We're moving: a stream-of-consciousness reflection

 Other than saying good-bye to people, the last few weeks have been spent on this project. Lord, have mercy...

Other than saying good-bye to people, the last few weeks have been spent on this project. Lord, have mercy...

Stuff's getting real, here, people.  I mean really, really real.  I told a friend recently that one of the hardest parts of this Series of Fortunate Events is how hard it is for someone like me - a deep, and terribly, terribly slow processor - to reflect on all that is happening in our lives at any given moment.

We move from Austin in a little less than 3 weeks.  In those same 21 days Brian will be ordained into the priesthood, Natalie will graduate from high school, Kendra will leave for 9 weeks in Africa, and Alex & Bekah will move from Houston to Fort Worth.  We'll have a bunch of celebrations, welcome some friends from home, visit with our Bishop, say goodbye to amazing people, pack up our house and leave this bright city.  In the middle of all of that, we'll try to figure out the most appropriate time to break down and bawl -- just all-out, cathartic cry-our-eyes-out sort of bawling.  

I suspect that moment will take up much of the 30 hours of driving back to the Northeast.  I'm going to need to pack a lot of tissue for that journey.

Up until now, we haven't been able to cry much.  Some of that is because - let's be honest - emotional health requires we pace ourselves.  There's another reason, though, and that is a deep sense of gratitude and contentment.  For all of the things that could have happened here in Austin, things which loomed achingly large to us last summer when we couldn't imagine what God had for our future, we've come to a peaceful, joyful trust that we have done our best (which has mostly looked crazy and messy) in this season of learning Austin, learning Anglicanism, learning vocation, and launching 4 new adults into the big world.  We came here a bit dented in our ability to trust God and His people, and we are leaving renewed, restored, refreshed, remade.

How could we NOT see these weeks as a time to worship? Cry, yes.  It seems ludicrous (as it did back in 2011 in New York) to leave behind amazing friends and our dearest family.  But even those tears come from a place of renewed worship, that our good Father does see us, He hears our prayers, He acts and comes speedily to save us.  He does not waste our suffering, our lament, our gifts and dreams.  He is making all things new, at all times and in every place.  He has made us new, and we can only receive this gift with humble thanks.  

It's these moments of feeling appropriately diminished by the lavish gifts God gives us after our seasons of despair -- and instead of feeling humiliated in that diminishment, but embraced -- I am saved.  It's these moments when God's love makes us appropriately small so that His presence can loom large that I most believe in His goodness. 

These are my thoughts this Sunday evening.  I don't use this blog space very often for stream-of-consciousness reflection.  This seems like an appropriate time.

Peace, friends, far and near.  

p.s., Here's my Friends playlist on Spotify.  Brian and I are listening on repeat these days as we say good-bye to so many, and anticipate saying hello to many more.  Might I encourage you to celebrate the gift of friendship this week?

Pentecost daybook, 8: Trinity Sunday

My Pentecost daybook for these 8 days of receiving.

Join me, won't you? (see all Pentecost Daybook 2016 posts here)


look

 The Trinity in Glory - Titian

The Trinity in Glory - Titian


read

John 16:12-15:

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

all readings for the day: Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31; Psalm 8; Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15


pray

Almighty and everlasting God, you have given to us
your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to
acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the
power of your divine Majesty to worship the Unity: Keep
us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to
see you in your one and eternal glory, O Father; who with
the Son and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, for ever
and ever. Amen. (source)


listen

All Creatures of our God and King - John Rutter, The Cambridge Singers ( lyrics here )

My Pentecost playlist on Spotify.


do

Find a labryinth to walk and pray today.  Consider the mystery and community of the Three Person'd God we worship.  Read the truth that dazzles gradually in Little Gidding by T. S. Eliot. 

Here are the last two stanzas: 

With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time. 
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning; 
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree

Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always-- 
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.


See Pentecost posts from the past few years here.

Pentecost daybook, 7: Get wisdom

My Pentecost daybook for these 8 days of celebrating (today through Trinity Sunday next week).

Join me, won't you? (see all Pentecost Daybook 2016 posts here)


look

  Sailing boats, morning, b  y Hiroshi Yoshida, from Japan (1876 - 1950)   [Woodblock print] -  source

Sailing boats, morning, by Hiroshi Yoshida, from Japan (1876 - 1950) [Woodblock print] - source


read

Proverbs 4:1-9: 

Hear, O sons, a father's instruction,
    and be attentive, that you may gain insight,
for I give you good precepts;
    do not forsake my teaching.
When I was a son with my father,
    tender, the only one in the sight of my mother,
he taught me and said to me,
“Let your heart hold fast my words;
    keep my commandments, and live.
Get wisdom; get insight;
    do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.
Do not forsake her, and she will keep you;
    love her, and she will guard you.
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,
    and whatever you get, get insight.
Prize her highly, and she will exalt you;
    she will honor you if you embrace her.
She will place on your head a graceful garland;
    she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.”

all readings for the day: Psalm 8; Proverbs 4:1-9; Luke 2:41-52


pray

Empowering God,
you gave the church
the abiding presence of your Holy Spirit.
Look upon your church today and hear our petitions.

Include prayers here for your family, friends, neighborhood and the world. 

Grant that, gathered and directed by your Spirit,
we may confess Christ as Lord
and combine our diverse gifts with a singular passion
to continue his mission in this world
until we join in your eternal praise. Amen.


listen


 Photo Credit -   Epiphany guest post

Photo Credit -  Epiphany guest post

At the Ascension Jesus gave us, his followers, a great task -- to go to all the world, proclaiming with our lives and words the Gospel to all people, everywhere.  At Pentecost, He empowered with His own Spirit to accomplish this task.  At Pentecost, we get to act out with our everyday lives what the Holy Family embodied at Epiphany, the good news that the gift of Christ is for all people.  All of the longing, doubt, grief, and the sins of the world we held up in the dark nights of Advent and Lent, all of the bright hope and relief that resurrected to life with the Risen Christ is channeled into this great movement of Spirit and Church at Pentecost.  

The movement of Pentecost is lit for outward projection, the great current of Spirit moves us toward all people, in every nation, everywhere.  Some of us send, some of us go, and all of us move toward the peoples of all nations.  This is is - our one task, our one job until we are reunited with Christ.  

Consider with your friends and families how best to move toward the foreigner in your midst.  For the rest of the week, I'll share a few ideas here (thanks to Jessica Snell for ideas shared in Let Us Keep the Feast: Living the Church Year at Home)

  • Pray for any missionaries around the world that you or your church support. Invite a missionary on home assignment to dinner, or to share with your church or small group about their ministry.
  • Write an encouraging letter to a missionary you support and send a care package of treats from home or other items they need.
  • Pray daily for all people groups using prompts and resources like those provided by Joshua Project.

See Pentecost posts from the past few years here.

{pretty, happy, funny, real} Alex is a college graduate!

| a weekly capturing of contentment in everyday life |

A few photos to practice contentment this week (aka, an update in this Season of Fortunate Events).

| pretty |

Rice-University-commencement-rainbow.jpg
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The Rainbow

Houston weather is infamously horrible.  We got all ends of the precipitation spectrum, with the only consistent thing being the wilting HUMIDITY.  All day Friday, the students wondered if the Undergraduate Convocation would get moved inside because of forecasted rain.  Not being much of an athletic school, Rice does not have a large indoor stadium, so moving inside meant only 2 guests per graduate.  So - in theory - it was a relief when we got the final word that the ceremony would remain outside in the Academic Quadrangle (which my daughters persist is just a precocious word for "square".)  However, sitting in a decent downpour for an hour is a bit dicey. We crowded under our umbrella, trying not to entangle ourselves in the umbrellas of passers-by.  The school handed out torn rags - one per guest - to dry off our folding chairs.  

And then - as if someone had calculated it - the rain let up just moments before the ceremony.  Our reward was the stunning rainbow arching over the corner of the Quad.  We all  oohed and ahhed while folding up our umbrellas.  A beautiful beginning to a weekend of celebration.

 

| happy | 

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Alex Graduates!

I'm not sure how to articulate our gratitude for the opportunity Alex was given at Rice University.  In the Northeast, we'd never heard of this excellent school. Had we not moved to Austin just before Alex's senior year of high school, we probably never would have considered this for him.  (He also would never have met his amazing wife, Rebekah, whom he met in his high school senior year Economics class.)  

When I asked Alex what he would list as some of the best reasons for a student to attend a school he included the complete diversity of the student body, the residential college system (which has so many wonderful benefits), and the beauty of the campus.  As Alex's parents, we would include the "need blind" system of admission in which students are accepted on merit without regard for financial ability.  We are grateful to all those who have built into Rice's endowments over the years so that our son could benefit.

Alex graduated summa cum laude (which required him to be in top 5% of his college) with a major in Political Science.  He is still determining the focus he hopes to apply from this degree, and in the meantime has been accepted by Teach for America for a two-year commitment.  He's been hired by a charter school in Forth Worth and will be teaching high school English.  We are grateful, humbled by God's provision, and proud of Alex's consistent passion for learning and hard, discipline work as a scholar.

| funny | 

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Outtakes

1.  THE HEAT!  Saturday morning's Commencement (university-wide) began at 8:30 AM - ostensibly to beat the heat.  I have never, and I mean that literally, never sat through such bright, hot sun for so long a time.  Our family joke from this event will be about the well-intentioned, highly-credentialed commencement speaker standing at her well-shaded podium talking to us for close to an hour about EMPATHY.   We really wished she'd looked out at all of us using our programs to provide shade in every conceivable way, and thought "Huh.  Why don't I MODEL EMPATHY by cutting this speech short?"  

2 & 3.  Our Alex (and his magnificent dog, Sully)

 

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Have YOU captured any contentment this week?  

I'd love to hear about it!

| Join in at P,H,F,R to see other wonderful people practicing contentment. |

Pentecost daybook, 6: one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all

My Pentecost daybook for these 8 days of celebrating (today through Trinity Sunday next week).

Join me, won't you? (see all Pentecost Daybook 2016 posts here)


look

 Boat race in India - source

Boat race in India - source


read

Ephesians 4:1-6: 

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

all readings for the day: Psalm 8; Proverbs 3:19-26; Ephesians 4:1-6


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. (source)


listen


do

 Photo credit: Erica Jarrett, from her  Epiphany guest post

Photo credit: Erica Jarrett, from her Epiphany guest post

At the Ascension Jesus gave us, his followers, a great task -- to go to all the world, proclaiming with our lives and words the Gospel to all people, everywhere.  At Pentecost, He empowered with His own Spirit to accomplish this task.  At Pentecost, we get to act out with our everyday lives what the Holy Family embodied at Epiphany, the good news that the gift of Christ is for all people.  All of the longing, doubt, grief, and the sins of the world we held up in the dark nights of Advent and Lent, all of the bright hope and relief that resurrected to life with the Risen Christ is channeled into this great movement of Spirit and Church at Pentecost.  

The movement of Pentecost is lit for outward projection, the great current of Spirit moves us toward all people, in every nation, everywhere.  Some of us send, some of us go, and all of us move toward the peoples of all nations.  This is is - our one task, our one job until we are reunited with Christ.  

Consider with your friends and families how best to move toward the foreigner in your midst.  For the rest of the week, I'll share a few ideas here (thanks to Jessica Snell for ideas shared in Let Us Keep the Feast: Living the Church Year at Home)

  • Call a local office that settles refugees, and see what opportunities you have to serve newcomers or donate supplies. (For those in Austin, here are a couple of options:  Refugee Services of Texas & Caritas of Austin)
  • Invite an international student from a local university to your home for a meal. If you don't know any personally, many campuses have para-church ministries geared towards international students who should be able to make introductions for you.  (In Austin: AustinBridges.com , Bridges International)

See Pentecost posts from the past few years here.