Today, Friday, September 29, is the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels. It might be a particularly auspicious day to be open to how angels are present in our own lives. Here is John O’Donohue’s A Blessing of Angels, which might help us to experience angels in a new way…
In her memoir about growing up white and privileged in the South, Episcopal priest and feminist theologian Carter Heyward shares this story from her childhood: she loved horses, and she often rode one special horse named Red. One day, while she was riding, she was having an especially difficult time getting Red to synch up with where they both needed to go. If she indicated right, Red went left, and vice-versa.
Her frustration grew and grew (which, of course, did nothing to address the problem!). Eventually her trainer entered the ring, saw what was happening, and shouted out, “Communicate with your horse, Carter!” So, she reports that she started talking to Red as if the horse was a child, or a friend. The trainer corrected her immediately: “I didn’t say talk to Red. I said communicate!”…
We hear forgiveness in the Lord’s Prayer. We hear forgiveness in our creed. We hear about forgiveness in our confession.
What is forgiveness? The dictionary says, to excuse for a fault or offense, to grant pardon without harboring resentment, to excuse a mistake without fault, an intentional decision to let go of resentment and anger. The Greek word translated forgiveness to means, “to let go.”
Forgiveness is in many ways a learned behavior. We learn how to forgive. We learn to value it or not. We can also learn other lessons about forgiveness. Some people hold righteous anger. They bare a grudge for decades….
For many people, drinking coffee is a non-negotiable morning ritual. If you are one of those people who love waking up with a cup of caffeinated elixir (at any hour!), you might be interested to know how coffee started to become the world-wide phenomenon it is today….
Aidan was a monk at St. Columba’s monastery on the island of Iona in the seventh century. Upon hearing that a fellow monk had gotten nowhere in preaching the gospel to the northern English, Aidan piped up and opined that perhaps a gentler approach would work. The predictable result was that Aidan soon found himself on the way to Northumbria to evangelize! He was so successful in his mission that Christianity soon spread as far as London….
Riding the C train uptown one afternoon, my spouse Charlie nudged me and subtly pointed to the other side of the car. Sitting across from us was a man wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “Winchester Sachems,” accompanied by a graphic depicting the profile of what was meant to be an indigenous person in some sort of headdress. I recognized the image immediately. I attended Winchester High School in Massachusetts, and the “Sachem” was our mascot.
Persistence is the ability to maintain action regardless of your feelings. It is the ability to continue even when you feel like quitting. The difference between winners and losers is their level of persistence.
As believers in Christ we need to be persistent as the Canaanite women does in Sundays Gospel lesson. Throwing in the towel at any little disappointment can make us not to be able to receive answers to our requests.
God’s time is different from our own. He does things at His own time, and He does not make mistakes, His timing is always right and accurate. His words tells us in Isaiah 55:8-9 that His ways are not our ways; neither is His thoughts our thoughts….
The 1970 Broadway show titled The Me Nobody Knows was one of the first rock musicals ever produced. Based on an anthology of writings by urban young people, it included this song, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPJ0b6sNOMk titled “The Tree:”
This man I know
Has an apple tree he’s hoping will grow
day after day he waits
and what does he see?
Not one apple on the tree…..
In these dog days of summer, you might want to try a new spiritual practice ─ napping! To be sure, this is not what we typically think of when we imagine prayer practices. Our ideas may tend more toward kneeling or sitting quietly, reciting memorized or improvised prayers, praying one of the daily offices in our prayer book, or perhaps meditating to clear our minds. Maybe we enjoy a walking meditation, or saying a rosary, or reading scripture, or gazing at an icon. And these are all wonderful practices (though maybe not the kneeling if you have bad knees!). But napping?! Seriously?….
Two weeks ago, I wrote about the spiritual experience of the journey; how being placed in a new environment (internally or externally, whether by choice or not) provides shifts that can both change and sustain us. Sometimes, such shifts happen without the travel, by way of noticing something that’s been with us all along….