Sarah Josepha Buell Hale

Sarah Josepha Buell Hale as pictured in Godey's Lady BookOn our “Wednesday Morning Spiritual Day Hike” we walked with Sarah Josepha Buell Hale yesterday (5/1/13). Sarah Hale is commemorated in the Episcopal Church’s (trial) Calendar, Holy Women, Holy Men on April 30th.

Sarah, a woman ahead of her time in some ways, was a woman of her time in others. Shining through it all: her love of God and neighbor. She continues to inspire folks she never met living some 200 years later in a part of her country she never visited. The Communion of Saints is an amazing thing.

Watch, Sarah Hale: The Mother of Thanksgiving, an Audio Slide Show posted by BackStory with the American History Guys

The Collect of Day as we commemorate Sarah Hale:

Gracious God, we bless your Name for the vision and witness of Sarah Hale, whose advocacy for the ministry of women helped to support the deaconess movement. Make us grateful for your many blessings, that we may come closer to Christ in our own families; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen..

Wind Chimes: 28 Apr 2013

“I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.
Just as I have loved you,
you also should love one another.”

John 13:34

Today (4/28/13) we listened to these words of Jesus from the Gospel of John. Getting home I found this post by Brian McLaren:

I compiled this list of “one-anothers” in the New Testament, a primer on a basic social practices. Not a bad curriculum!

  • “…be at peace with each other.” (Mk. 9:50, 1 Thes. 5:13, 1 Pet. 3:8)
  • “wash one another’s feet…. serve one another in love.” (Jn. 13:14, Gal. 5:13)
  • “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34; 15:12; 15:17; Romans 13:8, 1 Thes. 4:9, Heb. 13:1, 1 Pet. 1:22, 1 Pet. 3:8, 1 Pet. 4:8, 1 Jn. 3:11, 23; 1Jn. 4:7, 11; 2 Jn. 1:5)
  • “Be devoted to one another with mutual affection.” (Romans 12:10)

Brian has quite a list of ‘one-anothers.’ See for yourself. Then comes the challenge: to live (act) like we understand, believe, and cherish these words.

DivLine360x12

It sounds like the chimes have heard the Good News and are singing, “Love one another,” over and over (until we have the melody), “Love one another.”

What do you hear?

Wind Chimes: 23 Apr 2013

“The spirit of Christ must be the soul of all real social reconstruction.”

Toyohiko Kagawa (1888 – 1960)

Since 2009 the Episcopal Church has been exploring a revised Liturgical Calendar titled Holy Women, Holy Men. Stories of women and men living exemplary lives are finding a wider audience. The stories call forth the best in us and pose questions for us who continue our journey on the Way. Today, April 23rd, the church remembers Toyohiko Kagawa a “Prophetic Witness in Japan.”

Toyohiko Kagawa was a

Image of Toyohiko Kagawa on Holy Women, Holy Men“Japanese Christian social reformer. He came of a wealthy family and received his early education in a Buddhist monastery. After conversion to Christianity and disinheritance by his family, he studied at the *Presbyterian seminary at Kobe from 1905 to 1908. Here he became acutely conscious of Christian responsibility in the face of existing social evils and spent several years among the poor in the bad slums of Shinkawa. In 1914 he went to Princeton, USA, to study modern social techniques, and after returning to Japan in 1917 devoted himself entirely to the improvement of social conditions.”

Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church

Within the political rhetoric of our country today, we who follow Christ, who follow the Way (of Love) can best love our neighbor if we can hold fast to that ancient truth discovered and lived by Toyohiko Kagawa: “The spirit of Christ must be the soul of all real social reconstruction.”

DivLine360x12There’s a peaceful rhythm to sounds in the chimes today. The melody is simple:
have the Spirit of Christ … have the Spirit of Christ …have the Spirit of Christ
What do you hear?

How does ‘the Way’ go for you?

We talked about Saul’s conversion (Acts 9:1ff) on Sunday. As always, Forum members voiced a number of questions, expressed their wisdom learned by experience, and each of us left a little fuller and richer for the fellowship and conversation.

detail-conversion

Some random observations and questions from Sunday:

  • Though much of our art and poetry have God knocking Saul off his horse, the text makes no mention of horses
  • Saul is on his way to round up (and punish) any who “belonged to the Way” (v. 2) This is one of the earliest appellations used for those later called “Christian” (See also: Acts 18:23-26; Acts 19:23; Acts 24:14, 22)
  • The term “Christian” was first used in Antioch (c.40-44 CE) according to Acts:
    • 25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for an entire year they met with the church and taught a great many people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called “Christians.” Acts 11:25-26 NRSV
  • When one of our members suggested that there is often “conversion” (or recommitment in trust) as a response to trial, darkness, dryness, or the ‘Valley of the shadow of death,’ there were many nods and affirming comments.
  • Does conversion come best, deepest, profoundly, only through a ‘dark moment,’ a trial, a letting-go? A question for the week. A question for you.

Come back, as the week progresses we’ll work through some of the other comments from Sunday. Please continue the Sunday conversation by commenting here.

Wind Chimes: 13 Apr 2013

Diana Butler Bass is a favorite author, writer, speaker, and teacher. In early March she posted this to her Facebook Page:

Was asked by an evangelical friend who has found his way to an Episcopal Church WHY the congregation likes scholars like Dom Crossan. Here’s part of my answer:

“Since I wasn’t at Dom’s presentations at the church you mention, I can’t speak directly to them. But I can speak to the ethos of the Episcopal Church. The Episcopal Church understands itself as a big room, a community bound together by prayer and enacting justice, not a particular way of understanding scripture or theology. It is a comprehensive church, one that prides itself on holding a wide variety of views, and always open to new ways of engaging the ancient stories. Thus, as a denomination, everyone is really, truly welcome—and that includes Dom Crossan to Rowan Williams and Marcus Borg to NT Wright! But, of course, not everyone is comfortable with such an ethos. But it does mean that we listen to a wide swath of Christian thinkers — it is NOT unusual at all for a single Episcopal congregation to read books ranging from Crossan to CS Lewis. Or to hear Mary Daly and Phil Yancey quoted in a sermon.”

Every Sunday (at 9 am) we gather at St. Margaret’s in our Sunday Morning Forum. We definitely represent “a wide swath” of Christian thinking and believing. Either before (8 am) or after (10 am) the Forum we worship together and take communion together. Come join us for a wide-ranging discussion, prayers, and communion.

DivLine360x12It is a beautiful spectrum of sounds and rhythms from the chimes today.
What do you hear?

Wind Chimes: 1 Apr 2013

Sister Joan Chittister is one of my favorite authors. Here is her “Easter Prayer.” You can find an index to all of her “Ideas in Passing” here. I encourage you to subscribe to her weekly email.

To say “I believe in Jesus Christ . . . who rose from the dead,” is to say I believe that the Resurrection goes on and on and on forever. Every time Jesus rises in our own hearts in new ways, the Resurrection happens again. Every time we see Jesus where we did not recognize him before—in the faces of the poor, in the love of the unloved, in the revelatory moments of life, Jesus rises anew. The real proof of the Resurrection lies not in the transformation of Jesus alone but in the transformation awaiting us who accept it.

To say, “I believe in Jesus Christ . . . who rose from the dead,” is to say something about myself at the same time. It says that I myself am ready to be transformed. Once the Christ-life rises in me, I rise to new life as well. “Christ is risen, we are risen,” we sing at Easter. But it has a great deal more to do with life than with death. If I know that Jesus has been transformed, then I am transformed myself, and as a result, everything around me.

Until we find ourselves with new hearts, more penetrating insights, fewer compulsions, less need for the transient, greater awareness of the spiritual pulse of life, resurrection has not really happened for us. Jesus has risen but we have not. Resurrection is change at the root of the soul. It marks a whole new way of being in life.

Prayer

Jesus, help me to understand that in every life, something good fails, something great ends, something righteous is taken unjustly away, something looms like an abandonment by God. Give me the wisdom to know that You rose from the dead as a sign to us that every one of these “little deaths” is life become new all over again. Be with me in living Your Resurrection over and over again.

Joan Chittister in: Vision and Viewpoint e-newsletter dated 1 April 2013

DivLine360x12The chimes are fairly shouting praises as they sound today. What do you hear?

Wind Chimes: 30 Mar 2013

O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath,
so we may await with him the coming of the third day,
and rise with him to newness of life;
who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Collect for Holy Saturday, March 30, 2013

DivLine360x12The chimes are still today. But the silence is filled with meaning and even hope. What do you hear? Please leave a comment.

Wind Chimes: 22 Mar 2013

World Water Day, March 22, 2013

World Water Day: March 22nd

Water: we all need it, we all depend on it. Today, take a moment to think about the gift of water in your life. Take a moment to understand that a brother or sister you may never meet could really use your help in obtaining clean water. It is World Water Day.

Here are 2 videos to help you think about water and how you can make a difference:

DivLine360x12 Water. Water. Water. Please? That is what the chimes sound like today.
What do you hear? Please leave a comment.

Logo: UN World Water Day 2013

Wind Chimes: 19 Mar 2013

Earth image
“To protect creation, to protect every man and every woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love, is to open up a horizon of hope….” –Pope Francis

In his own words

being a protector … means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world … It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. –Francis, Bishop of Rome

Today at a Mass celebrating the start of his ministry as Pope Francis I, the new pope addressed those gathered with words remembering St. Joseph as a ‘protector’ of Jesus and Mary (and in later centuries, a protector of the Church). These words especially give me hope:

The vocation of being a “protector”, however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone. It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us. It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about. It means caring for one another in our families: husbands and wives first protect one another, and then, as parents, they care for their children, and children themselves, in time, protect their parents. It means building sincere friendships in which we protect one another in trust, respect, and goodness. In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it. Be protectors of God’s gifts!

The entire homily (translated) is here: The real power of the pope is to serve the most vulnerable in La Stampa (an Italian newspaper).

DivLine360x12 The chimes sound both tender and strong today.
What do you hear? Please leave a comment.

Wind Chimes: 18 Mar 2013

Free will and predestination

The debate about free will and predestination is sometimes our discussion in the Sunday Morning Forum. Episcopalians tend to come into the church from a variety of Christian traditions which often provides lively discussion. The faith formation of our childhood and teen years really is “bone deep.” As adults we revisit and even question what we learned as children. Privileged to share in a group that cares, the questions and conversations invite all to keep learning.

This short essay in Religion News Service expresses the question in its basic form and the answer most of us are living with as Episcopalians: Father knows best: How do free will and predestination coincide? by Martin Elfert. Martin begins his essay with this question, “How do free will and predestination coexist?” posed by Free—or not so much (FONSM).

I encourage you to read the essay.

DivLine360x12 The sounds from the chimes seem to be asking a question today.
What do you hear? Please leave a comment.