Monday, November 30, 2009

Advent Reflecting

This Sunday I led the first in a short series on Advent; my focus was Advent Traditions. I learned a thing or two about Advent and about imagery that was somewhere in my periphery but not a direct focus of thought, and prepping for this session did that for me.

I learned about Good Deeds Mangers, Advent Calendars, and The Jesse Tree. It isn't that I hadn't heard of them before, just I hadn't paid much mind to them, and to that matter to Advent.

I've been so focused on "arriving," getting to the next step, getting to the end, the finish, that I was missing opportunities. Kinda of like driving 75mph down a small state highway with lots of things to notice, but the destination becomes the focus, and the ability for awe and surprise are greatly diminished.

And so, in getting ready to lead a discussion, Advent has come alive for me. I'm excited for this time, I'm excited to know that each night I and my family will light a candle and say a short evening Advent prayer. I regained something I had lost, but hadn't even known I was yearning for this time and this space. On that note, here's my reflection of Advent that I shared with the group as they then shared their reflections.

I started thinking about child birth and the excitement and preparation and anticipation:
  -- There’s all these ways we count down to birth: months, trimesters, weeks, days, hours.
  -- How you have to begin to prepare your body, mind, and home.
  -- How your life is no longer your own anymore, everything changes.

Then I started to reflect on how much birth reflects becoming a member of the Body of Christ, that through Baptism everything changes and your life is no longer your own anymore.
  -- We renounce, we accept and we do this in community.
  -- We are to go out into the world as different people.

Then I started thinking about God’s love for us:
  -- How much God must love us.
  -- How much God had to trust in His creation.
  -- How much humility God must have (1) To be born and (2) To be born into poverty.

Then I started to think about hospitality:
  -- What does hospitality look like when it isn't offered (continually being turned away)?
  -- What does hospitality look like when it is offered?

Here's some Advent wreath tidbits as well:

Martin Luther had a number of ideas for things that people could do at home to teach the catechism to their children. He certainly didn’t invent the wreath itself, because that goes back to ancient Roman times, and probably even earlier. Luther may have used the wreath as a Christian-education device and thus popularized it. Luther most likely had a hand in it because the Advent wreath in its present form started in Germany as a Lutheran family custom. Wreaths didn’t become popular in churches until the middle of the twentieth century. Now they are nearly universal.

The pink candle is becoming more and more popular, but it has a strange origin. Long ago, the pope had the custom of giving someone a rose on the fourth Sunday in Lent. This led the Roman Catholic clergy to wear rose-colored vestments on that Sunday. The effect was to give some relief to the solemnity of Lent, so this was a very popular custom. Originally, Advent was a solemn fast in preparation for Christmas, so the custom was extended to the third Sunday in Advent to liven it up a little bit too. Somewhere in there the third candle of the Advent wreath turned pink. Meanwhile, Advent is no longer solemn and the pope no longer has the custom of giving out roses. It is kind of odd to think that a Methodist would put a pink candle in a Lutheran Advent wreath because the pope used to have the custom of giving out roses, but sometimes we’re a little more ecumenical than we realize!

Note: All tidbits come from the BBC

Sunday, November 22, 2009

So Maybe Whining to God Works...

...I just heard good news about Step 2. If it's at all possible my P.D. lead would like us to start in early December. I'll know more either early this coming week or after the Thanksgiving holiday break.

We're not cooking a turkey this year, instead we decided on 2 Cornish hens and a small ham with the usual suspect of sides. Cooking turkeys is quite stressful, and we always end up needing to cook it longer then expected; our hope that things will go easier with the hens. I'm hoping the weekend has nice weather so we can sneak in another wonderful hike. If not, then lots of football and playing of games. We're on a Set and Banangrams kick.

We finally finished a 7 book series with the kid's and are now reading a child's version of King Arthur. It's written by the fellow who told C.S. Lewis that J.R.R. was incorrect about "The Loin, the Witch, and the Wardrobe". Also, it (King Arthur) seems to have been quite a popular version through the '50s and '60s. I didn't know this when I bought it. When I first started reading the kids were both ah mama we know this part already...hopefully we'll get to pieces they haven't seen through the Disney lens :)

Hope y'all have a good and safe Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ups and Downs and Waiting, Oh sigh the Waiting

So, I believe I've posted about making it to Step 2, and in case I didn't, well I did. But, now I'm waiting to hear when we're going to have our first meeting. I had hoped to start in November, and the odds of starting in December are right up there with hell and freezing. Sigh, I sigh alot lately in regards to this topic. Sigh, my gut had this feeling about January being the actual start date...sigh, I just didn't want it to be right. I'm still, sigh, hoping to be proven wrong.

I've decided I'm not an Advent girl, I'm an Easter girl - something about death and resurrection and transformation. Maybe it's because Easter arrives, and Advent begins, and I'm plain old tired of begins, at least for a would be so very nice to have arrived.

The last time I inquired was two weeks-ish after I'd been told an email would get sent, and I'm approaching, sigh, another two weeks-ish of not hearing anything again. I have moments of complete okay-ness  and moments of complete frustration. And we all know I like to plan and formulate and sit with, and even day dream about...sometimes it stinks that you can't be a Christian by yourself.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bads Things Are Happening In Uganda

I invite you to go to Rev. Susan Russell's blog: Inch at a Time and read what she has posted (and provided links to) about what is in the process of happening in Uganda in regards to GLBT human beings.

I did write to the Presiding Bishop, I hope that she does not remain silent much longer. Silence in this case is as good as supporting the proposed anti-gay law.

Friday, November 13, 2009

What year is it anyways

So, I'm going to attempt to chant Evening Prayer in January. I asked our church's music guru if he would let me record him chanting the service and then I would practise/learn through mimicking him, and he agreed. Then he reminded me that I should pick out what readings, collects and such I was going to use, and that's when I realised that the Liturgical Year will have changed.

There are two years you have to figure out in Lectionary and Daily Office land. Figuring out one does not assist with the other. The Lectionary has 3 years to choose from: Year A, Year B, or Year C. The Daily Office has 2 years to choose from: Year 1 or Year 2. I tried reading what the BCP says for figuring out Lectionary years and since 2010 divides evenly by 3 thought that it was Year A - wrong, it's Year C but I don't know why. Selecting the correct Daily Office year was counter-intuitive as well, but that I did get correct. So, if anyone is curious, come January we're in Episcopal Year 2, Year C. Next year I'm going to buy an Episcopal Church Year Guide Kalendar (and no Kalendar is not misspelled).

I'm excited about the doing this, I love LoVe love it when the priest chants the Words of Institution, I miss that alot. If I ever get to become a priest, I'm gonna chant, chant, chant my little heart away. For now though, I get to imagine what that might feel like one evening in January.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Going through my BCP

A prayer worth keeping in mind:

This day will not come again.
This day will never come again.
These beautiful flowers, this gentle breeze,
this sunset, this particular alchemy of nature will
never gather together again in this perfect unity.
This day on Earth shall never come again

Friday, November 06, 2009

I liked this

I think perhaps it was the song, but the imagery too...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

To Borrow a Phrase

The good times are killing me...

...ever felt guilty for feeling down? So you start listing all the things you should be happy about happy for, and so you perk up but it's only momentary, and then you feel guilty only more so. Perhaps it's just a melancholy disposition, perhaps. Perhaps, it's crazy family shit that you put states between to buffer you but they still manage to find their way in into their crap and attempt to make you feel guilty for not doing x and/or y and/or z and by the way that luggage is over twenty years old, and by the way I'm not responsible for your @#$%ed decisions. Perhaps it's just life, and shouldn't you know by now how to live. Get right with God and it's all good. Only I'm not sure what I got wrong...I've never really liked that phrase...I like instead the good times are killing me.