High Days of Summer. Vacations. Road trip journeys and Triple AAA travel advisories. . . even for those “staycationing” in the city.
This is the season of Pentecost when the Spirit moves in us to set sail into the world on pilgrimage and the journey of a day, every and any day, that takes us with God ~ out ~ into it.
Every day, keenly aware of the physical location of my feet, my body, attentive to my thoughts and imaginations, and the presence of God in all the details of a day’s journey.
It’s the art of the hike, in the course of any day: whether to go this way or that, and what difference does it make, because we make our way with God? One foot in front of the other. Vistas, the effect of temperatures and weather, physical needs like hunger and thirst, re-routing and exposure to the elements. A summer journey and being fully present to it.
We can engage in a Summertime practice of Sabbath Rest,
(which we all want from a summer vacation, right?!)
that is just the simplest thing:
the getting up each morning, as a resurrection moment, of saying “yes” to new life.
These can be summertime moments, even if we’re not enjoying an exotic trip, just the simple practice of waking to light and life and saying ‘yes’ to it. "Yes", to the morning light that turns trees lime green. Just the moments, of sabbath awareness of being made fresh and new, and the journey worth it, because of rest.
And the lying down each night, as a practice of holy death. Lying down, peaceful and comforted by knowing that my existence is suspended in the power and love of God.
Each night, at days end, to rest in God; our perfect freedom.
To be that simple, that immediate, as a practice of journey, for spiritual formation when high summer takes to the wind in our sails.
Each day’s journey is a life lived in a day. It’s what forms us spiritually, it is where we live with God, it is where we find God.
In this day, and every day, with you,
Journeying with the Holy One,
We were having lunch at Princi Italia in Midtown on Tuesday.
The waitress refilled my water glass and overheard me say to Benno,
“the little square cards we have that say: ‘bring your dog to church’”. She turned to walk off with her water pitcher, then turned back to offer enthusiastically, “If I could bring my dog to church, I’d go to church!”
Naturally, I dove in with directions to Highpoint and a hearty invitation. And then we talked a bunch about dogs. I risked suggesting to her what I suggested to y’all on Pentecost, about how dogs are a part of creation that make us know what the Holy Spirit is like.
We tend to think we’re in the dark about the Holy Spirit.
~Jesus? Yes. We know him. Something like friend or fellow.
~God? Yes. The Grandfatherly creator type. Maybe with some lightning bolts thrown in.
~the Holy Spirit? Not so much. Strangely other.
Except for this living with dog-love, because
they make us know about this Holy Spirit thing. . .
they make us know. . .
that we are loved unconditionally.
And like the Holy Spirit they incarnate joy. (yes – Joy is a fruit of the Spirit)
Sometimes they make a mess of things.
And sometimes they chew.
They invite you to play with a universal sign that even cats understand (read proverbs 8 if you wanna see about the Holy Spirit at play!)
They walk in devotion, watch with intent, companion us in all things no matter what the things.
They do not abandon.
Like the Holy Spirit they are wild creatures, wholly different from us, and yet, we learn a shared language and develop a mutual trust.
They want our attention and live for our affection. They follow us around.
They snug up as close to us as we will allow.
They are intuitively sensitive to our emotional terrain. And. . . well, you get the idea. . . I digress!
I did not say all of that to the waitress!
Suffice it to say, that sacramentally speaking, dogs are an “Outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual truth”.
But at the mention of our dog-life as a way to understand the Holy Spirit, her eyes got big and she was all over it! Knowingly. More stories rolled out.
One of her Holy Spirit stories was about how her dog is her intuitive radar about another person’s character and trustworthiness, because of how her dog may or may not warm up to them, or look askance, or growl, or wag.
And how that makes her feel protected.
I sometimes like thinking of Holy Spirit as guardian, so I knew what she meant.
I love stories.
I love dog stories too, and I’m thinking about sitting at a table down by the sidewalk in front of the church on High Point Road with a shingle that says:
“Tell me a story about your dog”.
Jake came to our yard sale in April. I was passing out dog biscuits and inviting people to bring their dogs to church, when I was invited to the car hatch to meet Jake, and we had prayers for healing in the parking lot. Jake lost a leg in November to cancer surgery, but as you can see, he's all about the God-love and the unconditional status of being worthy of love and belonging.
I continue prayers for Jake. Blessing him as he blessed me!
I conducted a sidewalk “meet and greet” in April. David Hendee helped me. Well, actually, he did all the work.
You remember, I posted photos (on Facebook and Instagram) and told about meeting Rabbi Ruth. David helped me bag little white begonias in cut down brown paper lunch bags with a tag telling about our Church of the Woods on Fourth Sundays at Four.
We did this in the spirit of one of the ‘takeaways’ from our church growth study group last spring, which was: “Fall in love with your Neighborhood”.
We invited passersby to color a prayer flag for the earth, since it was close to Earth Day, and we at Highpoint are very connected to the earth and the woods and the garden and the natural world that we see through our clear glass windows during church. We’ve been stringing the prayer flags on the line along the path up to the meeting circle in the woods.
So. . . as I invited people to decorate a prayer flag, it was a thrill to meet many of our Orthodox Jewish neighbors, many of whom were out for a leisurely stroll with family. One woman was even practicing her Hebrew as she walked. Not only was it the very last day of Passover but it was also Shabbat!
When one couple stopped to chat, I asked if they would like to write a prayer for the earth. And explained that it could be anything:
a request of the earth,
a blessing for the earth,
a thanksgiving or intercession on behalf of . . . the earth.
And She said,
“Oh! . . .Well. . .no. We won’t be able to do that because it would be writing, and we cannot write on this holy day, it would be considered ‘work’.”
So I asked boldly, “Well? Could you say the prayer and let me write it for you?”
Her face brightened, and she said “Yes! We could do that!”
So, poised, with art markers in hand, ready to write, I waited. And since they had been put on the spot, they hemmed and hawed, and sputtered around a bit, trying to think of something to say as a prayer.
Moments passed, pregnant pauses, and suddenly her husband blurted out in joyful jubilation and spiritual abandon:
“More days like today!” That was it!
And he added, “Yes, say that! More days like today!”
I could hardly keep from squealing! He offered a high five for both creation and creator! Beautiful!
I just loved that prayer!
Spiritual abandon. Plain spoken. Right from the heart. A true prayer.
And that is the simple thing that we (the worship and music team and I) are asking you to do for six weeks this summer, during the prayers of the people! To pray like that!
We're inviting you into an experiment with prayer!
We have prepared six boxes.
Each corresponds to one of the intentions listed at the beginning of the prayers of the people on p. 383 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Each small group will explore the contents of one box per week.
By the end of the series, each of us will have made our way around the room to each box.
This will be a simple, 10-minute, small group process of experiential prayers that will include 3 easy things:
a brief period of exploring the stuff in the boxes
thoughtful conversation and reflection about what the stuff makes us think about for praying and
simple sentence prayers, in the small group (nothing like ‘public speaking’ mind you), just a "more days like today!" kind of thing.
With time, it can become a way for you to keep St. Paul’s urging: to “pray without ceasing”, because everything everywhere can become inspiration to offer little prayers as you make your way through your days.
Simple. Plain spoken. Joyful. Heartfelt. Uncrafted. And with abandon.
After all, that is the way I pray you!
Fruit bends the bough
Grain tilts the head of the stalk
And branches sway heavy in a breeze
From Pesach to Shavuot to Sukkot
Months of successive harvests
and festivals to go with them!
(AKA: From Passover to Pentecost to Tabernacles)
And there we were,
August in Jerusalem
pomegranates ripe and heavy
ruby brilliance in the courtyard,
and everywhere along the way fruit stand vendors with hand crank presses
~ with orange, or without orange ~ and ice ~
a 95 degree intensely sunny weather refreshment!
And there we were,
right through the middle of
of a long succession of harvests
glorious produce of the earth.
Early Barley then
the Summer Vineyard with its juicy clusters and
August pomegranates in the courtyard.
as if by some surprise pomegranates just show up!
as if they didn’t grow on trees somewhere, prolifically, like they do in the Holy Land itself, right before your very eyes to be plucked, and not in jars and bottles with healthy POM promises.
August, And Still, harvests of dates, figs, and olives yet to come. . . And honey, too! The produce of the promised land and a succession of harvests.
(or rather this coming Sunday. . )
is the Harvest Festival right in the middle
~ Pentecost ~
the Feast of First Fruits
the wheat harvest, (of Leviticus and Deuteronomy)
with people bearing baskets full of produce,
hoisted on shoulders, into the gates of Jerusalem,
lead in procession by a gilt horned ox and flute and dance and song, bringing the produce of the land into the temple. An offering with joy and thanksgiving!
on this very day,
on this very same harvest festival day,
when the disciples had gathered for Pentecost,
God showed up
in fire and wind,
to fill them with Holy Spirit!!!!
A festival that changes everything!
A festival where we become
Branches of the vine and fruit bearing,
produce laden people,
to bring the harvest, we bring ourselves!
Holy Spirit bearing human beings!
Love, joy and peace,
bursting our skin,
Patience, kindness and goodness,
flushing our cheeks,
Faithfulness, gentleness and self-control,
scenting and fermenting a brimming delight,
in Holy Spirit!
Can you imagine, this good life?!
A long lush succession of harvest festivals?!
We are a garden loving faith community
~ this is our day ~
we are connected to Holy Land
garden plot and peach tree at the pavements edge.
Here we are, walking
right through the middle of
of a long succession of harvests
glorious produce of the earth
as if by some surprise pomegranates just show up!
as if they didn’t grow on trees somewhere, prolifically, like they do in the Holy Land,
right before your very eyes.
Seeing you, right before my very eyes,
Today is Ascension Day.
Yup! Another church calendar high holy day that passes mostly unnoticed, save for an icon or Celtic art posted on my Facebook feed.
My dad was the organist and choirmaster at the Church of the Ascension in Oakland, (that’s Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania). Twenty-six years on the corner of Ellsworth and Neville. I can recite the phone number out loud to this day. My formative years.
He began his work there when I started into the 3rdgrade. Who knew the inklings of liturgical delight begun in that place would blow wide open and run amuck and land me in the Episcopal priesthood by the time I was 35?!
The pic is of my dad on the bench at Ascension, somewhere round about the early-mid 70's.
A city church.
Gothic style, stacked stone blackened with historical fiction. Soot from the steel mills, for a city beautiful with the residue of a livelihood. Lovely and more ancient with its rugged face than its mere 130 years belies.
A gothic beaut! The Church of the Ascension.
Somewhere along the way, artisans decided it was time to clean and restore the gargantuan mural above the High Altar, painted for its namesake: The Ascension.
So up went the scaffolding and cramped the worship experience for so long you hardly noticed it anymore and wondered at all the fuss, for a silly old mural of Jesus floating upwards in the clouds. Yes, Jesus leaving. Who want’s that in front of your face all the time, anyways?
I had no idea. I had grown up with the clouds clouded over from smoking stacks.
I had no idea. I was transfixed. Breathless. Overcome, by beauty. Revealed. When the scaffolding came down.
How could it be that paint carries the light? And that a painter could bring it, and mow me down with Glory?
More years later, many years later, after I was long gone and would rarely but occasionally return to smell the smells and hear the creaks of a life I loved there, I heard the rumor. They built an addition.
I didn’t want to see it. I wanted my church to be just like it always was. But I went. And I slipped out of the service to use the restroom and saw the ramp that goes down into the new wing, just a wretched glimpse of chrome and glass from the top of the ramp, shuddering to think that now they’ve gone and done it, they’ve ruined it! Modernized what was already perfect.
I took a few steps in just to be brave.
To see the truth and reality of this defamation.
To grow up, and let go, and leave behind my soulful attachment to this place.
To look and see what wicked fiction they’ve made up, about ‘who do they think they are?’
And much to my surprise, who’s brilliant idea was this?!
The ramp was flanked by a glass wall the full distance of the room, so that the view looked out onto none other than the old blackened exterior of the church itself, the stone with a story of life making and a lifetime of storytelling. They’ve kept it!
The glass keeping the vision of who they were and are still, in order to become who they will be. Brilliant move and brave!
Allowing themselves to be shaped by the unknown.
To be shaped by a view of rugged beauty that holds our DNA ~ our DNA ~ our Lindberg family, my father’s life, his music, my falling in love with the church. My story is part of their story though they don’t know it, because no, they don’t know me, anymore. But I am in it, with them. In their church, in their story, and they in mine. They can feel their story and live it, still, because they can see it. And touch it. And hear it. The stone stories. And they can stand with it. In it. In its exquisite landscape. Still. All the beautiful fiction and non-fiction with which we make the holy story our own story.
That’s how we say ‘Steel’ in Pittsburgh. Still Mill. I just love oxymorons.
My bishop died this week. Another father-esque kind of image. The one who blessed me, with hands pressing down, and oil on my forehead, twice.
What to do with these images? These people who hold truth, and make fiction, to help us tell the stories of our lives.
Jesus, present, then absent, then present again, in just that same way. Holding truth, blessing me, making up stories to be fanciful with me. Fiction. Non-fiction. Still, all made-up stories.
Sorting them is exhausting and much money spent in therapy.
My father, my bishop, my Jesus. These.
I simply want to take in the light. That’s the gift of The Ascension.
Beauty infused with light equals Glory.
That mural above the high altar, transfixed and breathless before its resplendent light.
The glass wall through which to see and see more and more and feel the heartbeat of those that love you, even if only in the old stone, stacked.
The communion of saints.
The forgiveness of sins.
The life everlasting.
For the love of it,
I’ve never liked Noah. The story, rather, not Noah himself.
So, I guess I should say I've never liked the Story of the Flood. Almost every religion has one, an ancient cultic flood story.
In Illuminated Pages Bible Art Journaling, we’re in a series of random passages wherever a tree is mentioned, so I took the risk of the flood story because of a feature character in the story:
Curiously enough, in this story, technically it is just a leaf. It says, the dove returned with a “freshly picked olive leaf”, [hence "the tree" since an olive leaf comes from an olive tree.]
So, in my art journaling I found some peace, maybe joy, definite satisfaction, in the part where God makes covenant with the earth.
A Promise to creation itself.
“Never again will I curse the ground on account of man.”
And the rainbow, as we all know, is the sign of the promise.
Just 3 sentences later, the next chapter opens with “Eden-story” language all over again:
“God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them: be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.”
God covenants with creation and then trusts us, all over again, to live here,
on fresh-from-the-flood land, like in Genesis, when God parted the waters, and brought forth the land.
Its creation all over again.
Dry land emerges.
And God sets humanity, on the ground, in the middle of it all.
I’m seeing this bible story: Locally.
Globally, but locally.
Our partnership with the earth.
Our want to restore people into covenant with God and the creation. And to, likewise, be restored. It’s part of "the ministry of reconciliation” ~ which interestingly enough ~ is the mission statement for the Episcopal Church, itself.
The Earth, in Sandy Springs, is scarred with a pipeline running right through the middle, and we, here at Highpoint, have reestablished fruitfulness. Life with a garden, a community garden, a gleaners’ garden no less, (a Leviticus initiative) that invites ‘the poor’, (which is to say, the ones outside of a faith community), to find food.
For a myriad of reasons, culturally, people have left church, and find church to be irrelevant, or inconvenient, spiritually uninspiring, or generally misguided.
We are inviting people who have lost interest in, or grown weary of, the complexities of church life, or who have never wanted super-organized religion, (i.e. the church), and people who consider themselves to be spiritual but not religious, to find a spiritual home in our faith community, by meeting under the trees at 4:00, on the fourth Sunday of every month.
We are inviting these, all and any, to the meeting circle in the woods at the top of the knoll on High Point Road.
"Church of the Woods" is not a gimmick.
It is our freshly picked olive leaf, because we know there is a tree in there somewhere.
A tree from which the whole world knows, the olive branch extends.
We are inviting these, all and any, who find themselves to be without a community, or outside of a faith community, to be part of this community based solely on
our common humanity,
our common need,
our common love, for the fruit of the earth.
In the spirit of peace and reconciliation with all creation, because God thought it was worth the risk,
Abraham, sitting at the door of his tent, midday,
notices with a start, that three visitors stood before him,
at the Oaks of Mamre
where he had made his tent village.
Abraham’s whole family, extended family, livestock, and servants. And all of their tents.
This story of Genesis 18 was our text for Monday night Bible Art Journaling in our Illuminated Pages class. We are in the middle of a random series of texts that mention something, anything, about ‘trees’.
And Genesis 18 mentions a tree three times, at The Oaks of Mamre.
These visitors that showed up under the oak tree:
First it calls them, ‘three men’.
Then ‘the Lord’,
And Angels of the lord.
And again, men. And later it calls them the Lord and two angels.
Suffice it to say, “Holy Visitors”.
Abraham experienced a visitation from God and God’s favor.
There, at the door of his tent and under these oaks.
As the story goes, Abraham extended to them the ancient, exceedingly important custom of hospitality to strangers.
Water for washing their feet.
And rest under the tree.
He suggested they lean on it, while he fetched a morsel of bread for them to eat.
So there, the three Holy Visitors sprawled out in the shade and took their naps.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, everything took place at lightning speed.
“Quick!”, he said to Sarah, “Go get 12 quarts of flour, and mix and knead and bake bread.”
Then Abraham himself ran and selected a calf and told his servants to hurry up and roast it.
A feast for the visitors after their rest, which they enjoyed, with Abraham, under the tree.
This oak tree, we learned, could possibly have been a pistachio tree, or some other kind of nut tree, but the main thing being, its sprawling branches that made the beautiful place
where they enjoyed hospitality, rest and relief, shade, holy presence and visitation, favor with God, community and feasting.
I was enchanted by this silent character in the story. The Tree.
Broad and strong.
Solid and stationary. Silent.
A Powerful Presence.
Being. And Place.
Deep down, roots.
For my art journaling. . .
I stayed with the tree ~ this silent structure, under which all of the other exquisite things happened. You can probably guess, that the process took me right away into a metaphorical plunge and spoke to me of an interpretation which was all about us, here, at Highpoint Episcopal Community Church!
To capture the ‘making’ energy of Abraham and Sarah’s hospitality,
their bustling about
their excitement of serving these important holy visitors,
to capture this cyclone of activity, I used torn up strips from a sewing pattern, which to me always means: we’re making something.
We can cut, and turn, and pin and press, and measure, and stitch, and this fabric will become a garment that fits, and is one-of-a-kind, and authentic, imaginative; something I can see in its pieces, but do not yet hold in my hands.
They’re making a feast. A table of hospitality.
They’re making a life under this tree, this oak of mamre, where they have already loved and worshiped God, as, some time ago, they had already made an altar to the Lord. (it says so, 5 chapters back)
And then there’s Our making a feast. Our table of hospitality.
This place where some time ago we (you) built an altar to the Lord and lived and loved and opened the tent doors in hospitality, all the while believing some divine promise; and how, now, we’ve set down a second altar, as Abraham did in this latest piece of the story.
This magnificent life of love and worship and hospitality, up under these oaks, (and of course, beech and pine and tulip and sweetgum. . .) on this holy hill.
And, they’re imagining with their holy visitors that
God will make good on his promises for ~ life ~ in this place.
In fact, the Holy Visitors promised Abraham and Sarah, that in a year’s time when they visit them again, they will be holding their son Isaac in their arms.
Even in their old age.
And it tickles them, each, individually, and they laugh, even while they embrace the promise.
Poetic language lets me over state, but also, to say things we might not dare to say in straight prose.
I think we all know, that I take it to be divine promise, that in a year’s time, we will know that we have made a spiritual life and house here, that will endure.
Yup! Lots of work to be done to ‘make’ this thing. This tree, this pattern, this holy garment that clothes us for life in the world.
Yup! We’re all working hard.
Yup! It’s a lot of fun, but nonetheless shocking when Abraham says: “Quick! Make 36 loaves of bread!”
Its feels like that doesn’t it?
A little overwhelming in some ways,
but in most ways, exhilarating, thrilling, and exciting . . .
Because we are Hosting the Holy One. For a spectacular party!
And who doesn’t love to throw a party!
The joy we find here under the sprawling branches,
The bustling work behind the scenes to make a Feast.
The hospitality and open tent door,
The divine favor.
The holy community and sacred partnerships like theirs, this Abraham and Sarah.
The promises. And giggling about them.
The exquisite things that happen,
All up under the sprawling branches. This Church.
This is our Tree. This Tree House. This Highpoint.
Out on a limb, I am always, yours,
My day got ahead of me so I didn’t get out for a run
until the sun was high in the sky and the temperature registered: 82’
A bit warm for a run,
but just right for the heavy scents of spring, weighty and voluptuous,
Privet Hedge and Honeysuckle both, floating on the breeze.
I don’t know the chemistry of air, or how heat changes the air into a structure that can do this heavy lifting, or if in fact that’s how it works at all.
But I’m a romantic, so it makes me think of the offertory sentence that I say to you most every Sunday.
“Walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself for us,
a fragrant offering and sacrifice, to God.”
What a mystery! The changed structure of resurrection-laden air.
We’ve been to the grave and beyond our knowing, Christ has been raised, and his heavy scent, weighty and voluptuous, rises with the heat of the Paschal Fire.
And it gets all over us!
Resurrected Love! Somehow, it has a scent.
And we smell like it!
And St. Paul says to us: "You, are the fragrance of Christ"
People who haven’t been around the fire, know that we have, because they can pick up on the scent. They can get it, from us ~ the love of Christ.
All the world can know the love of Christ, because we walk in love.
The household is heady with the fragrance of divine love, simply because we walk through the room, and they can smell the love.
The neighborhood is sensitive to the presence of the Divine, because the love of Christ exudes from our pores, and drifts on a breeze, invisible, but making certain of an unmistakable Sacred Presence.
The world is tilting its curious head, for an uncanny, recognizable but yet unidentified, Holy Fragrance.
Because we, are walking in love.
We carry our Paschal pillar candle in procession, because we know what the fragrance is
and we delight in it!
It is the victory of love!
It is life over death!
It is mortality putting on immortality!
It is Divine love!
It is the light of Christ!
It is our Sunday celebration!
See you in Church,
Nine of us gathered before the break of dawn.
The word “gathered” is a bit of a stretch. Rummaged really. We rummaged around in the dark.
It is the spiritual life, mind you, this rummaging around in the dark.
The spirituality of Holy Week and Easter. Our rummaging. The darkness.
A veritable ransacking if you think about it.
Darkness and lostness. Denials and betrayals.
And fighting sleep.
Symbols of death.
Disciples who were heavy with the pull of gravity and the grave to where they could not stay awake in the garden with Jesus. Could not pull themselves out, for knowing themselves to be going down into the deep.
The story says that the women came to the tomb while it was still dark. . . (rummaging)
We want to feel it in our bones, know it in the fiber of our being, so there we are in the dark, tromping around in wet grass, bundled for cold in the wee hours of Easter Morning.
We imagine ourselves to be nearing the edge of the tomb, though a simple cold fire pit is what it actually is.
We stumble around and can’t find our stuff and whisper even though it doesn’t matter if any one hears us, it’s the instinctive behavior of operating in the dark or when something precious and holy is under way.
Brave bird-song not minding to wake up the world.
We act things out. That’s what ritual is about. We do it so we know it.
We act things out, not the full extent of the drama, but in symbol and gesture, we act it out.
We kindle new fire.
The cold dark empty echoing fire pit bursts into flame and we say:
“sanctify this new fire”, and
“The Light of Christ!”
“The Lord is Risen! Alleluia!”
“Grant that in this Paschal feast, we may so burn. . .”
The ancient church gave us a pillar candle, weighty, and worthy of leading the lot of us in procession for the whole of Easter season; their instinct that fire is the stuff of resurrection, and that we should carry it around.
The implement. The element. The power.
The uncreated light that fuels the life of the world.
So we kindle. New Fire.
Children intuitively see God in the lighting of wicks and, in fact, their inclination is to play with the flame! Our inclination is to say “be careful you might get burned!”
I think the nearness of God does burn, and I suspect that the resurrection will singe quite extensively, and I remember that story where the Holy Spirit lighted up an upper room, caught their hair on fire, and everybody suddenly spoke in different languages. What a hoot!
God in Holy Fire was playing with them!
Practicing the Resurrection is our taking up God’s invitation to play. Yes, with fire!
We played with fire. This Holy Uncreated Light.
Rummaging around in the dark and Practicing Resurrection.
In this Easter season we will lead the procession with the Paschal Candle, that tall pillar candle that we lit with the flame of the new fire before day break.
And we light our tall thin beeswax votives.
A practice of resurrection.
Our procession of resurrection.
Our ritual play.
We act it out. We want to feel it in our bones, know it in our fiber.
Flickering candles that compel us because of the flame, even if sometimes it seems just a preoccupation with the fire itself. That preoccupation is a good thing!
Recognize that fire as God,
Name it as the Light of Christ,
Carry it as your passion for God, your delight in the Holy One, your want for resurrected life and everlasting light!
This is our rummaging around in the dark for God, and bursting into flame with his Resurrection.
Lighting a simple candle: Death’s vanquishing!
and taking Christ’s victory over the grave as our own!
Playing with Fire, as is my want to do, with you,
(As an added flourish, I collected the stubs of our burned-out vigil candles from Maundy Thursday's altar of repose, and tossed them on the stack of wood as kindling. Thought you’d like to know.)
Reverend Ruth Pattison
Rev. Pattison serves the people of Highpoint Episcopal Community Church as the Parson, exercising her gifts for collaborative leadership through preaching, liturgy, and the pastoral arts.