Tag Archives: Joy

The Impossible Will Take A Little While.

It is harder than it looks to know how to take Easter. On the one hand it feels like an easy home run, a touchdown, a triumphal entry.   But those were the kinds of thing we were celebrating last week. How then is this week different?   For one thing it amazes how few people  to whom Jesus appeared after the resurrection.

The first to arrive.

One would think he would be taking out billboards all over town that said, “I told you so!”  but he doesn’t.    The first to see Jesus would be the last we would expect.   It was not the disciples, not even his family, but one of the worst outcasts of all of his company: Mary Magdalene.

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“How many hands does it take to wash two feet? All of ours”: One of the defining moments of my life.

John’s body was less like mine than anyone else’s in the room.  In that room full of people with some very unique bodies and abilities, that was saying a lot.   Everything in this particular prayer service was going to have a lot to do with what bodies can and cannot do, and how we live with that.  It was this night I found and answered a new question:, “How many bodies it take to wash two feet?”  Answer: All of ours. Continue reading

What Withered Hands Can Heal: How John’s profoundly disabled body kept me in the game.

John’s body was less like mine than anyone else’s in the room.  In that room full of people with some very unique bodies and abilities, that was saying a lot.   It was the end of a weekend I spent on retreat with L’Arche, which is a set of communities of people with disabilities and the people who choose to build a life with them.

A picture of another celebration at L'Arche Antigonish, Canada

L’Arche retreats are celebrations that, in some ways, put Burning Man to shame in creating an environment where everyone can unapologetically  be themselves.  I knew the people in room were experts in living with unique limitations and gifts, but I still could not imagine how the evening would unfold in a way that John could fully play along. Continue reading

Ashes, Ashes. We all Fall Down.

For some time it has been rumored that the children’s rhyme, “Ring around the Rosie,” was a creepy rhyme born during the era of the Black Plague.   That may be more the stuff of legend than of history, but it also makes a little sense.   For when faced when imminent and pervasive death, humans, and children in particular, have interesting ways of coping.    These little mechanisms also shine  a little light on why it is such good news to have an Ash Wednesday to take pervasive death and darkness and turn it on its head. Continue reading

How to be a Valentine: A Note on Martyrdom.

Today is a feast, a gift and remembrance, of an occasion I have yet see Hallmark really nail with one of its watercolored limericks:  there once was a man so in love with God that he was beheaded for performing marriages in opposition to war.   In defense of hallmark, that is a very hard picture to paint with water colors…

In the third century, Emperor Claudius had declared marriage illegal in order to encourage more young men to volunteer to be soldiers.  Valentine, a celibate priest, opposed both the aggressive violence of the empire as well as the notion that the state alone held the reins of marriage.   The priest knew how central marriage is to the life of the Church and couldn’t stop marrying people just because Claudius had other plans. Continue reading

Four ways to jumpstart the last minute holiday spirit.

manhattan solstice 3

manhattan solstice 3 (Photo credit: Dave Kliman)

Whew!  So that was the longest night of the year.  I am not at all unfamiliar with its is like to be stuck in a night that does not seem to want to end.  Sometimes the darkness is a habit of thinking that is hard to break.

This far in to the holiday season there are always a few folks who want to be in the spirit of things but just haven’t got there yet.

Well the night is over.  The sun returns and I think surprise is an important part of a complete breakfast.  So here are a couple ideas to get the ball rolling.

Shock yourself: Some gifts you open, some gifts open you…   Continue reading

29 Days of Hope: Day 15, Pink is the New You.

In contrast to American Christmas traditions, for Christians, Advent is a season of repentance, or paring down, making room.   It might seem like a bummer to have to dial back when all of the holiday festivities are just winding up. But there is a rhythm to this madness that has made Advent my favorite times of year and  it has a lot to do with the color pink. Continue reading