You may have heard that my mom passed recently. Thank you for the cards and prayers, food and understanding. I am thankful for the time I had with her and the relationship we worked on together. I am also thankful that she is at rest. When I am weary, I turn to well-loved sources of inspiration. I added Psalm 23 to a recent service because I love to live with that writing, and for more modern inspiration, I turn to the writings of a one-time acquaintance, Steve Garnaas-Holmes. Here is what he wrote on 6/19/22 and posted on www.unfoldinglight.net
May I Embody your Grace
Spirit Within, may I embody your grace.
May I not seek to be right, but to be gentle,
not to get my way but to be kind, never to surrender my tenderness.
May I be faithful and steadfast, and see people with my faith, not my fears,
only to raise up and not push down, to set free and not to corner,
to bless, not to use, never to surrender my compassion.
May I clearly bear witness to your prayer for us,
and speak and act for justice for the sake of all who are not free,
never to surrender my conviction.
Grant me courage to be loving, wisdom to be humble, strength to be gentle.
Spirit Within, by your grace, may I embody your grace.
Summer plans! Can you believe it? This is the June Muse - and summer is here - Almost…
As I make plans for summer, I think about heat and sun, lawn mowing, camping, hiking and swimming. As Pentecost is June 5, I also start thinking about my favorite church season: the season after Pentecost. Technically we (all of us) live in 2 or 3 church seasons at a time. There is a yearly cycle of church seasons: we start with Advent through Christmas, Epiphany, season after Epiphany, Ash Wednesday, Lent, Holy Week, Easter, season after Easter, Pentecost, Season after Pentecost, and end the year with the celebration of the Reign of Christ. As you read the progression, you may think about how we move through each year with its Holidays and seasons and may even associate different colors of the season that we cycle through on a regular basis.
We are also participating in a longer arc of observance. On June 5, we will remember that the Holy Spirit was set loose on the people gathered in Jerusalem and has been continuously at work ever since. In that sense, we are the church after Pentecost; living as modern day disciples of Jesus, guided, aided, and moved by the Spirit. In this sense, we are building the “Kingdom” and preparing for the Reign of Christ.
In this work of building and preparing, we are also anticipating and awaiting the return of Christ. Thus, we are at the same time living a new kind of Advent. In my thoughts and intentions, I tend to more closely connect with the Spirit of the Season after Pentecost; perhaps because I am so very aware of my need of, and also thankful for the presence of, the Holy Spirit. We are ALWAYS, until the return of Christ or the completion of the will of God on earth, in BOTH the season after Pentecost AND Advent, even when we may also be observing/remembering other holy seasons.
As I mentioned, the Season after Pentecost is my favorite and incorporates the summer and fall, in this case June 6 - November 20. Back to summer plans: frequently in the summer we follow a longer storyline in the lectionary. One year we followed the Patriarchs in the Hebrew Scriptures, another year, a series of letters from the Epistles. This year we are doing something new!
This year I hope to do a series on songs of faith, and I need your help! Historically we have sung our faith and there are many wonderful hymns that speak our faith well and there are many other songs that sing our faith or offer us strength, comfort or guidance. This is your invitation!
Take a moment and think about 1 (one, singular, NOT A LIST) piece of music that is very important to you. It may express a fervent belief, remind you of a special moment in faith or understanding, or of a promise, or a strength or a presence. Share a brief explanation about why you chose the 1 song/hymn that you chose.
You can email or text (firstname.lastname@example.org 838-200-8601), put a written statement in the offering plate, or send it in the mail to me (1 Rivercrest Drive, Rexford NY 12148).
Over the summer I will focus on how music has formed and continues to form our faith. If I don’t get your input, it will be all about me. No one wants that! If I receive a ton of responses, we will have a lot to share! I expect that I will let you know if your choice will be highlighted on a specific Sunday. We can do this on each Sunday of July and August - (possibly even SEPTEMBER)! I look forward to this opportunity and hope that you will contribute! If you want your favorite to be considered for this process, please get it to me by 6/30 at the very latest - earlier is preferred.
Looking forward to your response!