Start Here...

Today is a new beginning and I am going to "start here".  While working through the series "LtQ2" one of the women interviewed shared the observations of an old Rabbi.  He has said, "no one can become observant all at once.  There are 631 Jewish laws, pick one and start."  So today I will start.  This is not the first time I have chosen to have a fresh start and it won't be the last.  The point is I continue to choose to begin again and let go of my resentments and pick up the pieces of my shattered life and begin again.  I continue to choose to search and look at myself and see where I am my own worst enemy.  I continue to evaluate where I see the sacred mystery in my life and continue to ask how can I engage with it.

I just spent five days with new friends, colleagues and faces which will journey with me from now on.  I am blessed and I am grateful for these people.  They are the face of God to me.  A God, which is caring, supportive and loving in my life and a God that I can share with all those I meet.  A God which does not need praise or adoration but a God that can walk beside me in human form, Jesus and a God which I feel created me in the grand scheme of the universal creation story and a God from which my spirit continually is attached and fed with a sacred umbilical cord.   A God for which I can be truly and authentically thankful to and for.  That is my definition of God.


Missing links...

Yesterday morning while I was hiking before worship I was walking a familiar road.  This road is a logging road that I walk each morning with some other women.  One morning as we were walking I spotted in the gravel this chain. When I asked the women they said it was tying the road back to the mountain because years ago when the logging company first came in here there was no road.  So they built a road in order to get equipment, trucks and people back in here to Clayton Falls.  Clayton Falls a beautiful place here in Bella Coola and a place where I have been walking to since I arrived here.  Clayton Falls is the home of fish who return to spawn and die.  Clayton Falls provides hydro and is a place where the water falls is tapped into and turns on the lights.  A place where I have watched the water ebb and flow from a small stream to a raging river.

It is a beautiful place were I have sat by the river and recorded the sounds of the water fall.  A place where I spiritually feel fulfilled and love the surroundings.  As I pondered the hands that built this road that takes me to a beautiful place so special to me does the fact a chain holds the road in place erode where I go?  Does this knowledge that people had a hand in this road make the destination any less special?  Not for me.

Soooo... why does the fact that the we now understand scripture to be written by people who wanted to document their understanding of a deity in their time and place make our evolved understanding anything less?  Why is it as we look at a 21st century understanding of science, astronomy, medicine does our understanding of mystery and a divine desire have to stall.  In the past few weeks I have had conversations with people who question Bruce Sanguin's writings that evolution happened?  People who are challenged as creationists and people who believe the bible in such a way they cannot accept evolution because it undermines their belief in scripture.

Like this road, just because there is a chain that holds it to the mountain, it didn't just appear in the mountains, someone built it and had an experience while doing so.  The road did not just appear.  Evolution of the human needs on this planet created a need to build a road.  My need to better understand my faith, my divine connection with the mystery of all that is, creates in me a need to see what was once seen as a divine handing down of scripture is no longer the case.  But it does not undermine or erode my love of what it is I can hold on to as the mystery of creation and something greater than me which is linked to all that I call life!


... a little bread, a little wine, a little faith and a little new thinking...

Symbols ... This picture is of the wood shed at the manse and it is prepared and stacked with wood.  This week I had exhausted the supply of wood in the stairwell and had to do the task of bringing in more.  A few pieces at a time I trampled down the grass, dropped wood chips and moved methodically back and forth from the wood shed to the in house storage.  This is preparation.  Preparation that is necessary because as the days grow more dark than light I know I am going to need wood to keep the house warm.  This wood is the key ingredient I need to stoke the air-tight, cast iron stove that is in the lower level.  This wood is the symbol of heat and warmth.  This wood is my security and a cost saving measure, because this wood saves on oil.  This wood, although simply chunks of what was once trees, is my life-line.  A symbol of what is to come ...

This morning in the wee dark hours, as usual I layed awake in my bed with the red numbers of the clock staring at me from my dresser top. 5:15 AM.  The vertical blinds, while drawn, hung quietly, soundlessley covering the window and I could feel the pillow under my head and it was warm.  So I flipped it over and felt the coolness of the other side.  I reached out into the darkness and wrapped my hand around the tall glass from the night stand, bringing it to my lips and drank from it.  Water, cool and refreshing, slid down my throat.  It had been an uneventful night, thankfully, one free from hot flashes, nightmares or noises from the street.  A restful night which is, for me, rare in these days of uncertainty.  Maybe this is a symbol of what is yet to come....

In the wood pile there were pieces of wood that I wondered what I would do with.  Pieces that I know will not fit into the stove because they are gnarly, gangling, and cumbersome.  Pieces I wonder what I will do with so I leave them behind in the shed. These are symbols of choice.

What is in store for the future?  What is it I am called to do in this world that will make a difference? What symbols should I be looking for that are the signs of hope for the future?  Where do I turn when there is a sense of hopelessness in my existence?  How do I balance that which is moving forward and that which I am called to leave behind?  I am called to be present with the world as it is.  I believe this is the symbol of my future.

This Sunday marks the first time I will create, preside and share in communion in the Christian church were I am serving.  A little bread, a little wine and a table ... according to scripture, symbols used on the night before Jesus died.  According to the accounts in the bible, he called them together, broke the bread, poured the wine and said, "holy crap, I am in trouble! Tomorrow is the day that I knew was coming but now it is here."  He asked them, these people who were his friends, will you remember me?  Will you take my message forward?  Will you share it with the world?  Or will I have died in vain?

My sister and her husband celebrated 50 years married today (Oct. 4).  I was four, and the flower girl.  It was the symbol of their love for each other and just what you did in 1963.  It was the year Martin Luther King died.  It was the year JFK was fatally shot.  It was a year of things we remember.  Many of you won't remember my sister's wedding but you sure remember JFK and MLK.  They both are imprinted on your very soul.  Both symbols of change and remarkable hard work.  Both deaths symbols of a moment when the world stopped, a collective breath was taken, and a second in time when many wondered if they could go on. As Jesus was executed on that day so long ago, his friends must have felt that moment, that second in time where they wondered if they could go on.  Some denied him out of fear, some walked out of the city in disbelief and some dropped to their knees at the foot of the cross screaming.  It is through the symbols of a little bread and a little wine that we realize that life can go on as we remember the past.

But does this mean we cannot change or let go of what we have been indoctrinated with that does not fit with what is real and hopeful?  Jesus died that I can say with certainty.  But was he the product of a god that purposefully impregnated a woman, via the spirit, only to grow to be killed?  For the vegans and vegetarians of the world that thought is as distasteful as birthing cattle just so we have beef on our tables.  Housing chickens in cages and force feeding them to the point of their legs buckling so we have succulent breast meat. For this Christian vegan I cannot believe in a supernatural force that would be that calculating and bold.   This reality is a symbol that I am thinking.  This realization is a symbol that I am part of the world and not a pawn or a piece in a "God's" game of chess.

I have faith in a divine force that is part of a greater universe story.  I have faith in the evolution of mystery where I can sense when all is right in my world and when I am not following a good path.  I have faith that I am part of the Jesus story that he told so long ago.  I reach for the Christian symbols of bread and wine and do so with a heart full of love for what I can accomplish with Jesus as my teacher, mentor and guide.  I can use the scripture as witness to that story as is has been handed down by the great story tellers of the time.  I can in my heart know I am Christian because people will know I am Christian by my love, by my love.  As I find my life and suss it out in the mountains of British Columbia, there is a presence always of those symbols. Symbols that the divine in me is desperately reaching out to the divine in you.

Have a blessed day, raise your voice in justice and speak your own authentic truth.