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Showing posts from October, 2006

Messages to be Shared

Messages in a lively Quaker meeting often have threads. Life has threads, the blogosphere has threads, and some of them have been flowing my way lately.

Richard M, at A Place to Stand wrote a recent post on the importance of eldering, in the sense of nurturing gifts when, like volunteer seedlings in a garden, they crop up unexpectedly. Though I'm not 100% sure I agree with everything he had to say (for instance, I question whether a lack of positive feedback from elders at meeting regarding spoken ministry can be taken as meaning that the messages we gave were not right to be shared. I think that there are a lot of indicators of good vocal ministry, and that feedback from elders is only one of them) I did really like the post. He writes that good spoken ministry will "resonate with what is going on within some of the Friends listening."

I think that's so. So I was heartened to read, in a recent comment from Plain Foolish, that my post on Grace had spoken to her …

Grace

So.

The thought/message that came to me in MFW this week (it didn't rise to vocal ministry, but it had that SMACK-into-the-baseball-glove feeling of a message at the time) came up something like this.

As I was centering into worship, one of our members, a mom whose warmth and integrity I really admire, came into the meeting room. As she crossed to her bench, I noticed how lovely she was--regal, almost. And I felt a sudden fierce tenderness toward her (if that makes sense) that made me so glad: glad she was there, glad I was, glad she is a kind and caring human... I don't know. Just... glad.

And it came to me that, when I look at _you_ and I see God, that is grace.

When I look at you and see God.
That is grace.

(Pagans distressed by my terminology, see the comment below.)

Faithfulness

I keep thinking the word, "faithfulness," and thinking about it. It's a running theme in my head, in meeting for worship, but also at other times. For instance, in the second of the Lord of the Rings movies, there is a scene in which Gondor has just come under attack. Hundreds of years have passed since Gondor and their old allies, the Rohirrim, have had any meaningful contact, and Theoden, the King of Rohan has just barely survived a catastrophic invasion, with no help from Gondor.

The scene begins with a fire kindled in a watchtower in Gondor, signalling for aid... and the camera pans over mountain after mountain, rushing over snow and rocky summits, so we see fire after fire lit, on distant peaks, as one after another, men set to keep watch see the signal, and respond.

Finally the signal reaches Theoden's citadel, and Aragorn, who has been trying to persuade Theoden to answer Gondor's appeal when it comes, rushes into his hall, taking two immense stone steps …

A Really Excellent Pagan Blog!

It has been a complaint of mine for quite some time how few really wonderful, spiritually reflective Pagan blogs I have found. There are good Pagan travelogues, news and political commentaries, podcasts and so forth... but very, very few blogs that discuss personal spiritual experiences in real depth.

So I'm so happy to have found Diane Sylvan's Dancing Down the Moon. What a terrific blog! Some of her entries, like her most recent, where she explains "Why the Rest of the World Thinks We're Wierd" are funny, but others, like her discussion of why her altar is arranged as it is, or the poetry she features, are really resonant for me.

Here's an excerpt from a recent poem:

"In the name of the sun and its mirrors
and the day that embraces it
and the cloud veils drawn over it
and the uttermost night
and the male and the female
and the plants bursting with seed
and the crowning seasons
of the firefly and the apple,

"I will honor all life--
wherever and in whatever

A Comment From Chef Michael

The following is the text of a comment left by Michael H---, beloved chef at the retreat center where our Nameless Group has met for many years. It's posted here rather than as a comment so that I could edit out personal identifying information, and with the permission of Michael himself. I think it's important to share this, both because Michael is so loved by the members of the community (Stop blushing, Michael! It's just the truth...) and because, on the day that all people of faith have hearts as open to one another as Michael manages to have, whatever Spirit or Spirits there are that love the world and the men and women in it will be glad, and the human race will be very close to learning how to live in peace with one another...

This was the first year Michael stayed (after a _long_ hard day of work, too) to attend our main ritual, a harvest blessing. We were so moved that he was there... Michael is a deacon in his Lutheran Church, and a man who takes his spiritual…

From the Greenwood

We live in a strange and lovely world...

I am typing these words from my laptop, sitting outside the tent we're sleeping in in the middle of a hemlock wood in the Catskill Mountains. Let me describe the scene for you. I hear the soft, sweet soughing of the wind in the leaves over my head, a late-summer cicada very slowly marking time, distant shrilling of frogs, and a thread of flute music drifting in from across the stream very much like the leaves that are drifting down from the canopy over my head. I look around me and I see two... no, three other tents, a high, savagely grey ledge of stone, carpeted over with fallen leaves, and the stained-glass contrasts of yellow maples and hornbeams punctuated by green-black hemlock trees. Beside me is a rotted stump that is as textured and intricately carved as a Georgia O'Keefe skull...

The last of the afternoon sun is slanting through the forest giants atop the ridge, and I can see that same sun warming the sides and roofs of the c…