Blog

“Shield the Joyous”

This past week I've felt myself the beneficiary of a prayer offered by and with so  many of my friends and companions in our evening or night prayers.  It goes,"Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give thine angels charge over those who sleep.  Tend the sick, Lord Christ, give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, shield the joyous, and all for your love's sake (Book of Common Prayer, p. 71 and elsewhere) "Shield the joyous" - in...

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Testimony: Shaping a Faithful Life and “Discover”

I tend to be kind of reserved about personal storytelling, but two invitations just lately have shown me how important it is, sometimes, to find a way, as St. Paul says, to "give an account of the hope that is in me." In my new book, Shaping a Faithful Life, I try to share ideas I've used in my teaching, over the last 20 years, to help people look at their own stories in fresh ways, and to discern in their stories the ways that how God invites us to participate more fully in the healing and...

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Brood 10 Cicadas – living inside wonder!

I remember the last time brood 10 emerged -- featured in the "Poem of the Season" and here Walking in Rock Creek Park yesterday I had time and space to just watch and wonder - some had just emerged from the amazing array of holes they punch in the ground, coming up through 17 years of climbing. Many were perched on low shrubbery, providing easy food for the birds, who are going crazy with their sound and chowing down - those that are carnivores. (I saw a huge pileated woodpecker close to the...

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Re-envisioning retreats: So now it’s Advent!

We come to the Advent season and this year is for me, as for many, a disorienting time: no one coming home for the holidays, so I lose one of my most treasured incarnational symbols of the coming of Love -- expressed through all our gatherings.  And we have zoom, where I have been leading some retreats and educational events and that has been a blessing to me. See more on the Retreats and Events page of my website. It is a time of quiet waiting - I'm ordering a lot of the retreat work around...

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Whiteness Under Judgement: Musings and a Poem

Years ago, visiting the Jefferson Memorial, I noticed these words inscribed on the wall – I am surprised that there hasn’t been more mention of them in our recent national conversation about racism and white supremacy  He writes – way too mildly,  we can all acknowledge, but with a startling honesty: "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just. That his justice cannot sleep forever.  Commerce between master and slave is despotism.   Nothing is more certainly written in the book...

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Retreats Reenvisioned III: Evelyn Underhill Day

Today, June 15, is the feast day of Anglican writer and spiritual guide Evelyn Underhill.  A “hinge” event for me each year, in my own spiritual calendar, is the Day of Quiet Reflection in honor of Underhill that is sponsored annually by the  Evelyn Underhill Association.which would have been held this past Saturday, June 13.  We had to postpone to next year because of the pandemic.  A genuine loss to me among so many greater losses. So I took a good part of the day to have my own quiet time, ...

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Pentecost 2020: Calling their names

Pentecost 2020: Calling their names

The church celebrates the Feast of Pentecost today: the day when the first Christians, gathered in fear after Jesus' Ascension, received the gift of the Holy Spirit, coming as tongues of flame, with a sound like a rushing wind.  (Acts 2:1-11). I write this as the major cities of this country have been aflame with rioting (a lot of  if it apparently created by white groups on the left and right seeking to invite violence) as black communities protest the murder of yet another unarmed black man....

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Another Annunciation: Musings on Eastertide, Mourning and the “Mothering Life

Another Annunciation: Musings on Eastertide, Mourning and the “Mothering Life

We have turned the corner toward the last Sunday of the great 50 days Christians celebrate as Eastertide.   And so I need to poast a few thoughts about the season that is passing before we move into the next – grateful, in a way, for how liturgical seasons do provide some shape to these often anomalous weeks of stay-at-home orders. My mother died the Sunday before Lent began:  my last round trip airplane trip began on Ash Wednesday, when I traveled to go and spend a few days with my sisters...

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Retreats Re-envisioned II:  The Practice of Discernment

Retreats Re-envisioned II: The Practice of Discernment

Twenty years ago this season, I published an article in the Eastertide edition of the Sewanee Theological Review called "Discernment and the Work of the Church" drawing on my own experience as a lay person active in the church and constantly seeking God’s will for my life, to explore what “call” and “vocation” mean for all of God’s people.    It was offered in the context of a church that tends to equate “discernment of call” or “vocation” with the call to professional ordained ministry in the...

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