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Archive for April, 2009

Countless Gifts

Continue celebrating the earth with this week’s Poetry Party at Abbey of the Arts!

                                          

 

 

Countless Gifts

 

 

The apple blossom tree that finally

bursts forth in vibrant pink petals

 

The lake that is large and deep enough

to receive unspeakable grief

and offer waters of rebirth

 

The deer that cautiously ventures to

the prairie’s edge to seek sweet tender grass

 

The loud claps of thunder that

echo terror within that has no words

 

The rocks in the river that day after day

and year after year stand firm against the stream’s current

 

The hard mallet against the stretched hide of the wolf

that sounds out the vibrations of life

 

The succulent juices of an August peach that

delight the tongue’s taste buds

 

The sacred silence of the clear still night that

speak volumes of life’s energy

 

O Blessed be the countless gifts of the earth!

 

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“Let us remember within us…” 

                                                               (John O’Donahue: Praise of the Earth”)

 

Apr 19 WAT

In her essay “Poetry Is Not A Luxury” Audrey Lorde speaks of the necessity of poetry, of its healing and redemptive qualities.  I thought of how true that is in my own life, not only of poetry but of the creative process in general.  This is often how I process life, how and where I discover meaning throughout the seasons and challenges of life.  As I pondered and chose the words to use in my journal for “outside”, “nature”, “creation”, I landed on  created world.   I like this phrase because it reflects, as least for me, an intimate connection with the Creator. 

Then I wondered if the need and deep longing to create, was and is and will be, a vital part of our Creator’s being.  If that’s why we exist, why spring bursts with color and new life, why we are brought to tears at the cry of a new born or an intimate expression of love, why music can move us deeper than words, why hope exists where logic says it doesn’t have a chance… creative expressions of the ongoing process of life and of the Holy One’s presence within.

                          

 

                       

Perhaps this is one of the reasons, unconscious though it may be, that we are responding to farmer’s markets and connections with the people who grow our food: deep within is a yearning to be in touch with this creative process, and connecting with our food at a local level meets more than one basic need.

                             

Perhaps this is one of the reasons the knitting class that I planned for the Seniors for 4 weeks ~ to give the women a chance to learn, or relearn, how to knit ~ has become an ongoing group: deep within is a yearning to create, to, in some small way, be a part of the larger creative process.  And creating in community with a group of women whose company we enjoy only adds to the value.

I realize that this is not a new insight.  However I am grateful that I worship with a congregation where this is the focus the Sunday after Easter.  That our relationship with Creation is an intimate part of our relationship with the Creator.  That this relationship is an expression of our Easter faith. 

Earthy blessings of Eastertide to you and yours!

 

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The Poetry Party has returned ~ come join in!

 

 

They gather behind closed doors,

leaving behind, at least for a short while,

those who too easily hurl insults and objects and disrespect.

 

They speak with honesty of life’s hard blows,

mincing no words,

sharing Good Friday stories,

telling of scenes no human eye or soul ought ever to witness.

 

Yet under this pain,

lingering at the edges,

seeping up from within

is hope:

 

hope that wears a tough facade,

hope that understands the importance of boundaries,

hope that believes violence doesn’t have the last word,

hope that finds strength in sharing one’s story in a safe community,

hope that hopes within there is still a young girl free to run on the beach,

hope that offers resurrection in the hard places of life.

 

Who are these women?

   the first apostles?

   our neighbors?

   our friends?

  our selves?

 

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On this middle day of the Triudium we dyed Easter Eggs.  I was delighted that my college age daughters still enjoy this activity.  We don’t usually talk theology around the table; as PK’s they seem to want a break from that and I generally honor that need.  The supplies ~ glasses full of vinegar, water and various colors, spoons, rubber bands, masking tape, markers, and paper towels ~ were spread over the table, and the fun began. 

   

We were listening to music from D2’s laptop and after a while, it was Christmas music.  Yes, Christmas music.

“That’s interesting,” I said, “Christmas music while we color Easter eggs.” 

D1 said, “Well, you know, Alpha and Omega.  Birth and death.  He had to be born first.” 

“But it’s not just death.  Isn’t it birth again?” D2 asked. 

“Yep.” I answered. ” Then I guess listening to Christmas music while coloring Easter eggs somehow all fit together.”

 

And then for good measure, we had a “Green Thumb”,  

reminding us that creation is an integral part of the story, and leading to Earth Day, which is April 22 on the calendar but becoming every day for many of us.

Blessings on your preparations, waiting, hoping, coloring, and music choices as we lean into tomorrow!  It’s almost thyme…

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Birthed in a congregation that was “homeless” last year,

“Good Friday Prayers in the City”

are a Call to Worship with our feet and our voices,

our hearts and our souls.

 

 Eight stops in the city,

  

eight voices seeking life and hope…

“When we consider the welfare of all,

what about those who have nothing?”

 

eight places to lift in prayer…

“Good Friday is a day of remembrance for the homeless”

 

eight places of seeking refuge or being refused refuge…

“When you have done for the least of these,

you have done it for me.”

Our musicians who played in the cold weather

eight places to lift our voices in song…

“Today we walk with you in mind, O Lord, help us to see

The work that in your name is done, and what as yet could be.

Give us the courage Simon showed, your cross to lift and take.

To follow in your footsteps, Lord, and of your task partake.”

                                                                (Text: J.W. Johnson, 2009)

aware that there are thousands more beyond these particular places…

  The cross goes above us

“Your journey led to Golgotha To die upon the tree.

Your task was done, the price was paid, Salvation now is free.

And now with solemn eyes you ask This plain and simple plea,

“All this, dear ones, I’ve done for you.  What can you do for me?”

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One of the Crowd

For the third consecutive year, on Palm-Passion Sunday, we have done a congregational reading of the Passion narrative with members reading different parts.  Near the end of the story, the congregation participates as “the crowd” and together we say, “Crucify him.  Crucify him.”  Each year these 2 simple words strike a dark chord within me.  The Story becomes a narrative of both the past and the present.  We are participating in His death, it’s not just a past event we read about.  Each thyme we dishonor who we have been created to be, or we violate the boundaries of another, or we withhold our gifts from someone in need, or we judge another without knowing her or his full story, or we use the earth’s resources without concern for replenishing them, or we engage in any act of violence or disrespect we are participating in His death.  Each year we are called to a new awareness of the Good Fridays in our lives. 

 

 

Good Friday is not a pretty day yet it’s a necessary day in this journey.  Its darkness and shadows are part of what give Easter Sunday its light and hope.  But in new and deeper ways I feel the call to dwell here for a while, taking in the pain, leaning into the brokenness of the world that is in need of a message of hope and life, and asking how I am called to live in the midst of this.

 “Stay with me, remain here with me.  Watch and pray.  Watch and pray.”     ~ Taize song

 

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and hope does not disappoint us.

                                 

But oh how hope can tease us, taking its own sweet thyme to show up, wandering first through suffering, endurance and character, seeming to spend lots of thyme at suffering as one’s world falls apart, layer by layer. Perhaps there’s a small glimpse of hope as endurance begins, figuring “if I can just stick it out a little longer things will get better.” But endurance takes its own sweet thyme as well, building up endurance it seems, a sense of “stick-with-it-ness.” And then comes character – but what kind of character we ask? It often feels like it’s not a character ‘pleasing unto You.’ But You are gracious and patient, reminding us that this process is about being honest with ourselves, not about perfection. The journey is about authenticity, about bringing all of us to the relationship – all the parts we don’t like, and remembering You accept them all – anger, fear, rage, envy, unmet needs and dreams, sadness. And therein lies our hope: Your grace is sufficient for every single part of our lives however significant or insignificant they may seem. Your thyme is not our thyme. And the journey is not a direct path, a neat and tidy road trip. Neither was Good Friday.

                                    

Hope does not disappoint us. It may be a long thyme coming, but it’s like a mustard seed of faith, somehow enough for the journey. It’s like the empty tomb: Easter always has the last word, weaving the loose ends, hard edges, and dark colors into a tapestry of life and hope.

                                                

 May the journey of this Holy Week bring you hope.  

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