Merry Christmas!

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A meditation I wrote for today sent out via the Living Church Daily Devotional: CLICK HERE.

(Subscribing is FREE, just click the link in the upper left corner of the new window; you’ll get a sweet short devotional in your mailbox every morning!)

Detail of tiled wall, All Saints Church, Margaret Street, via Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P./Flickr

crying with the psalmist

IMG_1964“How long, O Lord, how long?”

I wonder how long it is that my mind will be in this space, that my refrain will be from the second part of the third verse of psalm 6, “low long, O Lord, how long?”  It feels like every day is the last one I can stand.  Sometimes, I ask my husband to drive me home or I sit and stare at the wall, paralyzed.  Psalm 6 gives voice to my frustration.  I roll my eyes and pound at my pillow, I complain and cry about this disease that leaves me dumb, disorganized, addled.  But I’m asking the wrong question. Continue reading

Quotation of the day

 
 Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in a lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope.
Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we are saved by love.
Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith.
– Reinhold Niebuhr

brave people make intimidating congregations

Over coffee this morning, shop-talking with my colleague, Dane, I thought of this ole post. May the 26 y.o. Emily speak to you as she’s spoken to me–demanding courage to speak the truth at all times and in all places.

hope of things not seen

Often, while sermon-writing, words come slowly, and when they come, they seem like little clods of dirt that break apart into dust the moment you try to grasp them. This exercise sends me running through my cycle of google reader-facebook-twitter.  Having just completed the circuit a few minutes before, there was nothing new on my reader, but when i typed in “fac” in my browser bar (the fewest letters necessary to bring up my worn “facebook.com” link) and arrived at the top of my newsfeed, a new photo had been posted by my sister:

She wore a white sundress, her blonde hair was down, and the big white posterboard she held up read, “Shh… just go back to sleep.”  It was a photo taken for Project Unbreakable, a website dedicated to survivors of sexual assault.  I’d known about the event she referred to for a few months, but seeing…

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fake it until it makes you

– the point of liturgy.

I’ve heard worship in the Episcopal Church described as a method of “fake it till you make it.”  I think this is close to right.  There’s no requirement or expectation that a person will come every Sunday or walk through the church door and feeling something every single time; there’s no lofty ambition that every attendee will be bowled over by the mystical mind-body-soul connection and the deep meaning of what their bodies and voices are doing during the service. But there is a sort of trust that something profound and shaping is going on at an almost-imperceptible level when our voices are saying the psalms and when our bodies are bowing and folding our hands.

However, unlike the popular adage, it’s not about our own effort, or our feelings about the experience, or even about our own experience of the moments at all.

When learning to cook something new, or trying a new cleaning method for the bathtub, or working on a new regimen for exercise, the steps are clumsy and take a long time and feel foreign and unproductive.  It’s frustrating and unfamiliar–sometimes we even give up, trying this new thing, because it feels so totally useless.  Think of all the things you’ve tried, and worked for, and gained proficiency in, though–these have become second-nature.  Maybe it’s cooking eggs, or swiffering the entire house in just a few minutes, but these things have had a real impact on your everyday life as they were practiced.  They made you into a person who was a master omelette-maker, or a whiz with dusting. These skills might even prove useful in other realms of life, giving you an edge when volunteering in the soup kitchen or providing a subject of conversation when seated next to a fellow shedding-dog-owner.

How much more do we hope and intend for daily Scripture reading and repeated meditation on psalms to change the way we understand the world around us, make us more attentive to the God revealed in Scripture, realign our habits and instincts to be centered around the God who came to be with us.

What a comfort to trust that it’s not up to me to “make it,” but to show up, as willing as I can be–and sometimes it’s not willing at all–for the sake of being trained, habituated, realigned toward Hope.

Drugs and the Power of Darkness

A message of hope in the darkness, offered articulately by my colleague the Rev. Canon Dane Boston.

That Blessed Dependancy

“For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you and desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” -Colossians 1:9-14

Listening to NPR can be a dangerous—at least when there’s a very alert almost-four-year-old listening with…

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