Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Andrew's Advent Wisdom

Today we celebrated the
Feast of Saint Andrew. 
He's best known for what he said to
his brother Peter:

'We have found the Messiah.'
John 1:41

Gotta love the fact that he was the first to
drop everything to follow Jesus - This is what Advent is all about.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Paradox of Advent

``A paradox is not a conflict within reality.
It is a conflict between reality and
your feeling of what reality should be like.''
- Richard Feynman

And here is an example:

And here is another:

"One of the essential paradoxes of Advent:
that while we wait for God, we are with God all along,
that while we need to be reassured of God's arrival,
or the arrival of our homecoming,
we are already at home.

While we wait, we have to trust, to have faith,
but it is God's grace that gives us that faith.
As with all spiritual knowledge, two things are true,
and equally true, at once.
The mind can't grasp paradox;
it is the knowledge of the soul."

Michelle Blake

Sunday, November 28, 2010

1st Sunday of Advent

Advent - a time of waiting - for Jesus to be born and for Jesus to return.  We're looking backward and forward at the same time.  We're waiting for something that happened 2000 years ago and we're waiting for something that has not happened yet.  And as we all know - no one likes waiting.  This year major department stores couldn't even wait for Thanksgiving to be over to start their Black Friday sales. What does that say about our inability to wait?

So here we are at the first Sunday of Advent. Will we make it to Christmas?  Join me in the spiritual practice of waiting, as I post quotes, prayers and musings over the next four weeks that are primarily related to Advent, my favorite season of the liturgical calendar.  Let's see if that saying, "Good things come to those who wait" is really true. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Those Darn Waving Cats!

I've received several queries regarding the whereabouts of the Wise Men. As you recall I took them to San Francisco in late Spring for a view of the world outside my powder room. They roamed the hotel, enjoyed an Irish pub crawl and sat in on some of the sessions at the Spiritual Director's International (SDI) conference.

But the trouble began when they tagged along on a trip to China Town. They became mesmerized by those Chinese good-luck beckoning cats that can be found in every tourist gift shop. They saw them in a window and just had to run in to purchase one for their very own. They couldn't wait to get home to set it up on their window sill to admire. And then something strange happened. They just couldn't stop watching the cat waving.

At first they said they enjoyed the friendliness of their cat. They were fascinated by the fact that the cat had a moveable appendage - something they lack - and that they are always quick to point out to anyone who will listen.  They also informed me that they could watch the cat wave all day - and that's what they did for months! It was like their own form of Facebook, but without the friends.

I don't know how many times I tried to coax them to come out of the bathroom for some fresh air but they were not interested. They pretty much ignored me completely. I just wasn't as interesting as that waving cat. So I left them to their obsession.  And then one day a loud wail came from the guest bath. I ran in and asked what was wrong.

Wiseman#1: Help! Our cat has stopped waving!
Wiseman#2: Yes! Begin administering CPR!!
Wiseman#3: Call 911!
Me: Um, I don't know how to break this to you, but there is nothing wrong with your cat.
Wiseman##2: What do you mean? Just look at it! It stopped waving! I think...oh dare I say it?
Wiseman#1: OH NO! Our lucky cat can't be DEAD?
Me: Fellas, calm yourselves...the battery died.
Wiseman #1: Battery? What battery?
Me: The one inside of your precious lucky cat.
Wiseman#3: You mean our cat isn't waving at us of its own accord?
Me: Not really....it's battery-operated. See for yourself.

A period of silence ensued.
Wiseman#2: (Sigh)... I feel duped. I thought the cat loved us.
Wiseman#1: Yeah, I cannot believe we wasted all that time just watching it wave.
Wiseman#3: I really thought it was our friend. I guess we were foolish to trust a cat.
Wiseman#2: And a battery operated one at that!

To be continued.............

Sunday, November 21, 2010


To Belong - Oh, how we want to belong!
To fit into a group, a family, a church, a job, or a relationship.
Too many of us just don't belong.
Today on this last Sunday of the liturgical calendar we focus on Christ as King;
Christ, whose kingship was not based on wielding power, but on serving.
Christ, who never truly belonged anywhere.
Christ, to whom we ALL belong.
May you find your sense of belonging in Christ,
the King who delights in you.

doesn't that photo make you say, "ahhhh?"

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Got Gravy?

We're not very good at listening are we? And yet it's one of the greatest gifts we can give one another. I remember childhood Sunday dinners at my grandmother's house, where potatoes were always on the menu.

As I recall, she would create a well in the top of the mashed potatoes. It was a protected space used to hold the butter or the gravy.

Well, that's exactly what good listening does. It creates a protected space and shelter for the words, thoughts, and feelings of the person you're listening to. May we all remember to create such sacred spaces for one another!

Friday, November 12, 2010

anticipatory silence

"There are many kinds of silence to encounter in life,
but there is a particular and delicious terror
to the anticipatory silence that we create
from actually following our heart's desire."
- David Whyte

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"What makes a place special
is the way it buries itself inside the heart,
not whether it's flat or rugged, rich or austere,
wet or arid, gentle or harsh,
warm or cold, wild or tame.
Every place, like every person,
is elevated by the love and respect shown toward it,
and by the way in which its bounty is received.
- Richard Nelson, The Island Within

taken from The Circumference of Home
by Kurt Hoetling, who will be speaking
at St. Paul's this evening.

photo of Cypress Island, Washington State 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Ode to Soup

"As the days grow short,
some faces grow long.
But not mine.
Every Autumn,
when the wind turns cold
and darkness comes early,
I am suddenly happy.
It's time to start making soup again."
- Leslie Newman
"Soup puts the heart at ease,
calms down the violence of hunger,
eliminates the tension of the day,
and awakens and refines the appetite."
-Auguste Escoffier

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Lydia's Joy

Today Lydia Joy was baptized!
Sustain her O Lord, in your Holy Spirit.
Give her an inquiring and discerning heart,
the courage to will and to presevere,
a spirit to know and to love you,
and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works.

The Baptismal Covenant
I will faithfully continue in the apostles' teaching and fellowship,
in the breaking of bread and in the prayers.
Where there is evil, I will resist it.
Whenever I fall into sin, I will repent and return to the Lord.
I will proclaim, by both word and example, the Good News of God in Christ.
I will seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving my neighbor as myself.
I will strive for justice and peace, among all people,
and respect the dignity of every human being.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Nearer, my God, to Thee?

"The atheist staring from his attic window
is often nearer to God than the believer
caught up in his own false image of God."
- Martin Buber

discuss amongst yourselves

"Old Man Looking Through the Window" by Samuel van Hoogstraaten (1627-1678)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day Prayer

Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges:  Guide the people of the United States in the election of officials and representatives;  that, by faithful administration and wise laws,  the rights of all may be protected and our nation be enabled to fulfill your purposes;  through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

from the Book of Common Prayer
photo of NY women voting in 1917

Monday, November 1, 2010

All Saints Day Prayer

Living God, in whom there is no shadow or change,
we thank you for the gift of life eternal,
and for all those who, having served you well,
now rest from their labours.

We thank you for all the saints remembered and forgotten,
for those dear souls most precious to us.
Today we give thanks for those who during the last twelve months,
have died and entered into glory.

We bless you for their life and love,
and rejoice for them,
"all is well, and all manner of things will be well."

God of Jesus and our God,
mindful of all those choice souls who have gone on ahead of us,
teach us, and each 21st century disciple of every race and place,
- to follow their example to the best of our ability,
- to feed the poor in body or spirit,
- to support and comfort the mourners and the repentant,
- to encourage the meek and stand with them in crises,
- to cherish and learn from the merciful,
- to be humbled by, and stand with, the peacemakers.

Let us clearly recognize what it means to be called the children of God,
and to know we are to be your saints neither by our own inclination nor in our strength
but simply by the call and the healing holiness of Christ Jesus our Saviour.

Prayer of Remembrance by Bruce Prewer, Uniting Church of Australia
photo from wikimedia -
All Saints Day, 1st November 1984 in the Beskiel Cemetery, Oswiecim, Poland.