Beauty and Breaking

Wind in the Chimes: A meditation on John 12:1-8

What does love smell like?  What does hope smell like?  What does resurrection smell like?  On this fifth Sunday of Lent, as we draw closer to Jesus’s final week, and prepare to contemplate his suffering, we’re invited into a story of the senses.  A story of love enacted in fragrance.

All four Gospels tell it — the story of a woman who kneels at Jesus’s feet, breaks an alabaster jar filled with priceless perfume, and dares to love Jesus in the flesh. 

Debbie Thomas Lectionary Essay for Lent 5C on Journey with Jesus webzine

Be inspired to find your own answers to the questions posed by Debie Thomas, one of my favorite teachers, on a favorite website, Journey with Jesus.

Consider Debie’s reflection on the embodiment of love provided by Mary of Bethany to you and me all these centuries later:

What happens between Jesus and Mary in this narrative happens skin to skin. Mary doesn’t need to use words; her yearning, her worship, her gratitude, and her love are enacted wholly through her body.  Just as Jesus later breaks bread with his disciples, Mary breaks open the jar in her hands, allowing its contents to pour freely over Jesus’s feet.  Just as Jesus later washes his disciples’ feet to demonstrate what radical love looks like, Mary expresses her love with her hands and her hair.  Just as Jesus later offers up his broken body for the healing of all, Mary offers up a costly breaking in order to demonstrate her love for her Lord.

Beauty and Breaking a Lectionary Essay by Debie Thomas
Read the full essay here: Beauty and Breaking

More

About Wind in the Chimes

Wind in the Chimes (renaming and a reintroduction of Wind Chimes, 7/21/20)

Wind Chimes: September 25 2012 (an introduction)

Image: “Mary of Bethany” Print by contemporary artist Yvette Rock

Another view on Judgment

God’s judgment is always that you need more love.

We live (as we confess in the Apostles’ Creed) in “the communion of saints.” In the communion of saints our teachers, our encouragers, our sources of inspiration are both unbound by time (i.e., they are the living and those who have died) and unbound by geography, culture, language, or any other boundary we may encounter in our earthly journey.

One of my teachers (a contemporary) is a retired Methodist minister living in Maine. Steve Garnaas-Holmes has a way with words shaped by his experiences of God’s unconditional love. I encourage you to check out his daily reflections on Unfolding Light. Here is a sample from his post today (February 10, 2022).

Before God judges you
       God loves you.

Before God sees your sin
       God sees your wound.

Before God sees how you thrashed in the world
       God sees what you are fighting off.

Before God sees you steal
       God sees your hunger.

Before God sees the awful things you do to survive
       God wants you to survive.

Before God punishes you
       God protects you from further hurt,
because God never punishes,
       but wraps gentle arms around you.

God’s judgment is always
       that you need more love.

Judgment” on Unfolding Light, a daily reflection posted by Steve Garnaas-Holmes (dated 02/10/2022).

Why I have hope for 2017 | ACNS

The Rev. Dr. Rachel Marsh
The Rev. Dr. Rachel Marsh

In a blog post for the Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) the Rev. Dr. Rachel Marsh sets out “four things” that give her hope in 2017. I’m with her in being filled with hope; I especially liked “thing” #3. ~Fr. Dan

Was 2016 the year that fear and hatred won? Looking to the future, many people are filled with concern, particularly about the environment – a cause close to my heart. … We feel powerless – powerless to stop governments who say climate change is a myth; powerless to stop its impact on the most vulnerable.

And yet, we are people of faith. What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead. (Hebrews 11:1 Living Bible). We know what we want to happen. How can we be assured it will happen?

Here are four things that give me hope for 2017.

Read for yourself the four things that give Rev. Marsh hope.

 

A beautiful response to Luke 3:21-22

May Imagine Us Beloved by Kayla McClurg invite you deeper into the “now” of the long-ago and far-away event of the Baptism of our Lord.

Imagine with me, if you will, a world in which vast numbers of people are hearing and beginning to integrate at heart and soul level that we, the same as Jesus, are God’s beloved. That we, too, are intended to hear the blessing Jesus heard at his baptism; that God bends over each of us and whispers, “With you, even in your current state of unfinished glory, with you I am well pleased.” Continue reading “A beautiful response to Luke 3:21-22”

Just because

Next to the Word of God,
the noble art of music
is the greatest treasure in the world.

Attributed to Martin Luther

Music continues to shape us, inspire us, humble us, thrill us, and so much more as humans and as Christ-followers. Music is a treasure we carry with us and share. “Sacred” music is everywhere, not just in church. Many of us in the Sunday Morning Forum (in the meeting room and online) meet God, dance with God, enjoy God, share God in ‘the noble art of music.’

Here is a recent discovery we share with you. Enjoy:

Continue the conversation, please share a comment. And, if you know the source of the Martin Luther quotation, I/we would like to be informed via your comment. Thanks.

Wind Chimes: 1 July 2013

“For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. … For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Galatians 5:1, 13-14
Read on Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Revised Common Lectionary provided a very rich fare on Sunday, June 30th. I bring the wind chimes out of storage to keep the music (of the Spirit) going into this new week. Here is a sample of a commentary on Sunday’s reading from Galatians (Chapter 5, verses 1 and 13-25):

Paul makes the strongest possible emphasis on the “you” plural address. Again he frames the sentence with words describing the addressees: “You all,” “brothers,” “You all have been chosen for freedom.” He repeats the confident assertion of 5:1 by making personal and direct and clear, that “you all” have been chosen for freedom indeed, but Paul moves on very quickly to define the freedom.

It is not a wild, abstract freedom from restraint. Paul’s freedom does not create the culture we have become — at least not in his mind or on purpose. Paul proclaims the freedom with the passive voice of having been chosen by an implied agent, God. To be chosen by God for freedom, to have been freed by Christ is to have been freed from the dire results of life lived apart from God. It is also a call into freedom that in some ways mirrors God’s own, that is a freedom dedicated to serving others in love.

I encourage you to read the entire Commentary on Galatians 5:1, 13-25 by Sarah Henrich on Working Preacher.

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You must love your neighbor as yourself

Leviticus 19:18

The chimes are moving freely again. The sounding of the chimes reminds me of love.
What do you hear?

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.

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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?

Wind Chimes: 6 Nov 2012

Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

Isaiah 41:10 NRSV

I have loved you with a love that lasts forever.
And so with unfailing love,
I have drawn you to myself.

Jeremiah 31:3 CEB

No matter who “wins” today, God’s faithful presence and love will neither be diminished nor enhanced; it will be the same at the end of the day as it is right now. Cast your vote and then rest in God’s love today—and tomorrow and always. ~dan

Cacophonous might best describe the sounds in the chimes today. What do you hear?

Vote in love

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

My prayer is that you will vote
in love, not in fear,

that those who govern
will act in love, not fear,

and that you will make every choice,
large or small,
every day, all your life,
not in fear, but in love,

for this alone can heal the world,

and I believe it shall.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

A post by Pastor Steve Garnaas-Holmes on his blog Unfolding Light

A prayer for today

Let nothing disturb you;
let nothing dismay you.
All things pass;
God never changes.
Patience attains all that it strives for.
They who have God find they lack nothing:
God alone suffices.

An oft quoted prayer (and favorite prayer of mine) from Teresa of Avila (1515-1582). Thank you Christin Coffee Rondeau for reminding me/us of this prayer on Election Day.

Image: Rice County, MN Election Information Page ~dan

Go deeper into the miracle of Pentecost

They were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in other languages

as the Spirit enabled them to speak.
from Acts 2:1-11 (a reading appointed for Pentecost)

Other languages. Real languages. The disciples, who spoke Aramaic (and with an accent) suddenly were able to speak in other people’s languages. The true miracle and gift of Pentecost is not ecstatic prayer, but conveying love by bridging differences, by reaching out to the Other. Whatever separates us is the place where the miracle of Pentecost happens.

I encourage you to read the entire post: Loving the other

Again I encourage you to take a look at the meditation offered by Steve Garnaas-Holmes on his blog Unfolding Light. Read the meditation with your own experiences of the Holy Spirit (gift of your Baptism) and the prayers of the Church that the Spirit give you an “inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and to love you, and the gift of joy and wonder in all [God’s] works.” (Prayer for the (newly) baptized, adapted)

Let the miracle of Pentecost emerge from your daily comings and goings, your work and play, your busy-ness and rest.

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