Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Winter Walk

I took this picture in December while I was at our clergy Advent retreat. We were at our Diocesan Camp and Conference Center, Waycross. It is near Bloomington, IN in the Brown Mountains. It takes about 3 1/2 hours to get there from New Harmony and it is a lovely spot especially for quiet reflection.

I found a folder with some of my writing - stories and poems - while cleaning out some papers. One of the pieces was a reflection I did just a few days after 9/11. I was living in Albuquerque, NM at the time. My home was out on the west side of Albuquerque in a new housing development surrounded by wonderful desert mesas. My faithful Katie was a much younger golden retriever then and we loved to go out walking on the mesas every morning. I realize in these journal entries my continuing struggle to understand reconciliation. From September 13, 2001:

"Walking on the desert these past couple of mornings has been comfort to my soul. I feel blown apart by my own conflicting emotions. I weep, but no real relief comes. It is a matter of coughing up the wracking sobs within until I can breathe easier. I look at the pictures of wreckage and pain. I hear the stories. I listen to the analysis and I grow quieter. I have no words to say to others. Inside I am guarding my heart. For I know that there is another shoe to drop. The word RETALIATION rises up. And against it constantly vibrating is the word


My head aches with this word which vibrates. More lives will be lost. More pain. More anger. Where does it end? And so I ask, God comfort us with the balm of Gilead. Oh how I have come to love the comfort of the desert and the wildness of God's creation. It was raining this morning when Katie and I ventured out. Out into the sand and mud in search of treasures and bunnies and good smells. I love to watch Katie as she scares a bunny out of hiding and it flies across the desert to safety with Katie in pursuit. And I am thinking, 'Fear not bunny, Katie is a slow footed lover who only wants the chase.' I laugh at her, but I know she is serious in escorting bunnies to their homes. She is puzzled by their tiny homes and the crevices that they squeeze into. She lingers, sniffing, waiting for an invitation in. But even though she is fluffy, she will not fit. I love her innocent face - 'Where did they go Mama?' And so we go home to have coffee and wonder about a time when lions and lambs, and bunnies and golden retrievers will lie down together in peace."

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Again...A New Start

505 Granary Street - Home Away From Home
It's been a long time since I posted on my blog. I thought a new look might be appropriate for a new beginning. The above picture is part of why I have not been posting. In December we moved our church office across the street from the old parish house in order to start construction on the new parish house. We are currently housed in the Mother Superior House, a guest house of the Blaffer Foundation here in New Harmony. The front of the house is still a lovely guest house and we occupy the back part. The middle of this house is an old log cabin which was used by the Harmonists. It has a deep iron kettle set into one corner. It may have been used for cooking or for dying fabrics with indigo. Although it is a small space, we are having our coffee hours here. The other part of the house is a Harmonist built house. Glenda's office is in one room and mine in another. Moving a church office, even if it is just across the street, is a huge process. it took us 3 weeks to get the phones and internet straight with AT and T. The construction on the new parish house went well in December while the weather was better. It's been either too cold or too wet this month for construction. It's good to have it under way.

Window on the West Wall of St. Stephen's

This window at St. Stephen's really lights up in the late afternoons. The gospel lesson tomorrow is about Jesus teaching in the synagogue. He comes home to Nazareth and attends Sabbath services with his family. During the worship he is handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He reads Isaiah's words: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." Then Jesus preaches a sermon of one sentence: "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." Luke's telling of this incident is dramatic. I think Luke wants us to gasp with incredulity at Jesus' words. "Who is this guy and how can he say this?" Of course there are no surprises for us - we know who he is and we know the end of the story. It must have been quite an epiphany for the people gathered in the synagogue. If you had been there would you have followed this man? Sometimes I still wonder if we (including myself) who know the whole story are ready to follow Jesus? The purpose Jesus has set before us (bringing good news to the poor, etc...) is an enormous task. Only with God's help can I make even the first step towards following; only with God's help...