Posts Tagged ‘Avondale Presbyterian Church – Charlotte NC

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

16
Apr
19

4.16.19 … Notre Dame … “a visual reminder of what a human heart, guided by lofty aspirations, can dream into existence…”

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2019 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (38/40), Avondale Presbyterian Church-Charlotte NC:

I attended TMBS and gave a devotional that highlighted the tragic fire at Notre Dame in Paris. I first read from a Facebook post of Christopher Edmonson:

Ed McLeod, Pastor of FPC Raleigh pretty much says it pure and true:

“A professor of mine used to say, “People with convictions build cathedrals, while the modern church awards the contract to the low bidder.” The church and the artisans who built the Cathedral of Notre Dame spared no expense, or effort, to build something that would honor God. The tragedy of this fire is not simply the destruction of an historic building, but of a visual reminder of what a human heart, guided by lofty aspirations, can dream into existence…”

And another poem by Maren Tirabassi, “With love and tears for Notre Dame de Paris”:

In the telling

of all the holy stories,

pilgrims have come to sacred places

to meet God and be surrounded

by the faith of past saints

and the work

of Eucharist and compassion

of living communities.

In that lineage

of worship and pilgrimage,

tourism and the identity of a people,

Notre Dame has blessed

people of Paris and the world.

All who have visited there,

all who have prayed there,

all who simply walk to work or home

or a café for bread and coffee

and see her presence

defining their skyline — weep.

Those who love her sing hymns

on the sidewalk as she burns.

Bless those who fight this fire,

in danger and in hope,

supporting buildings all around,

those who mourn her losses,

those who remember a single visit.

Notre Dame, pieta at the heart

of Holy Week,

we pray —

with gratitude for the gift of beauty,

tenderness for hope,

and confidence that every prayer

ever prayed there is lifted —

not on smoke, but wings

Afterwards, I headed to the labyrinth.

Here, today, the sun was shining brilliantly, the chimes were gently ringing, the birds were chattering and the water was running. As in all of Charlotte, the grass and weeds were overgrown.

There were two people on the bench sharing a tête-à-tête, possibly a pair of twenty something siblings. I only heard snippets: unless you take him … What are our challenges today? … Buddy challenge … Instagram … Snorlak … Blue drink, just water, two weeks without soda … Beyond me!

So I focused on going in and out of the shadows … cool v warm/shade v sun. And I thought about the beauty of Notre Dame … “a visual reminder of what a human heart, guided by lofty aspirations, can dream into existence…”

4.16.19

And then I saw this from a UGA Law Classmate:

Bart Legum, who heads Dentons‘ investment treaty arbitration practice from its Paris office, grew up in Atlanta, graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1985 and joined the State Bar of Georgia. Dentons’ Paris office is about 2 miles from Notre Dame Cathedral. At the Daily Report’s request, Legum shared these thoughts Tuesday morning:

“I rode my bike home from work along the riverbanks yesterday evening. Even from a distance, you could tell that the source of column of light smoke was the Île de la Cité. As I got closer, it first looked like it might be coming from the courthouse (the Palais de Justice), then the Prefecture of Police. And then I saw the spire of Notre Dame, unmistakable, even wrapped in flames.

“The feeling was one of heartbreak. Heartbreak shared by the huge crowds of people who had gathered along the banks of the river, all staring in the same direction. Aghast.

“It is a tremendous loss—but a tremendous relief that it seems to have been an accident rather than an act of terrorism. As Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said, ‘even a dog knows the difference between being stumbled over and being kicked.’”

Source: Dentons Lawyer Witnessed Notre Dame Fire While Biking Home | Daily Report,

https://www.law.com/dailyreportonline/2019/04/16/paris-lawyer-witnessed-notre-dame-fire-while-biking-home/

11
Apr
19

4.11.19 … “Be alert as you watch a dog at play or at rest. Let the animal teach you to feel at home in the now, to celebrate life by being completely present.”

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2019 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (35/40), Avondale Presbyterian Church-Charlotte NC:

It was a glorious day outside. I walked into the garden with the sun shining and a slight breeze. The chimes were gently ringing, the birds were singing

I immediately noticed when I looked up the beginning of the greening of hardwoods and when I looked down the flowering bluebells.

I shared the garden with a little boy, his stuffed dog and his very pregnant mom.

I brought Albert today. I found a spot in the shade and he sat down on the pine straw … they finally spread the bales!

On the way out I turned around and got a view of the dogwoods in full bloom leading up to the fountain.

“Be alert as you watch a dog at play or at rest. Let the animal teach you to feel at home in the now, to celebrate life by being completely present. You just watch the tail … with some dogs you just look at them – just a little look is enough – and their tail goes …’Life is good! Life is good!’ And they are not telling themselves a story of why life is good. It’s a direct realization.”

~Eckhart Tolle

4.11.19

24
Mar
19

3.24.19 … “In fact over the past few years, stress management has been the most commonly reported finding related to the ‘labyrinth effect.’ Labyrinth Walking is known to decrease stress and create a state of relaxation.”

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2019 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (19/40), Avondale Presbyterian Church-Charlotte NC, CS Lewis:

It was a perfect day for a walk: sunny with a breeze. The chimes welcomed me as I approached. And then the birds. They are going wild.

There were people from the congregation mulling about since Worship or Sunday school had just let out.

As I began I my walk, I was distracted by sirens on Park Road. But I walked on. Early on, I opened the info box. On one of the brochures in their information box, there is a section entitled “Calling All Walkers,” and it reads, “Have you ever felt that you would like to contribute to a cause or take action to solve the problem but you didn’t know how or what to do? A walk on the labyrinth is a magnificent opportunity to ‘contribute’ and ‘take action‘ through prayer and meditation.”

Another interesting thought found in the brochure is that labyrinths are believed to enhance right brain activity. “Uses include problem-solving, conflict resolution modern-day pilgrimages, stress management, walking meditation, and prayer. In fact over the past few years, stress management has been the most commonly reported finding related to the “labyrinth effect.“ Labyrinth Walking is known to decrease stress and create a state of relaxation.” And finally this statement: This sacred garden is “a safe, sacred, outdoor place where you can sing and dance, pray and walk, laugh and cry, and daily uncover Easter faith.“

One of my favorite things about this labyrinth is walking in and out of the shadows on a beautiful sunny day. Today was no exception. Today, about half the labyrinth was in shadows. But as I walk the path, I do not do a quadrant or even a half at the same time. I walk back and forth between quadrants, so I walked back and forth between sun and shade.

The greens were specially green in the garden today. I have been going hard for about five days and I feel myself slowing down as I walk… So the quote about stress management has made me focus on that purpose for walking and it has been a successful walk in that regard.

afterwards I had a special treat … an evening with CS Lewis (“CS Lewis Onstage: the Most Reluctant Convert”) with Elaine and Maria.

<>https://youtu.be/XxqcGjuPdcs<&gt;

3.24.19

12
Mar
19

3.12.19 … Even at the grave …

Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2019 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (7/40), Avondale Presbyterian Church -Charlotte NC:

As soon as we, my friend Toni and I got out of my car we noticed the chimes gloriously shouting … “the most chiming we’ve ever heard.”

I noted that I do not know the name of the huge flowering bush … Toni said it was “Loropetalum” an evergreen shrub with purple foliage and pink riibbon blooms. Now I know!

And I love seeing the world through different lenses. Toni immediately noticed the”stellar weed.” It was indeed magnificent in its scope.

We both noticed birds singing and chickens in a nearby coop clucking.

And I scraped my head on the low lying branches and noticed the water pooled in the in the low lying areas.

After our walk, Toni and I headed from Avondale to my Tuesday Class at First Presbyterian Church.

Lisa Saunders will be talking about her 2017 book “Even at the Grave.”

I’ve only just begun it, but I was immediately drawn into her chapters about her first funeral as a child, her first funeral officiating, and about her husband’s family’s connection to the funeral of Lee Harvey Oswald.

Even at the grave …

3.12.19

Today’s 2019 Lenten List is the first funerals I attended. I realize that with the exception of one friend’s newborn daughter, I had had no loved ones die young or tragically with the exception of newborn Katherine during my childhood or early adult years. And still to this day, I have attended very few.

Funerals

1. Rebekah Stewart, my “Nancy Dear” and my paternal grandmother

2. Charles Edward Harman, my paternal grandmother’s brother and my great uncle

3. Mary Williams, “Mae,” my father’s other mother

4. Evelyn Way, my great aunt

5. Joe L Dennard, my grandfather

6. Mildred Ware, my great aunt

7. Katherine Bennett, newborn daughter of a close friend

8. Matibel Dennard, my grandmother

10. Molly Peffer, John’s Aunt Molly and maternal great aunt

11. Charles Walte, “Dali,” John’s maternal grandfather

12, Ann Scott Mauldin, My “Aunt T,” my paternal grandmother’s younger sister and my great aunt

05
Mar
19

3.5.19 … “God’s Story … What makes our garden sacred? It is sacred not because of its beauty or design, but is made sacred by the stories God tells us through it …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2019 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (0/40), Avondale Presbyterian Church-Charlotte NC, Mardi Gras:

Am I cheating? No I am preparing … I realized I was driving right by Avondale today, so I braked quickly and pulled in. Before making the turn, I noticed that the church was having a Taize Service tonight at 7. Why tonight? It seems like Ash Wednesday sort of thing. So I checked, and Avondale is offering a Taize Service on the first Tuesday of February, March and April. I may head over tonight.

I often walk with intentionality, listing my reflections under physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual categories … sometimes with sub categories. Today I will focus on the physical and emotional. So here goes:

The weather is 35° and overcast, the garden lamps are still on (because it is overcast?), the really big bright pink bush that is visible from the parking area is in full bloom… Actually passed full bloom, the birds are chirping loudly, the chimes are ringing wildly, the fountain is flowing noisily, bad because the trees have not yet greened out, I see the city behind the cross. I realize I am still missing the old oak tree. And the large holly trees are packed full of red berries. As I began my walk, I quickly realized I did not wear the best shoes for 35° and overcast. The cold is biting at my bare ankles. Funny, I thought about wearing my boots.

As this is a pre-Lent preparatory walk, I notice that the labyrinth is being prepared. The bales of pine straw that I noticed in early January are still there. But the labyrinth and garden have been recently mowed. They are less weedy than before. Clearly the gardeners have been at work preparing them for spring.

I am made aware of the cold damp weather and how unprepared I am. I did not anticipate this given that Charlotte had such a warm January and February.. It is making me shiver and draw my coat around me. But I can’t do anything about my ankles because I didn’t wear the appropriate footwear.

I’m still happy to be out … The birds are definitely keeping me company today 🙂

When it is cold like this, I definitely walk faster, much faster. I even cut a few corners.

As I noted last time I was here, and I assume it is because of all the rain and warm weather, the greens in this garden are bright green. The grass is greener, the moss is brighter, and even the bushes seem to be more verdant.

As I begin my walk out from the center, I look over at the little mailbox which usually includes some information about the labyrinth. I notice that weed killer has been sprayed on the ground near the bottom of the post. I think that is interesting and realize that my earlier comment about the labyrinth being less weedy is more that the weeds have been cropped short. However, there are clearly instances of the weeds being killed.

I haven’t checked in the box in a while and am pleased to see several new items: a poem by Mary Ann Wamhoff and a publication of the church that focuses on the sacred garden, Faith Journeys. On its cover is this:

God’s Story

What makes our garden sacred? It is sacred not because of its beauty or design, but is made sacred by the stories God tells us through it …

I am shivering as I finish … not sure what that says about Lent …

And now my second Mardi Gras indulgence, a tall skinny cinnamon dolce latte with almond milk. One thing i miss when I preorder on the Starbucks app is giving my Starbucks name, which is “Molly” BTW.

3.5.19

07
Jan
19

1.7.19 … “All the places I have ever walked, talked, slept, have changed and formed me. I am part of all the people I have known. … Instead of which, if I can retain a child’s awareness and joy, and be in my fifties, then I will really learn what it means to be a grownup. I still have a long way to go.”.” – Madeleine L’Englel

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

It was a beautiful winter day in the south. There was not a cloud in the sky and the sun was shining. As I approached Avondale’s labyrinth, I noticed that it is in partial shade and that the grass boundaries were high. There was a noticeable number of leaves on the labyrinth. Over to the side were bales of pine straw which I assume will be used to freshen the Sacred Garden in the spring.

One of the most noticeable things about the garden today was the vibrancy of the greens. The grass and the moss and even the weeds were all a very bright green. I suppose it is because of the significant rain we have had until just last week, last Friday as a matter of fact, and now since Friday we have had very warm weather.

As I walked into the Sacred Garden, I thought to myself it’s very quiet today. About halfway in to the center of the labyrinth, the chimes of the belltower began to clang and the birds began to sing. At first I didn’t notice the water flowing in the fountain in the columbarium. I wonder if they have never turned it off, or if they will only turn it off when it gets to be a certain temperature. I would’ve thought it would be turned off for the winter…

Half of the labyrinth is in the shade and it is significantly cooler. It is amazing that my last walk here was in the snow. It makes me wonder what is going on. Rarely do we have early snows in the Carolinas, and we had one both last year and this year in early December, before Christmas. And now we are having what in anyone’s opinion would be considered spring weather. It is sunny and in the high 50s. Makes me wonder …

From A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle:

“I am part of every place I have ever been: the path to the brook; the New York streets and my ‘short cut’ through the Metropolitan Museum. All the places I have ever walked, talked, slept, have changed and formed me. I am part of all the people I have known. There was a black morning when [a friend] and I, both walking through separate hells, acknowledged that we would not survive were it not for our friends who, simply by being our friends, harrowed hell for us. I am still every age I have ever been. Because I was once a child, I am always a child. Because I was once a searching adolescent, given to moods and ecstasies, these are still part of me, and always will be. Because I was once a rebellious student, there is and always will be in me the student crying out for reform.

“Far too many people misunderstand what putting away childish things means, and think that forgetting what it is like to think and feel and touch and smell and taste and see and hear like a three-year-old or a thirteen-year-old or a twenty-three-year-old means being grownup. When I’m with these people I, like the kids, feel that if this is what it means to be a grownup, then I don’t ever want to be one. Instead of which, if I can retain a child’s awareness and joy, and be in my fifties, then I will really learn what it means to be a grownup. I still have a long way to go.”

Blessings.

1.7.19




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