Monday, September 25, 2006

Holy Ground: Pipes and Drums

I'm not certain when I first encountered Native American rituals, but I don't think, growing up as a white girl in the northern great plains I was given a great cultural respect for my neighbors. But as I got older, met people from the Dakota, Lakota and now Anishnabe tribes, my respect and awe has only grown.

So I found myself very honored this past Saturday when a gentleman agreed to enter into a sanctuary that was not his own, and perform a pipe and drum ceremony in honor of the woman whose life we were celebrating. This is not a usual thing for my congregation. There is much racism, much hate in this community. But it was wonderful to see how this woman, even in her death brought together people who would usually never sit side by side in a holy place.

Holy ground means so many different things for people. Wars have been fought over it, wars are still waged today over holy ground. Will there ever be a time when we can say there is enough holiness to go around? That my holy ground can be your holy ground- even if we don't name the holiness the same name?

Mi taku oyasin (Lakota) "We are all related."

Friday, September 22, 2006

Friday Five: Boo Boo Alert

1) Are you a baby about small injuries? Yes, I must admit it, I have very little pain tolerance. But I'm getting a little better, and now see it as an opportunity to sport Sponge Bob Square Pants bandaids.

2) What's the silliest way you have ever hurt yourself? After a week of solid rain, the first nice day I took my cabin of campers (summer camp) mudsliding. I recieved a nice gash on my right arm, helped a camper with a matching one, and received a nice tongue lashing from the camp nurse and camp director (yes, I am still the coolest counselor!)

3) Who took care of your boo-boos when you were a child? Mainly my mother, because she was a nurse. We had a whole closet medicine cabinet.

4) Are you a good nurse when others have boo-boos? My college friends always came to my room for first-aid and OTC medicines.

5) What's the worst accidental injury you've suffered? Did it require a trip to the Emergency Room? The only time I've been to the ER was when I had a strange reaction from a bug bite. We thought it was chicken pox (at age 21 after having them at age 5) but I kept getting them- a little fever and lots of itching. I was nicknamed caladryl girl for the rest of the year. Otherwise I have yet to seriously twist or break anything on my frequent graceless falls.

How about you all?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Holy Ground

She died with her family surrounding her. They had kept a 38 hour vigil around her bed. Holding her hands, stroking her forehead and arms, singing songs, sharing memories, laughing at the inept hospice chaplin.

She recognized the scent, taste and feel of communion, even if she couldn't swallow it. And I believe her soul actually crossed when her spiritual advisor drummed for her after she died and presented her with an eagle feather.

I believe she made 10 baby blankets with the yarn from Wal-mart. A woman who lived life to the fullest, swore she regretted nothing in her past, and welcomed all into her living and her dying.

May God give her body peace and her spirit wings. Amen

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Thursday sermon planning procrastination...

I think I dread some of the more public and energy needing aspects of ministry. I wish that I woke up Sunday mornings-leaping out of bed to put on my polyester collar shirt of the office- excited about the prospect of leading 150 people in a worshipful experience.

I wish that I looked forward to wednesday evenings- jumping around with teenager, engaging them with questions about their lives, creating meaningful and intersting lesson plans for confirmation.

I just seem to dread these times. But after they have started, and sometimes I'm not clear if it is the adrenaline or the holy spirit, I really like how it went. Why is it so difficult then to remember that sense of wholeness the next Sunday when the alarm goes off?

Perhaps we are too busy. Perhaps when our world needs more and more hope, the desperate need of other grows and grows. Perhaps we fall asleep each night knowing there is so much yet to be done. Perhaps we have a window in to Jesus' need to go out by himself and pray. And perhaps we understand why he sought anonymity in Gentile regions and Gethsemane gardens.

In the words of Martin Bell in the "Rag-tag Army" in the Way of the Wolf:
"Listen! The drum beat isn't even regular. Everyone is out of step... He'll never get anywhere that way!
And yet, the march goes on..."

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Fresh Autumn Air

Since it was and incredibly dry summer and since we are quite far north, the trees have been changing color for over two weeks already. The air has chilled enough during the day that long pants are required for most hikes, and all the plants need to be covered or brought inside at night.

But despite all of this, despite the gradual death of summer and inevitable advent of winter, autumn still is my absolute favorite time of year. The air just smells better, the sun just feels warmer, the trees just look prettier.

A walk in the woods is the perfect Sunday afternoon activity. Instead of that well-deserved nap, a hike through sweet smelling air, with the dog leading the way down the path is the best way to unwind from the Sunday morning chaos.

One can't help but hum... I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

Friday, September 08, 2006

RevGalBlogPals: Friday Five

Fairly Simple Friday Five

My new favorite Blog community of amazing people.

This Friday Five is Fairly Simple.
Name five things you have enjoyed this week.

1.Planning for the 2nd Annual Parsonage Open House Potluck (gotta love the midwest) Jello will abound.
2. People asking for copies of the sermon I almost chickened out on giving this past Sunday because it was a rather strong and in-your-face message. What is that Holy Spirit up to? Great things, it seems.
3. Neon Pink frosting on chocolate birthday cake- no need for lipstick for at least 12 hours.
4. High School volleyball- it really is- the only game in town.
5. Finally seeing "The Devil Wears Prada." It was like going on vacation for 2 hours! Experiences that are so far away.... metropolitan areas, great wealth, great fashion, regulated work schedules... ahhh... back home to life and yes, a good life it is.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Holy Ground

It was the first time in years that he had heard "Happy Birthday" sung to him. Even though there were only three of us singing, we still shared the cake with the neon pink frosting, sipped the weak and watery coffee, and celebrated his 84 years of life in a small, rural hospital room.
Hospital rooms and weak coffee: Holy Grounds indeed

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Every time I am part of a conversation that begins with: "since you are the only religious person I trust, I want to ask you a question...," I go between two emotions. The first one is a little bit of ego and pride, the surge of a bit of happiness that reminds me that I'm getting there- I'm a person who non-christians and non-religious friends approach for questions.

But then I am a little sad. And, admittedly, this is only after the ego phase has passed, because where are the rest of the trustworty, non-bible thumping, "caring not where people go to chuch as long as they explore the questions in their life"pastors? As a Lutheran I am called to a certain discipline in a certain church. And yes I want people to come here my message and ultimately (because isn't it often about this, come on, we all know it) add their charitible giving to my church's budget.

The bigger picture. The larger church. The larger understanding of God. that which ultimately concerns us- the ground of our being (thank you Paul Tillich).

If we were to really align ourselves with this ultimate concern, would we need church? Would we need religion?

We will only suceed as a human race if we can realize that religion is soley for us, not for God. And thus the many patterns and weavings of spirituality can indeed, compliment each other.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Holy Ground and, uh, Walmart?

"The best conversations happen on the way to Walmart" is what she told me. So I picked her up and we drove the 50 minutes to the nearest one. She had her oxogen tank with her and a spare in the backseat of the car. And we did, indeed, have great conversations. Conversations about how she grew up, met her husband, gave birth to 3 children, and worried about them and their futures.

When we arrived, we headed back to the yarn department where we filled the cart with white, blue and pink acrylic yarns. Yarn for the baby blankets she would knit for her future grandchildren she would never meet.

Holy Ground and Walmart. Who would have thought?