Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
This is a piece of collage that I did recently. I have been using pieces of old calendars which have icons on them. The paper of the calendars is such a good quality I just couldn't bear to throw it away! I feel that way about lots of paper that comes across my fingertips; thus, my "stash" of paper is large. My fellow book artist classmates at Campbell realized my love for paper and left me all sorts of bits and pieces on my table. I love to look at them and dream about how to use them. The pattern for this cross was inspired by a book of Celtic art that I have. It is a lovely design and fun to play with. I like the simplicity of it. Here is another one from "icon pieces."
I think it is stunning how these three very different pieces form such a lovely cross. The two pieces for the horizontal crossbar look like heads butting! It is so easy to forget when we are butting heads that God is in the middle of it. Last week I took communion to one of our lovely older members. We read Psalm 46 and the words: "Be still and know that I am God" jogged a place of need inside of me. There is a wonderful way to pray these words:
Be still and know that I am God
Be still and know that I am
Be still and know
I have been running up and down these words over the past several many days and it is a great comfort. Like the cross it reminds me that God is in the middle of all the things I am doing and if I can "be still" instead of running headlong into everything I might just come to rest in God's presence.
Here is a fun picture of the cat that shares this home with Katie and me. In her words she would probably say that we share her home!
Both Katie and Pumpkin have been "clingy" since I came back from sabbatical. I suspect that they like me miss Sugar's sweet presence in the house. I do miss her so much. Pumpkin has mellowed into a lap cat which is something new for me. She will actually let me knit while she is stretched out across my lap, but occasionally wakes up long enough to bat the yarn around. I never thought I would have a cat....
Friday, February 6, 2009
Millard Fuller in Zaire (1974)
Fuller, a native of Alabama, graduated from Auburn University and with a friend founded a marketing company. He was so successful that by the time he was 29 he was a millionaire. Becoming a millionaire was exciting but costly. His wife Linda had asked him for a divorce and Fuller's health was not good. These crises caused Fuller to reevaluate his life. He and Linda both renewed their commitment to Christ and began to live in a radically different way. They sold everything, gave all their money to the poor and moved to Koinonia Farm in Americus, Ga. At Koinonia they met with Clarence Jordan and others and decided to start a ministry in housing. Their effort was to provide, at no profit, homes which were financed by no interest loans. In 1974 they moved with their 4 children to Zaire to test this concept in a housing development there. Habitat for Humanity was built from these early efforts. Over 300,000 homes have been built since its beginning.
We don't think in terms of "saints" much anymore. A saint is someone through whom we see God's hand at work. I am voting sainthood for Millard Fuller. He allowed God to take him out of the swift current of worldly values and placed him in the wild and wide stream of God's love. So St. Millard, thank you for giving us a vision of greater things.
Today I got an e-mail from my niece Bretta and she has started her own blog. She makes me very jealous as she shows off her wool yarns died with Kool Aid! Check her out at http://www.brettaogburn.blogspot.com/. I am so proud of her. She gives me such joy and inspiration.
Monday, February 2, 2009
God does not faint or grow weary. This is very good news! The greater good news in this passage is that God will give strength to those of us who do grow weary. Growing weary seems to be endemic these days. I grow weary as I hear about the growing unemployment rates. Each interview with a recently laid off person, and every news story about greed at the corporate level saddens our heart and saps our strength. It is hard to believe that we who wait upon the Lords will be renewed. We would have very little to hope except that history gives us reason to trust Isaiah's words. The people of Israel were at the bottom physically, economically and spiritually. The people of Israel were in exile in a foreign country. They were in trouble, they were down with little hope of being raised up. But God did raise them up and they were brought home. This is the pattern for God's people throughout history. God is always and forever reaching out to us.
St. Stephen's in the Snow
This is the snow and ice which came last Tuesday. Beautiful but lots of trouble! There are thousands of people still without power. New Harmony residents were not as affected by the power outages as much as the people in Evansville and surrounding places. The main roads are clear but the side roads are icy. Snowfall has a way of making everything look clean and new. It would be nice if all of the messiness of life could be cleaned up so easily and quickly.
This is the cake from yesterday's welcome home party at the Barn Abbey. It was a wonderful celebration of the sabbatical time. The food was great (as it always is at St. Stephen's) and we spent time catching up on the things that have happened in the 3 months of the sabbatical. I am so grateful to the parish for enabling this time of rest and renewal. They are a gifted parish whose abilities for ministry are outstanding.