Category Archives: spirituality

Inspired Moments

First I started out my day by gathering the throw around my back and shoulders so I could stay warm while I would meditate. Twenty-four minutes later, I was thankful for the quieted mind which was nice and emptied of anxiety, open to a non critical attitude.
Husband up and coffee consuming to prepare for the work to accomplish his assignment from Seminary. But the minutes shared were fellowship at its calmest and sweetest, we both love each other and are together on board for God’s patient adventure ride. He is 67 and approaching final graduate work for a Masters of Divinity. I am 65 and inspired.

My text message blessed me and my family with Be Inspired, from my first born, and what better inspiration than to have closed out a Sunday evening with a good phone call from the baby of the family, in his zone writing inspired music under inspired and expert tutelage, and to further awaken from sleep and morning meditation with the words of blessing from my elder son. Have an inspired Monday and a great week.

Before Bob went up to his study, he gave me his hand and I blessed him with a prayer. I had been touched by the strong call for patience from my pastor’s online sermon yesterday when I was too sick to hear it in person. So I indulged my newly encouraged patience with myself by grazing through Marc Chagall’s love filled prints on my iPad. Beauty. From a poor Russian home to inspired painter the artist renders life scenes as seen and felt from the heart and center of our whole being.

Going for more coffee to my beautiful small kitchen I looked out at the graying fence behind my chain linked fence. How silently but musically the shadows of the huge Blue Spruce branches play onto this fence. Without this plain fence I would never have caught the dance of the shadows. Through the other window I see from across my street large trunks of great spruces, a living Cezanne composition for me.

Inspired with the thought that my brother in the nursing home is content and pleased with the kind staff, each with a beautiful smile for the love they receive from Andy, he with a joyful smile as he receives their love. The magical growth in our bond of sister brother love is reflected in this place. Since age 18 he fought severe mental illness and now prayers from our family, alive and with The Lord, are spirited together with God’s prayer for him, a beautiful later in life scenario for him, has come to pass after all his deep continual suffering. There is nothing like his present day smile, that he should be receiving so much love, respect, good humor and connection.

I would say that all the encouragement I have received from six workshops on Sabbath Pause, has bolstered my faith in quiet solitude with God, opened my understanding to its purpose to make me one with him and his creation, make me perceive his nearness. It has helped me be happy and my happiness in this newness of life has helped form my brother, too, with whom I’ve been swept up into the sweetness of spiritual life.

Beauty, growth, renewal, my child sharing his life, my child blessing his family at the start of the week, a husband using his gifts to follow his call, my spiritual teachers coming from virtually nowhere to be where I needed to learn.
May my inspiration bear fruits of love that only God has designed and has in store. May I be so stretched out to receive them, but in calmness and surrender.
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Part Two

And all of this following a Spiritual Formation committee meeting last Monday that, now under new leadership, has said, what went on these past months under the former leader, a wonderfully inspired, impartial leader, is not what we will take up. We will move on from all this former dreaming and communicating, to our (their) way. So politics has a spirit. Our time with this group will be up. But who knows what we tried to do will not come to pass for everyone’s betterment, blessing and inspiration. Now, how can I say that? I have a history in this area of nurturing my local church.

At my California church, when I was 39, we Education elders and two associate pastors, had an overnite retreat in the Wine country, we talked and moved…we wanted a clergy couple 3/4 time each to take on the youth and the children, which would mean changes: our eldest pastor would be emeritus, our youth pastor should move on as he needed more educational foundation for a sustained career, (a good job would be found for him as a pastor favor) and we would no longer need the services of our children’s consultant. A town meeting occurred, people thought we had been possessed to make these changes.

The Aftershocks occurred: one of our pastors left ministry to become a full time counselor, one left our church a bit later, and we elders, two men and myself all were shaken, but mostly me. They were, after all, businessmen and used to the hurdles of leadership. For me, it was cataclysmic to be shunned and reviled by good folks whose lovely company I’d enjoyed so much. But, I was asked to return to session to serve a second term as an elder, a back to back term, a huge honor. I was too weakened to accept. But that they asked me to get back in the saddle again, that made all the difference. A decade or so later, what happened? Their brand new associate pastor’s wife was an ordained minister, and eventually they became the head pastors of this church. Our clergy couple idea was planted and bore fruit. No more mysogyny from the pulpit. More Life, revelation and reality, and my suffering helped nurture this growth. So I am hopeful the good work Bob and I tried to do on our present church’s behest, will also be fruitful eventually in nurturing this church to fullness of life.

The patience sermon was for me, because all my work wasn’t even put on the back burner. But patience was the word because my past has shown me, God will do the follow through, if all my sincerity and being believes and trusts that a vision has been had and will come to pass because God is in it. I wish my suffering mom of great faith, had been availed of the workshops on meditation that I had experienced. It would have saved her life. Maybe a sermon can create patience in us, but teaching and mirroring the benefits of contemplative living would give me a whole different life.

Inspired Monday. I pray for life. I give thanks for the wonderful men God surrounded me with and I pray your inspiration on them provides fruit for your people.
I felt like painting, but instead I’ve written, just like I chose literature over art for my major. A girl of the word. I have Anthony Mascherin, my English teacher, to thank for that. May I create and may all the earth create in the numberless ways you open for them, unheard of ways until they all speak with voice, hands, feet, and prayer and keep listening, to be inspired every moment after.

When morning guilds the skies my heart awaking cries:
May Jesus Christ be praised!


You are a part…an essential part, of God being everywhere, in every circumstance and eventuality, among people you are among and places you occupy, geographically and status wise. And that is part of God Being God.

So comparing people results in data that’s totally irrelevant to eternity. Bearing God in your heart, mind, will, spirit, soul, with openness and expectation will give you the sense of your oneness in Him and then, joy! Oneness in God is incomparable to anything. The summit of summits is not to be outdone nor undone.

MetaMary

In college I earned spending money by waitressing in Neilson Dining Hall on the Woodbury campus of Douglass College. One year I became a waitress waitress and had to eat at 4 to serve the waitresses their meal at 4:45 so they could then serve everyone at 5:30. Last winter I felt that role call me again as I prepared words to share with the crowd of 60 women from my church, whom I had gathered together for a Holi-Day Dinner out.

I wanted to share how I felt reconnected to that role because I was in effect serving the servers, the servants of our church who also were servants to their worlds at large, learning through their Sunday worship and studies, the selflessness required in helping those in need.

I kept that thought to myself, not sharing it until now. For in relating to an ongoing problem in my…

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Waitress Waitress….

In college I earned spending money by waitressing in Neilson Dining Hall on the Woodbury campus of Douglass College. One year I became a waitress waitress and had to eat at 4 to serve the waitresses their meal at 4:45 so they could then serve everyone at 5:30. Last winter I felt that role call me again as I prepared words to share with the crowd of 60 women from my church, whom I had gathered together for a Holi-Day Dinner out.

I wanted to share how I felt reconnected to that role because I was in effect serving the servers, the servants of our church who also were servants to their worlds at large, learning through their Sunday worship and studies, the selflessness required in helping those in need.

I kept that thought to myself, not sharing it until now. For in relating to an ongoing problem in my understanding and insight about God’s equal love for us all, that metaphor of waitress waitress came up. During worship today we heard of the January 12 Congregational meeting where the Nominating committee would make their report. My heart automatically sank for an instant or two or three. For I had not been notified that I had been recognized as a leader this time around, nor my personal gifts recognized, or if they were, not deemed necessary for special consecration in our church.

But then this feeling could be that of dozens of others that were not chosen….The idea of “celebrity” came to mind also. We were not the celebrities, the leaders, the officials. But then “waitress waitress” seemed to be waiting there for me in my spiritual malaise, waiting to serve me as the answer to take the smack out of whatever rejection I felt.

Those church officers served us, the servers, the members. They were assigned to do for us what we are assigned by God to do for others around us in our personal or public world. Had I been any more important or essential than those dozens of waitresses who served the campus? Are these officers….servant leaders according to our teachings and polity….any more essential than all of us servants being sent out into the world? Maybe in one way, they too were being sent out into the world to serve, and that, after serving us first or along with. Just as I, as a waitress waitress had to serve myself and then the waitresses, so our leaders had to serve others and their church community, the world’s servants. So for that, we owe them respect and gratitude in community with them. That’s why we celebrate them separately at times.

Should I also be asking what is it we are serving if we wait on the world’s people? It must be that essential human kindness at the center of all serving. A further answer offered itself and was what I received this morning after church from a ninety year old WWII veteran chatting with his natural level of pure but dignified glee in being alive and among his fellows in Christ. So he served me as much as an officer of the church because he was serving up the best, human kindness, his very self. And it is Who we are at our deepest level, where the kindness seed is always growing blossoming and perennially giving us and others life, that I had better understood this morning as what Celebrity in heaven is, what eternity celebrates deeply and utterly. And I am so glad to have kept myself from using “utterly” up until this last sentence because it is so essentially, definitively true about the value of kindness, utterly represented by a God who left home to journey in faith so he could be our fellow, our server, our ultimate server of servants. And what he served up was his personal best, his kind self and its wonderful presence among us. We celebrate whoever follows this ultimate cause of all causes, kind presence among others, for them and with them. Some serve additionally as official representatives, but whoever functions in this beauteous manner, serves us all and serves eternity.


Living Stones

Let me share a little church history of Allentown Presbyterian Church. Our motto is I AM THE VINE YOU ARE THE BRANCHES. And so our purpose is to remain in him and bear much fruit for the Kingdom. This was voted upon, chosen because it’s so true and we are an agrarian area of New Jersey so it’s very appropriate.

But some of us liked the metaphor of Living Stones as a motto even more. Yet It was thought to be too hard to understand. Remember Jesus declaring that if they forced people to shut up about him that even the stones would cry out? It’s implied that we are like those stones. A prayer from the Valley of Vision describes us as something like them when it says:

Though creature cells of emptiness we have a fullness accessible to all, and incapable of reduction.

As cells or stones we have that capacity for fullness in God all because of the power of God. As fully filled Stones or cells we are sort of built up into one Living Dwelling place of Christ and God’s love. So we are particularly fitted stones for taking in and participating in his being.

Why is living stones a preferable symbol to me? First, because we are all in this living of life on earth, together. Since we are empty creature cells that can access his life, and because we are placed so close together to form the walls of his dwelling, we have an effect on one another. We are less an upright wall if any surrounding us are empty. We are more likely to be filled and stay filled if those surrounding us are fully built up in the loving power of Christ. We have a harder time of this living business if we are surrounded by either clods who choose to remain empty or stones dried hard by the harshness of their surroundings or merely, the much less fortunate who are without the great advantage of the experiences of love and learning.

So this living stones metaphor reveals how we rely on each other for support and stimulus to avail ourselves of God’ s presence and filling. We can deplete one another and revive each other and we often all stand or fall together. Often in rising to the difficult challenge of helping those close to us to be filled, we become fuller and stronger ourselves as God’s power avails for us.

So being all we can be as living breathing cells or stones, we are one, God’s beloved and maybe like Pygmalion’ s sculpture, we come alive, but only as we all come alive. Your aliveness in Christ is never wasted, but always edifying for all the living stones around about you. We strengthen them in strengthening ourselves. When we open ourselves up to the filling of the Holy Spirit we help build him a beautiful dwelling place with our unity and love accessed through him alone. Let us be actual living stones, a living, eternal monument and community which anyone might join to grow and flourish in all manner of fullness we can not comprehend but if we stones can cry out, can live, we can some day fully comprehend and know as He knows.
This is a motto worth leaning into for our future.

1Peter 2:4,5; 10

As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.