Archive for April, 2019

28
Apr
19

4.28.19 … “How oft, in making music, we have found A new dimension in the world of sound As worship moved us to a more profound Alleluia!”

Faith traditions, music and spirituality, Roswell Presbyterian Church:

I’m in Atlanta this weekend, and this morning I went with my sister and her husband to the 8:15 am service in the historic sanctuary at Roswell Presbyterian Church. The Senior Minister is Jeff Meyers. Jeff served in college and young adult ministry at my childhood church, North Avenue Presbyterian Church, for many years. I love old sanctuaies and this one was built in the 1840s. Reminding me of attending church at a small Methodist church with my grandmother, the people mingled and talked before the worship in this beautiful space.

Roswell Presbyterian Church was built similar in design to that of the New England meetinghouse. It was very much like the Midway Congregational Church on the Georgia coast, where many of the early Roswell families and their ancestors were members. Both churches had box pews, raised pulpits, and galleries for slave members.
Source: RPC History — Welcome to Roswell Presbyterian Church, https://www.roswellpres.org/rpc-history

In Charlotte I always attend church alone since I have no family members who attend, and it was nice to talk about faith issues on the way there, to share Sunday Worship and then to unwind afterwards and continue our conversation incorporating thoughts from the service over breakfast.

On the way there, we discussed how people who are musically inclined, whether they be singers or instrument players, have another “language” to which they experience spirituality.

During the service, we sang Hymn 641, When in Our Music God is Glorified …

When in our music God is glorified,

And adoration leaves no room for pride,

It is as though the whole creation cried:

Alleluia!

How oft, in making music, we have found

A new dimension in the world of sound

As worship moved us to a more profound

Alleluia!

So has the Church, in liturgy and song,

In faith and love, through centuries of wrong,

Borne witness to the truth in ev’ry tongue:

Alleluia!

And did not Jesus sing a psalm that night

When utmost evil strove against the light?

Then let us sing, for whom he won the fight:

Alleluia!

Let ev’ry instrument be tuned for praise;

Let all rejoice who have a voice to raise,

And may God give us faith to sing always:

Alleluia!

Afterwards we drove around Roswell, and I saw Mimosa Hall, the family home of a childhood acquaintance (and the home to her family since the 1870s) who recently sold it to the City of Roswell. (Source: Sally Hansell grew up in Roswell’s Mimosa Hall | Archives | northfulton.com, https://www.northfulton.com/archives/sally-hansell-grew-up-in-roswell-s-mimosa-hall/article_a80b9e8a-8906-5493-9542-b01df467c94a.html). I actually visited Sally there with my friend Marty when we were in high school and Sally was in college. I remember the beautiful entrance drive. It is the same today. Her family is tied to the historic families of the church.

And then I just saw this …

and this …

“Music reaches parts of the brain that other things can’t. It’s a strong cognitive stimulus that grows the brain in a way that nothing else does, and the evidence that musical training enhances things like working memory and language is very robust.”

-Catherine Loveday, University of Westminster

4.28.19

26
Apr
19

4.26.19 … Will I bother you?

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2019 Labyrinth Walks, The Cathedral of St. Philip-Atlanta GA:

Will I bother you? Rarely do I share a labyrinth. But as I walked up, there was a man dressed in camouflage pants and army boots sitting in the center. I was worried that I might distract him. So I held back for a few minutes.

And I was struck by the sound of wind in fully leafed out trees.

There was a woman with puppy circling around and a few other people passing through space, including one woman with bright orange hair.

I found myself going from cool and warm depending on the wind. The heat was strong when the gusts of cool wind died down.

And the birds were chattering.

I talked with the man walking. It was his first walk and it was clearly a moving experience. I shared my labyrinth story. We hugged.

On the way out I missed a turn …

4.26.19

24
Apr
19

4.24.19 … “History Reimagined”

Driving Mama Lindsey

Wednesday, we had a mission: to get her new hearing aids checked. But of course we could get a ride in as we fulfilled our mission.

We headed south from Lenbrook and avoided Peachtree by going via Old Ivy and Habersham. We did a quick detour down Karland by the house where both my grandmother’s siblings lived at different points. I always thought that interesting.

Once at E. Rivers, we turned north and did a spin around the Duck Pond. We were both disappointed because we saw only one duck and he was swimming alone in the pond.

It only took a few minutes at the audiologist’s and once again. Mom “could hear me now!” Modern technology is amazing.

From near Piedmont, we continued south with a quick spin through Brookwood Hills, Brighton, Camden, Wakefield and Palisades today. There is a home tour this weekend, “History Reimagined”. If I am here, I would love to go. Hello to all!

And then we went down Collier … how big will Piedmont Hospital be when they finish? … to Northside (by Bitsy Grant and Bobby Jones), back up the hill to Peachtree Battle, then Habersham, Cherokee, Andrews, cutting over to Valley, and back to Habersham to retrace our steps home.

We talked about how beautiful Atlanta is. And I asked my mom what was her favorite city other than Atlanta. Her response… Macon. She’s definitely in a phase where she cherishes people and places from her childhood. I’ll let that one pass.

We talked mostly of my parents’ friends today … The Grants, the Duffys, the Marsdens, the Georges, the Inmans … wonderful memories of love and friendship.

4.24.19

23
Apr
19

4.23.19 … “However many other religious languages I learn, I dream in Christian. However much I learn from other spiritual teachers, it is Jesus I come home to at night.” – Barbara Brown Taylor(

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2019 Labyrinth Walks, Wayt Private Labyrinth – Cumming GA:

I read this extract as part of a devotional for a Bible study I attend at First Presbyterian Church in Charlotte . There was lots to ponder.

I became a fan of Barbara Brown Taylor about 10 years ago. The first book I read was An Altar in the World: Finding the Sacred Beneath Our Feet. She walks labyrinth by the way …

She has a new book, Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others and in connection with its publication last month she has done quite a few interviews. This is an excerpt from a CNN interview from last week (https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/21/us/outcast-pastor-finds-way-home-easter/index.html).

“I worship every day,” she says. “Sometimes it’s in churches, but other times it’s around dinner tables, in airports, in city parks, and in the woods with wild turkeys.”

Those answers, though, are the kind of poetic musings that still make some Christians suspicious. Is she more than “happy faces and pumpkins in the sky?”She doesn’t sound like a person who is giving up on Christianity.

In “Holy Envy” she writes: “However many other religious languages I learn, I dream in Christian. However much I learn from other spiritual teachers, it is Jesus I come home to at night.”

Easter morning also helps her find her way home.

She still believes in the Easter story. She just doesn’t believe that it represents the triumph of Christianity — proof that Christians have a monopoly on religious truth.

How can you believe in Easter without believing Christ is the only way?

The way she now talks about God in the Easter story helps explain why.

“Jesus never commanded me to love my religion. He said love God and your neighbor. That’s about all I can handle day by day.”

“These days I would say Easter is the eruption of life from a tomb as God’s huge surprise, going in a different direction, and if anything, proof that you can never predict how God is going to act next,” she says.

Taylor’s spiritual restlessness may continue to push her in different directions. But she no longer sounds afraid to look her faith in the eyes.

“Now I value Easter as the reminder that you never know where life is going to come from next, and there’s no sense being attached to the day before yesterday because the day before yesterday is dead, and today something is alive,” she says.

She leans forward on her sofa and her expression turns solemn. She gets a faraway look in her eyes, and raises her hands as if in worship.

“So why not follow the life, and see where it leads, with some kind of trust in the spirits’ ability to blow where nobody expected to blow, and in a direction nobody expected it to go into — and be willing to be blown away.”

And then I closed with this from Paul Bane: Source: When Does the Kingdom of Heaven Come to Earth? | Paul Bane, https://www.patheos.com/blogs/mindfulchristianitytoday/2018/08/when-does-the-kingdom-of-heaven-come-to-earth/

Every time we pray we experience God at a given point until our mind moves on to other thoughts.

Heaven comes every time we love our brothers and sisters. Heaven comes when we are at peace with our circumstances in life. Heaven comes every moment we dwell in the presence of God. Heaven comes when I know I am one with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

… remember, there is no need to prepare for the kingdom of Heaven it is already here. The kingdom of Heaven is neither found in the past or the future it is present in every moment of time, and God is the “Eternal Now.” So stop, take a deep breath and realize the kingdom of Heaven is present within you. Contemplate you are in a relationship with the “resurrected Christ” and his Kingdom is present and alive in your heart. Practice the wonderment of the now and enjoy the presence of God in whatever is happening to you at this moment. Focus on the existence of God and the fullness of his kingdom is yours right now. The Kingdom of God is within you.

Amen

After my class, I drove to Atlanta detouring via Cumming where I spent an evening with a friend, Marty, her sister Becca and their mom Martha. We shared a walk on Martha’s labyrinth as the sun was getting low in the West. We then enjoyed a dinner on the porch watching the sun do it final hurrah for the day. It was a perfect evening.

We discussed anything and everything, including Barbara Brown Taylor with whom the Kiser and Wayt families share a special friendship of over 40 years, Courtney Cowart and her work at 9/11 Ground Sero, labyrinths,friendship, Richard Rohr, enneagrams, thin places,history, and mutual friends such as the Campbell family…I drove away energized and feeling both loved and nurtured.

And as I drove to Atlanta, and once I entered Georgia, I turned on Georgia public radio. I thought you would want know that today is the first day that Vidalia onions are available. There are only 10,000 acres that are allowed to grow Vidalia onions, the official Georgia vegetable. Also, they will be available until August.

4.23.19

21
Apr
19

4.21.19 … indeed

Easter 2019:

Happy Easter Morning!

Beautiful picture I saw yesterday … and it’s from Jekyll Island GA , the beach of my childhood.

Our pastor in his Easter Sermon mentioned that the it was a miracle that the women were believed, even more so if you compare to today where women’s experiences are questioned. Just think what is was like 2000 years ago.

Black Girl Loves Jane:

We implore thee to quicken our sense of thy mercy in the redemption of the world, of the value of that holy religion in which we have been brought up, that we may not, by our own neglect, throw away the salvation thou hast given us, nor be Christians only in name.-Jane Austen’s Evening Prayer.

Hope you have a wonderful Easter!

Post Pic if you wish!

And this makes me laugh every year …

And I love the Facebook Memories Feature. This is 1994 and is one of my all-time favorite Easter photos. I love it because when you turn it upside down you can tell that my two boys, Jack and Edward, are loving being swung around by their dad and grandfather. My niece Hunter, not so much. 🙂

Indeed!

4.22.19

19
Apr
19

4.19.19 … still …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2019 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (40/40), Avondale Presbyterian Church – Charlotte NC:

Thursday night I went to First Presbyterian’s Maundy Thursday Tenebrae Service and on Good Friday I attended MPUMC’s Good Friday service. They were similar and I ended Good Friday in a somber mood.

For my 40th walk, I chose to return to Avondale. It was Good Friday late afternoon and a wicked storm was brewing. Because of the weather, i knew it might be a quick walk.

I entered the sacred garden and the chimes were ringing wildly in the wind. The water was flowing. The dogwoods which were glorious just the other day had been defrocked by the storm today. And the weeds were winning.

I walked between storms. I raced around the labyrinth knowing that another storm was brewing.

I know I mentioned the other day that everything was at its peak… Well the strange weather today, this strange storm, has knocked the blooms off the dogwood trees and the azaleas.

As I walked I contemplated this Jan Richardson post:

For you, for this Good Friday—this day that asks us to bear witness to what is breaking. May we not turn away.

STILL

A Blessing for Good Friday

This day

let all stand still

in silence,

in sorrow.

Sun and moon

be still.

Earth

be still.

Still

the waters.

Still

the wind.

Let the ground

gape in stunned

lamentation.

Let it weep

as it receives

what it thinks

it will not

give up.

Let it groan

as it gathers

the One

who was thought

forever stilled.

Time

be still.

Watch

and wait.

Still.

—Jan Richardson

from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons

It was very strange to walk on Good Friday afternoon in this weather, this very dark weather… This is what the Bible said…

John 19: 30 “When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”

4.19.19

18
Apr
19

4.18.19 … “Do this in remembrance of me.”

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2019 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (39/40), Myers Park Baptist Church-Charlotte NC:

Today is Maundy Thursday. I never heard the term “Maundy Thursday” until I was dating my husband John in college. He grew up in a traditional Presbyterian Church in Louisville KY, and he knew the term. I grew up in a traditional Presbyterian Church in Atlanta GA and I did not; the term had never been a part of my church vocabulary. Yes, I knew the general story of holy week, but the term “maundy” had never entered my consciousness.

So what does it mean? “Maundy” is an Anglo-French word derived from the Latin “mandatum,” which means “commandment,” and refers to when Jesus, in the Upper Room during the Last Super, said to the disciples: “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34). Others say the mandate was the Lord’s Supper: “Do this in remembrance of me.”

I love James Howell’s post today about the group of African Christians who followed him into the “upper room” in Jerusalem last week. They came in joyously singing. Last year James noted in his Maundy Thursday post that Matthew 26:30 tells us that, at the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday, the disciples sang hymns together. I had never thought about the disciples singing the Psalms that evening until I put the two posts together this morning.

So what do I believe Jesus commanded me to do on Maundy Thursday?

1. Love my neighbor

2. Participate in community … take care of each other, wash feet.

3. Eat together and share the food, the bread and the wine, and the experience.

4. Participate in holy communion and “Do this in remembrance of me”

5. Live joyously

Whatever the mandate, let’s do it … with solemnity, joy, sorrow and hope.

I decided on a morning walk today. The sun was streaming, and it was amazing how green everything has become. In the last week to 10 days, all the trees have leafed out and it is glorious.

The lower half of the labyrinth was in shade this morning and the other half in full sun. Although I heard construction and lawn crews working in the distance, they were not on this campus yet. I am sure they will be scurrying about blowing and raking and mowing later today. With all the rain we have had, I was amazed that the pollen had not been washed away. There was lots of pollen and a light coating of yellow on the labyrinth.

As I finished my walk, a light breeze passed by me, over me, through me. It was a spirit moment.

Be still …

4.18.19

And I just saw this …




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