Category Monthly Reflection

Pilgrimage to Ireland

Category: Monthly Reflection

PILGRIMAGE TO IRELAND

September 13 – 27 2016

It has been a long time since the last newsletter. I have moved from Black Mountain to Asheville and now live closer to Calvary Episcopal Church where I continue to serve as Priest Associate. The best part of the move was downsizing from a house with over 3,000 square feet to a tiny apartment of 800 square feet. I gave away a lot of furniture and other belongings and enjoyed letting go of “stuff.” The cats were not enthusiastic about losing their outdoor space but have adjusted to sitting on the balcony overlooking woods, birds and squirrels.

Pilgrims at Brigid's WellOn our last pilgrimage to Ireland in September 2014 a wonderful sense of community developed between the 15 participants, so much so that some want to go again! The itinerary will change slightly an...

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Letting Go

Category: Monthly Reflection

simplicity www.photopoly.net

My British grandmother lived very simply on her widow’s pension in the house she shared with her daughter who worked long hours in a factory. Nan tended her small garden with loving care, knitted socks and gloves and sewed aprons for Christmas gifts, and always in one of the socks she hid half a crown (two shillings and sixpence) for each of us, her grandchildren. She saved all year since this was a lot of money in those days. She read murder mysteries in books she got from the library and created a word to describe political, social and religious insincerity – grarm. I think she would use it often today in the context of the digital age, big corporations, political fund raising and the unabated messages to have more...

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Epiphany

Category: Monthly Reflection

star-of-bethlehem-large

When the star appeared

you knew you had to follow,

journeying with this tiny light

through the darkness of their certainty.

“Believe this!” they said,

and you tried to embrace sureness

but always, just as you thought it was yours,

it slipped through your fingers,

falling in a thousand pieces

on the brittle ground.

The star waited until you were ready,

and slowly you began to hope

in it’s strange beckoning

as you stepped forward

into the dark night.

Along the way

many left the caravan,

and often you wondered at

the audacity of your hope

in this light.

You went as far as you could

before consulting the pundits.

They heard your questions -

and were afraid;

you knew you would not return

to the palaces of power.

As you journeyed on

you began to notice

that the light you followed

wa...

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Feast or Famine

Category: Monthly Reflection

poverty1

On a visit to Egypt with a group of pilgrims I was shocked by deep poverty in the country especially Cairo. Under a spaghetti-like series of highways there is an ancient cemetery where those with no homes or means of support live among the tombs. They beg on the streets, sometimes steal from tourists and barely make a subsistence living. Although we took in historical sites our main focus was on visiting some of the ancient monasteries where Christianity has survived over many years of difficulty and pilgrims have been welcomed. In Wadi Nutran we went to several of the oldest foundations and then made our way to towards the Red Sea and the mountains where St. Anthony’s monastery thrives in the barren wilderness.

In the late afternoon our bus pulls up outside the gates of St...

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We All Belong

Category: Monthly Reflection

Used LR preset "10,000 Light Years from Home"

WE ALL BELONG

            In the Western world we have become distanced from the wonder of rolling planets, seasonal rhythms, the pull of the moon on oceans and the unseen mysteries of the world. We may learn of natural wonders through the medium of TV, send shuttles into space, travel the earth’s surface in a day but rarely find ourselves in living, wonder-filled touch with the universe. It takes intentional commitment to place ourselves in a contemplative consciousness that acknowledges Mystery and allows for big steps of trust on the unknown path of faith. In a way it is very simple. We don’t need to travel to distant places or try to imitate the mystics...

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Digging Deep

Category: Monthly Reflection

ploughing

            A farmer friend of mine has been teaching me that plowing and preparing soil for the seed is far more complicated than I imagined. Sometimes the soil gets compacted into a hard layer called a plow sole and the farmer must decide whether to raise the plow in order to keep going over the field at the same speed or to shift down and let the plow do its job in the hard places. The latter takes more time and effort but prevents the compacted soil from remaining untouched and invisible below the surface. Today many farmers have a yield monitor on the combine and yield maps reveal such soil compaction, lack of proper drainage and poor fertility.

              This is not unlike the spiritual journey...

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Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people

Category: Monthly Reflection

HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT IS SAYING TO GOD’S PEOPLE

On Sunday I went to the Cathedral in Asheville, North Carolina for the celebration of the Feast of Pentecost. During my Sabbatical I have been worshipping with different groups but on this day I needed to be “home” in the Episcopal Church with its strong liturgical tradition. And Pentecost is my favorite feast day. It is the day on which early followers of Jesus experienced the life changing event Jesus promised, something so amazing that Luke struggles to find words to describe it. The best he can do is to say that fire and rushing wind filled the place of refuge where the rag tag group of Jesus followers gathered and “all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit gave them ability...

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Roots and Branches

Category: Monthly Reflection

tree-with-roots

Roots and Branches

Grateful for the Spring weather finally coming to our corner of North Carolina I bought my first plants of the season. I planted most of them only to learn that a frost was predicted that night but so far they seem to have survived. To be honest I’m not much of a gardener but I love to see the perennials emerge every year and I never cease to be amazed that they do it without my help. Nature is awesome and I never want to forget it. The psalmist says it well: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows his handiwork. One day tells it’s tale to another, and one night imparts knowledge to another. Although they are not heard, their sound has gone out into all lands and their message to the ends of the world.” Psalm 19:1-4. A significant part of...

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Of whales and flying fish

Category: Monthly Reflection

humpback breaching

 A week sailing in the Caribbean has left me with an ongoing awareness of the vastness of creation. For at least three days of the cruise we saw nothing on the horizon except, occasionally, another ship in the far distance. I spent many hours simply looking at the deep waters below and, when seaweed appeared on the surface, delighting in the flying fish that shot up out of the ocean and traveled for long distances before diving back into the sea. I wondered what other creatures were at home in the depths beneath us and thought of the whale I adopted twenty years ago.

When I first met her Salt was teaching her first calf to graze on the ocean surface ocean where there was an abundance of plankton...

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