, edited by Jane Hirshfield.

Touched in Love

Love flows from God into us,
Like a bird
who rivers the air
without moving her wings.
Thus we move in God's world,
One in body and soul,
though outwardly separate in form.
As the Source strikes the note,
humanity sings -
The Holy Spirit is our harpist,
and all strings
which are touched in love
must sound.

(Mechtild of Magdeburg, in Women in Praise of the Sacred, HarperPerinniel, 1994, Joan Hirshfield, editor)

I am on retreat today, with clergy from the diocese. The center is lovely and comfortable. Challenges continue, but a bit of a respite, for prayer.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Don't let me fall
As a stone falls upon the hard ground.
And don't le my hands become dry
as the twigs of a tree
when the wind beats down the last leaves.
And when the storm raises dust from the earth
with anger and howling,
Don't let me become the last fly
Trembling terrified on a windowpane.
Don't let me fall.
I have asked for so much,
But as a blade of your grass in a distant wild field
Lets drop a seed in the lap of the earth
And dies away,
Sow in me your living breath,
As you sow a seed in the earth.

(this is a very difficult day for me. I carry a heavy heart, the cause of which I cannot say here. The only response I can offer up for the saddness is prayer. Still, I have much good to be thankful for, my health, my husband and daughter, my work and congregation, my friends).

The poem above was written by Kadya Molodowsky, an Ashkenazic Jew. It is a type of prose prayer for women known as tkhines, compoese in Yiddish. The recitation of these prayers might accompany s…

Bearing Fruit

We were enclosed, O eternal God, within the garden of your breast. You drew us out of your holy mind like a flower petaled with our soul's three powers, and into each power you put the whole plant, so that they might bear fruit in your garden, might come back to you with the fruit you gave them. And you would come back to the soul, to fill er with your blessedness. There the soul dwells - like the fish in the sea and the sea in the fish.
By Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), born the twenty-fourth child out of twenty five, Catherine was the daughter of a cloth dyer in Siena. She devoted her life to God and became a novice in 1363 and a Dominican nun four years later. Catherine cared all her life for the poor and the ill, as a director of nuns and as a spiritual advisor to many people. She was a social activist, involved in the religious politics of her day (schism in the Roman Church, the Pope moving to Avignon). Translated by Suzanne Noffke, O.P. printed in Women in Praise of the Sa…

Friday Five: Internet Connections

Jan, over at the RevGals offers this Friday Five: I have vaguely been hearing about the coming trend of people using mobile internet devices rather than desktop computers. Having four adult children, I see them using cell phones, laptops, tablets, ipods/iphones/ipads instead of the desktop computer, which I am using right now. So I am asking you to answer the following questions about whatever device you most often use these days, first by telling us what you have:
1. Do you use social connections, like Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in or whatever else there is? Describe how you use it/these.  I use Facebook all the time. It is the primary way I stay connected to many friends and some family members. I enjoy the opportunity to see photos from others and to post my own photos. I like the links to news articles, which I might not otherwise see. I used Twitter for a short time, but after awhile I disabled most of my twitter connects. I didn't like the one way communication - some…

Laugh, Grace in Paradox

I am thinking about the phrase, "Practicing Resurrection" during this Easter season. I love that it may have come first from this Wendell Berry poem:

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Praise rejoicing

As a starved little bird, who sees and hears his mother's wings fluttering round about him to bring him food, whose heart is filled with love both for her and the food, who then, rejoicing - though in the nest he pines and is consumed with eagerness to follow her and fly - will thank her by his singing, far beyond his usual power of song, with tongues set free, So, I whenever the warm rays of the divine Sun, nourishing my heart, will shine on me with unaccustomed brightness, take up my pen, impelled by inner love; without quite knowing what it is I say, as best I can, I write God's praises down.
By Vittoria Colonna (1492-1547) translated by Laura Anna Stortoni and Mary Prentice Lillie, in Women in Praise of the Sacred, edited by Jane Hirshfield: HarperPerennial 1994

Sweet Comfort Grace

I look
at gold and world
and see
children's trinkets and sand.
Heaven-joy carries me
far beyond myself.

If only my breath
were a wind
through-sweetened with praise,
to carry Love's flames
starwards, toward You.

If only I,
out of Love,
could be the Phoenix kindled,
could perish entirely out of bliss,
into my one desire.

Let me in thankfulness
be Your mirror,
Then Your own rays
might be returned to You,
in grace-words, in equal light.

from On the Sweet Comfort Brought by Grace by Catharina Regina Von Greiffenberg translated by Jane Hirshfield with Samuel Michael Halevi printed in Women in Praise of the Sacred HarperPerennial 1994


Thank God for coffee. I wake up every morning gratefully anticipating a cup of coffee. I like my coffee bold with real half and half and a teaspoon of honey.

Thank God for spring. Today is a blustery day, threatening rain. My allergies are acting up, in response to the blooming trees and flowers. I'm okay with that. This year we are experiencing a long spring - arriving as it has about six weeks early - and lingering. Typically we have a short, cold, rainy spring followed by instant summer. Not this year - temps have typically been warmer than average, but still in the 60's during the day and 40's at night. I'm grateful for the rain, we've needed it.

Thank God for gardens. We planted our spring garden last week - brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and lettuce. We put little wire cages around everything except the lettuce - concerned that the predicted strong storms would harm the fragile plants. The lettuce is planted in between the other plants which should …

...and the Plot Unfolds

A reflection on the readings for Easter 2B: Acts 4:32-35

Well, I took the bait. In early February I started watching the new television series, “Smash.” I am not typically one to jump on the bandwagon of a new television show. I tend to be skeptical and un-persuaded by the advertisement. But I think my desire to watch something that was not about violence, crime, hospitals, or some bad reality, caught my attention. I hoped for a good program that offered entertainment and interesting characters.
If you haven’t seen Smash it is a fictionalized story about the creation of a Broadway musical, based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. The plot has the musical being written by the fictionalized successful songwriting duo of Tom and Julia. Julia recently began the process of adopting a child with her husband Frank of many years, but her focus is torn when she has the opportunity to write another Broadway hit. A rivalry soon forms for the lead role between a youthful, inexperienced Midwestern beau…

RevGal Friday FIve: Missionary Trip edition

Karla, over at RevGals offers this Friday Five:

I am in mission trip mode right now, as I get ready to take a group of youth to DC to do service work around hunger and homelessness issues. So, in that spirit, our FF is Mission Style! So here are your questions:

1) Have you ever been on a mission trip, as a participant or adult chaperon? What was it like?
No, never. I grew up in a church that placed a significant emphasis on missionary work in order to proselytize and convert others...which left me with a conflicted sense of missionary work. But I do think that trips that enable people to learn about others, trips that are more about the formation and learning of the missionaries, are well worth while.
2) What is the worst thing that happened to you/your group on a mission trip (or retreat, or camp, or Habitat for Humanity experience, or something like that--hey, this is YOUR Friday Five, so you get to play it how you would like.)

I use to go to a special place for silent retre…

When It Was Monday, The First Day..

So, now it is that Monday. The Monday after Easter...I am tired, but not as exhausted as I thought I would be. Truth be told, this Holy Week and Easter were exhilarating...a reflection on this wonderful parish community I am blessed to serve.

Now Jan has gifted me with an "award"...

And in response I am to share seven things about me.

1. In 1974 I left home for college. I was an Agriculture major. My intention was to have a self-sufficient farm. I lasted for a year in that major...but the emphasis was on big business farming..not exactly my intention.
2. So after some consideration, consultation, and career skills tests, I settled on a dance major.
3. With that major in mind I enrolled in a smaller arts college and moved back to the big city (Chicago). I graduated with a BA in Dance and worked in the dance world for six years.
4. In 1983 I left dance and went to work for Eddie Bauer selling hiking boots. It will always be one of my favorite jobs. I loved the skill one needed…


Although the house resided on a busy four lane street, it had a wood deck off the back, that over looked 2-1/2 acres of grassy yard and a narrow strip of woods. After we moved in we realized that under the deck various animals had built dens: woodchuck, possum, rabbits.

One year we were startled to discover that a red fox had moved in under our deck. Actually it was a couple, a male and a female red fox. By late winter, the baby foxes made an appearance.

As spring unfolded we were delighted to see the fox family, usually late at night, out in the yard, playing. Papa fox would place himself way out on the perimeter of the yard to act as watch guard – his eyes intent, surveying the area, protecting his brood. Meanwhile momma fox brought one or two babies out of the den and taught them to follow, and play, and become fox. Although we only saw one or two at a time, as they grew in size, we saw more and more, a total of 8 baby fox. For the next few months the fox family and the Pilarski …

Monday Monday

The Momma's and the Papa's "Monday Monday"

I slept like one exhausted. A solid hard sleep which doesn't always leave one refreshed. Once I hit a certain age, I rarely experience solid state of sleep. But early this morning I was dreaming, and that's a sign of good sleep. My dreams were fleeting images, like the people flying through the tornado in the Wizard of Oz. It's a whirlwind week, no doubt.
On this Monday, we live on the precipice of Jesus's grand entrance into Jerusalem, his last supper, and his death. It will be a week filled with images, prayers, emotion.
On this Monday we are left behind. Jesus has gone on ahead of us. We will tell the story in a liturgy of scripture, song, images, bread and wine, foot-washing, nails, hammer, and a crown of thorns. We will tell the story in a stations of the cross created by images of brokenness in our world today, that point to Christ suffering with us.
My earworm this morning does not, exactly, correlate…