Lighthouse in Alaska
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going. John 14:1-4
If you are near my age, you may remember the television show, "Little House on the Prairie." Uh oh. Can you hear the song in your heard? It's going through mine right now.
I like Psalm 139. The image that particularly appeals to me is this:
For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.Maybe I like it because it appeals to both the biologist and the knitter in me. We are wonderfully created, knit together, by our God.
We are being knit together by love and anticipation, by joy and by grieving. We are being knit together as we anticipate the reign of God and live now in this reality. We are being knit together, and sometimes this causes us unbelievable joy, and sometimes almost unbearable sorrow.Of course, I know that we are knit together, but this article brought it into focus for me today. We are the Body of Christ, and we are knit together, wonderfully and fearfully made. That construction, as a body, can bring us great joy, or great grief, because we share the experiences of the others in the Body.
I was looking through blogs today, and read one my Gordon Atkinson. Gordon was a pastor at a church, but has in the last year or so changed positions. He was visiting an Episcopal Church and had this experience (that's a link called Finding Grace).
Gordon, these are my beloved children. They are my Church, and you are being very unkind to them. They are here, broken and wounded as you are, seeking to grow, seeking to become and be the body of Christ, seeking to be made into a new creation in my image. And look at my servant Jane. How she loves them. How she believes in them. How passionately she teaches the gospel to them. If Jane believes in them and I believe in them, perhaps you could believe in them too.
Where is my older son? He's a representative of the Northeastern Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church to the Global Young People's Convocation in Berlin. The Convocation ended last night (Berlin time).
"The goal for the Legislative Assembly of the Global Young People’s Convocation is to make the voices of young people around the world be heard in the life of the United Methodist Church. The legislation that is brought forth shall reflect the purpose of gathering young people from all over the world to recognize and respond to the needs of young people across the globe. It shall help the Church gain a greater cultural understanding of young people and the issues they face and provide a way to capture the voice of young people raising their joys, concerns, hopes and dreams for the Church. And it shall provide everyone with insight on how the proposed petitions could reflect the issues, perspectives and wisdom of young people around the world," according to the GYPC Legislative Guidelines.We heard from him today, and he's having a great time.
The Friday Five this week on RevGalBlogPals was written by Songbird (see this weeks posts). She writes:
Yesterday, I talked about an image of God, attentive and listening. Earlier in the week, I talked about multitasking -- trying to do so many things at once that none of them get done well. On Wednesday, I talked about Martha and a reflection concerning the scripture from Reflectionary.
The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When our mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers. If you love someone but you rarely make yourself available to him or her, that is not true love. When your beloved is suffering, you need to recognize her suffering, anxiety, and worries, and just by doing that, you already offer some relief. Mindfulness relieves suffering because it is filled with understanding and compassion. When you are really there, showing your loving-kindness and understanding, the energy of the Holy Spirit is in you.When we lean forward in our chairs, turn off the TV, really look at the person in front of us, we are emulating God. We are listening with the intensity of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes it means interrupting what we are doing, setting aside our own schedule, but when we focus, God can enter in. When we are Mary, at the feet of God, or of anyone else, we say something.
Sometimes, when I am part of community prayer, and someone else is praying, I close my eyes and listen, picturing the person speaking. Instead of just seeing the pray-er as he or she is, I imagine the person talking to God. Not an invisible God, but a God, visible and present, standing or sitting in front of the person praying, listening.
and not holding fast to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God.I liked the poetry of it. I wanted to hear more. I realized I hadn't been paying much attention to the NRSV, so I got out my Message Bible and read it again.
I'm a long way off, true, and you may never lay eyes on me, but believe me, I'm on your side, right beside you. I am delighted to hear of the careful and orderly ways you conduct your affairs, and impressed with the solid substance of your faith in Christ.
The lectionary reading for last week was Luke 10:38-42 -- the story of Mary and Martha.
Martha, Martha, haven't we been over this before? I don't care about the food, I'm just glad to be here with your family. I didn't come to insist you adhere to our rules of hospitality or to abandon them, but to give you a new way of living them altogether. Take the pot off the boil and come, sit down. We love your cooking, but we love you more.Where is the invitation in Jesus' response? Could it have been that Martha's real issue was not that she was doing all of the chores, but that she was feeling excluded? If Mary has chosen the better part, could Martha's hurt have been soothed by Jesus inviting her to sit with Mary?
Last Saturday there was a flash flood in Pikeville, Kentucky. Two people died, 10,000 people were without water, 200 homes were damaged or lost. Four to seven inches of rain fell on Saturday evening.
A couple of weeks ago I lost my iPhone. It was a 3G version. I replaced it with a 3Gs, which runs the iOS4 software. And blah blah blah.
Our older son was chosen as one of the 5 youth delegates from the Northeast Jurisdiction to go to the United Methodist Global Young People's Convocation in Berlin. He leaves on Tuesday, and flies to Germany.
Image: From the College Fjord / Prince William Sound area.
At the Emmaus Gathering this evening, the group providing special music sang a song with the repeated line, "Stop and listen as I tell you..." (or something like that.).
This evening, I read a post at Reflectionary about prayer. It started me thinking about conversations with God. I've been on a journey the last few years, and I have learned a few things about myself and my ways of communicating with God.
Last week's lectionary reading from the gospel was the parable of the Good Samaritan. One of the aspects of the story that rang bells for me was the idea of the priest and the Levite passing by. Stopping might have interfered with their own ministry.
I had planned to write a real post tonight -- OK, maybe I hadn't, but either way, I'm too tired. One more day with a picture and then back to writing tomorrow.
Yesterday, we drove down to Charleston, SC. We stopped in downtown to walk along the Battery, and then went out to Folly Beach, with the specific purpose of seeing the Morris Island lighthouse (pictured above). This lighthouse used to be on land, but over time and changes in the coastline, it is now entirely at sea.
Let your light shine. You can't even imagine how much it bounces around and reflects, providing guidance and warmth and grace to people you don't even know (and to those you do know).
This thread I weaveHave you ever been sitting in a Bible study class or in Sunday school when you are asked the question, "How do you dedicate the work you do to the purposes of God?" Or, "How can God use what you do for a living for His glory?" Do you sit and think, and wonder?
This step I dance
This stone I carve
This ball I bounce
This nail I drive
This pearl I string
This flag I wave
This note I sing....
This pot I shape
This fire I light
This fence I leap
This bone I knit
This seed I nurse
This rift I mend
This child I raise
This earth I tend
We get confused, I think, believing that there are certain jobs that are "God's Work" and other jobs that are not. We think pastors or counselors or maybe nurses have the market cornered on nurturing care. We think that can't possibly be anything sacred about the work we do.
This check I writeThe truth is, everything we do, everything we are, can be used for the Glory of God. If we realized that then what we do would be transformed into God's work.
This march I join
This faith I state
This truth I sign
this is small part,
in one small place,
of one heart's beat
for one great Peace.
The fifth day of our cruise, we stopped in Skagway. Skagway feels a lot like what I think a town in the Old West of the US would have been like. The sidewalks are wood, the fronts of the buildings look the clapboard buildings in Westerns. To me, it feels different than the other two Alaskan towns we visited.
I was listening to an interview with the new Poet Laureate, W. S. Merwin. He was discussing his new position, and he said, "I don't want it to change my life, but I do want to contribute what I can to it."