Sunday, January 29, 2012

God's name

The empty places are full. Made in the image of God's fourth face --creation itself.

The full places collect waste and things that fall out of pockets. Or are thrown away by careless hands. The full places yearn to be empty places.

The Gospel sounds different here. The Gospel IS different here. Words have a new life and depth. A richness of scarcity. Simplicity.

There is a cedar tree in the far corner of the yard. I can look at it through the big window in the big room of the house. I went out for a closer look --and it is covered in tiny blue berries. Without thinking, I plicked a little bit off the end of a branch to show it to Joel and then realized what I had done --but, I think the tree was sleeping and didn't feel it. I will have to learn its name. I noticed that between the tree and the fence it was a very full place --stashes of empty crushed coke cans and torn plastic bags. I will clean it up before the tree awakes....

The guys who walk along the dirt road on the other side of the fence stop and sell their drugs and take a piss by the tree. Nobody has lived here in such a long time... they don't know I can see them. Perhaps I should put a little sign up:

The Creator can see you; so can I

No. The sign wouldn't last. And I don't think the guys would care. Their heads and hearts and souls are too full.... I should learn their names. too.

I must learn to be empty --to be emptied --to embrace emptiness --to choose words like an offering to God --to listen....

--to remember.

A child showed me her felt rendition of The Last Supper this morning. My heart leapt in joy while she told the story of the bread --and then I achingly wished for beautiful brown and black felt... because her little fingers pointed at the pink and blonde Jesus....

--made in God's image. And who can say God's name?

I have been too full.
I am so very grateful to be here.
Very. Grateful.
Amen.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Grateful

We have arrived! No phone, no internet yet --at the Subway on the edge of town, eating and reading! My cell doesn't work up here either.... Will fix that.

We are settling in --everything fits! The town has two stop lights, the market sells Naked juice so I am happy I can get an occasional fix, the post office was not crowded, the library was flooded (pipes broke in the freeze last week), and now we are off to the Dollar Store hoping they sell toilet paper holders and towel racks....

Mr. Witty is grateful much of the snow has melted --but keeps rolling in all that remains. I guess he thinks it's macho...

We are well --happy, grateful --the journey here was arduous at best --freezing rain mixed with sleep and snow Saturday and Sunday. We saw at least 35 accidents --and chugged along at 35 mph. And we made it! Grateful.

We are so grateful for the welcome we have received --dinners, lunches, spare heaters, roses to adorn the boxes!

Sorry --no pictures yet.

At prayer (Psalm 50:1-2)

The LORD, the God of gods, has spoken; *
he has called the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Out of Zion, perfect in its beauty, *
God reveals himself in glory.

We are still working on the rhythm of Eastern Standard Time --we are on Mountain Time here --90 miles away it is Central Time... very confusing... but with our inner clocks on Eastern time, we have been able to arise and sit at our table and watch the sun rise. We turn all the lights off and just sit and watch. Drink coffee (the third sacrament --in the morning anyway). The snow turns pink, with glassy blue-ish patches where there is ice. Folks walk by on the dirt road in front of our little house, shoulders hunched, hands in the pockets, hoods up over the hats... --part of our prayer. The little houses come alive slowly --outside lights blinking off, inside lights blinking on... like the sparkling in the snow and sky --an inbreaking through the dark and still.... a whole new rhythm to learn... perfect in its beauty. God reveals Godself in glory....

Grateful. Entirely grateful

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

While we emerged from the snow, he said the Resurrection was merely a by-product of Calvary...

We have ninety miles to go... Spoke with Deacon Hazel Red Bird last night --she said they had a way plowed through the snow to the house and were so very glad we had arrived safely. This, on the phone over a bowl of spaghetti at the house of the Canon to the Ordinary and his family. Real food --first home-cooked meal eaten at a table in a long time... and it was good!

We packed the coffee pot and coffee and evaporated milk and mugs in the car so we can offer good n'hot to whomever shows today --the movers will be by themselves, no helpers...

I don't know what we will find... mostly joy and new friends and companions --and snow, but the snow is okay --it will be both the bonding agent among neighbors and the excuse to hunker down....

I am beyond hoping --to a place of spiritual wonder and dreams --that sounds weird, I know --but hope takes on a different color and dimension this morning... to have the sky open up and see blue for the first time in a week --to see the prairie emerging from the snow in colors for which I have no words --to venture in to something unknown yet familiar...

I told Mr. Witty we were 'home' --he perked up and stood in his little chair as we crossed the Missouri River --wagging his tail --alive like a fox --keen eyed... He has been so very brave in this journey --so vulnerable and so brave....

Listened to some radio while driving west of Sioux Falls yesterday, while Joel and Witty slept... heard a preacher say that the Resurrection was just a "by-product" of the cross, that it is not the Resurrection which is important, only Calvary.

Funny that.

And I saw God exhaling in the Incarnation while flesh inhaled --and flesh exhaling at Calvary while God inhaled --and God exhaling in the Resurrection while flesh inhaled --and flesh exhaling at the Ascension while God inhaled --a living breathing work of art that responds and is responsive --not a master clockmaker that winds something up and lets it go... God with us.

At prayer this morning, a Canticle: A Song of Faith
1 Peter 1:3-4, 18-21

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, *
by divine mercy we have a new birth into a living hope;
Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, *
we have an inheritance that is imperishable in heaven.
The ransom that was paid to free us *
was not paid in silver or gold,
But in the precious blood of Christ, *
the Lamb without spot or stain.
God raised Jesus from the dead and gave him glory *
so that we might have faith and hope in God.

The Resurrection is not a by-product of anything. It is a sign for us of God's glory, so that we might have faith and hope in God...

Off we go --in faith and hope... in new colors from an old life. Amen.

Monday, January 23, 2012

wrap this up and hit the road doesn't mean what it says....

Well --after a great deal of ice and snow and very slow slogging, we have spent the night in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We must have seen at least 30 accidents, 35 still being a conservative number --commercial trucks jack-knifed and in the ditch or field, an RV on its roof behind a twisted up passenger truck, cars off the road... we slipped around a bit, enough to make Joel scream and Witty shake in fear and hide his head --but nothing more.

Now the journey to Pierre (pronounced peer, not Pea-aire).... Spoke with the movers. They are not sure whether they are arriving Tuesday or Wednesday --and this after they wanted us in Eagle Butte on Monday... it's been a moving target the whole time.... a good spiritual discipline, I suppose. Perhaps spiritual jumping-jacks.... I'm glad it's not today --we wouldn't make it!

Watching the news --hearing new words, new names, preparing the new mental map in my head to begin to re-orient, learn where and when and how. It hadn't made any news I have watched in the last two weeks --but former Gov. Bill Janklow died on January 12, and he was buried this last week. The news last night carried 20 minutes of eulogies and the like. It's big news here. The weather report goes on for a good 2/3 of each segment. And, a very wonderful, very soft accent in telling all the stories --most notably a long and soft emphasis on 'o' --like, Dakohhhta... or, Snohhhh... or, Cohhhhld....

--all is more than the same... it is new.

At prayer this morning (from Hebrews 8)

But Jesus has now obtained a more excellent ministry, and to that degree he is the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted through better promises.

It is difficult not to become triumphalist, or thinking that there is constant 'progress' --things getting better --that we can work to make the world 'better' --as this little bit o' scripture could imply... and it has certainly been used to imply those 'better' circumstances --Christian triumphalism, Christian superiority....

What I know in my heart is constant revelation --a newness in God's promise to us who follow the Lord of Life. It's a new map, a new way to re-orient, a new where and when and how --a new accent and manner of speaking to open the eyes and ears and heart.... we just don't have all the words to express that very well... so, of course, we rely on 'better' or 'more excellent'....

Joel took some pictures as we were driving yesterday as we entered South Dakota. Snowing. Blowing snow. The road disappearing before our eyes. A new revelation. A new way to move down the road....

Hey God --time to wrap this up and hit the road. See now, those words don't mean what they mean either.... How do I express the wonder, the joy?!

Off we go.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I like that

Spent the night in Richmond, Indiana. We are hearing the news about road closures --but not about the storm that passed through --ice and then snow... but road closures for Super Bowl preparations.

Go figure! Confession... who's playing????

We are trying to get an early out because there is another storm coming --actually, we are heading in to it... we decided not to buy an ice scraper until we saw what worked with the locals... but there have been none for sale... so, the motel gave me a little weenie one to deal with what might be found on the car... Mr. Witty and I will go take a look.

At prayer this morning (beginning at John 4:27-42)

Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that Jesus was speaking with a woman, but no one said, "What do you want?" or "Why are you speaking with her?" Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, "Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?" They left the city and were on their way to him.

Consistently in John --the women participate strongly in the evangelism of the good news. The seemingly weakest vessels... the broken pots... there we are.

On in to the weather we go. God willing. Being safe and slow. Like the woman, evangelizing even while still asking questions.

I like that.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Signs.

We are headed west --out of VA today, hopefully through West VA and on in to the wilds thereafter. Moving is harder work than I remembered... all the goodbyes not easy... especially since I know I will be back... but there is less of us in limbo than before, we have a destination and work to do, and that brings me great joy.

One of the movers, black and from Richmond... I was giving directions to the van driver to meet us elsewhere, and I said, Go down past the statue on Monument Ave etc.... Later, in a moment, I asked the mover --Can I ask you a point-blank question? He said, Yes. I asked, What is it like to move past those statues up and down Monument Ave? He said, no different than moving any other place --you see what you want to see, and what those statues imply is all over and any other place....

He has given me much food for thought. Sometimes the signs can be in many languages, whether the one who built the sign intended it or not... makes me wonder about our Christian 'signs' (sacraments)....

Hope to follow the signs that will get us where we are going today.

The General Thanksgiving

Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we your unworthy [we have been made worthy by him who lived and died and lives for/with us] servants give you humble thanks
for all your goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all whom you have made.
We bless you for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for your immeasurable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies,
that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up our selves to your service,
and by walking before you
in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.

Peace out.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Traveling mercies

Oh --how convenient! A blackout!!!

Hey --the moving van is coming tomorrow A.M. Food fairies bringing lunch and dinner today (THANK YOU!). Saying my prayers.

Peace out --m
Will post from the road as is possible.
Traveling mercies.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Thanksgivings. Intercessions. Devotions.

Dang. Moving company called --instead of coming on Friday, they will come Thursday morning.

Oh Y.I.K.E.S. !!!!!

It's do-able even if still a crunch, because we had a good head start. What it means is I will not be able to go to my women's clergy group to say good bye, the walks will not happen --all the proper good-byes planned for this week will have to be morphed.... That is not so good.

What does not change is time for prayer --thanksgivings, intercessions, devotions... not necessarily in that order....

And here is a little bit o' scripture --some of my favorite: (John 3:16-21)
Jesus said, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already,* because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.

John 3:17, first part in bold, is, to me, far more important than 3:16 --it addresses the condemnation of those who bandy judgment about like a cruel sword --Jesus did not come to condemn but to save --and the second part in bold addresses the judgment itself. The judgment is that the light has come --that is THE judgment --God. With. Us. --and still people love the darkness more than the light... that is the judgment. It's on us. The little '*' --condemned already, not in the storybook hell of brimstone and fire, but condemned as zombies --the living dead, walking, talking, eating, and immune to actually engaging in the joy.

Immune to joy. That just plain sucks. That's not life as God would dream it for us... So, --not condemnation in order to be cast out in the darkness, but judgment to be shown continuous mercy, compassion and love. Presence. God with us is the judgment.

Thanks be to God!!

Off I go. To pack. To pray as I pack. In faith. In hope. In charity. In love. Thanksgivings. Intercessions. Devotions.
Amen.

Monday, January 16, 2012

MLK, Occupy, packing... and packing...

It's been a labyrinth of packing and showings.... Pack it. Stack it. And then move them all when we get the call --either to the basement or to a closet. And yesterday we had an open house --so it had to be neat and tidy and all the angst well disguised. I am doing house purgatory or something....

We had a return show yesterday too --that's hopeful... to me.

But, today, I have resolved not to do that any more... this week we are packing. And it's gonna show. Mostly because we will have a new mattress delivered and put it in the living room and then a washer/dryer/refrig coming and put that stuff in the hall and livingroom... still boxed... it's cheaper to buy it here and move it than it is to buy it there and have it delivered to the Reservation.

Go figure. Says a lot... to me. The moving van comes this Friday...

It's 18 degrees here this morning. 10 in Eagle Butte. That's cold... to me. Got my eye on the weather between here and there.... I packed my suitcase Saturday --already living outa my suitcase.

And on FB I am a member of a group that grew up when I did,, in Berkeley and went to the same elementary school I did... we are all talking about our 'forts' we would build in various places -the creeks, the hills, the parks (can you imagine a kids being allowed to build a fort in the pampas grass of a public park!?) --and we have been irreverent in deciding we would 'Occupy' a small mansion, Vikingsholm, at Lake Tahoe and build viking ships and sail around the Lake, plant native wildflowers, wear hats with horns... it is a State Park, after all. It has been fun remembering... to me.


And, the morning-after-the-Golden-Globes... it's pretty rank/frivolous... to me. --demonstrates the cult of personality.... Can you imagine the "Red Carpet" treatment for poets --or artists --or authors --or stay at home parents... ??

Well, honestly --all my concerns, at the end of the day, may seem rank/frivolous... how to hold them without them holding me... being able to hold them while being willing to let them go... knowing that it is, in the end, not MY life, not MY faith --but the life and faith of the One Who Lives --and I share in that Life, that Faith. And none of that can be held, because we are held in it....

At prayer (John 2)
Jesus answered, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, 'You must be born from above.' The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."

Martin Luther King was born of the Spirit. Counterlight has posted the Memphis speech. Do read it. My own post of last April, on the anniversary of the assassination MLK has received 250 hits this weekend. So much has changed in the last nine months... the mantle of despair has not been discarded, but at least there is not so much false hope... Occupy has been a voice I so longed for --prayed for... and still, there is so much to let go of --so much wind blowing where it chooses --don't know where it's from or where it's going... well, yes I do --in faith. And that is enough.

Now --on to packing. Amen.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

soul from spirit --

Running at prayer (Hebrews 4:11-13)

Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account.

Well. There we are! Yes. --soul from spirit, joints from marrow --no where to hide --naked, bare, rendered --and made whole. That's how it happens. Undone to be made whole. Wheat crushed and thrown into the fire to be bread.

....soul from spirit... So. The soul is NOT the spirit. Food for thought.

Now, time to get to work. Gotta a surprise call late last night to show the house this morning and the house is a wreck being packed and all that.... Family coming too. And selling a bookcase....

There we are!
Peace out.

Friday, January 13, 2012

an un-repentant materialist, because things are signs of what is important

It's Lee-Jackson Day here in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is the day to commemorate Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Lee has been commemorated in VA since 1889 --first on his birthday (January 19th), then on a dual holiday --Jackson was added to the day in 1904 (b. January 21). Then the Day was merged with Martin Luther King Day --but, that was abolished in 2000. Now this day is celebrated on the Friday before MLK Day --which is this coming Monday --always on the third Monday of January. Gives many in this Commonwealth a four-day weekend....

I understand Lee-Jackson Day. Truly, I understand. But, I think this holiday is a bad sign of what the South lost...

And it's very, very windy here. The noise woke me up early. And the weather guy says it's cold --not much above 30 with the wind chill factor. So when I hear that, I flip to my 'home' page, and I have already switched my weather gadget to Eagle Butte, South Dakota --our new home destination --and this morning it is a warm 15 degrees --yesterday it was 9. Now, THAT'S COLD.

I keep worrying about Itty-Bitty Mr. Witty in that type of cold --like, he will need a jacket and boots to go out to take a leak. Joel is balking at the idea. I think it's common sense....... --and I keep wondering if our car, which will have a garage, will need a warming blanket or some such thing. At the very least, new kinds of fluids and oil? I don't know... yet. I hope not to learn the hard way.

And, we've begun to map out our route --staying south until Omaha, then heading north... Google alerted us to road construction etc., which made the job more interesting....

And we got our closets packed, except those things we will wear for the next two weeks....

And, we will have to move twice, unless the house sells this weekend --trying to decide what goes first and what stays... not as easy as it might sound. Also trying to coordinate with the stuff we are selling at the consignment shop....

And, it's not just about 'stuff' --Simone Weil has a very interesting take on materialism. In an overtly materialist culture, things "show" who you are in so many respects, but the things themselves usually have no other value than monetary --and can easily be exchanged or discarded for things of greater or lesser value. And, yes, we live in an overtly materialist culture. And discarding is usually what we do --through thrift stores and the like.... the stuff 'means' nothing.

--which is an antithesis for an Incarnationalist, if you know what I mean.... because things do matter --things do matter --they are how we come to know what is important, what is not, and all in between --we imbue things with meaning --as signs of all that matters. We need signs --sacraments. They help us remember....

Most of our 'things' are at least second-hand --and we have discovered that they have no real monetary value, most of them are busted/repaired --but the value we have is the stories... and the things have become signs of those stories. So, when we sold our piano earlier this week, we told the stories --to an appreciative buyer who told us she was buying it to teach piano --and we were thrilled. That made our story complete and happy. When we bought the piano, we had been married about three years --we had a mattress and box-spring, a table, two chairs, two cast iron pans and a piano... --we still have the cast iron pans... (all those meals....!!)

--and we know how rich we really are. Especially in the stories....

Praying while reading the stories, the Great Narrative (Psalm 22:24-26)
My praise is of him in the great assembly;
I will perform my vows in the presence of those who worship him.
The poor shall eat and be satisfied,
and those who seek the LORD shall praise him:
"May your heart live for ever!"

I am so deeply grateful for the stories, for the things as the signs of the stories, for the call I have received --blessed are you O Lord our God who brings forth from the earth fruit and meat and all good things to make glad our hearts, and our hearts to be the Body of your Son.

Now --off to pack some more --to care for the signs --a keeper, caretaker, steward of the signs...

--there we are. Amen.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I ate no Twinkies....

It's my fault, you know... it's all my fault that Hostess Twinkies are filing for bankruptcy. I have eaten only ONE in my whole life --and it was just a bite --and never ever purchased any. Ever. In my whole life. And, of course, the Twinkie that I bit was deep fried. Alongside the deep fried coke.... I'll do just about anything at least once at a county fair. And the serpent made me do it. And I realized it was wrong and spit it out....

It's a wonder (haha --pun intended) that Twinkies weren't put under the jurisdiction of controlled substances a long time ago --I mean, remember, there was a certain someone who said he murdered Harvey Milk and the Mayor of San Francisco because he ate too many of 'em. Twinkies, that is.

And, yes, I am probably a little giddy --working working working on packing the house AND keeping it neat for showings --two things which are mutually impossible --one of which happens in less than an hour... so I gotta get a move on here.

I suppose you have heard or done or participated in those certain word games with hymns --switching the words, making puns --school girl games --childish prattle... One game we played as silly kids took the words to any hymn and at the end of every phrase, giggled and said "between the sheets" in order to subvert the meaning... Like, "Onward Christian soldiers" (between the sheets) --giggle giggle...

Well I caught myself doing that very thing this morning... yes, it shows a certain state of mind...

Hardly at prayer (Psalm 18:21-25)

The LORD rewarded me because of my righteous dealing; * (I ate no Twinkies)
because my hands were clean he rewarded me; (for eating no Twinkies)
For I have kept the ways of the LORD * (I ate no Twinkies)
and have not offended against my God; (I ate no Twinkies)
For all his judgments are before my eyes, * (I ate no Twinkies)
and his decrees I have not put away from me; (I ate no Twinkies)
For I have been blameless with him * (I ate no Twinkies)
and have kept myself from iniquity; (I ate no Twinkies)
Therefore the LORD rewarded me according to my righteous dealing, * (I ate no Twinkies)
because of the cleanness of my hands in his sight. (I ate no Twinkies)

Yeah... there we are... only seven more days to go until the moving van gets here (We're moving no Twinkies).

Oh my.....
Prayers for L,G,N,M's mom, P, --thanksgiving for dear Brother Paul out of the hospital --prayers for his continued recovery, J,P,B,N,M, and please please please let the buyer of this house come soon.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

--and see something new....

Some days, the Google icon is done up fancy, and if you let your cursor remain over it, it will show the name of a person Google is highlighting for day. I think of it as Google's calendar of saints, using the language of the Church.

Today, (for those who don't use Google) it looks like this:


It is supposed to show geological strata... with fossils embedded in it, in honor of Nicolas Steno, who was one of the pioneers of geology and anatomy. Wikipedia states, "By 1659, Steno had decided not to accept a statement as true simply because it was written in a book, but rather to rely on his own research."

You know, with a rigorous intellect and intellectual honesty, relying on one's own research can be a good thing. Otherwise it's just plain ol' dangerous... creating closed circuit systems that derail the train... been caught in a few of those myself --not digging deep enough, led by the nose, over trusting.... leading to false claims and outright lies. --like the pseudo-science that debunks global warming --or supports sexual "re"-orientation.

We all get caught short like... one way or another.

You know what I mean... ? But, imagine the courage, vision, imagination it takes to look at a current world view, dig in to it, and see something new... I stand in awe of that. Nicolas Steno was one of the courageous types, way back before the false division of science and religion. Way back when before modern literalists lost the myth and mysticism, lost the metaphor --and began to look at faith as a type of proof.

--when, it is not. Faith is not a proof. --Faith is a Way taken. A trust. A poem of living.

At prayer this morning (John 1:40-42)

One of the two who heard John [the Baptizer] speak and followed him [Jesus] was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter).

--understanding is a work of our volition. We are brought to faith, one by one, through the living poem of another....

I love that Simon, the 'Rock' --petra --called Peter --Cephas, was brought (not first) to Jesus by his brother. One by one we meet. Not through deed or word, but a living witness, a living invitation... Not as a brow-beat, but an invitation... to a certain liberty. Freedom from the old way of seeing....

I am remembering and preparing to go in to a place where that invitation was nothing less than violent, an uprooting, an unwise degradation of local culture... a tool of destructive empire.... I am foolishly hopeful, not so much to win converts, but to be present... merely present. A poem of living.

Dear God, it's margaret. It will take many more generations to reconcile the violence done in your name. Help us help each other see you already at work among us, for the sake of our liberty from the lie. The great lie we tell ourselves and each other. Help us all dig deep. And see something new. Courage for the vision --the revelation --a new world view. And hear my prayers for M,B,S,M,M's mom,L,G,N,S,D,H... Amen.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Live with it for four seasons....

At prayer this morning (Psalm 5:3)
In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; *
early in the morning I make my appeal and watch for you.

Worked all day yesterday, packing... basement nearly done, dining room nearly done, piano and harpsichord sold and delivered.... But there is a mess everywhere --empty boxes, packing materials --crazy. And we got a call late yesterday to show the house today --and then another call with an offer to have an open house this Sunday.

We decided to go for it. So, today I work all morning re-arranging the house and boxes to make the house show-able.... --and then clean it. And this afternoon, pile two more things in to the car for the consignment shop....

I think we have sold or given away at least a third of our belongings. We have a little more to go --and it feels really good.

But we are also both getting the going away blues....

And it seems when I touch the grief of going away, the deep well of all the other emotions in leaving becomes present to me --especially all the rupture stuff from this summer. There is no way to neatly package up what happened, box it and move it --most especially because I do not want to carry with me any more than than I have to.... So, like the stuff in the house, I will deal with it.

Deal with it. I remember. When I was engaged in the treatment of breast cancer --chemotherapy --nine months of it --when I was hooked up to the IV treatment stuff and I could feel and taste it enter my body (yes, taste it --almost immediately after the needle --it was gross), I used to assist/participate in the chemical treatment with my own spiritual exercise --I imagined myself and a whole crew of swarthy firefighters and gorgeous miners in a raft --and we would travel through my blood stream on the cresting wave of the chemotherapy --and the swarthy firefighters would set fire to suspicious areas, and the gorgeous miners would dig out the crusty remains and we would carry the junk in the raft out of my body and dispose of it.


It helped me deal with it. It helped me participate in my own healing.

So, now in the grief and the deep well of all the other emotion in the ruptured leaving, I am engaging in another spiritual exercise --recalling those swarthy firefighters and gorgeous miners to help me travel through the deep interiors of my soul --to help me clean my inner house... and the helpful stuff (like, sometimes anger is VERY healthy, sometimes not --wisdom to know the difference) I am sorting through and putting that helpful stuff it in to temporary boxes to carry with me. The other stuff... loads of it, it seems, the other stuff gets loaded in to the raft for disposal....


It's just hard work.

And I know I'll pack and carry some stuff I really don't need, and some stuff that I should dispose of... that's just the way it works.

But the really important stuff --I have no doubts.... even with the knowledge that in the big picture, even that stuff will need redeeming, unpacking, rearranging.... But that is work for another day. Not right now.

And right now, I am consciously cultivating the new spaces freed up --getting ready --anticipating the new place --a welling up of joy that I am so ready to set loose --that wildness, that freedom --that call recalled from exile so that we might enter the wilderness that is and will be South Dakota.

Packing up. Sorting. Discarding. Ready to move the important stuff --ready to rearrange and decide what to unpack to begin anew. Dealing with the old --anticipating the new with great joy.... !!!

Hey God, it's margaret. you hear my voice. early in the morning I make my appeal. First, thank you. And help me remember and live in to my Grandmother's words --live with it for four season before you decide if it's a keeper; live with it for four seasons before you dig in an unknown part of the garden to see what grows; live with it for four seasons.... help me carry what is necessary and beautiful, helpful and healthy. help me pack, unpack, and gaze upon the deep well with courage and grace. Amen.

Miner's Daughter here.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Avocado Tarts as a sign... Sure, I'll go there.

Had family down over the weekend --from B'more. It was good. Very good.

As a farewell dinner we went to Pescados on China Street here in Richmond. It happened this way: A neighbor and friend caught us piling in to the car, and he said --you MUST go to Pescados before you leave Richmond. So we went. When we got there, we saw friends who were very excited about our pending move. They are medical professionals and promised to come on a service mission when we were settled in our new home. When we were seated at our table, the owner came and talked with us (what a card!) --and he told us MS had called and said dessert was on us. Now, dinner was FABULOUS! I had the wild shrimp enchilada --OMG --and other plates at the table included the scallops (which looked and smelled divine) and the pork. But then we had dessert --and we had the avocado tart OMG --a lime/citrus/avocado creme filling in a graham cracker crust infused with coconut and fresh avocado garnishes to top it all off.

O.M.G. Died and gone to heaven.
We won't be getting much of that in the near future unless we figure out how to make it ourselves. And I think we will be a but busy otherwise for a while.

Besides... Joel is gonna have to try things like fry bread and Indian tacos !!!!

At prayer this morning (Genesis 2:6-8)

-then the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being. And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. Out of the ground the LORD God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

--every tree good to look at and good for food, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And we have eaten it all....

Hey God. it's margaret here. You know I have often ranted to you about putting something there in front of us and then saying 'no--don't do that' --with its succulent fruit right in front of our noses. You know I already know all that food stuff, manna from heaven, Passover lamb, bitter roots, sweet milk and honey... our exile from the true source, --paradise, the garden... which is why I sometimes imagine paradise as a swimming pool of tapioca pudding --or heaven as trees of dark chocolate and sips of merlot. But, now I know paradise/heaven is an avocado tart.... I am reformed. Repentant. Whatever. A new vision. So, let me say this: the ever changing canvas of food as paradise art/longing --the heart of your people --the expression through their hands of their desire to taste the produce of heaven once again is amazing and inspiring. And I am grateful to stand in that kitchen at that counter at that table where simple bread and wine are proclaimed H.O.L.Y. as a sign that all food is H.O.L.Y. --brought forth from the earth and shaped in human hands as a sign of heaven. And we name it. Remembering your very self as the only and true ingredient. In all things. You know. The desire of our Hearts. Amen.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

G'wan. Go to church.

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased." (Mark 1:10-11)

I love it that tomorrow we hear about the First Day of creation --the light and the dark --and God saw that it was good. And then we hear the Gospel, and when Jesus pops up out of the water, God saw that was good, too. Pleased, is the word, heh!

G'wan. Go to church. I have the feeling that God sees us, and is pleased. Too. Especially as we gather and pray in the name of...  Jesus popping up out of the water all over again, all over.

G'wan!

All of us related. All of us one.

We FINALLY have a moving date. Two weeks from now.

SOOOOO much work to do. I might be spare around here. Have I said how much this "space" helps overcome the feelings of isolation?

At prayer this morning (Galatians 3:23-29)

Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise.

Promise. Faith. Liberty from the law--our own Passover.... Gladly, those are things I can move with us without a box.

All of us related. All of us one.

Question: if we are Abraham's offspring (in so far as the promise), then how can we also be members of Christ's Body and children of God?

There we are --I'll push in to that while I pack the basement today.

Oh --and did you see this? --a teenager in Texas, lied about her age and where she was from and fooled everyone, and was deported. An American citizen (who spoke no Spanish) was deported to Columbia. Sounds so very familiar.... --1. our mental health resources available for teens absolutely sucks. --2. we sure love to deport folks in a hurry.... --situation intolerable. Just sayin'.

Peace out.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Look up. Look around.

Collect of the Day: O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

I know this is a great day. Great. Day. Stars in the sky. Our light has come. God manifest.
Manifest: late 14c., "clearly revealed," from Latin manifestus "caught in the act, plainly apprehensible, clear, evident," from manus "hand" + -festus "struck" (cf. second element of infest).

Revelation --Old French.

Apocalypse --Greek [apokalyptein "uncover, disclose, reveal," from apo- "from" + kalyptein "to cover, conceal" Its general sense in Middle English was "insight, vision; hallucination;" meaning "a cataclysmic event" is modern.]

Epiphany --also Greek: from epi "on, to" + phainein "to show". Of divine beings other than Christ, first recorded 1660s; general literary sense of "any manifestation or revelation."

So many words and more to describe the shredding of the veil, the mystery made plain as day --no longer hidden from us --right in front of our faces --face to face with God.... We no longer have to worry what God is up to --what the 'plan' is. We know. We know. All we have to do to know is look at Jesus.

What Jesus did --God at work in flesh and blood. As 'followers' of Jesus (Joel and I have been having many many conversations the last few weeks as to what 'followers' means --in the NT Greek, it is NOT like 'follow' the leader... (well, maybe it's like that in the Gospel of Mark) --it IS more like some one who accompanies, walks alongside, a helper (acolyte in the Gospel of John)) --as followers of Jesus, we are called to do what he did --feed, shelter, comfort, encourage, reconcile, liberate... you can name them. You can do them. We can. Together.

At prayer this morning (Isaiah 60:1-2)
Arise, shine; for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
For darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the LORD will arise upon you,
and his glory will appear over you.

Look up. Look around. It's all around. Amen.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

--did they look at Joseph and then the baby and say 'sure, he looks just like you'

At prayer this morning (John 11:18-27)
Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother [Lazarus]. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home.

Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him."

Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again."

Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day."

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

She said to him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world."

It stuns me that this is the Gospel for this morning... in so many ways.

I love the way Martha keeps pushing Jesus.
I love the way Jesus stays with her and says to her only what she can probably hear as she is able. From accusation--'if you had been here' to revelation.

And she ends with her eyes and heart wide open.

Thus it goes. In the end, even faith does not belong to us. We share in it.

There we are. On the Eve of the Epiphany --mystic chords star hymns cradle revelation. Strangers get it.

I wonder if any one of those that visited the manger that night looked at Joseph, looked at Jesus, looked at Joseph again and said, 'sure, he looks just like you --got your nose!'

Revelation.... Patient revelation, as we can bear it.

Peace out --time to get to work!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Baptism as ordination, and working as a priest in hope for those who sleep or whose lamps run out of oil

In packing boxes, I have run across some forgotten stuff... in the midst of conversations with Joel about resurrection, baptism, priesthood... in the basement, of course. Pertinent conversations during this time of transition. I found this letter I wrote to him about 13 years ago --when I desired to be in "the process" for ordination. It reads:

My Dearest Beloved,

I have reflected at length upon the questions asked me in this process of discernment, and although I have been asked where I've been, what I've read, and why I believe I am called, not one question has directly asked me where I think I am going. I have supposed this is because most would consider priestly formation yet to come. I do agree with that supposition to some extent; however, I would like to articulate to someone my vision, what I see before me. As you are my priest and vicar, and the one most closely associated with me in this process, you get this!

I see tremendous change in the Church and the shape of the Priesthood of all the baptized; the suffering of Christ before me; the transformation of conversion as a conviction; the shape of ordained priesthood in light of the Church; what I have been called to witness.

The change in the Church has not been a sudden process, nor one which is singular to this generation. The change in the Church is and always has been the Anglican purchase of politics and social change coupled with its organic mix of protestantism and orthodoxy. The new mix in the batter has more to do with social changes at large than the institutional response to ordinary time. And those social changes in this generation have been articulated in science, the end and beginning of the presuppositions in this "postmodern" ethos. Popular culture at large has adopted the presuppositions of science, which presumably conflict with the Tradition of spirituality within the Church. (And yes, I hate the word spirituality, but until I discover another, I shall use it. And NO I do not for a minute believe the spirituality of the church conflicts with science.) The spirituality of the Church embodies the essence of the Incarnation, that flesh and blood point the way to God; that materiality is the sign of creation, of God's Love. And that this flesh and blood is united as One, its relationship transcendent and at once rooted in the mud from which the first fish climbed, just as we have been taken up and are hid with Christ in God.

There is no other way to the supreme perfection of God except through the spiritual transmogrification of flesh and blood.

But science, in its popular state of understanding, denies this and thus also rejects the Tradition of the Church. It has been beaten into the head of every school child that matter can neither be created or destroyed; that matter can be typically described with predictable behavior which can be reduced to universal equations; and that if it cannot be observed and described, it does not exist.

I know that true science has freed itself from that material noose, but popular notions are embedded in world views and take generations to change. This is a problem of this generation in the Church: our world view is embedded in an antique scientific methodology and metaphor, and the crux of the matter is that science itself is in a great state of change.

The changes can/should become for us the present signature of God's love made manifest. This is the Person. Personhood. Love made manifest.

And, this (Love made manifest) is the comfort and succor we offer one another of Christ's resurrection, not only in the works of all the baptized, but in ordination. In the single sacrifice of ordination the imperfect uplifting and surrender is made visible; because of the Incarnation and Resurrection, we have ordination.

Perhaps when the nut is finally cracked and we can see our way clear of the nudity of our current understanding of priesthood, our ignorance and sin laid bare, we shall finally ditch confirmation and offer ordination. To all. Baptism leads to ordination. But offer the same current prerequisites to ordination --the exams, the interviews, the schooling, the scrutiny, all common and ordinary and expected of ALL adults in the Church. Then we shall finally be a church of priests. And then, in God's perfect time, perhaps we shall begin to understand who we already are.

In this ordination, I seek/envision foolishness. The maidens waiting for the Bridegroom to appear always fall asleep or run out of oil, and others will not wake them or share their oil, afraid they themselves will miss out. I wish to wait by those maidens that sleep, and when the Bridegroom comes, adorn their sleeping bodies with warm blanket --God knows why they sleep; and those who panic because they have run out of oil, I want to be there to whisper in their, "Have faith. Don't stand on the merits of custom; don't go thinking you need to seek crude oil in the market or you will miss out. Have faith. Seek the true light. Our Lord will be light enough in this dark."

I do not seek to minister to the saved, to those who have rest enough or wit enough or oil enough. Yes, there must be those who stand awake with full lamps; the whole world would be lost without them. But I know I must stand with those who are asleep and in the dark, with the fools for foolishness' sake. I who know the Grace in suffering, must stand with those who don't know they are suffering. I desire to stand with the convicted.

Foolishness, because I only hope against hope that the story stopped short, the other part not told. You see, yes, there will be many who will miss out on the feast, who will bang on the door and be turned away. There will be those who miss the boat. But I hope the Kingdom is not subject to our imperfection. And I hope those at the feast, those banging at the door and even those who are asleep and have missed the boat --all will stand in awe when the last Word is spoken. Not one shall be left unincorporated.

I once asked a holy man after he preached a magnificent sermon on the Church as a perfect circle, "Which part defined the Church --the circle? --that which was inside the circle, or that which stood outside?" And, he answered, "What circle?"

On that day, my dearest and most beloved, don't look for me --look for the One who made me. God willing, that is all that will remain of me.

I love thee,
margaret

I am pondering what I thought --what my vision was... more than a decade ago. How much of it is working to fruition... the gift of remembering where I was, how I was and am being formed --the work of the Spirit to push me in integral ways into that vision I had --a vision which is not static and is still morphing --but how much of it is still alive in me. ---Thinking of Baptism and the invitation we give to those newly risen from the font --join us in Christ's eternal priesthood. Baptism as ordination.... a Kingdom of priests working for a world where all sacraments shall cease. --a world where sacraments are no longer necessary --where particular ordination is no more --because signs are not necessary to point to that which is already obvious and present.... where particular bread and particular wine are not given at the altar because all is bread, all is wine....

at prayer this morning (Canticle: Third Song of Isaiah
Surge, illuminare
Isaiah 60:1-3, 11a, 14c, 18-19)

Arise, shine, for your light has come, *
and the glory of the Lord has dawned upon you.
For behold, darkness covers the land; *
deep gloom enshrouds the peoples.
But over you the Lord will rise, *
and his glory will appear upon you.
Nations will stream to your light, *
and kings to the brightness of your dawning.
Your gates will always be open; *
by day or night they will never be shut.
They will call you, The City of the Lord, *
The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
Violence will no more be heard in your land, *
ruin or destruction within your borders.
You will call your walls, Salvation, *
and all your portals, Praise.
The sun will no more be your light by day; *
by night you will not need the brightness of the moon.
The Lord will be your everlasting light, *
and your God will be your glory.

Amen.

And now on to my day and more temporal conversations... selling some chairs --showing the house... oh please, somebody... buy this beautiful ol' place, because it is time to move on....

Peace out.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

--a sound of sheer silence

At prayer this morning (1 Kings 19:11-13)
He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”

Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.

--a sound of sheer silence.

Love that. --like the sound of one hand clapping... --the sound of silence --which if truth be told, is always ...well almost always the way I experience God.

I "understand" it this way: God, Creator of all, created all that exists, and because the creator of all that exists did not create God's self, Creator God is something other than existence --so, we cannot honestly say that God exists.... Just like the One who uttered The Word is not The Word, but is a sound of sheer silence....

I get that. And it does not (in my mind) set the stage for dualism. It can't. Because it is not 'if this than that' or 'if this not that' --it is always merely multiplication by 1 which is that which is amplified... because we are one... or we are one plus infinity which leads to Trinity....

I mean, if we begin there, Three in One, One in Three --that's just as easy to grasp as a sound of sheer silence... right?

Love it. Besides, if anyone has lost that tinge of mysticism, here it is for you. Go stand on the mountain --seek the vision. There will be great wind, earth quakes, fire --but you will find the LORD in a sound of sheer silence.

Love it.

As I work to continue to lighten our load, I will sing and work and sing some more. And then in the middle of the hubbub of movement, perhaps I will stop and seek a sound of sheer silence. Just for fun.

Because, I love it.
Amen.

And poor Mr. Witty --seeking the dark quiet place under the chair I've put up for sale on Craig's List... one of his favorite places.... But, I have hope he will find a new place... poor little guy, all this hubbub. That is also my prayer this morning....

Amen.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Pulling up the roots....

I'm gonna be makin' a list and checkin' it twice... so much to do.

Each time we move, I swear I'm never moving again. I know that this current move will result in another move at some point in time, but I hope it's a very, very long time from now. I think one of the most difficult parts of the job of priest is roots --in my experience anyway, you don't get any. You have to go deep and make 'place' in other ways.

Going deep to make place... by nurturing the awe of the wild spaces where you are; remembering to look at the stars every now and then; stepping out of the rut, the box, whatever, to feel the currents, the wind, the earth moving under your feet....

In Richmond, it is the river which for me has remained one of the wild spaces. The parks and other open places are so domesticated as to become worn. The river, while confined to its bed and punctuated by dams and bridges, rises and churns sometimes days after a storm --connecting us with what has gone on upstream and all around. Its surface belies its power. And the wild things dwell there. Yes, it bears the burden of urbanization, but it fights back by spilling against the flood walls, running over its banks --and it takes lives, every year. Lives that forget or do not know how to respect the wild strength of the river.

And, water --our life source... cannot live without it... and, too much... well... then we cannot live. The river is a good place to go deep. And remember.

It has been difficult to search for the stars in Richmond --the city lights blanket our vision from the dark reaches and turn our gaze to the skyline instead, the buildings sparkling in cheap imitation of the night sky.

Sometimes the dark reaches inside allow for more in-breaking of heavenly light --reaching for the stars in the soul depths.

And, I confess, the deeps ruts of the south, while not my own, became familiar to me. From the lush leafy comfort of sticky warmth in summer, the unspeaking of differences, to the violence of politeness.... It seemed that when I struggled against the present ruts, I found them to be even deeper and more familiar than I first considered or knew. And yet, I was told so often and in so many ways that I didn't fit in....

I still wonder what that truly means --not fitting in. And whether or not that has actually been a blessing... a blessing spurned.

At prayer this morning (Ephesians 4:1-6)

I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ's gift.

I have loved it here. Truly loved it. The people. The foods. The worship. It hurts to pull on these roots....

Perhaps I can braid them, clean them off and make them strong, and carry them with me as an unexpected gift. One body. One Spirit. One calling. One Lord. One faith. One baptism. One God. Through all and in all.

To the big sky country, big wind country, sight equal only to the horizon... a new river to come to know.

I am so ready. Got so much to do. Amen.