Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Prince of Peace

Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,
And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of councel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord....

And the wolf will dwell with the Lamb,
And the leopard will lie down with the young goat,
And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together,
And a little child will lead them...

They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord.

from Isaiah 11

I am convinced that if all came to truly know the Prince of Peace, there would be peace on earth. If we learned to honor His teachings; to love our neighbors and our enemies, to do good and never evil to those whose lives we touch, then could we sleep in heavenly peace at this time of the year and all other times, as well.

This year, I continue to pray for Peace. Peace in the world of chaos and violence. Peace in our country, in our towns and our neighborhoods. Peace in our homes and families. And the Peace that passes our understanding to reign in all our hearts.

Merry Christmas. Thanks be to God for sending to earth the Prince of Peace.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ho, ho, Holy giving....

Nicholas of Myra, who inspired our own tradition of Santa Claus, once learned of a family that was going to sell their three daughters into slavery to keep from starving. Stealthily, he took three bags of gold and threw them through the family's window to pay the ransom for the girls' freedom. This, and other secret gifts he gave the poor, are the basis for the gift-giving we do at this time each year. However, though there are still 1.2 million children trafficked each year in the global sex trade, we often choose to gift those who are in need of very little.

Look around you as you shop this season. Can you help any of those who could truly use your help? Even if you just make a secret pledge between yourself and God to not pass by a red bucket without putting something in it so your wealth can be put to work for others, that would be more in keeping with the true intent of the season than the shopping and giving we usually do. There are many places you can gift that will be of service to those in need if you are not comfortable gifting the needy directly. Let us be inspired by those who give Love for the right reasons this season, by those such as the original Nicolas, who gave because they love the true Giver. The man we see in the fake beard and the red suit is, after all, a very poor imitation of what the season and celebration is truly about.

"There is no improving the future without disturbing the present."
Catherine Booth, co-founder of the Salvation Army

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


This is the completed lower border of the right side tapestry for the Nativity church commission I am working on. The elements in it are a bunch of grapes, the "Peace" banner, and a dove.

The bunch of grapes refers to our community, with Christ and with each other. Christ said He is the vine, and we are the branches. We are to bear fruit to stay alive. The fruits of the Spirit are Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. Things to strive towards, and to check our lives for frequently. (Notice that I said we're to check our own lives for them, not everybody else's lives.) We are not on the branches alone, however, and these fruits need to be born in community with others. That is the tough part! The bunch of grapes doesn't have just one big juicy grape on it that is me. My grape must rub up against a whole bunch of other grapes!

The Peace banner is very important to me. I believe all followers of Christ are to be Peacemakers, because He is a Peacemaker. When asked about how to treat our enemies, He said to turn the other cheek, and to love our enemies. He did not say to go to war and bomb them. That is the difference between worldly 'wisdom' and spiritual wisdom. James says,

"... the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy.
And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace." (James 3:17, 18)

Sounds a bit like the fruits of the spirit listed in Galatians 5, doesn't it? James 4 goes on to talk about where wars, fights, and murder come from. They do not come from the peaceful Spirit of God. I find it hard to swallow when a christian says things that show he or she is supportive of any war, just as I would find it hard to believe a true follower of the Peacemaker would be supportive of any form of murder. I have often heard military members praised for being willing to 'give their lives' for others and their country, but what goes unsaid is that they are also expected to be willing to take the lives of others for their country. As a Peacemaker, how can I support that?

I know I will be controversial in saying these things, in today's world. Christ was controversial when he said to love our enemies, too. But I am a pacifist because I am a follower of the One who came to show us how to live in Peace.

The final element on this border is the dove. It symbolizes both the dove of Peace, and the Spirit, who manifested as a dove when Christ was baptized.

"Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." Matthew 5:9

May your life be blessed.... May you live in Peace.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Some more Grace...

You say grace before meals. All right.
But I say grace before the play and the opera,
And grace before the concert and pantomime,
And grace before I open a book,
And grace before sketching, painting,
Swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing;
And grace before I dip the pen in the ink.

--G. K. Chesterton, from an early notebook (mid-1890s)

This lovely thought from GK Chesterton was in the November issue of Real Simple magazine! Perhaps Chesterton was referring to praying, which is a wonderful thing to do before any activity, especially, I believe before we take the risk of expressing ourselves creatively. But what if we took it even more literally and said the word "Grace" before these activities? It seems to me like saying the word would have a profound effect on me, as much effect as asking God to grace my work, which I also do. If I say the word, "Grace," I think I would feel God's presence and love and participation in what I do. I would be reminding myself that God graces me, and would be simply invoking Him to grace my work.

I believe I will start to try saying this word during the days ahead, and see if it has the power of a God Word. I believe it does!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Amazing Grace....

This is the so-far completed left-side tapestry for the Nativity church that I am weaving. This lower border includes an anchor, which I already discussed here. It also has a banner with the word "Grace" on it, and a branch of flowers, which are Rose of Sharon blooms.

So what led me to include the banner of Grace in this tapestry? How could grace not be a part of it? It is a part of every true relationship with God. In fact, it is the crucial part of our hope in Him.

Here is the online dictionary's definition of grace:


Favor or goodwill. kindness, kindliness, love, benignity; condescension.

A manifestation of favor, especially by a superior: It was only through the dean's grace that I wasn't expelled from school. forgiveness, charity, mercifulness. animosity, enmity, disfavor.

Mercy; clemency; pardon: He was saved by an act of grace from the governor. lenity, leniency, reprieve. harshness.

All of those things define Grace, but it is so much more. Christian teaching is that grace is unmerited mercy; it is receiving something, everything of any value, really, even though there is no way we can earn or deserve it. It is being given something that we cannot pay for or give anything back for.

I know a lot of truly good and deeply spiritual people. But I know some of them well enough to know that even they are not perfect and must rely on God's grace, which has already been given to them with overflowing, unmerited, never failing Love, for forgiveness and for a lifeline to God.

Grace is what it is all about. When we sing this version of Amazing Grace in church, I truly feel God's grace, and it can be an overwhelming thing. I can rarely end the song out loud.

Amazing grace. Truly amazing. I hope those who view the tapestry as they worship will be ever mindful of God's Amazing Grace.

The rose, or the Rose of Sharon, is seen by much of the religious community as a symbol of purity, beauty, and of the Passion of Christ. The region of Sharon was a valley known for it's beautiful wildflowers. Since we also live in a valley rich in wildflowers, and Jesus has been called the Rose of Sharon in many hymns and analogies (though not in an actual direct way in the New Testament), I have included this bunch of flowers in this tapestry border to symbolize the beauty of Christ, as well as the beauty of our natural world - and the connection they share in the Father/Creator.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A prayer for my worry....

"Go and find Jesus when your patience and strength give out and you feel alone and helpless. He is waiting for you. Say to Him, 'Jesus, you know exactly what is going on. You are all I have, and you know all. Come to my help.' And then go and don't worry about how you are going to manage. That you have told God about it is enough. He has a good memory."
Jeanne Jugan

I have become an expert at worry lately, and I am guessing that I am not alone in this. I love what Jeanne Jugan has said! I especially love the reminder that God has a good memory. My memory grows weaker with the more things I need to remember! But God even remembers to notice the needs of the lilies of the field and to notice when a feather falls from a sparrow. He will surely remember my seemingly overwhelming needs, fears, and requests.

Sometimes my prayers get into 'nag-mode;' begging the Father over and over for the same things, as if the more I nag Him, the quicker He will respond. How silly is that? I think a simple prayer saying, 'Lord, you know my needs, and I thank You for not forgetting me,' would surely be a more faithful prayer.

Remember the lilies. Remember that God has a good memory, and also that He loves me. That really is enough to remember in times of worry, isn't it?

Monday, July 11, 2011


It doesn't have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
stones; just pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don't try
to make them elaborate, this isn't
a contest, but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.
Mary Oliver

What has prompted me to pray lately?
The beauty of the wildflowers,
the chaos of my garden,
the despair of a dear friend,
the sweetness of small childrens' songs and laughter,
the pain of a loved one,
oncoming death of a relative,
my dog's fear of thunder,
hummingbird's in flight,
a bear's hunger,
true love,
loneliness and laziness,
frustration in my work,
love of my work,
And nothing at all.

How about you?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

In the shallow end...

I have been floating along in the shallow end of Life for a bit. Life events... health issues, house guests, and just the speed of daily living... have kept me so occupied that I have just been spiritually floating along. No, not even floating; I've been wading and wallowing in the shallows.

I don't particularly like it in the shallow end. That end can quickly become mucky and muddy. Clarity is hard to find. And you don't even want to think about what is in all the muck and mud! The shallow end is where most people dwell, and some aren't even aware of it, except for those occasional nudges that makes them wonder what being in the clear moving depths would be like.

It makes me think of my grandson at his last birthday party, which was held at a swimming pool. A couple of his friends would run with abandon and leap into the pool, making a huge splash and then resurfacing, shaking the water off their faces and hair. Moe was carefully climbing down the ladder, or sliding in from sitting on the edge of the pool. He watched them a few times and then came over to me. "I wish I could do that, Grandma," he whispered to me, as one jumped in. I looked at him and whispered back, "Then just do it." I told him he could hold his nose shut and shut his eyes, if he wanted to. But he looked back at me, turned and ran the few feet to the pool, and jumped in, making a HUGE splash, and coming up grinning. The rest of the day, that is how he entered the pool. How brave! And what Joy it gave him... and me. I hope he always remembers to let go of the fears that keep him from jumping in over his head. I hope, when he finds himself wallowing in the mire of the shallow end, he will find the courage to take the leaps that send him into the deep, clear waters of Life.

And I, too, am again ready to take a few dives into the deeper waters of Life... Here's hoping I make a huge SPLASH and come up grinning!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Every day is a new day....

There are days when the alarm radio goes off, and I hear such distressing news to begin my day: horrible weather events that have devastated so many lives; war and ugly politics; people behaving badly, though they claim Christ's name.

I confess that it makes me want to cover my head and stay in bed. But to do so would be to miss out on all the rest of it: the things that don't make the early morning news. If my head was under my pillow, I would miss my dog's wagging tail. I would miss the constant hum of the busy bees in our garden trees. I would miss the sunset, and the play of spring storm clouds across our big sky. I would miss the tart taste of rhubarb, and the wake-up smell of coffee. I would miss the feel of a new skein of wool winding through my fingers, and the indescribable feel of paint smoothing across a canvas. I would miss the call from a friend and the hug from my husband.

Each day is a new day; a day the Lord has made for me. He wants me to rejoice and be glad in it. I have had some days recently when 'rejoicing and being glad' just felt like too much work. And sometimes it does take effort. Those are the times when I need to go for a walk to watch the young owls, or get out my guitar and make some loud and joyful noise...

... because each day is a new day, and the Lord is waiting to share it with me.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A day of darkness...

Today is the day the Christian world memorializes the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Today is the day we can come closer to understanding the unfathomable love God has for us. Though there are few of us who would give our own lives for others, especially those whom we know don't deserve it, who among us would willingly allow our son, the most beloved part of ourselves, to die for others. On this day, God wept. He wept so deeply, the sun could not shine, the temple curtains tore apart in sorrow, the earth quaked with God's mourning. The sight of His own beloved son covered with all the sin and shame and horror of all of us, past, present, and until the end of time, caused God to turn away, and that turning hurt. God is Love. And love can hurt a great deal.

Do you not know that God can weep? Can hurt and mourn? John 11:35 says that Jesus wept over the death of his friend, and He told us that if we want to know the Father, we can know Him through the son. What Jesus did, he did to teach us the nature of God. And Jesus wept. So don't you know that this day is still a sad day for our Father? The day He remembers the pain of the death of His beloved child... The day He remembers what was given for us: for our mistakes, our greed, our hatred, our selfishness and meanness, our smallness, our laziness, our lack of faith, for our sin.

Yes, we know that the day will be bright again. Resurrection will come. But today, we need to acknowledge that God gave enough to hurt even Him. He wept tears and cried out in pain because He loves us enough to give what would be the greatest gift a loving Father can give. On this day, we must thank our Father for that gift, we must remember that sacrifice, and perhaps we must even weep a bit with the God who weeps when we are bent down with our own sorrows.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Life requires Bravery...

It seems that no matter what I am reading, watching, or discussing, it becomes more and more evident that just living in today's world requires a great deal of bravery. The roads all feel quite rocky and filled with obstacles, and solutions to problems seldom are simple. We often find ourselves baffled about what to do to make a difference, or even to survive.

My husband and I watched the movie "Invictus" last night. We had not seen it before. I have always been impressed by Nelson Mandela, and this movie made me respect him even more. He was a man who lived and led with bravery. He was brave enough to care, to be kind when kindness was not the norm, and to be forgiving when a lot of forgiveness was needed. His bravery was passed on to a nation that required it to survive. Ours is a nation that requires bravery to survive now, too. It is not the bravery of those with weapons that is needed: it is the bravery of those who will forgive differences of opinion; those who will love unconditionally; those will always act with kindness and generosity. It is the bravery of those who make choices based on what Love and Forgiveness dictates, not on what might and power and wealth try to claim. It is the bravery of those who will speak out for the weaker, the poorer, the uneducated. It is the bravery of those who will demand that we feed and educate and protect those around us. Those brave souls must be us, for who else will be brave if we are not?

Think of the bravery required of Christ in this Holy Week, leading up to the celebration of His resurrection. Even during His final hours, when surely just thinking of His own plight would have required a great deal of bravery, He was thinking of others. He was loving and forgiving.

I have many days when it feels brave enough for me to just to go through my day without doing harm. But it is not brave enough. There is more for me to do. I don't have to lead nations. I don't have to cure the ills of a people or of the world. But I do need to be brave enough to interact with the people God puts in my path with compassion, generosity, forgiveness, and love. And I need to be brave enough to prompt others to follow that path as well. Only if we are all brave, can we make a difference.

Be brave. Be strong and courageous, for you are not alone. Strength will be given to you to do all that God requires. This week, ask for the bravery of Christ in His last week. And expect God to open doors for you to use that bravery, because He will. But He will also walk through those doors with you, and make your efforts more than you could ever hope them to be, on your own.

Nelson Mandela said, "If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness."

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

There's a ringin' of a bell in the back of my mind...

I am just back from Taos. It was a working trip for me, but also a fun get-away and a chance to see different things. As always, I take a lot of photos when I am away from home. I loved this old loom, with a new weaving being done on it and a cross along-side to 'bless' the weaver and his or her work. I am a firm believer that God does bless the work of our hands, when we do it with sincerity and commitment. Christ himself, while one of us, was a craftsman, and tradition and history say he was a fine one. I am sure that whatever He did, He did it for His Father.

I have a large tapestry to finish designing and to warp the loom for. I confess that I am having trouble getting into the studio. Suddenly, there are housework and errands and yard and garden work demanding my attention. There are friends and loved ones who 'need' me. It is very hard to turn my back on all that good work, to go into my studio and weave in solitude, ignoring dust bunnies as they roll past the door, and pets looking at me longing for a walk. But if I do not do that, the tapestry will not be woven. Would that be a great loss to anyone, if one of my tapestries, or all of them, went unwoven? Probably not. But my work is my voice in the world, and God has been 'troubling me' in my thoughts and dreams and quiet moments to go to the studio and weave.

Susan Werner has written a beautiful song that often goes through my mind when I am procrastinating in doing what I know I need to be doing. It's called "Did Trouble Me". Find and listen to it, if possible; it will become a favorite! Here are lyrics from the last verse and chorus:

In the whisper of the wind, in the rhythm of a song
My Lord will trouble me.
To keep me on the path where I belong,
My Lord will trouble me.

Will trouble me,
With a word or a sign,
With the ringing of a bell in the back of my mind.
Will trouble me,
Will stir my soul,
For to make me human, to make me whole.

My Lord's been troublin' me to get busy! So to the studio I will go today, to work on the Nativity tapestries and to warp the loom. God watered the garden and yard for me yesterday, so I do not need to fret about that task, and all else will hold for at least today.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Out of darkness...

As the darkness of winter passes into uncertain spring, we are having days that are neither winter, nor yet spring. Yet there is a changing of the light. I suffer a bit with seasonal depression; a winter malady that I seem to share with several friends and family members, and countless creative people, past and present. As the season changes, we are not yet clear of that darkness of mood, but I am beginning to feel some hope.

I do not know whether I am an artist because of my fascination with darkness and light, or if that fascination exists because I am an artist. It matters little which came first; like the silly chicken/egg debate. But my fascination with the contrast of darkness and light extends beyond the physical. It extends as well beyond the psychological; it extends furthest into the spiritual realm. The contrast between good and evil in the Bible is often referred to as a battle of dark vs. light. There is so much spiritual darkness in the world. Even those who are not attempting to look through God's eyes feel it and know it to be real and powerful. My grandchildren are just beginning to enjoy the Harry Potter books. I am certain the popularity of that allegorical story is because we can all understand that the battle between good and evil, or light and darkness, is a real one, and we all want to see the darkness overcome.

The photo above is one of many that I have taken where the subject matter is the contrast of dark and light. It was taken on one of the Boston Islands, in an old underground fortification. I felt a very heavy darkness there that was from more than just a lack of light. It was a relief to be able to keep an eye on distant light. Sometimes, the light does feel distant, and not nearly bright enough. But I keep my eyes on it. I stay as closely as I can in it's presence. And I make the attempt to let it shine through me, so that others are not left in the darkness we all fear.

It seems very important to me right now, with so much pain and suffering and disaster we cannot control in the world, to keep focusing on that eternal Light. Thus it has always been, and thus it will be forever...

Light Shining out of Darkness

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
William Cowper

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Young sixteen-year-old Patrick of England was kidnapped, taken to Ireland, and sold as a slave, much like Joseph was. After six years of slave labor, herding livestock for an Irish chieftain, he escaped and made his way back to Britain. In spite of his hardships, as Joseph had done before him, he believed God had a hand in not only his deliverance, but also in his captivity. When back home, he began his studies to become a priest. During that time, he had dreams, in which God told him to go back to Ireland, to forgive and help the people there. After he was ordained, he spent 30 years in Ireland, spreading his faith and establishing churches, and spending time in solitude, retreat, and prayer.

I am fascinated with how God repeated Joseph's story in the life of Patrick of Ireland. Here is a prayer that is attributed to Patrick:

Christ be with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

May this be your prayer on this St. Patrick's Day, as you strive to replace your small life with the large life God has planned for you! As Joseph, son of Jacob, did, and as Patrick of Ireland did.

And don't forget the 'wearin' of the green' or some stinker will pinch you!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Be still, and Know...

Life is not easy. There are so many difficult things we have to deal with; seemingly more as we get older. Death, disease, natural disasters, and the evils humans inflict on other humans in the name of politics and greed all become 'daily news' to us. In the midst of this, it is only natural to wonder about where and who God is. In an unpredictable world, we want predictability and understanding, so we can have the peace of feeling in control.

Our church congregation is watching a popular video series on Sunday nights, then breaking into small groups to discuss what we have seen. I won't mention the name of it, because we haven't seen it all yet, and I am trying to keep an open mind. But the point of the series seems to be for us to prepare ourselves to explain, defend, and prove the existence of God to those who do not believe. Personally, I do not think that is a task we are called to do. For those who need scientific, historic, or physical proof that there is a God, we can but fail miserably.

God asks us to "Be Still," and to, in our stillness, KNOW that He Is (Psalm 46:10.) We are asked to find Him in our hearts, and He is there, if we are willing to diligently seek Him. I am certainly not saying you won't find God in nature, science, and history. In fact, I cannot help but see God in all of those places. But that is because I already KNOW Him. I didn't find him, He found me. God is not a concrete being, but a spiritual being, so we must find Him by spiritual means. That may sound all mystical and even evasive to many, but that is what true faith is. It is a knowing, a believing, in the unknowable and the unprovable. To 'know God' is not an intellectual exercise, it is a spiritual surrender.

John 14:17 tells us, "You already Know. The Spirit is with you and the Spirit is in you." God didn't leave us to find Him all on our own. He placed the knowledge within us, by joining our spirits to His own Spirit. If we will listen, we will find what we seek: the peace that comes by giving up the need for control.

Listen. Be still. Those inner urgings; those moments of knowing you are not alone; that knowledge that there is more to life than the chaos we see on the daily news... these stirrings will lead you to know that God IS.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

'Tis a Gift to be Simple...

"Simplicity is the first cousin of contentment. It's motto is, 'We brought nothing into this world, and we can certainly carry nothing out.' It recognizes that we are pilgrims. It concentrates us on what we need, and measures this by what we use. It rejoices in the good things of creation, but hates waste and greed and clutter. It knows how easily the seed of the Word is smothered by the 'cares and riches of this life.' It wants to be free from distractions, in order to love and serve God and others." John Stott, British evangelist.

Every year at about this time, I am filled with a compelling urge 'clear out' my house. I guess it is a cabin-fever sort of thing, having been stuck inside with all my stuff for the winter, until it threatens to overwhelm me. I have always wanted to live a Simple Life, whatever that may mean. In fact, I remember very clearly a conversation with my husband, (then fiancé) before we were married, in which we agreed that we both wanted to live in a simple and uncomplicated way. I guess that is one of the reasons we are both also so enamored with the Arts and Crafts movement. After all, it was William Morris, father of the movement in England, who said to "have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."

So how have I come to be so surrounded by Stuff? I think I am less surrounded than many I know are, but I am quite bad enough. Every year, I am determined to pare down, clear out, declutter, and enrich the local Goodwill by the truckload. I do make some headway each year, and I have begun the process again recently. But I've not made enough headway. And I somehow manage to get More Stuff each year! I am not a 'shopper:' in fact, I hate shopping, and generally shop only under duress, and as quickly and efficiently as possible. Still, the Stuff accumulates.

My daily Bible reading has seen Jacob and his many women and children traveling on foot across the Middle East with all their possessions. How would that even be possible for me? Where would I recharge all my gadgets? I can barely haul my carry-on bag for a week-long trip through an airport without looking for something with wheels to help me haul it! I have so much Stuff, I can often not even find what I need among the piles of it. Yesterday, it took me 20 minutes to find some oil pastels that I KNEW I had somewhere, among all the Stuff in my studio closet. That cannot be a good thing.

I also have so many books (many of which were used or old, I will grant) that there is no more room on the many bookshelves in our home. So several years ago I made an unbreakable, and so-far unbroken, rule that if one more book came into the house, at least one had to go out. It is a good rule, and, except for the digital ones I am now reading, I will stick to it. (Do you see that I have already found a loophole to my rule?)

I do believe Mr. Stott is correct, though. Simplicity leads to contentment. And lack of simplicity is nothing more than greed; it is not need. Our Stuff can consume us, spiritually and emotionally. Clutter is more than physical; it can weigh us down. So I will continue to fill my Goodwill boxes, and I will continue to ask myself if I really need something before I bring it into my life. I hope I get better at this Simplicity thing. I know it is the way God wants me to live.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Be Strong and Courageous...

Rosa Parks was born on this day, February 4th, in the year 1913. When she was 42 years old, she had the courage to stand up to one of our country's greatest wrongs; the treatment of one group of people as having less value than another. Those kinds of acts continue in our country, and even more sadly, in our churches, yet today.

When I was in high school and came across the concept of civil disobedience, Rosa Parks became one of the people on my short list of heroes. Not only was she of the 'wrong' race, but she was a woman; the 'wrong' sex to do a brave and courageous act that would lead to the betterment of our world.

Last year, in my reading through the Bible, I was led to underline every time I saw God tell someone to "Be Strong and Courageous." I did a lot of underlining! That phrase was almost always followed by the promise that the Lord would be with us when we acted on behalf of Right, with strength and courage. I am sure that Rosa Parks leaned on that promise the day she refused to move to the back of the bus, and as she was arrested, fingerprinted, and treated like a criminal.

I confess that I prefer to not think of inequities as I go throughout my day. But we are called to think of others and of how they are treated. My recent treatment as a woman in the church has led me to be more willing to open my eyes to those who are believed to be 'less than' others. It is these whom Christ had the most compassion with. Surely these were among the ones whom He was thinking about as he died on the cross: these, whose lives are not more difficult because of anything they have done, but because of how we treat them, based on superficial differences of race, sex, or even belief.

As we go about our days, let us be Strong and Courageous, as Rosa Parks was, as Christ Himself was. Let our acts and treatment of others reflect that strength, courage, and most especially the Love that motivates them. Brigid of Ireland said, "I would like the angels of Heaven to be among us. I would like an abundance of peace. I would like full vessels of charity. I would like rich measures of mercy. I would like cheerfulness to preside over all. I would like Jesus to be present."

I would like that, too.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The beauty of a New England winter...

"All that is sweet, delightful, and amiable in this world, in the serenity of the air,

the fineness of the seasons, the joy of light,

the melody of sounds, the beauty of colors, the fragrance of smells,

the splendor of precious stones, is nothing else

but Heaven breaking through the veil of this world."

William Law, 18the century English cleric

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 is what your life now is...

“What I want to say is

that the past is the past,

and the present is what your life is,

and you are capable

of choosing what will be,

darling citizen.

So come to the pond,

or the river of your imagination,

or the harbor of your longing,

and put your lips to the world.

And live

your life.”

– “Mornings at Blackwater,” by Mary Oliver

Happy New Year!