Archive for the ‘Sabbath’ Category

Church in Cumberland

AT THE BOTTOM of the bulletin,
where it lists names –
pastors, secretary, heads of various boards, etc –
the words,
at the very, very bottom,
the last words:

Ministers: the entire congregation

Now that seems right.

* * *

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SABBATH THOUGHT from Psalms: “He will not let your foot slip…”

THE GREETERS. “All before 8:30 on a Sunday morning.”

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COFFEE WAS ALL THE TALK in the foyer yesterday morning, 8:20.

“Had my first taste of coffee when I was just a young child.”

I can’t for the life of me recall how it came up, but there I was, well-greeted by the two gentlemen who man the door.

They always look so happy to see me, possible backslider, sporadic attender. (They don’t know I’m at 9:45 the other 3 Sundays of the month.)

They shook my hand and gave me a bulletin.

“Yep, I was just a boy. My mother would pour some over a piece of toast, then sprinkle sugar on top.”

“I take mine straight up. Nothing added,” said the other, dapper in his green sport jacket.

“That was our breakfast sometimes. French toast, so to speak. That’s how poor we were. Didn’t have no syrup, so she poured on coffee and sugared it.”

WHY IS IT these little conversations seem more important to me than almost anything else I hear? Nonsensical perhaps, inconsequential, with no claims for world peace or rescue for the economy or cures for cancer. But by them I am rendered rich and made to feel the luckiest girl in the world. All before 8:30 on a Sunday morning. The real stuff of life.

* * *

The candidates descend on Ohio now and I’m fairly certain nothing I hear will inspire me as much as this minute or two with the church greeters.

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Oldest Woman in the Church

Old Man in the Red Sweater

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Sabbath Planting

Are you planted somewhere?
We are, I fear, becoming increasingly
a culture of lone rangers.

A single pansy, so pretty.
But grouped together,
packed tight –
yet with room to grow,
none eclipsing the other –
withstanding the strong breezes of March….
unrehearsed they dance!
* * *

May you be firmly planted somewhere on Sunday!

Six days you shall labor,
but on the seventh day you shall rest..
– Exodus 34:21 (NIV)

“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another...” – Hebrews 10:25

Reposted from the archives.

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Man in the Red Sweater

THE ELDERLY MAN in the red sweater two rows in front of me makes me glad I’m here, gladder than I already am. On a January Sunday after a week of cold temps, I like seeing him and all the other sweatered and smiling souls who venture forth early. We stand to sing.

There is something in the red-sweatered man that makes me smile as if I’d been told something wonderful. It’s that he came, that he came when he could have just as easily stayed home. And I also like, if I am allowed to say this, that at his age he has not given up choosing to wear red. I make a note to myself about that.

I’ve not yet stopped learning from those older than me. Those younger, too. I love the oldest and the babies and all that fall in between. We are knit together.

“I rejoiced with those who said to me,
‘Let us go to the house of the LORD.’”
Psalm 122:1

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of a late July afternoon
I hit the 500-mile mark.

Fighting the heat
was nothing
compared to
fighting the desire
to give up on the goal –

1,000 miles on the bike this year.

* * *

When I began in March
I imagined seeing 500
on the odometer
and being thrilled,
but it was less exciting than that.

I hit 500
and discover
the biggest obstacle

is not sore legs or seat
or sickness
or rain
or heat
or sun
or flat tires
or poison ivy (which I had for 3 wks.)
or road construction
or houseguests
or busy schedule
or travel
or gear problems
or lack of riding clothes (though my favorite pants bit the dust)
or bike-rack issues
or calls for help taking me away.

No, none of these.

Only that
somewhere between
my mom dying :-(
and a family reunion :-)
and a baby born :-) :-)
and another one coming :-) :-) :-)
and my mother-in-law (who is very dear to me)
needing hospice care :-(
and friends’ splitting :-(
and elderly neighbors failing :-(
and my seeming to always be in need of a haircut

I was overwhelmed,
nothing left in me.
And the thought of getting on the bike was just too much.

The first casualty
of long-term goals
is always

* * *

just 2 days.

And when again
I get on the bike,
my enthusiasm pockets still feel empty,
I don’t get far
there it is,
a spark –
just a small one –

and while I can’t bear to think
of doing another 500,
it seems possible
to do just one.

And if I can make the decision
to do one
500 more times,
I will reach my goal. I will.

* * *

in a culture of 24/7 news cycles and such,
is undervalued,
greatly craved
and a lost art.

regularly punctuating
a string of small steps,
gives breathing space,
gives a chance for renewed perspective.

The Sabbath was made for man.
Lay hold of it.

Today, in October’s wondrous mix of warmth and chill and color, the overwhelmedness of another season fast falling away behind me, I will pass the 825 mark. I’ll do the last 175 the way I did the first and all the others in between, one mile at a time.

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“Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”

Isaiah 40:30-31

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after church
we take our coffee and bagels to the park
and discuss the parable preached on

while watching
owners of multiple dogs
trying not
to get tangled in leashes,

a trio of adults
taking turns playing photographer,
one behind camera
two behind stroller,

and a man with a remote control airplane
practicing his flying skills.

I feel rich
and think of
Sunday in the Park with George,
even though it’s only February
and nothing is greened up.
Minor technicality, that.

I squeeze in a 50-minute bike ride
to make up for yesterday
before heading to Cupcake Camp,
I show up to volunteer
and what they want me to do is……..EAT CUPCAKES, then vote!
(this is what you get for saying
“I’ll do whatever”)

I make it out of there
with barely a Weight Watchers point to spare,
but plenty of good pictures.
A blogger’s delight, that. :-)

candied lemon slices on top

an entry by professional baker

quartering the cupcakes for tasting

the youngest baker made chocolate marshmallow

the big winner

On Mondays,
I share snippets
from recent entries
in my Gratitude Journal.
Today, #1787 (lunch in park) and 1788 (Cupcake Camp)


image: “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” by Georges Suerat

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