Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Wild Geese

Every Sunday evening, the cathedral holds an Eventide service. It is a more contemplative service and it has become a time for me to center myself. A time to reflect on the past week and look forward to the week to come. But more so, it is a time to be with God and think about things a little differently.

That being said, this service is a little different. More interactive with less ‘bells and whistles.’ Perhaps my favorite part is the first reading. And no, it is not from the common lectionary. It is usually a poem that Canon Mary pointed out could have been a part of the Bible, maybe, if we continued to add to it. The three times that I have been to Eventide, these poems have spoken to me and so, I would like to share this one with you.

Wild Geese – Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in clean blue air, are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place in the family of things.

The world offers itself to your imagination. What is your place in the family of things?

Monday, September 7, 2015

Hospitality, Part 2

As you might have noticed, there is a part 1 to this blog post. I knew that I wanted to write about hospitality but there were two different things on my heart and I decided that I needed to say both, hence a two part blog post.

It is an interesting time to be in Europe. If you do not know, there is currently a migrant crisis. People are fleeing their countries of origin for many reasons, mainly war and persecution. Everyone in Europe is talking about this crisis but no one seems to know what to do about it. Now, to be honest, I do not know much about this crisis. I am learning, little by little, how dangerous it is for these refugees to get to Europe and I am also hearing a lot about the impact of this incredible influx of people. But I do not have a solution.

So what does hospitality have to do with this migrant crisis? In this Sunday's reading from James, we heard "What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill," and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead" (James 2:14-17). I think this is incredibly important to hear as we (the countries in Europe and every other country that faces a similar challenge) discern how we react to the people fleeing their homes in search of something better.

I wonder what it would look like if the refugees were greeted with the same welcome that I was. People planned for me; the church here petitioned for a YASC missionary. What would it look like if we invited people in with the open arms that I have experienced? Of course there are challenges, but God calls us to care for our brothers and sisters. We are told that our faith needs action. How are we going to do that?

Now, I do not run the government (thankfully); I have no say in how Europe decides to handle this crisis. But I can say this, these people are human beings that deserve to be treated as such. And I'm going to find what I CAN do to help, even if that means simply donating money and talking about it on this blog.

Hospitality, Part 1

I've been in France for almost two weeks now (can you believe it?!). I'm sorry for not writing sooner but I didn't know what to write about. "My apartment is starting to feel like home." "My lungs feel like they are going to burst when I walk up my stairs" (it's approximately 80 steps up a narrow, winding staircase). These things are true but they are sort of trivial. I've realized that what has really stood out to me these past two weeks is the incredible hospitality that I have experienced in my short time here.

I have been welcomed with open arms and fully embraced. In my first day multiple people came by to meet me and introduce themselves (which staved off jet lag, thankfully). I have heard more times than I can count that people are so excited that I am here. And it has been apparent. People have asked me with genuine concern how I'm settling in and if I need anything. It's only been two weeks and I feel like part of this community.

This is what I imagine Christian community should look like. Genuine excitement and enthusiasm for everyone that walks through our doors. Concern for people's well-being. A sense of being wanted. I think this is what we are all called to.

Oh, and here are a few pictures.

The Cathedral

View from the Top

"My" Tower