Category Archives: Meditation

Always There ~ Epiphany Poem

Always There

 In the splendor of creation

In the artwork of the stars

In a child’s delightful babble

God is there.

In the kindness of a stranger

In each act that knits us kin

On the path to understanding

Light of Life, always there.

 

In the struggle of the waiting

In the silence that follows prayer

In stark abyss called loneliness

God is there.

In the years of expectation

In the hours of all grief

In the minutes that stand frozen

Light of Life, always there.

 

In the longing for encounter

In global hunger for a sign

In the desert labeled hopeless

God is there.

In the flash of revelation

In the aha of our souls

In the mystery of the cosmos

Light of Life, always there.

©January 12, 2013  Cynthia Langston Kirk

Mary Advent ~ Meditation

”Mary Advent”

Luke 1:46-55

Soul Café     December 19, 2012

©Rev. Cynthia Langston Kirk

 

 

Our greetings during this time of year often miss the mark.

 

How many times a day to we utter or receive a Merry Christmas greeting, perhaps accompanied with a hug and kiss?

 

But, as pastors, some of us want to encourage the fact that it is Advent. Wait. Prepare. The trees are up, decorated and lit, but the journey is in progress.

 

Then we hear the rebuttal. But the carols are playing on the radio and often in the sanctuary on Sunday mornings. The Nativity sets on tables and in yards and they include baby Jesus and often the wise people.

 

But it is really the season of expectancy and preparation. Advent is a time of pregnancy with all the elation and struggles that brings.

 

 

Sometimes our greetings miss the mark – Merry Christmas we say and the person responds or wants to respond What’s so merry about it?

 

Many people experience this time of year with dread and gloom and the bright lights and peppy songs only exacerbate their depressed feelings. Many people, perhaps all people this year, are filled with grief.  The songs and bells do little to assuage their feelings.

 

Worship helps. Many churches have Longest Night services that give voice to overwhelming sadness or loneliness. Perhaps your congregation will offer such a time of worship on the 21st. Or you have advertised which nearby congregation  does.

 

As hard as it seems, this is the Season of overcoming perceived odds, of hoping in the face of seemingly lost causes.

 

Some of you may have watched the UA- Nevada football game last Sat. or seen a replay or two.  Here’s how the last 1:51 went.

 

1:51 left – Nevada scored a field goal putting them up 2 touchdowns – some in the crowd may have gathered their belongings to leave. It was the picture of hopeless causes.

 

1:38 – series of passes toward receiver on near sideline so he could catch the ball and step out of bounds, stopping the clock because AZ had no time outs left.

 

:43 – AZ scored

 

:42 – AZ made their extra point

 

:40 onsides kick, fumble and AZ recovered the ball

 

:37 pass to 55 yd line

 

:22 – pass to 8 yd line

 

:20 – TD

 

:19 – extra point making it 49 – 48 in favor of AZ

 

:15 – AZ intercepted Nevada’s first pass

 

:13 – Coach Rodriquez spoke to Matt Scott, could only see Scott’s face, but the coach must have said something like, Just catch the ball and take a knee. Scott smiled knowing what he needed to do.

 

They had prepared to this game

For fully participating in an often grueling situation

 

To communicate and know what to do even with no time outs left

 

To be heads up in order to intercept a pass or recover a fumble

 

To be poised in the face of what seemed hopeless

 

As fun and exhilarating as it is, remember it is just a football game and what happened in the last two minutes cannot measure against what God can do in bleak situations.

 

Oh, we all need to hear and read that this week.

 

And so I wish you a Mary Advent – M-A-R-Y

Mary

Real, nauseating, full of wonder, full of fear

 

Real, raw, laid bare, grueling, the unsanitized version

 

A journey that is paved with hope not wishful thinking

Marrow deep hope that has been experienced and witnessed for generation

 

Not magical thinking, finger-crossed, eager for Santa-down-the-chimney approach

 

It is the hope that Mary, Zechariah, Elizabeth, Hannah, Simeon lived waiting for Incarnational Love.

 

And it was Mary’s yes that moved beyond willingness to participate to her naming needs and ways of being in service. This week we remember Mary, the singer, whose Magnificat was a call to justice.

 

As Joan Chittister wrote “the definition of justice I most often use is this: justice is love expressed in terms of sheer human need: food, water, clothes, shelter, medicine and health care, education, human rights and freedom, hope for a future for one’s children, freedom from fear and violence, the dignity of work, and participation in society and history. “

 

Eastern church’s name for Mary Theotokos “the God – bearer. And that is the crux of the matter: we are all called to be God-bearers, to say yes to Emmanuel, the Incarnate One, to give birth to peace and justice throughout the world.

 

When we are confronted with such a possibility our body language and questions may be the same as Corrine Peters’ Annunciation Mary simultaneously the quizzical look and pointing to self with one hand “me?” “how can this be?”and, with the other hand, touching our bellies in deep reverence for new life and new possibilities already begun.

 

Years ago I read a story of a man and his wife taking their grown daughter to the airport to see her off to the Peace Corps. They all knew the potential dangers of disease and political unheaval, but still she had insisted that this was her path. He said, “Waiting in that airport, it became crystal clear to me that all her life I raised her to be a good Christian and the call she was answering was to be a real Christian.”

 

Do you think that is how Mary’s mother must have felt? I raised her to be a good Jew and she wants to be a real Jew who follows God in spite of assaults on her reputation, even if the path is unmarked and unsettling, even if the way is dirty and demanding. She wants to give birth to the Holy and teach us how to do likewise. And she can remind us that, through it all, God goes with each of us.

 

Thanks be to God. Amen.

Year-Long Celebration Update

AMAZING! It’s been a week and a day since I turned 60 and this is what has been donated, made, given, or promised thus far: Menkes Foundation – $60.00 from the Raglands, $60.00 from the Nichols; Cystic Fibrosis – $60.00 from the Jones; 3 blankets from Jen and J.C., a darling cotton blanket – perfect for Arizona – made by Linda, a magnificent hand-woven blanket made by Barb, and the promise of 4 crocheted blankets from four different friends. Several other big-hearted friends have said that they will be involved in some way.

I attended a cousins’ reunion this past week and one cousin told this memory. A teacher gave each of the children in her elementary class a shell, a rare and exquisite object for central Texas. Each child then incorporated his or her shell which was about the size of a silver dollar into an art project. My cousin Nancy tripped and landed on her art project on the way home reducing her to uncustomary tears. She went straight to the drugstore that her father owned and, between sobs, relayed what had transpired. Her dad, my mother’s first cousin, asked her to take him to the place where the accident had happened. When they arrived, that big, busy man knelt down and picked up every fragment he could find and took them back to the drugstore where he painstakingly tried to glue that shell back together again.

What a beautiful image of a father’s love! And what a fitting image for all that seeks to overwhelm us. People are redeemed, relationships mended, cures discovered one fragment at a time. One check for $60.00 or one blanket may seem a drop in the bucket compared to the need, but it is each check, each diaper, each blanket, each act of generosity that brings hope and healing.

Gratefully,

Cynthia

Poem for January 7, 2012 Sunrise Service at TMC Labyrinth

 A year after the shooting spree that killed five beloved people, wounded several more and left us grieving and grasping for hope, the city of Tucson came together on Jan. 7th for times of commemorating, celebrating, and committing to life, health and community.  It began at sunrise at the TMC Labyrinth at Peppi’s House. The mother drum called us together, constantly beating the pulse of life and invitation. Singing bowls sang the dawn of a new day. Rev. Amy Barron-Gafford, TMC Hospice Chaplain, welcomed people bundled in coats and blankets and read the poem (see below) at intervals during the dancing. Men and women dressed in white with sashes of color danced hope, perserverance, beauty, gratitude, joy and the strength of community.  Those who gathered before the sun rose over the Rincons (including Pam Simon, Gabby’s staffer who was shot and her daughter Summer) entered the beat with egg shakers, shaking them to the pulse, double time, triple time or however the spirit led. Three speakers, including Ross Zimmermann (Gabe’s dad) and Ron Barber, one of Gabby’s staff members who was shot last January, gave voice to commemorate, celebrate and commit. Later, Sinde Rubiner, facilitator of the artists, led us in creating a symphony with colorful  boom whackers. Each section of people had a different color, a different rhythm to maintain, reminding us all of the mulititude of gifts we bring to our beloved community and one another.

May we remember that each day is a gift from the Holy One to be shared and treasured, to be lived with passion and purpose.

Embrace Life

  

Listen

As heart speaks to heart

Calling us to live fully

Calling us to the center:

The rich, fertile place   

Of reflection and renewal,

Of being filled with purpose and passion.

 

Come

Shed the hold of grief, anger, apathy

Pray gratitude each step of the journey

Remembering the ones who alter our souls in beautiful ways.

 

Receive

The fresh breath of hope

Wisdom’s guiding power

Voice and abilities unique to you

And the gift of community.

 

Commit 

Renewed energies to heal this hurting world.

Walk, run, share, pray, teach, advocate

Embrace the giving path.

 

 ©December 5, 2011  Cynthia Langston Kirk

For January 7, 2012 Beyond Event

Ezekiel 37 for Today

Ezekiel 37 for Today

 The hand of the Lord came upon me, and God brought me and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones, parched white bones.  God led me all round them; there were many lying in the valley, and they were very dry and brittle to the point of breaking.  He said to me, ‘Mortal, can these bones live?’  I answered, ‘O Loving Creator, you are the one who knows.’  Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Holy One. O addiction and grief, O loneliness and broken relationships, hear what I say.  You who shamed and belittled others and those who have been demeaned, listen to what I say.  This is what God promises.  I will cause breath to enter you and you shall live.  I will lay sinew on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin.  And put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Great Healer.

So I prophesied as I had been commanded.  I preached and I whispered; I shouted and danced to all the pieces and places that were dead.  Suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone.  I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them.  Then God said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Source of Life: Come from the four winds.  Come from the North and the South, the East and the West, O Breath, and breathe upon these who were dead, that they may live.  I called as God commanded me, and the breath came into them and they lived and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.

Then the Great Reconciler said to me, ‘Mortal, these bones are the whole of my children, the ones who were cast out, the ones damaged to the point of death.  They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.  Our tears evaporated long ago and we lay in the dust of fear and despair.’  Therefore prophesy, show them a glimpse into the future, and say to them, ‘Thus says the One Who Make a Way Out of No Way: I am going to open your graves, open all that has buried you, closed you off and choked life and hope out of you.  I will put my spirit in you and bring you back to the land of the living.

 

©February 2011 Cynthia Langston Kirk