Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sing a New Song!

The process of creating my final Advent sermon this season has inspired me to sing – sing badly and happily all those Christmas songs I generally cringe at from a theological perspective. Always the contradiction! Here is a bit of what has emerged from that sermon. 
May Christmas bless you with the depths of connection to All That Is.

Sing a New Song!

Like Mary sang anew
the old, old hymn of Hannah
Like Isaiah drew new depths
from Moses’ song of salvation
Like this voice gives new voice
to cherished carols, sacred carols,
God’s Word
creative energies
and ready to gestate
her next wonder.

(Mary's song - Luke 1; Hannah's song - 1 Samuel 2; Isaiah's song - Isaiah 12; Moses' song - Exodus 15)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Friday Night

Friday night with friends - how could it get any better? 

I hadn't made a paper snowflake since elementary school, and my first try last night turned out, well, elementary. But with Maria's artistic inspiration, I soon learned to wield my weapon with much more fluidity. (Jamie and John refrained from participating in the paper party - they were snowflake flakes). 

The results were beautiful against the morning sky.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Close Encounters... with a Grapefruit

We all know that grapefruits come in their own, prepackaged, perfectly sized, biodegradable bowls,

but have you ever really looked at the interior of a grapefruit?
I did this morning - and it's both weird/creepy as well as amazingly textured, miniature and kinda pretty.

I'd never bothered to really look, but today I realized that there are thousands of tiny, bursting water (citrus) balloons filling every grapefruit. Little pearls of squishy, explosive, worm-like threads (gross!) that made me pause in awe at their intricate design, laugh out loud at their ability to shoot their juiciness across the room like milk from a cow's teat, and squirm in discomfort at the idea of eating a see-through (lifeless) grub. All of this with breakfast! It should be a good day.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Do Nothing! Friday Five

Friday Five... Do Nothing Edition

Thanks to Sally for this Friday Five! I am reading a wonderful little book for Advent it's title: "Do nothing Christmas is Coming!" So this week's Friday Five is simple: List Five things you won't be doing to prepare for Christmas. And while you are doing nothing play the bonus, put your feet up and listen to your favourite Advent Carol, and post it or a link to it...

Oh such a freeing FF! (It almost feels like I'm making resolutions). And yet, this is really hard for me, rather than simple. Makes me think....
I will NOT be buying/decorating a huge tree - which is a huge relief, this year.
I will NOT be packing bags and going anywhere, and no one is unpacking their bags in our guest room - Christmas is going to be a relaxing week.
I will NOT be purchasing a lot of gifts - I'm going to use my creativity to make everything I can for dear ones!
I will NOT deconstruct and apologize for my sentimental choices to sing along with favorite Christmas music from my childhood (even though it represents theological understandings I can't agree with and/or ridiculous silliness that makes no sense whatsoever).
I will NOT lament any of the above when Christmas finally arrives!
Bonus: I am now sitting with my feet up and enjoying my favorite Advent carol - the ever wonderful O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Fearsome Beasts

Just northeast of Denver there is a Wild Animal Sanctuary. Lions and tigers and bears... and leopards and wolves and emus and coatimundis, oh my! Each of these creatures has been rescued - either from people who thought they would make good pets or from the circus, etc. - and given safe space to roam. The experience of seeing such beautiful beasts cared for right in my backyard was beyond breathtaking.

So tame. I am the foreign creature
amidst these powerful paws and muscular jaws.
I am intruder to be watched, judged dangerous
yet safe behind high fences.
You, with your black eyes,
despise my gaze - a voyeur
one of many smelling too excited.
You stay calm in your cage.
My breath quickens and my ancient animal self recalls you intimately.
Fearsome. Beautiful.
I am prey -
yet I pray for you.


On a different yet similar note, this past Sunday was the beginning of Advent - a time when we prepare for the coming of Christ. The scripture texts spoke both of the first coming (as a child) and of what has been called the "second" coming. In preparing for my sermon, I stumbled again across William Butler Yeats' poem "The Second Coming" - which I found both disturbing and resonant and, yes, even hopeful. I offer it for yet another "fearsome beast" reflection.

THE SECOND COMING (1920) by William Butler Yeats
    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
    The darkness drops again but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?