I have found that as a parent and a pastor, life is exceedingly hectic. Even when I am able to carve out time for prayer and renewal, it is hard to silence the noise of this busy, busy world and just be with God.
This poem came as I was letting go of all the excuses and distractions so that I could be still and know the goodness of God.
I recently opened a shop on Etsy called Piecemaker's Piece for the stoles that I design and make. For my senior thesis project at Union Theological Seminary, I designed and sewed 6 stoles (Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, and water) as well as a prayer shawl (All Saints' Day--w/ pictures and names of women I consider my cloud of witnesses). The reception was wonderful, with people asking if I would make them to sell--so now I am!
Writing from the front lines of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) Churchwide Assembly, I hadn't expected to find new evidence of the ones we love. But guess what? “The Ones We Love” are here, couched between endless parliamentary procedure and reports, applause and argument. I've only been here three and a half days and I've already learned a lot that's new about loving someone and being their friend and their sister in Christ.
My prayer life has suffered lately. I have been feeling a bit adrift and wondering why prayer hasn’t seemed to be happening much this summer. Busy? Yes, but that isn’t new. Not enough time in nature? No, there have been plenty of walks around the lake and time spent in the garden watching birds and butterflies. Too much going on at home or church? Usually the case, but prayer doesn’t automatically fall off the schedule.
In advance of going to see the movie Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, I recently re-immersed myself in book six of the series. In this installation, Harry is commissioned by Dumbledore to capture a missing memory - something to do with Lord Voldemort’s younger self, Tom Riddle, and the very dark magic of the horcrux. The Horcrux is such dark magic, in fact, that not even ever-studious Hermoine Granger can find information about it in the Hogwarts library. It has all been sealed away. But, for the purposes of this reflection, YOU must know what a Horcrux is, so I will tell you (and thus ruin the suspense for all potential Harry Potter book six readers or watchers.)
“Well, the bad news is you’re going to be sick for weeks,” the doctor offered with a (sort of) sympathetic smile. I didn’t respond immediately, waiting for some sort of good news corollary. It didn’t come. After a four hour visit, I walked out the doors of the emergency room, less feverish than when I came, clutching my information sheet about mononucleosis and a prescription for super-strength Motrin. Before I left the hospital parking lot, I was calling everyone I remember having shared my saliva with in the past week.
Kind of embarrassing at age 26.
My sense of call to the ministry started as I think many do – with many questions and doubts. Was this really God’s call? Why me? How could I be “worthy” of such a responsibility? What about all of that time in college and for a few years after where I wasn’t even going to church? God, are you sure you have the right person?
As I started to sense my call to ministry, my small group, friends, and leadership in my church in Boston were wonderfully supportive and affirming. As I took my initial steps of looking at M. Div. programs, I felt called to one particular PC(USA) Seminary, and in the process confirmed again that my denominational home was in the Presbyterian Church. Then I started to learn about the ordination process.
I am not fond of reality television. In fact, that statement puts my sentiments quite mildly. In truth I am repulsed by the modern television programs that claim to be “reality”. Any program that exploits the young adult population that I serve brings up feelings of anger and frustration for me. For this reason I never expected to find a reality television show that I was able to watch with something more than perverse curiosity, or, more likely, anger and frustration. Two summers ago, while spending my vacation time with my family on the beach, my beloved sister proved me wrong when she insisted that I join her in watching Fox’s hit series, “So You Think You Can Dance”.