Wind Chimes: 11 Dec 2012

Night descends upon the wilderness

John went into all the region around the Jordan,
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins …

Luke 3:3 NRSV

Even in the dark the chimes sound. Hope? Love? Homecoming? Presence? Peace? Listen. What do you hear?


Each one of us could tell a story about the wilderness. … Our stories would be ones of struggles, ups and downs, highs and lows, stories of being lost and overwhelmed, stories of stumbling, falling down, and wondering when, how, or even if we will get up again.

So begins a homily by one of my favorite preachers, Michael K. Marsh, an Episcopal Priest serving a parish in the Diocese of West Texas. Later he reflects,

The word of God and the wilderness always go together. There’s something about the domesticated places, the illusions of power and prestige, the distractions of the city that separate us from the word of God. The word of God did not come in the empire of Tiberius, the governing of Pontius Pilate, the ruling of Herod, his brother, Philip, or Lysianias, or the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas. The word of God comes in the wilderness. That was true for John the Baptist and it is true for us.

Name any wilderness of your life and there will be a corresponding word of God.

I believe you will recognize (perhaps even experienced) the wildernesses he names. i encourage you to read his meditation/homily: A Welcome Word in the Wilderness.

Today I have added a link to his blog: Interrupting the Silence in the side panel. It is my hope that you will find the blog a welcome resource in studying the lectionary and maturing in your journey with Christ.

Think about it

It is much easier, I think, for God to get through our defenses when we’re in a wilderness. —John Lionberger

From an interview of the Rev. John Lionberger on PBS Religion and Ethics Newsweekly 12/11/2009


Links to online Advent Calendars

Each of these has a different approach. Find one that helps you “prepare the way.” Find one that helps you focus on God as you make your way into the loving arms of God.

Trinity Wall Street Online Advent Calendar

Busted Halo Online Advent Calendar

CREDO Online Advent Calendar

“Black Friday” began the “Shopping Season” and retailers are relentless in keeping us focused on buying often and buying more. “#GivingTuesday” (11/27/12) was an invitation to give and use our “buying power” in a way that benefits others for more than just a day.

I intend to keep that invitation in front of us throughout the “Shopping Season.” I believe  that It is always the right time to be generous. If you haven’t participated in “#GivingTuesday” how about today? ~dan

Today’s give-a-gift-to-help-others idea:

  • Camp Stevens —  every summer the staff of Camp Stevens (our Episcopal Camp and Conference Center in Julian, CA) leads wilderness trips into the Eastern Sierras. I have been privileged to take part in these trips. And, yes, it is easier for God to get through to you in the wilderness. Your gift will help others, especially the young, begin to discover this truth.

Looking for other give-a-gift-to-help-others ideas?
Go first to Charity Navigator for those ideas
and for an evaluation of how your dollars will be spent

divider line

Image: James Brown and posted by Indian Country Today Media Network on Facebook

Wind Chimes: 30 Oct 2012

The Large Hadron Collider. Image: National Geographic

I had heard You with my ears,
But now I see You with my eyes;
Therefore, I recant and relent,
Being but dust and ashes.

Job 42:5-6 NJPS

We’ll stay with these verses one more day. Where does wonder begin? Where does relationship become more important than information?  ~dan

Do the chimes sound humble? Defiant? Confused? Harmonic? What do you hear?

As civiliaation advances

As civilization advances, the sense of wonder declines. Such decline is an alarming symptom of our state of mind. Mankind will not perish for want of information; but only for want of appreciation. —Abraham Joshua Heschel

Meet Wicahpi Cavanaugh, a “Garden Warrior”

“When Wicahpi Cavanaugh (Cheyenne River Lakota) was 14, he seemed headed in the wrong direction. … But all that was before Cavanaugh took up … gardening.” More

In a garden, building relationships with Nature and with co-workers, experiences even more wonderful than splitting the atom become possible and even more life-giving. A sense of wonder is born and nurtured. ~dan

Read more: ‘Garden Warrior’ Credits ‘Dream of Wild Health’ With Transforming his Life, Receives Scholarship on Indian Country Today Media Network.

See also:
Dream of Wild Health
Camp Stevens Environmental Education Programs

The beauty of the trees

The beauty of the trees,
the softness of the air,

the fragrance of the grass,
speaks to me.

The summit of the mountain,
the thunder of the sky,

the rhythm of the sea,
speaks to me.

The faintness of the stars,
the freshness of the morning,

the dewdrop on the flower,
speaks to me.

The strength of fire,
the taste of salmon,
the trail of the sun,

and the life that never goes away,
they speak to me.

And my heart soars.

—Chief Dan George

Roberts, Elizabeth; Amidon, Elias (2011-04-26). Earth Prayers: 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations from Around the World (p. 42). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

I encourage you to read more about and more from Indian Country Today Media Network: Serving the Nations. Celebrating the People. ~dan

Wind Chimes: 5 Oct 2012

Composting at Camp Stevens
Learning about composting. An extensive recycling program saves precious resources while composting food waste provides soil enrichment for the Camp’s 2-acre organic garden. Photo: Camp Stevens

Here is today’s sampling of the music made by the Spirit in the Wind Chimes.
What do you hear?

Camp Stevens: Living in the spirit of St. Francis

Camp Stevens is our Episcopal Camp and Conference Center in Julian, CA. This is their Environmental Mission Statement:

As a peaceful place apart in a beautiful natural setting, Camp Stevens serves as a point of contact between human beings and the natural world. Today we are faced with enormous environmental challenges, having failed in many respects to appreciate and protect the earth. We invite you to join us in reclaiming an active stewardship of God’s Creation.

Not so ecumenical in San Francisco

The Religion News Service headline reads Episcopal bishop says he was denied entrance to Catholic archbishop’s installation Mass. The Episcopal bishop of California (San Francisco), Marc Andrus, was invited to witness the installation Mass of the Roman Catholic Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. Bishop Andrus says he arrived 30 minutes early. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese claims he arrived late and they were attempting to seat him without disrupting the service. Read the article on the RNS website to discover other dimensions to this ecumenical moment.

A ‘prayer for mission’

A morning “prayer for mission” from the Daily Office. On Friday I often am put in mind of ‘Good Friday.’ I remind myself to stretch out my arms in love and reach forth my hands in love. ~dan

Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen.
BCP 101 (Morning Prayer II)

Advent Calendar Day 3: Camp Stevens

Camp Stevens

Camp Stevens is in the mountains above San Diego in Julian, CA. It is an Episcopal Camp and Conference Center only 2 hours away. Members of St. Margaret’s regularly participate in Camp work days. Children and youth from the parish have had their “Summer Camp” experience their. Suzanne, from our Forum has served as a Summer Camp Nurse. Fr. Dan has served as the Chair of the Camp Stevens Board in years past and frequently served as Chaplain to various hiking and camping groups.

Camp Mission Statement
The Mission of Camp Stevens is to help individuals of all ages deepen their sense of reverence and respect for themselves, and their fellow human beings, the creation, and God. It also seeks to be a peaceful ‘place apart’ for nurturing, planning, reflection, exchange of ideas, and sharing in Christian community.

Environmental Mission Statement
As a peaceful place apart in a beautiful natural setting, Camp Stevens serves as a point of contact between human beings and the natural world. Today we are faced with enormous environmental challenges, having failed in many respects to appreciate and protect the earth. We invite you to join us in reclaiming an active stewardship of God’s Creation. About Camp Stevens Mission

For the rest of the story: Home page for Camp Stevens

Advent Calendar 2011

For further reflection

The Mission of Camp Stevens is to help individuals of all ages deepen their sense of reverence and respect for themselves, and their fellow human beings, the creation, and God.

We invite you to join us in reclaiming an active stewardship of God’s Creation.

The Holy Spirit: Calling out a great cadence

“Will you strive for justice and peace in the world? I will, with God’s help.” –From our Baptismal Covenant

“Green isn’t a fad. We’re not drawn to it because it’s hip. We are called to advocate for the Earth out of a deep sense of love and respect. Love for the generations that we will never know. Respect for the soil that we came from. We are from dirt; and to dirt we will return. (You can quote us – and Genesis – on that.) –Ashley Graham-Wilcox, in Spreading the seeds of eco-justice a reflection on her learning in the Eco-Justice Immersion Experience sponsored by Episcopal Leadership Institute for Young Adults.

Wild Goose LogoThe title of the Sunday Morning Forum (and this blog) is chosen for a purpose: we intend to hear what the Spirit is saying. We intend to hear the Spirit in the readings appointed for Sunday and in the stories of our lives (individually and communally as parishioners and friends of St. Margaret’s in Palm Desert). We intend to hear the Spirit in the news we read or hear and as we listen to the stories of other men and women of faith interpreting the news by their words and actions.

I hear the Spirit leading me, leading us (the people of St. Margaret’s), further along the path of justice and peace in fulfillment of our Baptismal Covenant. Consider:

To respond to the needs of our constantly changing communities, as Jesus calls us, in ways that reflect our diversity and cultures as we seek, wonder and discover together.
To prepare for a sustainable future by calling the community to become guardians of God’s creation

  • Our Rector’s vision that “Justice is at the heart of what God expects us to do and be: “[God] has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8 from The Rector’s Desk, November 2011
  • The ongoing work of the St. Margaret’s Outreach Center feeding the hungry and offering the companionship and comfort of our faith to those who struggle

This month our Outreach Commission initiated a prayer service for healing at the Outreach Center and launched a PB&J Ministry to help feed the hungry The October 2011 View

  • In August 2011 young Episcopalians (like Ashley) gathered in Seattle to encourage each other to lead folks like you and me to a sustainable future—as a matter of faithful living in the Reign of God

Ashley’s reflection is straight forward and gives me great hope

  • In September 2011 our bishops asked that every Episcopalian

   … take steps in our individual lives, and in community, public policy, business, and other forms of corporate decision-making, to practice environmental stewardship and justice, including (1) a commitment to energy conservation and the use of clean, renewable sources of energy; and (2) efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle, and whenever possible to buy products made from recycled materials  Read The Bishops’ Pastoral Teaching

  • This summer our Vestry decided to go forward with a solar energy project for the parish (and the community)

Hear what the Spirit is saying? IT SOUNDS LIKE THE SPIRIT IS SHOUTING.

Pay attention!Which leads me to remind you and encourage you to encourage our Forum member, Sherry, and our Deacon Cherry Remboldt, who are advocating for our parish-wide use of Fair Trade coffee and compostable cups in our fellowship. This is a small step, to be sure, “to practice environmental stewardship and justice” using the words of our bishops, but it’s a step in the right direction.

As I write, Cherry and Sherry are helping the Outreach Commission sort through the costs and logistics of this move which, of course, will put us in step with our Baptismal Covenant, our Charter for Lifelong Christian Formation, our Rector’s vision for our parish, the work of our Young Adult Leaders, our bishops’ recent Pastoral Teaching (and invitation), our ongoing work for justice and peace as we serve others (for the love of God) in our community, and our commitment to build a sustainable future (our vestry’s vision—right in line with the vision of our bishops—as we take up a solar energy project).

Let’s stay in step with the Spirit who is calling out a great cadence for us.

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