Friday, December 31, 2010

Crossing the Threshold of 2010

"Many times today I will cross over a threshold.
I hope I will catch a few of those times.
I need to remember that my life is, in fact,
a continuous series of thresholds:
from one moment to the next,
from one thought to the next,
from one action to the next.

Help me appreciate how awesome this is.
How many are the chances to be really alive . . .
to be aware of the enormous dimension
we live within.

On the threshold the entire past
and the endless future
rush to meet one another.

They take hold of each other and laugh.
They are so happy to discover themselves
in the awareness of a human creature.
On the threshold the present breaks all boundaries.
It is a convergence,
a fellowship with all time and space.
We find You there.
And we are found by You there.

Help me cross into the present moment -
into wonder, into Your grace:
that "now-place," where we all are,
unfolding as Your life moment by moment.

Let me live on the threshold as threshold."

written by Gunilla Norris from Being Home p. 14-15

And so tonight we shall cross over the threshold of 2010 into 2011.
May we gather up all that we have experienced of God's love & light this year
and bring it with us into this new year, to give away to everyone we meet.

Friday, December 24, 2010

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

'Twas the Night Before Christmas
And all through the House,
Not a Creature was Stirring,
Except of course for our Wisemen,
who were still Discerning their Direction...
When what to their Wandering Eyes should appear?
But the Star they'd been searching for from yonder and near!

Wiseman #1: Do you see what I see?
Wiseman #2: Yes #1! It's a star, a star, with a tail as big as a kite!
Wiseman #3: Could this be the Star of Bethlehem that we have been searching for all this time?

Tallest Wisemen Ever: (in unison) Why yes it is!

Wiseman #3: Oh my Goodness! Do you hear what I hear?
Wiseman #2: Yes #3! It's a song, a song, high above the trees,
with a voice as big as the sea!

Tallest Wisemen Ever: (in unison) LOOK UP!
Wiseman #1: WOW. You are the tallest Wise Ones Ever!

Tallest Wisemen Ever: (in unison) We are here to show you the Story.
You see, we carry it with us at all times.
On your right you see the shepherds keeping watch over their fields by night.
In the middle you see Mary and Joseph and the Baby Jesus, born in a manger,
and on the left you see where you, the Wise Men, bring fine gifts to the King.
This is where you fit into the story.
Wiseman #1: Oh Your Most Majestic Scenicness,
if only we could have the story painted on us,
perhaps we would not forget every year.

Tallest Wisemen Ever: (in unison) Ahh, but that is our story.
We are here as a reminder of how God entered history and
to help you see that we all inhabit that sacred story in some way.
We help to keep the past and the future in mind as you live in the present.

Wiseman #2: Wow! So, do you know where our story leads?

Tallest Wisemen Ever: (in unison) Do you know what we know? A child, a child waits for you in the cold,  you shall bring him frankincense, myrrh and gold!

Wiseman #3: Oh joy is ours!
Wiseman #1: Listen to what I say! Pray for peace people everywhere!
Wiseman #2: The child, the child, sleeping in the night,
He will bring us goodness and light!
Wiseman #3: Oh I can't wait! Let us hurry to meet our King!

May the Wise Men find their way to their King!
May we all discover our gifts in this holy season!
May we all realize how much God loves us as our stories continue to unfold.
Merry Christmas to All, and to All a Good Night!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Spinning Wisemen

Wiseman #3: Oh look! these wise ones are on a journey like us! My! they are traveling so quickly!
Wiseman #1: This must be a sign that they know the way.
Wiseman #2: And now that we know what our gifts are and to whom we are bringing them,  all we desire now are good directions!
Wiseman #3: Hello Oh Wise and Speedy Ones! We see that you are moving swiftly. Could you stop for just a moment to answer our query?
Spinning Wiseman #1: Oh Dear Me! How I wish we could stop to chat & have a cup of tea, but we just keep circling round and round.
Spinning Wiseman #2: And I am getting so dizzy!
Wiseman #1: Pardon me Your Revolvingness, but are you aware that you are going nowhere fast?
Spinning Wiseman #3: We are very aware!  We mistook the light of the candles that keeps this contraption in continual orbit for the Bright Star.
Spinning Wiseman #1: Yes, and now we are stuck moving at breakneck speeds.
Wiseman #2 to #3 & #1: Could this be what the Piano Wise Ones meant when they said to follow the straight paths?
Wiseman #1: Ah, such a brilliant thought #2! These wise men were led astray.
Wiseman #3: And they too mentioned the Star of which the Piano Wise Ones spoke!
Wiseman #2: Oh Orbiting Ones, where can we find the Bright Star that will lead us to the King?
Spinning Wiseman #2: Look for the star of wonder! The star of light! Star with royal beauty bright! Westward leading, still proceeding, Guide us to thy perfect light!
Wiseman #3: Oh thank you! We must be off!
Wiseman #1: But we are dismayed to have to leave you like this.
Spinning Wiseman #1: Do not worry about us for these candles will eventually burn down and we will continue on our journey, for as a very wise songwriter once said, "Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there's still time to change the road you're on."
quote from Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Gifts of the Magi

Wiseman #1: We are wise men on a journey, who have talked to many before you, and we are losing hope of ever finding the meaning of our pilgrimage.  Can you help us decipher our decree?

Folk Art Wiseman #1: Welcome! We are known as Los Tres Santos Reyes.
Folk Art Wiseman #2: We recognize your weariness as we too were once where you are. But now we reside on this lovely piano.
Folk Art Wiseman #3: Do you, by chance, play the piano?  It would be wonderful to hear someone tickle the ivories for our enjoyment.

Wiseman #2: Alas we are not able to play because our fingers are attached to our arms which are attached to our sides.

Folk Art Wiseman #1: Ah! We know of which you speak. But your fingers are attached to gifts just as ours are.

Wiseman #3: (Long pause as he stares at his arms) Oh my, you are right! Our fingers are attached to gifts.  We've been so busy bemoaning what we do not have that we have not noticed what we do have!

Folk Art Wiseman #3: Yes it has been said that he who knows others is wise but that he who knows himself is enlightened.

Wiseman #2: Tell us about these gifts we possess. Are they for us?

Folk Art Wiseman #1: FIrst, tell us of your decree.

Wiseman #1: 'Go - not knowing where. Bring not knowing what. The path is long, the way unknown.'
Wiseman #2: And so far our path has been very long and our way very unknown.

Folk Art Wiseman #3: You are bringing fine gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.
Folk Art Wiseman #1: My name is Melchior and I offered gold to the child who would be King.
Folk Art Wiseman #2: My name is Caspar and I brought frankincense to the child who would be priest.
Folk Art Wiseman #3: My name is Balthasar and I brought myrrh to the child who would one day die for us.

Wiseman #2: Oh thank you Your Most Knowledgeable Ones. What a joy to know our own gifts! Can you tell us where we will find this child?

Melchior: Seek counsel from those who are on the straight path. Be wary of those who are not.
Caspar: Look for the bright star in the sky. It will lead you to where you need to be.
Balthasar: And enjoy the rest of your journey!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wise Men, Wise Kids?

Wiseman #2: Greetings! We are on a quest, in search of an interpreter.
wisekid #2 to wisekid #1: Did you try to steal my frankincense?
Wiseman #1: Hello? Children?
wisekid #1 to wisekid #2: Who would want to steal your stupid frankincense?
Wiseman #3: Can I interrupt you for a brief moment, Your Childishness?
wisekid#2: Don't lie! I saw you do it. Keep your hands off my gift.
wisekid #1: You're just jealous because I've got a better gift than you do.
wisekid #2: Nuh-uh. Gold is dumb.
wisekid #1: Gold is not dumb. At least I can buy candy with gold.
What can you buy with frankincense?
Wiseman #1: EXCUSE ME....Can you stop bickering and pay attention?
wisekid #3: Welcome to my world! They never stop fighting. Maybe I can help you?
Wiseman #1: Oh Yes, the canine shepherd sent us your way.
Can you read our decree?
wisekid #3: Sorry, we can't read.
Wiseman #2: Oh that is so know, we can't w---
Wiseman #1: Do you have to tell EVERYONE about our shortcomings?
Wiseman #2: I was just trying to make them feel better.
Wiseman #3: Great! Now we are squabbling just like these children!
wisekid #3: And the difference between a smart man and a wiseman is that
while a smart man knows what to say a wiseman knows whether or not to say it.
Wiseman #1: Excellent counsel Young Sage. Can you show us the way?
wisekid #3: I'd try the wise ones on the piano.
Wiseman #2: Thank you.

Will the Wisemen ever find what they are searching for?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Wise Men Meet Snoopy

Wiseman #1: My goodness, what have we here?
Wiseman #2: It looks like a shepherd with teeny jaundiced sheep.
Wiseman #3: And that shepherd looks suspiciously canine to me.
Wiseman #1: Excuse me Your Yellowness, we have traveled from afar to seek wisdom.
Woodstock #1: ' '''?''''!*')
Wiseman #2: What foreign tongue does this creature speak?
Wiseman #1: I have never heard such a dialect. Your Tinyness, can you interpret a decree?
Woodstock #2 & #3: ' ' ' """"! """(;""")
Wiseman #1: On No! Now we need 2 interpreters: one for our decree and one for this strange communication!
Snoopy: These are my friends, Woodstock, Raymond, and Harriet. We are on a journey.
Wiseman #2: But these are birds! Why do they not fly?
Snoopy: Hush. They have issues with flying in a straight line. They prefer to travel by foot.
Wiseman #2: Ahhh. We understand, for we have issues with waving.
Wiseman #1: ENOUGH chattering about our frailties! Let us focus on our strengths.
Can any of you direct us to wise ones who can interpret our decree?
Snoopy: My feathered friends and I will show you the way.
Wiseman #1: We thank you for your kindness Oh FourLegged One.
Snoopy: I am honored to be of help for I have known a wise man in my own life.
Wiseman #2: And did he treat you with compassion Oh Domesticated Friend of Mankind?
Snoopy: Indeed, though occasionally my dinner was late.
Wiseman #2: "Be Comforted, little dog, Thou too in the Resurrection shall have a tail of gold."
quote by Martin Luther

Monday, December 13, 2010

Lucy's Feast Day

Today is the feast of Saint Lucy. There are various traditions associated with this saint.  In Sweden, the oldest (or youngest) daughter, while wearing lighted candles upon her head, carries a tray of coffee and pastries to her parents before they arise in the morning. That's a tradition worth starting! (the coffee and pastry part - not the lighted candles on top of any of my kid's heads.) Happy Feast Day Lucy!
Here she is receiving her blessing on the Feast of St. Francis.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Giant Wisemen

When we last left the Wisemen, they were chatting with St. Nick.
Today we find them visiting some very special Wisemen!

Wiseman #1:  Hello Very Tall Holy Ones!
Tall Wiseman #2:  I say, did either of you hear something?
Tall Wiseman #3:  It sounded like a whisper from afar.
Tall Wiseman #1:  Why yes, I do hear something from below but I can't make it out!
Tall Wiseman #1:  Ah, yes we can hear you now...but due to our immovable eyes, we cannot look down upon you. We can only look straight ahead.
Wiseman #3:  Wow!  And we thought having immovable arms was bad! 
Tall Wiseman #2:  What is it you wish to ask us?
Wiseman #1:  We have received a decree we would like to show you.
Tall Wisemen #3:  I'm terribly sorry but unless you can bring it up to our eye level we cannot read it.
Wiseman #1:  O Ye of Long Leggedness, our arms do not move from our sides....
Tall Wisemen #3:  Then we shall not be able to help you little ones.  We suggest you find wisemen more your size.  Try the next table over.
Wiseman #2:  Will they have our answers Your Mighty Giantness?
Tall Wiseman #1:  The great Rainer Maria Rilke once said, "Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves."

Will our wisemen ever find the answers they seek?  Tune in tomorrow for another exciting installment.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Nouwen prayer

Teach Me to Pray
by Henri Nouwen

Every day I see again that only you can teach me to pray,
only you can set my heart at rest.
Only you can let me dwell in your presence.

No book, no concept or theory will ever bring me close to you
unless you yourself are the one who lets them become the doors to you.

But Lord, let me at least remain open to your initiative.
Let me wait patiently and attentively for the hour when you will come
and break through the walls I have erected.

Create new doors.
Teach me, O Lord, to pray.

The photo both intrigues and repels me.
If Jesus broke through a wall in this manner,
his first words, after picking me up from the floor,
would definitely have to be,
"Fear Not"

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Wise Men meet St. Nick

Today the Wise Men left the safety of their guest bathroom shelf in search of guidance.  They journeyed over hill and dale (ok...around the corner and through the lane) to a place where many Wise Ones are gathered.  After a tasty treat of apricot scones and Mexican coffee prepared by their most gracious hostess Christine, the Wise Men sought the counsel of those who had gone before them.

Their first stop was to a man in a red suit near the kitchen sink....

Wiseman #1:  Greetings, Oh Great Bearded One.
Santa:   Ho Ho Ho
Wiseman #2:  What strange tongue does this wise man speak?
Santa:  Oh that's just my official greeting to everyone who visits.  I find it works in all languages.
Wiseman #3:  Ahhhh...well, we are 3 wise men who have traveled far to seek help in deciphering a sacred decree we have received from a holy book.
Santa:  What does your decree say?
Wiseman #1:  Go - not knowing where.  Bring - not knowing what. The path is long, the way unknown.
Santa:  Ah...yes.....
Wiseman #2:  Ah yes what?  Do you have wisdom to impart, Oh Your Redness?
Santa:  Why yes, you see many years ago, in the 4th century to be exact, I was known as Saint Nicholas.  I was a Bishop in Myra, a land very far from here.  I was the patron saint of seafarers and children.  I generously cared for the sick, the needy and those who suffered.  As a matter of fact, today is my official Feast Day.
Wiseman #2:  Well happy Feast Day to ya!
Santa:  Thank you.  It's lovely to be remembered on one's Feast Day.
Wiseman #3:  So may I ask how you ended up here?
Santa:  This is where Christine put me. This window gives excellent afternoon light.
Wiseman #3:  NO!  I meant how did you get here from Myra.
Santa:  Oh, well Dutch immigrants brought my story with them in the early days of America.
Wiseman #1:  Pardon me for saying so, but you don't look like any Bishop I've ever seen.
Santa:  Well, my image has evolved over the years, but I am still known for bringing gifts to children.
Wiseman #2:  Did you  say "gifts?"  That seems to ring a bell.
Santa:  On Christmas Eve, I travel all over the world bringing gifts and joy to children of all ages.
Wiseman #2:  Why does that sound so familiar?  Didn't we bring gifts somewhere last year?
Wiseman #3:  I can't recall.  But I don't think His Fluffiness has the answers we are looking for.  We must journey further.....
Wiseman #3:  Thank you for your kind help Saint Nicholas.
Santa:  Ho Ho Ho....Merry Christmas!

to be continued.......

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Advent hope...

"Advent calls us to hope in the promise
that God is calling us to greater things
and will be with us as we live them.....
Hope is the recall of good in the past,
on which we base our expectation of good in the future,
however bad the present.
It digs in the rubble of the heart for memory of God's promise
to bring good out of evil and joy out of sadness and,
on the basis of those memories of the past,
takes new hope for the future.
Even in the face of death.
Even in the fear of loss.
Even when our own private little worlds go to dust,
as sooner or later, they always do."
-Joan Chittister

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Wise Decision

When we last left the Wisemen, they had made the shocking discovery that their waving cat wasn't all it was cracked up to be. They've been very quiet since then, speaking only when spoken to. I've left them alone, using my own bathroom, in an attempt to not intrude on their grieving process.  When I have peeked I have noticed that the cat is still on its side, even though I've offered to replace the batteries. But we all know that once you recognize the truth, it's difficult to continue living in the state of delusion.  Let's knock on the door and see what they are up to today.

Me: Knock Knock
Wisemen: Come in.
Me: Hi....thought I'd check up on you. What are you doing?
Wiseman #1: We thought it best to consult our book of wisdom.
Me: Yes, I see that. And what have you learned?
Wiseman #2: Feel free to read over our shoulders.
Wiseman #3: Yes, we'd point but as you know we have no arms.
Me: Do you ever NOT bring that up in a conversation?
Wiseman #3: Not if we can help it.
Wiseman #1: ENOUGH! We have to make a decision here.
Me: Really? What kind of decision?
Wiseman #2: Read the decree.

"Go- not knowing where.
Bring- not knowing what.
The path is long,
the way unknown."
-Russian Fable

Me: Well, that sounds very um...mystical?
Wiseman: #3: Yes, we need to consult other wise ones!
Wiseman #2: Do you know of any in the area?
Me: Well, yes I actually do.
Wiseman #1: Please arrange for an audience.
Me: I will get right on that your highnesses!
Wiseman #1: We must rest. A great journey lies before us!

It looks like we're going on a FIELD TRIP!!!!!