Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chilean Magnificat

I wish I knew where this art came from.

I discovered it on Pinterest and it’s

presently my favorite “Lady of Guadalupe” image.

Then to discover a Chilean woman’s interpretation of

Mary’s Magnificat? Turned out to be a fine pairing.


“With pride and dignity I sing my song of joy

when I feel the Lord’s presence;

I am poor and very ordinary,

but one day the Lord looked upon me

And the history of the poor will give witness to my joy.

God is unfettered and unpredictable,

He is called our great friend.

And throughout our history He has favored those of us

who are weak.

His triumphant force shows itself each day

when He exposes the foolishness of the powerful.

He uncovers the feet of clay of those in power,

and nourishes the yearning of the poor.

To those who come hungry He gives bread and wine.

And to the wealthy He exposes their selfishness

and the emptiness of their ways.

This is God’s desire: always to favor the poor.

Now finally we can walk.

He is faithful to His promises.”

- Chilean Woman

from “Soul Weavings” A gathering of Women’s Prayers”

edited by Lyn King, 1996, page 21


Stillness is what creates Love
Movement is what creates Life
To be still
Yet still moving -
That is everything.

Do Hyun Choe

"Stillness" by Aijung Kim
visit her website here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Hello dear readers!
Some of you have asked for a copy of the sermon preached last Sunday at St. Paul’s.
Here is the link to the church website. I’m listed under Epiphany 2012.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Vocation of Florence Li Tim-Oi

Today we honor the ordination of Florence Li Tim- Oi, who was born in Hong Kong, in 1907.  In 1944  Florence was ordained as an Anglican deaconess.  Months later Hong Kong fell to the Japanese & WWII began. Florence  was sent to Macau, where she served many refugees as the only ordained person.  Bishop Ronald Hall ordained her to the priesthood in 1944, in order to help her fulfill her responsibilities. 

When the war ended, Florence's being ordained created so much controversy that she made the decision to relinquish her license,  but continued to serve the church. After the Communist revolution, Florence was repeatedly singled out for abuse because of her ties to the English colonialists & her role as a female priest. For 16 years all churches were closed and Florence was forced to work on a farm and a factory. In 1979 the churches reopened and Florence resumed her ministry.  Two year later she was permitted to join family living in Toronto. There, in 1984, she was reinstated as a priest. She spent the last eight years of her life serving her parish and encouraging the acceptance of women into the priesthood. Florence lived to see the consecration of the first woman bishop.   

I read the following excerpt on Elizabeth Kaeton's blog today.  It is so powerful in light of all  who know they are called to ordained ministry but are not able or allowed to pursue their call.  May Florence Li Tim-Oi's story be a deep and lasting  source of encouragement in light of that pain.

" Vocation is something which is heard by an individual, witnessed in her life and validated by the community of faith. It begins with the individual but ends with an ever-deepening, self-sacrificial journey into the mystery and intimacy of community. To turn a blind eye to the witness of the Spirit moving and acting in the life of another speaks more to the spiritual and corporal arrogance of those in power than it does of the validity of the person's vocation. I have to believe there are consequences for the continued practices of injustice in the church and in the world. " - Elizabeth Kaeton

Visit Telling Secrets for more on Florence Li Tim-Oi's story
Icon written by the Rev'd Dr. Ellen Poisson, OSH

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Squirrel Day!

Did you know that January 21st is
National Squirrel Appreciation Day?
Take your favorite squirrel out for an acorn quiche today.
Maybe then they'll leave your bird feeders alone?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Jonah in a seashell

Spent most of this week studying the Book of Jonah.
to prepare for a sermon. 
Maybe it was the effect of this week's  snow,
but I started condensing
the story into whatever this is..
Jonah in a nutshell?  Or perhaps a seashell. 

"God called,  but Jonah stalled.
Then Jonah split, and a mighty storm hit.
The sailors cast lots, and Jonah?  He lost!
Then the whale swallowed, while Jonah?  He wallowed.
Soon the whale spewed, after which Jonah stewed.
God said, "Get up!"
But Jonah felt set up.
So Jonah spoke of spite, but they became - contrite.
Those Ninevites repented!
And Jonah's God relented!
And Jonah?  He pouted and lo! a bush sprouted.
But soon the bush died, and Jonah?  He cried.
Then God did the talking and Jonah the balking.
And while God accused, Jonah excused.
So God discussed, but Jonah remained...

Roberta Hiday

artwork by Scott Erickson
from here

Thursday, January 12, 2012

wisp of thread

“Life may seem inexplicable.
But, always, somewhere,
there is a narrow filament of meaning,
like a spider web.
Hold it between the thumb or finger or your heart.
Follow its invisible trail through the labyrinth of your life,
until it leads you where it will.
This is the walk of faith,
this blind stepping in the darkness,
with only the invisible, resilient wisp of thread
that leads to God.”
- Gerda Crake
photo by Jane Manzer

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Roominess of Jesus

And we welcome our new wise ones,
pulled from the prospect of a

There is always room with Jesus.

Blessed Epiphany to All!

Collect for Epiphany
O God, who by the leading of a star
manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth:
Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence,
 where we may see your glory face to face;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Permanent Advent

Me:  I wonder how the wise ones are faring after their "experience" of yesterday
 Let's check in, shall we?

Hello again wise ones.  How are we doing this evening?

Wiseman #2:  As we reconsider these words of Mary Lou Kownacki, OSB,
We are wondering if what you have shown us so far could be classified as
"nourishment to sustain the journey" or just a strange mirage to feed our nightmares?

Me:  Well, I think you need to see the bigger picture and how we are all connected. 
That in itself should serve as a spiritual oasis - knowing that you are not alone in your calling -
that at this time we are all drawn toward Bethlehem,
fulfilling the promise of seeing the new King.

Speaking of which, I'd like to show you this picture:
Here are 3 young wise ones who have found the location of the star but the stable is empty. 
They are waiting in what you might call a "permanent Advent." 

Wiseman #3:  How discouraging to go all that way and not find the Christ child.
Wiseman #2:  Yes, we do take it for granted that we always find Jesus.

Wiseman #1:  Um, am I the only one here who thinks that gigantic reindeer
might have scared away Mary and Joseph?  Look at that behemoth! 
I bet he ate them for a snack! 

Me:  Stop being so dramatic! He looks very friendly to me.

Wiseman #2:  You are not 2 inches tall as we are. 

Me: That's true.  I do have the habit of looking at situations through my own eyes. 
I bet he does look intimidating to someone of your stature, 
but those red polka dotted ears are a good sign he's not a threat.
And I did feel badly for the little ones and so I brought them home.

Wiseman #1: You mean you BOUGHT them!   Tell me you paid more than 99 cents?

Me:  As I recall I paid $1.49. 

Wiseman #1:  Oh! Wow!  That's great news! 
 Let's see, that breaks down to about 50 cents a piece. 
It saddens me to think that's all we are worth to the Good Will.

Me:  The goal of the Goodwill is not to make exorbitant profits
but to provide employment to those in need while supplying household goods
 to those who can't afford to purchase new items. 

Wiseman #2:  Your clarification is helpful dear Landlady...I think we can live with that. 

Wiseman #3: I don't want to speak for my friends here,
 but this idea of living in a "permanent Advent" is giving me a deep desire to see Jesus. 
What say you fellas?

Wiseman #1:  I too am experiencing a stirring deep within. 
We owe it to all the other wise ones to continue to seek Christ.

Wiseman #2: And I'll do anything to not have to see any more of these vignettes!

Me:  What?  But I have this really cool photo of a golden angel at the manger and the cross!

 Wisemen #1,#2,#3:  AAUGGHHHH! 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Growing Wiser?

Last night, the wisemen caught their first glimpse of life for another wise one and they weren't sure what to make of it.  Shall we continue the saga?

Me:  Good Evening my favorite wisdom seekers!  Are you ready for the next story?  

Wiseman #1:  We think we are.

Me: OK. Tell me, what do you see?

Wiseman #2:  Another wise man with another 99 cent price tag!  Is that all wise ones are worth in this place of Good Will!

Wiseman #3:  WAIT! What is that sticking out of the top of his head?

Wiseman #1:  Is that a candle wick?  HOLY MOTHER OF GOD! There is a wick coming out of that man's head!  He's a self-immolating wise man!

Wiseman #2:  The horror! The shame!
Me:  Well it's not like he's been "lit"...

Wiseman #1:  I surely hope he ends up in a match-free environment.  Oh this is just too much!

Wiseman #2:  I can't bear to think of what happened to his compadres.
Me: Calm down.... Is this enlarging your world view?

Wiseman #3:  Only if you move on to another picture.

Me: I'd love to.  Here's our next scene:

Wiseman #3:  That's a refined looking wiseman with a fine gift of gold!

Wiseman #1:  But what and who is that next to him?

Me:  That's a cowboy 'wise one' bringing gifts to the baby Jesus - I think he's holding a nutcracker?

Wiseman #2:  Cowboy?  Cowboys can't be wise! And what kind of a gift is a nutcracker?

Me:  Stop being so judgmental.  Cowboys can be wise ones.  And the nutcracker appears to be the gift he's bringing.  It's the gift he has to offer.  Jesus accepts all gifts.  All.  From everyone.   Now here is the full picture:
Wiseman #3:  IS THIS A JOKE? 

Wiseman #2:  ARE YOU MOCKING US?

Me:  No, this is not a joke and I'm in no way mocking you.  Nativity scenes are depicted in a myriad of ways - different sizes, different cultures, even different species, but all with the same message.  LOVE is BORN.....And if these wanderers who have found themselves in this temporary place of Good Will, have found a way to live out their calling, what is stopping you 3 from continuing your journey?  That step which you fear to take is the one that leads towards life.

Wiseman #1:  Perhaps you speak truth dear landlady.  We will take all of this into consideration.

Me:  I have more pictures to show you!

Wiseman #1:  Not tonight.  We need time to digest.  Come and see us tomorrow.  But can you remove the matches from the top of the commode on your way out please? 

Me:  No one's going to light you on fire!  I promise.

Wiseman #2:  For our peace of mind, please take them away.

Me:  OK, will do....Sleep well little ones...sleep well.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Good Will to Wise Men

In our last installment, our 3 wise ones were left to ponder the words of Mary Lou Kownacki's words from 100 Graces.  Shall we continue the story? Come with me into the the wisemen's domain - the guest bath!

Me:  How are you feeling today?

Wiseman #1:  A bit under the weather... Such dreary rain outside our window today.

Wiseman #2:  Yes, dear landlady, we don't think this is the best day to visit the other wise ones as you suggested the other day.

Me:  Well, lucky for you, we don't have to journey anywhere today.  I will be bringing images to you!

Wiseman #3:  Oh?  You have caught the attention of our collective curiousity!

Me:  Allrighty then.  Several weeks ago I journeyed to a very sacred place called the Goodwill.

Wiseman #1:  As in good will towards men?

Me:  Yes. Something like that.  It's a place that people take their things to that they no longer want or need. Then other people come to this place and purchase these things to take to their homes.

Wiseman #2:  What?  That's awful!  Are you considering taking us there?

Me:  I would never part with any of you! I'm actually bringing the GoodWill here to you today.

Wiseman #2:  We do not understand...

Me:  Just look at this picture and tell me what you see:
Wiseman #1:  A wise one? 

Wiseman #2:  With a price tag!  99 cents?  How can a price be put on a wise one?  WHERE'S THE GOODWILL IN THAT!

Wiseman #3:  Are you trying to upset us?  What is that creature beside him?  A bloated marshmallow wearing clothes?

Wiseman #2:  Watch out for the one behind you, oh wise one!  He's about to attack with that broom!

Me:  Everybody calm down!  This wise one is fine. The snowman is not going to attack! This is a shelf in the Christmas decor section of the Goodwill store.  The point I'm trying to make is that there are many ways to live out one's calling.  

Wiseman #1:  But where are his wise mates?  Isn't he lonely?  How did he end up all alone? 

Me:  I don't have the answers to any of those questions.  But, I do know that he is serving exactly where he is.  And he is NOT alone.   So what if it's with snow people and a comfy clapboard house?  He's still about bringing his gifts, just as he was created to do.

A short silence ensued.....

Wiseman #3:  Can we go to visit this sad man? 

Me:  No, because he's not there anymore.  And I don't see him as being sad.

Wiseman #1:  Did someone buy him for the paltry sum of 99 cents?  I am appalled.

Me:  I'm sure he found a wonderful home.

Wiseman #2:  We are more confused than anything by this news.  Why did he not set out for the holy land? 

Me:  Goodwill was his holy land.

Wiseman #3:  We must have time to process. Can you leave us now, dear landlady?

Me:  That's probably a good idea.  We'll continue our journey tomorrow. In the meantime,  in the words of Luke 2:14, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will towards men.