I am thankful for color! I have been so elated with the fall colors this year. I have seen so many gorgeous colors changed in sunlight and cloud. Even the browns are spectacular. I have seen brass and copper and gold. Yellow has been bold and intense. Reds, oranges, salmon etc.etc. Wonderful! The lateness of the change of color seems to have offered many multicolored trees. This takes my breath away. God, the Artist, painting an extraordinary canvas. It reminds me of the line from How Great Thou Art – “I scarce can take it in.”
Last weekend Opening to the Sacred, the retreat ministry I share with a friend who is also a spiritual director, offered a retreat called Rest For Your Soul. We had a good group and it was a lovely day of exploring scripture, prayer, and reflection. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-29
My partner considered the nature of aspen trees. A stand or grove of aspens grows from a single seed. It the the root system that spreads and the trees multiply in this way. We related that to our connectedness as people of God. For as the days of a tree , so will be the days of my people. Isaiah 65:22b
It was a quiet, wisdom-filled and restful day.
Moved by the sharing of ideas and thoughts about the Matthew text, I wrote a poem
I thought a yoke was limiting But it depends on the "yokees" Being yoked to Christ means freedom Trusting in loving guidance. We are led in the Way designed for us Specially and lovingly for us Not sent where we don't want to go But in the direction we must go to fulfill our destiny Our own path but side by side With the One who knows us better than we know ourselves. I will take your yoke and I learn from you In gratitude and humility In Awe In love
We were moving along nicely minding our own business feeling great when out of the blue things happened reminding us of our fragile nature, of our mortality. My son got sick, I got into a car accident. He could have died, I could have died. But we didn’t. I took notice and started to feel the reality of humanity. We are born, we die. In between we live. It is so easy to take that life for granted – Until you think you about the possibility of losing it. I’ve read many accounts of people’s brushes with death but until now it was not an experience I have had.
My life has been relatively easy. I’ve had my ups and downs but overall it has been good. I often marvel at the wonder of life. The amazing human body, the birth of a child, the metamorphosis of a butterfly. Look to the heavens and they tell the story of the creator who made the universe in all its splendor and yet loves each one of us and truly each little piece of the creation. Yes, life is precious and each moment holds possibilities for experiencing the wonder of God who is manifest in all there is. We just need to pay attention. I am grateful for this life.
After a very busy month and the most recent event, church camp, I am tired. I suppose it is the body’s response to being “on” for so long. I just needed to stop and rest but I didn’t take much of a break since I had responsibilities at my home church. Today I walked an outdoor labyrinth and felt renewal. So many things were still hanging in thoughts from the past month. As I walked I was able to put them aside so that I could focus on my upcoming retreat. I felt the burdens lifting from me and a lightness has entered me. I believe I will sleep better tonight. I can finish preparations and participate fully in the retreat where I can rest in God along with my sisters in Christ.
Being tired for good reasons is fine but recharging is very important. I talk about centering and renewal of spirit to my directees and I know that these things are vital to health. Today I practiced what I preached and am grateful for the graces given. We all need time with God daily and sometimes in retreat.
I was privileged to attend the Spring Convocation at Eden Theological Seminary this week. The topic of the Brueggemann and Kulenkamp Lectures was Music: an essential element of the progressive Christian movement. Three inspiring and gifted speakers, Paul Vasile, Minister of Music at Park Avenue Christian Church in New York City, Rev. Cynthia Wilson, Dean of Students at Garrett Evangelical Seminary in Chicago, and Dr. Christopher Grundy, Assistant Professor of Preaching and Worship at Eden shared their experience and passion for music as a means of spreading the message of Love in the world.
I was moved by the singing of music, by the presentation of what this progressive movement is and what is can mean to the church as a whole. Music is and always has been a passion of mine. It struck me that music is sacred and is part of the whole creation. I was thinking how wonderful that musicians share their experience of the sacred in notes and rhythms and was then struck with the idea that all creation does that very same thing.
Consider the rhythm of the ocean, the sound of the birds or insects, the pulsing of the blood through the body which calms a child at her mother’s breast. Even the ticking of a clock or sirens marking the care of one in need can produce emotion in us. Music serves that purpose – an awakening of emotion in the human. It stands to reason that music is essential for any movement that involves the seeking for and encountering the holy.
Then I thought about how silence plays an important role in any music. The rest, the pause, the time to breathe is filled with Spirit! What a lovely couple of days and the joy of sharing that with people who care about sacred music. It is my prayer that the awakening in the soul connects each so intimately with God that the only outcome is love outpouring to serve, to care, to reach higher awareness of others’ needs so that all may be in harmony.
We had a wonderful Ash Wednesday service at church this week. It marks the beginning of Lent, a time of reflection and realigning our lives with God at center. I like to think about how I have managed to keep God as my center and how I have let myself fall off the path. It is a good time to pray.
We are deep in winter but with weird weather. In some ways I long for snow, maybe tonight…
I’ve been noticing the bare trees and their beauty. I especially like seeing the blue sky behind the branches. Lovely. It got me to thinking that there is still life in those dormant trees. It reminds me that even when things seem slow and I don’t feel like I’m making much progress, God is working. The living God is always with me giving me life.