Pentecost: The coming of the Wild Goose

Wild Goose LogoOn Pentecost Sunday the Forum was introduced to the Wild Goose as an image of the Holy Spirit used in the Celtic Church. This bit of information was part of an essay on Pentecost by Jim Wallis.

While much of my work revolves around challenging unjust systems and structures, I do not doubt that the world we see around us of broken people and institutions is only a small portion of what is real. The Spirit of God extends wider and deeper and is at work in my life, the lives of others, and in the communities and institutions of this world. While I work for societal transformation, I try to stay rooted in the transforming work that the Spirit is constantly doing in me.

How are you working (with the Spirit of God) beyond yourself? How are you being transformed by the Spirit of God?

Too often, it feels like we need to make a choice between the work of this world, and the work of the Spirit, or between a personal focus, or a social focus of the gospel. “Either/or” marks how some churches present the Christian faith. Often, however, this is a false dichotomy. Early in the days of the Sojourners community I remember that one of our favorite words was “and.” We would talk about personal salvation and social justice, prayer and peacemaking, faith and action, belief and obedience, salvation and discipleship, worship and politics, spiritual transformation and social transformation. These were things that complemented one another and deepened each other instead of being in opposition.

How comfortable are you in living in a both/and situation?

In two weeks, my family and I will be headed down to Shakori Hills, North Carolina for the Wild Goose Festival. In the Celtic Church, the symbol for the Holy Spirit is a wild goose — wild, free, and untamed. The festival will be a weekend of justice, spirituality, music, and the arts. It is an “and” kind of space, more than an “either/or.” It will, no doubt, be a busy weekend. But I am looking forward to it, not just for the activities, but for the reminder that it is by chasing after the wild goose, the Holy Spirit’s movement, that we see ourselves, and our world, transformed.
Read the entire essay: Pentecost: The Coming of the Wild Goose

Find out more about the Wild Goose Festival

A Message from the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church

The Executive Council of The Episcopal Church issued the following letter at the conclusion of its three-day meeting at the Conference Center at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum Heights, MD (Diocese of Maryland).

A Message to The Episcopal Church

from the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church,

meeting in Linthicum Heights, Maryland, June 14-17, 2011

these widowed boats,
the men who loved them
gone to their graves.

By M. Kei (an award-winning poet who lives on Chesapeake Bay)

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Models, paintings and photographs of “widowed boats” line the halls of the Maritime Institute, some showing vessels caught in mid-explosion, others detailed in all their newly launched beauty and power. Scripture often uses the sea as a symbol of danger and chaos, and the boat or ship as a symbol of the safe place God creates for God’s people–a symbol for the church.

For the last three days the Executive Council has met among these powerful symbols to talk of hard financial issues and church decline and growth, to address elephants in the room, and to speak truth to one another in love.

The Presiding Bishop began her opening address by saying she was seeing a “significant rise in readiness for mission . . . for connection to needs beyond the local congregation.” The President of the House of Deputies spoke of the need for courageous change and called for a structure that “supports mission and ministry at the most appropriate level – congregation, diocese, province or church center.”

These have been reoccurring themes in the addresses of the Executive Council’s chair and vice chair this triennium as they have repeatedly urged the Council to be creative risk takers in addressing the challenges facing The Episcopal Church.

Read the entire Message: NewsLine.

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A question for youForum participants: do you know any of the elements of our St. Margaret’s Mission Statement? Would the Presiding Bishop see a “significant rise in readiness for mission…[and] connection to needs beyond [St. Margaret’s]” in you? in our congregation? These are questions for personal consideration as well as communal (Forum) consideration.

Begin the conversation now, leave a comment here.

The Abundant Life in a cup of coffee

Sherry has been doing important research for our group. I am proud to share the results of her research and invite you to consider how we might make a difference “for good” in our little Sunday Morning Forum. –Dan

COFFEE WITH A CONSCIENCE

You may be surprised to discover that you can savor a great cup of coffee while supporting a great cause.  Coffee is the world’s second most traded commodity.  By buying Fair Trade coffee, every cup of coffee you consume makes a positive difference in the lives of poor coffee farmers around the world.

WHAT IS FAIR TRADE?

Fair Trade certification guarantees that farmers who grow and process the beans receive a fair price, which keeps small farmers in business. 

Fair trade standards encourage sustainable agriculture practices for disposing of hazardous wastes, minimizing water use, avoiding erosion, and conserving the soil.  Fair Trade farms must also meet labor standards such as paying a minimum wage to workers.

WHY ARE WE, AS EPISCOPALIANS, INTERESTED IN FAIR TRADE?

Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD) partners with Pura Vida Coffee, a Seattle-based company, in committing to using their resources to do as much for coffee farmers and their families as possible.  Together, they give back to the coffee-growing communities in the form of health, education, and infrastructure projects.  ERD and Pura Vida are helping to create strong and sustainable communities.

More about the partnership between Pura Vida and ERD: Bishops Blend
A short video about Pura Vida and its vision

WHERE CAN I BUY FAIR TRADE COFFEE?

Finding Fair Trade coffee is as easy as looking on your grocer’s shelves for containers with the Fair Trade Certification logo, a click away for online shopping at Pura Vida: Create Good, or by phone at 877.469.1431.  ERD and Pura Vida have partnered to produce a delicious organic, shade-grown coffee called Bishops Blend, the purchase of which not only guarantees fair wages to coffee producers, but 15% of the purchase price of each bag  goes to support ERD’s mission of responding to poverty, hunger, and disease around the world.

Sherry Wollenberg is Co-facilitator of the Sunday Morning Forum at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Palm Desert, CA.

A question for youKnowing more about Fair Trade coffee, about Pura Vida and about its partnership with ERD, what are some things we (individually and/or collectively) can do as we strive to promote “justice and peace among all people,”  as we “respect the dignity of every human being”? (from our Baptismal Covenant) Leave a comment or share your comment in the Forum on Sunday. –Dan

Praying and believing

Lex orandi, lex credendi

Lex orandi, lex credendi (Latin loosely translatable as “the law of prayer is the law of belief”) refers to the relationship between worship and belief, and is an ancient Christian principle which provided a measure for developing the ancient Christian creeds, the canon of scripture and other doctrinal matters based on the prayer texts of the Church, that is, the Church’s liturgy. In the Early Church there were about 69 years of liturgical tradition before there was a creed and about 350 years before there was a biblical canon. These liturgical traditions provided the theological framework for establishing the creeds and canon. Source: Wikipedia

If you want to know what a community believes, listen to how it prays; if you want to know what an individual believes, listen to that person pray. This is my version of the meaning of lex orandi, lex credendi. If we assume a community or an individual is going to be honest when speaking to God, then we listen to the prayers and gain insight into belief. Likewise, the more a community or an individual prays in a certain way, the stronger becomes the belief, belief becomes more mature, better articulated; there is a dynamic interchange between mind and heart and faith in the act of praying.

In Anglicanism, the worship of the people of God plays a very distinctive role, being the principal arena not only of supplication and praise but also of theological experimentation and formulation. This relationship of worship and belief is often discussed under the Latin tag, lex orandi, lex credendi—’the law of praying is the law of belief’.  Source: W. Taylor Stevenson in The study of Anglicanism, John E. Booty, Stephen Sykes, Jonathan Knight, p. 187

Lex orandi, lex credendi: A Latin phrase often used in the study of liturgy, it means “the rule of prayer [is] the rule of belief.” The phrase describes the pervasive pastoral reality that habits of prayer shape Christian belief. Official provisions for worship can thus have a determinative role in shaping Christian doctrine. Source: Glossary of Terms maintained by the Episcopal Church

1124 The Church’s faith precedes the faith of the believer who is invited to adhere to it. When the Church celebrates the sacraments, she confesses the faith received from the apostles – whence the ancient saying: lex orandi, lex credendi (or: legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi, according to Prosper of Aquitaine [5th cent.]) The law of prayer is the law of faith: the Church believes as she prays. Liturgy is a constitutive element of the holy and living Tradition. Source: The Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church

Throughout our study the group will share the prayers that shape our faith and thereby reveal the faith that shapes our prayers. We invite you to share your prayers with others in this (online) Forum.

Pentecost Year A

In the Sunday worship our Rector quoted from a “creed” sent to him. The creed begins:

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the Advocate,
Promised by Jesus,
Who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

The creed continues to celebrate and affirm the Spirit’s presence and power in creation, in the matriarchs and patriarchs and prophets of our ancestry, how the Spirit changed Mary and alighted on Jesus in the Jordan; the creed delights in the Pentecost experience and the power of preaching and healing let loose in the world. The creed finishes:

She dwells in and with God’s people,
Midwife to our rebirth as heavenly children.
One day she will welcome us home to the City of God,
And wipe away every tear from our eyes.

Written by Anastasia McAteer it can be read at Clayfire Curator: We believe in the Holy Spirit: A creed

Here is another indication of the “live word of the Living God.”

Come Holy Spirit….

____________
“Because the Bible is, as we confess, “the live word of the living God,” it will not submit in any compliant way to the accounts we prefer to give of it. There is something intrinsically unfamiliar about the book; and when we seek to override that unfamiliarity, we are on the hazardous ground of idolatry” –Walter Brueggemann in “Biblical Authority: A Personal Reflection” (2000)

The homepage of Clayfire Curator

A Trinity: Art for readings 06/19/2011

ANDREA DEL SARTO
Click to open Web Gallery of Art Artist Biography and to explore other works by this artist.

Disputation on the Trinity
1517
Oil on wood, 232 x 193 cm
Click to open Web Gallery of Art display page.
 Click on their image to enlarge/fit page etc.

The Anti-necktie Father’s Day 2011

Kiva.org logo
Click the logo to find out more

In the Sunday Morning Forum at St. Margaret’s in Lent we were introduced to Kiva.org: “We are a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.” About Kiva

Folks like us browse Kiva.org and find a person or community we would like to help. Through Kiva a loan is made. The loan is used and then repaid through Kiva.

Click the box at the left to learn more about the details of each step in the process.

While you are on the website check out the requests being made from around the world: Lend through Kiva.org

Finally, choosing a gift for Dad (or grad) from Kiva.org is simple and will allow the recipient (Dad or grad) to choose with whom to share the gift. Simply follow the link to the Gift Card page on Kiva.org. Choose a Gift Card process and follow the instructions and your gift will go way beyond a necktie hanging in a closet. Your gift will have the chance to give grace and life to people you may never meet, and all for God’s glory.