Thursday, March 5, 2015

Something MORE

Gratitude Note:  For people wanting something MORE for Lent and perhaps beyond.  These are seekers in the best sense of the word who are being intentional in community, meditation and contemplative prayer.  We have about thirty-two people divided into four groups using Fr. Richard Rohr’s Lenten meditations in Wondrous Encounters.  Each day people are reading the scripture-based meditations and spending a minimum of ten minutes in contemplative prayer.  Then each group comes together for conversation, accountability and sharing.  We are just completing the Second Week of Lent, but I am very pleased with the experience – for me as well as those who are on this journey together.  Seeking to live from the Center of who we are in God is both worthy and challenging – listening, waiting and watching – being formed.  This is much more than just studying a book – much more.  I wonder if we can stay with it through Lent to Easter – and then perhaps beyond?  Well, for now one moment at a time.



Wednesday, March 4, 2015

God's grace and mercy for Clay

This Gratitude Note was written several days ago, but I didn't push the right button to publish it.  So here it is -- has a lot of meaning for me.

Gratitude Note:  For God’s grace and mercy for Clay.  Yesterday Facebook told me it was Clay’s birthday – but this priest friend had a terrible mental illness and took his own life last year!  All who knew him felt the pain of the news and our hearts were broken for him and for his wife.  Yet, his Facebook page lives on – a quirk of our social technology I suppose but I was disturbed at first.  Then I lamely wrote on his timeline, “Hard to know what to say -- except let us work together to help others find a better path to wholeness.”  Well, that is true in that we need to be aware and do whatever is possible with and for people at risk of suicide.  Even so there is only so much you can do and sometimes the end is the same.  I am grateful that so many people did in fact reach out to help Clay in every way possible – thank you again.  Looking back on my “birthday response” I want to add my profound gratitude for the grace and mercy of God for Clay – God who knew him before he was born – who was with him every breath of his short life – who embraced Clay in the Divine Kingdom of eternal peace.  And, thanks be to God this is also true for us are still on the journey – grace, mercy and abiding Presence.

False Alarm

Gratitude Note:  For a false alarm – weather alarm that is.  I got caught up in multiple weather reports last night.  All of them seemed to say today would be a mess.  That should have been my clue that all would be well, but I knew I had a day coming that would require being in the car much of the day off and on.  There was the 7:00 Lenten Holy Eucharist in the Chapel, home, office, hospital, Tulsa, hospital and nursing home – not so much unusual, but the threat of rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow complicated things in my mind.  Finally the message “All Will Be Well” came through – no need to live bad weather before it happens.  I slept well and got up ready to discover what was ahead of me.  What a delight – well, ok – a relief to see we had another weather false alarm.  In the end I was able to get where I needed to be when I needed to be there and didn’t have to worry.  Another reason to be grateful.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Josie and Ryan Made My Sunday

Gratitude Note:  For Josie and Ryan who made my Sunday.  Last Sunday was one of those snowy and icy days when you celebrate the Holy Eucharist knowing only a few will be there.  That was certainly true at the 8:00 service.  There were ten of us which included two of my Youngest Friends, Ryan (8) and Josie (9).  When we were passing the Peace to each other midway through the service, I had an impulsive moment and asked them if they wanted to help me at the Altar.  My somewhat shy friends also had an impulsive moment and quietly said, “Yes.”  Their heads came to just above the Altar, but they got the bread out, poured the wine and water in the Chalice, washed my hands and turned the pages as I prayed the Great Thanksgiving.  Then we shared Holy Communion behind the Altar.  I cannot know what all of that meant to them, but I can tell you…well, no I can’t explain what it meant to me.  I can only say it was one of those sacred moments, one of those thin places, that just happened and I am still enjoying that moment.  I am still so grateful.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Little Sister's Letter about Camden -- 25 years later

Gratitude Note:  For a Little Sister’s Letter about Camden – 25 years later.  This letter was on Facebook and also in a publication promoting Big Brothers and Big Sisters.  I was completely blown away by this tribute to one of St. Luke’s members and personal friend.  You just never know when any act of kindness and love will make a difference great or small.  And sometimes you find out twenty-five years later you made a huge difference.  This is a marvelous example of the Light of Christ shinning from one person to another that is truly transforming.
Sarah Rivera wrote to a friend ~~ Sounds like you have a wonderful Big Brother! I was matched with my Big Sister Camden Campbell 25 years ago (wow! just did the math). She has been with me through all of life's ups and downs and I got to have her with me through graduations and my wedding. She has had an incredible impact on the person I am today. Anytime I am asked if I have siblings I say of course...I have the most wonderful big sister anyone could have! Sounds like you have the same thing. It is nice to know there are wonderful people willing to give of themselves selflessly to make a difference for the life of a child. High five to all the Bigs out there and from the bottom of my heart...Thank You and please keep it up because you do make a difference!

Diamonds in the Snow

Gratitude Note:  For diamonds in the snow.  I must confess I enjoy the snow.  Watching two days of constant snowfall has been amazing.  Surely it would be less amazing in proportion to the amount – think Boston!  Our deck looks out into the woods toward the Pathfinder and days like this I never tire of the enhanced natural beauty.  Watching the birds at our four feeders just adds to scene.  Having said that, Friday night was enough to dazzle me.  We had dinner with friends across town.  When we started home, Lynda and I immediately saw the “diamonds in the snow.”  I don’t think I have ever seen the snow glisten like that before.  There a mystical quality about it – like the world for a time was like it is supposed to be – beautiful, peaceful and hopeful.  Granted the snow was minimal and I didn’t have trouble getting where I needed to go – but oh, the diamonds in the snow…a wondrous sight.  I am grateful for such surprises.  They speak to me of God’s creative presence.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Sue's Letter Discovered

Gratitude Note:  For a letter discovered after Sue’s death.  A week ago we had the Requiem Mass for Suzanne Sparks – longtime member of our parish.  A few months ago Sue had serious surgery before which she had me give her Last Rites “just in case.”  She survived the surgery and did reasonably well.  Then pneumonia and infection proved too much and she died.  Shortly after her burial Shelly, one of Sue’s daughters, found this letter in a drawer.  She had been very frail and her handwriting was shaky, but her mind and heart were clear.  And once again, my heart was filled with love and gratitude.

To my St. Luke’s Family:  Recently, the phrase “St. Luke’s Family” had and took the opportunity to become even more meaningful to me.  It is truly great that I have for many years appreciated that it is what St. Luke’s really is – that is that there is great love for the Lord and caring and love for each other.  I have been so fortunate during my life as to realize now I have felt this way during a life time of several churches beginning at St. Paul’s in Dewey to Denver and finally a return to St. Luke’s.  But your prayers and love were truly palpable in my soul as I passed thru a successful surgery and began a long recovery – not yet finished.  This is a powerful ministry for our church and I thank you and most of all I thank God for you. 
In Christ’s love,
Suzanne Sparks