Tag Archives: Christian

Being Present to Black Friday

We don’t call it “Good Friday” here, because, in those moments, there was nothing good about it.  After enjoying dinner, twelve disciples watched their leader get arrested.  Then what happened to them?  All we know is that Peter followed along, likely staying close to hear what was going on but even so, denying knowing Jesus at all.  Judas committed suicide out of remorse for his betrayal of Jesus.  As for the rest?  They probably scattered in fear.  Likely we all would.

As Peter followed Jesus and the crowd as the guards dragged Jesus first to the Sanhedrin, then to Pilate, then to Herod and back to Pilate (in Luke’s account), he was scared to death.  Unsure.  Hesitant.  Too scared even to admit to knowing Jesus.

Then Friday dawns.  Jesus is bruised, beaten, bloody.  He hasn’t slept, opting instead to pray for hours during the long night after dinner.  He’s been betrayed, he’s feeling friendless – he’s alone, for all intents and purposes.  Soon he will be forced to walk the two miles from the Praetorium to Golgotha.  Some gospel accounts have him carrying his cross the whole way, others have the Roman soldiers conscripting Simon of Cyrene to carry it part of the way.  Regardless, he picked up his cross.  He accepted the death sentence.

And now it’s 9 a.m.  The soldiers nail Jesus to the cross.  They laugh and jeer, as do people in the crowd.  They divide Jesus’ things amongst themselves and cast lots for his robe.  For the next six hours, Jesus will hear the taunts and jeers of the soldiers, the religious leaders, and the rest of the crowd.  Even one of the thieves beside him would taunt him.  John tells us that Jesus looked down and saw his mother and his “beloved disciple,” giving them to each other, commissioning John to take care of Mary.  The rest of Jesus’ followers?  Who knows where they are.  Probably hiding out in fear, not wanting to be discovered, not wanting to be found guilty by association.

Noon.  Darkness falls over the land.  Jesus continues to suffer, breath coming harder.  The crowds and soldiers continue to watch and mock.  Crucified people slowly suffocate and die, eventually becoming too weak to push up against the nails or ropes, the weight of the body as it hangs preventing the lungs from taking in enough air.

Three p.m.  Jesus gives a loud cry and dies.  The Roman soldiers don’t need to break his legs to hasten death as they had to to the thieves.  The eleven remaining disciples are nowhere to be found.  Two members of the Council, secret followers of Jesus, now come out and one approaches Pilate, requesting the body of Jesus.  The other helps him take the body down.  They wrap the body in herbs and linens before laying it in a new tomb.  The women who followed Jesus follow the two men, noting where Jesus was before going home for Sabbath rest.

Sunset comes and with it, the Sabbath begins.  We don’t know what the disciples did, but we can imagine how they felt.  They would have felt fear and uncertainly.  They were heartbroken about losing their friend and teacher.  The disciples were crushed with disappointment, because they truly believed that Jesus was heralding a new messianic era, a time when the Israelites would rise up and destroy their Roman oppressors.

In the evangelical church, we grab hold of “Sunday’s coming!”  We want to skip right past the ugly, emotional events of Thursday night and Friday and get to the joy of Sunday.  As I was growing up, we went from Palm Sunday with its Hosannas to Resurrection Sunday with its Hallelujahs.  In fact, there was the unspoken belief that the suffering of cancer, miscarriages, and chronic illnesses was because of one’s sin, so such issues were kept secret and private to avoid judgment.  We didn’t talk about suffering at all, not even the life-changing suffering of Jesus Christ.

However, are we not first followers of Christ?  We need to embrace the pain that Jesus and his followers faced.  We need to understand the pain, sense of betrayal, heartbreak, disappointment, sadness, the mind-melting fatigue, and the fear of those first disciples.  But why?  Why do we want even to visit this place of darkness?  We do so, because we will visit this valley in our lives.  We will feel all of these emotions, and we will experience the paralysis that comes from overwhelming inundation of feeling many of them at the same time.

Yes, we have the hope of the resurrection and new life in Christ, but that doesn’t take away the reality of the pain.  Sure, “Sunday is coming,” but the disciples didn’t know that, or, rather, they didn’t believe it.  And Sunday coming two days later does not, in any way, change the reality that today is Friday and today is dark with grief and fear.

So let’s stay here for today – and tomorrow, too.  Let’s understand and feel the richness of the emotions of this day, even when they’re not all pastel, fluffy, cotton-tailed happiness.  Let’s be present to these emotions, realizing that we must have sadness in order to appreciate best the joy of the empty tomb and what that means for our lives.  To do less than this is to cheapen the value of Jesus’ sacrifice for us, ignoring it because it makes us feel uncomfortable.

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God, Give Me Faith!

God, give me more faith!” I prayed in the shower this morning.  Yet, even as I prayed that, I thanked God for God’s provisions and affirmation the previous night.

As I did my rehab and exercises this morning, I reflected on that prayer.  Uh oh, I thought.  What if praying for more faith is like praying for more patience, where you don’t actually get it, but you get opportunities to practice and cultivate it?

We’re a two-entrepreneur family now, and I told my husband last night in the midst of frustration and discouragement, “I know you’re doing everything you can.  No question.  And I still believe this is what God has led us to.”  There were no buts, no “if onlys,” just a simple assurance that we’re still on the right track.  Within half an hour, I received an order from a customer from whom I wasn’t expecting another order.  Yeah, I see it as a God thing.

“God, give me more faith!”  The story of the man with the demon-possessed boy in Mark 9 came to me.  The father wants to believe.  In fact, I believe he truly does.  Yet, the doubts creep in; after all, his son had been possessed by this evil spirit for years, and it’d tried to kill the boy numerous times.  So the father cries out, anguished, “I believe!  Help me to believe more!”  Some translations have that as, “I have faith!  Help me have more faith!”  That’s me this morning.

It’s a pure, selfless request, the request of the striving, growing believer.  Those moments when our faith slips can lead in two directions:  One, we can say that God obviously doesn’t care and turn away completely; or two, we can pray for more faith.  Pray for it.  Ask for it.  We can’t do anything more than this to get it.  We can’t put our good works into some vending machine to get what we want back out.  All we can do is humbly, sincerely ask.  It is in humbling ourselves that we are most receptive to receiving greater faith.

In the Mark 9 account of this demon-possessed boy, there’s a request, there’s a faith lesson, then there’s healing, followed by God granting exactly what the father needed.  Both father and son needed something on this day.  This morning, I prayed a request, the Spirit led my meditations, there was a revelation (not so much a healing for us), then God gave me what I needed.  While I was doing my rehab, I’d heard my husband come back in after having left for work before leaving again.  I texted to ask if everything was OK.  He’d gotten two voicemail messages, both for estimates, one for a subcontract job with growth potential.  God gave us an opportunity to increase our income (always vital in the new stages of entrepreneurship), and God had affirmed that we were still on the right path.

God gave me more faith!

Why Do People Hate People who are Transgender?

I realize that, by posing this question, I’m likely opening myself up to being exposed to a large amount of hate and vitriol, but I am genuinely curious.  I have at least one transsexual friend who I share with other friends.  There’s so much hate and violent sentiment directed towards this segment of the population, and I really, truly don’t know why that is.  I’ve heard them referred to as “freaks.”  Really?  That doubly appalls me; while transgender is listed as a psychological disorder in the DSM-5 (which I can see necessary in some cases), still, calling people who are transgender “freaks” is about as sensitive as calling the following “freaks”:

  • An Army vet with PTSD
  • A little girl on the Autism spectrum
  • A woman with schizophrenia
  • A man with depression

Get my point there?

So, please, tell me why people (maybe you, even) hate people who are transgender and wish serious harm or death to come to them.  If you’re going to site scripture, please do so in a way that honors God and respects the Bible (or other holy book, dependent on your faith) with faithful use of scripture.  This includes using the scripture in its context within scripture, but also with respect to historical context.  And for those of you who would dare to say that God hates people who are transgender, please read your Bible all the way through before commenting; there’s only ONE “I hate” statement attributed to God in the WHOLE Bible, and it has nothing to do with the LGBT community.

I’m Out

What does that mean?  In gambling, it means, “I’m out of this hand or the game.”  In family life, it could mean, “I’m out of the house running errands.”  In the LGBT community, it refers to being “out of the closet,” being open about one’s sexuality and lifestyle.  I’m not saying any of those things.  I’m saying, I’m out of the box.  I’m outside the box.  I’ve known this for a while; it certainly wasn’t a secret to Dean Cogdill, my Divinity School dean.  To this day, I’m still not sure what he saw in me that had him labeling me his “outside the box thinker.”  I really had never thought my cognitive processes were all that different from other people’s.

It was fall semester, 2004, and I was in my last semester of Divinity school.  The last semester is rather anxiety-provoking, because every student in their last semester has to complete a Senior Synthesis paper, a lengthy (save often!) discourse on his or her entire Divinity school experience – every discovery, every growing edge, every field experience, every mission trip…  Everything!  To accompany this epic tome comes the Senior Panel.  This is a closed-door meeting with two professors and that semester’s Senior Synthesis professor, and each student gets to have a say in his or her choice of professors.  I put my choices in – Drs. Jones and Harmon, my professors of Hebrew and Old Testament, and Theology and Ethics, respectfully.  Soon before the panels were scheduled to begin, the list of panels came out and was passed around the room.

It didn’t take long for the mutterings to start.  “Whoa, Sara!  What did you do?”  “Oh, Sara, you’re gonna get it!”  Oh lordy, I thought, waiting for the list to get around to me, how bad is it?  Finally, the list came to me, and scanning down to my name I discovered that I didn’t get either of my choices on my panel.  Instead, I got both deans.  BOTH.  DEANS!  My professor said, “No one else got both Dr. Cogdill and Dr. Powers.”  “Yea.  Lucky me,” I replied.  Truthfully, I was terrified and humbled and honored, all at the same time.

There was history there.  As a Religion minor in the days before the Div school was chartered, Dr. Cogdill was chairman of that department, and, of course, I’d had some classes with him.  I’d had Dr. Powers for one undergraduate class.  In a lively discussion on the role of women in the home one day in Church and Family, Dr. Cogdill had had to get on me about my comportment during class discussions (I guess heavily insinuating that the guy I was addressing was misogynistic wasn’t very mature of me), an incident that, thankfully, he’d forgotten by the time I had applied for Divinity school.

As I sat in the conference room on the day of my panel, I remember the warmth and encouragement flowing from Dr. Hoyle, Dr. Powers, and Dr. Cogdill.  The last question Dr. Cogdill asked me was, “Sara, how will you stay outside the box?”  Um…  Uh…  Duh…  Crickets.  I was outside the box?  Really?  OK, that’s pretty cool, but it’s not something I’d ever done intentionally.  I was still young enough that some parental/family/social approval was a big deal to me.

That was ten-and-a-half years ago, and I am so completely out of the box now with age and maturity that I often forget there is a box filled with so many people.  See, here on the outside, it’s really spacious – not very crowded at all.  It’s great, but getting here can be quite scary.  Sometimes staying here is quite scary.  So how am I staying outside the box?

My heart still yearns to fulfill my ministry calling from so long ago.  As I have encountered more and more people, it has become glaringly apparent to me that we need more love and less judgment in this world.  People don’t need to hear a laundry list of their wrongdoings while we’re thumping our Bibles at them.  They need to hear just a few simple truths:  God loves you.  Jesus has something amazing in store for your life.  I love you.  Focus on that, so sweet, so simple, and the rest will fall into place perfectly.

English: Love Heart rainbow

English: Love Heart rainbow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Long before the Supreme Court determined that equality for gays and lesbians who wish to marry would be protected under the 14th Amendment, I began to think, Why shouldn’t they marry if they wish?  I mean, so many of them, without marriage, are living together in long-term, committed, monogamous relationships, and isn’t that pretty much what marriage is?  I lose nothing by them having the same civil rights that I do.  It’s not going to negatively impact my faith, my marriage, or my family life.  It simply means that gay and lesbian couples can now be legally happy together instead of illegally (for lack of a better word) happy together.  So…  Since they also have been created in the image of God, just as I have, and since God loves them, just as He does me, shouldn’t they also be welcomed into worship with us and welcomed to join us at the communion table?

Then my thoughts spread to another group, one that a friend of mine is in:  The BDSM group.  In speaking to my friend, he conveyed that “people like [them]” aren’t welcomed into churches, that churches tend to take a hard stand against them coming in.  Yet, this guy misses communal worship.  Years of being married to a Presbyterian minister accustomed him to the liturgy of worship and the inclusion into the family of faith.  If he misses church, would not others in the BDSM community miss it, too?  So why not establish a church where those other churches shun are welcomed?  Maybe being gay or enjoying some consensual kink is a sin; I don’t think so, but then again, I’m not God, and I’m not ever going to presume to put words in the mouth of the Almighty.  What I do know is, the Kingdom of God is for all of these people, just as much as it’s for the straight-laced, buttoned-down, very conservative people who sat on the pews this morning for worship.  I know that God loves them, and I am also called to love them.  And if the people following these lifestyles are sinning, it is not my job to judge them; the Holy Spirit can condemn them and lead them to repentance if that’s the case.  See, at the very least, these folks would hear the gospel message of sacrificial love and sacrificial living; and at the most, they would be convicted of their sins and make a lifestyle change (whatever the sin might be).  That looks like a win-win, whether you’re in the far-right evangelical camp, the left-leaning evangelical camp, or somewhere in the middle.  Who loses out here?  Nobody, by my reckoning.

Staying outside the box means raising children who also think outside the box, but that’s a post for another day.  Stay tuned.

Doing it wrong

03.365 (02.08.2009) Faith

03.365 (02.08.2009) Faith (Photo credit: hannahclark)

“If God does not exist, we lose a life devoted to seeking to love, to live generously, to speak truth and to do justice.”  ~ John Ortberg, Faith & Doubt

After making that not-altogether-true statement, Ortberg blows breezily on to his next point, not bothering to stay awhile with this one, expanding and expounding on it, failing to unpack it in a meaningful, worthwhile way.

‘Cause, you see, frankly?  I think that line is bull.  It assumes that only in acknowledging the existence of YHWH God can we live a life devoted to love, generous living, truth and justice.  (A little “truth, justice and the American way,” anyway?  Way to merge faith with patriotism there.)

YHWH God is my God.  Anyone who has read this blog once or is a regular follower knows that.  However, YHWH is not the deity of choice for my Pagan friends.  Nor is YHWH god for my atheist friends.  They respect my choice, and I respect theirs.  It’s what friends do.

And yet, I know some very loving Wiccans.  And some generously giving agnostics.  And I have atheist friends who are passionate about justice for the disenfranchised, the poor, the alienated and the oppressed.  God does not exist for them, and yet, they still manage to show love, mercy and compassion on people.

Written works with bad grammar are off-putting enough (Faith & Doubt delivers there, too, unfortunately), but so-called Christian works with narrow-minded, exclusive statements really bother me, because then people of other faiths believe all Christians are like that.  Perhaps we Christians need to learn some things from our loving, compassionate, accepting co-createds of other faiths.  Many times I’ve acted out my interpretation of my faith in ways that were loving, accepting, non-judgmental and demonstrated my personal environmental ethics and have been called a Pagan (warmly, by Pagans).  I’ll chuckle and say, “Nah, I’m a Christian,” and they’re surprised, often responding, “You don’t act like any Christian I’ve encountered before.  You’re loving and you don’t judge me.”  That’s sad to me, because it seems the Pagans have this Christ-like thing down better than most Christians do.

We Christians need to step up our game.  We need to get better at showing God’s unconditional love to people and step down off our judgmental soapboxes.

Genuine Pagans vs. Pharisaic Christians

Pharisee

Pharisee (Photo credit: arartplatform)

I would rather be surrounded by genuine Pagans and authentic atheists than by pharisaic Christians.

In my circles, I have friends from many different faiths and belief systems.  Sure, most of them are fellow Christ-followers, and all of them are genuine, compassionate, loving people.  Otherwise, they wouldn’t be my friends.  But it’s not just the Christ-followers who act this way.  In fact, I’ve found that my Pagan friends tend to be the most accepting and genuine of all my friends.  One – a soap bud and colleague of several years – says, “You can pray for me if I can dance naked in the woods for you.”  Hey, no problem.  After all, if she’s lifting me up to her deities in the way that’s most meaningful to her, then it also means she’s thinking of me and wants good things to happen for me.  At the same time, by praying to YHWH God for her, aren’t I doing the same thing?

So many of my Christian contacts are exactly as they appear.  If they love you, they tell you.  If they think you’re lacking in some way, they’ll point it out (in tactful, respectful ways, of course).  If they don’t like you, they’ll leave you alone.  This is how it should be.  We don’t always like or get along with everyone, and even the first century apostles faced this issue.  As long as we act in love towards all, this is OK.

And yet, in every circle, a Pharisee must appear.  I won’t say “hypocrite,” because we’re all hypocrites to some degree, including the woman I see in the mirror each morning.  I won’t mention the Pharisee in my life by name, but I’ve known him for nearly two decades.  We don’t speak or see each other often, which is the way I personally like it.  We just don’t groove well together, though it’d seem we would.  I found out he told someone close to me that he regrets that he and I didn’t get off on a better foot.  Then I later found out, in that same weekend, he recommended to my husband than he divorce me for being “controlling and manipulative.”  And five years ago, he’d also suggested my husband should divorce me for being “opinionated and outspoken.”  This guy is a leader in his Christian church and facilitates weekly small group Bible studies in their home.

You see my point?  On the outside, he’s holy and pure, a “model” Christ-follower, husband and father.  He’s involved with his community and active within his church.  And he’ll tell everyone who’ll listen how great he is.  He’s a modern-day pharisee, a white-washed tomb – clean, pristine and lovely on the outside, full of decay and rot on the inside.

So, is he right?  Am I controlling and manipulative?  No one in my life has ever said that I am, and my people are brutally honest.  They’ll ascribe such adjectives to me as “bossy” and “high maintenance” (because I know what I want).  And anyone who knows me will tell you I’m opinionated and outspoken, but for a woman CEO who’s raising two strong girls, those are attributes, not faults.

That’s probably his problem with me, though.  I am opinionated, meaning I have thoughts and opinions of my own, not those which parrot the thoughts and opinions of men in my life.  I am outspoken; someone has to be willing to speak out against hate, bigotry, misogyny and injustice while speaking out for love, justice and the right treatment of God’s beloved children.  I am a CEO, smart enough, ambitious enough and hardworking enough to start, run and grow my own business.  And I am raising two strong girls, girls who are bright, compassionate, beautiful and who even now are ambitious and smart enough to grow within my business or strike out on their own.

Yeah, all I am and all I do is definitely his problem, because it’s these things that make me the amazing woman God created me to be.  Give me my “real” pagan, atheist and agnostic friends any day over someone who has no more substance than a Hollywood sound stage.

The Word of God

Roman Urdu Bibles are used by many Christians ...

Illustrating my point… Roman Urdu Bibles are used by many Christians from the South Asian subcontinent (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A commonly used liturgy spoken after the public reading of scripture in worship goes like this:

(Reader) The word of God for the people of God.

(Congregation) Thanks be to God.

The word of God is for the people of God.  The word of God is one source of God’s revelation to us.  It is dynamic – inspired by God through the Holy Spirit and recorded by people.  The Bible itself says that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (II Timothy 3:16, NIV).  Not only is it a revelation, but it has a purpose for us.

The Bible is… a book.

Given that basic reality, I didn’t even blink when a friend of mine related to me a problem she was having in tracking down a Bible for her mom.  My friend’s mom has terminal cancer, and she is too weak to hold a full-sized Bible.  At the same time, smaller, pocket-sized Bibles have way too small of a print for her mom to read easily.  Buying individual books of the Bible “a la carte” is very expensive, and in my friend’s endeavors to find a workable solution, one common-sense customer service representative at a Bible publishing house suggested that Ali take a regular Bible and break it up into manageable parts.

I’m a Baptist, and normally the idea of breaking a Bible would send me to my knees in prayer over the soul of the person wanting to do this.  However, isn’t a person’s relationship with God more important than a book?  I heard a preacher one time say that the Bible ought to be our top priority as Christians.  I’m not sure which seminary he attended, but the “heretical heathens” at Campbell Div (a Baptist divinity school) emphasized a relationship with God as our top priority, followed closely by love for God’s people.  But what do I know?  I’m just a minister.

Anyway, if we as a Bible-believing people are going to assert that the Bible is the word of God for the people of God, then that means we should do all we can to give God’s children access to the pages of the scriptures.  My friend initially balked at the idea of defacing or destroying a sacred text, but it is for a good cause.  It is for her dying mother to be able to read the scriptures for herself, and I can think of no reason more beautiful, more appropriate or more holy.

The word of God for the people of God.  Thanks be to God.

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

Christmas Day, 1864.  The nation was rent asunder in the midst of the Civil War when Henry Wadsworth Longfellow penned the poem “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.”  The original had seven stanzas, two relating to the war that was going on.  I encourage you to read them, but for the sake of this post at this time, I want to focus on the five hymn stanzas:

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,

and wild and sweet
The words repeat

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom

Had rolled along
The unbroken song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,

A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

 
And in despair I bowed my head;

“There is no peace on earth,” I said;

“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

Reading the words to this hymn this morning during church, I wept.  Those last two versus got to me.  “There is no peace on earth, I said.  For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good-will to men.”  Following the horrific events of last Friday morning, it’s easy to see how strong hate is.  Obviously, there’s the hate Americans – parents especially – feel toward the shooter, but my social media feeds have been blowing up with arguments about ways to make sure this never happens again.  Friend against friend, Christian against Christian. Hearts are breaking still, and how does Jesus call us to respond?  With prayer.  When we pray for those families who lost loved ones – children as well as parents and grandparents, brothers and sisters – we surround them with love.  We should also pray for the shooter’s brother, whose mom and brother both died that day.

There’s hope, though.  “God is not dead nor doth he sleep.  The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth, good-will to men.”  We have the assurance that, while Satan may have taken the day in this particular battle, God claims the ultimate victory.  Therein lies the true hope of Christmas.

To hear a lovely rendition of the song, click here.

I’ve got another blog post or two in mind following my reflections after the school shooting last week, so keep checking back, or subscribe and know exactly when I post new articles.

Walking the Labyrinth

Labyrinth on the portico of the cathedral of S...

Image via Wikipedia

Originally posted on 18 September 2010

I had a fabulous spiritual experience this morning. My new friend Sarah invited me to join her at Church of the Servant Episcopal Church in Wilmington to walk the labyrinth. While I was familiar with this spiritual practice, I’d never experienced it.

If you blow the picture up and trace it, you’ll see that there are no dead ends to the labyrinth; the line leads to the center, and after savoring time in the center to pray and meditate, the labyrinth then leads sojourners back out to the outer edge of the circle.  When walking towards the center, sojourners – for, yes, the labyrinth represents a journey – take the opportunity to clear their hearts and minds, enabling God to speak.

As I walked the labyrinth, there were some things I discovered, as well as some things the Holy Spirit revealed to me.

Walking the labyrinth forced me to look down at my path.  As I walked the labyrinth, I had to keep my eyes down so I could see where I was going.  When I tried to look at other sojourners or enjoy the beautiful sanctuary, I risked getting off my path.  The same holds true for our Christian walk.  So long as we’re focused on what we’re doing and what we’re supposed to be doing, then we will find our way staying true to our spiritual paths.

I didn’t walk the labyrinth alone, any more than I walk this Christian journey alone.  Yet, my walk is my own.  As I walked the labyrinth, I followed, I led, occasionally I walked beside another sojourner, I may have, at times, met someone on the walk and once, I had to step aside so someone who was just starting the labyrinth could pass.

My mind could not fill with God until I emptied it of stuff.  In this case, I don’t mean bad or worrisome stuff; I mean all stuff, even happy.  Right before walking the labyrinth was the first time Sarah and I had met in person, and the very first thing we said to each other was the other’s name as a question, and in perfect sync.  Obviously, with our names differing by just one letter, it was rather amusing.  Again, a happy thought, but still one that created mental “noise” and kept me from hearing God as I should.

When I arrived at the center of the labyrinth, my mind was clear, open and being deliciously filled with God.  This may sound bad, but I could enjoy a prayer free of my children (my older daughter and I pray together twice a day, with her daddy joining us at bedtime prayers).  This children-free time with God enabled me to pray just for what I wanted to pray.  I didn’t feel compelled to list all of her sick friends (most of whom are probably well on the road to recovery by now).  It was, plain and simply, my Mommy time with God.  No, it was my WOMAN time with God, a daughter taking quiet respite time hanging with her Father.  As I walked back out of the labyrinth, I felt lighter, calmer and less stressed.

Have you ever walked the labyrinth?  What was your experience of it?

Church of the Servant Episcopal Church is located on Oriole Drive in Wilmington, about 1/3 mile down on the left.  The labyrinth is open the third weekend of each month on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings.

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