Archive for January, 2011

The gentle contact of the wooden mallet, revolving slowly and consistently around the rim of the bowl, sets the molecules in the metal into motion; they vibrate in response to the touch and movement, and the bowl “sings”.

Imagine the Church, each member, you and me, like this singing bowl.  Imagine if, one by one, we permitted the gentle touch of God’s Spirit to encircle us, slowly, continuously, setting our spirits into motion until we vibrated with the joy of it.  The sound that would rise up would rival any heavenly chorus and our hearts would be full: full of faith, full of Christ, full of rejoicing, and ready to receive the Holy One.

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Living a sacramental life teaches us to hold all that we have as sacred; our time, our space and all of our relationships. Daily prayer, weekly worship, studying scripture and sharing our lives with others are all aspects of a sacramental life. How we take care of our homes and value the tools and resources we have can also be an expression of our gratitude for the life we have.

Is your home a place of worship? Is your home set apart as dedicated to God? In her book, “Reminders of God: Altars for Personal and Family Devotion,” Ann Grizzle shares helpful insights into the how and why of creating a personal, home altar.  I have used this resource in a variety of retreat settings.  My own sacred space changes depending on the books, objects or images that resonate with my prayers and reflections.

The altar reminds us to take time to pray, read, journal and rest in the presence of God; it is a portal to a personal encounter with God. Please visit my “Worship in the Home”page for an expanded discussion of Grizzle’s book and consider a home altar of your own.

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This morning I lingered over one more cup of coffee and found myself gazing at the sunlight, filtering through my Christmas tree.  I know lots of folks who are in a hurry to ‘light the lights and trim the tree’ only to take everything down before the New Year. But I am one that likes to take my time before, during and after Christmas day. All my expired  coupons for 2010 have already been tossed into the paper recycle bag. Left overs have long since been remade into soups and casseroles, overeaten and sometimes simply tossed out in the compost pile. Gone are the crumpled foil remnants of wrapped, unwrapped, and re-wrapped cookies and brownies (I do miss those).

Is it really time to pack up and put away Christmas? I don’t mean removing bows from the banister or winding up strings of lights. I’m not thinking, really, about dissembling the artificial tree or reflecting one more time on when or from whom a certain ornament or stocking or card was received. Rather, has the advent journey really come and gone? Have I wrapped myself in all the richness and revelation that comes to us through the gospel story? Have I seen enough light this season? Have I finished counting the many times of when or from whom Christ’s light was received. Did I do my part to offer the true light of Christ to others?

It probably is time to pack up the physical remnants of Christmas 2010, but put it away? I don’t think so. The journey is simply this, one step at a time, until the coming of Christ again; in a look, an action, a Word, a prayer, an offer of love. There is no box that can contain Christmas.


Deacon Gates

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