Monday, April 27, 2009
I'm starting a new series of collage cards called "Good News." When I was in Greenville, SC visiting my friend Jack Peyrouse recently I went to their Ten Thousand Villages store. (http://www.tenthousandvillages.com/) It is a fair trade store and they have beautiful things from all over the world. I bought a roll of paper, the light blue above, which has pieces of old newspaper imbedded in its fibers. So I am combining this paper with newspaper to do some collage crosses and trees like the one above and this one:
I'm just in the beginning stages with this and am having a lot of fun. But now it's time to go do the other work I love to do...
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Last week I had the gracious gift of retreat with friends. Resting from Holy Week and Easter’s intensity I traveled to St. Mary’s Retreat Center in Sewanee, Tennessee. Mary Mac Shields and Ruth Gillis met me there and we explored the mountains visiting all our favorite haunts and alternating between rest and fun. If laughter is indeed the best medicine then we should be healed from head to toe. Ruth brought us both copies of Barbara Brown Taylor’s new book:
Yesterday I finally got to the orthopedic doctor with my leg which has been causing me pain. I supposed it was something to do with the Achilles tendon. After x-rays and evaluation it was decided that it is a tendonitis which responds only to rest. So I am in a boot which allows the tendon to rest by avoiding stretching. Actually it feels quite good and is wonderful to have this kind of relief after limping along for a couple of months hoping it would get better on its own. I feel a little off balance with the boot but I know this too will pass.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Just when I think that going through a three year lectionary cycle of Sunday lessons doesn't provide much creativity, I get surprised. Every third year on the second Sunday of Easter we hear the story of Thomas the twin who doubts Jesus' resurrection until he is able to see the resurrected Jesus for himself. The disciples are hiding in a room fearing for their lives. In their minds, I'm sure, is the fear that the Jewish authorities would be coming to get them. Being a friend of Jesus is risky business.
These disciples characterize for me the dilemma of many Christians today. Whether we grew up in a home that encouraged faith or not most of us have come into the church because we have known some spiritual experience, some spiritual longing that has motivated us to want to know more. Something has happened in our life that opened our heart to God. Hoping to find more of God in the church we risk walking into the doors of a church and becoming part of a community of other people seeking God. As in everything the more we risk the more vulnerable we become to hurt. Religion, organized religion, is often not a safe place. We get hurt in church, we experience loss, and we get frustrated with each other because we have human failings. Being a friend of Jesus is risky business. Sometimes we lock ourselves away like those first disciples because we are afraid. We are afraid that our risk will prove too expensive, too painful.
But the risen Christ came among the disciples in the homeliness and everydayness of ordinary tasks, shared walks in creation and meals. And he is still present to us in the everydayness. He still says: see my hands and feet. Don’t divert your eyes from my wounds out of politeness or disgust. Look at them. Being my friend means taking a risk. Remember the incarnation. I came among you first in human flesh; human flesh just like yours. Human flesh just like that of your neighbor - flesh that can be hungry and fed; flesh that can be hurt and even killed. Flesh that can embody God’s love.
It was realizing this presence of Jesus in the everyday activities of life that allowed the disciples to move foward and continue the work that Jesus called them to do. And it is this presence of Jesus in our lives that allows us to continue taking the risks of being Jesus' friend.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
A glorious and blessed Easter awaits us tomorrow. I welcome the good news of the resurrection into the darkness of our current world. I ponder the causes of so much illness and death in this small community of New Harmony. I wonder if the depression in our economy, the losses which people have experienced, have pushed some beyond their capacity to hope. It is the dilemma of our age which causes us to place our hope in "things." When the "things of life" begin to fall out from under us there must be something greater to hold on to. What could be greater than the knowledge that God has come to us in his Son Jesus and that he takes away death's sting. This is good news - great news indeed.
It was not as the flowers,
The same hinged thumbs and toes,
Let us not mock God with metaphor,
The stone is rolled back, not papier-mâché,
And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
Have a blessed and joy-filled Easter!