Archive for November, 2012

Dear Kindred in the Spirit:

Last night at the charge conference, our DS Heidi Chamberland ask us about our practices for being nourished — for staying connected to the vine of Jesus. Part of my daily ritual involves online devotionals. One of my favorites is by Steve Garnaas-Holmes and I’ve excerpted from his blog before. But today’s post is just too good, and too relevant to our Advent theme not to share in its entirety:

  The Realm of God is near. Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with being scattered and attached to things, and with the worries of this life, so that that day does not catch you unexpectedly like a trap.
           —Luke 21.31, 34
The secular, commercial world thinks that the Christmas season just started, and will end on Dec. 25. But Christians follow a different calendar. Sunday we begin Advent, a season of preparation, repentance and waiting. We’re not good at that. We are in a hurry. We drive fast, even up to a red light. We hate standing in line. We “keep busy.” We’re like kids whining in the back seat, “Are we there yet?”
Well, we aren’t there yet. We are here now. But we’re so busy being busy, and whining about it, that we don’t notice. Our busyness is not fruitfulness; it’s fear. We’re afraid of the stillness, afraid of the dark, afraid of what might come up in the silence. We’re afraid of not being in control and of being dependent, afraid of not knowing. We keep busy to stay unconscious.
Advent invites us into the dark, into the silence, into wakefulness. It is a time of preparing, yes, but also of waiting. Just sitting. Doing nothing, just being. It’s like being pregnant. God is doing miraculous things in us, and in the world, and there’s nothing we can do to make it happen or hasten. Like Mary, we just wait. Not wanting the child to be born prematurely, we wait the whole term. We enter into the mystery of not being in control, the darkness of trusting what is coming without seeing it, the silence of listening for what is beyond words. We enter into the stillness of paying attention. And we “wait upon the Lord.”

Each day, give some time to pause. Be free of the attachments of this world. Step out of the prison of busyness, the chains of having to justify yourself. Let go and be still. Deep within, let the miraculous child come to you. Wake up in the dark. Watch and listen. Trust what is coming. Don’t be afraid to wait. Perhaps then the day—even today—will not catch you unexpectedly like a trap but unwrap itself like a long-awaited gift.
Heidi challenged us to prioritize such a reconnecting experience in the same way that we always make sure our body is fed each day. Find time to pause, to listen, to experience your spirit being nourished and fed. Tonight, at moon rise (6:30ish) and again at 10:30ish there might be such an opportunity to step out into the dark and witness Jupiter “kissing” the moon — it will overshadow the corner of the moon coming and going. I’m hoping for clear skies. And I’ll be praying for our community of faith in its pregnant condition.

pastor kelly


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Election Day Prayers

Dear Kindred in the Spirit,

Two prayers for election day– one short, one longer–depending on the length of the line you’re in. Feel free to print out, make friends in line (reach across the the aisle), and share with others.

From Steve Garnaas-Holmes:

My prayer is that you will vote
in love, not in fear,

that those who govern
will act in love, not fear,

and that you will make every choice,
large or small,
every day, all your life,
not in fear, but in love,

for this alone can heal the world,

and I believe it shall.

And from Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister:

Give us, O God, leaders whose hearts are large enough
to match the breadth of our own souls
and give us souls strong enough
to follow leaders of vision and wisdom.

In seeking a leader, let us seek
more than development for ourselves—
though development we hope for—
more than security for our own land—
though security we need—
more than satisfaction for our wants—
though many things we desire.

Give us the hearts to choose the leader
who will work with other leaders
to bring safety to the whole world.

Give us leaders
who lead this nation to virtue
without seeking to impose our kind of virtue
on the virtue of others.

Give us a government that provides for the advancement
of this country without taking resources from others to achieve it.

Give us insight enough ourselves
to choose as leaders those who can tell
strength from power, growth from greed,
leadership from dominance,
and real greatness from the trappings of grandiosity.

We trust you, Great God,
to open our hearts to learn from those
to whom you speak in different tongues
and to respect the life and words
of those to whom you entrusted
the good of other parts of this globe.

We beg you, Great God,
give us the vision as a people
to know where global leadership truly lies,
to pursue it diligently,
to require it to protect human rights
for everyone everywhere.

We ask these things, Great God, with minds open to your word
and hearts that trust in your eternal care.

Finally, here’s a quote from Methodist founder, John Wesley, from October 6, 1774, which I posted to our facebook page yesterday. (If you’re on facebook, remember to “like” ELUMC to get updated automatically).

“I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them:
1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy:
2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against: And,
3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.”


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