For his is our lifelong pattern, daily when on earth he grew. He was tempted, scorned, rejected. Tears and smiles like us he knew. Thus he feels for all our sadness, and he shares in all our gladness. (Once in Royal David's City Hymn #102, 1982 Episcopal Hymnal) Pattern All of us parents rapidly become aware of how our children pattern their lives on ours. All of a sudden you hear your words said by your preschooler, or your own rationale from your tween. It's a scary moment. I'm too aware of my own faults to feel very confident about being a pattern. This hymn reminds us that Christ is the true pattern that our lives can imitate. The more time we spend with Christ, the easier it is to see and follow the pattern. Read Luke chapter 15. If possible, use The Message by Eugene Peterson or another modern translation such as the NRSV Bible. How does this influence how you act this week? Click here to listen to the hymn Once in Royal David's City Linnae Himsl Peterson M. Div ©2013LinnaeHimslPeterson
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He came down to earth from heaven, who is God and Lord of all. And his shelter was a stable and his cradle was a stall. With the poor, the scorned, the lowly, lived on earth our Savior holy. (Once in Royal David's City Hymn 102, 1982 Episcopal Hymnal) The Lowly My dad had an amazing ability to notice people. He always remembered the name of any waitress and would call her by name. He would go to a store and by the time he left It seemed as though he knew all about the clerk's family. He owned a business with a number of employees and was known to spend an hour every Friday after closing just hanging out and joking with the janitors. Everyone he met, no matter their status in society, was important and worthy of attention. I hope one day to do as well as he did. I'm still practicing. Pay attention to each person you meet today. Click here to listen to the hymn Once in Royal David's City Linnae Himsl Peterson M. Div ©2013LinnaeHimslPeterson
Once in royal David's city stood a lowly cattle shed, where a mother laid her baby in a manger for his bed. Mary was that mother mild, Jesus Christ her little child. (Once in Royal David's City Hymn 102 1982 Episcopal Hymnal) Mother I've watched it happen over and over again. Mothers are gathered somewhere, mothers of infants and college students and those who are now grandmothers. Somehow the subject comes up and they share stories of their pregnancies and the birth of their children. Easy or difficult, funny or painful, the stories will be told. It is the beginning of their motherhood, the time when all things were possible and all things were becoming, and when one's life was being taken over by another life. It puts one off balance (sometime literally). Our lives are no longer our own. So, too, as our faith deepens we are thrown off balance by the wondrous things happening inside of us. What is God bringing to birth in you? Click here to listen to the hymn Once in Royal David's City Linnae Himsl Peterson M. Div ©2013LinnaeHimslPeterson
Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning. To thee be glory given, Word of the Father now in flesh appearing. (O Come All Ye Faithful # 83 1982 Episcopal Hymnal) Now in Flesh I love baking, especially yeast bread. Somehow the work of mixing and kneading, shaping and baking, keeps me in touch with the world around me. Most of my days are spent in the realm of words and ideas. Baking keeps me grounded. Christianity is not a faith that exists merely in the realm of philosophies; it takes seriously the world in which we live, this land of flesh and blood. Baptism uses real water; the Eucharist, real bread and wine. We anoint the sick with oil. We embrace at the peace. And Jesus we born as an infant, hungry and crying. At the beginning, God declared all creation "Good," and so it remains. Look at yourself in the mirror today. Carefully consider that God has declared you good. Click here to listen to O Come All Ye Faithful Advent/Christmas Daily Meditations on Music: (©2013LinnaeHimslPeterson M.Div.) Offered by St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, Goffstown, N.H.
Sing choirs of angels. Sing in exultation. Sing all ye citizens of heaven above. Glory to God, glory in the highest. (O Come All Ye Faithful # 83 1982 Episcopal Hymnal) Citizens of heaven At St. Gregory of Nyssa Church near San Francisco there is a wonderful icon that encircles the altar. Saints from every era and every continent are dancing, arm in arm. You can see John Coltrane and William Byrd, Charles Darwin and St. Francis, Elizabeth I and Sojourner Truth all being led in a joyful celebration by Jesus himself. It's a vision of heaven, one that rings true for me. This vision of all of Christ's own gathered into his presence drives away the shadows we feel as we miss those we love and desire healing in ourselves and our relationships. It is into Christ presence we go to find that comfort and healing, so that we can all join together in this joyous dance. Click here to see the icon Click here to listen to O Come All Ye Faithful Advent/Christmas Daily Meditations on Music: (©2013LinnaeHimslPeterson M.Div.) Offered by St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, Goffstown, N.H.
God from God, Light from Light eternal, lo, He abhors not the virgin's womb, only begotten Son of the father. (O Come All Ye Faithful # 83 1982 Episcopal Hymnal) Begotten "The only son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light for Light, . . . begotten not made, of one being with the Father" The Nicene Creed, Book of Common Prayer, pg. 358. The authors of the Nicene creed in the fourth century were struggling for words, struggling to find a way to express their experience of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit, one God. The word they landed on gets translated into English (from the Greek, homoousias) as "of one being." Jesus then is a different person from the Father but of the same substance, eternal and uncreated. The language soars on into poetry: "God from God, Light from Light." Trying to pin God down into the words of our limited understanding is always an incomplete task. I find it better to swim in the world of poetry. How would you describe God? What words or images would you use? How do they help or hinder your relationship with God? Click here to listen to O Come All Ye Faithful Linnae Himsl Peterson M. Div ©2013LinnaeHimslPeterson
O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant. O come ye, o come ye to Bethlehem. Come and behold him born the king of angels. (O Come All Ye Faithful # 83 1982 Episcopal Hymnal) Faithful One of the greatest gifts is to have people you can depend on. The ones you can call at 2AM and know they will find a way to be coherent and helpful in whatever crisis you have found yourself. Just knowing that these people are in your life is a blessing. Being faithful, showing up day after day, is part of what feeds our souls. Being faithful in prayer and worship, showing up, even when it is not easy or convenient, strengthens our faith, so the strength is there when we face pain or sorrow or loss. Be faithful today in prayer and caring for those around you. Click here to listen to O Come All Ye Faithful Linnae Himsl Peterson M. Div ©2013LinnaeHimslPeterson
O flower whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air, dispel in glorious splendor the darkness everywhere. True man yet very God, from sin and death now save us and share our every load. (Lo How a Rose E're Blooming # 81 1982 Episcopal Hymnal) Darkness For those of us in the northern hemisphere, this is the darkest time of year. We leave home in the dark, we come home after dark. I find I long for light, for the feel of the sun on my face. I also long for my spirit to be lighter. I want to let go of those things that haunt me and weigh me down: past mistakes, angry and hurtful words, fears and worries. I long to leave them in the shadows and go out and see the night sky brilliant with stars. Look at the stars tonight and seek the light in the darkness. Click here to listen to: Lo how a rose ere blooming Linnae Himsl Peterson M. Div ©2013 Linnae Himsl Peterson
Isaiah was foretold, it the rose I have in mind. With Mary we behold it, the Virgin Mother kind. To show God's love aright, she bore to us a Savior when half spent was the night. (Lo How a Rose E're Blooming # 81 1982 Episcopal Hymnal) "After Annunciation," by Madeleine L'Engle This is the irrational season When love blooms bright and wild. Had Mary been filled with reason There'd have been no room for the child. This is a reflection that I come back to again and again. Mary sets aside all that makes sense. She says "Yes" to God, even when it means stepping outside the expectations of her culture, her neighbors, her family. Mary trusts that what God is asking of her will bring hope to the world. God often invites us to step into things that are beyond our comfort zone. What is God inviting you to say "Yes" to? Click here to listen to: Lo how a rose ere blooming Linnae Himsl Peterson M. Div ©2013 Linnae Himsl Peterson
Lo, how a rose e're blooming from tender stem hath sprung, of Jesse's lineage coming as seers of old have sung. It came a blossom bright, amid the cold of winter when half spent was the night. (Lo How a Rose E're Blooming # 81 1982 Episcopal Hymnal) Seers of Old This last spring we took a trip to Washington DC and had a chance to see one of the newest of the Smithsonian Museums, the Museum of the American Indian. It is magnificent! It has a beautiful and unique way of inviting you to experience some of the culture, wisdom, and really great food of the native peoples of the Americas. I was mesmerized by much of the foundational teachings of various groups. It gave me a new perspective that I'm just beginning to explore. There are many who are seers, ones who can help us look at things in a new light, to deepen our faith, to challenge us to live in a more deliberate way. They are around you. Listen to them. Look for the seers in your life. Listen to them. Click here to listen to: Lo how a rose ere blooming Linnae Himsl Peterson M. Div ©2013 Linnae Himsl Peterson