Posts Tagged ‘2014 Lenten Labyrinth Walks

20
Apr
14

4.20.14 … The awakening of creation … listen … allow the sounds to speak … Crucified, Dead, Buried, Hell … Not the last day. The first day of forever. Unending life. Alleluia! … God “easters” us. Allow the sounds to speak and become Easter for us … awestruck at the grandeur of grace that is the heart of God …

“Solvitur  Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2014 Lenten Labyrinth Walks,   Avondale Presbyterian Church – Charlotte (40/40), Easter Sunrise Service, “Eastertime”, creation, chimes:
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For the third year, I attended the Easter Sunrise Service at Avondale.  This year it was on the labyrinth.
As I walked into the Sacred Garden, I enjoyed watching the piper warm up.  I noticed for the first time that some of the chime plates have names engraved on them. The one that caught my attention is engraved with “Erica Ely.”
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It was cool and damp and I watched a dad give up his blazer to his two teenage daughters who were dressed in spring dresses with sandals.  I sat next to a lovely woman who wore a hat.  I wish I was a hat person.  Hats are perfect for Easter.
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The Service was again wonderful …
“Amazing Grace” on bagpipes
Reading of the Easter Message – Mark 16:1-14
He is Risen
Hymn: “Jesus Christ is Risen Today”
The awakening of creation … listen … allow the sounds to speak …
Our Early Morning Creed: Crucified, Dead, Buried, Hell
Eastertime: The appearance of women – amateur morticians, trinity of despair, sad, desperate; shivering against the cold.  He has risen. Real as real.  Not the last day. The first day of forever. Unending life.  Alleluia!
God “easters” us. Allow the sounds to speak and become Easter for us.
An Offering of Praise:  Thinking of Mitchell … Chimes (I now know the chimes are in memory of children in this faith community who have died, this week two-year old Mitchell has died). anywhere on the grounds when you attune your should to the chimes, you can hear them.  Your presence here breaks through the death.  Why else does creation unfold in the springing of life?
Litany: The Lord is Risen Indeed … The Lord is Risen, Alleluia.
“Highland Cathedral”
Afterwards I walked while several men and one boy removed the chairs … I loved talking to the boy who was helping his dad.  
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The bench that was off kilter finally collapsed.  
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And I learned what the concrete thing was at the side of the labyrinth.  It is the base for the cross that they will fill with flowers at the 9 am service.
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And then they shared their wonderful Easter breakfast and hot coffee!
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By 7:45 I was back home.  I returned to quiet; my husband was doing his daily puzzle, my old dogs were fed and back lazing around, my college-age daughter was still slumbering.  Some day my family will want to share this with me.  Some day …
As I type this, I receive James Howell’s email …
“But on Easter, we want to stop, and simply be awestruck at the grandeur of grace that is the heart of God – and like the first witnesses to Easter, we ask the risen Lord what tasks we might fulfill in the wake of it all.”
From my walks, I have discerned my tasks.  I ask your prayers that I might fulfill them.  Thank you for sharing my walks.
I will be watching and listening for Mitchell’s chime when I visit this Sacred Garden in the future.
Happy Easter!
19
Apr
14

4.19.14 … I found myself thinking of all the sources of light I have at my disposal: street lights, car headlights, even high beams to my headlights, the lampposts at the labyrinth, decorative lights on each corner of the labyrinth, and even my iPhone flashlight. Wouldn’t Jesus have loved to have had all these lights when he arose in that dark damp tomb …

“Solvitur  Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2014 Lenten Labyrinth Walks,   Myers Park Baptist Church – Charlotte (39/40): 

I had been planning my 39th of 40 walks for quite some time. It was meant to be a Holy Saturday walk in the dark on a warm spring evening under the near full moon. I bought candles the other day, I had secured small holders for the candles and matches and a flashlight.
But God  thwarted my plans and brought heavy rain tonight. So l walked in the pouring rain with my red umbrella.
I reread an article on the Huffington Post site by Barbara Brown Taylor. She recently came out with a new book, Learning to Walk in the Dark, and this article highlights that book. In the article she talks about Holy Saturday.

Holy Saturday reminds me that one has to learn how to be Christian. When I first came to Christian faith, the day meant nothing to me. It was the blank day between the high dramas of Good Friday and Easter, the day when nothing happened. Jesus was dead and buried.

via Learning to Wait In the Dark: A Holy Saturday Reflection | Barbara Brown Taylor.

To be honest, I have nothing in my faith tradition on Holy Saturday.  I don’t know that I even knew it had a name until recent years.  It was often the Masters Weekend, so it was a day in Augusta, or at least a day watching Augusta on tv.  And later when my children were little,  it was Spring Break, and we were at the beach with my husband’s family for the first beach weekend of the year, watching golf  or if it was early basketball.
But back to BBT …  she talks about members of her congregation coming to her as a priest on Holy Saturday. She would conclude with these words:

“Now there is rejoicing in heaven; for you were lost, and are found; you were dead, and are now alive in Christ Jesus our Lord. Go in peace. The Lord has put away all your sins.”

via Learning to Wait In the Dark: A Holy Saturday Reflection | Barbara Brown Taylor.

The the  article takes an interesting turn. It concludes with this:

Though Christians speak of “witnesses to the resurrection,” there were no witnesses. Everyone who saw Jesus alive again saw him after. As many years as I have been listening to Easter sermons, I have never heard anyone talk about that part. Resurrection is always announced with Easter lilies, the sound of trumpets, bright streaming light. But it did not happen that way. Whatever happened to Jesus between Saturday and Sunday, it happened in the dark, with the smell of damp stone and dug earth in the air. It happened where no one but him could talk about it later, and he did not talk about it — at least not so anyone could explain it to anyone else.

That is what Holy Saturday has taught me about being Christian. Between the great dramas of life, there is almost always a time of empty waiting — with nothing to do and no church service to help — a time when it is necessary to come up with your own words and see how they sound with no other sounds to cover them up. If you are willing to rest in this Sabbath, where you cannot see your hand in front of your face and none of your self-protective labors can do you one bit of good, then you may come as close to the Christ as you will ever get — there in that quiet cave where you wait to see how the Maker of All Life will choose to come to you in the dark.

via Learning to Wait In the Dark: A Holy Saturday Reflection | Barbara Brown Taylor.

So with these thoughts, I got out and walked.
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It was  very difficult thing.  I thought my thoughts would be much more about things I had just contemplated in the  Barbara Brown Taylor article. But instead I was just making sure my feet stayed on the barely visible path.  Maybe God was laughing at me for planning my perfect walk in the dark.  I focused on the rain and realized that the raindrops danced in the soft light on the labyrinth.
Back to the darkness idea.  I found myself thinking of all the sources of light I have at my disposal on a dark and stormy night like tonight: street lights, car headlights, even high beams to my headlights,  the lampposts at the labyrinth, the decorative lights on each corner of the labyrinth, and even my iPhone flashlight. Wouldn’t Jesus have loved to have had all these lights when he arose in that dark damp tomb.
As I walked, the storm quickened.  The wind picked up and lifted my umbrella in my hand.  God’s telling me to get out of this storm … silly rabbit …
It is my plan to walk my last 2014 Lenten Labyrinth Walk tomorrow morning after the sunrise service at Avondale. We’ll see how that works out.
Go in peace.

 

18
Apr
14

4.18.14 … “It is finished.” – John 19:30 …

“Solvitur  Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2014 Lenten Labyrinth Walks,   Avondale Presbyterian Church – Charlotte (38/40):

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First things first.  I loved Katherine Kerr’s Lenten Devotional today …

“I have seen the Lord.” With these words, Mary Magdalene became the first Apostle, the first person to proclaim the resurrection of Jesus. In John’s account, she was one of the last to see him alive, standing with his mother and other relatives and disciples near the foot of the cross as he was crucified. Mary was the first to walk the difficult three-day journey from crucifixion to resurrection, and became a model for the rest of us.

via http://www.firstpres-charlotte.org/docs/Lenten%20Devotional%20Book_April18.pdf

And after reading it my first thought was, what is the definition of “apostle?”

Full Definition of APOSTLE

1:  one sent on a mission: as

a :  one of an authoritative New Testament group sent out to preach the gospel and made up especially of Christ’s 12 original disciples and Paul

b :  the first prominent Christian missionary to a region or group

2a :  a person who initiates a great moral reform or who first advocates an important belief or system

b :  an ardent supporter :  adherent

3:  the highest ecclesiastical official in some church organizations

4:  one of a Mormon administrative council of 12 men

— apos·tle·ship noun

via Apostle – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

So was Mary Magdalene the first apostle?

So back to my walks …

It is really cold today.

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I’m hoping for  a reverse of the weather scenario we had earlier this week: Tuesday,  heavy rain followed by several more days of winter and then today, heavy rain followed by spring, finally, a rebirth of spring this year.  Appropriate for Easter, don’t you think?

I timed my walk to coincide with the time that I have always been told was the time of the death of Jesus Christ on Good Friday,  3 PM. “It is finished.”

John 19:30

… he said, “It is finished!” (NLT)

Jesus knew he was suffering the crucifixion for a purpose. Earlier he had said in John 10:18 of his life, “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” (NIV) These three words were packed with meaning, for what was finished here was not only Christ’s earthly life, not only his suffering and dying, not only the payment for sin and the redemption of the world—but the very reason and purpose he came to earth was finished. His final act of obedience was complete. The Scriptures had been fulfilled.

via Last Words of Jesus – Seven Last Words of Jesus on the Cross.

As I walk I try to think of a task, just one,  that I have completed and surrendered my work to my master, my god.

The chimes sounded especially mournful today. And the birds, they were really,  really  loud! It was almost as if the chimes and the birds knew that this was a mournful time.

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I have fallen in love with the red maples the edge of the labyrinth. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed them before this year. It’s funny how things are the same, but different,  depending on where you focus your attention.

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What is a concrete thing?

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The walk … IMG_9767 IMG_9766 IMG_9768

About midway through my walk I noticed  a bride and her entourage getting ready for a wedding. I certainly thought it  a strange time for a wedding, late afternoon on Good Friday. But I wish her well and blessings.  And I have to assume that Presbyterians don’t have a rule against getting married during Lent, or even on Good Friday late afternoon.

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After noticing the bride, I found myself talking to the chimes and birds and telling them to sing more joyfully, for her sake.

And I loved the closing to James Howell’s email reflection: 

 Be still, and quiet, as much as you can this day. Ponder the suffering, and love embodied in the Cross.

James

 

Blessings to all and blessings to the beautiful bride on this Good Friday.

Some thoughts on Good Friday …

4) Jesus Cries Out to the Father

Matthew 27:46 (also Mark 15:34)

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (NKJV)

In the darkest hours of his suffering, Jesus cried out the opening words of Psalm 22. And although much has been suggested regarding the meaning of this phrase, it was quite apparent the agony Christ felt as he expressed separation from God. Here we see the Father turning way from the Son as Jesus bore the full weight of our sin.

via Last Words of Jesus – Seven Last Words of Jesus on the Cross.

In other words, the crucifixion lays bare the reality about the human experience and human suffering: that all societies are founded on violence and that, most of the time anyway, we turn our violence on the innocent.

If the crucifixion story tells us an unbelievable story about God, it tells us a very, very believable story about man: that we are violent and cruel.

The crucifixion shows us the humility of God, and also teaches us some humility. It shows us that, precisely because he became lower than us, God is better than us.

via Why Good Friday is so important to Christians.

17
Apr
14

4.17.14 … the power of silence and darkness suggests the drama of this momentous day …

“Solvitur  Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2014 Lenten Labyrinth Walks,   Avondale Presbyterian Church – Charlotte (37/40):

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My day stated with this  email from James Howell explaining Maundy Thursday:

“Maundy” is derived from the same ancient root as our word “mandate.” Jesus issued a mandate: “Do this in remembrance of me.” Today, we do.

So many of Jesus’ meals were memorable! Pious people complained that he “ate with sinners” (Luke 15:2). As a dinner guest, he let a questionable woman wash his feet (Luke 7:36), and another anoint him with oil (Mark 14:1). He suggested that when you have a dinner party, don’t invite those who can invite you back, but urge the poor, blind, maimed and lame to eat with you (Luke 14:14).

His most memorable meal though was his last. For the Jews, it was Passover, the most sacred of days when they celebrated God’s powerful deliverance of Israel from Egypt; the menu of lamb, unleavened bread, and drinking wine symbolized their dramatic salvation.

Jesus must have struck the disciples as oddly somber on such a festive night. He washed their feet, then spoke gloomily about his imminent suffering. As he broke a piece of bread, he saw in it a palpable symbol of what would happen to his own body soon; staring into the cup of red wine, he caught a glimpse of his own blood being shed. We still use the words Jesus spoke on that Thursday when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper now.

via http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Maundy-Thursday.html?soid=1104220709083&aid=HCL4pHnE19g

Prior to going to the labyrinth, I prepared for a class.  Today, I read from NT Wright’s chapter 14 on the resurrection and ascension of Christ. I will lead a discussion on it on Tuesday. This year in TMBS, we have looked at doubt as well as at stripping away what we think and believe about Christ to see what/who is there at the core. When I put the two studies together, for some reason I have no problem, no doubt, about the resurrection and  ascension. NT Wright, however, makes me think about the purpose of it all. And in that regard, I begin to have questions. It’s funny how just a little bit of knowledge goes along way.

As I approached the labyrinth, I pulled from my pocket the brochure from another labyrinth.  It never hurts to have a reminder when one is using undertaking a spiritual practice.

“There is no right way or wrong way to walk a labyrinth. A child’s playful run through the channels is in its own way a prayer of thanksgiving to God. Your labyrinth walk is your own personal act of prayer. Pray as you feel led.”

That is a nice way to introduce want someone to a labyrinth. I’ll have to remember to keep it handy.

The flowers are gorgeous in the garden but so are the trees in all their new leaf glory!

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It was cool today, and the labyrinth was mostly in the shade. I longed for the sunshine and there were only a few circuits that were in the sun.

 

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I find myself looking for missed Easter eggs from the Easter egg hunt that was here last Saturday. I sat in the grass on the edge before walking and oddly found a piece of quartz. Many people put up quartz at labyrinths to pull in the sacred energy to the place. Obviously not a very Christian thing, but an interesting practice. I have seen it done. I wonder what I will do with my piece of quartz (or my piece of waterlogged candy.)

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I hear the birds and, of course, the chimes.

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I attended my church’s Maundy Thursday and Service of Tenebrae tonight. That was an unbelievably moving experience.  It was not part of my faith practice growing up and actually that was probably only my third such service but every time I have gone I am deeply moved.

Tenebrae: A Service of Shadows

The service of Tenebrae, meaning “darkness” or “shadows,” has been practiced by the church since medieval times. Once a service for the monastic community, Tenebrae later became an important part of the worship of the common folk during Holy Week. We join Christians of many generations throughout the world in using the liturgy of Tenebrae.

Tenebrae is a prolonged meditation on Christ’s suffering. Readings trace the story of Christ’s passion, music portrays his pathos, and the power of silence and darkness suggests the drama of this momentous day. As lights are extinguished, we ponder the depth of Christ’s suffering and death; we remember the cataclysmic nature of his sacrifice as we hear the overwhelming sound of the “strepitus”; and through the return of the small but persistent flame of the Christ candle at the conclusion of the service, we anticipate the joy of ultimate victory.

via Tenebrae: A Service of Shadows.

So after my research, i think it was à propos that my walk was in the shadows.

Blessings from the Darkness!

 

 

 

 

16
Apr
14

4.16.14 … “Spiritual reading, however, is different. It means not simply reading about spiritual things but also reading about spiritual things in a spiritual way. That requires a willingness not just to read but to be read, not just to master but to be mastered by words.”

“Solvitur  Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2014 Lenten Labyrinth Walks,   Myers Park Baptist Church – Charlotte (35/40): 
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Wednesday Worship @ FPC was quite good.
On my way home, I  swung by MP Baptist.
So why did I think that the heavy rains the other night would clear out all the pollen. I have never seen so much pollen in one small space. Huge mounds of the yellow stuff.  Achoo!  Normally, when I walk, I practice controlled breathing as part of my meditation. I’m scared to breathe at all today. 🙂 So is it better to have it all on the ground, or better to have a floating in the air? From my  perspective, it may be better to have it all sitting on the ground and damp.
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It is really quite cool here in the shade of the midday on the labyrinth.
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There is a purple azalea bush at the side area that is about to bloom. The pink ones have already bloomed and are quite gorgeous. I realize that the white puffy ball tree that was in full bloom last week is now past its prime and almost not noticeable in the today’s light.
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From one of the devotionals I have been reading …

Reading often means gathering information, acquiring new insight and knowledge, and mastering a new field. It can lead us to degrees, diplomas, and certificates. Spiritual reading, however, is different. It means not simply reading about spiritual things but also reading about spiritual things in a spiritual way. That requires a willingness not just to read but to be read, not just to master but to be mastered by words. As long as we read the Bible or a spiritual book simply to acquire knowledge, our reading does not help us in our spiritual lives. We can become very knowledgeable about spiritual matters without becoming truly spiritual people.

As we read spiritually about spiritual things, we open our hearts to God’s voice. Sometimes we must be willing to put down the book we are reading and just listen to what God is saying to us through its words.

via Daily Meditation by Henri Nouwen | A Henri Nouwen Society Blog.

12
Apr
14

4.12.13 … Happy Easter from the path …

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“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2014 Lenten Labyrinth Walks, Avondale Presbyterian Church – Charlotte (33/40):

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Easter egg hunt on “my” Labyrinth! I intentionally went to Avondale for the quiet and privacy of this labyrinth.  But this was so much better and had to be be cutest thing. I was just smiling. I arrived at the Labyrinth and there was ribbon cordoning off the Sacred Garden. The hunt was supposed to start at 11:30 but it was running a little late.

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So I began my walk  …

 

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… Before the kids and Easter Bunny arrived …And then they came running. I just kept walking and smiling. That was a nice surprise …

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Happy Easter, y’all!

11
Apr
14

4.11.14 … Ants and Allergies …

“Solvitur  Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2014 Lenten Labyrinth Walks,   Myers Park Baptist Church – Charlotte (32/40)

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Yeah! ! Someone is walking the labyrinth. I hope I do not disturb her.IMG_9656
Ants!  My fellow walker thinks it may be because if the  viburnum in the middle?
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Sneeze … Lots of pollen from the new newly green trees … Achoo …
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Breeze in the trees …
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Lowering late afternoon sun …
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Boys playing in the woods. I wonder where the girls are?
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🙂

 

 



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