All Saints – Giving thanks for the Divine in One-another!

All Saints’ Day is a day for remembering.  The word saint simply means “holy”. In the New Testament, all those who believe and were baptized were referred to as saints. It wasn’t until round about the third century that the church began using the word saint to refer to those who had been martyred for the faith. Over time these martyred saints were held up for veneration and people used to pray to them to intercede on their behalf. I’m not going to go into all of the institutional abuses that led Martin Luther and the later reformers to abolish the veneration of the saints. Except to say, that while the Reformation put an end to the veneration of the saints in the protestant churches, it did not abolish the concept of sainthood.

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Progressive Mysticism?

A number of years ago, I did a consultation for a progressive congregation in which the relationship between contemplation and social action was a source of friendly debate. On one side, several congregational leaders asserted that the task of the church is to change the world.  The way of Jesus compels us to be activists, they contended, challenging anything that threatens human and nonhuman well-being. We must provide meals for the soup kitchen and volunteer in the local schools, but we must also challenge our leaders to “let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24). 

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The Words of Jesus We Ignore

Imagine a person praying at bedtime. He is confused. Unsure of what to do in life. What are his next steps, he wonders? He prays fervently to God for direction.

Amazingly enough, God answers!

Love God
Love one another

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Tune: Fulda (Walton) William Gardiner (1770-1853)

Creation’s splendour calls forth praise
for Nature’s wealth, for vibrant life.
This planet home, a wondrous gift,
is threatened now by greed and strife.

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Prayer and Prayings

I need to address this important subject because prayer is such a significant part of public church services and also it can be a vital part of one’s personal religious life.  Some people engage in praying very frequently and regularly.  Some people call it a time of meditation, a quiet time, time given to God, or something else.    For many people, they feel it is an important way in which they can grow in their personal relationship with God.  However many in the church have serious questions about prayer; how it works and if it does.

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What Shall We Bring to Community?

What shall we bring to community?
A loaf, a fish, a voice for singing,
hands for baking, a heart for teaching,
wisdom for guiding our children and youth?

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Free Gratitude Design for Churches and other Non-Profits

Allison Rossiter is making her “Gratitude Design” available to churches and other non-profit organizations for free.

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The Lost Gospel of the Woman at the Well

This is the lost Gospel of Marah, the woman at the well to whom Jesus spoke while travelling through Samaria, as described in the Gospel of John, chapter four. It was recently discovered wedged behind a stone of a well in Samaria. This is the Contemporary American Version translation.

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The Courage to Imagine I Am Blessed

Say these words out loud – I AM BLESSED.

Now say it again with a pause in between each word. I. AM. BLESSED.

Now one more time with a longer pause, and with your most powerful voice – I… AM… BLESSED. Even as I write the words, a smile emerges slowly across my face, my breathing slows and the my shoulders drop. Just saying the words alone, activates the imagination of the blessings already in my life, knowing many are not in my present awareness.

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What does one do with the private memories that others do not share? What happens with all those memories?

When I officiate at funerals, I ask mourners to think about the characteristics of the deceased that they will miss most. After they have thought of those traits, I implore them to live those qualities into the world as a tribute.

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Standing in gratitude, living in joy

Standing in gratitude, living in joy,
we reach beyond old wounds and pain.

The waters have parted,
and we have crossed over to new life,
leaving our fears on the distant shore.

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In Pursuit of Silence

This award-winning film is a meditative exploration of our relationship with silence, sound, and the impact of noise on our lives. Be inspired to experience silence and celebrate the wonders of our world.

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Souls “Flung Up to Heaven”: Maya Angelou and Hildegard of Bingen

Recently I co-lead a contemplative retreat at Sacred Heart Monastery in Cullman, Alabama. Four years ago on this site, Dewey Weiss Kramer gave an uplifting course on Hildegard of Bingen for Columbia Seminary’s Spiritual Formation Program. I decided to adapt today’s post from my reflections on that experience

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On the Mesa with God

God and I began our hike at the arroyo behind the museums at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico.  I was not particularly aware of my Companion as my boots imprinted themselves on the fine sand.  It was a hot day, for which I prepared by soaking my shirt and handkerchief in water.  Zig-zagged up the trail of pale dust, then along a ridge stippled with rocks, spiky yucca, and scrubby junipers.  The vast gouge of the Piedra Lumbre basin appeared to the west, streaked with layers of red sediment.  The yellow-orange walls of the canyons above Ghost Ranch to the east glowed in the roaring sun.  Clouds slowly boiled out of pale mist high in the northern sky.  Shadowed cliffs radiated back-lit color.  I turned my slack-jawed head one way to drink in the beauty, then turned, turned again, and on returning my gaze discovered fresh aspects of light and shadow: never the same view twice.  

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The Secret of Happiness

Mindfulness is the secret to happiness, and we all have time for it says Dr Saamdu Chetri.

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Nationalism, World Cup and Jesus

What does it mean to be a patriot?

Does it mean wearing a jersey with your favorite team’s colors? Does it mean waving the flag? Does it mean painting your face? Or hanging it from your front porch?

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Love, please. Love please. Please, love. Please love.

I am doing my part as I am certain you are doing yours. And, the state of the world right now requires us to double down and do more. So, let us pepper the world in a myriad of small, little, unsexy ways of being more loving, compassionate, caring, long-suffering, kind, humble, gentle, virtuous?

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Did I Just Say That?

Do you ever hear words emanating from your lips, and instantly while the words break from your mouth you think, “Did I really just say that??” You are still in the nanosecond of surprise, when you discover you probably have a small list of sentences or phrases you could never have imagined uttering. If you look back on those experiences that were the catalysts for such words, you notice a powerful tapestry – threads that make life sometimes unbearable and yet at other times so amazingly awe-inspiring – and everything in between.

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