I’m about to start my fourth cycle of the Revised Common Lectionary. I was ordained and began my first call at the very end of Year C in 2002. I’ve worked with the Advent texts faithfully every year, moving them around to accommodate special Christmas programs, grappling with vipers and threshing floors and even titling one sermon “Something About Mary.” (Well, maybe that title was just between me and…me. But it’s on the Word Document.)
I’ve worked hard to tie those Advent Wreath candle words to the established texts.
But I wear a stole each year in Advent that pictures Mary and Elizabeth, and a few years ago I realized that many church folk don’t even know the story of Luke, Chapter 1. So this year, I’m going there. We’ll have a week of Zechariah and Elizabeth (hope), and one of Mary and the angel and her visit to Elizabeth (peace-ish), and a week for reading the Magnificat (joy) and I’ll take a run at the genealogy in Matthew (love) and talk about Joseph.
We’re receiving our new hymnals in December, so we’ll introduce them on Joy Sunday, which I’ll be prepared to move off to the 18th if need be.
That’s this morning’s report from Study Leave. Next on my agenda, writing the litanies for wreath-lighting, which I will post when they’re finished, as I did last year.
I read “Breakfast with Buddha” for our church book group, and I’m sorry to say I didn’t finish it before the discussion. Others felt it was light-weight or fluffy. I wouldn’t call it that. Merullo uses humor to make an exploration of deep matters accessible. The characters were effectively drawn. I enjoyed the road trip details, especially the narrator’s enjoyment of different cuisines and his effort to show Volya Rinpoche some “American fun.” Their adventures with “bohling” and “furniture golf” felt totally plausible. Our book group discussion centered on the question of what makes us “good” people. Can you be good without believing in something? Again, I wish I’d been on top of the whole text before talking with others about it. I’ll do better next time. This was the first book I read on my new Kindle (the old one having given up the ghost and unable to function unless plugged into an outlet, defeating its purpose), which I adore. It’s even lighter weight, and I love being able to email documents to it. I preached from it during the RevGalBlogPals’ Big Event, which amazed and pleased me. Apparently I’ve stopped keeping score in the subject line, but this makes 9 books read in 2011. My goal for the year is 60, and Goodreads is helping me keep track.
I reached a crucial moment in my job search and had to discern whether to go out of state or stay here, which of course involved not only what I wanted to do but what I believed God wanted for me. I stayed put, and that turned out to be wise in many ways. I cannot imagine going through what I've experienced in the past few months with the additional stress of moving to a new community, for all kinds of reasons. I'm thankful that divine guidance led to a well-timed call from NYCC and a sense of rightness for me. I'm thankful that when Sam got sick we had our own trusted vet to see and that he didn't have the additional challenge of being sick in a new place. (This is Sam on his last trip across the Troll Bridge. I'm glad he had all his favorite places to visit as the end drew near.)
And while I believe God could make use of me in more than one place, I feel good about the work I'm doing in North Yarmouth, and I'm thankful for the support they have shown in a time of personal trial.
December 11 – 11 Things
What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?
As I try to figure out how to make financial adjustments, I've thought of a lot of things I don't "need" and can live without in 2011. They are the luxuries, although I don't think that's what the author of this prompt meant. I've already cut back on the hours of the Domestic Goddess, and I've given up manicures and pedicures. I considered giving up coloring my hair, but I believe LP has talked me out of it. I'm cutting back on buying coffee out, but that's a challenge. It's such a habit!
I'm doing all this because I hope to have another dog someday, but I have to get a handle on financial priorities first.
(I realize this question could be answered on a deeper level, but it's way too personal for the Internet at the moment.)
December 12 – Body Integration
This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?
Since I started living with RA, being that integrated is a challenge, because there are so many times I'm cultivating a separate awareness, a "who I am" that is not defined by pain or stiffness. There have been two particularly hard periods of illness (July into August and the past couple of weeks), and I honestly don't want to be integrated with those things.
But there have been times, when I felt better, that the answer was yes. I have to go back to last spring for it, when I was feeling pretty good and had moments in warm air and happy company that everything felt a oneness.