Showing posts with label Spiritual. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spiritual. Show all posts

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thank The Lord

It now being the early morning of Thanksgiving Day in the USA, it came to mind the phrase "thank the Lord".  I can clearly hear my grandmother saying those words even though it has been three decades since she has gone to her eternal reward.   Mom usually said that phrase in an off-the-cuff manner and, most often, in such a quiet tone that only she was meant to hear.

So now, thank the Lord, I am sitting in a warm house, in front of a cozy fire, hot coffee nearby, hoping you are looking at your day ahead with a grateful heart and praying you are counting your blessings, as well.
We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing;
He chastens and hastens his will to make known;
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing,
Sing praises to his name: He forgets not his own.
Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining his kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, wast at our side, All glory be thine!
We all do extol thee, thou leader triumphant,
And pray that thou still our defender wilt be.
Let thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!
Amen
Traditional Thanksgiving Hymn
(A translation by Theodore Baker: 1851-1934)


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Therefore Give Us Love

Scottish Episcopal Church, Lerwick, Scotland


Full Text

1 Gracious Spirit, Holy Ghost,
taught by you, we covet most,
of your gifts at Pentecost,
holy, heavenly love.
2 Faith that mountains could remove,
tongues of earth or heaven above,
knowledge, all things, empty prove
without heavenly love.
3 Though I as a martyr bleed,
give my goods the poor to feed,
all is vain, if love I need;
therefore give me love.
4 Love is kind, and suffers long,
love is meek, and thinks no wrong,
love than death itself more strong;
therefore give us love.
5 Prophecy will fade away,
melting in the light of day;
love will ever with us stay;
therefore give us love.
6 Faith and hope and love we see
joining hand in hand, agree;
but the greatest of the three,
and the best, is love.

Source: Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #627
Christopher Wordsworth, 1862
Last summer, when this hymn was sung by a small Christian congregation during a Sunday morning service, the sounds echoed in that ancient slate and rock chancel (photo above).  After the service, I photographed the words of this song by Christopher Wordsworth that he composed over 150 years ago, thinking I would track down the music later.  Not only the music, but also the words were found via our amazing internet technology.  A bit of the sound from this hymn, on mp3, can be heard here.  But it cannot compare with my remembered experience of singing it in unison with other believers, in that small cathedral.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Hello in There

John Prine: Hello In There

We had an apartment in the city,
Me and Loretta liked living there.
Well, it'd been years since the kids had grown,
A life of their own left us alone.
John and Linda live in Omaha,
And Joe is somewhere on the road.
We lost Davy in the Korean war,
And I still don't know what for, don't matter anymore.

Chorus:
Ya' know that old trees just grow stronger,
And old rivers grow wilder ev'ry day.
Old people just grow lonesome
Waiting for someone to say, "Hello in there, hello."

Me and Loretta, we don't talk much more,
She sits and stares through the back door screen.
And all the news just repeats itself
Like some forgotten dream that we've both seen.
Someday I'll go and call up Rudy,
We worked together at the factory.
But what could I say if he asks "What's new?"
"Nothing, what's with you? Nothing much to do."

Repeat Chorus:

So if you're walking down the street sometime
And spot some hollow ancient eyes,
Please don't just pass 'em by and stare
As if you didn't care, say, "Hello in there, hello."



Ya gotta remember to say "Hello in there, hello."

Monday, March 10, 2014

Cheerful Acceptance of Penances (?)

Again this Lenten season, Floss is hosting a weekly link-up on Sundays and Mondays in which people reflect on thoughts, ideas, books, sermons, people, poems, art ... just about any process leading up to a personal reflection prior to Easter.  This link will take you to a plethora of bloggers giving pause.


A thought I read on Jean's blog Saturday has given me pause.  Instead of paraphrasing, I'll just re-post it here. In part, says Jean:
One of the two or three things I can remember from a lifetime of sermon-listening is the suggestion that the cheerful acceptance of the penances life imposes on one can be more meritorious than laboriously carrying out the ones one has thought up for oneself. (I got home from church that day and found that the Aga had gone out, which sort of underlined the message.)
Isn't that brilliant?  To cheerfully accept your burden, or if not cheerfully, at least one can just pick up that cross and get on with your living.  The Scripture reading at church yesterday was to pick up the cross and follow Jesus.  To emphasize that point, there was a wooden cross at the altar; it was lying on it side, hauntingly taunting communicants at the rail with its message of picking up one's burden. Which brings me back to what Jean wrote about laboriously carrying out the self imposed burdens of consequence versus just the acceptance and picking up of life imposed burdens, perhaps the more meritorious act.

It comes down to picking up penances and keeping to the higher ground: Lent.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Patience in Advent

Today is the third Sunday in Advent.  I am inpatient in wanting to write of something else, something other than "patience".  The liturgical reading today, however, in part is about patience and says
James 5: 7 - 10

7 Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it until it receives the early and the late rain.
8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
9 Do not grumble, brethren, against one another, that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the doors.
10 As an example of suffering and patience, brethren, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
So patience is the lesson, one story or lesson that we need, especially in this season.  Not to hurry in our cookie preparation just to get it over and done with.  Not to hurry in slapping on the icing and not to rush in getting those confections off to the post office.  Instead, we are to be intentional in our purpose.

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/159455643030588780/

I am trying to slow the busy-ness process and make each step of completing a task a thoughtful one. Yes, it is hard, especially when one has always hurried to just "get 'er done".  (My mother once said as I was driving with her in the car that I would be making a cake at the same time if it were only possible.  I think of  her comment often when I am multi tasking, and smile.  And sometimes I slow down.)

Again:
  8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
You may also enjoy reading these Advent posts, and others found a Pause in Advent:

Light (Kathy)


The third Advent candle is lit today.



Friday, November 8, 2013

Where Is That Bridge

over troubled waters?
The shattering revelation of that moment was that true peace, the high and bidding peace that passeth all understanding, is to be had not in retreat from the battle, but only in the thick of the battle. To journey for the sake of saving our own lives is little by little to cease to live in any sense that really matters, even to ourselves, because it is only by journeying for the world's sake—even when the world bores and sickens and scares you half to death—that little by little we start to come alive. It was not a conclusion that I came to in time. It was a conclusion from beyond time that came to me. God knows I have never been any good at following the road it pointed me to, but at least, by grace, I glimpsed the road and saw that it is the only one worth traveling.
                               Fredrick Buechner. THE SACRED JOURNEY

This week has not been cheery.  Some of my many failings have been noted.   One of my friends died Tuesday, my favorite aunt a few weeks ago.  A neighbor whom I have tried to help has pretty well scorned me in efforts.  The sun is waning, not helping the SAD (disorder).

This seems the appropriate time to mention that the husband noted last week the Japanese have five words for gratitude, and they all mean resentment to a lesser or greater degree.  So "thank you" might be harder for some to say than for others.  (More Heinlein here.)

But, I digress.  Libby Sweetpea and I are visiting this morning for Hospice: a new patient with dementia who, in a past life, worked as a gemologist.  I'll be wearing big rings my dad made from onyx years ago.  Maybe she will notice.  Maybe she will remember something that made her happy in her work.


And the knitting continues, the reading continues, the walks have resumed in the beautiful fall weather.  Trying to keep perspective and counting the blessings.  Trying to journey the road Buechner references in The Sacred Journey

Finished socks, incorrectly knitted, but good enough for a gal like me:

 
What about you, how has your week gone?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

"The Path" for Church Sanctuary

The husband was helpful not only in putting together a large easel for this project, but also in finding appropriate scriptures for this painting journey.  Each panel is 24" x 36".  Three panels together equals 6 feet in width by 3 feet in height.  A foot of negative space on the wall between panel will make the project 8 feet in width.  All panels were painted in acrylics.  "The Path" will be displayed for the autumn portion of Ordinary Times in the liturgical calendar of the church.

********************************************************************
I Corinthians 13:12
 
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.  (KJV) )

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.


Psalms 23:4

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

 
Deuteronomy  2:7

The LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything. (NIV)

Isaiah 35:8
 
And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it.


John 8:12
 
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (NIV)

Proverbs 4:18
 
The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. (NIV)



Psalms 16:11
 
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (NIV)

Linking to Paint Party Friday.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Pause in Lent

The Catholic Knight says...
use of pictures and statues (iconography) in churches has always been used as a way of telling a story visually. It's no different then when parents use picture books to explain things to small children. The icons (statues and pictures) serve to visually tell a story, and remind people of some Christian truth.
A previously published pen and ink drawing (icon) of the Beggar Christ and Vincent de Paul by Meltem Aktas caught my attention. A copy of her work is displayed in the meditation room at St. Mary’s Hospital Pavilion (oncology clinic) in Grand Junction, CO. It certainly gave me pause after studying this icon and reading the poem associated with the drawing.

On the back of this framed illustration is a poem written by Jennifer Gordon for the 10th anniversary of Colorado Vincentian Volunteers that explains Aktas' rationale for creating this piece of art:
In unfamiliar streets I wander laden
With a loaf so full
That surely there will be enough for all.
In the same streets we meet.
I see your clothes, Your eyes, and think, “Aha!
Here is one who needs me.”
With a smile I hope is warm
I offer you bread
Only to know that the piece you give me
Is exactly what I did not know I needed.
This is my rendition in watercolor (5"x7") of the original painting by Aktas.




This is framed and displayed in the living area of our home and is a reminder of my professional and volunteering affiliation with the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth (Kansas).

Please visit Floss who is hosting "A Pause in Lent" found here and read what others are thinking about this Lenten season as we take a pause in our lives for reflection.

Also linking to Spiritual Sundays

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

There is Nothing I Can Give You Which You Have Not

I salute you and there is nothing I can give which you have not, but there is much while I cannot give it, you may take it. No heaven can come to us unless we find it in our hearts today. So take heaven. No joy can come to us, unless it comes to us in this present moment. Take joy. No peace can come to us, unless we find it right now. Take peace. (Father Giovanni, 1513)
Franz Ci┼żek (Austrian artist, 1865-1946) Santa with Toys 1910-20 
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Peace: A Possibility

When I think of peace at this time of year, my visualization usually turns to doves, angels, or perhaps the nativity scene.  Many beautiful images can be found at Inspiration Avenue on the web at this site.  In fact, the bold type encourages "Peace on Earth, Goodwill To Men."

But what if the holidays are difficult for you, and peace is nowhere near possible?  What if health issues take precedence in your mind, or you are grieving a difficult loss?  What if your heart is breaking?  Where is your peace, or peace of mind?

Family estrangement, especially during the holiday season, is a situation that brings many people anguish. I looked into this issue and found that this is a universal heartache, certainly not just one in my heart. And perhaps after reading this, you will not ask "WHY?" when you learn of an estrangement situation, but can just be there as support for your friend or family member.

So please indulge me, if you are so inclined, to read about some of these thoughts put together here, to gain a better understanding of why family members might estrange themselves.

From this article written by Tina Gilbertson, she hits it right on:

You must understand that the other person has a reason for wanting to reduce contact with you. It hurts to think about being rejected at all, and to accept that there's a reason you were rejected is one of the hardest things any of us can do. However, it's also necessary if you want to have a relationship with the person again.

 You are wrong and they are right. No qualifiers, no conditions, no compromises. How they feel is the absolute truth of the matter. This must be your attitude and your belief. People don't end important relationships on a whim; at some point they really must have felt hurt /unseen /devalued /attacked /vilified /dismissed /damaged /ignored /betrayed /rejected /disrespected by you enough to build that wall. Of course you never meant to do any such thing, but that's how they took it, and that's how they feel. That's reality. That's a fact. 

This is not about you. Your story is not interesting right now to the person who rejected you. They are only interested in their story. Since it was they who initiated the estrangement, your job is to be curious about them, to validate their feelings, and to be available to them in a way that they define as positive or useful.

Accept their decision. For whatever reason, no matter what you do, the other person may decide not to let you back into their life. Let them know that you accept their decision, that you genuinely wish them well, and that the door is always open if they change their mind. Acknowledge to yourself the loss of the relationship, and allow yourself to mourn. Accept the new reality of your life without that person in it. You will survive without them. Your life may look and feel different to you, but it will be yours to do with as you please. If they ever do change their mind and come knocking on your door, decide right now to let them find a peaceful, whole person on the other side.

Many parents have done everything possible to raise their kids in what they perceive to have been the right manner, but they still face excommunication from children and grandchildren. Here are possible issues involved:

  • Parents took an action “out of love” for the child, but it was the wrong action or the child perceives it as being wrong.
  • Some ex-wives or ex-husbands poison the child about the other parent. Sometimes, the child's new girlfriend or boyfriend uses similar tactics.
  • Some parents feel that they have spent years of their lives taking care of their children, and feel no further financial obligation. This common cause of family discord is multiplied when a child also hears that the money issue is somehow related to the parent's divorce.

Sometimes there is no obvious reason for a son or daughter to break off communication, but it would be helpful to many families if a social scientist would study this subject. It seems that one of the risk factors is divorce.  Another factor is having daughters.



Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Mark Sichel in his article found here says:
The central premise of this article is that all healing starts from within. The most important reconciliation is the one you make with yourself. That way, your family's willingness or unwillingness to participate in a healing process will not be able to take away your peace of mind.
An extensive listing of websites and resources relating to family estrangement can be found here.

Again, if you are seeking more help in understanding estrangement, the above cited resources can be helpful. Most large churches in urban areas have support groups on the topic of "estrangement."
Lastly, go here to read, in part...
Joshua Coleman, a San Francisco psychologist who is an expert on parental estrangement, says it appears to be growing more and more common, even in families who haven’t experienced obvious cruelty or traumas like abuse and addiction. Instead, parents often report that a once-close relationship has deteriorated after a conflict over money, a boyfriend or built-up resentments about a parent’s divorce or remarriage. “We live in a culture that assumes if there is an estrangement, the parents must have done something really terrible,” said Dr. Coleman, whose book “When Parents Hurt” (William Morrow, 2007) focuses on estrangement. “But this is not a story of adult children cutting off parents who made egregious mistakes. It’s about parents who were good parents, who made mistakes that were certainly within normal limits.”
I am praying for peace this season.  And I accept that as the mother of an estranged daughter, I am responsible for this estrangement.  Just please don't ask my "why," because although I made many mothering mistakes, one of my two daughters is emotionally close to me while the other is distant.

Did I give too much attention to the handicapped child and not enough to the one without visible handicaps?  Did I expect too much from one and not the other? If so, which one? Did I give too little, or too much? Should I have stayed in a marriage that was not good for any of us, and am now seeing consequences 30 years later? I have gone over the questions many times with both daughters, and they both give answers of "you did just fine."  So somewhere in there is a mis-truth.  But I still question, and yet also still don't have an answer as to why one has removed herself from the family.
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As a Christian, I believe God gave man peace through His Son.  Here are a few scriptures I especially like to think about:

John 14:27....I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

Isaiah 40:29-30... He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.
Peace be with you all.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Pause In Advent

Joining in with Floss in France who has offered to sponsor a Christmas Blogger Event Termed "A Pause in Advent," where we stop a moment and reflect on the spiritual season, this article from the late 1980's gave me pause to think about a different turn on Christmas. Perhaps you will like it too.  An excerpt...
I direct a Christian theater company and this Christmas season we have a play running called "0, Little Town of Bagels, Tea Cakes and Hamburger Buns." The play is about the contemporary experience of Christmas based on the fact that the people to whom Christ came that first Christmas are the same kinds of people that we are today. Bethlehem means "house of bread." Bread means bagels, tea cakes and hamburger buns. Christmas is not a remote event. It is not a memo tucked away in a history book and forgotten. It is a celebration for right now — for the people who are now, as were the people who were then — some of them hurting, some of them alone, some of them angry, some of them tired, some of them separated from their family, some of them ill. Unto those people, God sent his Christmas card.
Click on the highlighted title to read the entire essay O Little Town of Bagels, Tea Cakes and Hamburger Buns by Jeanette Clift George.  It is a thoughtful writing.


You can read others' Pauses in Advent here.

source
click here to join in the pause

Monday, November 26, 2012

Angels and Oranges

Be it a spiritual angel,
or referring to fun in the snow

or thinking about the most important event in the realm of Christianity as relating to Jesus' birth when the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary:
Luke 1:26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
we are all somehow linked into God's kingdom.  And I believe angels do guide and protect me while in a state of grace.  (More about this here on guidance and protection.)

A few angels from my Christmas display collection:


See the angel furthermost to the left in the picture above?  My mother had that easel angel for many years.  She usually displayed it right beneath a pot of ivy.  I think she must have connected to her heavenly roots each time she gazed on that angel.  Stair-stepping up from the left is a contemporary angel my sister Pam gave me several years ago. I asked for it; wasn't that greedy?  But she willingly complied...I just wanted an angel from her!  Then the angel at the center-most top of the photograph was given to me by my friend Francis eleven years ago before she died that following summer.  I always think of Fran and the good times we had painting together when I hold that fragile pink glass angel. The white angel above was given to me by my friend Carol about 15 years ago.  We met in the early '70's when our husbands were in graduate school in Michigan, and we still keep in touch.

Linking to Inspiration Avenue and the Theme of the Week: Angels

Inspiration Avenue Challenge Link
 
also linking to Mandarin Orange Monday with a bowl of tangelos and orange squash

Monday, October 29, 2012

Make Do and Mend, and a Blue Monday Give-Away

"Make Do and Mend" is a phrase from World War II that was more commonly used in Great Britain during WWII.  Food and clothing were rationed after about 1940, and frugal living was a necessity.

source
(This links with BLUE MONDAY bloggers because I love the blue banner! But wait, there's more!)

Smiling Sally
Did you have a grandmother or a great, or a great-great who saved string, reused aluminum foil and saved vegetable seeds from the past seasonal crops?  Of course, you say.  

One of my favorites messages about mending and reflecting on aspects not only referring to simply repairing clothes, but also speaking to the issue of healing spirits was written by Susan Kittredge, a pastor who read her message on NPR back in 2008.  Her entire story can be found here, and it is well worth the read.  She said, in part:
...I have come to relish the moments when I sit down and, somewhat clumsily, repair a torn shirt, hem a skirt, patch a pair of jeans, and I realize that I believe in mending. The solace and comfort I feel when I pick up my needle and thread clearly exceeds the mere rescue of a piece of clothing. It is a time to stop, a time to quit running around trying to make figurative ends meet; it is a chance to sew actual rips together. 
I can't stop the war in Iraq, I can't reverse global warming, I can't solve the problems of my community or the world, but I can mend things at hand. I can darn a pair of socks. 
Accomplishing small tasks, in this case saving something that might otherwise have been thrown away, is satisfying and, perhaps, even inspiring. Mending something is different from fixing it. Fixing it suggests that evidence of the problem will disappear. I see mending as a preservation of history and a proclamation of hope. When we mend broken relationships, we realize that we're better together than apart, and perhaps even stronger for the rip and the repair.
Now comes the part about cleaning and preserving needlepoint.

In this spirit of preserving, part of this past weekend was taken up in revamping a footstool I make twelve years ago with the ottoman top being made of a piece of needlepoint.  The best part?  The needlepoint is now about 100 years old.  Yes, really.  My great aunt made it in the early 1900's while living on her Texas farm.  It was under glass for many years, and was passed along to me.  I took the picture apart, discarded the frame and glass, and used it for that ottoman.  This is a picture I took several years ago of the needlepoint.

But...it had not been cleaned in all those 100 years until yesterday.  Granted, it was under glass for about 85 of those years, but for the past decade it has been used for feet, shoes and dogs to perch on.  Did I hear you say "yuck!"?

After scrub-a-dub-dubbing the ottoman skirt, sewing a seam on the bottom ruffle, ironing the fabric, re-adhering it back to the box base with staples, washing the needlepoint three times (you should have seen that dirty water in the first soaking!) and giving new trims, it is almost ready for use again.

The roses are much brighter.  All it is lacking is a knitted edge found here. I'm working fast and furiously on it.

NOW FOR THE GIVE AWAY

If you leave a comment on this post and tell me something about Mending and Making Do and what you have done to make do and mend (or just that you went to the NPR site and read Kittredge's post...again, the site can be accessed here), your name will be put into my give-away for a piece of needlepoint my mother made many years ago. I will pick a name and let you know the winner once I have completed the lace edging for the newly renovated ottoman.  Then I'll show a picture of the "mended" and cleaned ottoman and announce the winner once that edge is finished.  Comments will be collected through November 6, 2012.

Here is the lovely yellow needlepoint piece, still damp and being blocked, 13.5" x 13.5" that you can win:


It is so fun to win something, and I do hope you will leave a comment.  I just won a digital download from Kepanie yesterday that she posted on her blog Knitspiring Odyssey.  It is an e-book entitled Autumn 2012 Accessories  Thank you, Kepanie!

Also linking to Time Travel Thursday:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sheltering (linked to a Sheltering Tree)

Sheltering wings, a thought and verses...linked to a Sheltering Tree


source (Bing)
"He will cover you with his feathers. Under his wings you will take refuge. His faithfulness is your shield and rampart."  Psalms 91:4 (World English Bible) 
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!" ~ Luke 13:34 NIV
As an older parent whose daughters are now adults, how many times I have thought of these verses.  I have recalled them when I wanted to shelter my children from despair, from hurts, from disappointments and failures, from criticism, injustice or any hateful thing that came their way.  But how many times did I quote this verse to them when they were children, or even now as they are adults?  Not once that I can remember.

And for that I grieve - that I did not take the time to use those teaching opportunities to share God's love with them.  Now I only ask that the Father cover me with His forgiveness, and allow me to go forth in confidence.

The verse was in reference to Jerusalem, and can be read following the break:

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Church Banners: 26th Week in Ordinary Times

Today begins the 26th week in the church liturgical calendar of Ordinary Times prior to the Christmas Season. Decorations were changed from the ones posted here several months ago at The American Lutheran Church to the new pieces shown below.

First, the centerpiece of the wall decorations is a quilt made by Pat McCarroll who entered into this humble McCarroll clan in 1974, bringing along her crafting skills that eventually culminated in her expert quilting arts.  Unfortunately she cannot see well enough now to continue with her crafts, but she generously loaned our church this autumn quilt of a tree with a wee squirrel at the base of the tree trunk. Don't you think the purples in the quilt really make the oranges and yellows pop?



To the upper right of the wall scheme is a picture of a coreopsis I painted ten years ago.  After adding a bit of purple to the background, I then borrowed it from the living room of our house to re-hang at church.


This is the completed collage with foam board covered in coordinating fall fabrics to round out the autumnal colors.


Psalm 124 for today's reading:
If the LORD was not fighting for us when men attacked:  they would have eaten us alive because they were so angry, waters would have rushed over us and a deep river would be over our heads, the angry waters would have gone over our heads and drowned us. We will say good things to the LORD. He did not let them eat us. We are free and still alive, like a bird that got out of a trap. The trap became broken and we are free.The name of the person that sent us help is the LORD. He made heaven and earth.
May you all have a blessed 26th week in Ordinary Times.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Church Banners for Ordinary Times

We Christians are in the midst of a long liturgical season called "Ordinary Time".  It has an associated color: green.  All colors and their associated seasons can be found at the ELCA link.

And from the Lutheran Missouri Synod:
Green is the appointed color for all but a few of the Sundays during these seasons. Consequently, green may be used an average of six to eight months of any given liturgical year!...Variety and change in shades of this color would go a long way in keeping the season fresh and "green." Changing the paraments every six weeks would complement the Sundays following Pentecost and their emphasis on personal faith that is living and growing.
Our church is sprucing up its sanctuary and adding color.  We are displaying rectangles and squares in varying large sizes, along with other appropriate paraments to bring a focal point to one large wall area.

Hopefully, these two pictures on 12 mm silk will be used as decoration to cover one or two of the nine foam boards.  Once all are hung, I will update this post and show the completed wall decorations.

Picture one: 25" x 36" unframed:

Picture 2: 24" x 24"

More to come!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sparrows and Lilies of the Field

...joining in with Floss at her blog to write about the The Thrill of What You Already Have...


This will be an introspective post, so sit down with your coffee as you are invited to take more than a minute to read about a virtual friend and what she has written here about needing a summer job to help the dormouse and her husband get through the summer on a more even note.

After reading what the dormouse wrote, it stirred me into thinking about how God takes care of us in ways we can't even imagine.  This is what she says in part of her post and in quoting scripture:
I have spent a couple of nights lying awake worrying, ... I need to bring my worrying mind to rest and try to trust God... 
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?"

The "thrill of what I already have" is a powerful memory of my mother in the late 1960's.

To set the scene: she and I lived in a small, conservative Texas town.  She was divorced, coming out of an almost catatonic 18 month depression (remember, we did not have psychiatric drugs back then save for electroshock therapy).  We had just moved out of her parents' home where we had lived for two years, completely dependent on them. We had very little money, living in a small and very old rental house made of stone.

The memory which I want to recall as most impressive, however, is that of mother saying many times that if God could care enough to provide food for the sparrows and to clothe the lilies of the field in glory, that He would certainly take care of us.   And He did.  She died in 2000, and He continued to take care of her throughout her life, as she had always trusted.

Certainly not all of what gives us a thrill is on the physical plane, as this particular memory still gives me pause.  I think of mother speaking of the well being of the sparrows and the beauty of the lilies when worry begins it insidious way of worming into my soul, and I am always comforted.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter

The tomb is empty.  

Easter blessings to you readers.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Palm Sunday

The Easter Season begins today.



Palm Sunday and what it means can best be found from the Bible.

The MennoniteGirls say it all here on their website today.  Not only can the Mennonite Girls cook, they also know how to live life to its fullest!


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Atonement: A Pause in Lent


Following up on the Theme for Bloggers put out by Floss at Troc Broc and Recup', here is an article that I find intriguing regarding Christ and the cross, which is what Lent is all about.  The article starts out with the question "what is atonement"?

Excerpts come from a published piece in RedlandsDailyFacts by Gregory Elder, a professor of history and humanities at Moreno Valley College (CA) and a Roman Catholic priest.
The term in English, "atonement," means what it sounds like, making things to be "at one," meaning humanity being made one with God. It is used many times in the Hebrew Scriptures and is found in words meaning roughly "reconciliation." 
In the Hebrew writings, it is made clear on a number of occasions that sin separates people from friendship with God, and the ultimate penalty for human sin is death, as God promised Adam in Eden. (Genesis 3:3)  But God is also merciful and allows people time to repent their sins; death is not instantaneous. In the Mosaic covenant, this separation from God caused by sin was remedied by animal sacrifice.
Father Elder talks about three different theories of atonement: the "ransom theory", the "satisfaction" view and the "demonstration" theory.  Regarding the ransom theory, I found this quite interesting, spurring me on to purchase the old C.S. Lewis classic on my Kindle for a re-read: 
The ransom theory was very popular in antiquity, and is often expressed by my patron saint, St. Gregory of Nyssa. It is a theme of the atonement used by C.S. Lewis in his book which was recently made into a film, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe."
This ransom theory, that Christ paid the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of mankind by giving his life for those who accept his divinity, and canceling out moral debts of humans, is the one I was taught from the cradle.

But as Father Elder postulates, no matter the theory behind atonement, all give pause.  And all views have been excellent fodder for homiletic points for Christ's work on the cross regarding His forgiveness of sin.

 As  As Floss says in relating to the horrific killings in her own backyard in Toulouse last week  
One thing I do know is that people who spend more time forgiving the little things are better practiced at forgiving the big things. 
 To be at one, to be forgiven, and to forgive, to be at peace...atonement.