Joy in Advent Sabbath Peace

Today we light the third Advent Candle Joy. Let us welcome Hope! Love! Joy!

It’s the Sabbath. Today it really feels true. Tonight we’re having an Anti-Gun-Violence Vigil. It’s such a solemn thing — such a needed thing. So much to learn. So much work to do. Too much death. And yet, even this will be a thing of beauty. There are religious folk from 6 different traditions and many denominations assembling tonight. There will words of reality, words of hope, words of dedicating ourselves to what is needed.

And yet the word for today is enjoying. And somehow we need to balance both. It is the holiday season, filled with memories and tradition and hopefully Joy.

Today I remember my year in Sweden and I treasure the family and friends I found there. So many lovely traditions that still linger in memory and sometimes grace my table or my tree or my winter windows. Lucia is one of them. She brings the promise of returning light.

Apparently back in the old calendar, the 13th of December was the solstice. Somehow they counted their days differently. Today families sing of Nighttime’s heavy plodding around the yard… and they fight that with Lucia princesses and star boys. And those wonderful, wonderful saffron rolls. Oh, yum. And I think that may have been my introduction to whipped cream in my hot chocolate rather than marshmallows. On the whole, a rather wonderful trade off!

And so my friends, find joy in this celebration of waiting in the Dark. Enjoy the parties and the connections and the traditions. Stop for a moment on the sabbath so you get to recall what this season is really about. And Peace. may it be with you. May you be with Peace.

Alternative Advent – December 13: 5¢ for every meal with meat this week. Vegetarian? How will you give today? Because the point is NOT to escape giving, the point is to feed kids. What richness do you have that others would be so happy for?


Waiting for Advent; Waiting for Peace

Advent is a time of Anticipation and Expectation. Peace must be that as well. It must be a wondered waiting to see what will emerge.

Waiting doesn’t come easy. But when you’ve set up and are ready but Godot hasn’t arrived, then you just have to wait. You can find wonderful ways to pass the time, but you can’t hurry the process.

So, do your work, and then engage yourself in life, and keep encouraging — but do not force. Wait on the world, it has so much beauty to show you.

Today’s Alternative Advent suggested donation is 5¢ for every bed.

Every bit of Peace’s coming into being is a challenge — one that is well worth the waiting and watching. Enjoy the Peace Process. Enjoy Advent.


Dreaming of Peace in Advent

Hope is the name of the first Advent Candle. Dreaming is the word I’ve assigned to this third day of Advent.

So many of these verbs, which are normally understood to have a passive voice, also have an active one.

So dreaming isn’t merely floating in some safe, beautiful vision of the future. It is also envisioning something desired and then designing the steps to get there. Dreaming involves, I believe, bringing those hopes to life.

Today, as we face the aftermath of another shooting, this seems particularly apt. I suddenly thought that someone might read this years from now and look back and say, shooting? what was going on in those times. Oh, may it be so… But I write for today.

I write frustrated because, since these shooters were Muslim, we now see them as terrorists. But the guy who killed people last week was Christian, so he was not. And yet,

Are not large numbers of people dead in both events? Did not both intend to overset the safety of civilians? Is that not terrorism?

Mourning doesn’t seem sufficient. And certainly the numbness that spreads through us is not a good sign. “Oh well, more people killed” is not an attitude to be cultivated. We must not allow ourselves to be overtaken by resignation.

So we must begin to purposefully, actively dream of Peace. We must move beyond our resignation and fear. We are the ones to bring Hope to the world. We are the ones to make Peace.

Alternative Advent — Day 3 suggests 3 cents for every pair of jeans your family owns.


Music, BOLO, Peace

Oh, the silly way your brain works. I see my buddy on a high way billboard and think BOLO… but her music is so grand, it’s a good idea to be on the lookout because you want to catch her if you can.

She’s a great singer songwriter. Funny, generous, hot. She’s also an incredible performer. She totally owned a couple songs that she covered. She’s spoiled me for others on those, really. Listened to a young woman approach one of those songs the other day. I make allowances for her age, really I do, some songs it takes a long time to master, let alone own… but I kept hearing EG and kept thinking, go home, learn it, and then come back and try again.

It’s fun to have people you love be really, really good at what they do. It’s fun to introduce others to her music and have them be bewitched as well.

And it’s a bit sad, as her music in my mind is linked to another singer songwriter, a woman who died of cancer a few years ago. They sang together, these two very different women and just had the best time. An extra large time as EG would say. And while Ann Rabson was dying, EG Kight was being very sick with meningitis and encephalitis. At first they didn’t know if she’d die and then she didn’t know if she’d ever pick up a guitar again. Or sing. Or write songs. Or tour. But she is doing all those things and just touching heart after heart.

So, EG Kight BOLO… because I have to say, there’s Peace in the fun of her, Peace in the art of her, Peace in the friendship. And Hope. That’s a pretty heady combination and a great way to spend the weekend. Giving thanks. Counting Blessings. Aren’t I a lucky girl.

But why trust this, give her a listen and you’ll get lucky too!


Unexpected Peace

It helps to remain open. You never know what’s going to come along.

And when it comes, you must have left room for the miraculous, or you won’t recognize it.

It’s not all about love affairs, although this particular story was. It can be about jobs, or houses, or friendships, or new paths in our lives.

I think it helps to have a full life — and to appreciate what you have!

The practice of gratitude leaves openings; it allows you to see wonderful things when they happen along.

But being able to see isn’t enough. You have to be able to act, to dare.

Things don’t always work out well. But failure is simply information about better ways to try again. Hearts were meant to be risked (although let’s be clear, there’s nothing wrong with some calculations in those risks.)

But when they do work, the rewards are enormous. Love ensues. Joy does its happy dance. Peace gets its hopes raised. And people work together for both, which increases the odds tremendously, that someday there might be Peace. Both Peace or Magic require hard work and hopeful hearts.


Collaborative Peace

It’s not that it’s such a big deal that two small communities should try to work together and share resources and energy. Or maybe it shouldn’t be such a big deal but it is.

Today I met with representatives from another congregation from a very different tradition. It was lovely to dream just a little and to work at what the boundaries might be that would keep us good neighbors and maybe make us a lot better neighbors, not only to each other but to our larger community.

We each harbor sweet dreams of Peace. Today, we harbored them together. That was pretty great.

Let’s find more people to do that with, shall we? Peace. Sweet Peace. We need to find you.

I see a new Moon arising — and no, it’s not trouble I see on its way, it’s Hope.


New World New Peace

It’s one of those stupid things I’ll never understand. How is it that people decide that the most important thing in their religion is determining when the world will end.

In Christianity, it demands blowing right past the central tenets of the Jesus message to concentrate instead on the end times. I can be as perplexed as I want. I don’t think enlightenment on this topic is coming.

But a reboot? I’ll take that. We’re a tech savvy world, right. What if World 827.3 included the violence fix? The ignorance fix? The hatred fix?

What if we acted as if making this world better were possible?

I just finished reading two books on racism and white privilege with my church. What if we were to do something that began, even began, to make a difference.

If we began today, it would mean we embraced a new world — a world made new — by hope, by love, by justice, by Peace — by us. What do you think? Peace, anyone?


New Moon, New Year, Sabbath, Peace

Lots happening today. For me, it’s the Sabbath, so a day to hit Pause… It’s always a challenge in my life since the Sabbath is also my most important work day. But I struggle to make space, to allow for time for simple appreciation and being.

Already, already, it’s the middle of September and the Harvest Moon is beginning her reign. The Solstice is only 10 days away. Life keeps changing.

Along with this new moon comes the Jewish New Year. L’Shana Tovah! May the year be sweet and filled with blessings!

May all of us consider taking this time to reconsider what we bring to life and what we fail to… may we, if I may be so bold as to use this word, consider where we sin, where we miss the mark. May we ask forgiveness, for ourselves and others, and begin again… in love.

Peace is out there. I believe that. The question remains whether we’re willing to go looking for it — to do the work that it requires of us. It needs us as desperately as we need it.


Gifts of Love and Peace

It was such a whirlwind for the family of the little girl who needed a kidney. There was a man who loved this little and wanted to give her his kidney. And then, undergoing tests to make sure all was compatible, it was discovered that he had a tumor on his kidney. If they hadn’t tested, they would never have found this tumor. It’s such a silent disease until it’s ‘way to late. So the man who would have saved Katy was himself saved.

And then a tragic accident. One family decided that the only way to find comfort in their loss was to share organs. They did and a little girl’s life is transformed.

There are so many kinds of courage in these stories. So many kinds of decency.

Peace and Comfort… may they all find new life… may we all find Hope.


Reading Hope Into Peace

It’s gone on for years: wonderful women (and a few men) have opened their hearts and arms to class after class of kids who need a bit more.

They teach them structure and discipline and play. They help them get ready to start kindergarten on a level playing field. They teach them to play well and to settle disagreements peacefully. They teach them to fight fair. They teach them not to pick on one another. They teach them that their lives matter.

And isn’t that the most wonderful thing?

Kids whose start may be rocky are rocked against kind and talented women’s hearts.

Steve and I got to read and and teach them a song. I got to write a little children’s ditty. and that was so fun. And steve and I got to work together. and that was fun. And they were so grateful.

They were grateful? Once a year, we come in and act like stars. Every day they are stars. And they light the heavens of a whole generation of our children.

Everyday they love Peace into those children. And Possibility. And Hope. And a Future.

Oh, we give thanks!