Of Lions and Lambs, Apples and Oranges

“Stay with us, O Lord Jesus Christ: Light in our darkness.”   -Taize Community I light the second Advent candle, and as I look at the two candles now alight, I see their differences; they are no longer the same; one is shorter, farther gone, the other just starting out. The prophetic text for the day (Isaiah 11:1-9) talks about the light that dispels the darkness of different parties- the wolf and lamb, the leopard and kid, the calf, the lamb… Read more

Kindle a Flame

“Kindle a flame to lighten the dark, and take all fear away.”  -Iona Community It is the first week of Advent, and I begin by lighting the first purple candle of my Advent wreath. In Advent we watch and wait  for the Light of Christ, but I must start by admitting to the darkness. The darkness that touches me takes many forms. This past weekend away from home, when I dream more vividly than other times, I had persistent of… Read more

Grace and Gracefulness

‘Tis the season to be grateful. There is some irony that this year, as often happens, Thanksgiving weekend coincides with the First Sunday of Advent:  Thanksgiving with its groaning boards of food, community service projects and gaggles of folk traveling, right before a period of half-light, even starkness, waiting in the semi-dark for the promises of God to find fulfillment in the days we celebrate at Christmas. Yet for me they are inter-twined, because if there is a theological premise… Read more

Caretaking and Taking Care

I missed offering a musing last week because I was away at several gatherings where I was asked to be  a caretaker for the gathered community – by preaching, by presenting some reflections of Scripture and prayer, by facilitating a group process, by conversing with people, and finally by feeding, putting to bed and playing with my two youngest grandchildren. Although those acts of care-taking don’t seem to have much in common at first glance, I found that some of… Read more

“Lost” Saints

All Saints Day entered my life when I was already in ministry in the church. The second church that I served had a lovely tradition of writing a liturgy for All Saints Sunday that was partly early Christian history, giving thanks for the apostles and early church leaders, and then it  hopped, skipped and jumped through history and around the world  to its final section in which it listed all the people in the congregation who had gone to be… Read more

The Color Purple

Wednesday we were invited to wear purple to demonstrate that we were aligning ourselves with those who decried and deplored bullying, especially the bullying of young folk who understood themselves to be lesbian, gay, bisexual and or transgendered. I was glad to be able to dig around in my closet and find a purple sweatshirt from a retreat I conducted long ago, entitled, “Sacred Time, Sacred Space.”  I was glad to claim that prayer for these little ones whom God… Read more

You are Welcome!

I love to be welcomed! I regularly, often, have the gift of being the recipient of hospitality. This fall at a retreat center, the door was opened with a smile, with gentleness, and with clear instructions for using the key. Every evening a luxurious bowl of new roses from the garden presided over interesting and interested conversation. One guest said, “I feel so safe here.”  I am often  welcomed in to  homes for gatherings, and notice again that my coming… Read more

Prayer of Lament

I am grieving for the wounded in our world, especially this week those who are bullied and harassed by others, so much so that they feel as if there is not alternative except to take their own lives. As I grieve, I am impressed and heartened by those who can analyze, recommend and make action plans to turn this viral phenomenon around. And I feel called to pray as I listen for he Spirit’s wisdom to me in my location… Read more

Simple Gifts

It’s one of the festival seasons in our family, the fall cluster of birthdays and celebrations. My birthday is the first, and I always enjoy what come to me each year. But this year the date was complicated by schedules, travel, illness and competing agendas, and it didn’t seem to be the occasion for a gala celebration. Yet, into that mix of things arrived a myriad of simple gifts that surprised, thrilled and delighted me: a phone call or three… Read more

Night Prayers

It’s the middle of the night and I am not sleeping. This doesn’t happen often, but tonight between intense days of offering hospitality, anticipation of family travels and the cusp of a new year of life, sleep is elusive for now. And so I turn to what I have come to believe is my primary vocation in this part of my life, a vocation of prayer. Unlike my intentional and regular practices of prayer at the sunrise in the east… Read more

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