Archive for February, 2020

29
Feb
20

2.29.20 … “Somehow by disciplining the time and space we know, presence can drop us into a more expansive experience of time and space.” …Happy Leap Day

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2020 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (4/40), 2020 Labyrinth Walks, Sardis Baptist Church – Charlotte NC, Leap Day 2020:

Today is February 29, Leap Day. So Happy Leap Day … Since today is the day we artificially realign our clocks with the universe, it would be a good day to walk another labyrinth., don’t you think?

I only know of one person born on this day … and not a one of my social media friends. He was 10 years older that my dad … so he would be 104/26 today! He was my “boyfriend” as a child … he was a travel agent and divorced … and he would send me postcards from all over the world … Very funny man, Bernard Duffy!

As part of my daily devotional, I enjoy finding quotes. I found this one a while back on The Labyrinth Society site:

Somehow by disciplining the time and space we know, presence can drop us into a more expansive experience of time and space.

Guild Co-Founder Liz Caemmerer has shared that she delights in the word ~ spaciousness ~ as another way to refer to salvation.

“Salvation is a word for the divine spaciousness that comes to human beings in all the tight places where their lives are at risk, regardless of how they got there or whether they know God’s name.”―Barbara Brown Taylor, Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith

Thank you, Faculty Chuck Kirchner, for this fascinating image of our labyrinth!

Many of you send me suggestions or comment about my Lenten musings which send me down yet another rabbit hole. Thanks’ s Marty for two from your parish!

Lay down your life for God, for five minutes. Twice a day, every day. It’s the simplest and cheapest Lenten program around, but it could be the pearl of great price that Jesus talked about, the buried treasure, the resurrection. 

The point is not to escape the world, but to enter it more deeply, soulfully, and truthfully. In our over-busy culture of multitasking and perpetual distraction, what we are bringing to our world and our relationships is increasingly shallow and vacuous. We are too easily bored. We crave constant stimulation and entertainment, craft beer and small batch bourbon. And all the while, the pearl of great price, the joy of our life, is with us. Unnoticed. 

Speaking at West Point recently, Yale scholar William Deresiewicz warned cadets about “letting yourself be dispersed everywhere into a cloud of electronic and social input.”  His argument was that solitude is essential for leaders – a great point – but it might be essential for everyone. “It seems to me that Facebook and Twitter and YouTube—and just so you don’t think this is a generational thing, TV and radio and magazines and even newspapers, too—are all ultimately an elaborate excuse to run away from yourself.” 

St. Augustine put it this way in the fifth century, “I searched for you outside myself, but you were always with me. You were with me, but I was not with you.” 

Deresiewicz went on to say to the cadets, “Here’s the other problem with Facebook and Twitter and even The New York Times. When you expose yourself to those things, especially in the constant way that people do now—older people as well as younger people—you are continuously bombarding yourself with a stream of other people’s thoughts. You are marinating yourself in the conventional wisdom. In other people’s reality…. You are creating a cacophony in which it is impossible to hear your own voice.” 

Or the voice of God, the voices of angels, or the voice of your own soul. Take your pick. 

Source: Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church: What are you giving up?

https://www.ststephensrva.org/reflect-learn/rectors-blog/what-are-you-giving-up

“I guess that’s why I was feeling disturbed this morning, after I read the news and then thought about my upcoming phone call with my elderly friend. The news today once again triggered something in me about the environment in which we are living, and I’m wondering if my frequent handwashing to stave off the coronavirus might become a kind of Lenten discipline for me this year—an outward and visible sign of my desire to protect and care for the soul. My own and the souls of others.

These reflections also have me wondering if I can make a trip to my friend’s new home before long. Thinking about that brings me a feeling of warm anticipation—no face masks or hyper-vigilance, just the quiet, disarming smile when we greet each other, the knowing glint, the comfortable silences after we shuffle to our chairs, the “genuine love and truthful speech,” and the occasional realization, when one of us speaks, that we could almost complete each other’s sentences. “Yes…yes…” eyes filling, knowing that, as important as it is to find a vaccine for the body, that is nothing compared to the balm, nourishment, and protection for the soul.”

Source: Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church: As the deer longs for the water brook, https://www.ststephensrva.org/reflect-learn/rectors-blog/as-the-deer-longs-for-the-water-brooks

So on this Leap Day, this is what I found: a very sunny day, Cool breezes rustling the leaves, Dancing shadows, and an appreciation of the Chartres stone at the center in the shadows. I also always enjoy the lamps at the four corners of the Labyrinth area. The one I chose to peer into had a little bit of mold on it.

And my Lenten List for today!

Library Books I’m currently reading

1. Miss Garnet’s Angel by Salley Vickers

2. 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak

3. camp Austen:My Life as an Accidental Jane Austen Fan by Ted Scheinman

Blessings of Spaciousness!

2.29.20

28
Feb
20

2.28.20 … “None of your knowledge, your reading, your connections will be of any use here: two legs suffice, and big eyes to see with.”

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2020 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (3/40), 2020 Labyrinth Walks, Sardis Baptist Church – Charlotte NC:

“None of your knowledge, your reading, your connections will be of any use here: two legs suffice, and big eyes to see with. Walk alone, across mountains or through forests. You are nobody to the hills or the thick boughs heavy with greenery. You are no longer a role, or a status, not even an individual, but a body, a body that feels sharp stones on the paths, the caress of long grass and the freshness of the wind. When you walk, the world has neither present nor future: nothing but the cycle of mornings and evenings. Always the same thing to do all day: walk. But the walker who marvels while walking (the blue of the rocks in a July evening light, the silvery green of olive leaves at noon, the violet morning hills) has no past, no plans, no experience. He has within him the eternal child. While walking I am but a simple gaze.”

-Frédéric Gros, A Philosophy of Walking

I can’t believe I am already rushing to fit in a Labyrinth walk.

I drove back to Charlotte today and intended to stop at one of the many labyrinths that are easily accessible from I 85, but I got distracted, and in the end, I arrived in Charlotte at 2:30 PM and had not done my labyrinth walk. I’m doing a lot of sorting and when I came up for air, I realized that it was getting dark. So I set off for the closest labyrinth. And oh how the day had changed. It was now windy and cold and cloudy and looked like a storm was coming in. I even saw that we might get some frozen precipitation…maybe some graupel!

“Graupel is often referred to also as a soft hail, snow grains or snow pellets. It forms when you have some warmer air at the surface and very cold air aloft. Usually you get this when we have strong upper level lows and just chilly enough air at the surface to allow the graupel to reach the ground. Pretty much exactly the type of set-up we have today. You can also get this mixed in with thunder-snow like we had back in February.”

I chose Sardis Baptist for my walk today because it is close and because they have gorgeous daffodils in the garden around the labyrinth.

As I pulled up, it began to drizzle and the wind really picked up. This walk was going to be a quick one.

Across the street from Sardis Baptist is Providence Day School. I’ve walked this labyrinth many times, and I’ve never seen the lacrosse team practicing. So today I was entertained by the lacrosse team. They were a noisy bunch.

This is also the labyrinth where there’s not enough contrast in the colors of the pavers. As a result, when it is damp, it is very difficult to see the path. And it was today.

There are seven concentric paver circles at the center. So my list today will be things that come in sevens… This is one of my favorite centers because it has a millstone which makes for a nice place to sit down on a sunny day, but that was not today. As I walked the center I thought of things that come in sevens… Days of the week, dwarfs,

Some of the things that come in group of 7s (septet or heptad)

  1. Days in the week.
  2. Continents
  3. Seas
  4. Colors in a rainbow .
  5. Days for God to create the world.
  6. Deadly sins
  7. Gifts of the Holy Spirit
  8. Wonders of the World
  9. The Lotus flower on Buddha’s pedestal has 7 petals
  10. When they tie the knot, couples take 7 steps around the fire to unite.
  11. In our solar system there are 7 physical planets that have influence over humanity.
  12. In the Bible you will read about 7 Seals and 7 Churches.
  13. 7 year itch – Scientists found out many years ago that changes in human beings biologically occur in 7 years.
  14. Harry Potter Series
  15. Words you can’t say on Television
  16. Chakra areas of the human body
  17. Sacraments in the Catholic Church
  18. Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs … of special importance to Lindseys

But what I noticed most were the flowers today, not only daffodils, but there were Lilly of the Valley, I presume, and Lenten Rose, as well. And the sky was magnificent as it changed colors with the brewing storm.

When I got home I looked up early spring flowers …

Blessings …

2.28.20

27
Feb
20

2.27.20 … “Can we learn to listen to God in our minds, trusting the silence underneath the clutter of noise? Can we learn to trust the voice of God that speaks in our hearts, through feelings of pain and peace? Can we learn to sense God at work in our bodies, speaking to us through our resistances and our openness? . . .”

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2020 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (2/40), 2020 Labyrinth Walks, Eastminster Presbyterian Church – Marietta GA:

I find that I circle back to quotes that I have seen before. This quote of Mother Teresa jumped out at me today:

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

So just after I looked at this quote, I got out of the car, and, of course, I heard lots of noise from children on the playground next to the Sacred Garden. And I thought: no quiet/silence for me today. But as I approached the gate, the children and their caregivers went the other way. So I had a walk in silence, well, silence from human voices.

Before I opened the gate, I noticed for the first time this dwarf willow tree … details …

Upon opening the gate, I immediately noticed that they was an information box now. It said, “Take One,” so I do. I will review and let you what I learn. I like the effort.

This is another labyrinth that is near a busy intersection. So if i walk during the day, i hear all the noises of the traffic of the nearby intersection. So I must practice quieting my mind with all the noise around me.

Before I left for this walk, my sister and I talked about the fact that there is a columbarium at the center. And although I understand and think it would be a very special place for the families and friends of those interred, it takes away from the “center experience“ of a labyrinth walker.

I did enjoy the angel at the center. I did not appreciate her when I first walked here, but now, I think she is a nice presence; she reminds me to look around for angels. I noticed recently that there are multiple cement angels scattered throughout the garden. It is a nice touch.

There are 11 concentric octagonals at the center. That encourages me to circle 11 times. Maybe today I will make a list of 11. Maybe not …

It was bright and sunny and blustery today. But I didn’t mind walking. The sun felt good on my back. But when I walked into the shade, I had to laugh because it was noticeably colder without the sun.

I receive Richard Rohr’s daily emails. For the next bit, he will discuss enneagrams. I’ve attended a class on this and found it interesting way to learn about myself.

“Can we learn to listen to God in our minds, trusting the silence underneath the clutter of noise? Can we learn to trust the voice of God that speaks in our hearts, through feelings of pain and peace? Can we learn to sense God at work in our bodies, speaking to us through our resistances and our openness? . . .

Source: The Three Intelligence Centers — Center for Action and Contemplation, https://cac.org/the-three-intelligence-centers-2020-02-24/

Today’s list … Things I love about Warm Sunny Days in Winter
1. Carolina Blue sky
2. Play between Shade and light
3. Daffodils
4. Seeing trees beginning to bloom
5. Children bundled up in winter extras and playing outside
6. Robbing old man winter of his day

Blessings
2.27.20

26
Feb
20

2.26.20 … “Everything has a crack in it. That’s how the light gets in.”

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2020 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (1/40), Ash Wednesday, 2020 Labyrinth Walks, The Cathedral of St. Philip-Atlanta GA, Driving Mama Lindsey:

I’ve mentioned this before: Presbyterians were slow to adopt the liturgical calendar and until the late 1980s there was no mention of Advent or Lent in my southern Presbyterian churches. But now they are. (See below for a 2005 article). And generally we are encouraged to take up spiritual practices. I have 3: Daily Lenten Devotional ReadingsLenten Labyrinth Walks, Lenten List making.

Before heading out today, I made my first Lenten List.- Ordinary Blessings. Last night I found this in America Magazine:

Source: Before Lent, count your ordinary blessings | America Magazine

This is the last week in Ordinary Time for a while. Next week, believe it or not, Lent begins. But let’s not leave the graces of Ordinary Time too quickly. As many liturgical scholars will point out, the term “Ordinary” comes not from the idea that the days are uneventful or boring, but that the weeks are “ordinal,” that is, counted, from the first week of Ordinary Time to the 34th week. Still, it’s not hard to connect ordinary time with the days outside the great feast days of Easter and Christmas, as well as the liturgical seasons of Advent and Lent. And ordinary times are indeed more “ordinary” than those days and seasons.

This week might be a good week, then, to think about the ordinary blessings in your life. Maybe that could be a focus of your Daily Examen this week.

Source: Before Lent, count your ordinary blessings | America Magazine, https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2020/02/24/lent-count-your-ordinary-blessings

… so in preparation of Lent here is my first list.

Ordinary Blessings

1. Health

2. Family

3. Dogs

4. Friends

5. Education

6. Safe travels

Around noon, my sister and I ventured out. My sister and I took my mother to the dentist for the umpteenth time, and today she received her new and improved upper dentures. And they look glorious and seem to fit very well. It is nice to see her smile.

After the dentist appointment, we drove to the Cathedral of Saint Philip where my favorite church labyrinth is located in Atlanta.

I have walked labyrinths 40x during each of the last 8 Lents. And today I began again. So after taking my mom to the dentist with my sister to get her new dentures, we headed to the Cathedral. I promised my mom I would bring her for a wheelchair walk. So she and my sister waited in the car while I walked.

What had started out as a beautiful day had turned blustery. And as I walked, a very slight drizzle began. For some reason that seems appropriate for Ash Wednesday.

It’s always noisy here, it appeared i was directly below a flight pattern and several small noisy planes flew overhead. The Cathedral is also located right on Peachtree Road which as always was busy with traffic at the time of my walk.

As I walked, I considered the blessings which I had cataloged earlier in connection with an article I had read in America magazine. I thought about each one as I walked and stood within each of the petals of the center. I had inadvertently listed 6 items. I think when I make my lists this year I will always make six so that that will be a good number to consider when I walk Chartres style labyrinths.

I also pondered several readings from early this morning …

From James Howell:

Today is Ash Wednesday. Perhaps you know dreams turned to ashes. In Church we are reminded that “you are dust, and to dust you will return.” The big dreamer part of you is housed in a body that is slowly breaking down, returning to the mere stuff that it is. For a season of 6 weeks, as if God knew we couldn’t bear it for much longer, we fix our attention on the ashes, our morality, our finitude, our disappointments, our guilt and brokenness. It’s not a negative season. It’s just the truth about us – and once we embrace that brokenness, the way the world and people disappoint, ourselves include, then we begin to move toward healing, and a deep, abiding sense of God’s mercy, goodness, presence – and hope.

Bly’s title is from an old fairy tale the Grimm Brothers passed along to us. Hunters keep disappearing in the forest near the king’s castle. People stop venturing in. But one day an unknown hunter shows up and asks “Anything dangerous to do around here?” The King tells him about the forest. He replies “That’s the sort of thing I like.” So he plunges in, alone, taking only his dog. They finally come to a pond. A hand reaches up from under the water, grabs the dog, and pulls it under. “This must be the place.” He returns to the castle, gets a bucket, and starts bucketing out the water from the pond. Long, slow work. Finally there’s a big guy with reddish hair, wild, untamed: “Iron John.”

It’s a parable about the way we avoid the hard work of going deep into ourselves and thus deep with God. We are fearful of what we might find, so we avoid, stay busy, stick to our diversions. But Lent is the time to do some bucketing, to see what’s really under there. It’s a little scary, but only when we befriend the hidden self, the wild untamed one within, can we discover who we really are in and with God.

Join me in some hard work this Lent. Poke around in the brokenness. See how God is there. As Leonard Cohen sang, “Everything has a crack in it. That’s how the light gets in.”

Source: The Beauty of Brokenness: Ash Wednesday, https://myemail.constantcontact.com/The-Beauty-of-Brokenness–Ash-Wednesday.html?soid=1104220709083&aid=9kgMoWzcRAc

And from Pope Francis:

Not only are Christians called to generously share the richness of the Gospel and gifts from God, “today, too, there is a need to appeal to men and women of good will to share, by almsgiving, their goods with those most in need, as a means of personally participating in the building of a better world,” he said.

“Charitable giving makes us more human, whereas hoarding risks making us less human, imprisoned by our own selfishness,” he said.

“We can and must go even further, and consider the structural aspects of our economic life,” he said.

That is why, the pope said, he called for a meeting during Lent with “young economists, entrepreneurs and change-makers with the aim of shaping a more just and inclusive economy.” The meeting was set to take place in Assisi March 26-28.

The theme of the pope’s message, “We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God,” was taken from the Second Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians (5:20), which reflects the invitation to return to God through constant conversion and reconciliation, and experience new life in Christ.

“Life is born of the love of God our father, from his desire to grant us life in abundance,” Pope Francis wrote

Source: Pope Francis stresses reconciliation in Lenten message | America Magazine, https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2020/02/24/pope-francis-stresses-reconciliation-lenten-message

And I liked this one from Meister Eckhart, too.

We then returned to Lenbrook. Doesn’t mom look great!

And I missed the Imposition of Ashes at nearby churches …

Regardless, I had a lovely Ash Wednesday … dust to dust …

It was a nice way to begin the season.

2.26.20

And I stumbled on this again …

I walked down Grace Street in Richmond twenty years ago, and about two blocks away from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church I began to see people with dirty foreheads: all sorts of people, some smartly dressed for work on their lunch hour, some rather shopworn and tired. It wasn’t until hours later that I realized that the source of the “dirt” was Ash Wednesday worship, so distant was this day in the liturgical calendar from my Presbyterian experience. Now Presbyterian churches galore, including our own, have Ash Wednesday worship. We ministers smudge the foreheads of worshipers and say: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Remember that you are dust – The Presbyterian Outlook,
https://pres-outlook.org/2005/02/remember-that-you-are-dust/
25
Feb
20

2.25.20 … “May each person who is lost trust the path. And may each person walk this labyrinth, discovering an openness of heart and spirit, recognizing that we all walk the Path of Life together.”

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2020 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (0/40), Shrove Tuesday, 2020 Labyrinth Walks, Avondale Presbyterian Church-Charlotte NC:

It’s Shrove Tuesday so my walk today doesn’t count. However, I generally begin my Lenten Walks at Avondale’s Labyrinth, and since I will be inAtlanta tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, I decided to get in a walk here today. This will be my ninth year of Lenten Labyrinth Walks. So this is 0/40 walks. I don’t get to count it, but spiritually Im getting something, so here goes…

Avondale is a perfect place to begin. It seems late for the Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday, and I have seen blooms all over Charlotte and Atlanta but today nothing is in bloom, except maybe the moss. Does moss bloom?

I have used this quote before. My Paris guide Donna Morris (“My Best Friend in Paris“) posted it one year.

“”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’ll begin to find my still point. I feel like I’m a different person this year, this, my ninth year. I’m more relaxed about starting the practice and more open to finding my still point. I have more tools, more spiritual practices to draw upon.

Observations: it’s very wet, jackhammers in the distance, fountain running, bright green of moss on the Labyrinth … otherwise no signs of spring.

I am anticipating pancakes … and I’m on a diet … As I walk, I’m eating oatmeal, part of the diet. That’s a first.

Afterwards I went to TMBS where we discussed The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For and Believe by Richard Rohr. Our leader asked us to take a quote from the book or a quote each week and contemplate that quote each day. So here is one for this week:

“God is not bound by the human presumption that we are the center of everything, and creation did not actually demand or need Jesus (or us, for that matter) to confer additional sacredness upon it.”

I also rediscovered this 2008 article about Sally Quinn and labyrinths: Charmed Circles: Becoming a Believer, https://www.oprah.com/omagazine/charmed-circles-becoming-a-believer/all#.XlPiCWfE59s.facebook

[Sally Quinn] asked everyone to write down something that was an obstacle in their lives. Then we threw the notes into the fire. At the entrance to the labyrinth, I said: “May each person in pain find comfort. May each person who is broken find healing. May each person who is hungry and thirsty find they are filled. May each person who longs for peace find serenity. May each person who is challenged find strength for the demands ahead. May each person who is lost trust the path. And may each person walk this labyrinth, discovering an openness of heart and spirit, recognizing that we all walk the Path of Life together.”

And then I traveled to Georgia where I shared Shrove Tuesday pancakes with my sister and brother in law.

And to end my day, I received a book that I bought just for the title, The Lenten Labyrinth: Daily Reflections for the Journey of Lent. I wonder what I will discover …

Be still …
2.25.20

02
Feb
20

2.2.20 … food addiction… Tiffany windows … Romare Bearden …

Great day in Atlanta … early service at Roswell Presbyterian, Visit to my childhood church (including the Mary Virginia Parrish Prayer Room) and attendance at Tiffany Window Lecture by Dr. Josh Probert at North Avenue Presbyterian, Lunch at Le Coloniale, Romare Bearden Exhibit at the High … Great Day with Catherine and Mary-Stewart!

Josh Probert Ph.D
Josh Probert PhD is a historian specializing in American history and American decorative arts, emphasizing the material culture of religion. A native of central Utah, he attended Brigham Young University and has a master’s degree from the Program in Religion and the Arts at Yale University. At Yale he was awarded the top student prize, the Dominique de Menil Scholar of Religion and the Arts.

In 2014 Josh received his PhD in American history from the University of Delaware in cooperation with the Winterthur Museum. His dissertation, “Gilded Religion in the Age of Tiffany, 1877 – 1932,” was a cultural history of the ecclesiastical furnishings produced by Tiffany Studios, including some in Atlanta.

Josh is currently a fellow at the Maxwell Institute of Religious Scholarship at Brigham Young University and works as a historic interiors consultant to the LDS Church on the renovation of some of the church’s nineteenth-century temples.




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