Because I am currently away on vacation , I turn this weekly meditation over to the Rev. Becca Stevens, the founder of Thistle Farms. Thistle Farms is a communal enterprise run by survivors of sexual abuse, trafficking, and addiction. In this passage from her book Practically Divine, Mother Becca reflects on the power of small actions offered in love.
This Saturday, August 6, is the Feast of the Transfiguration. This might be confusing to those of you who remember that we also talked about the Transfiguration back in February. The gospel reading for the last Sunday of the season of Epiphany is always one of the stories of the Transfiguration in Matthew, Mark, or Luke. But we also celebrate this amazing event every year on August 6. It is such a remarkable story that perhaps it’s good that we have two invitations every year to reflect on it!…
Over the past few years, we have all talked often of dire challenges near and far. Environmental chaos, virus related fears, economic injustices, the many “isims” that plague us and the violence thrumming through it all—there are so many categories of our humanity that cause us to worry that the very process of choosing where to look first can be overwhelming….
If your neighbor knocks on your door late at night and says, a friend of theirs has arrived unexpectedly, then asks to borrow some food as they have nothing to serve, would you tell them to go away as it is late….
…God is not like the resistant householder. We are more than welcome to ask for what we really need, and to keep on asking. Knock even when it seems heaven’s door is shut, and to keep knocking.
Prayer therefore must be an ongoing act of faith. God knows what we need before we ask. Each and every day, any time of the day or night, we take it to the Lord in prayer.
Praying helps US! God answers our prayers in keeping with what He knows, is best for us.
Take time to pray, asking God to guide you every step of the way, seeking His goal for all of us.
Octavia Butler was the first science-fiction writer to win the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. Commonly called the “MacArthur Genius Award,” these fellowships are dedicated to “celebrating and inspiring the creative potential of individuals through no-strings attached fellowships.” Butler’s creativity was unique. Blending social critique with visionary descriptions of alternate realities and possible futures both good and ill, her writing was profoundly prescient….
… There’s lots more to discuss in this challenging, brilliant novel. I hope you will join us from 10-10:45 or from 12:15-1:00 this Sunday to be part of the conversation!
As many of you know, I’ve just returned from my summer vacation, which I took a bit early this year. I was able to spend quality time with my family for the first time since the pandemic began, and I had some space to read, and kayak, and hike, and enjoy many other restorative activities. It was wonderful!
Although I did unplug somewhat during my time off, I also kept up with the news, which often provided a challenging contrast to my desire for relaxation. So many recent events were upsetting, and they provoked long and frustrating conversations and debates among my family members. Often we agreed on our feelings, but not always on how we should act in response…..
The CHA Vestry meets monthly, from September through June. Like most Vestries of most Episcopal churches, we do not gather in the summer months of July and August. During the height of the pandemic our Vestry met over Zoom, and as virus numbers have ebbed and flowed, we have continued this practice with only a few exceptions.
One of those exceptions occurred this past month. We found ourselves feeling comfortable about meeting (and eating!) in person, and we all agreed that time together live would be a lovely way to mark the end of the “program year.” The agenda was finalized, the reminders were sent out, the pizza was ordered and at the appointed time we sat around the rectangular tables on the first floor of the Mission House to talk through the business of our common life….
We’ve all excused ourselves in various ways for not doing what we should. Someone might say something like this, “I would pray or worship God more, but I’m just too busy.” “I would forgive that person, but you don’t know how mean they were to me.” “I would help more people, but they would probably just use what I give them to buy alcohol and drugs.” “I would quit my bad habits, but I don’t think it would last.” “I would tell others about Jesus and what He has done for me, but I’m too shy.”…
In my last written post, I shared my experience of being in a room with a group of people who continue to fight unjust systems and empower those within them to claim their voices. I acknowledged that now, as always, there are reasons to despair—and that those reasons do not create the sum total of our reality. We have choices about where we focus our attention. We have options when it comes to how we react to what we see….
Yesterday, June 9, was the feast day of St. Columba, Abbot of Iona. St. Patrick was said to have prophesied Columba’s birth:
He will be a saint and will be devout,
He will be an abbot, the king of royal graces,
He will be lasting and for ever good;
The eternal kingdom be mine by his protection.
That’s a lot of pressure! But Columba lived up to it, becoming a monk in his native Ireland, and then a missionary and a priest. He founded several monasteries in Ireland, and then headed to Northern Britain to evangelize further. Legend has it that his tiny boat first washed ashore on the Isle of Iona, on the coast of Scotland….