My Mom’s voice gets stuck in my head

In the shower this morning, my mom’s voice got stuck in my head. I’m not sure how I transitioned from shaving my legs to sitting near her knee, but I was there. Her nylon string acoustic guitar resting on her thigh, and a group of us around singing “If I were a butterfly, I’d thank you Lord for giving me wings…” She had a way of singing the end of the chorus and thumping twice on the hollow body of the guitar.

Last Sunday in church, my mom and dad sang with me in church… even though they are 1154.3 miles away. I started singing the final hymn with the good and friendly folk at St. Giles. But about halfway through my parents voices filled my ears. My Dad’s tenor, my mom’s … she can sing a big range and she would pick what she was in the mood for – soprano or alto. They both would sometimes sing melody and other times harmony – always perfectly, always clear, always like they meant what they were singing.

A few days ago, I heard my girls laughing in their bedroom. And then  I heard my sister join in the laughter. And my brother. Only it was my one daughter who sounds so much like Lisa that I was really hearing. But for a minute I was many years and many miles away with their voices.

This is my Cloud of Witnesses. Or part of it anyway.

Commentary on Matthew 4: 12-17 (from NT Wright)

(read this morning)

“But the trouble was that many of his contemporaries were eager to get on with the fight. His message of repentance was not, therefore, that they should feel sorry for personal and private sins (though he would of course want that as well), but that as a nation they should stop rushing toward the cliff edge of violent revolution, and instead go the other way, towards God’s kingdom of light and peace and healing and forgiveness, for themselves and the world.

What would happen if they didn’t? Gradually, as Matthew’s story develops, we begin to realize. If the light-bearers insist on darkness, darkness they shall have. If the peace-people insist on war, war they shall have. If the people called to bring God’s love and forgiveness into the world insist on hating everyone else, hatred and all it brings will come crashing around their ears. This won’t be an arbitrary judgment or punishment; it will be what they themselves have been calling for. This is why they must repent while there’s still time. The kingdom is coming, and they are standing in the way.

The message is just as urgent today, if not more so for us who live on this side of Calvary and Easter. Matthew would want to say to us that the kingdom which Jesus established through his own work, and his death and resurrection, now faces us with the same challenge. Are we working to extend God’s kingdom to the world? Or are we standing in its way?”

Matthew for Everyone (Part 1), N.T. Wright (p. 30)

#searchingforsunday

Once upon a 2014, I stumbled into the writing of Rachel Held Evans. She was one of the companions that I met along my path when I desperately needed the wisdom and friendship of others in a way that I couldn’t even put into words for my family. It was one of those rare situations where I was certain this stranger had been skimming my journals or somehow listening in on thoughts that weren’t even clear to me. She *got* me even more than I *got* myself.

I read “A Year of Biblical Womanhood” first. The title is catchy and there is some ‘funny’ to the book. What I loved most about this book was the intelligent scholarship that Rachel brought to the conversation. It was such a relief to not have ANOTHER book full of proof-texts and gender stereotypes and first century household codes.

Soon after, I read “Faith Unravelled” (previously called “Evolving in MonkeyTown”), which she wrote first. Again I was treated to intelligent, honest writing as Rachel shared about her faith journey. I loved this book so much that it became part of Caleb’s Bible class this year.

I was over the moon thrilled to be allowed to be part of the launch group for Rachel’s third book, “Searching for Sunday”. I have read and begun to re-read this continuing spiritual autobiography this winter.

Searching for Sunday” is a continuation of Rachel’s journey of faith with the Body of Christ through the grid of the sacraments of Baptism, Confession, Holy Orders, Communion, Confirmation, Anointing the Sick, and Marriage. In each rite, she talks historical, academically, and personally about how these holy ancient demonstrations forms us and continues forming us into Who We are Called to Be individually and corporately.

Rachel’s gift is that she asks great questions without looking to pick a fight. She has strong (and I think right on) criticism’s of the Church, but never is there a question of how much she loves the Church.  She has a strong respect for her roots and much love for the Church of her childhood. Her writing oozes with compassion even in her questions and critiques.

In trying to write this blog-post, I have started about 29 other other blog posts. Some much too personal to share right now. I count running into Rachel Held Evan’s writing when I did as one of the kindest interventions God has ever orchestrated for me. I was almost ready to hang up my HopeHat and trade it in for a shawl of cynicism. I am so thankful for her questions, her honesty, and her courage to share her journey.

This is not a book that I can summarize in 500 words or less. Over the next week, I will be peppering my FB and twitter streams with some of the amazing quotes from the book. I may keep blogging about it and sharing some of the work other folks on the launch team has developed. Searching for Sunday is available tomorrow. If you like your answers, then I don’t recommend it. But if you are a pilgrim with more questions than answers  like me, then I think you will really enjoy this book.

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This astonishes me. Once upon a time, there was an alpaca. And it wasn’t this lovely color of green. But it grew some fleece (about 5 to 8 pounds of it that year*). Someone cared for the alpaca. The alpaca hummed while it grew it’s fleece. (Really! check out the website below!). Someone harvested the fleece and it was crafted into a yarn fiber (a fiber that is one of  the loveliest things to touch as I have ever felt). Someone found a dye and transformed the fiber to the color you see above.

The hank of fiber (two of them) was gifted to me (by my sister? thank you sister!). It sat waiting (humming?) for me for about a year.

I picked it up and chose a pattern. On four needles and with one strand of fiber, fingerless mitts are being created. I will finish them this weekend, and I feel a bit sad about that. It has been such a wonderful project to work on during the past month.

Thank you Alpaca. Thank you Alpaca caregiver and weaver and dyer. Thank you pattern writer (how does your brain function!?).

Even more, thank you Abba – for knitting me together. (Psalm 139:13. Did You hum, too?) 🙂

 

*http://www.aragonalpacas.com/alpaca_info.html

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My friend Elisa is leading a 52 week adventure of shifting our focus more and more onto our loving Father. Each week we are going to be grabbing our cameras to capture one of the many moments where we see God’s love and care and joy and delight in our lives. We are creating a photographic chronicle of a visual pilgrimage into His faithfulness.

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Friday afternoon from my Bedroom Window

My friend Elisa is leading a 52 week adventure of shifting our focus more and more onto our loving Father. Each week we are going to be grabbing our cameras to capture one of the many moments where we see God’s love and care and joy and delight in our lives. We are creating a photographic chronicle of a visual pilgrimage into His faithfulness.

This is my Week One photo for my Focus.52 journey. The ice has been on our trees for well over a week now in Maine. I am overwhelmed by this beauty. We have been kept safe  and warm during the season of celebrating His birth. A world where it feels like it is always winter, and the promise that Aslan is on the move.

Hope.

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(please check out Elisa’s website, and consider joining us on your blog, facebook, or twitter)