Sisters in Scripture
Humble the Arrogant...please!    1/24/2020
HUMBLE THE ARROGANT—please! 
 
Some people collect saltshakers; I collect prayers.  Perhaps my most impressive example is an edition of the Carmina Gaedelica, a collection of ancient Celtic prayers.  It is thick enough to have, on occasion, doubled as a booster seat for grandchildren.   I am particularly moved by how various peoples and cultures have sought to find words to express their longing to God. 
 
Recently I came across the Amidah Payer or Eighteen Benedictions, a central prayer of Jewish religious life, that goes back to a time before Christ and is meant to be prayed daily.  Much like the Orthodox Evening Prayer that gathers up all the needs of the world and places them before the feet of God, these eighteen prayers both praise and petition God for ourselves and for the world.  In somewhat formal language with all the raw emotion of the Psalms, they bless God and pray for gifts like Understanding, Forgiveness, Healing, the Rebuilding of Jerusalem, etc. 
 
Blessing Twelve, however, stopped me in my tracks: "For the Destruction of the Apostates and the Enemies of God.”  Here was a prayer request I had never entertained before.  I read on with not a little trepidation:
Let there be no hope for slanderers, and let all wickedness perish in an instant.  May all your enemies quickly be cut down, and may you soon in our day uproot, crush, cast down and humble the dominion of arrogance.  Blessed are you, O Lord, who smashes enemies and humbles the arrogant. 
 
This was pretty dicey business, a prayer not to be said by the faint of heart and downright dangerous for its fill-in-the-blank potential.  "May all your enemies quickly be cut down” oh so quickly morphs God’s enemies into my enemies, i.e. whomever I see as what’s wrong with the world, and I get to pray that they "perish in an instant.”  Ta-dah!  I am a toddler with a prayer light-saber, spinning around, decapitating bad guys left and right.  Hmm…maybe not.
 
Another line jumped out at me: "humble the dominion of arrogance.”  Oh, to be relieved of the arrogance that assaults me daily!  I turn on my computer in the morning and a succession of angry faces hurl blame at one another, each supremely confident of their superior righteousness and the utter error of the other.  Yes, Lord, please do, please do uproot, crush, cast down and humble the dominion of arrogance.  Amen.
 
Man, that felt good.  But then as prayers do, this prayer began to turn its light upon the pray-er.  I should not have been surprised, for I have learned that prayers are dangerous in that way.  Arrogant—me?  How by any stretch of the imagination, could I be considered arrogant?  Maybe the arrogance of thinking I am not arrogant?  Maybe even the arrogance of thinking I get to decide who is the enemy, of assuming my enemies are God’s enemies, that the labeling of any kind of enemy is mine to do.  For I have found, like Pogo, that "we have met the enemy and he is us.”  Could I possibly pray that God uproot, crush, and cast down the enemy of my own presumption?  Maybe if I wore a crash helmet. 
 
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Witnesses on the Way - Retreat    1/23/2020
 
 
Witnesses on the Way
Retreat & Stations of the Cross
 
Saturday, March 21, 2020, 9 am to 3 pm
Holy Cross Catholic Church, Lake Stevens, Washington 
 
Witnesses on the Way is an interactive Stations of the Cross that uses scripture, reflection, music and prayer to immerse us into the story through the eyes of those who were there. 
 
In the morning, we learn about various biblical characters and then in the afternoon we will create and pray the Stations as Witnesses on the Way.
 
Our retreat will be co-facilitated by Kathleen Kichline, M.Div. and Betsey Beckman, M. M. Cost: free will offering, lunch is included
 
To register or for more info, contact the parish offices at 360-691-2636, admin@hccclakestevens.org

As a dancer, choreographer, author, mother, wife, teacher and spiritual director, I am passionate about living life fully and fostering creativity in all those with whom I share life and ministry. Rooted in the Roman Catholic tradition, I am a member of St. Patrick, Seattle, where I also direct the dance ministry.
 I love discovering where our stories, especially the stories of women, intersect with God’s saving action.  Family—as in motherhood, sisterhood, being a wife and grandmother, Scripture, retreats, spiritual direction, parish ministry and teaching are all opportunities to grow in that awareness of God’s story within our own. 



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Ordinary Day    1/13/2020

Ordinary Day 
Re-posted January 2020

 
Walk into the comfort of my daughter’s cozy kitchen and you’ll be greeted by a hand-lettered chalkboard saying, "Normal Day, let me be aware of the treasure you are.”  Kristal has a way of bringing hospitality, beauty, and grace into every encounter.  

Now that all the Christmas decorations are tucked away for another year and folks have returned to work and school, it feels like a return to normal.  The church has a fitting name for this season of normal, Ordinary Time.  We are now officially between the seasons of Christmas and Easter which begins, of course, with the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday, Februsry 26th.  We have a full month of Ordinary Time, starting now.  Yay!  Time set aside to grow in awareness and appreciation.  Let this be my new year resolution, to be aware of the treasure of the ordinary.

When I was a teen, Thornton Wilder’s "Our Town,” was a popular presentation for high school productions.  In it, a deceased young mother, Emily, is allowed to return to earth to observe one day of her life, her 12th birthday.  She delights in the rediscovery of every childhood joy and acquaintance.  

"Oh, earth, you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you!” 
 
But her initial joy is replaced by sadness as she realizes how little she or anyone else appreciates the ordinariness of that day.  She laments to the stage manager, another character in the play, 
"Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?”  

He replies, "No.  The saints and poets, maybe.  They do some.”  

Then let us be saints, poets, and mystics!—not too small an ambition for the new year, or at least the first two months of a new year.  Not too big an ambition either.  If Jesus’ coming to live among us means anything, it means that he shared in our ordinary human life.  He chose to spend most of his life, 30 years of it living the same kind of ordinary existence that we do.   

That big gap in the Gospels, the one from the Nativity to his adulthood, those were years Jesus lived an ordinary life.  Like us.  Luke gives us that one tantalizing scene of Jesus in the temple at age 12, but the rest of those 30 years are left to our imagining.  2000 years ago, did Jesus really have a life like ours?
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