Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Word Was Made Flesh

Tonight, of all the nights in the year, is the night to feel like a child again. This is the night to view the world with wonder. Look! What is that in the sky? Look! What is the miracle around the corner, just hidden from view? Is it the soft baby, drowsing under the gaze of his mother? Or is it the children creeping up to admire him?

This is Christmas Eve. This is the night when everything starts over again, everything becomes new. The baby opens his eyes to see his mother smile. The children reach toward him to touch his soft skin.

Tonight in church, I saw such a sight. The baby could have been any baby, swathed in layers of fleece. The children were dressed with care in plaid skirts and velvet jackets. I leaned down to whisper to one little girl, "why don't you go back to your mommy?" She wandered down the aisle and veered aside as her mother reached for her. I took her hand in two of my fingers and led her back to her mother. At the back of the church, the baby was awake, now held in his mother's lap.

These children are all beautiful. Tonight we have proud grandparents displaying their grandchildren; I remember when the parents were children here themselves.

When the time comes to sing Silent Night, our Sunday School children all join in. They practiced it for weeks so they could sing it for the Lessons and Carols service last week. Now they know it.

Later, we'll have the older folks coming for the service with choir and brass quartet. The music will be splendid. We'll leave, yawning. The children at the early service will be well asleep, by then. Their parents will still be wrapping gifts, preparing for tomorrow morning. In many homes, there will be clear signs that Saint Nicholas stopped by. Cookies eaten, milk gone, carrots taken away for the reindeer to snack on. I used to marvel at footprints, left in ash from the fireplace.

Tonight, what wonder! The world goes around, year by year, and there are new children born, and young children growing, and older children remembering, and each year Christmas brings with it the hope, the wonder, of a new life. Year by year, the Baby Jesus finds a home in each heart that opens to him.

May my heart, and your heart, make a home for him. The wonder of it! God, the God who made this universe and all the others, the God who made time itself, is willing to dwell with us, to love us. Who would have believed such a thing? It is beyond our understanding. Look! What is that in the sky? Look! Look at the baby sleeping under the gaze of his mother. Look.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Best I Can Do

My readers (both of you) should be warned that, although I used to use HTML and SGML professionally, it has been a while since I did so. I have had some difficulty inserting links, and on a couple of occasions have been so frustrated that I have abandoned an attempt to post. Until I am up to speed again, it won't be pretty here. It's been four years since I lost that job, and I suspect that much of what I knew then is now obsolete. At the moment, this is the best I can do.

Similarly, I have made some changes in the settings that will (I hope) allow comments. I look forward to improving this site as I go forward, and your comments will help me do that.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Breathe deeply, please

According to one respected blogger, our Bishop Love (Diocesan of Albany) may be one of the seven Episcopal bishops visiting the Archbishop of Canterbury this week. I am attaching a shortcut to the comment in which the blogger, Fr. Dan Martin, identifies the bishops he believes are involved (near the end of the comments), but please read his whole post and all of the comments.

I believe that Bishop Love is struggling to find a way to stay in The Episcopal Church while remaining fully engaged with all others in the Anglican Communion - both for himself, and for others like him in this diocese and others who are unhappy with recent decisions in The Episcopal Church. I pray that he will be able to do so. If he cannot, The Episcopal Church will lose him and other faithful Christians, our diocese will be torn as others have been torn, and - most importantly - we will lose a voice we need to hear. I am no fan of Oliver Cromwell, but I have been struck by a line in the message he once sent to the General Assembly of the Kirk in Scotland (this would have been the Presbyterian Church in Scotland; now the established Church there):

"Is it therefore infallibly agreeable to the Word of God, all that you say? I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken."

This is a message that we all, on all sides of our current controversies, must bear to heart, just as we recall Gamaliel's word to the Sanhedrin when dealing with the Apostles:

"If it be of men, it will come to naught, but if it be of God, ye will not be able to overthrow it; lest perhaps ye be found even to fight against God."

So let those of us who are progressive consider that in some part of our position we may be wrong, and that the Bishop's efforts may be of God, not human beings. And let those of us who are conservative consider that in some part of our position we may be wrong, and that (at least some of the) recent changes in our Church may be of God, not human beings.

And finally: let us all remember that the Queen of England may be the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, but when she steps into Scotland she becomes a Presbyterian. Let's all breathe deeply, relax, and say a prayer for the unity of the whole Church of God.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Actually blogging, for a while

This is an experiment. I've been thinking about blogging, and putting it off, and thinking about it, and putting it off, for a couple of years. I actually created an introductory post two years ago and then forgot about it, but I just posted it today. So let's think of this as a rewind and restart. I have other things I should be doing. If I have to stop and do them, I will.

The discernment for diaconate is temporarily on hold. I'm still disorganized. I have a husband and three cats. I lost my job a few years ago, and I'm still dealing with the loss. I am blessed in that my husband is very supportive. He is also very private, so I am not likely to mention him again.

Let's see how this goes.