Friday, December 27, 2013
Turn around and believe that the good news that we are loved is better than we ever dared hope, and that to believe in that good news, to live out of it and toward it, to be in love with that good news, is of all glad things in this world the gladdest thing of all. Amen, and come Lord Jesus.
The winter solstice has come and so has Christmas. God speaks in creation as the days get longer. Winter is usually a productive time for me. I have great energy for knitting and reading and planning. Sometimes I think that I love Advent more than Christmas- that sense of anticipation and planning.
I've been thinking a lot about light and found this on the blog This Sacramental Life Check out the pictures and the video at the bottom- they are exquisite.
This poem came to me through the Tumbler Blog LitVerve. I love Christian Wiman's thought and poetry and these images of light and dark moved me.
What words or harder gift
does the light require of me
carving from the dark
this difficult tree?
What place or farther peace
do I almost see
emerging from the night
and heart of me?
The sky whitens, goes on and on.
Fields wrinkle into rows
of cotton, go on and on.
Night like a fling of crows
disperses and is gone.
What song, what home,
what calm or one clarity
can I not quite come to,
never quite see:
this field, this sky, this tree.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Love this banner by Amarilys Henderson. Other work can be purchased at Watercolor Devo
Also this by Joanna Winter. Can be purchased at Messy Lab studio
I saw this picture on this fantastic blog This Sacramental Life
Annunciation by John Collier
from this source
It gave me a new understanding of Mary.
I read this poem by Malcolm Guite
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
I've seen this video on several sites and it's definitely worth watching.
Xu Bing and the Phoenix.
The reality of the lives of migrants workers in China is grim. For this man to see, truly see them is amazing. We had many migrant workers in our city in China and their living conditions were terrible.
John Blase at the Beautiful Due The Beautiful Due and Winn Collier at http://winncollier.com/ are doing parallel posts on Advent. Really beautiful.
I saw a post on Pinterest for black bean fudge- sugar free, gluten free and dairy free. That isn't hard to say no to at all. Yuck. What's the point?
The other day I got an e-mail from a student that said he couldn't come to class because he was "suck and tried." Aren't we all?
Another student apologized for not coming to class by saying "I am sorry for you." It's so rare that someone is sorry for me that I accepted the apology.
We actually had some snow here. Not much but enough to make the roads slippery. I couldn't get on the highway to get to work, because there was an accident that completely blocked the way. So I had a Snow Day. What is it about an unexpected day off that makes it feel like a week off? It was lovely.
I am reading Return to Our Senses: Re-imagining How We Pray by Christine Sine. It's a lovely book that is causing me to go deeper into prayer in so many ways. It's a mix between traditional and contemplative practices and it's so beautifully written. It's available on Amazon and also the Mustard Seed Associates website.
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Come all ye fickle, weary and worn. O come let us adore him like the O damn fools we are hanging on if by a thread to the tale of a girl and the god and the baby they sang into the whole dear world. ~ O come all ye citizens of this turning scorn. O come let us sing though our eyes are tired of looking for his salvation. Let us raise our voices of that happy morn and groan him into the world one more time. John Blase posted at The Beautiful Due.
In this season of hoping and waiting, I light the Advent candles each morning.
One each week as we get closer and closer to the incarnation. At a recent Advent retreat, lead by Christine Sine, we talked about the three comings of Jesus. The first is in the flesh as a baby-this coming attracts our hearts but doesn't demand much of our soul. The second is the coming presence of God in the resurrection-the question is how are we aware of the presence of God and what part do we want. The third is the longing for the kingdom of God in the Second Coming- what are we longing for and how do our priorities of time, talent, and resources reflect that.
Our lives are to be a balance and we set priorities of
Feasting and fasting
Work and rest
Solitude and Community
So our bare tree
becomes this tree
as we celebrate the coming of Jesus.
During this half day retreat, we also talked about Practices of Restoration and Practices of Transformation. Our practices of restoration remind us of who we are in our faith community and identity- going to church or Mass, prayer, communion, Scripture reading. At Christmas, the symbols of the tree, the Advent wreath, Nativity sets all remind us of of who we are. Most practices of Restoration are highly structured and provide a certain measure of order and predictability.
Practices of transformation are more risky. They are meant to transform us at our core and to give us a sense of God's eternal kingdom. These practices have a high degree of creativity and unpredictability. We have to choose them for ourselves....how do we really want to be transformed? The practice may be a practice of silence, going deeper to hear the voice of God. It may be working on a project or with a person who is unfamiliar or uncomfortable. Whatever it is, it is designed to change us, to make us new and different.
Recently a little sparrow came and looked inside our glass sliding door.
It had snowed the day before and was very, very cold. I put sunflowers on the patio and he hopped up and looked inside for quite a while. Yet bringing him inside would mean certain stress and maybe even death. Birds are designed to be outside in the cold-they fluff up their feathers and sit close together. What seemed like a safe place for him to be (inside and warm) was the most dangerous for his life.
That is what a practice of transformation does for us- it puts us where we are meant to be.
Our little foster son is with his family now. There is such a sense of peace, knowing that he is safe and whole and loved. We have been in this waiting season for so long now. What a joy that his journey to his family is finished...and also just beginning.