Wind Chimes: 2 Mar 2013

Open our eyes to behold your gracious hand
in all your works

I never tire of watching and sharing the work of Louie Schwartzberg.
Every time, with the following prayer in mind, it is new and wonderful.

A song of beauty today. What do you hear?

Open our eyes

O heavenly Father, who has filled the world with beauty: Open our eyes to behold your gracious hand in all your works; that, rejoicing in your whole creation, we may learn to serve you with gladness; for the sake of him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Moving Art a website to delight you by Louie Schwartzberg

Wind Chimes: 1 Mar 2013

Listen. What do you hear?

Be thou my vision

A Friday treat. A different arrangement (different from our Hymnal #488) of one of my favorites, “Be thou my vision.”

The Spirit does amazing and wonderful things with talent, don’t you think?

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Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Be all else but naught to me, save that Thou art
Be Thou my best Thought, in the day or by night,
Both waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Be all else but naught to me, save that Thou art
Be Thou my best Thought, in the day or by night,
Both waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, be Thou my true Word;
Be Thou ever with me, and I with Thee, Lord;
Be Thou my great Father, and I Thy true son;
Be Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou, and Thou only, the first in my heart;
O Sovereign of heaven, my treasure Thou art;
O Sovereign of heaven, be Thou my Vision;
Be Thou my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Choir: St Mary’s Cathedral Choir
Music: Bob Chilcott
Words: Irish (8thC) versified by Mary Elizabeth Byrne

Wind Chimes: 28 Feb 2013

Just then some Pharisees came up and said [to Jesus], “Run for your life! Herod’s on the hunt. He’s out to kill you!” Jesus said, “Tell that fox that I’ve no time for him right now. Today and tomorrow I’m busy clearing out the demons and healing the sick; the third day I’m wrapping things up.

Luke 13:31f in The Message

Sometimes the sound of the chimes is baffling. I wonder at both the beauty and the ‘terror’ of the sounds. How about you? What do you hear?

From the Gospel (Luke 13:31-35) of 2 Lent in Year C (RCL)

Warned, Jesus nonetheless continues on to Jerusalem, Herod, enemies, and death. And at the same time offers one of the most tender images of who he is and what he wants to do.:

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings… Luke 13:34 NRSV

Once again, I quote Steve Garnaas-Holmes on Unfolding Light as he opens this vignette and invites us to enter more deeply into the life of Jesus:

Jesus, my man, my hope, my strength,
why did you have to go and say that?
[…]
Why don’t you be a lion,
roaring over her cubs,
why not a mother bear
nobody wants to mess with?
Why not be mighty? Why not last?
[…]
Why tell that fox, that fox,
his bullying eyes, his greedy teeth,
why tell that fox you want to be
a mother hen?

Please, read his entire meditation, You tell that fox, on Unfolding Light—I believe you will like the ending; I did.

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Image: L.Kenzel on Wikimedia Commons

Wind Chimes: 21 Feb 2013

As I listen to the chimes I hear a constantly changing melody. It is a delight and a wonder which leads to contemplation. And contemplation leads to remembering. What do you hear?

Do you believe this?

The original context of the question is a meeting between Jesus and Martha on a road near Bethany with both Jesus and Martha grieving the death of Lazarus. Jesus declares some pretty amazing things about who he is and what he has to offer and concludes by asking Martha, “Do you believe this?” (See John 11 especially verses 17-27)

His question is the one my heart hears over and over again, “Do you believe this?” On Sunday we heard these pieces of scripture:

When the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, by imposing hard labor on us, we cried to the Lord, the God of our ancestors; the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with a terrifying display of power, and with signs and wonders; (Deuteronomy 26:6-8 NRSV)

[God says] Whenever you cry out to me, I’ll answer. I’ll be with you in troubling times. I’ll save you and glorify you. I’ll fill you full with old age. I’ll show you my salvation.” (Psalm 91:15-16 CEB)

And this puts me in mind of this confession of faith (which sets a pattern, don’t you think):

Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey…. (Exodus 3:7-8 NRSV)

And the question I heard Jesus ask on Sunday and the question I hear today is “Do you believe this?” Today I continue to work out my answer, how about you?

Wind Chimes: 19 Feb 2013

On Sunday (2/17/13) we heard about the Temptation of Jesus. Periodically that same tune plays through the chimes we hear. What does such a tune stir up in you?

Temptation. A reflection by Pastor Steve.

In our Sunday handout I included this meditation. For those of you not able to be around the table in real life (= irl), I share the beginning of Steve’s meditation here:

Dear Gentle God,

I am not tempted to turn flint into rye, to be able to fly—or even drift nicely—or to bow down to some guy in a red suit and a tail so the kingdoms of the world worship me. Jesus knew he couldn’t do magic, defy gravity or make people like him. But I do want to have power and to be in control of my life, to avoid suffering or struggle, and to manage what other people think of me. I am tempted to make of things something that they aren’t. I’m tempted to take the comfortable route. I’m tempted to expect that you should protect me from difficulty. And I really want to make people like me.

In this sere land of desire, God, rip these idols from my hands.

You’ll want to read the rest; you can find the complete meditation here: Temptation by Steve Garnaas-Holmes, February 15, 2013, on his blog, Unfolding Light.

Image: Leo za1 on Wikimedia Commons

Wind Chimes: 18 Feb 2013

Once again the chimes are sounding a song of change. I know you hear it too. What are we to make of this song?

Resignation: “The most powerful gift of [Benedict’s] papacy.”

Here are “sounds from the chimes” offered by Joan Chittister. These words came in an email today (2/18/13) and are also posted on The Huffington Post in the Religion Section. I encourage you to read her entire essay, “On the Pope’s Resignation” and consider what she says. I find her insights powerful. ALL of Christianity, that is, the “one holy catholic and apostolic Church” of the creed, will be strengthened or weakened by what happens in its ‘Roman Catholic’ household. What do you hear?

The Church whose identity has been forever Western and European is less Western every day and barely European thanks to its declining numbers everywhere. …

Issues of collegiality are simmering everywhere, the voice of the laity is clear, the integrity of the church itself is suspect. Its total disregard for the contribution of women to it, either as an institution or as a spiritual system, has rent the cloth right down the middle. …

The attitude of the church toward gays has done as much to distance their families from the church as it has the GLBT community itself. …

These are not business-as-usual organizational questions in a changing world. These are issues that touch the very core of what it means to be human, to be holy, to be Christian, to be church. They are not going to disappear when this pontificate disappears. They have not been addressed by this pontificate in any way that gives hope for their resolution. But they have been exposed.

The fact that Benedict XVI has very humbly admitted the immensity of the present moment for the Church and decided to step out of it in favor of someone whose energies are fresher and, hopefully, more in touch with the pastoral problems of this transition from one era to another is, perhaps, the most powerful gift of this papacy.

The entire post: Benedict’s XVI’s Most Powerful Gift to the Church in “Religion” on The Huffington Post by Joan Chittister, 2/15/2013.

Image: Jarekt on WikimediaCommons

Wind Chimes: 16 Feb 2013

Joshua_tree_forrest_in_Arizona-croppedListen. Do you hear it? Mercy. Mercy. Mercy. That’s what it sounds like as the wind blows through the chimes today. What do you hear?

Can you hear God’s tender mercy?

Your words of mercy echo in my spirit:
“I forgive you for what you have done.”
“You can start over. Begin again.”
“I’ll be there as you recover.”
“Trust that there’s a better way.”
“Try your best to not do that again.”
“I know you can change your ways.”

May I also speak your words of mercy
In my response to those who stray,
Fail and fall, and attempt to start over.

Bernadette farrell in  Joyce Rupp. Fragments of Your Ancient Name:
365 Glimpses of the Divine for Daily Meditation. Kindle Edition.

Image: Laslovarga on WikimediaCommons

Wind Chimes: 15 Feb 2013

Courage. Courage. Courage. That’s what it sounds like as the wind blows through the chimes. What do you hear?

As we consider the temptation of Jesus (and our many temptations)

We are all asked to do more than we can do. Every hero and heroine of the Bible does more than he or she would have thought it possible to do, from Gideon to Esther to Mary. Jacob, one of my favorite characters, certainly wasn’t qualified. He was a liar and a cheat; and yet he was given the extraordinary vision of angels and archangels ascending and descending a ladder which reached from earth to heaven.

Madeleine l’engle “voice of the day” on 31 Jan. 2013

Image: Stan Sheba on WikimediaCommons

Wind Chimes: 14 Feb 2013

Listen. … What do you hear?

Listening to the creativity and spirituality of others and …?

One of my favorite blogs simply bears the title of its author: Rachel Held Evans. You can learn more about Rachel here. Have you ever tried

  • making a Thorn Wreath, a Way of Light Wreath, or an Easter Tree?
  • giving up all drinks except water and donating the money saved to an organization providing clean and accessible water in a place far from your home?
  • spending 10-20 every day OUTSIDE in prayer and meditation?
  • walking barefoot (as much as possible) for the 40 days of Lent?

You’ll find elaborations on all of these ideas, book recommendations, and prayers in Rachel’s 2013 version of 40 Ideas for Lent. Here is her introduction to the Ideas:

As has become a tradition here on the blog, I’ve compiled a list of 40 ideas that I hope will help you make the most of this season of reflection, penitence, and preparation. […] Thank you so much for your input and ideas! They made this year’s list one of the best. 

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Go to: 40 Ideas for Lent (2013) by Rachel Held Evans (and friends).

Perhaps you will better hear the Holy One as you explore one (or more)
of these ideas.

Image: Man-ucommons on WikimediaCommons

Ash Wednesday and Lent 2013

Here’s a quick summary of Ash Wednesday and Lent. Produced by bustedhalo video ministries the perspective is Roman Catholic but the teaching is, well, catholic (as in universal) in its scope.