Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Holy Days

Holidays to places south and east.
Good friends, good music, good air, good food. It is good.

May the ground beneath your feet give you holiness, enrich your spirit, and offer you space to breathe.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Holy Ground: Spring Burials

You know it is spring in the north land when the funerals and burials line up. I've had two funerals this week and some more graveside services next week.

The issue? The ground is no longer frozen. And people have been waiting all winter to be laid to rest.

There must be dozens of small cemeteries in this area. It's not uncommon for the funeral procession to drive over 30 miles from the church. When we arrive, there are around fifty lovingly cared for sites in a small field. The caretaker and grave digger usually lives next door- and usually is over 60.

While I didn't grow up in an urban or suburban area, it is still very new to me to be such a part of the burial service. Many cemeteries do not require vaults, and many people cannot afford them- so I am an actually part of the burial.

It goes a little like this: Two straps are looped under the casket and through the handles on the side. The caretaker, two funeral directors and myself each take a strap edge, and then lower by hand the caskets down 6 feet, past the frost line, into the ground. We then help the caretaker fill in the grave- that is- if we are not rushing off to another cemetery for another burial.

It's a connection with death I had never expected to encounter. As we live in a growing age that sanitizes death, the chance to literally bury someone is very powerful.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Out of Words

For the past week and a half, I have been having a difficult time putting together sometimes even simple sentences. I think I am out of words. Hopefully, this is a temporary condition...

I am out of words for sermons, for newsletters, for reports and for letters. I steer clear of multi-syllabic words (just found the spell check on that one). I search for vocabulary match ups in conversations.

So, I am using others' words. In an effort to keep communicating, I will try and let others speak for me.

However, this will not be acceptable for the confirmation sermon that must be preached on Sunday... I hope the words come back.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

gone but not forgotten

don't let the light go out
it's lasted for so many years

don't let the light go out

let it shine through our love and our tears...

"Light One Candle"
by Peter Yarrow

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen:
not only because I see it,
but because by it I see everything else.

~ C.S. Lewis

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Holy Ground: Fasting

If you have never fasted before, I would encourage you to try this discipline.

All the new age-y, earthy crunchy publications are for it because it cleanses the toxins from the body, and realigns metabolism.
The church is all for it because it encourages us to walk with Jesus in his suffering.

For me, the above reasons are good, but I believe it cleanses me of my selfishness, realigns my relationship with food, and encourages me to walk with those who are hungry in this world.

When you wake up in the morning knowing you cannot eat, food consumes your thoughts. When your stomach cramps because you need nourishment, the need for food consumes your body. If you are finally able to eat, your body grabs the food quickly, and then grows sick because of the invasion.

I have never had to worry about where my next meal was coming from. Much of the world wakes up hungry, works hungry, goes to be hungry.

Fasting gives us a chance to be in solidarity with with those who hunger, and hopefully moves us to action. How can we be the change we want to see in the world?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Light and Shadows

angus Dei
qui tollis peccata mundi
miserere nobis

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Holy Ground: Snowy Ground

It's Wednesday- the busiest day of the church week. I have three sermons to write, two worship services to get in bulletin format, a funeral service to plan, a family to meet, muffins to bake for the Easter breakfast, council retreat to plan and a dog to walk.

There are 6 inches of freshly piled up snow, with bright sunshine and fierce winds. All I want to do is curl up with my steaming cup of coffee and make soup.

I'm not so certain about this north land living. Just as we were ready to suffer through last week of solid rain, we now have snow. In some ways this is good- the fire watch teams will have another couple of days of breathing easy- they predict a very busy summer. The rivers and lakes will rise a bit- which is good for here, not necessarily places south.

But I'm not sure I will ever get used to Easter preparations while wearing my snow boots and skiing to church. It's a whole new experience to equate Easter with snow rather than spring flowers. Perhaps this gives us a glimpse into the celebrations of our southern hemisphere sisters and brothers.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007