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Archive for November, 2008

It has been a challenging week ~ not Thanksgiving but the days previous.  A tangle with institutional injustice.  Again.  I made the necessary phone calls, wrote the appropriate letters, and asked for support and prayer.  But my head kept getting in the way; I was thinking too much.  And then I felt the Spirit nudging me ~ go to Choir Practice.  Sing.  Give voice to the hope and faith that has been planted deep within.  And sing when you get home.  You’ll get through this by trusting your soul, not your mind.  Sing some more.

And once again Spirit was right; I wasn’t surprised for I’ve learned to follow Her nudgings.  The anthem chosen for today was “My Soul in Stillness Waits”  by Marty Haugen ~ the beauty thyme and thyme again with Scripture and sacred music is it feels like it was written for me, for the week past and the weeks ahead.   

” For you, O Lord, my soul in stillness waits; truly my hope is in you.

Verses:

O Lord of Light, our only hope of glory, your radiance shines in all who look to you.

     Come, light the hearts of all in dark and shadow.

O Spring of Joy, rain down upon our spirit; our thirsty hearts are yearning for your Word.

     Come, make us whole; be comfort to our hearts.

O Root of Life, implant your seed within us, and in your advent draw us all to you.

     our hope reborn in dying and in rising.

O Key of Knowledge, guide us in our pilgrimage; we ever seek, yet unfulfilled remain

     Open to us the pathway of your peace.”

On this First Sunday in Advent, the theme was waiting: waiting in faith that the seed has been planted, trusting that God is at work while we wait.  So as I learn to wait and trust on a whole new level, I hold fast to the words Jan Richardson shares here at The Advent Door: “But perhaps, instead of a cozy welcome into the season, this is precisely what we need as we enter Advent: a heaping serving of mystery, a vivid reminder that we can’t know everything, can’t see everything, can’t predict everything that will happen in the days to come.”  She’s right ~ this is not the cozy image I had hoped for this Advent.  Instead it’s a thyme of seeking without knowing the outcome ~ of my appeal to the institution, of how the Holy One may chose to be present at any given moment, of what Advent might look like 4 weeks from now.  It is a thyme of waiting and trusting, and of lighting candles as we journey through these days.   

                                          

The prayer offered each thyme the choir gathers became enfleshed for me this week:

     “O God, Grant that what we sing with our lips we may believe in our hearts, and what we believe in our hearts we may practice in our daily lives. “

Singing and waiting my way through Advent…

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Thanksgiving “Sandwich”

As I walked to the driveway to greet my youngest daughter who was arriving home for the holiday weekend, my heart smiled: I was welcoming her home, my parents had arrived earlier from 3 hours away, and soon my oldest daughter would return home.  This is one of the experiences of being a member of the “sandwich” generation and I was especially aware of it last night as we all gathered around the table, sharing stories and laughter and good food.  I’m equally aware that many in the sandwich generation often face more challenges and struggles than joy.  Today I’m grateful for the joy.

One of my Thanksgiving blessings is being the middle of the sandwich:  surrounded by those I love who are both younger and older.

 

Tday hands 08

These hands prepared the meal and the table, offered thanks, enjoyed the meal, and cleaned up as they have in years past and will in years to come.   These hands have been joined by others throughout time, wishing that they could have joined us today.  And, before the day is finished, these hands will probably hold a turkey sandwich to end the occasion.

May your hands hold the blessing of a sandwich in whatever form you desire!

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Worship Arts Table

Our Open House Sunday!

                                                

We have often begun our service singing these words:

     “Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true.

      With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living sanctuary for you.”

While the intent of the song is about our lives, our souls, becoming a sanctuary, this particular Sunday we give thanks that we have a physical space to share as a sanctuary, as a place of light and healing, worship and fellowship, community and outreach.  So we brought food and set the table, swept the floors and brushed off the snow (yes it tried hard to snow Sunday morning but that didn’t stop us), sent invitations and opened our doors and our hearts.  The choir sang an appropriately chosen piece for the occasion ~ “The Journey” which is an arrangement of the Shaker hymn, “Simple Gifts” and Dvorak’s “Symphony in E minor” otherwise known as “Going Home”:

    ‘Tis a gift to be simple, ’tis a gift to be free,

     ’tis a gift to come down where you ought to be.

     And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

    ’twill be in the valley of love and delight…

     Going home, going home, I am going home.

     Going home, going home, never more to roam.

     Though the road’s been so long, now I’m going home.

     To the place I belong, I am going home.

     Going home, going home, I am going home. 

For 12 years this congregation worshipped in the cafeteria of the local college, setting up chairs and worship space then taking it all back down again within 3 hours, Sunday after Sunday after Sunday.  And now, we are in a place to call “home”, a place to hang a sign and set up chairs that can stay where we put them for weeks on end.  And, more importantly, we can offer hospitality: lingering fellowship thyme after worship, a meal to a family following a memorial service, a birthday celebration, an Open House for the community, and, we hope, a place for community groups to gather and meet and find other ways to respond to needs.  We’ll continue praying that our hearts and souls are places of sanctuary regardless where we are; now we can extend our sense of sanctuary throughout the week, letting the light of our faith shine.

  Open House, 1         Open House, 5

Wherever life takes you in this season, may you find the sanctuary you need, may you offer the gift of sanctuary that is yours to offer.

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Worship Arts Table

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Our stewardship focus this year began from the ground up.  Literally.  I brought my Worm Composting bin to share with the children.  

No, it doesn’t stink.  Yes,  if it’s quiet in the room you can actually hear them moving around ~ pretty cool!  We poked our hands in the dirt as we spoke of how the worms do their part to care for creation and create fertilizer at the same thyme.  We even had some adults who got down on the floor and held out their hands to hold a worm.

   

One of the many things I appreciate about this congregation is our commitment to earthkeeping, to paying attention to how we use the earth’s resources and how we can pay it forward for future generations, and the fun ways we help our children understand this dimension of our faith.  We are now in a building that we have access to every day of the week, so this means, among other things, that we have opportunities every day of the week to act on our commitment to be faithfully “green.”

11-09-08, 4

 

I’d like to hear how your community of faith embodies stewardship of the earth. 

 

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With Indelible Ink

It’s thyme for another Poetry Party  at Christine’s site ~ come join the fun and share what’s on your heart.

                                            

I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts.

Somethymes it just starts welling up

from within, growing, swelling.

I wonder how I can release it.

I wonder how I can contain it.

It excites me.

It scares me.

Is this the passion, the creativity, the authentic life within

that is seeking voice?

What other layers need to be peeled away?

What permission do I need to give myself?

What song am I becoming?

Moss may creep along the edges.

Weeds may sprout from the center.

Rain may fall, tears may flow baptism~like,

pooling in the crevices as new life bubbles forth.

And then I know

that healing is possible,

that You are enfleshed in my soul,

that “Life” is written

indelibly in my heart.

And gratitude pulses through every cell.

and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

                               

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Hope Has a New Voice

I confess that in the past I haven’t been much engaged with the political process and elections; I didn’t find much to connect with.  I paid attention on the surface and knew clearly who would get my vote.  But something different happened this year.  Perhaps it’s that I’m hearing and seeing something that draws me in.  And I’m surprised to find myself wanting to write about it.

Hope has a new face.  Hope has a new voice.  I have felt it for several days but it was Barak Obama’s comment made during his first press conference in response to “what about the new puppy that will be coming to the White House?” that has stirred something deep in me.  He responded that because of Malia’s allergies they probably can’t get a shelter dog, a mutt, “like me.”   a mutt like me.  My heart opened up.  This man has just made history in ways we don’t yet fully comprehend, and he says he’s like a mutt. The circle is widening.  There’s room for those who sit on the edges, whose voices have been silenced, who haven’t felt like they belonged because they were different or weren’t pure.  In some ways I find myself on the edges: a woman in a traditionally male vocation, I live with an invisible disability and its limitations, so I have a small taste of life in the margins though I am quick to realize that far too many people are far more marginalized than I.  I know that being President of the United States requires extraordinary skill, intelligence, insight, and a whole host of other skills.  And I don’t mean to trivialize the huge national and global issues that need his leadership, immediately.  But this and other stories offer encouragement that appropriate humility is included in his list of skills.

Perhaps it’s been a matter of waiting, and thyming…

If you find yourself on the sidelines, in the margins, waining in faith, may hope present itself with a fresh voice or a new face.  May hope prevail.

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The Dog Days of Autumn

                                                  

Come… sit a while…

                   

breathe in the offerings of this season…

                                 

  

                 

  

                    

and find delight!

                 

 

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