Wind Chimes: 17 Dec 2012

Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.

Those little Advent candles sure have a lot of darkness to overcome this year.  —Rachel Held Evans

Even in the darkness the wind swirls and blows and the chimes sound. In the dark, what do you hear?

God can’t be kept out – the Good News we hear in the darkness

Rachel Held Evans begins her post this way:

Those little Advent candles sure have a lot of darkness to overcome this year. I see them glowing from church windows and on TV, in homes and at midnight vigils, here in Dayton and in Sandy Hook. Their stubborn flames represent the divine promise that even the smallest light can chase away the shadows lurking in this world, that even in the darkest places, God can’t be kept out.

Later she moves to the ‘rumor’ she ‘calls out’ in the rest of her post:

We all grieve in different ways, and we must be patient with one another as we do, but there is a rumor floating around among the people of God that is so vile, so dangerous and untrue, it simply must be called out. It’s a rumor that began long before the shots rang out at Sandy Hook and long before this Advent season.

It’s the rumor that God can be chased out.

I will say my “AMEN” to her proclamation now and encourage you to read her post, God can’t be kept out. She indeed states, eloquently, what I believe and what I try to proclaim in my own stumbling way.

“God with us.” Amen: may it be as we say and even more than we imagine. ~dan

More about Rachel Held Evans

Links to online Advent Calendars

Even in tragedy, Advent continues. Perhaps this event will demand that we better incorporate the Advent spirituality into our daily lives. ~dan

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

Image: Armin Vogel on Flickr

Wind Chimes: 15 Dec 2012

Lit candles, ascending prayers

Even in a silence like death, the chimes sound.
We hear them in our hearts.

What do you hear?

For the children of Newtown

Author of life
Source and Creator,
Grant a perfect rest under Your tabernacle of peace
To the victims of the massacre
In Newtown, Connecticut,
Children whose lives were cut off by violence,
All who fell at the hand of anger,
A rampage beyond understanding.
The future was severed.
Hopes, joys and dreams
Lost to brutality.
May their souls be bound up in the bond of life,
A living blessing in our midst.
May they rest in peace.

G-d of mercy,
Remember, too, the survivors of this attack,
Parents,
Sisters and brothers,
Witnesses of shock, horror and dismay.
Ease their suffering and release their trauma.
Grant them endurance to survive,
Strength to rebuild,
Faith to mourn,
And courage to heal,
So that they recover lives of joy and wonder.

Remember the families and friends
Of the dead and the bereaved
With comfort and consolation.
Grant them Your protection,
Your wholeness and healing.
May they find hope and grace.

Heavenly Guide,
Source of love,
Guard the children of Newtown.
Grant them Your shelter and solace,
Blessing and renewal.
Put an end to anger, hatred and fear
And lead us to a time when
No one will suffer at the hand of another,
Speedily, in our day.

© 2012 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Read Alden Solovy’s introduction to his prayer.

The author of this prayer, Alden Solovy, “is a liturgist, poet, teacher, editor and writing coach, … he’s a father ….” Alden is Jewish and opens to me the rich poetry of prayer that is the heritage of the Jewish Faith. He posts regularly to his blog, To Bend Light. I recommend his blog to you. This prayer/post contains links to other prayers (“sadly” he laments) written after other recent mass slayings.  ~dan

Links to online Advent Calendars

Even in tragedy, Advent continues. Perhaps this event will demand that we better incorporate the Advent spirituality into our daily lives. ~dan

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

Image: The Candles Spot

Wind Chimes: 14 Dec 2012

Graduates of A4T1 Girls School, Kabul
Graduates of A4T1 Girls School, Kabul | An Episcopal Relief and Development Partner Program

[John said] “Bear fruits worthy of repentance.”

Luke 3:8 NRSV

Sometimes the music in the chimes makes the heart dance. Refreshed by the dance, every activity of the day is energized. What do you hear?

By word and EXAMPLE

Imagine that. The words of John spoken in the 1st century Judean wilderness thunder into the “Christmas Season” of 21st century America. “Bear fruits worthy of repentance.”

When asked by the people “What then should we do?” (Luke 3:10) John, in so many words, says ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ (3:10-14) Luke goes on to tell us, “…with many other exhortations, [John] proclaimed the good news to the people.” (3:18)

In our Baptismal Covenant we promise that, “with God’s help,” we will “Proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ.” In Advent we annually discover, joyfully, that fulfilling such a promise is a noble way to live life. ~dan

A blessing based on the readings of Advent 3 (12/16/12)

Go now and rejoice in the Lord always.
Do not be afraid or worried about anything,
but in everything trust God and pray.
Bear fruits worthy of repentance,
sharing what you have and being gentle with all.

And may God rejoice over you with gladness;
May Christ Jesus renew you in his love;
and may the Holy Spirit give you peace beyond understanding
to guard your hearts and minds in Christ.

Laughing Bird Liturgical Resources for 12/16/12

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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 (reprised):

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

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Image: Photo Gallery of Episcopal Relief and Development

Wind Chimes: 13 Dec 2012

Clean water: part of the effort of Foundation Cristosal in El Salvador

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

Luke 3:3 NRSV

Perhaps the chimes are as persistent as John the Baptist, singing to us to turn around, change direction, find and go toward the music. What do you hear?

Repentance

In our ‘Spiritual Day Hike’ at St. Margaret’s (Palm Desert) yesterday we talked about repentance, among other things. It turns out we, who have participated in many a Bible study and have sat through many a sermon, are good students and seekers. More importantly, each of us could report continuing efforts, even daily efforts, to re-turn to the Lord.

Our wide ranging musings and reports accord well with the succinct description in the Oxford Companion to the Bible:

Repentance: Sincere contrition, involving acknowledgment of wrongdoing in the sense of both admitting guilt and feeling guilty […] remorse must be accompanied by resolve to cease doing wrong and do what is right […] In biblical idiom, the sinner is called on to “circumcise the heart” (Deut. 30.6; Jer. 4.4), “wash the heart” (Jer. 4.14), or become “single‐hearted” (Jer. 32.39); to make a new heart (Ezek. 18.31), a heart of flesh, not stone (Ezek. 36.26)

Such feelings and behaviors, we agreed, are developed one day at a time, one experience at a time. It was encouraging to me (and I believe each of us ‘on the hike’) to hear of triumph and failure and resolve to do better each day. ~dan

It is part of our Baptismal Covenant

Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord? — “I will with God’s help.”

A promise we make to God and to each other in our Baptismal Covenant.

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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:

  • Foundation Cristosal —  “We are a faith-based organization of Anglican roots dedicated to human rights and community development work in El Salvador. We partner with people and organizations from diverse philosophical, religious, and political backgrounds to accompany the Salvadoran people in the construction of a just society.” (Home Page Welcome and Introduction)
  • A personal testimony from Ms. Alexandra Howard a member of St. Paul’s Cathedral in San Diego.

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

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Image: Foundation Cristosal

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?

Wilderness

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

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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

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

Wind Chimes: 10 Dec 2012

U-turn OK

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

Luke 3:3 NRSV

How often the chimes sound a call to action. Not like a bugle call, but rather softer, like an invitation rather than a demand. What do you hear?

John, a voice in the wilderness

John’s proclamation, his call to a “baptism of repentance,” is God-focused. It is a call to re-turn to the Lord we have come to love. We are asked to leave the distraction of mountain top and valley and meandering path and travel with intention and directness into God’s immense love.

Through daily examination and “repentance” we keep our focus and walk with directness and strength. I imagine that Marian Wright Edelman “proclaims” in the same manner John did. Let her prayer be your prayer on your journey. ~dan

God did not call us to succeed

God did not call us to succeed,
God called us to serve.

God did not call us to win,
God called us to work.

God did not call us to live long,
God called us to live for Him.

God did not call us to be happy,
God called us to be hopeful.

God did not call us to fame,
God called us to faith.

God did not call us to seek power,
God called us to seek peace.

God did not call us to loot the earth and each other,
God called us to love our earth and each other.

O God take our tiny acorns of service and turn them into towering oak trees of hope.

Marian Wright Edelman in Guide my feet, p. 118

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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:

  • Feed the Children —  which is “a Christian, international relief organization that delivers food, medicine, clothing and other necessities to individuals, children and families who lack these essentials due to famine, war, poverty or natural disaster.”  (Feed the Children Mission Statement)

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

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Image: source not known

Wind Chimes: 9 Dec 2012

The Lord God took the man
and put him in the Garden of Eden
to work it and take care of it.

Genesis 2:15 NIV

The chimes sound of beauty and creativity today, but also of warning and peril. What do you hear?

It’s not the responsibility of the UN, it’s personal

In the poetic language of the King James Version of the Bible we hear that “man” (you and me) is placed in the Garden to till it and keep it. The New International Version speaks of our working and caring for the Garden. Our Episcopal Great Thanksgiving Prayer C suggests “the Garden” is “this fragile earth, our island home.” (BCP, p. 370)

Many among us continue to deny that the climate is changing, and have no problem doing what they have always done. Others accept that the climate of the planet is changing, but leave the solutions to others. In our Anglican way, accepting the challenge of climate change and making the responses needed to “work and care for” the Garden—as our God calls us to do—is personal. It is my responsibility, it is my calling.

The wisdom of the Jewish Talmud, wisdom born long before the Episcopal Church, describes the attitude to be adopted by 21st century people of faith:

“Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justice, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it”

The promises we make in our Baptismal Covenant are personal. We do not speak for the President or the Congress; we do not speak on behalf of the United Nations; we make one promise after another to God and each other beginning with the words, “I will ….” I invite you, and pledge my own efforts, to do the small things in our daily lives that will together add up to something big as we work the Garden and care for the Garden, a divine blessing and responsibility given us at the beginning of time. ~dan

Links to online Advent Calendars

Each of these has a different approach. Find one that helps you “prepare the way.”

Trinity Wall Street Online Advent Calendar

Busted Halo Online Advent Calendar

CREDO Online Advent Calendar

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This fragile earth …

At your command all things came to be: the vast expanse of interstellar space, galaxies, suns, the planets in their courses, and this fragile earth, our island home.
By your will they were created and have their being.

From the primal elements you brought forth the human race, and blessed us with memory, reason, and skill. You made us the rulers of creation. But we turned against you, and betrayed your trust; and we turned against one another.
Have mercy, Lord, for we are sinners in your sight.

From Eucharistic Prayer C in the Book of Common Prayer, p. 370

“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:

  • Interfaith Power and Light —  which seeks “to be faithful stewards of Creation by responding to global warming through the promotion of energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. This campaign intends to protect the earth’s ecosystems, safeguard the health of all Creation, and ensure sufficient, sustainable energy for all.” (Interfaith Power and Light Mission Statement)

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

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Image: tcktcktck on Facebook