Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Earth & Word

I've been reading this collection of sermons and essays on saving the planet, edited by David Rhoads (professor of New Testament here at LSTC). So far, the richest words I've read have come from Wendell Berry, describing what makes for "good work."
"It does not dissociate life and work, or pleasure and work, or love and work, or usefulness and beauty. To work without pleasure or affection, to make a product that is not both useful and beautiful, is to dishonor God, nature, the thing that is made and whomever it is made for..."
Berry goes on to describe how in the scriptures, there is a poetry of awe and respect and profound cherishing for nature. And that includes us. We are people made of dust and breath--together these make us living souls. "God did not make a body and put a soul into it, like a letter into an envelope." Instead, with God's breath, the dust lives. We do not embody souls but become them--"creatures of God, members of the holy community of creation."
This seems like a great re-focusing as we consider call, vocation, next steps. How might I continue to weave love and work, usefulness and beauty? How might I both breathe in the breath of God and honor the dust from which I was formed? And how might more and more people do this together so that we might honor together the whole community of creation?

In another sermon in this same book, Margaret Bullitt-Jonas gives this route to discernment--
1) Prayer roots us in the love of God that extends through all creation.
2) Prayer also gives us courage to share Christ's crucifixion, mourn the losses and feel the grief.
3) Through the spirit of the risen Christ, we are sent out to act, to do what we can to transform the world.

She says "There is good nourishment to be had in a life lived like that."

In prayer and gratitude,
Pastor Joy

Friday, January 18, 2008

a fresh start

When pressed to make a new year's resolution, I could only think of one--get blogging! So, after a long absence, I'm again committing to this once a week practice of sharing with you why I am blessed to be a witness.

I've noticed that's how God's call can be, too. Sometimes, there are periods of silence. Or, as is more often the case for me, there are periods of such constant activity that we get lost in it. In these times, it's easy to lose our way. Like in any relationship, you can find yourself asking--what am I doing? where am I going? I need to breathe.

In her book Breathing Space, Pastor Heidi Neumark shares a winter poem written by Burnice, a phenomenal woman who's conquered crack, abuse, depression, and intemperate weather morning, noon and night.

My daughter says to me
"Mom here's the school bus"
I say "I love you, have a nice day."
Then, as I walk
I see the sun on my left.
It's coming across the sky
To try and meet the moon
On this early cold morning

Now the dark sky is all gone
A new day has dawned.
The birds sing their morning song
And I thank God that I am alive
On this early cold morning.

Pastor Joy