Friday, April 24, 2015

Two Friends

April 24, 2015                              Two Friends                          The Rev. Nancy E. Gossling

Part of the cathedral’s ministry, and MANNA (Many Angels Needed Now and Always), is to provide a space for creative writing. The space is for everyone in general, and for the homeless community in particular. I decided to check it out.
When I entered the room, Jesus invited me to take a seat anywhere at the table. A dozen or so people were busy writing. Soft music was playing; and I was given a prompt sheet. It began and ended with a “thank you.” There was an invitation to quiet our minds, listen to our imaginations, and pay attention to our interests. Directives told us to use strong words, details, and our senses. There was also a quote for the day.
Forgetting myself for a moment, I chose one of the topics, and began to write:

Two Friends”

I went to the museum on Sunday to Find God
I went with a friend who calls God “the Universe”
We found God sprinkled and scattered all over the lawn:
in sculptures made by human hands, and those made by God.
we found creatures in the dark disturbing images of destruction, and
we found our Creator in the light filled houses of glass
There were two hearts:
side by side on the lawn, larger than life, and made of steel
a good thing, I thought; for hearts are frequently broken, sometimes even crushed Friendship can make dark times bearable;
they can even open new pathways to God.
There were two birdhouses:
in the swamp and near some water, simple in design and color
a good thing, I thought; for Friendship can provide shelter from the storm
especially when you’re in the swamp
There were two friends:
walking side by side and sitting together
two journeys divergent and now joined in creative adventure
pencils and cameras in hand, they captured the day with words and images
a good thing, I thought; for beauty lies all around us and within us,
often times seen only in the eyes of the Beholder gazing upon the Beloved
a good thing, I thought; for whenever two or three are gathered together
I can see Christ
at the Table and in the Museum,
And I can begin and end my day with “Thank you.”

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Easter Fool at Folly Beach

Easter Fool at Folly Beach The Rev. Nancy E. Gossling April 18, 2015

I had a different kind of Lent this year. Truth be told, I didn’t do squat, or so it seemed to me. I didn’t give up anything. I didn’t take on anything. I did not give up my self-condemnation, nor guilt, nor doubts. Give up FaceBook? Are you kidding me? That’s community! Give up sweets, or salts, or meat, or spirits? That’s real life to be enjoyed! All I could do was show up at SSJE and Bethany House for prayer; and the cold harsh winter in Boston was enough Lenten discipline for me.
In the recovery world of spirituality, there is an acronym HALT, which means to say that when you are feeling hungry, angry, lonely or tired, it’s time to HALT. It’s time to reconnect with God and/or your Higher Power for help. During this particular Lent, I was hungry; and so Jesus fed me with bread and wine, with chocolate and chips, and with meat and potatoes. I was angry and God acknowledged the injustice and pain, and wiped away my tears. I was lonely, and so my FaceBook friends, SSJE, and Bethany House gave me companionship. Finally, I was tired: tired of too many words and the same old actions or inactions.
My husband Paul suggested we go to the beach in South Carolina for Holy Week and Easter. At first I was horrified by that thought, and yet I agreed to go. What else was I to do? I had an undisciplined and unholy Lent; and now I would miss the footwashing of Maundy Thursday, the crucifixion of Good Friday, and Easter. Game on!
In South Carolina, it all felt odd to me. I felt like a heathen. I washed my feet in the salt waters of the Atlantic; I sacrificed nothing on Good Friday except some time reading Joan Chittister’s “Way of the Cross.” Drinking coffee from a mug that reads “Expect a Miracle”, I gazed down from the window of my hotel room upon an ecumenical Easter morning service on the beach. I wasn’t feeling the joy; and I wasn’t seeing the Resurrection. And then Easter happened.
The Risen Christ was with me in South Carolina. I can’t explain it; I just know it. Christ was risen. As surely as the sun came up over the ocean, as surely as the waters ebbed and flowed with the moon, I knew Christ had risen.
Later in the day, on that Easter morning, Christ was with me at Grace Episcopal Church in Charleston. He was with me in my kayak on Easter Monday. In an estuary in Folly Beach, I witnessed a pod of dolphins unexpectedly breaking the surface of the water. A pod, no less! A holy trinity of three, leaping in a dance of love, witnessing to the joy of recreation! Christ was with me on the beach. Finally, at our last supper in Folly Beach, Christ was with me in the crab cakes, crab legs, and fried green tomatoes!
I have no illusions of castles in the sand, pink clouds in the sky, or feelings of joy that will never disappear. I just know that today, one step at a time, one day at a time, I will never walk alone on the Way to wherever. I know that Grace happens, unexpectedly, wherever you are, and whatever you do. And today, I also feel the joy.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah Blog                        The Rev. Nancy E. Gossling
            I miss writing. I miss reflecting upon life, God, and all of creation. I miss speaking about all kinds of creatures, great and small. I miss having a life that seems purposeful, faithful, and meaningful. I still struggle with Church and Real Life.

            So, today I’m starting my “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah Blog”. Not for you but for me. During this past year, FaceBook has been my community and my connector. I love engaging with people throughout the world, from all walks of life, from the past and the present, and from all faiths and beliefs. FaceBook has also been my pulpit. Using pictures and the words of others, I’ve made comments. I’ve spoken some truths. Not for you but for me.

Today, and this year, I’ll try a blog. Weekly, not daily, I’ll reflect upon life, God, and all of creation. I’ll try it on for a while.

            So here we go: same old blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And also, a new creation: a resurrected body of a blog. I hope it will be somewhat familiar. There will be dirt under my hiking boots, and I’ll be wearing a new shroud. Today, on this Friday in Easter Week, I begin my opus Dei. I hope my new work will be purposeful, faithful, and meaningful. I hope my work will be prayer, and that my offerings of life and love will reflect the Church and Real Life. Hopefully my blog will be grounded in the recently tilled soil of the Word that became Risen Flesh, and you will see my own dirty and restored life stumbling around in the garden of God’s creation as I walk on the Way to….