Monday, September 14, 2009

"And I had that house of your father's bulldozed to the ground." Forrest Gump

So I might be the only one who is actually glad to see the old church site being transformed into something completely different. Not to minimize what others are feeling, but I'm not particularly sad that the buildings are being taken away and the land is being cleared. You see, my old church was seen as a kind of natural oasis of trees and wildlife in the midst of a rapidly developing area of town. I will miss that, of course. It was a lovely site for my wedding, and my step-daughter and grandson were both baptized there. It was a peaceful area for journaling and praying.

However, events of the more recent past were very painful. And if that church remained in that place, it would stand as a symbol of a friendship, a spiritual mentorship, that went horribly wrong. I'm guessing that if the other party were to read this, it would be interpreted as something insulting, but it is what it is.

My husband said my description reminded him of what Forrest Gump did for his wife Jenny after her death. Jenny's childhood home was the site of abuses at the hands of her father. Forrest bought the house and had it bulldozed. Speaking at Jenny's grave, he reports to her: "And I had that house of your father's bulldozed to the ground."

That's how I feel about the old church site being razed. The site of abuse is being changed and transformed into something new and helpful to others in a different way (student apartments will be built there).

So, I have no tears for the old church site. Besides, as my husband reminded me, the church is not being destroyed because the church is the people. The land is just a place.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Not Just for Lent Anymore

This is a reprint of a reflection piece I wrote for a series of Lenten meditations at my old church. Psalm 19 is the Psalm appointed for this week in the Revised Common Lectionary.

Meditation for the 8th day of Lent by Erlinda R. Blevins
Please read Psalms 19 and 46

One of my favorite composers is Marty Haugen, a composer whose music helped shape my spirituality. As a young woman discovering my faith and connection to God, I sang his music as we celebrated the Mass. Haugen’s “Canticle of the Sun” is an uplifting, joyful rendering of Psalm 19:

Refrain: “The heavens are telling the glory of God,
and all creation is shouting for joy.
Come dance in the forest,
come, play in the field,
and sing, sing to the glory of the Lord.”

I sometimes come to our church grounds to marvel at God’s creation. From the trees to the deer and even the occasional skunk that crosses my path, God’s creation is wonderful. All things “sing” to God’s glory.

But, there is also a challenge posed by these psalms: “Be still and know that I am God,” (Psalm 46) and “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and redeemer,” (Psalm 19).

Anyone who knows me knows that being still is a formidable challenge to me. I want to move, to fix, to change, to make something – anything – happen. I have trouble waiting for God to work in His time. God is telling me to let go, let Him handle things, and know He is more powerful than any problem I face.

However, the greater challenge to me is posed by Psalm 19. The meditations of my heart, the words of my mouth – are they acceptable to the Lord? Do I trust Him to be my rock and my redeemer? I must admit I have fallen short, and hurt people I love as a result. The good news is if I do the second part – trust God to be my rock and redeemer – He will help me conform my meditations and words to His will. How do I show that trust? By praying, studying, and worshiping – doing those things that strengthen my relationship with Him.

Let us pray:
Almighty God, Sovereign Ruler of all Creation, help us grow in trust, allowing you to guide us and conform our thoughts, words and deeds to Your will. Give us the strength not to rush to solutions, but to wait for You to work in Your time. We ask this through Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Here's a little meditative background music (there's no video):

Friday, September 4, 2009

Welcome, New Readers!

A big shout out goes to Peter Pollock, whose blog, "Rediscovering the Church" is linked on the sidebar to this one. Thank you, Peter, for inviting readers to come here. As part of a contest he's running, Peter has invited readers to come to other blogs, like this one. For details, click on the link to his blog.

I'm dashing this note while my grandson is napping. Between work, church, and my stepdaughter's return to school, free time to blog is very precious. I hope to write a more substantive post later tonight.

Feel free to make yourself at home here. I hope you'll see this as a conversation between friends over a coke or a cup of coffee. So, kick off those shoes, and happy reading!