Anything is Possible!

With Faith, Hope and Perseverance


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Serving at Cursillo: a Spiritual Weekend

 

Trinity Center pond

My weekend was intense, busy, and very social. I knew it would be outside my comfort zone, but I was asked to be on the music team, and I wanted to give back for all the blessings I’ve received. Leaning heavily toward introversion, I’m more comfortable finding my spiritual moments alone in quiet places, but thankfully, I found God in many varied moments during my four days serving at “EC 95” (The 95th Cursillo weekend of the East Carolina Episcopal Diocese.)

Cursill is a three day adventure for 20 pilgrims who are there to learn about Christian leadership and to be loved and served by the team. One of the common experiences shared by pilgrims was a deeper relationship with Jesus and one another. As a team member serving the pilgrims, I felt this deepening, too. Even with the lack of sleep from late nights and early mornings, even with my occasional discomfort from being around  many people who I didn’t know well, I felt the deepening. I felt the love for people who became family.

It helped that our Cursillo weekend was held at Trinity Center, a place close to nature and close to my heart, where they build around the trees.

Tree in deck

Trinity is an Episcopal retreat center nestled on the North Carolina coast between Bogue Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.

Sunset at Sander's Point (2)

ocean from the pavilion

One of my favorite places at Trinity Center, besides the beach….  and the sound….. and the pond….

pond throug trees (3)

Trinity Center pond

…is the tunnel that runs under the main road and leads to the beach.

tunnel sign

tunnel entrance

tunnel with turtle

The tunnel is a great place to sing. Imagine the echo. Or is it called reverb?

On Friday afternoon, as I walked the wooded road to my room during a short break, I stopped to admire the light shining through the leaves ahead.

path of connection with Mom and Dad (2)

It was here that I felt the powerful and undeniable presence of my parents. They “told” me (in feelings more than words) of their joy that I was there serving with my husband, and that they are proud of us both. My parents had a long history of ministry in soup kitchens and working with veterans. This is the first time I’ve felt them both together since my father died in January. The confirmation that they are together still makes my heart sing.

djembe purple background

I finally got me a Djembe!

And I did a lot of singing at Cursillo. As part of the music team, I sang, played my guitar, and got to experiment with the new drum I bought for this occasion.

Cursillo music is mostly folksy with some contemporary praise songs. When somebody requested “Wade In the Water,” we had to hunt for the music because it wasn’t on our song list. But it turned out to be such a big hit, we sang this powerful spiritual three times during the weekend. This article explains that “Harriet Tubman used the song “Wade in the Water” to tell escaping slaves to get off the trail and into the water to make sure the dogs slavecatchers used couldn’t sniff out their trail.” 

The following arrangement, while different than the simple version we sang, gives a feeling close to what I felt during our closing service singing with about 50 people and three guitars as I kept a strong, steady beat on my drum.

In spite of the intensity, I’m thankful to have served at EC 95. But some day,  I want to go to Trinity Center just to relax. I bet I’ll do some singing and wading, too.

Silver beach (2)


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Answering a Call

“Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”  (Interpretive translation of Talmudic texts)

I’ve been called to be part of the music team for pilgrims attending Cursillio, a four day course in apostolic movement. We convene at Trinity Center, an Episcopal retreat center by the Atlantic Ocean. But I wouldn’t call Cursillio a retreat. Its intensity has been known to stretch the boundaries of this introvert’s comfort zone. Maybe that’s not a bad thing – for a few days, anyway. I’ll be taking my guitar and the new drum I bought. My goal is to have fun while serving, singing, and spending some time in nature.

Trinity Center pond

Trinity Center pond

I’ll be leaving tomorrow and will have limited internet access. Don’t know if I’ll have time to dip my toe in the stream of Consciousness on Saturday, but maybe I’ll get to dip my toe in the ocean.

As they say at Cursillio,

De Colores!

I know this is a little long for a one-liner, but I’ll be gone for a few days. Go visit Linda for lots of great one-liner’s at:

https://lindaghill.com/2017/04/26/one-liner-wednesday-best-friends/

1linerwedsbadgewes

The rules, which I sometimes follow are:

1. Make it one sentence.

2. Try to make it either funny or inspirational.

3. Use our unique tag #1linerWeds.

4. Add our very cool badge to your post for extra exposure!

5. Have fun!

 

 

 


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A Gift

forest-605505_960_720.jpg pixabay (2)

Have you ever fallen under nature’s spell

walking in the cathedral forest

with sunbeams streaming down from heaven?

It is a gift from the Creator

Maker of heaven and earth

Creator of the universe and willow bark

crystals and all that we need

for healing and nourishment.

When we fall under the spell of nature,

we honor the Creator, God, The Great Spirit, Yahweh, Allah, Goddess –

Creator of Gaia, her trees, flowers, rivers, oceans

and all kinds of beings that fly and crawl and swim and walk.

We were made to love this gift of love,

to protect and cherish the wonders of the earth.

Mother Earth is a living organism

Blessings to you on this Earth Day.

SOCS

Today’s Stream of Consciousness prompt was the word, “spell,” brought to us by Linda at:

https://lindaghill.com/2017/04/21/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-apr-2217/

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!


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The Human Side of Jesus

Jesus_Washing_the_Feet_of_his_Disciples_(Albert_Edelfelt)_-_Nationalmuseum_-_18677.tif.jpg Wikimedia commons

Painting by Albert Edelfelt 1854-1905

Tonight at my church, someone’s going to wash my feet. Then I’ll wash someone else’s feet. In the past, I’ve skipped this ceremony in our “Maundy Thursday” service, mainly because Holy Week is so busy. I figured Wednesday potluck, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday was enough. But singing in the choir, it’s my responsibility to be there. So, I decided to look deeper into this foot washing business.

Jesus washed his disciples feet during the time of Passover when he knew his time on this earth was coming to an end.

Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end.  John 13:1 (NLT)

It is this love that pulls me in to Jesus. Like the humility that comes next.

After supper, Jesus took off his outer robe, tied a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he washed his disciples feet and dried them with the towel. (John 13: 4-5)

The foot washing was a expression of love and servitude. A precursor to the ultimate act of love to come. The disciples were no doubt embarrassed by their leader and teacher performing such a humble and personal service. But Jesus told them that, later, they would understand.

(How often has it taken me years for to understand the significance of events that once baffled me?)

Then Jesus gives them the mandate from which the word Maundy comes in tonight’s service:

And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.                 John 13: 14-15 (NLT)

Jesus is telling his disciples to be of humble service to each other. I believe he intended us to serve one another. But he is willing to be first. He used his humanity to set an example.

There are many other times when Jesus showed his humanity.  One was in the garden of Gethsemane.  He asked the disciples to stay and watch with him. But they fell asleep. Then Jesus prays.

 He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Matthew 26: 39 (NLT)

It sounds to me like Jesus was scared. He knew what was coming and he felt real human fear. Yet, he wanted God’s will to be done, understanding and trusting, that God had a much bigger plan.

This scene from Gethsemane is depicted in the movie, Jesus Christ Superstar. Some people may criticize the movie for not being strictly in line with the Bible, but it opened my heart many years ago at a time when my mind was firmly agnostic. That’s why I did a series on the movie a couple years ago and would like to share the Gethsemane post again.

I know Jesus is much more than human, but for me, his humanity is what made and makes him more accessible.

https://joannaoftheforest.wordpress.com/2015/04/02/gethsemane-facing-fear/


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God’s Perfect Grace

Lorrie taps into something powerful here – an awareness that comes when we open our hearts and minds to our loving Creator.

Lorrie Bowden

20170327_102027

God’s Perfect Grace

Some of life’s best decisions

happen in an instant

that is stretched to eternity.

That moment when time slows

and swirls around your head,

distorting all,

and yet your thinking

never had such clarity!

In real time

you don’t skip a beat,

but in this disfigured warp-time

you sense all,

see all,

know all,

that ever was,

that ever is,

or ever will be.

And your soul knows the answer,

because IT IS THE ONLY ANSWER!

And any arguments to the contrary,

just fall to the wayside,

fall out of this other worldly,

time depressed,

image warped place.

And in that instant you know,

where you want to be,

where you were meant to go,

and how you are supposed to get there.

Yes, in that moment,

that is stretched to eternity,

the truth of your soul speaks

in the language of your mind.

And your heart,

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Can We All Agree on Twinkly Lights, or Nah?

I love twinkly lights and everything about Christmas except the over-commercialization that makes people spend more money than they can afford. That’s ridiculous! 🙂 I love the yuley pictures and the humor and the love of Joey’s post. As a Christian, I too find it “hard to love people who tell (anyone) you’re gonna burn in Hell for eternity…” I’ll do my best to love them anyway because its the right thing go do. But I might have to love some of them from a distance.

joeyfullystated

The reason for my season is basic astronomy, although your reason may be equally valid and special, who am I to say?

28d40f6f19e2f5baea4421ddbec38567

It’s Yule now. Have a blessed one. Light your candles and burn your wood and fire up your stove for somethin yummy. Love and light, love and light, love and light…

It’s not reactionary or revolutionary, it’s just a good day to honor light and warmth because it’s the shortest day of the year.

It’s also the time of year when people like to search their hearts and share their religious fervor by blasting everyone with “Jesus is the Reason for the Season!” which is exactly the sorta thing that sends me into red flag mode, but I’m not at war with Christmas so I don’t summon Odin to horse-trample those people, I simply nod and smile, because that’s the safe thing to do when you’re dealing with people who send you into…

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Opening Doors

doorway-to-the-ocean-from-pixabay

It had been a year or more since my last acupuncture session. It gives me good energy and made a headache go away once, but nothing especially dramatic. In October, I ran into the healer at a potluck. I’ve known her for years as a casual friend but had never had an acupuncture session with her until last week – after my body told me to make an appointment. But this was not a typical session. I must have been ready. The time was right. This was my experience:

November 10, 2016,

two days after the sky fell,

Interrupted cries still lingered in my solar plexus

like mucus bogging down muffled screams

waiting to be flushed free.

Then the drunk guy threw a key at me

when I was only trying to help.

Who needs this?

But that cop wasn’t following  me after all

as I pulled into the space

to visit the healer with magic hands

and the skill to find the stuck places.

She began with my old friend,

Lavender,

to settle my nerves.

The first needle only hurt for a moment

as the door opened and sparks flew.

The others didn’t hurt at all.

When qi started to flow,

I almost giggled

then followed her humming

with my own breath –

Inhale, sooooew. Exhale, Haaaaaah,

like the song of the ocean.

Cardamom opened the doors wider.

Right after I turned over onto my back

is when it happened.

My cold hands finally got warm.

Then, I started to cry. And laugh. And cry.

Mama. Mama? Mama!

Is it really you?

Hold me, Mama.

My fingers can’t reach you!

Daddy is hurting. He misses you so much.

You want me to tell him you’re okay?

Mama’s okay, Daddy.

She’s okay.

Tears.

But wait.

Am I supposed to be

learning how to talk to other ghosts?

Or just my own?

Sandalwood brought me back.

Shaking, I drank from the cup of water

and called my father to give him the message

he already knew.

_________________________________________

My mother died November 14, 2008. She collected angels. Dozens of them still decorate my father’s house. He hasn’t moved any of them. And he won’t move out of that house because he feels her presence there.

angels-among-us

Angels Among Us, a mural by JoAnne Silvia