Posts Tagged ‘Avondale Presbyterian Church – Charlotte NC

25
Jul
19

7.25.19 … “Love still takes the risk of birth.“

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

I tried, but failed. I left a big pile of gray hair on the floor at the hairdresser … but still it’s not really short. My friend called me a “chicken.”

So afterwards, I moved on to a favorite labyrinth. As I approached with my McDonald’s lunch and book, I saw the labyrinth was weedy and looked scorched.

I heard multiple “caws,” and looked up to see a murder of crows flying overhead. Yes, really that is one of several names for a group of crows.

When Rachel Held Evans died recently, I realized that I had never read anything by her. I searched on the Internet and reserved several of her books at the library, including a Madeline L’Engle book entitled “And It Was Good: Reflections on Beginnings,“ which contained a forward by Rachel Held Evans. In five short pages, I think I got a very nice introduction to Rachel Held Evans, and I quickly realized that I have very similar thoughts and musings about the author Madeleine L’Engle. Here are a few quotes from Evans’ Forward:

“Love still takes the risk of birth.“

“The young writer, who might as well be any of us who long from time to time to call up St. Madeline and ask the very same thing, pressed once more: ”’I just need to be sure you believe what you say in your books.‘“

“I do. ‘ God help me, I do. Even when I don’t, I do.“

“I believe all of these things, at least most of the time.

And thanks St. Madeline, even when I don’t, I do.“

And then I was distracted. Just like my last walk here, I saw a high school boy, this one a carrot top in a boot, sneaking back into the woods behind the columbarium … he wasn’t there long, before he returned to the waiting dark colored Jeep. I’m not sure what is back there, but an educated guess is weed. I had kids, so I get it, but what I hate is that this made me uncomfortable in a sacred space. I didn’t feel unsafe, just uncomfortable. So if you have kids, tell them to respect spaces … to keep them safe and sacred.

When I got home, I found a note from a friend whose daughter had just had a boy to tag along behind her three older sisters. “Love still takes the risk of birth.“

7.25.19

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

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




Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 621 other followers

August 2019
S M T W T F S
« Jul    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031