Archive for June, 2019

30
Jun
19

6.30.19 … persuasion and moss …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, MorningStar Lutheran Chapel – Mint Hill NC, 2019 Labyrinth Walks:

For the past few weeks, I have had more control over the remote in my house than I have ever had before (ET has moved to Denver). And I will admit that I have enjoyed it. I have been doing a Jane Austen themed film lit review. I’ve enjoyed her books since high school and the film adaptations are always good entertainment whether the adaptation is good or bad.

As a gift, I received a membership in the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA). Last week, my first edition of their journal “Persuasions” arrived. I have brought it with me to the labyrinth today…

I sat and read in the new area with benches. Is it for the laying to rest of ashes in the garden?

On the labyrinth I noticed a collection of nuts, the sound of rushing water in the fountain, the dappled light, many noisy birds, the very old rock wall, red white and blue fake flowers on one of the graves.

There are airplanes flying overhead and flies and other flying insects down with me on the path …

And moss …

6.30.19

28
Jun
19

6.28.19 … what makes pilgrimages so spiritually universal and paradoxical? …*

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, Sardis Baptist Church – Charlotte NC, 2019 Labyrinth Walks, Diarmaid MacCulloch, “Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years”:

I have to blame you, my friends, for my current situation. So many of you are readers and have recommended books to me in person and over social media, that I maintain a list. About six months ago, I started putting those books on hold at my local library. At first they arrived sporadically, and I would go to the library, skim through the book and decide whether to check it out and read it. But in the last month, there’s been an onslaught of on hold books becoming available, and each time I have found them intriguing enough to check out. I now have at least a dozen books in the trunk of my car. I am not a fast reader. And so I furiously try to read them but I’m getting nowhere.

The book I’m currently reading is Diarmaid MacCulloch’s “Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years” and is over 1000 pages long. So far, it is a very interesting read. I am not 50 pages into it, and already I have found multiple ideas that I had not ever contemplated although I have studied history for most of my life. Fortunately, I also have the audio version so if as I ride around I listen and then go back and re-read the parts that jumped out at me.

I came to Sardis today because I thought a short walk would be nice. But I ended up pulling out the 1000 page book.

I have enjoyed my time in the shade listening to the birds and cicadas and awaiting the afternoon heat. It is currently 88° with a high of 91. Next week it will be in the upper 90s approaching 100°.

I have several friends walking the Camino in Spain. Currently Europe is experiencing a heat wave. I just checked the weather and it looks fairly pleasant at Santiago de Compostela. I was very blessed to walk in upper 70s and low 80s in early August 2014. Buen Camino to my friends!

My thoughts were drawn to the Camino as I read this paragraph in the Introduction to MacCulloch‘s book:

“Even now, by no means all sections of the Christian world have undergone the mutation of believing unequivocally in tolerating or accepting any partnership with other belief systems. In particular I highlight the huge consequences when the fifteenth-and sixteenth-century monarchs of the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal) reinvented their multi-faith society as a Christian monopoly and then exported that single-minded form of Christianity to other parts of the world. I develop the theme which became (rather to my surprise) a ground-bass of the narrative in my previous book, Reformation: the destruction of Spanish Judaism and Islam after 1492 had a major role in developing new forms of Christianity which challenged much of the early Church’s package of ideas, and also in fostering the mindset which led in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to the Enlightenment in Western culture. “

The first persons of faith who pilgrimaged across northern Spain coming to Santiago de Compostela were experiencing what MacCulloch describes as a multi-faith society. Could that history entrenched in the very ground you walk on, that multifaith history, be what makes that pilgrimage and other pilgrimages so spirituality universal and paradoxical?

I will ponder that.

6.28.19

25
Jun
19

6.25.19 … “Whatever is going on in God is a flow-it’s like a dance. But God is not a dancer-He is the dance itself. That idea might sound novel, but it is about as traditional as you can get. God is the dance itself, and He invites you to be a part of that dance. Are you ready to join in?”

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2019 Labyrinth Walks, Myers Park Baptist Church-Charlotte NC:

As a matter of practice, I usually do not take a selection of readings with me to my labyrinth walks. But in the last six weeks, I have found it comforting just to sit a few minutes with a book or an article and read before I walk.

Today I’m finishing “ Moonlight Over Paris” This is by Jennifer Robson, the same author that wrote “The Gown.” As with The Gown, I enjoyed the history and the quality of the writing, but the story itself was very predictable.

I found several quotes in this book interesting…

In Robson’s description of 1925 New York City, “The city felt so new, and not just new compared to London or Paris, but brand-new, so new its paint hadn’t yet dried, and newest of all, to her mind, were the skyscrapers. With the exception of the Eiffel Tower with the spires of the various cathedrals, she was fairly certain she never before seen a structure that rose beyond eight or nine stories – but already they’d driven past dozens of buildings that reached ten, twenty, even thirty stories high.“ (p.307) And I thought to myself that New York City still seems that way compared to any European or North American City.

And page 130 discussed first time painting with oils, something my sister is undertaking for the first time … “She assumed she would have a natural flair for painting in oils. She could not have been more wrong. …”

But early on I saw this in the book, p. 121, … “Most of us spend our whole lives with our heads down, walking in circles. It never occurs to us to want anything more, so we cling to what’s safe. What we know.”

There was lots of debris on my path today. We have had several wicked storms, one Saturday night that cut power at our house for four hours, but a woman in the grocery store yesterday asked me how long she could keep her eggs because she had lost power for 26 hours from that same storm. We again had another wicked storm last night. It is almost like we can’t recover. Today the winds are picking up again in late evening and I wonder if we’ll have another wicked storm.

After I walked, I planned to look over at the the Friendship Garden in the corner. I have noticed this garden in previous years, but never have I noticed the plants so tall above the fence. I truly love this concept of urban gardens and sharing with those who live in the food deserts of the modern city.

Every so often I get off the path. Usually it is that I am thinking of other things. I am not sure what distracted me today… But I was off at a very early juncture. But I corrected myself and was walking on the path again.

It was not too hot, but I am definitely overdressed. I have my uniform on, Khaki pants and a black T-shirt (I own sleeveless, short sleeve, elbow length sleeve and long sleeve ones) and a scarf. Today out of laziness I chose a mid length sleeve. And it is too much.

The natural areas around the labyrinth were littered with debris from the recent storms; the hydrangeas were suffering from the heat; the rosemary had gone wild; and the clover in the grassy areas was equally wild …

As noted before, I still love the corner lighting which is in complete contrast to the strict pattern of the labyrinth. I like the humor.

I have never been a dancer, but for 20 minutes when I walk the labyrinth I experience several things which honestly I never really expected to experience: one is meditation or contemplation, and the other is a sense of dance. The labyrinth path takes me on a very short dance. I was never one to follow a man’s lead, but I can follow the lead of the path. Dance with me?

Which brings me to another thought, which combines several ideas here… That is Richard Rohr’s The Divine Dance. The meditative contemplative walks. that I take on the labyrinth, the dance that I take it as I move through the Labyrinth is for me to dance with God.

“Early Christians who came to be known as the ‘Desert Mothers and Fathers’ applied the Greek verb perichoresis to the mystery of the Trinity. The best translation of this odd-sounding word is dancing. Our word choreography comes from the same root.Although these early Christians gave us some highly conceptualized thinking on the life of the Trinity, the best they could say, again and again, was, Whatever is going on in God is a flow-it’s like a dance. But God is not a dancer-He is the dance itself. That idea might sound novel, but it is about as traditional as you can get. God is the dance itself, and He invites you to be a part of that dance. Are you ready to join in?”

Source: Episode 58 – Mike Morrell- The Divine Dance,

https://crackersandgrapejuice.com/episode-58-mike-morrell-the-divine-dance/

6.25.19

22
Jun
19

6.22.19 … And I walked … most noticeable was the shortness of my shadow …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, Avondale Presbyterian Church – Charlotte NC, 2019 Labyrinth Walks, Summer Solstice:

I am technically a day late, but I was in transit. So I knew I would walk today and honor the arrival of summer.

As I entered the sacred garden, a group of four teenagers, all boys, walked to the far corner corner of the garden and went into the woods…

I sat on one of the benches at the side of the labyrinth and read my new library book, Jennifer Robson‘s, “Moonlight over Paris.“

After about 20 minutes, the group of boys walked out and seem startled to see me sitting and watching them. My guess: they were up to no good.

The heat was intense. And so I again missed the huge oak tree that was here for so many years. I realize that in another year or two, there will be no evidence of its former glory and many will never remember it existed.

The birds were singing and the chimes were ringing, and I heard the rushing water in the fountain at the columbarium. Where at first I was distracted by the presence of the boys in their hideaway, the peace and sacredness was now restored.

And I walked … most noticeable was the shortness of my shadow.

After my walk, I ventured into the woods. It was no surprise to find empty cases of beer, but I also found a secret circle … maybe for scouts or Indian guide gatherings.

“Do you always watch for the longest day of the year and then miss it? I always watch for the longest day of the year and then miss it.”

– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Happy summer to you all.

6.22.19

15
Jun
19

6.15.19 … ashes to ashes, dust to dust …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2019 Labyrinth Walks, Frederica Park – St. Simons Island GA:

I got up at the crack of dawn this morning and headed south to the Golden Isles of Georgia. I am here to attend a wedding, the wedding of the daughter of one of my PV clan, a third cousin‘s daughter.

Because it’s basically a one night trip, I decided to find a labyrinth. and there is one in a nice Glynn County park on the Island. So I headed straight there.

It is described as a “Contemporary Dual-path “reflection” labyrinth” on the Worldwide Labyrinth Locator. In reality it is a small single path maze (with one short distraction) that is raised and is essentially a climbing feature in the children’s playground, other climbing features include a fort and sailboats.

When I got out of my car, I quickly realized that I was at the Beach… The air smelled salty, and it felt humid and was definitely hot. And the birds were the birds of the beach. I was inundated with the sights, sounds, smells and textures of the Georgia Coast.

This labyrinth was a small labyrinth and only took about five minutes to walk, 5 minutes total to walk in and and to walk out. But it was worth the detour and the opportunity to get centered for my busy 24 hours on the island.

And my feet have now touched sand for the first time in quite a while. I am happy.

And then I take a little history tour … Driving Mama Lindsey … Mom’s actually not here, but she wishes she were. The Georgia coast is one of her favorite places in all the world. She spent every summer here as a child, and then as a parent, she brought us every year with our grandparents, her parents, to Jekyll Island. When we came to Jekyll, we always visited with our Brunswick GA cousins and traipsed up and down the Georgia coast visiting historical sites.

St. Simons Island was one of our favorite spots: Fort Frederica, Christ Church, the Lighthouse. And when we traveled with my mom and grandparents, we stopped and read every historical marker (and there were many in Glynn county, Historical Markers by County – GeorgiaInfo,

https://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/topics/historical_markers/county/glynn)), visited every historical site and ate all the local summer favorites … shrimp, straight off the shrimp boats, tomatoes, okra, corn and watermelon.

And both my my grandmama, Matibel, and my mom loved to read history and historical novels. I vividly remember wandering through Christ Church on St. Simons Island and it’s graveyard. I remember looking for the grave stones of characters in the Eugenia Price’s St. Simons Island Trilogy, the first entitled “Lighthouse.” (And of course we also visited the lighthouse.) I also remember from my early elementary years loving biographies. I think living history by walking through historical sites and learning the stories by reading history and historical novels gave me a lifelong love of history.

Back to Eugenia Price… I looked her up and found her story quite interesting. The storyweaver: Eugenia Price & her lasting legacy – Golden Isles Magazine: Features,

https://www.goldenislesmagazine.com/features/the-storyweaver-eugenia-price-her-lasting-legacy/article_c4029986-c78c-11e6-a38a-370f4fd6ad8c.html

Eugenia Price is actually buried in the Christ Church graveyard on St. Simons Island. See https://youtu.be/jFX4BvKxgpA … Ashes to ashes, dust to dust …

After visiting the church and it’s graveyard, I walked across the street and had a very pleasant saunter through the live oaks to the Celtic cross commemorating the Wesley Brothers. I experienced a sensory inundation with Georgia history and Anglican church history…

6.15.19

12
Jun
19

6.12.19 … elevator talks and Gregorian chants …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2019 Labyrinth Walks, Myers Park United Methodist Church – Charlotte NC:

I’ve mentioned this newly installed indoor labyrinth before. It is truly lovely and recreates a Chartres Cathedral feel in a wonderful chapel at MPUMC. The church plans to make it available to the public one week per month and to provide a labyrinth keeper to introduce new walkers and advise repeat walkers. I met my friend Toni who was the volunteer keeper from 6-8 pm.

While we were there, two men visited the labyrinth. The first stopped by on his way to an evening Bible Study on the Lord’s Prayer being held by James Howell, the senior pastor at MPUMC. He had not walked before and was interested, but didn’t have enough time. I think he will return. The second was a gentleman who is in charge of sound systems at the church, was instrumental in the installation of the labyrinth and has walked before. He came by to set up the music that another church member had requested. He had a nice CD recording of vocal, including Gregorian Chants, and other music appropriate for meditative labyrinth walks.

During this time, Toni and I walked. Oddly, the first thing I noticed was my noisy shoes. As soon as I got to an outer circuit, I removed my shoes and walked barefoot on the cool polished stone floor.

I noticed several things during this walk: the scored circle at center and the beautiful predominantly blue and yellow stained glass windows which reminded me of the lines typical in Frank Lloyd Wright architecture.

As I reached the center, I realized that there are some instructions on how to pray the center rosette petals of a Chartres Labyrinth and one is to break down the Lord’s Prayer into 6 sections. I wish I had remembered it while the first visitor was there. See: The lessons of The Lord’s Prayer expressed through sacred geometry,

https://lodeplus.com/the-lessons-of-the-lords-prayer-expressed-through-sacred-geometry/

Immediately before finishing my walk, I looked up and noticed the beautiful organ; the organ is the reason the floor was re-done in this chapel to accommodate the organ’s weight and thus the reason for the labyrinth installation.

Afterwards, I looked over the new information brochures and thought them all very well done. It reminded me that I need to create my own “elevator talk” to introduce friends and others to labyrinths. I think I have a tendency to go on for too long rather than just introducing it and letting a person experience it.

And then we left MPUMC and had a delightful small plate meal at Foxcroft Wine… I think I could make a monthly habit of this.

6.12.19




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