Tag Archive | religion

Day 366

Reflection14642421_10207613281355764_542674043095860086_n-1

The battle cry this year has been, “Fuck 2016”. But for me, this year hasn’t been all bad. I started the year in the red and ended in the black. After difficulties and conflict at work, a new assignment allows me peace to be more innovative in working with a marginalized population. I found a new church home, after many years of ignoring religion. A new award, for my work, now sits on a shelf in my living room. The scale showed me numbers I haven’t seen in many years, and better health is returning in increments.

 

Refocus

Celebrity deaths have taken over the news and face book feeds. The cult of personality is alive and well. That’s okay, they enliven our lives by entertaining us, many putting into words the turmoil or joy of the day. At the same time that we were mourning people who were only thankful for the money we put in their pockets, there are people being bombed out of their homes, people who placed themselves in harm’s way to keep our nation free who have no place to rest their heads, people who don’t have clean water to drink, and a nasty election cycle that brought out the monsters who have been sleeping under our beds. As I’ve said before, we all have the power to clean up our corner of the world and it’s time we stepped up to the plate.

 

Recommitment14469665_10207475778438277_7003042647743547690_n

Putting words into action is difficult for many, but it’s time to shit or get off the pot. Write yourself a check and find a way to cash it. Improve your life and then go out and improve someone else’s. Find someone to mentor. Find someone to be your mentor. Support with your presence not just a donation. Show your loved ones that they are indeed loved. Turn your online activism into action. March in a protest. Call your legislator. Become a legislator. **insert your own positive note here**

 

Reengagement

Just because some doors have been closed this year doesn’t mean that there isn’t something waiting for you. I’ve had a couple of big doors closed in my face this year. One was slammed without warning, the other was gentle, with me actually handing over the keys. Boo hoo? Hell no! I don’t believe in reinvention for myself. However I do believe in tweaking things that haven’t been working smoothly. When I recently submitted my vacation request for the coming year, I had my family calendar at my side. Much of next year’s vacation time has been taken over by family events, and I say that joyfully. I signed up for a writing class because I’ve been unfocused for much too long and need a kick in the butt. Brunch, lunch, and dinner dates are already in the works. Looking forward to more face time with friends and family. I’ve been gentle with myself, even though I still ask myself, “What would Pop say?”. But it’s time to put myself back out there.

 

As always, loyal readers and friends, may God’s grace be apparent to you, because it’s always there even when you don’t notice. You have been loved. We’ll get through this together.14191951_10207320815844309_1830921798756828375_n

 

 

 

 

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What was lost, is found

Easter time and my Pop are indelibly connected. Not only was his birthday during this time of year, but as a minister it was the busy season for him, and for his family. As he wrote out his sermons in long hand, pencil first, pen for the final product, Mom typed out the church bulletins while my sister and I folded the freshly mimeographed bulletins, carefully and precisely.pop

Countless pancake suppers on Fat Tuesday, countless sunrise services on Easter Sunday followed by breakfast and another service. Good Friday meant three hour services starting at noon, ending at three pm. Seven ministers bringing us the the seven last words. Cranky, fidgety kids in the pews, earning Mom’s evil eye from the choir stall. Waking up super early on Easter Sunday, clomping around the apartment wearing pajamas and our new shoes, because, hey, new shoes.

And yet we survived those days and went on to subject our children to the same.

When Pop left the local church to work with the national church administration I was almost an adult. Within three years I established a home of my own with a husband and a child. And there began the search for a church home, a place were I would be nurtured, comforted, and feel safe in the knowledge that my faith would be valued.

Running into ministers with human frailties should be expected, but in my mind I thought, “If you can’t live the gospel, you shouldn’t preach the gospel”. And I moved on. Eventually, I stopped going to church all together. Something that I knew hurt my parents but I was actually more comfortable not going to church. My faith was still there but I’d lost my religion.

And then last week I made a wrong turn that turned out to be very right. I passed an old church building with a bell tower. The sign out front said it was Park United Methodist Church, only two miles from home. I looked them up on Facebook, of all places, and found pictures of a congregation living their faith. A soup kitchen, a child care center and after school program, a community food bank are listed as some of the many programs and services at the church.

I showed up at the Maundy Thursday service in jeans because I’d been running errands after work, and walked into a room of people all wearing jeans. The service was an interactive experience. The crown of thorns we held pricked our palms. We cringed as we held an old nail in our hands and struck it into a cross, with a hammer. We rolled dice, as the soldiers did, wagering to win the condemned man’s clothing. We lit a candles at the altar helping to banish the gloom. The taste of bitter vinegar reminded us that when Jesus was thirsty he was given vinegar. I took communion for the first time in many years and went home feeling peaceful.

Good Friday’s Tenebrae service found the altar covered in black cloth, the sanctuary dimly lit with dozens of candles. With scripture readings and musical selections from Jesus Christ Superstar, the light gradually disappeared leaving us in reverent darkness. We went home in silence.

Sunday’s Resurrection Celebration pulled out all the stops. A bell choir, children’s choir, youth choir, and Chancel choir brought musical selections. Seated in packed pews, we enjoyed music from the organ, piano, and several orchestral instruments. Dancers brought the word to life in movement. We laughed, we sang, we felt joyful.

If you’ve read any of my previous work, you know this isn’t one of my usual pieces. Just wanted to share my weekend with you.

I didn’t go to church because it was Easter. I didn’t go to church to protect my father’s legacy. I went back to church for me. We all yearn to be an integral part of a community and I really feel like I found a new church home. A wrong turn that turned out to be very right. Was Pop my co-pilot that day? Maybe. I’d like to think so, it’s something he would do.