Day of Pentecost

A blessed Pentecost, friends! May you know the power of the risen and reigning Christ resting on you and working through you today, tomorrow, and always! 


Look: Anatomy of A Flame, Chemical Atlas - Flame


Listen: “The Source” from There’s A Light, Liz Vice

Spotify | YouTube | Lyrics

Listen to my entire playlist on Spotify: Pentecost 2019. Add it to your account by clicking ‘Follow.’


Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth.”

*

”These all look to you,
to give them their food in due season.
When you give it to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
when you take away their breath, they die
and return to their dust.
When you send forth your Spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the ground.”

*

”For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’”

*

”And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:

“‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
— Genesis 11:1-9 * Psalm 104:27-30 * Romans 8:14-15 * Acts 2:3-4, 14-21 (ESV)

Pray:

Almighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life to every race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy Spirit: Shed abroad this gift throughout the world by the preaching of the Gospel, that it may reach to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
— Book of Common Prayer, Collect for The Day of Pentecost: Whitsunday

Do:

Enjoy a campfire this evening.

How to: Start a campfire with one match

Enjoy a campfire this evening and take a moment to read Malcolm Guite's sonnet for Pentecost:

Pentecost

Today we feel the wind beneath our wings
Today  the hidden fountain flows and plays
Today the church draws breath at last and sings
As every flame becomes a Tongue of praise.
This is the feast of fire,air, and water
Poured out and breathed and kindled into earth.
The earth herself awakens to her maker
And is translated out of death to birth.
The right words come today in their right order
And every word spells freedom and release
Today the gospel crosses every border
All tongues are loosened by the Prince of Peace
Today the lost are found in His translation.
Whose mother-tongue is Love, in  every nation.


See Pentecost posts from previous years here.

Practice Resurrection with Sarah Quezada (Guatemala City & Atlanta)

Welcome to the second guest post in a new-and-improved version of the the Practice Resurrection series!

I’ve invited several friends and acquaintances to share a snapshot of their lives during the weeks of Eastertide (between now and Pentecost Sunday, June 9th). As in other series of guest posts, I pray about who to invite and for this series I was contemplating the ways these women and men consistently invite us through their social media presence to regularly consider restoration, beauty, and goodness even, and maybe especially, in the face of difficulty.

I haven’t had the privilege of meeting today’s guest in real life, but I’ve come to appreciate her deeply. In the past couple of years that immigration issues have been in the headlines more prominently, I’ve tried to discern the voices that engage well the intersection of public policy, human suffering, current headlines, and our Christian call for allegiance to the Kingdom of Jesus above all others. Sarah Quezada is the voice that’s become one of the most valuable to me at this intersection. If you’re looking for a trustworthy teacher in this conversation, go sign up for her weekly newsletter right now.

Sarah graciously accepted my invitation to share snapshots her life inspired by Wendell Berry’s  poem, “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front”. To help us all get a bit more familiar with the masterpiece, I asked each contributor to include a simple recording of themselves reading the poem out loud to us.

Here’s Sarah reading us the poem from her porch. She has such a lovely reading voice so make sure you turn on the sound!


Ask the questions that have no answers.

There are so many things I do not understand. My mind fills with questions, not the least of which is "Where is God?" But I find myself hearing only one response. God is near to the broken-hearted. God is present. In every sorrow, in every joy, in every unanswered question, God is present.

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Say that your main crop is the forest

that you did not plant,

that you will not live to harvest.

Sometimes we build and create under trees we didn't plant. Enjoy the good gifts God - and those who've walked our ground before us - have offered us.

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Put your faith in the two inches of humus

that will build under the trees

every thousand years.

Things fall down. Even tall, beautiful trees can lay down across our path. One part of me grieves this death of something strong and statuesque. Another part of me watches as its regal falling allows two kids to rise to new heights, to experience their strength and grow.

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Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful

though you have considered all the facts.

Parenting has been a constant reminder to me that life is up and down. I want the cuddles and the giggles, but more often than not, it feels like it the days are met with laundry, snacks, and meltdowns. But even when we know the facts, we cannot help but laugh with the joyful moments. Each day is filled with the good and the hard. So we expect what feels like the end of the world. And we laugh, too.

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So, friends, every day do something

that won’t compute.

Life is hard. Do everything you can to create. 

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So long as women do not go cheap

for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy

a woman satisfied to bear a child?

Will this disturb the sleep

of a woman near to giving birth?

"I saw God's presence when I was arrested."

A woman we met on our trip to Oaxaca shared her story of leaving Honduras after her son was threatened by gang members. She told us how she and her children had been separated from her husband during the journey. (It seemed they had later found each other again.) They were waiting in Oaxaca, trusting God for their next steps.

Someone asked where she had witnessed God's presence on her trip. That's when she gave God the glory for her arrest. My jaw dropped.

She said she hadn't eaten in several days and was near passing out when she was apprehended. She spent about a week in immigration detention in Mexico - eating and sleeping - before being released.

I think somewhere along the way I internalized a theology that I think now may be "Prosperity Gospel Lite." I don't expect wealth and power and influence if I follow God.

But I do expect average. I expect a baseline level of comfort, security, and ease. When something happens that ricochets me too far from the middle, I'm all "Where are you, God?!? What is happening?!?"

But lately, I've been thinking about this arrest testimony and the profound faith I've witnessed among the poor in the States. And it's got me thinking that that perhaps what's not surprising is the injustice, the pain, the suffering. It's the world humans have built. Yet God is constantly present, showing up in moments of grace and mercy.

Collectively, we chose darkness. But the light keeps showing up and breaking through.


Practice resurrection.

It's easy to be distracted by the color and cacophony around us. Even the light at the end of the tunnel can draw our focus. Sometimes, though, if we look up, we will see light.

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Sarah Quezada bio.jpg

Sarah Quezada writes about social justice, immigration, faith, and living across cultures. Her first book Love Undocumented: Risking Trust in a Fearful World was published in January 2018. Her writing has also been featured on Christianity TodayRelevant, Sojourners, ChurchLeaders.com, Off the Page, and elsewhere.

Sarah’s husband Billy emigrated from Guatemala City, and they met and married in Los Angeles. Together, they've walked through complex U.S. immigration system and delightfully enjoy the humor and craziness of a cross-cultural, bilingual relationship.

The Quezada’s home is in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia, where they try to be good neighbors and engage in Christian community development. They love the CCDA (Christian Community Development Association), and Sarah is a member of their Emerging Leaders cohort.

During the Spring of 2019, Sarah and her family are living in Guatemala City, Guatemala, where they’ve founded Bridge, a job creation initiative that is creating building products from recycled materials.

Sarah and Billy have two kids - Gabriella and Isaac - and they are trying their best to raise them bicultural and trilingual-ish. To that end, they speak as much Spanglish as possible at home, and they study Mandarin in school.

Find Sarah on Facebook, Instagram, and her website. Purchase her book and sign up for her weekly newsletter, The Road Map.


(You can see all the Practice Resurrection 2019 guest posts here.)

The Trumpet of Imagination for Easter Thursday

Happy Resurrection, friends! While the Easter Octave continues through Sunday, this will be the final post until next week. I'll be away this weekend for my final residency and graduation for my spiritual direction certification . I’m excited to share some of the experience with you next week!

May you know new life, peace, and hope today, tomorrow, and forever. Easter Sunday kicks off a week in the liturgical calendar known as the Easter Octave and a seven-week festival called Eastertide or The Great Fifty Days.

Hallelujah! Christ is risen!

 

Holi from Variable on Vimeo.

“The trumpet of imagination, like the trumpet of the Resurrection, calls the dead out of their graves…The function of the imagination is not to make strange things settled so much as to make settled things strange; not so much to make wonders facts as to make facts wonders.”—G. K. Chesterton


Read: Psalm 146, 147; Ezekiel 37:1-14; 1 Corinthians 15:41-50; John 15:12-27

Sunday Scripture readings are taken from the Revised Common Lectionary (Year C). Daily Scripture readings are taken from the Book of Common Prayer (Year 1) with the Psalm for the Morning Office.

Pray:

Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ’s Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
— Book of Common Prayer, Collect for Easter Thursday

Listen:

Resurrection 2019 playlist on Spotify. You can add it to your account by clicking ‘Follow.’

Do:


In previous years, we've celebrated the Great 50 Days between Easter Sunday and Pentecost Sunday (aka, Eastertide) with a series I've dubbed Practice Resurrection (after the Wendell Berry poem). It's one of my favorite series all year, and I'm excited to start again. I need your photos and captions to make it work. To help prime the pump, I thought you might enjoy the list of ideas I brainstormed for simple ways to practice resurrection.

Choose 1 idea or 50, but whatever you do, do it with gusto!

Here's how you can share your photo stories with me for the blog:

1. Add something to your day that helps you practice resurrection (one day or fifty days -doesn't matter).

2. Take a picture and write a description in 1-50 words. 

3. Share it with me via email, share on my Facebook page, or tag me on Instagram (you can tag me with @a_sacramental_life or use the #PracticeResurrection2019 hashtag.) 

I look forward to hearing from you!


(You can read here for a brief description of the liturgical season of Eastertide,

and see previous Eastertide posts here.)


Advent Daybook, 6: My God, My God

Advent Daybook, 6: My God, My God

An Advent daybook for these 24 days of prayerful expectation. Join me, won't you?

For an introduction read this post: Advent Daybook explained. You can see previous Advent daybook 2018 posts here.

Look: A Senegalese woman kneels in front of a grave, 2017 (source)

Listen: “Comfort, Comfort Ye My People ” from Advent & Christmas 2015, The Many

Read: Psalm 22, Isaiah 3:8–15, 1 Thessalonians 4:1–12, Luke 20:41—21:4

Pray: "Lord our God, Almighty Father in heaven, we stand before you as your children, whom you want to protect through the need of our time, through all sin and death. We praise you for giving us so much peace in an age full of trouble, and for granting us the assurance of your help. Even when we suffer, we do not want to remain in the darkness of suffering but want to rise up to praise and glorify you. For your kingdom is coming; it is already at hand. Your kingdom comforts and helps us and points the way for the whole world, that your will may be done on earth as in heaven. Amen.” (source)

Do: Find joy in giving a simple gift to a friend or stranger you’d like to bless.

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Advent Daybook, 4: Savior of the Nations Come

Advent Daybook, 4: Savior of the Nations Come

An Advent daybook for these 24 days of prayerful expectation. Join me, won't you?

For an introduction read this post: Advent Daybook explained. You can see previous Advent daybook 2018 posts here.

Look: Love One Another, Laura James (source)

Listen: "Savior of the Nations Come” from Advent No. 2, Holy City Hymns

Read: Psalm 12, 13, 14, Isaiah 2:1–11, 1 Thessalonians 2:13–20, Luke 20:19–26

Pray: On Thursdays through Advent we’ll practice a 5-minute contemplative prayer method adapted from Joshua Banner’s booklet “40 Ways To Spend 5 Minutes With God”.

Do: Re-write Psalm 13:5-6 in your own words to pray throughout the day.

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