Friday, January 26, 2007

Renewal- Friday 5

It's been a while since I have done a RevGals Friday Five, and since it seems as though it will be a couple of weeks for me before a day off, perhaps dreaming about it (or sermon procrastinating about it) will help with the rest and renewal:

List four ways you like to relax or give yourself a break.
1. Looking out my front window in the morning (not too early, actually, not even remotely early) with a good cup of strong coffee, sitting with the puppy curled up next to me.

2. Reading fiction. Mmmm, fiction. I've been particularly fond of Lorna Landvik lately and her tales of life and living.

3. Snowshoeing- although the northland has seen little snow for this renewing activity this year. It is very much missed.

4. Cooking. It is wonderful to put together a full meal, plan the ingrediants and courses, create new additions to enhance the dish. It is a creative exercise for me- and it serves as a project with a beginning and (this is quite important) a completion. It is wonderful to complete a project successfully.

Then name a fifth, something you've never been able to do, a self-care dream.
5. While I am not certain if I would like it or not, having a week vacation at a spa or a place where I am not thinking, worrying, wondering, planning, etc. sounds heavenly. I have never been to a spa of any sorts. I am a little concerned I would get bored- but that's why we bring fiction!

How do you see renewal?

Friday, January 19, 2007

In honor of a strong and beautiful woman

As she is confined to and ICU bed, her spirit cannot be contained.

She Walks in Beauty
~By Lord Byron

She walks in Beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which Heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Industry: Religion

The latest catalogue to come across my desk:

"Buy Three Chasubles or Dalmatics, Get One of Equal or Lesser Value Free!"

So I am pretty liturgical, but I had to look up Dalmatic- and for those who do not have The Altar Guild and Sacristy Handbook, a Dalmatic is defined thus:

"In congregations in which the presiding minister wears a chasuble (Chasuble being found two pages earlier and in short: a big cape worn like a poncho over the robe and stole for celebrating the Eucharist/communion) for the Eucharist, the principal assisting minister (liturgical deacon) may wear a Dalmatic over the alb for festive celebrations. It is a less full vestment than the chasuble (read: not as much poncho) but matches in color and fabric."

Now. There is absolutely nowhere else where cheapness meets extravagance head on. One of these babies usually goes for anywhere from $250 to $1000 a piece. They are ornate, lavish and hand sewn. But if you wear one, you need at least 3 or 4 others for the other liturgical seasons. So- might as well save on one of equal or lesser value.

Only in Industry: Religion do we have this paradox.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Baptisms and Weddings

First miracle: Holy Spirit making an appearance
Second: wine, wine, and more wine- (not the cheap stuff either)

It is fitting that the lectionary gives us the story of a wedding right after the one of a baptism. I find so many similarities between the two.

In baptism, God enters into relationship long before the ceremony of baptism begins. It is that ceremony where we make very public, very important promises. It is not a ceremony that changes the relationship with God, it is our "I do" to God, it is our witness to the relationship that has already begun. Our vow to live in God's love.

That, in essence is a wedding. It is not a sacrament in the Lutheran tradition because there are no 'elements' (water, bread, wine) involved. But a wedding is so similar to a baptism: It is the public affirmation of a relationship that has already begun. The relationship is affirmed, and promises are made (the only changes are legal - taxes, benefits- not spiritual, not really). The relationship between the two who are marrying began long before the gown was chosen, the reception hall booked, the caterer called or the champagne tested.

Weddings and Baptisms, two of the most joyful celebrations we have within a worship service. Lots people, lots of long, white, slippery gowns, lots of photos, lots of food, lots of celebration, and lots of promises, made by all who gather to witness this sacred event.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Water, water everywhere: and enough for all to drink

Today, in our church community, we talked about Baptism. The whole service surrounded this wonderful sacrament. The congregation was spashed in remembrance of their baptism, while we sang, "Shall we gather at the River." The children's sermon had us gathered around the font, discussing the uses of water. We welcomed a new child into our church family by sprinkling, and I spoke in my sermon about the basic necessity of water.

I usually write my sermons out in text form for preaching. This helps me stay focused, and use the words and terms I had intended. But today, as I was closing the sermon on the beautiful sacrament of baptism, saying that the essence didn't change if baptized as a child, adult, by water sprinkles on the head or full immersion- I realized that I need to add something about those who have not been baptized.

If I had joined this service, and had not been baptized, I would have felt completely and utterly left out.

So perhaps it was just an acknowledgement of the difference, or it was a God moment, I found myself reminding people in the sermon, that if they had not been baptized, the promise was no less than if they had- it's just that Baptism is the public recognition of God's presence. But all are welcome to recognize this promise.

As I bordered on this altar call (I know, I know, but this is as close as this Lutheran Girl gets) I realized that I wanted to experience full immersion. I want to have the whole congregation take a dive into a lake this summer as we remember our Baptisms.

What a physical, sensory event that would be- all of us standing, swimming around in the sacred beauty of the water.