Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Day 3 Resurrection Story - Via Lucis

The Stations of the Resurrection are a fairly recent phenomenon. The inception is described in Wikipedia:
In the summer of 1988, Father Sabino Palumbieri, Professor of Anthropology at the Salesian University in Rome, proposed the creation of a new set of stations, centred upon the Resurrection and the events following from it, so as to emphasise the positive, hopeful aspect of the Christian story which, though not absent from the Stations of the Cross, is obscured by their emphasis upon suffering. The first major public celebration of this devotion was in 1990, after which it gained greater currency.
In spite of continuing local variability, there appears nevertheless to be an increasing convergence upon the following as a recognised list of Stations of the Resurrection:
Jesus is raised from the dead
The finding of the empty tomb
Mary Magdalene meets the risen Jesus
Jesus appears on the road to Emmaus
Jesus is known in the breaking of bread
Jesus appears to the disciples in Jerusalem
Jesus gives the disciples his peace and the power to forgive sins
Jesus strengthens the faith of Thomas
Jesus appears by the Sea of Tiberias
Jesus forgives Peter and commands him to
feed his sheep
Jesus commissions the disciples upon the mountain
The Ascension of Jesus
Mary and the disciples wait in prayer
The Holy Spirit descends at Pentecost
Other sources, however, including some recent ones, replace some of these
Stations with others, such as:
The earthquake
The angel appears to the women
Jesus meets the women
Mary Magdalene proclaims the Resurrection to the disciples
Jesus and the beloved disciple
Jesus appears to over five hundred at once
Jesus appears to Saul

I share this because I find the power of the resurrection released in these moments. I find this side of Easter amazingly bright and hopeful. I hope there are others (and I know a few) who would like to take part in creating these incredible moments in experiential worship. Via Crucis leads us through the stations of the cross but Via Lucis (Way of Light) is where Christ intended us to live - in the light.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Day 2 Resurrection Story – 4,000 American Soldiers Dead

Some resurrection stories move very slowly. No doubt this one will. There is some momentum for this particular story because of the presidential campaign. People are rising up and refusing to believe that war is the answer. They are looking for the leader who can find other ways to solve problems like this other than by killing people. Have we not evolved to the point that we can deal with terrorists without killing innocent people?

It is my prayer that new life will come from this great tragedy. Many of us remember Vietnam and most remember the Desert Storm. Now we have turned to war again. We have enough experience with war that we have witnessed that no one wins when the loss is so great.

I have hope that we’ll insist on a leader who will set us on a new path toward using our minds and hearts instead of our fists. Then the death will not be in vain because we will have moved closer toward the kingdom come, God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. There will be a new way of life out of the pit of war.

Look at this photo made up of faces of soldiers and then choose your leader.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Day 1 Resurrection Story – Laughter

I’ve let go of the notion from childhood churches that resurrection or new life was brought into the world by Christ. I am more inclined to believe that the possibility of new life has always been present and will be for all time. From the beginning the earth was filled with signs and wonders pointing toward life after death and Christ crystallized the hope that it was true.

Yesterday, Chuck and I sat at a table with friends who are family. While death has touched all of our lives we have still found a way to come to the table with each other and find new life. The evidence of that new life was laughter.

We laughed at how the Wiggins’ are verbally challenged. I asked them in all seriousness if they wanted tofu nut coffee to which the silent reaction and looks on their faces should have told me something. Then I realized that we actually had toffee nut coffee which sounded much more appetizing. Chuck shared his story of reading that Lara Flynn Boyle is dyslexic and then thinking that must be why she’s so thin. We laughed at the South Park episode explaining the connection between the Easter Bunny and Jesus dying on the cross. Jeff brought colored eggs so he must have already known about the secret Hare Club for Men. We tried to watch the movie Enchanted and laughed at how each of us struggled to stay awake after enjoying all that wonderful food together.

Laughter is my mother’s legacy. The most laughter I’ve ever heard was at her funeral. The thing that made her happy was making others laugh. She had found a way to bring balance to all the pain in her life. It was her coping mechanism and how she found beauty in the ashes. As I spoke to individuals in the receiving line at the visitation for her, I could also hear people down the line telling stories of something funny that she had done or said. Even at her own funeral she gifted all of us with the experience of laughing in the midst of our great loss. We could go on because she had shown us how to laugh in the face of death. Life wins.

I imagine there was some laughter after Jesus returned from the dead. Laughter is the result of an unexpected outcome. There must have been laughter that gave way to joy because the unexpected outcome of life after death, resurrection not resuscitation, had been held up, for once and all, as truth.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

40 Days Post Easter

My early memories of Easter revolved around Easter Sunday only. Sometimes there was a new dress, hat and shoes to sport on Easter morning. We usually attended the dreaded cantata if my mom happened to be in the choir. We always found our way to the Easter egg hunt at my grandfather’s church. He was one of the members of the church who would hide the eggs. I was very young but I remember holding his hand as we walked around during the egg hunt and he would kick the eggs out into the open for me to find. Yes, my grandfather and I had a scam going on and we made a great team. I didn’t find the egg with the big money prize. Grandfather was consumed with the faith that he found late in life and so he had to draw the line somewhere.

I didn’t grow up with the practice of Lent. It has been in the past few years that I have come to understand the spiritual significance of Mardi Gras (who would with the emphasis on parades and beads), the ashes on the forehead, the stations of the cross or Maundy Thursday services. These traditions and more were new to me and rich in meaning because I didn’t have years of practice that could have possibly desensitized me to these traditions. My contemplative nature felt perfectly comfortable with the reflection and confession focus of Lent. I helped others experience the darkness leading up to Easter in the different ways that I prepared the altar/stage area for Easter services. I remember winding branches filled with thorns to make a crown of thorns that would hang on the cross. I wept as I made the crown wondering what it was like for the person who had actually made the crown of thorns for Christ. What was their experience? Did they ever come to the full realization of what they had taken part in? Did that person ever experience the message of grace?

Even with the depth that experiencing Lent carried me to it still didn’t take many years before I began to not look forward to it. It was in theology class that I began to understand why. My professor, Ty Inbody, tried to keep his own views to himself but when pushed to share his own theology he did it in two words: death and resurrection. I understood then why 40 days of Lent were too much for me because the focus was significantly on death. The joy and celebration of the resurrection was given one day and then Easter was gone in a moment.

I want and I need 40 days post Easter filled with resurrection stories. I want to think about how my time with my grandfather will be resurrected one day. I want to remember how my grandfather was consumed with his faith and how my grandmother had to keep an eye on him or he would give away everything they owned. I want to figure out how to give eggs filled with prize money to the children who need it. I want to know that a crown of thorns can be a catalyst for transformation.

I want to hear all the ways that death is not the end – but the beginning.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Our small group met last night and, in the midst of watching the primary results, came to the consensus that we prefer to call ourselves a community group instead of a small group. The term "community" reflects more of a way of being together. We had a few minutes of conversation around the identity of our community and arrived at the following:
  • Our priority is on building relationships and providing support to each other.

  • We value time spent in discussion in a more organic manner vs. programming.

  • We seek ministry projects to pursue separately and together.

  • We want music and other forms of expression.

  • We want our discussions to be guided by questions that come from our community.

  • We want to rotate the leadership of the discussions.

  • We want to pursue the purpose of prayer in our community.

  • We want each person to check in periodically when we meet so we can be more transparent with each other.

  • We love the evenings that are just for fun.

  • We'll always find ourselves around a dinner table and enjoying good food.

We tossed around exploring books like the one I have mentioned in previous posts, Pagan Christianity. I also threw out the thought of discussing the similarities and differences between a Christian and a disciple as mentioned in this blog under the second point. We talked about discussing our views of the Holy Spirit. It was also mentioned that we need think about how we could be intentional about reaching out to those who visit our group.

The next time we meet will be on March 18th. We are going to dinner and then to Via Crucis. I highly encourage you to visit this immersion into the stories of the Stations of the Cross. It allows each individual to experience the stories again in their own way. You are welcome to join us or check the schedule and go when you can.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

On-line Counseling

Thank you for your patience while I have my own on-line counseling session here. Yesterday I added a "My Type" application on my Facebook page and took the temperament test again. The first time I took it many years ago I was an INFP but the last two times I have taken it over the years I have moved more toward an INFJ. I thought I was always more of a J because I remember going to stores as a child with my mom and straightening up shelves while she shopped.

Interestingly enough, after reading this description of an INFJ I realized that I don't need to be blamed for anything - it is just my nature to do that before anyone else does it to me. This is the part of the description that explains that:

INFJs, when scorned, take it personally and retreat inward. They may obsess about the relationship and their role in its failure. One INFJ explained, 'people can do the most outrageous things, yet I blame myself for triggering their behaviour or not recognizing it. I see myself as responsible for relationships. Other people can dismiss them --- I'm not able to.' INFJs may blame themselves and experience a period of mourning. If they do not marshall their resources, externalized their feelings, and take risks to move on, they may experience a long periods of self-examination.

That explains why blaming me and not unpacking the problem together is so devastating to me or any INFJ. I am in mourning - but, hopefully, this reminder will help me not get stalled out here. I took a risk and co-led a staff retreat for St. Raphael Social Services where my sister is an outreach nurse. I thought about backing out of it many times but it felt good to be in front of people again, especially reminding these wonderful people that they are picking up the "servant towel" every day and their lives will be blessed for answering their calling.