Mothering Spirit

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Betsysrainbowquilt                  Betsysmourningquilt

I am right between Mother’s Day and Pentecost. Our pastor gave a trenchant sermon last week on the “mothering” aspects of the Holy, taken from the first story of the creation, allowing that to neglect the feminine force of God means we are missing out on part Hebrew word, Ruach, Spirit, present at the creation. This week we are anticipating celebrating Ruach once again, this time when She came visibly and audibly on the gathered ones to create a community called Church.

I am wondering what is particular about the Mothering Spirit this week. Our new-ish hymnal gives many choices:

  • Mothering Spirit, nurturing one/in arms of patience hold me close. (Jean Janzen, 1991)
  • Womb of life and source of being, home of every restless heart,/ in your arms the world’s awakened, you have loved us from the start. (Ruth Duck, 1986)
  • Like a mother you enfold me, hold my life within your own…(Shirley Erena Murray, 1986)

As a daughter and as a mother and grandmother, I recognize what it is like both to give and receive that kind of care. However, I must say in honesty that that kind of care was not only offered by  women, or by mothers. I have been graced to receive it from surprising places, from unpredictable places.

So what is it? In conversation with a friend this week, we tried to identify one who embodied a mothering Spirit in our faith journeys. Our attention fell naturally and the easily on the woman who had been our spiritual director for many years, Betsy, whose “Rainbow Quilt” and “Mourning Quilt” are attached. Words like Grace, hospitality, welcome, wisdom, joy, creativity, bubbled up between us. But more than anything else was the sense that she saw us and knew us for who and what we are and loved with unconditional graceful regard, without judgement, categorization or label. That was evident in many ways, and led me to recall others who have “mothered” me along the way.

In the days that followed I am thinking of other persons of mothering spirit:

  • a college counselor who took delight in me and imagined my future accomplishments
  • a pastor who was not threatened by my questioning struggle, but challenged me to pursue being all I was meant to be
  • a couple in my church who subsidized a trip to my first Christian feminist conference when I was a new mother of two small children
  • that one who sat with me as I wept over a deep, deep loss
  • that one who saw my mistake and helped me try over again
  • the one who taught me certain kinds of knowledge and skills with patience, always believing I could do it
  • the ones who listened without censoring to my stories, sometimes over and over again

So as I prepare to celebrate the Holy Spirit tomorrow, who gave birth to the Church and to all people, I am grateful for all the “mothering” I have had, whether it came from a man or a woman, an elder or child or peer, from a source I had hoped for or a complete surprise. All of them were holy. All in that moment saw me for who I was right then, and all were cheering me forward. I am blessed by that Mothering, and I want continue to keep Mothering, in Spirit and in Truth!

 

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Valleys of Shadow

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Shadow

I have stumbled through valleys of shadow this past year. The Psalmist talks about the Valley of the Shadow of Death, but I have encountered other valleys, internal ones in my “one wild and precious life.” I have wandered in the valley of old wounds, hurts and slights, things that happened years or months ago, which when I remember them still sting and hurt. I have roved in the valley of missteps, misdeeds and mistakes, which may or may not have been redeemed, nor may they be able to be. I have bumped along in the valley of a garbled sense of self, with roots in my tales of a journey of becoming.

Falling in to these valleys, I don’t lose my ability to function, to contribute or to enjoy. But in the solitary and dark moments, I lose perspective, direction and hope. So I have wrestled with how to navigate these turns in the road, how to live with them; I am not sure that I will ever “overcome” them. I have reached back in my own story to find out what has provided a container for me when I find myself in one of those valleys, yet again.

I begin with music. One great gift of my life from its beginnings was the sense-around sound of music: church music–choral and congregational; spiritual music; old folk songs, before there was a folk music movement. Everyone in my family–nuclear and extended–sang. We sang together in family prayers; we sang grace at holiday table. As I developed my own voice and skill, my repertoire of rock music, classical music, and camp songs expanded. Those melodies, harmonies, and rhythms, and most of the words, are embedded in my heart and awareness, and I can call them up at a dark moment’s notice. “Kindle a flame to lighten the dark, and take all fear away,” “Safe am I in the shelter of God’s hand.” Even, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when clouds are gray.” The multi-sensory memories sooth my body, comfort my soul.

I also call up words that bless–words from sacred text, words from poetry, and words from wise and compassionate companions over the parts of the trail I have traversed already. Even if I don’t sense their truth in this immediate valley of the shadows, they are touchstones for me. Knowing they are there reminds me that this valley isn’t the only terrain I am crossing; there will be other, more open and clear well-lighted spaces in which to live and move and have my being. “Even my darkness is not dark to you.” “There is joy in all…” “Life is too short to stuff a mushroom!” Sacred or silly, these words are markers of hope.

And of late, I have come to value the practice of attending curiously to the valley of my shadow itself before rushing through it: what are its contours of feeling for me? how did I happen on this particular one? what are the names of the features of this landscape? are they familiar, ancient, new? Before I race to deny or get out of this place, can I , as they say in Buddhist tradition, “..sit still until the mud settles”? What does this valley of the shadow have to teach me…about the world, about the Self that God gave me, and about the Holy One who is here with me?

That’s where I am learning to rest in each of these valleys, counting on the Psalm of the Shepherd: “Even though I walk through the darkest valley…of any kind…I fear no evil; for You are with me.” (Psalm 23: 4.) Each day there is evidence of Holy Presence, in my garden, in my dog, in an e-mail, in Bach on the radio, in a reach-out from a long ago friend, in gentleness from loved ones, in a Word–sacred and comforting. I don’t love these valleys of shadows, but I am accompanied with love and compassion through them. And the sacred journey continues.

Ministry and Life in Stages

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PreacherWomanI was invited to assist in the worship service where I attend church this past week. In my muscles and brain I knew what to do, what to look and listen for, and how to behave. I have led worshiping communities in prayers of confession, pastoral prays of thanksgiving and intercession and dedication of the offering for nearly 35 years. This past Sunday morning I remembered  how many stages I have moved through in those years; this particular Sunday I was the Honorably Retired guest, stepping up to meet a need of the present staff.

Years ago I preached my first sermon. I had not yet entered seminary, and I had never heard a woman preach. Later, in two of my three parish calls, I was the first woman on staff. Those were years when little girls in the congregation would draw a picture of me and bring it to me as  a gift. Those also were the years when certain parishioners let it be known that they would not welcome a hospital visit from me, no matter if I were the only pastor available, because I was a woman. Those were years of great delights, deep stresses and tears, and a formidable learning curve for me and for the congregation. I was the new one in the life of the church, on many levels. My days were roller coasters of elation and despair, of joy and grief!

I moved into the middle and most active years of parish ministry where I found my voice as a preacher, where I was invited to design and speak at women’s retreats, where I was often the one called to stand in the gap when life or lives in the church frayed. My church worldview expanded as I encountered people from my denomination whose worship expressions differed from those I knew well, and then again as I moved out to engage people in ecumenical gatherings and interfaith dialogues. I had to learn with more sinews some interior spiritual practices of setting boundaries, of discerning which call was for me, of taking a “long, loving look at the real,” of listening to my own longings through the lenses of therapy and spiritual direction. I served three different churches as part of a parish staff, and became more adept in to “reading” a congregation. I loved so much about those years, and cherished not only most of the work and the people, but loved the sense that I had “come down in the place just right” for me.

My last years before retirement were teaching inquirers and students in seminary those things I had learned both in my D.Min work, and also the churches I served. It was a happy challenge to “pay it forward” to women and men seeking to serve God as pastors and chaplains.

And now I am the Honorably Retired pastor and spiritual director. My contributions are more often private rather than public. My congregation numbers one or 10, usually not too many more. It is satisfying and delightful soul work that I am called and allowed to witness.

But sometimes I am wistful when I see the opportunities offered to women in ministry now. There are congregations who can’t imagine a church staff that doesn’t include a woman pastor. Social media has opened the floodgates to women telling their stories of faithful listening to God’s calling them whether it is in academia, like Melanie Springer Mock, in her book Worthy, or like Kate Bowler in her  Everything Happens for a Reason; or women in the parish like Heidi Neumark or Rachel Srubas; or women who have carved out ministries at large, such as MaryAnn McKibben Dana and Diana Butler Bass. I read each of them with delight and gratitude, grieving with them where they have suffered, rejoicing with them in locating their particular calling, and letting them be beacons for Light for me as I in my present place also serve and wait.

It is a good and gracious thing to be in service to the Holy One, no matter one’s age and stage of life!

 

 

Easter Sabbath

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HolySaturdayThe gospel of Luke tells us that after all the profound and intense events of the days of Holy Week, those who loved and followed Jesus, “On the sabbath…rested according to the commandments.” I am entering into that rest today, Holy Saturday. I am taking sabbath in my spirit. It’s not as if I don’t know that there are things that need to be done. But I am intending to let my spirit be at rest. Marva Dawn in her important book, Keeping the Sabbath Wholly, identifies four movements of Sabbath that I am observing inwardly today.

Ceasing: This Easter Saturday I am ceasing from anxiety about tomorrow–whether all the connections will be made, whether the food will suit everybody, whether we will get to church early enough to get a seat, whether or not I have remembered to reach out to everyone. I have done or will do all that can be done, and will no longer worry about what’s undone.

Resting: In between the things I still need to do to make life livable, I will rest–short respites of listening to Bach, a brief snooze before company arrives, a quick reading of a chapter of mystery, a time to sit and gaze at the beautiful back yard in bloom. For a brief shining moment here and there, I will rest my body as well as my spirit.

Embracing: I am opening my arms and heart to the beauty and gifts that are offered to me–an unexpected warm e-mail from abroad from an old friend, a top of the morning snuggle with my beloved, a granddaughter who is coming to decorate for tomorrow. All are welcome in my heart today, gifts from the One who gives good gifts continually. I also intend to welcome the gifts I don’t yet know about!

Feasting: The feasting on food will happen tomorrow in the main, but today, a Sabbath, I am feasting on sacred music, the new bloom of roses, the aroma of Black-Bottom cupcakes, a nostalgic recipe from my children’s birthday parties, the softness of my throw rug and the dog’s silky ears, and the taste of the extra chocolate chips that don’t quite make it into the batter. I am also feasting of the awareness that for this day there is a Grace in not having to do anything to make thing all right, not at home, not in the Church, not in the world. Jesus is at rest, out of pain; I can be too. Tomorrow all the energy and power of Easter will compel me forward again to celebrate, to rejoice, and to let that energy become action for change in the world. But today I am observing sabbath.

I am resting in anticipation of the good news to come!

 

 

 

 

 

Preparing a Welcome

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welcomingfireplace I love to inhabit the place where people come to visit. Each week people come into my living room to sit and reflect on the places here the Holy has been apparent in their lives and what challenges have presented themselves. Each Thursday my granddaughter comes over after school to do homework, to create a new project, to snack on Doritos and catch up on conversation. And every so often, people come from far away to spend a night or two with our home as a base of operations. I am always in need of preparing the space for each visitor.

I have the memory of a bustling mother who hosted many in the homes she inhabited over the years. She with my father were, in their stateside missionary years, hosts for missionaries in transit from their fields of work abroad to their homes for furlough. The dinner table was long and set with many inexpensive dishes that fed a crowd. My father ferried people from train, plane and boat to the home and back again. Besides food and transportation, they were busy with helping find medical resources, shopping and assisting in making connections to the next points on the itinerary. All this was done in between the rhythm of daily prayers and ongoing helpful conversation.

Another icon of hospitality for me was my first spiritual director. Her home in my imagination was a Hobbit House–cozy, warm, and full of icons of Spirit, some classic, some personal signs of her own. More important than the place was her presence. She was always smiling and welcoming, and as we talked, for over 20 years, she brought to me an attentiveness, supported by an accumulated memory of who I was and where I had been. I was not just a generic guest, but I was a particular visitor, in that sacred moment and place, whose journey was worthy of all the time and listening the hour afforded.

As I turn into Holy Week this weekend, I am drawn to the occasions when Jesus was offered hospitality–the supper where his feet are anointed by a woman who did what she could; a Passover meal in an upper room, where he welcomed his beloved one by washing their feet; a sharing of a loaf of bread and a cup of wine, his icons of himself, given to those around the table. On each occasion, someone prepared the material of the meal and the place for eating it in readiness for the welcome. And in each, someone, Jesus, became the host in attending the the deep need of Spirit, for a sacred space and sacred moment in which to experience the Spirit.

In this Holy Week ahead of me, I would like to exercise hospitality of Spirit–by welcoming those who are brought to me, prepared for what they might need–a cold cup of water, a listening ear, a shelter from the storm. And I would like to offer my presence to each one–listening for words or no words, receiving their stories with Grace. I also ask for an awareness of how the Spirit is the container for each visit, and be able to have eyes to see and ears to see how the Spirit is moving and prodding and comforting each one. so that I can join that movement in grounding us in energy, imagination and Love.

The poet Rumi tells us, “This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival…Welcome and entertain them all!…Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”

I pray for an open door, an open ear and an open heart this Holy Week!

 

 

 

 

 

A Mixed Up Lent

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I am upside down and all turned around this Lent! On the one hand, there are all the traditional calls to introspection (not not too much), to repentance (but not too harsh!), to giving up and self-denial (but doing no harm!). On the other hand, I hear the calls to act, to affirm, to resist, to look for the places where the Light can get in. It did not help me that on Ash Wednesday, the liturgy and focus of which is very clear, it was also Valentine’s Day, for me the anniversary of my first date with my lifetime Beloved, and we were celebrating with sweetness and grace. To add to the confusion was the unbelievable act of terror and violence in Parkland, Florida, not far from where one of my beloveds goes to college. And there was the outpouring of unfiltered opinions and screeds that followed publicly in the aftermath. So where do I plant myself this Lenten season?

I also live in a body with ups and downs, among a people whose bodies have ups and downs. Will I know on a particular day whether I have enough sleep to be able to set out on my Lenten intentions? Will the diagnostic test take me in a different direction than I planned? Will the pernicious and virulent viruses and bacteria swirling around this year pass by me by or land in my throat? On a mundane and frivolous level, what should  I plan to wear day to day–sackcloth and ashes or my dancing shoes?

I have hunkered down to what is basic. Each day I am asking myself: what does my soul need? To stay alive, to go deep, to become closer to the intention of the Holy for me today! And I ask myself: where am I encountering Joy? In breath itself, in creation, in the “littles,” and in the hearts, voices and bodies of those who live their truths unwaveringly. Sacred text grounds me in the constancy of the Holy One; poetry challenges me to find new language for what I believe and continue to believe; mystery stories amuse, divert and give me rest. My soul is refueled with energy and imagination, as I count not only blessings, but wonder and truth and grace.

Then, I am trying to see what the the day holds: a phone call, a change of plans, a lunch re-connection, some quiet reading, a trip to the doctor, a meeting. In each of those I am bringing a consciousness of Holy Spirit accompanying me, nudging me, illuminating me, holding me back. Some days it is a time to share Love–with snacks and coloring, with recommending a book, with listening. Some days it is a day to weep and mourn–with those who weep, with our children, for the grief of the world.

The Singer of Psalms knew the dilemmas: “My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors./Let your face shone upon your servant; save me in your steadfast love.” (31:15-16). So each day I awake–rummaging around for soul food, catching the joy as it flies. Either way, whatever I am called to wear, to do, to sing, my heart and schedule are in Loving Hands. For this Lent, ending on another mixed metaphor–Easter and April Fool’s Day–that is enough!

Change and Decay

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changeanddecay

-I go to my appointment, and the pipe shop that has been on the opposite corner for as long as I can remember is boarded up and fenced in.

-The sandwich place next to the coffee shop has gone out of business, and the department store I counted on has moved to another mall.

Much worse then all of these are the images of destruction by mudslides of parts of  the sacred retreat center where I have gone so many years on pilgrimage. I grieve for what was, what was dear and holy.

And since the festival season, there have been so many losses: death of a colleague, a neighbor, the spouse of a college friend, a former parishoner.

And the world, the nation! How hard to fathom what they seem to have come to!

Changes, changes changes! it’s been said that we as humans experience all change as loss. And I am feeling it this January! With each medical appointment, I feel the loss of what I used to be. With each encounter in the faith community, I am aware that we are in  liminal place with unclear agendas and sensibilities. With each report on the news, I see time-held axioms of thought and behavior disappear, some for the worse, and irreparable loss of public lands, public generosity and public civility.

So I am pressed to know how to navigate each day when there are so many variables before me. I find that I need to fall back on some organic principles of Spirit with more attention and intention in these days:

–Give my grief all of its due, but only its due. Etty Hillesum challenges us to remember that it is a “spiritual bypass” to go straight to counting blessings when we have not grieved the loss. I mourn the loss of people and places that gave me life and love. I remember wistfully the ways and means of comfort and compassion I have experienced. I lament the destruction that lays waste our planet and that thoughtlessly removes the beautiful and the good. I cling to the Word that my tears are precious to the Holy One.

–Give thanks for what is blossoming and healing. My border of white irises has not ceased to be in bloom, one plant after another, since early November. There is a new one every morning. And God’s mercies are new every morning, if I am paying attention. Random  and intentional acts of kindness still abound. Fred Rogers has reminded us that in times of catastrophe, we are to look for the helpers to see the presence of the Holy One. They are everywhere–the ones who welcome the displaced, the ones who give rides, the ones who provide food, the ones who go more than one extra mile, but tens and hundreds of extra steps to care for others, those who give generously over and over for the healing and preservation of the world and its fragile ones.

–Give room for the Light to shine in. If I focus only on the reports of doom and gloom, of murder and mayhem, my own heart gets clouded, or “rubbled over”, as Jurgen Moltmann says. So I need to keep practice looking for the “cracks when the Light gets in” and make them a little wider. I celebrate the one who sat by the bedside of the dying one, so she could go in peace. I delight in the one who has learned to turn away anger with a soft answer. I rejoice in those who at great cost give themselves to generosity and thoughtfulness. And I cheer for those who are willing to speak truth to power, to affirm the good and call out the evil when it appears.

Things will change, they always have. In this world many institutions, places I hold sacred, precious relationships will fade and decay. However, as long as I have life and breath, I need to remain one who hopes, who engenders hope in others, and celebrates the reality that with the Holy One there are no final defeats.

Change and decay in all around I see/ O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

 

 

 

Voices of Joy Advent IV and Christmas and New Year

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A voice of joy! Advent began with a voice on one crying…in a wilderness! And we take a turn into the season with a voice of joy! I am relying heavily on joyful voices in this season, Music and words combine to life my spirit above the oppressive sounds of so much that is being given attention.

So I have heard Joy in the voice of children in productions of “Beauty and the Beast.” I have heard Joy in concerts downtown at Disney Hall, first all of the Bach motets, then the voices of Chanticleer. My Facebook community supplies me amply with music of Joy of many kinds–country western, early Renaissance, piano and cello, hundred voice choirs, a capella ensembles. On Christmas Eve by candlelight, we heard in variegated voices the story of the birth of Jesus into this world and what it means; it led us to stand and sing together “Joy to the World.”

And then we were stunned at dawn to get a familiar voice on our phone on Christmas morning telling us to go look on our front porch–and there to our shock and surprise was our complete Florida family awaiting to say Merry Christmas and to feed and love us, through this festival week. It has been followed with singular voices of Joy: laughter of cousins, hilarious remembering between siblings, excited regaling with new experiences, eager recitation of encounters with something special–all Joy! Certainly the we have shared the Joy of Christmas with enthusiastic voices this season.

I am convinced that I am to bring a voice of Joy into the new year. It is counter-intuitive if I become saturated with the voices of the world around us–news, op-ed pieces, and Cassandra like predictions of the doom to come. However, the voice of those who are seeking Spirit and intending to live with its energy are filled with hope,  perseverance, compassion and imagination because of what we are celebrating this Christmastide. Those are the choruses of which I would like to be a part. I anticipate with expectation the anthems of those who are joining their journey of Spirit with their intention to be part of the healing of the world, whether in political demonstration and action, or in service to those without resources or agency. I align my heart and voice with those who croon softly to the person in pain and despair, or to the ones who feels as if there is no place to call home. I accept the lowering registers of my own voice to calibrate it to the song I have been given to sing for now: God is here, does not leave us, nor can anything separate us from Divine Presence and Care. There is Joy in all!

Good Christian souls, rejoice! with heart and soul and voice…

In this New Year I am adding my voice to the band of angels and saints who hear and care for the voices crying in the wilderness, and then go on to bring a more hopeful, Joyful song of “Peace on earth, good will to all!”

Arms of Love Advent III

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armsoffriendsThis third week of Advent, after Gaudete Sunday, where we praise the Holy, as Mary did, remembering her with  a rose colored candle in our Advent wreaths, is about Loving.  All of one’s body is involved in loving, but often the first movement is with our arms.

I found this work of art in Montreal this fall. So much Love is shown in the arms of these three: the expressive arms of the one telling her truth; the accepting arms of the one bent in to listen deeply; and the arms that hold and support the truth as it is being told. How many people, especially in this season, long for welcoming and supportive arms of Love outstretched on their behalf!

I have been noticing active arms of Love this week:

  • the driver who ferries the car pool daily, often adding to his load, children other than his own
  • the grandparent who opens her heart and arms to greet the little one after he trips and falls
  • the strong arms who give support and balance to the one whose gait is not quite as steady as it once was
  • the long arms that reach that elusive ingredient on the top shelf of the grocery store for the shopper who can’t reach it
  • those who put all their arms together to pack up turkey dinners for households who need them this Christmas
  • the quick defensive arms who keep others from tripping, or ward off danger from something unexpected
  • the willing arms that carry things from story to car, from car to home, from home to friends

So many ways to show Love! And each one is characteristic of the Holy One who is Love. The prophet Hosea characterizes God speaking this way:

…it was I who taught Ephraim to walk. I took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with  cords of human kindness, with bands of Love. (Hosea 11: 3-4)

I am seeking to make my arms loving ones this Advent, whether it is rocking a little one, following the Mother Mary, or offering a great-grandmother’s cookie recipe to guests invited, or sitting with relaxed posture to hear the story that needs telling, whether I am hearing it for the first time or have heard it many times before. As for my own needs to be replenished in Love this season,  I am taking shelter in the Loving Arms of the One who made me just the way I am, who can comfort and heal me, then send me out again to Love the world!

People, look east, the time is near/of the crowning of the year./ Make your house fair as you are able,/ trim the hearth and set the table./People, look east and sing today:/ Love the Guest is on the Way.

 

 

 

Peaceful Feet Advent 2

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PeacefulFeetHow beautiful upon the mountain are the feet of the one who brings peace, says the prophet, and I would add “along the seashore, in the care facility, tn the church sanctuary, along the streets in the neighborhood, and in the shopping malls.” Too many feet are the bearers of bad tidings. The feet of the peaceful ones are, indeed, welcome, winsome and healing.

I am in awe of those this week whose feet are engaged in marches for reasons of peace–advocacy for DACA students, attention for the fragile in our world, and the strong, weary, persistent feet of the fighters of wind and flame here in Southern California, trying to save lives and home against the seemingly unremitting Santa Ana winds. When I hear footsteps approaching, I long for them to be the the steps of peace bringers, peacemakers, peacekeepers, peace seekers.

I kept company with my community of spirit journeyers yesterday in an Advent retreat, and for a few hours, we reflected on Christ, “the image of the invisible God,” as he walked this earth. Through copies of paintings of artists, we saw Jesus walking with his disciples on the Emmaus Road bringing them peace after their trauma at the crucifixion. We watched Jesus gliding over water to his frightened friends, and then in another painting saw him stop mid-stride when his being sensed the courageous one whose bleeding had kept her on the margins of life for so many years, and sensed her peace as healing flowed into her. This Prince of Peace is the One for whom we are waiting this season. Lady Julian reminds us that “He is our peace, when we ourselves are in un-peace.” We gathered to reflect and share on the stories of the One with peaceful feet that touched and challenged us.

However, I was once again struck with the feet of the very ones sitting in our circle, whose work in the world is so often to bring peace. One of us, while she was with us, was working on finding housing for those in the homeless shelter displaced by the SoCal fires. Another had been that week helping to raise money for the drilling of wells in villages in Niger. Someone else had been caring for family members who are ill, or had gone to the side of one in grief and despair. And each one there had taken herself to the place of being peace for someone else–at home, on-line, over land and sea–in speaking words of peace or in just showing up wordlessly  with peaceful presence.

I have seen several mashup posts from movies this week of dancing, all synchronized to a contemporary refrain and beat, and there is joy in seeing Fred Astaire, Julie Andrews, john Travolta and Minnie Mouse, one after the other,  swirl and tap out joy with their feet; that energy comes first from a peaceful being. Jesus, looking over Jerusalem, sighed,saying, “Would that you knew the things that made for peace!” We all echo that same sigh. And in this season of Advent while we wait, I am choosing to be the one with beautiful, peaceful feet, whether it is by sitting with my daughter overlooking the ocean as we contemplate the unknown future, or by dancing with my little loved ones for the sheer fun of it, or by taking a staff person in the church to lunch, or by collecting money day by day for the fragile ones further damaged by the fires around us. And the peace of God which passes all understanding will keep my heart and mind…