Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Websites I've found useful in text study

I gave this list to Alison, my seminary sister, but I thought maybe the interwebs should have it too.

Any others I should add to the list?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

(paraphrased from class)

Grace is less a gift than a beautiful work of art.  It’s like a concert, a dance, a painting.  It’s offered to you, wordlessly, without need from you; you can’t give anything back to make it more than what it is.  

And yet you want to — you give yourself to it, without even knowing.  You’re drawn into it.  You feel yourself moving with the music, the colors, the performers.  You become a part of it, and it moves in you.

The experience of grace is the experience of art.

(van Gogh’s “Starry Night Over the Rhone”; “White Swan” ballerina stock photo; Alison’s shot of Paul Meany, lead singer of Mutemath.)

  • Be fully present.
  • Extend and receive welcome.
  • Speak your truth.
  • Identify assumptions.
  • Share by invitation.
  • Listen deeply.
  • No fixing.
  • Respond with open and honest questions.
  • Suspend judgment.
  • Turn to wonder.
  • Respect silence.

Based on the Touchstones from the Center for Courage and Renewal, by Parker Palmer and the Dialogue Group

Prayers of the People, chapel service June 13, 2012

Ezekiel 17: 22-24  (NRSV)
Thus says the Lord God: I myself will take a sprig from the lofty top of a cedar; I will set it out. I will break off a tender one from the topmost of its young twigs; I myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain. On the mountain height of Israel I will plant it, in order that it may produce boughs and bear fruit, and become a noble cedar. Under it every kind of bird will live; in the shade of its branches will nest winged creatures of every kind. All the trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord. I bring low the high tree, I make high the low tree; I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. I the Lord have spoken; I will accomplish it.
Psalm 92: 1-4, 12-15  (ELW)
It is a good thing to give thanks | to the LORD, 
to sing praise to your name, | O Most High;
to herald your love | in the morning
and your faithful- | ness at night;
on the psaltery, and | on the lyre,
and to the melody | of the harp.
For you have made me glad by your | acts, O LORD;
and I shout for joy because of the works | of your hands.
The righteous shall flourish | like a palm tree,
and shall spread abroad like a ce- | dar of Lebanon.
Those who are planted in the house | of the LORD
shall flourish in the courts | of our God;
they shall still bear fruit | in old age;
they shall be | green and succulent;
that they may show how up- | right the LORD is,
my rock, in whom there is | no injustice.
Mark 4:26-34  (NRSV)
He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.” 
He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” 
With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.
Hymn of the day:  ELW 637, "Holy God, Holy and Glorious"
Holy God, holy and glorious, glory most sublime,
You come as one among us into human time,
And we behold your glory. 
Holy God, holy and powerful, power without peer,
You bend to us in weakness; emptied, you draw near,
And we behold your power.
Holy God, holy and beautiful, beauty unsurpassed,
You are despised, rejected; scorned, you hold us fast,
And we behold your beauty. 
Holy God, holy and only wise, wisdom of great price,
You choose the way of folly:  God the crucified,
And we behold your wisdom. 
Holy God, holy and living one, life that never ends,
You show your love by dying, dying for your friends,
And we behold you living.

Prayers of the people:

Drawing together in the love of Christ, let us pray for the world, the church, all those in need, and all of God's creation.

Holy God, holy and beautiful,
in whom we love and move and have our being:
sow in us seeds of love and compassion,
that we might look at each other and see children of God,
that we might look at ourselves and see your beauty in us.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Holy God, holy and living,
one who knows the grief of change, of decay, and of death:
sow in us seeds of hope and peace,
that we might bear your strength to all who need it,
that through us you might grant rest to all the world.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Holy God, holy and glorious,
who grants growth in due season:
sow in us seeds of justice and mercy,
that our roots may be deep in your love
and our branches may make a safe space for all to find shelter,
especially those throughout the world who suffer war and oppression,
especially those in Syria, Pakistan, and Israel/Palestine.
Make our fruits flourish, that through you we might feed the world.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Whatever else you see that we need, we ask of you O God, our Lord, our strength and our redeemer.  Amen.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Poetry: on clouds & love

We don’t see clouds, you know.

Not the way they’re meant to be seen
(maybe even the way we used to see them)—
with open mouths and squinting eyes,
pointed fingers bowing reverently at the knuckle,
a hundred possibilities in each billow and buckle.
Not the way you were taught in fourth grade,
where each cloud had A Name and A Reason:
cirrus blown to wisps by wind,
altostratus tinged with sunset pink,
cumulonimbus threatening thunder.
We don’t see clouds, except to note
when they pour out rain or sleet or snow,
or rarer, when they block the moon in dark of night,
or rarer still, when in January all there is to see
is one clear sky, so blue it freezes all it covers,
and then we might murmur through hats and scarves
at the vastness of a cloudless day.

But day to day we don’t see clouds.
We pull brims low and sunglasses high,
tuck ourselves under porches and roofs
and into cars, where the highest thing we see
is a stoplight flashing LOOK but no one looks.

Almost unbelievable puffs of beauty,
made of the same water we are made,
spiraling and spreading, condensing and falling,
all without our attention,
as if the universe weren’t a miracle.

Perhaps this is you, in my life —
for years I lay in the backyard of my heart
and watched you, simply watched you,
my eyes full and yet always hungry for your wonder.
But the Real World —
with school and work and bills
and mouths to feed and lunches to pack
and soccer games to drive to and clean up after —
built a minivan roof, turn by turn.

Now if I remember to look
all I see is the dome light that needs fixing.

Beauty everpresent is easily forgotten,
if the heart fails to remind the mind.

Therefore when you have a minute
pack a lunch of peanut butter sandwiches,
but just two.
Leave the Real World a note
that we’ve sold the van and bought a bike,
and I plan to spend the rest of the day
(that is, all my life)
basking in the glow of white
that never stops passing overhead.