Friday, September 15, 2017

It's a little thing!

A few months back, my husband and I took a little vacation.  We enjoyed our time away and relished in the togetherness.  One of our stops was in a place called A Taste of Amish.  There were bulk foods, lots of different kinds of teas, homemade items, and wonderful sandwiches.  Our visit was on a cold and dreary day, but we were warmed by the charm of the place.

After eating lunch and on our way to the check out, I noticed the sign at the cash register.  Beside it was a glass jar of little plastic soldiers--and the bidding to take one and place it in your sight as a reminder to pray for those who serve our country grabbed me. I took one--wrapped it carefully with my other purchases.

Later, when our trip was completed I unwrapped the soldier and placed it in my prayer corner.  It is a little thing, but it is a constant reminder to me to pray for our American soldiers serving around the world.

Perhaps others can make this offering!  What if a church or business placed a jar of plastic soldiers as an invitation to prayer?  If you make a trip to the Dollar Tree, a bag of these little things can be obtained for $1.00!

It's a little thing--yes!  But prayer is very important and our service personnel need our prayer.
Join me in praying for them.   
For those in the Armed Forces of our Country (from the Book of Common Prayer)

Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Moving toward September…

          Image result for gleaning Planning for the fall season and flipping through the calendar, I am noticing that September is on the horizon.  With the heat of the past few days, fall will be a welcome season with its cooler temperatures and its many colors.  For many people, school is already underway and in some places, startup will follow Labor Day.  I love September—apple season is near!
            But something that knows no season is hunger.  Recently I learned that September is Hunger Action Month according to the Society of St. Andrew.  If you don’t know about this society, you might like to acquaint yourself with their website which may be found here:
            The Society of St. Andrew has many resources for you to develop a plan of action.  Their 2017 Calendar of Prayer and Action is chock full of sound, biblical responses to helping to end hunger.  If you attend St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Oxford, MS, see me; I’ll be happy to make a copy of the calendar for you.  The calendar can also be obtained from their website. Families may find the Society of St. Andrew’s coin boxes a helpful aid in sharing the problem of hunger with children.  These, too, may be obtained online, or you can make your own “bank” for coins.  Perhaps if you treat your children to a child’s meal at a fast food restaurant you might put in the same amount of money into the money box/bank to donation to help end hunger.
            The African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” is very apt in addressing hunger in the United States.  Look in your local area for what’s being done through food pantries, meals served in churches, education programs.  We’ve often said for environmental issues “to think globally and act locally”—good advice for addressing the issues of hunger.  Let us together ponder Jesus’ words in Matthew: “You give them something to eat.”

            May your September be one of blessing.  May it also be one of prayer and action.  Get a calendar, fill your coin box/bank, and offer it to God on Sunday, October 1, which is World Communion day.  Then, count your coins and send a check to the Society of St. Andrew to aid in their work to end hunger.  

Thursday, August 3, 2017

O the times, they are a changin'

It is the beginning of August--where has this year gone?  School begins for our local schools tomorrow!  Have already seen Halloween decorations in the stores!  2017 is going fast.  Faster than I'd like.  And change is in the wind.

The times are changing.  My retirement has been announced.  I'll be retiring in February of 2018.  It is bittersweet; the new embrace of life on the Homestead with my husband is so inviting!  But the laying down of active ministry has my emotions stirring.  How difficult to lay down the relationships--even temporarily.  In some sense it is a protracted slipping away, and yet how quickly February will arrive!  Seize the day!  Make the most of the time we have together!  My head and my heart will come together.

And I'm thinking of a new name for this blog.  Oh, I'll always be that Eclectic Episcopalian!  But perhaps a name that may be more reflective of my new role in retirement--as I continue to discover what that means for me. I invite your thoughts, should you care to share them.  Wife, goatherd, gardener, collector of things that make me laugh, maker of dolls--these are among the things that will be a part of my life.  I hope to be a much better neighbor--and a friend!  Mostly, I seek to be a child of God embracing this new step--even as titles and blog names may change!

Dreaming!  2017 is blowing through--and along with it, change is in the wind.  Thank you God for such rich, golden years as a priest in your church!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

2016 gone . . .thank goodness!

2017 here ...let's make it a good one! 


And I hope to be back writing my very simple blog about life!
Chosen word for this year:  Purge--hoping to focus on "letting go!"
Cleaning out ... making space...

Chosen Saint for 2017--Hildegard of Bingen--she still inspires me!

Blessed New year to all!  

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Welcoming

I've been reflecting on what it is to be a welcoming community.  Many churches today speak of being welcoming, of hospitality.  What does it mean to be such a community?

A couple of weeks ago as I was making a pastoral call at our local hospital, I happened to have the radio on to NPR, and heard a piece that captured my attention.  It was on "Cowboy Church."  You may want to listen, too: http://www.npr.org/2013/09/01/217268202/cowboy-church-with-rodeo-arena-they-do-church-different

That same week, I received notice of an article posted by the Episcopal News Service (ENS) regarding biker/motorcycle blessings.  It may be found here:
http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2013/08/28/born-to-be-bikers-motorcycle-ministries-reach-out-to-under-served/
I was interviewed via telephone for this article because in one of my previous parishes, I celebrated a biker mass and blessings.

What does it mean to be a welcoming community where you are?  How has a hospitality ministry made a difference to your faith community?

It saddens the heart to read that visitors received so little attention on a Sunday morning.  Not everyone is a member; some need a word of encouragement.  Be attentive; look for the stranger in your midst, and then, offer them the peace of Christ with signs and symbols of welcome.


Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Sanctuary of the Barn

And there was evening and there was morning...

As a priest in an Episcopal Church, it is the liturgy that draws me deeper and deeper into the community and also into the love of God.  But in recent days, I have discovered the sanctuary of our barn.  There is almost a liturgical feel to our rhythm of life on our little homestead that we call Almost Paradise.  Our goats need tender loving care in the evening and in the morning.  

Each morning as I head to the barn to feed and water the goats, there is a feel of prayer.  Daily Morning Prayer and daily Evening Prayer were once standards of Anglican/Episcopal churches.  The church I serve has spoken Morning Prayer Monday through Friday but unfortunately, it is not well attended. Yet the sanctuary of the barn calls daily--in the evening and in the morning.  My goats are my community, and their song is often a "Maaaaa", but a song none the less--such a joyful noise.  What I love about this rhythm is that it is a reminder to pray . . . for God's creation, for world hunger, for those who are ill.  Prayers of thanksgiving, too; prayer of thanksgiving for this special barn and these special companions, for the special man with whom I share my life and for the little hens who provide us with daily eggs. 

And then there is the weekly cleaning of the barn--what I often wish I could do in my vocation as a priest.  I scoop up the waste of the barn and carry it to the compost pile.  There it is made into something special to make our garden grow.

The sanctuary of the barn provides a place for reflection, for laughter (goats can be so funny!), for love and comfort.  And it fits the rhythm of my day, in the evening and in the morning.  Thanks be to God.


Monday, August 3, 2015

Categories

     I like the way that libraries work; books are grouped by categories.  Fiction is listed by author, non fiction by subject matter.  It helps to keep things organized.
     The table of contents and the indices in cook books are invaluable tools; they allow the cook to quickly find recipes that are listed in categories.  Makes dinner preparation easy.

     Collections are categorized, too. For instance, I collect goat figurines and "hands".  I like to keep similar items together.  When one shops on E-bay, it is easy to find things in their particular category.  
     Categories help to keep things organized.
     When it comes to people, however, I find categories aren't always helpful.  We tend to want to place people in categories according to our assumptions.  It seems easy to "judge" others if we put them in categories: blacks, gays, hispanic, short people, and so on.  In categories, it seems easy for hate to enter in.
     But meeting people as individuals is something all together different.  If there is one thing that sticks out for me about Jesus, it is relationships!  God, who looks upon the heart, in Jesus seeks out the individual.  It's a good model for us.  To seek out the individual. 
     I am grateful for the many people in my life from many different walks of life.  When I see with my "Jesus eyes" I no longer view them in categories--a place where hate seeps in --but see them as the wonderfully and uniquely made person they are becoming.  I am becoming "me", too.