Archive | December 2017

#AdventWord #Child

Sitting in the church

On this cold and windy morning

When the building is empty

But for me and the little child Jesus

Who is bundled up in a blanket

Waiting to be brought out to the stable

On Christmas Eve  sleeping christ child

The heat is crackling in the pipes

The clock is ticking second by second

The wind is rattling the doors

My ears are ringing

Alone in the building I fear

Not that someone will bust through the door

But that no one will

And all the fuss that we make

Over this morn to come

Will be forgotten some day

Maybe not this year

But another or another

As the sounds of Santa

And Walmart

Wipe out the pregnant silence

And I hear

Do not be afraid

We are not going away

Not the manger or the children or the light

So bright it turns the world upside down

Whether the world is ready or not

what she did not say

Turns out my she bear did not tell the whole story. Maybe because she was more private than I imagined or because she thought that her imaginations were more fantastical or that I would never believe the truth – which the scientists say is… that the she bear mates up with a few he bears in the spring and they part ways and then with fertilized eggs inside her sweet body’s “bear house” she retreats in the early winter and dens up alone as the little ones grow and fnally she births those little blind bear cubbies and they tumble out in the late winter to see what is waiting for them! Thanks to my own sweetie for shedding more light on bears in the winter. More to stoke the winter musings!den

Bearing it all.

I was challenged to think about an animal in the winter and to imagine that the animal has come to share its imaginations with me. As my mind is so taken during this Advent time of waiting that is going to end soon in the impossible yet possible bearing of a child in the cold world…in came the bear.  This is what I heard about

Bearing it all

When the black bear       den

The she and the he bear

Dig their way into winter

Their hot and heavy breath

Slows down and their thick and gleaming coats

Mingle together into one mess of fur.

I imagine their dreams co-mingling

About the little replicas that they will dare to bear

In the hidden dens of happiness.

Their dreams turn to snow melting and smells

Beckoning them to slough

Off the winter and track down every bird feeder

That we have so foolishly filled to the tip-top

Thinking that surely the bears are sleeping.

 

Among us

The monks hold the monastery

As a place where all are welcome to come

In peace even when sometimes violence stands waiting

I have heard that some monks hunger

To be the watch-monk waiting to hear the knock

So they can open it

And be the first to greet the Lord in whatever form s/he comes inkids at open door

On that amazing day

They also believe

At least this is what I have heard

That the one who is coming

Is already among us

So why huddle at the door

Why not greet the day

And the light within

As though

The one

Is you

Or you

Or you

Keep your door unlocked

At all times

Emmanuel

God among us

Is already inside

 

comfort O comforter

blue christmas quilt

Comfort O Comforter/Light in the darkness and peace/In the troubled world

On Wednesday I celebrated communion with a clergy friend in an Advent Blue Christmas service. Our celebration was not only of bread and wine but of the reality that all is not right with the world and that a light as dim and as powerful as a candle or a star can make a difference. The theme of our service was come as you are and what happened when we gathered in the light of the sanctuary was that we came in broken, we were received and we received; a blessing, a word of comfort, a recognition that our loneliness was matched with another sorrow or hope, flute and piano duets, and a chance to be quiet in a noisy season. I expect that there is more to look forward to in this Advent season but if this is it, it will be more than enough.

Our table was covered in a blue and white handmade quilt with 8 point stars and patterns touching almost to the floor. The quilt was large enough to hold our attention and our conditions. When I saw the quilt unfold as we prepared for worship I wanted to curl up in that comfort but lo, the pastor has to share the goods, so I agreed to spread it out on the table rather than wear it like a shawl!

When it was time for communal prayer we went into silence with each person invited to write a prayer on a piece of paper – not to share out loud and not to take home but if were willing to pass it in the basket, to be read and prayed over later that night by the pastors and then, when the time seems right, to be burned up and let go. Then we walked, in our own time frame and choice, to a bowl of sand where we each lit a small candle and placed it near the center. By the end of the night after we had shared bread and wine the candles were melted together.

Tonight the stars are hidden behind dark clouds. We may have snow before morning. I am tired in a good way and I am remembering the Blue Christmas worship and that quilt. I hope that my friend is sitting in her home. I hope she is eating a bowl of hot soup and that she is wrapped up in comfort. Thank you Jill for sharing this worship with us and for lending us hope and faith and trust just as you lent us that beautiful quilt.

Comfort O comforter/Light in the darkness and peace/in the troubled world.

 

 

Oh my soul

The Advent journey continues from grace upon grace to O my soul.

Today I had a chance to visit a wonderful and very elderly woman who suffered a stroke and is working hard at trying to get back on her feet. We sat and talked and prayed and watched the people around us; the helpers and the infirm. I was aware that everyone in the room including the two of us are in the midst of one change or another. All praying O my soul what now?

I came home to start reading about the upcoming Second Sunday in Advent and who showed up but John the Baptizer, calling from his wilderness a hope that One more powerful than he, One filled with Spirit to make the world new, is about to arrive, so repent! Turn around and around again.

Thanks for the message John. We could use repentance and hope these days with so much being so upside down. Thing is, the picture that came along with the text showed a not so hopeful looking John. In fact he looks more like the way I feel about as winter, never mind Advent, is lurking; tired, uncertain, and praying up a storm O my soul.

john the baptist cropped

A rehabilitation center, a home, a church, a bus terminal, a wilderness, anywhere can be a place where loneliness and discouragement has its say if not its way. O my soul.

Henri Nowen was a gay priest who suffered depression and found grace when he went to live with the severely disabled. He knew how soul meets place and people and how in that meeting grace comes in the back door. Here is what he has to say about the lonely place of waiting for One to come.

Loneliness is not something from which we must flee but the place from where we can cry out to God, where God will find us and we can find God.
Yes, through our wounds the power of God can penetrate us and become like rivers of living water to irrigate the arid earth within us. Thus we may irrigate the arid earth of others, so that hope and love are reborn.

Hope and love are sometimes reborn when water spills out – like a woman’s waters break before the baby can make it through the canal. We mustn’t flee too far from loneliness, or suffering, or the hard work of any kind of rehabilitation because when we stay awhile, sitting like John sat on that hard rock in the desert our wounds might be irrigated. The redeeming thing is that we can and do wait together. O our souls.