Archive for the ‘Fine Lines’ Category

Merry Christmas to all! Every year we hope for peace to descend on us like magic from on high but this peace is already here for all of good will. God never imposes on us – but gloriously invites us: read the old familiar tale anew:
From the Gospel of Luke:

8 Nearby, in the fields outside of Bethlehem, a group of shepherds were guarding their flocks from predators in the darkness of night. 9 Suddenly a messenger of the Lord stood in front of them, and the darkness was replaced by a glorious light—the shining light of God’s glory. They were terrified!

Messenger: 10 Don’t be afraid! Listen! I bring good news, news of great joy, news that will affect all people everywhere. 11 Today, in the city of David, a Liberator has been born for you! He is the promised Anointed One, the Supreme Authority! 12 You will know you have found Him when you see a baby, wrapped in a blanket, lying in a feeding trough.

13 At that moment, the first heavenly messenger was joined by thousands of other messengers—a vast heavenly choir. They praised God.

14 Heavenly Choir: To the highest heights of the universe, glory to God!
And on earth, peace among all people who bring pleasure to God!

May today be a day of pleasure to God. Show God a good time as you celebrate the birth of the Christ child.

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The First Christmas Carol

From approximately 350 AD:

Mary bore a mute Babe
Though in Him were hidden all our tongues.
Joseph carried Him, yet hidden in Him was
A silent nature older than everything.
The Lofty One became like a little child, yet hidden in Him was
A treasure of Wisdom that suffices for all.
He was lofty but he sucked Mary’s milk,
And from His blessing all creation sucks,
He is the Living Breast of living breath;
By His life the dead were suckled, and they revived.

(from DIVINE INSPIRATION: THE LIFE OF JESUS IN WORLD POETRY, edited by Robert Atwan, George Dardess, and Peggy Rosenthal, Oxford University Press)

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Power of Praise

Take heed, then, to come together often to give thanks to God, and show God’s praise. For when you come frequently together in the same place, the powers of Satan are destroyed and his fiery darts of sin fall back, worthless. For your unity and harmonious faith prove his destruction, and the torment of his assistants. Nothing is better than Christ’s peace, by which all war, both of heavenly and earthly spirits, is brought to an end.

-Ignatius of Antioch

“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.”

-W.T. Purkiser

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Impending Doom

I have sporadically in my lifetime had feelings of impending doom. I learned over time that it didn’t seem to correlate to any reality that I could perceive. That being said, it is a very disturbing experience. Early on, even in childhood, I decided to just pray about it and the feeling would go away. I should have stayed a child.
Turns out that this feeling is a symptom of various dis-ease. Thus informed, I informed my Primary Care Doctor. A month and way too many health care dollars later, I know that my cardiac system is amazingly healthy, anxiety is not a factor and no medical person has an answer. Then came the Hayian Typhoon. The feeling left to be replaced with great sorrow.
Now, I’m not saying my prayers would have stayed the waters. I mean really, I am not an egomaniac. I’m just saying I’m going back to just praying the doom into prayers for unspoken needs because there is great sorrow and doom on the horizon all over this world. And regardless of whether it is happening to you or to me, we are all on this planet together. May God have mercy. Come Lord Jesus. Christ have mercy. Amen

P.S. One Great Hour of Sharing is a wonderful way to send our dollars to help the victims in the Philippines.

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Re-visioning Mary

A friend of mine’s, Yvonne Lucia, art work is being displayed on two occasions. I have watched these in progress as well as the final product and found them profoundly moving. If you are near either place, take the time to enjoy. To learn more see this website: http://www.sacredartportal.com

Monday October 21, 2013
10 AM to 9 PM
Christ the King Retreat House and Conference Center, Syracuse, NY
500 Brookford Road
Syracuse, NY 13224

The series of paintings, Re-Visioning Mary: Contemporary Icons Inspired by Her Titles is a personal offering, inspired by poetic titles ascribed to Mary in several ancient litanies of praise to her, exploring images of the sacred feminine symbolized in the figure of Mary. The viewer is invited into a state of contemplation and personal experience of the sacred through an encounter with the images, prayers, and walking the labyrinth, around which the paintings are positioned. Paintings will be on display and labyrinth will be available for walking meditation from 10 am. Artist’s talk “Painting as an Encounter with the Sacred” at 7 PM .
Offering: $15

Sunday December 8, 2013
12 noon to 4 PM
The Dancer’s Studio*
19 South Washington Street, 2nd floor
Binghamton, New York 13903

Contemplative Viewing and Labyrinth Walk
The season of Advent invites us to slow down, take time, and enter the transformative space of the womb as we await the birth of Christ. Walking a labyrinth is an ancient way of prayer which embodies this invitation. The contemporary icons of Mary surrounding the labyrinth offer the opportunity for deepened reflection and prayer.
Free and open to the public.
Prints, prayer cards, and note cards will be available for purchase

*door is located behind the building, across from Serv Pro

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God’s Labor

Today is Labor Day and I am having a day of rest. Yesterday evening, my Mother-in-Law shared a DVD with us from a play she had seen in Lancaster. PA called Noah. Like all plays based on a Bible story, liberties with the text abounded. Which caused me to take out my Bilble and re-read the Noah story. (Did you know that Noah sent out a raven once and a dove three times? – I only remember the dove and thought it was only twice). So I decided it was time for me to re-read Genesis. I am enjoying the new translation called The Voice. It can be accessed for free through the Bible Gateway app. Here is an excerpt from Genesis 1:4-9, the second creation story within the first chapter of the first book of the Bible. I hope you enjoy it.

4 This is the detailed story of the Eternal God’s singular work in creating all that exists. On the day the heavens and earth were created, 5 there were no plants or vegetation to cover the earth. The fields were barren and empty, because the Eternal God had not sent the rains to nourish the soil or anyone to tend it. 6 In those days, a mist rose up from the ground to blanket the earth, and its vapors irrigated the land. 7 One day the Eternal God scooped dirt out of the ground, sculpted it into the shape we call human, breathed the breath that gives life into the nostrils of the human, and the human became a living soul.

(When human body meets divine spirit, soul is born. Divine breath and sculpted earth come together to make up the living soul. For thousands of years, philosophers and theologians have posed the question: what is a human being? Here God gives the answer.)

8 The Eternal God planted a garden in the east in Eden—a place of utter delight—and placed the man whom He had sculpted there. 9 In this garden, He made the ground pregnant with life—bursting forth with nourishing food and luxuriant beauty. He created trees, and in the center of this garden of delights stood the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

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Our pastor is on sabbatical this summer and he has granted me the privilege of preaching 6 of those Sundays. Two weeks ago, when I did the children’s story, the one and only child (whose name happens to mean Christ-bearer), wanted nothing to do with me.  Afterwards I asked him what he would like to talk about and he said “the weather”.  It just so happened that the Old Testament Lesson on the next Sunday would be I Kings 19:1-15.  In it, the great Prophet Elijah ran for his life into a cave where he waited for God to speak. I rewrote this story as a dramatic reading and downloaded sounds on to my iPad for the rain, earthquake and fire.  Then for sheer silence, I downloaded the Eternal Om. The three adults, the children and I practiced our parts before the service. They took turns playing each sound effect at the appropriate time.  When the Eternal Om came on, my new friend looked at me in wonder and said, “That sounds very familiar”.
For thousands of years, the traditions of the East have taught that Om is the sound of the vibration of the created universe. Those who have attuned their ears through the discipline of years of meditation often hear this very sound in the sheer silence of God’s presence. And Jesus said, the little child would lead us. And as they say, you can’t make this stuff up!

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