Thursday, September 30, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
The activities at Wyoming Wilderness Camp are Challenge by Choice. The challenge holds the promise that I may be able to complete the challenge - but if I can't, there is still a promise of learning something new. It seems to me that it kind of translates to a possibility of failure, but we don't usually mention that to campers.
During staff week, I was offered a challenge to cross the rungs of a "ladder" made from sticks held by camp staff. To accept, I had to say out loud, "I, Kay, accept this challenge."
I said it, and then I entered the challenge. I had a hard time getting up on the rungs, but the staff helped me there. They supported me, reminded me to watch my head, and let me balance by touching their heads. I walked across the ladder successfully. They celebrated with me!
So here is what I figured out. There is an expectation from my community at St. Stephen's that I have the ability to be a priest. I expect that my community will support me and celebrate with me. Sure, there is the possibility that we might fail, but if we do, there will be learning for all.
So I think that my next step is to say out loud, in front of a congregation, a bishop, and some presbyters, "I, Kay, accept this challenge of being a priest." And then the congregation will respond, "We accept the challenge too." And then we have to do it.
Now I am crying again but it is different somehow. September 29 at 6:30 PM at St. Stephen's in Casper - you are invited!
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Sunday, May 9, 2010
God is like a mother hen, mother bear, mother eagle: My Mother's Day Sermon - 6th Sunday of Easter 2010
Sixth Sunday of Easter readings
Sixth Sunday of Easter readings
You know, there’s nothing like the power of a mother – the power of a mother hen to hide the chicks from the cruelties of the world; the power of the mother bear to chase away intruders with a deep growl; the power of the mother eagle to keep babies safe from harm with her wide wings.
When I was a child, we were driving on a dark dirt road near McFadden, Wyoming. It was really dark, but my dad spotted a baby jackrabbit. He stopped to show us, and it was really cute. Big eyes, big ears, big feet. Suddenly, out of the dark, rushed the mama jackrabbit. She jumped against his leg in a rage, until he finally scrambled up on the hood of the car to get away. Yep, mama jackrabbits are powerful too.
I couldn’t think of any thing in the Bible about mother jackrabbits, but Jesus says he wishes he could gather up the people like a mother hen gathers her chicks. In the 2nd chapter of 2nd Kings, Elisha was walking down the road while some kids made fun of his baldness. Elisha called down a curse and two bears came out of the woods and ate 42 of the kids. You don’t want to mess around with angry bears. A favorite hymn paraphrases Isaiah, “And I will raise you up on eagle’s wings, bear you on the breath of dawn, make you to shine like the sun, and hold you in the palm of my hand.”
I grew up with the tradition, carried on in the Book of Common Prayer, that God is our Father. There are so many other metaphors for God – metaphors that help my small human brain comprehend just a little of the amazing God who is our God. Some of the metaphors are challenging – metaphors like we heard in the hymn today: God is like a mother hen, God is like a mother bear, God is like a mother eagle.
The readings today seem to resonate with the theme of HOME. In the first lesson, Lydia, a wealthy woman who was a dealer in purple cloth, opened her heart to the words spoken by the disciples. She was baptized with all the members of her household – and then she opened her home to the disciples. In Revelation, we hear of the description of a great city where Jesus is the center – not the Temple, and where no electric lights or candles are needed because the light of God is so bright in that city. And in the reading from the Gospel of John, Jesus says those who love Jesus will be part of the family of God – that God will make his home with the followers of Jesus.
You know, families and homes come in many flavors. The center of the home may be Mother, or Father, or Granny, or Aunty or Big Brother or your dog or cat. . Some homes have two moms or two dads. The members of a home change over the years. Your home may have consisted of a mother and a father and some children, and now it may consist of just you or you and your spouse. My home currently consists of me, my oldest son, his wife, and Nigel and Johanna, ages 5 and 3. When my boys were teenagers I divorced, and then our home consisted of me, my three sons, and many of their friends who stayed for varying lengths of time. The members of a home may become part of the family through birth or adoption or rescue --- one of our family stories tells about the time when my great-grandfather rode the train to save a baby after the mother died, keeping the baby alive on a sugar pap, sugar water dripped from a cloth into the baby’s mouth, on a cross country train ride to my great-grandmother who was nursing a baby.
We know a lot about home from Culture, the world around us. We know that home is where you hang your heart. Robert Frost said “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in. “ We live home, home on the range. Last weekend during the Kentucky Derby, we sang about our Old Kentucky home, far away.
I paraphrase Lane Denson, a retired Episcopal priest who grew up in the hills of Texas, “Home is that one place that manages to make you feel that you’re special and that you aren’t living up to your potential – all in one sentence.”
We know a lot about Mother from Culture too. We know the sweet Hallmark card side of Mother-Roses are red, violets are blue….
We know about Forrest Gump’s Mama: Forrest said “Mama always had a way of explaining things so I could understand them. Mama always said you have to put the past behind you before you can move on. Mama always said dying is part of life. And Mama always said Life is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get.
We know about the Mother in our own lives – the center of the homes of our hearts – whether that was Mother or dad or Granny or Brother or pet.
We call the Church our home and we call the Church Mother – and it lives up to both of those. The church is a place where we belong, where we matter, where we make a difference. It is also a place where we are continually called to be something more than we already are – to live up to our potential to make a difference in the world.
Sometimes, Mom and Mother Church have a lot in common.
Mom says, Stand up straight! Today, Mother Church and women all over the world invite us to stand up at 1:00 PM today for the world’s children and grandchildren, and for seven more generations as we dream of a world with clean water for all, with education for all, with food for all, healthcare and homes and safety for all.
Mom says (at least mine did!) Go outside and blow the stink off! Mother Church asks us to dream about the ways we can help the children of the world go outside. You may be involved in cleaning up the environment, or working with children in a school program, or by helping with the Boys and Girls Art Show that we are helping them plan to raise money for their summer activities, or by going to Wyoming Wilderness Camp with the Homeless students of Natrona County or by gardening to make the world a more beautiful place.
Mom says Eat your vegetables! Mother Church invites your donations of non-perishable food for our hungry neighbors – this month they are going to St. Mark’s food pantry.
Mom says wash your hands! Brush your teeth! Mother Church asks you to spend a few minutes of your coffee hour today assembling toiletry bags for the homeless students of Natrona County.
Mom says Be nice to your brothers and sisters and friends. Mother Church asks us to join with God, who is both father and mother, bear and hen and eagle and jackrabbit, to make this world become the kingdom of God, in this time and place and for ever more.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
I saw this explanation on the website of The Episcopal Church of the Nativity in Scottsdale, AZ:
Environmentally Friendly: rather than print a full paper bulletin, we will hand out paper announcements and project the service on a screen. .
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
We commit ourselves to be involved in all aspects of church life:
We commit ourselves to encourage each other to use our spiritual gifts. We commit ourselves to create an environment where groups and individuals are invited to explore and define their spirituality by asking, listening, and learning from each other and from God. We commit ourselves to the stability, growth and transformation of St. Stephen's by working together and by our commitment to God.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
In our congregation, we value education as much as anyone. We particularly value education that we share. We just don't pour all of our education into one person. Each of us comes with gifts, talents, and experience that help us prepare to share our ministry, and we work together to develop those gifts.
As an example, the woman who coordinates our pastoral care does not have a degree at all. She has 20 years of experience taking care of the elderly. When we as a group discerned her gift for pastoral care, we arranged for her to take a class sponsored by the Diocese of Wyoming and EDS. She didn't take the course alone. Others in the diocese studied with her, and a group of us, including our seminary trained Ministry Developer, read all the course materials and participated in small group exercises and discussions.
This sort of things plays out in our congregation on a regular basis. We are a small congregation and struggled for years to pay a rector. We could have closed the doors, but we believe we have strengths as a worshiping community that reaches out to the world in many ways, and we chose to keep the doors open.
We now have groups organized as ministries of Pastoral Care, Liturgy, Administration, Evangelism/Outreach, and Vision/Education. Groups are meeting regularly to develop the ministries, and to be educated together. We have a Ministry Developer who works with us and other congregations in this process, and a diocesan structure that works to put this all together.
We also have two transitional deacons, ordained by Bishop Bruce Caldwell a month ago yesterday. Tristan English and I will continue to work our "day jobs" while participating in the ministry and work of the church. It's true that neither of us has been to seminary and at this point neither of us knows Greek. It is also true that we are both educated in our professions and in the work of church, and we remain committed to ongoing education. The congregation is not going to allow us to hoard the knowledge that they value. They will insist that we continue educating ourselves as a team as we continue doing God's work in the world.
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Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Saturday, March 27, 2010
You would think I would someday figure out that even movies which appear to be totally silly (like this one did to me) contain theology.
In this movie, the world is being covered by a flowing sheet of ice. I have no idea why, since I was not paying attention, but there it is: A flowing sheet of ice is covering the world. A woman - the mother of a boy - has been dragged into the ice with a lonely and clingy girl who wants a mother of her own.
But fighting the ice is love - the love of the boy for his mother and the love of the boy's community of friends and Pokemons. The children and the Pokemon critters put themselves in every sort of animated danger in their quest to save Mom and Molly
I don't understand the movie, but I believe I understand that love reveals God in the world. When we love each other by fighting against flowing sheets of ice, we are part of the continuing revelation of God in the world.
I pray for you and for me a most holy Holy Week - a week in which God's amazing love is revealed.
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