Archive for February, 2018

28
Feb
18

2.28.18 … “We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence.” – Mother Teresa

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2018 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (15/40), private labyrinth near Gaffney SC:

I am on my way to Atlanta again and I decided I would try to find a new labyrinth. I thought it might be nice to be serendipitous. I opened the labyrinth locator and I found one. The one I found was the private labyrinth of Rev. Faith Nettleton-Scherer at an address in Gaffney, South Carolina, and it’s about 10 minutes from exit 92 on I 85 south. I love it that the labyrinth builder/keeper built it in 2009 at a different address in Gaffney, and then moved it, stone by stone, to its current address in 2015.

As I drive there, I noticed lots of Bradford pears in full bloom. I noticed a few in Charlotte earlier today and some that were even beyond bloom and greening out. This seems awfully early. This is however nothing to compare with the unseasonably warm weather at the Arctic. I have been paying attention to this because I have a son in Alaska this year. This weather at the Arctic is 50° above normal for late February, early March, let me repeat that, 50° above normal!

I mentioned that I was being serendipitous. And this is the perfect labyrinth for a serendipitous walk. It is whimsical. There is every imaginable yard art item from a small hedgehogs sculpture, several angels, a dragon and multiple frogs. And many have solar lighting attached. I imagined it an enchanted garden at night The labyrinth keeper has great fun I can tell!

For those of you who know of my relationship with my father and our long-standing joke about frogs, this walk gave me the opportunity to think of him at every turn.

Close to the finish, the owner came out. She was glad to see me walking. She said very few use it and told me the story about her love for labyrinths. I loved sharing this time and space. She is a retired universalist minister. I’ll have to research what the universalist believe. Because clearly she loves this place and loves sharing it. That’s a lot.

As I head back to I85 and am near Cowpens National Battlefield, a major battlefield of the American Revolutionary War, I see a field of lovely cows behind a white fence, cows in a pen, and another orchard of peach trees in bloom .. not good

Quote for today …

“We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence.” – Mother Teresa

Cheers to serendipity!

2.28.18

27
Feb
18

2.27.18 … “The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.” — Werner Heisenberg (1901 – 1976), Nobel Prize in Physics 1932

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2018 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (14/40), Avondale Presbyterian Church – Charlotte NC:

It was noticeably cooler and the sky was the perfect shade of blue, Carolina blue. There was a light breeze so the chimes were ringing. The labyrinth was half sunshine, half shade. And it was one of those days that when I was in the shade it was noticeably cooler.

As I walked, there was a big ol’ weed right there on my path. And as I looked around, I saw emergent green in the garden, the grass was noticeably thicker and brighter, and there were the early shoots of flowers. I know spring is on the way.

At the center, I realized that if the center does not engage me physically, I am less likely to stay and be still for a minute. This one has a round center with Psalm 119:105 etched, “Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” I enter, look around for a second and then head back out. I don’t know if it was because I am so familiar with the traditional Chartres design, with a rose in the center with the petals that are meant to be worked like rosary beads, that I did not stay and ponder.

The chimes played gently the entire time as I walked. I did not hear the birds singing today, but I did hear the steady tap tap tapping of a woodpecker in the distance.

Seventeen minutes … a little more rushed than I like.

This is a quote from Dr. Eben Alexander’s Facebook page. Dr. Alexander is an American neurosurgeon and author of a book I found interesting, Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife (2012). In his book he describes his 2008 near-death experience. Dr Alexander believes that science can and will determine that the brain does not create consciousness and that consciousness survives bodily death.

“The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.”

— Werner Heisenberg (1901 – 1976), Nobel Prize in Physics 1932

This profound quote is exactly the focus of our revolutionary new book, Living in a Mindful Universe: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Heart of Consciousness. Our modern science must better define our interpretation of the measurement paradox in quantum physics to fully grok this emerging view of reality, but individual souls don’t need to await that scientific awakening. Personal experience through going within (centering prayer/meditation) can lead the way to far greater wholeness, healing, meaning and purpose!

Visit http://ebenalexander.com

2.27.18

26
Feb
18

2.26.18 … “Love demands both give and take, which is what we mean by a “personal” God. And this is exactly what people of deep prayer invariably experience—an inner dialogue of give and take, of giving and being received. This is why the mystics consistently use words like mercy, forgiveness, faithfulness, and healing to describe what they experience as God.”

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2018 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (13/40), Myers Park Baptist Church – Charlotte NC:

It is amazing how quickly I can get used to the warm weather in February in the South. Daffodils are in full bloom, tulip trees are generally out, and I swear I have seen a few Bradford pears in bloom. However, the temperature is dropping today. It is raining now at 6 PM and is 48°.

As I approach the labyrinth, I smile because the lamps are lit that I have told you about. You know, the iron-ic ones. And the labyrinth itself is wet which makes it more difficult to see the path in the very dim light of the evening. I am sure there is a metaphor in that. And later in my walk, I hear a train in the distance. The sound of the train’s horn must be able to travel for miles. I cannot even think of where the closest train tracks are. I hear a plane overhead. When i am trying to be quiet and still, it is amazing how noisy everything is. Even the cars traveling on damp surfaces are noisy.

Not much to see tonight. I do see the moon peeking out from behind the clouds which are moving rapidly.

I love this quote from Richard Rohr. This is one of my favorite things to ponder.

Today, every academic, professional discipline—psychology, anthropology, history, the various sciences, social studies, art, drama, music, and the business world—recognizes change, development, growth, and some kind of evolving phenomenon. But then we go to church and think we must switch heads. Somehow, Scripture study and systematic theology thought themselves above the fray, untouched by our constantly changing context. In its search for the Real Absolute, theology made one fatal mistake: It imagined that any notion of God had to be static and unchanging, an “unmoved mover,” as Aristotelian philosophy called it.

Yet there is little evidence that this rigid god is the God presented in the Judeo-Christian tradition, and even less in our Christian understanding of God as Trinity, who is clearly much more an active verb than a noun. But then, this central doctrine of the Trinity had very little effect on practical theology or the ordinary lives of most Christians. We preferred a stable notion of God as an old white man, sitting on a throne—much like the Greek God Zeus (which became the Latin word for God or “Deus”), a critical and punitive spectator to a creation that was merely a mechanical clock of inevitable laws and punishments, ticking away until Doomsday. What a negative world view!

This is not a God you fall in love with, because humans are not programmed to fall in love with mere principles and forces. Love demands both give and take, which is what we mean by a “personal” God. And this is exactly what people of deep prayer invariably experience—an inner dialogue of give and take, of giving and being received. This is why the mystics consistently use words like mercy, forgiveness, faithfulness, and healing to describe what they experience as God. These all imply a God who does not just impose rules, but in fact changes them for us! If God is Trinity, then God is Absolute Relationship, even inside of God. And every time God forgives, God is saying that relationship is more important than God’s own rules! Did you ever think about that?

I am convinced we are still in the early years of Christianity! Our appreciation for the Gospel is evolving too, as we learn to honor context as much as text. The Christ Mystery itself is still “groaning in one great act of giving birth . . . as we ourselves groan inwardly, waiting for our bodies to be set free” (see Romans 8:22-25).

Source: http://email.cac.org/t/ViewEmail/d/5FC6F41E71261DCF2540EF23F30FEDED/1DC1AEAE5E535C1F0B3A73003FEB3522

2.26.18

25
Feb
18

2.25.18 … “We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.”- Anais Nin

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2018 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (12/40), Almetto Howey Alexander Labyrinth @ McCrorey YMCA – Charlotte NC:

After first attending Worship at FPC (Sermon was fantastic, Pen) and enjoying the youth bells and singing one of my favorite hymns, I headed out to walk. It was raining, so I knew this one would be quick…

I decided to head to the Almetto Howey Alexander Labyrinth @ McCrorey YMCA. It’s on the north side of Charlotte so I do not make it here very often. It’s a unique labyrinth because it has an Afrocentric theme. I have attached a video here and in the comments (https://youtu.be/CoPzCImBf2Q).I love this labyrinth!

As I walked I watched the rain play on the concrete slab, I listened to a slow moving train sound its horn in the distance, and I heard the sound of the rain on my red umbrella. I paid careful attention to the labyrinth. It’s concrete pad is pocked. I hope it’s not wearing too quickly. The outer edges of the lunettes are scored concrete. I never noticed that before. There are other places where the concrete is scored, the center and the last rungs of the “ladder” entering the labyrinth. I wonder why. It might be worth asking the artist. I never noticed before but scoring of the rungs leading into the center and the scoring around the Center area does not match up to the tile pattern at the center and together create a cross.

A quote:

“We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.”- Anais Nin

2.25.18

24
Feb
18

2.24.18 … “Lent is about finding ‘the still point of the turning world’ — the still point around which the world is turning, turning around you”.

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2018 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (11/40), Cathedral of St. Philip – Atlanta GA, Karen Wright Marsh, Vintage Saints and Sinners:

I’ll have to admit that one takeaway from my daily walks is that I begin to form connections. Yesterday, I noticed that Karen Wright Marsh was coming to Atlanta for a book signing at the Cathedral. Karen moved to Atlanta in 1976 when her dad Dr. Charles P. Wright was called as the senior pastor at North Avenue Presbyterian Church, my childhood church. I have already read her book, Vintage Saints and Sinners, and plan to lead a book study this spring at First Presbyterian Church of Charlotte. So I knew I wanted to say hello to Karen and get my copy signed.

And that is how I ended up labyrinth walking at the Cathedral two days in a row.

So I was so pleased with my brief visit with Karen and that is where my mind was as I walked. She told me how to get access to her guide materials for my study and just made me excited to reread her book as I prepare. And I loved it that she asked her friend in front of me what she was reading. What are you reading?

(And Cary, I shared our mutual connection with you!)

And I found this from a post from several years ago, from Donna Morris , Paris guide extraordinaire …

“Lent is about finding ‘the still point of the turning world’ — the still point around which the world is turning, turning around you”. – Bishop Whalon at the American Cathedral.

So today I am seeking “the still point of the turning world.”

2.24.18

23
Feb
18

2.23.18 … our solitude is a gift to our community … our most secret thoughts affect our common life.

Driving Mama Lindsey … Life in the fast lane …, “Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2018 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (10/40), Cathedral of St. Philip – Atlanta GA:

This walk is part of a long Driving Mama Lindsey drive from North Avenue near downtown through Midtown, Ansley Park, Brookwood Hills, Peachtree Battle Shopping Center…

And this is what we saw and talked about …
The Varsity for lunch (actually mom is not a big fan, she indulges me) …

then ..
North Avenue Presbyterian Church
Midtown: where we saw a QuickTrip convenience store with no gas? Really? So many people! And we laughed about riding down the Strip and gawking at the the Hippies in the 60s; mom mentioned that she lived in a boarding house behind First Pres. before living at the Darlington before marrying my dad.
Ansley Park: Daddy’s childhood house at 55 Maddox, the violet patch, Winn Park (hello Mr. Ward!); Kiser family home on Peachtree Circle where I would ride my bike from Brookwood Hills to meet Marty at her grandmother’s house.
The Temple
Peachtree Church of Christ with the beautiful Tiffany windows.
And into Brookwood Hills via Huntington (Wards, Ingrams, Arnolds and the Pool), Wakefield (Daffodils look beautiful in the Winbornes’ yard!), Camden (I probably babysat in half the homes); Brighton (Menefees, DeRosas, Lindseys, Rays, Pentecosts, Egans, Stricklands, McGinnises, and the trees or lack thereof)
Piedmont Hospital where I was born
E. Rivers School
Peachtree Battle Shopping Center … Richards!
Peachtree Road (Mom and Dad’s first apartment on the corner of Muscogee and Peachtree with the Georges and the Grants)
Andrews Drive (my great Aunt and Uncle Mauldin)

Labyrinth walk at the Cathedral of St. Philip

I noticed a single squirrel, the birds singing, a very loud airplane overhead and a beautiful blue sky. It’s warm, 70s, and I can’t believe I ate my entire lunch at the V.

As I walked, I was thinking: Does it feel faster walking in or walking out? For me, it feels faster walking in. I guess I can release my worries faster than I can form a game plan then re-engage with the outside world…

A pregnant woman and three men crossed the garden area while I walked, the pregnant woman and the first and last of the men each went around the circumference of the labyrinth, but the second, a young artsy looking 20-something, walked straight across the labyrinth looking me straight in the eye. It was an interesting challenge. I tried my best to smile and pleasantly acknowledge his presence. In all honesty, I do not think he knew what the labyrinth was nor what I was doing. So he made the decision to stare me down. Just strange.

In case you were wondering, this labyrinth is oriented slightly NNE.

A few thoughts that crossed my mind today:

“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” – C . S. Lewis

[quote]
We like to make a distinction between our private and public lives and say, “Whatever I do in my private life is nobody else’s business.” But anyone trying to live a spiritual life will soon discover that the most personal is the most universal, the most hidden is the most public, and the most solitary is the most communal. What we live in the most intimate places of our beings is not just for us but for all people. That is why our inner lives are lives for others. That is why our solitude is a gift to our community, and that is why our most secret thoughts affect our common life.
[end quote]
SOURCE: Henri Nouwen Society | Daily Meditation | Henri Nouwen Society, http://henrinouwen.org/resources/daily-meditation/

… our solitude is a gift to our community … our most secret thoughts affect our common life.

2.23.18

And then … Swan House and home for mom … Lenbrook

23
Feb
18

2.22.18 … Today, I focus on negotiating new behavior …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2018 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (9/40), virtual labyrinth walk via YouTube, Atlanta GA:

I am in Atlanta visiting my mother. Although I fully intended to walk today as I traveled, I just did not get around to it.

So I again searched “virtual labyrinth walk” and I found this one.

I liked this one because it is an overview of a woman walking, and I could trace my finger through the labyrinth by putting my finger on the walker.

Try it! Labyrinth Walk Bird’s Eye View, https://youtu.be/Rh4o-kDVM5Q

And some info:

“The labyrinth is a sacred place set aside for you to reflect, look within, pray, negotiate new behavior. The rhythm of walking, placing one foot in front of the other, empties the mind, relaxes the body and refreshes the spirit. Follow the pace your body wants to go.

The labyrinth can be walked in four stages. As you encounter other people walking the same path, simply allow them to pass. You walk the labyrinth with your body and rest your mind.”

Click to access Walking%20the%20Labyrinth.pdf

Today, I focus on negotiating new behavior …

2.22.18

21
Feb
18

2.21.18 … Be still and namaste!

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2018 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (8/40), Wedgewood Church – Charlotte NC:

I always wonder about the orientation of a labyrinth. Is there any right way? This one is not oriented in the same direction as the church, nor is it oriented logically to enter from the parking lot or the street. So I checked with the compass and it is oriented to east/west, facing east as I enter.

Wedgewood Church is the church that has rainbow doors that face onto Tyvola Road. They were recently defaced and there was a call to the community to repaint them. They have been repainted.

[Quote]

One of Charlotte’s best-known gay-friendly churches was vandalized, just hours after the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board voted during an occasionally raucous meeting to take a stand for LGBTQ students.

The phrase “F— are Pedofhiles” was spray-painted across the front doors of Wedgewood Church off Tyvola Road, with “pedophiles” misspelled. It happened either late Tuesday or early Wednesday, officials said.

[End Quote]

SOURCE: Gay-friendly NC church vandalized for the seventh time | Charlotte Observer,

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article196441634.html

As many of you know, this labyrinth is not one of my favorites because of the surface of the path, small pebbles. Because of this surface, it is awkward to walk and very noisy in your head. But any walk is s good walk.

It is 78° and mostly sunny. Actually, it’s downright hot. I have a sweater on and I am extremely toasty.

For multiple reasons, I feel agitated today. And so it is a good for me to turn to my favorite verse: Psalm 46. And as it was listed in North Avenue’s’s Lenten readings on Monday. I just tucked it away in my notes so that I could come back to it whenever I felt the need. Today is the day.

Come, behold the works of the Lord;

see what desolations he has brought on the earth.

He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;

he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;

he burns the shields with fire.

‘Be still, and know that I am God!

I am exalted among the nations,

I am exalted in the earth.’

The Lord of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our refuge.

Selah

http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=384520124

Because the paths are so noisy, I find myself walking on the brick boundary markers. I feel like a little kid when I walk here.

So what did I see, hear and feel today? I heard a friendly hello from a woman who said she was working on the doors and painting the orange part again. I also heard lots of traffic on Tyvola Road, and airplanes overhead, and of course, the sound of my feet walking in the pebbles.

Be still and namaste!

2.21.18

.

20
Feb
18

2.20.18 … “Is beauty universally seen alike in all eyes? Is beauty left to context, morality, or time? Is beauty a Godly thing, the Trinity’s inner splendor? Or is it human construct based in race, class, or gender?“

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2018 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (7/40), Morning Star Lutheran Chapel – Mathews NC, FAITH (Fellowship Actions Impacting the Habitat) designation through the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Matt Rawle (“Walking the Labyrinth,” “The Faith of a Mockingbird”):

Today I have shared my walk with my friend Toni. We talked about all things practical in labyrinth construction and maintenance as she is orchestrating the installation of a labyrinth at St. John’s Episcopal Church on Carmel Rd.

As we approached the labyrinth we discussed the “flavor” of chimes, we both really like this set, but today there was no wind, and thus no chimes. However, the birds were singing happily through the fog. And there was a train sounding in the distance.

The most notable thing about today was the fog. The fog was actually dripping on me.

We laughed about the painted rocks. Toni mentioned that the painted rocks were part of the landscaping improvements from last fall. She also said that the garden is certified as bird sanctuary. See below about the FAITH certification.

Here’s the scoop on the garden …

[Begin quote]

Our world seems very disconnected today. Walking the labyrinth bring a spirit of connection and unity with our Higher Power, with ourselves, with others, with nature. The woodland garden is part of the flow,” said Perrotta.

“The plants will enhance the labyrinth with fragrance and soft colors, and they attract butterflies. I love that they are delicate and powerful at the same time.”

The garden was designed and installed by Lisa Tompkins of It’s Elemental Landscaping and Carolina Heritage Nursery. Tompkins specializes in native plants. She says it’s frustrating that more natives aren’t readily available.

“In landscaping, native plants are definitely in the minority,” said Tomkins.

When installed properly, native plants require very little watering and pruning, and produce flowers and berries that support local wildlife.

Though it wasn’t her original intent, during the planning process Perrotta discovered that with the natural resources already in place on the property, plus the installation of a bird bath, the labyrinth and its new garden met the qualifications for FAITH (Fellowship Actions Impacting the Habitat) designation through the North Carolina Wildlife Federation.

The FAITH program is a non-denominational program designed to recognize and certify places of worship as wildlife friendly habitats. She recently received confirmation that her FAITH application was approved, and a FAITH sign is on the way to be installed at the site.

Margaret Kinney, a trained labyrinth facilitator who leads guided walks at the site several times a year, says she wishes more people would take the time to discover both the peace and the power that the labyrinth can offer.

“Our lives are so busy, we don’t have time to listen to what God, or our Higher Power, might be saying to us,” said Kinney.

“At the very least, walking the labyrinth will give you peace.” Melinda Johnston is a freelance writer: m.johnston@carolina.rr.com

[End quote]

SOURCE:Legacy labyrinth at Morning Star Lutheran Chapel in Matthews adds landscaping | Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com/living/religion/article178782266.html

Yesterday was the anniversary of the 2016 death of Harper Lee. I was never a huge fan of To Kill a Mockingbird until I read the sequel and then it made more sense. I enjoy this quote: “Sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whisky bottle in the hand of (another)… There are just some kind of men who – who’re so busy worrying about the next world they’ve never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results.” ― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

In my noodling I found this poem about labyrinths, but skip the poem if it doesn’t interest you, because it relates to Harper Lee …

I remember the first time my mind wandered aimlessly

Pacing the turns inwardly while releasing

My fears and transgressions with each step accompanied breath

The Spirit unfettered, wholly showing me the quest

With my feet unbridled, I idled at the entrance

Penitent and unworthy to tread with God’s presence

Unknowing what’s before me, I bravely try to stride

On the path of my past I hold fast to hide

On the first purple line the silence is deafening

The candle wicks flicker, the only light transpiring

Guiding me pensively toward my first inward turn

With the world now behind me, my thoughts unfurl

Is beauty universally seen alike in all eyes?

Is beauty left to context, morality, or time?

Is beauty a Godly thing, the Trinity’s inner splendor?

Or is it human construct based in race, class, or gender?

Revelations abound drowning out my reality

As the labyrinth’s simple path winds almost seamlessly

Begging the question of what’s melting away

Is it reality or falsity that’s truly giving way?

The world outside tries to hold fast my heart

Omnipotent dominance it seems as it starts

Parting ways with my soul, staking its claim

I now know my idol. I’ve now named its name

With struggles behind me I slip slowly into

A world of inner circles, whirling, whispering, “This do

in remembrance of me,” as my mind’s eye gazes

on the bread and the wine atop a metaphysical table

My mind’s eye’s impaired for the bread is blurred

Is it unleavened as Paul beckons, or four cornered like the world?

Is it rounded and stiff like a priest’s Sunday collar?

Is it processed and bagged for the American dollar?

The wine, how it sparkles in a cup I know not

Is it silver refined, or clay kilned with cracked pots?

Is it filled individually for communal logistics?

Or one common cup for the monk and the mystics?

The table now set, whetting my deep desire

To sweetly feast, yet my feet seem mired

My mind snaps back, the straight path is lost

Causing hesitation, the frustration, “Dear Lord, what’s the cost?”

My ears now hear amidst the silence

Parapet anthems of victory over violence

The glorious organ gorgonizes my mind

Freezing me in place, a power sublime

The powerful hymns of centuries gone by

Inspire the weak-hearted, those of soul parched and dry

I remember the debate, of late, the bitterness and gall

Of how contemporary music would cause Duke Chapel to fall

A tense, pinched face,

ungraciously distasteful

Murmurs words of scorn

born from lips of past depression

For him, the hymn to whimsical

For her, the words to cyclical

For they do prey on the cynical

An unceasing cycle of miserable spectacle

New music sickens the traditionalist

Missing the Spirit’s movement meant

For a new generation bifurcated upon

An altar of good intention built with stone of ancient song

My walk becomes a dirge, searching for the center

But my eyes arise skyward through the darkness I had entered

A skewed view of centers where worship takes place

The font, pulpit and pews, each of which a means of grace

The pulpit sits upon a ton of quarried, crafted stone

With faces of the past, old memories on loan

For those of our generation often unknowing of the past

The lives of the Saints, stiff in stone in darkness vast

Hearing a Word unheard before

Stories of the soul’s seeking

Is like a babe’s first momentary gaze

Toward the mother of her birthing

Eyes open anew peering deeply into

The mystery of life’s wonder

Understood not completely, yet instinctively known

Is the grace given me so freely

The pews hewn from mighty oak, trussing unsuspecting folk

Who journey here with heavy hearts before departing with lightened yolk

The in between is transformation, desperation lifted ‘way

While hearing that the debt is paid, by grace through faith the soul is saved.

Moving from the pews I wander to the font far off from view

Masquerading a signal import as ottoman of wealthy few

Ornately adorned with sides of eight, contemplating rebirth

Dying with Christ and rising anew, a sinner of infinite worth

At the head of the church, perched high above the maze

A wooden cross hides, disguised amongst disciples’ gaze

Anamnesis teasing time, I find myself within the crowd

Shouting loud a screaming scorn, “A crown of thorns upon his brow!”

Whipped and kicked with sinners’ hate, my Lord awaits his paschal fate

Pilate dances as he dangles silent Christ in grand debate

To the crowd aroused with fury, Pilate hands them God’s own son

With hands still dripping he announces to the crowd, “thy will be done!”

Leading Christ away they prey upon a master’s love

Ridiculing sweet redemption as they raise the lamb above

Upon a tree with nails of three, piercing hands and feet and side

Now deserted and alone his friends leave him there to die

I’m now at the center, entering timid and shy

For this is God’s heart, what value have I

To kneel pneumatically numb, struck dumb by a presence

Radiant and holy, only silent with reverence

Patiently awaiting my penitent sentence

I slowly focus my soul

Memories tremble, escaping assessment

The “why did I” denied by what’s shown

Sitting there silently, pining for time

My heart starts to rip at its seam

The pieces asunder held by hands not mine

Are mended by my loving Redeemer

Source: Walking the Labyrinth – Matt Rawle, http://mattrawle.com/2015/02/18/walking-the-labyrinth/

And when I researched the poet Matt Rawle: “I am the Lead Pastor at Asbury United Methodist Church in Bossier City, Louisiana and a graduate from the LSU School of Music and Duke Divinity School. I’m an international speaker who loves to tell an old story in a new way, especially at the intersection of pop culture and the church. I’m also the author of What Makes a Hero?, The Faith of a Mockingbird, Hollywood Jesus, The Salvation of Doctor Who, and The Redemption of Scrooge. My wife, Christie, and I have four pretty awesome kids: Isabelle, Annaleigh, Cecilia, and Robert.

SOURCE: http://mattrawle.com/

It’s amazing how life circles back on you sometimes … maybe I will look into his The Faith of a Mockingbird? (“In The Faith of a Mockingbird, based on Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, pastor and author Matt Rawle uses Lee’s beloved characters to explore Christian faith, theology, and ethics. Join Scout, Atticus Finch, Boo Radley, and Tom Robinson in this four-week study considering God’s world and what it all means. The Faith of a Mockingbird is part of The Pop in Culture Series of Bible studies in which Matt Rawle stirs up a tasty gumbo of insight, humor, and inspiration based on some of your favorite pop culture classics.” Source: https://www.cokesbury.com/product/9781501803697/the-faith-of-a-mockingbird/)

I’m always amazed where my labyrinth walks will take me. Lots to ponder …

2.20.18

19
Feb
18

2.19.18 … although I usually walk alone, there is a sense of community on a labyrinth, a community of those who have walked labyrinths over the last 1000 years, of those who created this labyrinth, of those who have been here and of those who will be here. There’s a strong feeling that God is in this place; it is a sacred space …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2018 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (6/40), Avondale Presbyterian Church – Charlotte NC:

What am I seeing, hearing, feeling, thinking? Well, it is miserably cold. It is 55° and very damp. Definitely, not my favorite weather. I was hoping to have a friend walk with me today, but as we sat down today at a new-to-me coffee shop, she felt ill. So I will have to share a labyrinth with her next week.

I can assure you that because of the weather, this walk will be a quick. The birds are very active and their singing is not very happy. I don’t think they like the weather anymore than I do…

For some reason, I have Thomas Merton on my mind today. So I am pondering this prayer:

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”

SOURCE: Thomas Merton’s Prayer That Anyone Can Pray | On Being, https://onbeing.org/blog/thomas-mertons-prayer-that-anyone-can-pray/

And here’s some info on Thomas Merton …

Thomas Merton, O.C.S.O. (January 31, 1915 – December 10, 1968) was an American Catholic writer, theologian and mystic. A Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky, he was a poet, social activist, and student of comparative religion. In 1949, he was ordained to the priesthood and given the name Father Louis.[1][2][3]

Merton wrote more than 70 books, mostly on spirituality, social justice and a quiet pacifism, as well as scores of essays and reviews. Among Merton’s most enduring works is his bestselling autobiography The Seven Storey Mountain (1948), which sent scores of World War II veterans, students, and even teenagers flocking to monasteries across the US,[4][5]and was also featured in National Review’s list of the 100 best non-fiction books of the century.[6]Merton was a keen proponent of interfaith understanding. He pioneered dialogue with prominent Asian spiritual figures, including the Dalai Lama, the Japanese writer D.T. Suzuki, the Thai Buddhist monk Buddhadasa, and the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh, and authored books on Zen Buddhism and Taoism. In the years since his death, Merton has been the subject of several biographies.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Merton?wprov=sfti1

I do not usually quote myself, but I was looking through some old posts on my blog, and i came across this. In light of the one hour lecture that I posted 2.17.18 which concludes with a discussion of community walks, I found this posting insightful:

I have lots of thoughts today because I am returning from Tuesday Morning Bible Study, and it was led by the author of our current book study, Frank Spencer. Frank’s book The Benefit of the Doubt: Claiming Faith in an Uncertain World has been an excellent study in the Reformed Tradition. (And for my Davidson friends, Frank is the son of the late Sam Spencer.) As Frank is a peer, many of his insights about faith in the current era seem so obvious when he writes about them and then talks about them. Our class today was very insightful.

One of the things that Frank emphasized was the concept of “community of faith.” We also talked about how the whole “spiritual but not religious” movement ignores the concept of community of faith and that that is the real power of the Reformed Tradition.

My thoughts immediately wandered to my walks on labyrinths. And then I realized that although I usually walk alone, there is a sense of community on a labyrinth, a community of those who have walked labyrinths over the last 1000 years, of those who created this labyrinth, of those who have been here and of those who will be here. There’s a strong feeling that God is in this place; it is a sacred space. I think this is true even on labyrinths that are not associated with Christian or religious organizations.

I also have mentioned in the past that walking a labyrinth with others as a community is a wonderful experience. I think I need to orchestrate a few group walks this spring, maybe a part of my annual almost-daily Lenten walks. Will you join me?

SOURCE: 2.18.14 … Will you join me? … | Dennard’s Clipping Service, https://teaguenc.wordpress.com/2014/02/18/2-18-14-will-you-join-me

2.19.18




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