Advent Day 12

Rejoice in Christ always; again I will say, Rejoice.  Let your gentleness be known to everyone.  Jesus is near.  Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.     Philippians 4: 4 – 7

Here is what I see:  I see gentleness being lived in community.

Every Wednesday at 8:00 AM I meet with men from the church for bible study.  They have been at this for years.  They are seasoned souls who have lived a lot of life and they are beautiful.

And, they are getting on in years.  We check in with each other weekly and the list of bodily challenges is as varied as the men around the table.  There is a constancy in the sharing:  Growing older involves the deeply spiritual discipline of letting go.

Some of the men around the table have “had the talk” with their children.  In a poigniant and circular playing out of love, their children have asked to share with them a fact of life: they are worried about their parents driving.  They believe that getting behind the wheel of a car is not safe any longer.   They love their dads enough to share their concerns.

It is hard to go from being the co-maker of family law to the recepient of same.

The beauty that I see is their willingness to reflect upon the changes they are experiencing.  There is laughter thrown in and there is a lot of grace.

What moved me in the “let your gentleness be known to everyone” department happened as I was leaving for a meeting directly following bible study.  Out in the parking lot, the men who drive were loading up their cars with the bible study members who no longer drive.

They ushered each other into the waiting chariots with a sense of reverence and care.

The promise of “Jesus is near” was made flesh in the parking lot of our church.  Ninety-three year olds drive the snowy streets of South Minneapolis in order that their brothers might sit at table and unpack scripture.

Jesus lives.


Leaving town is a spiritual practice.

Whenever I am making preparations to be gone for a time, the worries raise their voices.

For example, I seem to be convinced that if I am in close proximity to my beloveds I can keep them safe.  It’s a fine fantasy.  If I’m in my zone, somehow my people are safer.

Church details feel monumental.  Our church has the best staff bar none and a wondrous crew of retired clergy.  There should be no worry.  Should is the operative word.  Worry I do.

Like so many other things, I suspect thriving happens when space is made.  Offspring turn to each other or their step-Coop.  Pets are tended.  Church folk know the power of community.  All these things are good.

And for me?  Stepping out of my self-appointed role of keeper of well-being is flat-out crucial.

I’m off for five days.  Preparing to leave has lessons to lend.

Perhaps the spiritual discipline most necessary for digesting a magnificent Holy Week is the sacred revel of fun.

I can work with that.


No Facebook.  No email.  No Words with Friends.

For ten days I will fast from electronic community.  Sound grim?  It isn’t.

I’ll be in Florida for ten days with my guy.  My agenda is to think my own thoughts and take in the thoughts of others through books and conversations.

And, maybe most huge of all, I seek to surrender myself to sun and wind and bare feet and water and space.

Somehow life (once again) got to be a race.  The “terror of abundance” that is my life is too much temptation for the likes of me.  I get to do so many things I enjoy and believe in.  The work with United Methodists for Marriage Equality is picking up, church is rich and hopping, and the faith communities of Richfield and Bloomington are starting to meet to figure out how we can be of some use to our respective communities.

There is so much to be done!

And, the land of my soul is needing a mini-Jubilee:  a time to lie fallow.

It seems a fitting way to enter Lent.  I’m not “giving up” anything (unless it is a compulsive need to busy too much).  Instead, I seek to add a dimension to my life sorely lacking.  Space savored in the sun. Space as spiritual discipline.  Space through which I can listen to the Holy woven into the song of seagull and sea.

If all goes well, I might get used to it.