Today is the first Sunday of Advent. May we all focus on the true principles of Advent: peace, hope, love, and joy. Many Advent blessings to all. Melody
Last week I attended a wonderfully informative seminar about end-of-life care as hosted by Hospice Austin and others. The seminar was designed to help facilitate conversations about the endings we want for our lives. Written materials were shared, including a document entitled Your Conversation Starter Kit. The resources are very helpful, and a comment was made that there are phone applications for storing signed Advance Care Directives on mobile phones. For more information, go to: The Conversation Project.
Last month I read a sad but wonderfully uplifting and poignant story in The Washington Post about a mom who was dying. This particular mom wrote letters to her four children to be read throughout their lives, long after her death. As we all know, talking about death and grief and loss is challenging. Articles like these help, I believe. Maybe it will speak to you as it did to me. I commend the author of the story, and most especially this amazing mom.
One of my amazing pastors growing up in Port Lavaca, Texas was Rev. James L. Mayfield, United Methodist clergy. Rev. Mayfield continues to influence my life in profound ways. He recently shared with me and others a Labor Day sermon he preached years ago. It ended with this beautiful pastoral prayer that I wanted to pass along. Blessings on this Labor Day. Melody
Pastoral Prayer: God, on this Labor Day weekend, we thank you for those whose labor provides us food and clothing and shelter. For those who labor to provide us not only with the education we need to earn a wage but also with an education that teaches us to think, for all those whose labor expands the boundaries of human knowledge and for those whose labor in the arts expands our sensitivity, we are grateful.
We give you thanks for those whose labor brings us laughter and entertainment, and we thank you for those who labor to keep society safe from harm and for all who work to change what is wrong, to preserve what is right and to make justice possible for all persons. We are grateful for those who work to bring healing to body and mind and for those who labor to bring healing in relationships. We thank you for those who labor to keep garbage from burying us, for those who do the essential work of cleaning that protects us from disease.
For all those who are willing to carry the burdens that come with trying to serve the public and whose labor contributes to our well-being and the well being of our society, we give you thanks. For all those whose labor serves us in some way, we are grateful.
All this we pray in the awareness of Christ and his labor of love on our behalf. Amen.
This past weekend I was privileged to attend the 2018 Austin, Texas Pride Interfaith Celebration sponsored by the Pride Interfaith Partnership. This very special and life-affirming event was hosted by Shalom Austin and held at the Jewish Community Center. What a wonderful way to kick off Pride Week!!
Below is a part of the Rainbow Candle Ceremony which particularly touched me. Perhaps it will speak to you as well.
Pride blessings to all, Melody
‘We are the love that dares to speak its name, all our names, clear and without fear.
We are the love that celebrates.
We give thanks for all who came before us, our ancestors and elders in spirit, and all who move and march and rock and roll with us now.’
A dear friend of mine recently sent me a posting on Love by the renowned author and priest, Henri Nouwen. It resonated with me, and continues to be on my mind, especially on this July 4th Eve. My hope and prayer is that all political leaders around the world will make decisions based on love, tolerance, support for diversity, and compassion. Certainly we need that in our country, especially as we celebrate freedom and the many men, women and families that have sacrificed in so many ways for our country. My thinking is that only love will ultimately bring our troops home.
Perhaps you will enjoy the Nouwen piece which is also posted below.
May your 4th of July, and beyond, be full of love.
from Henri Nouwen:
Without the love of our parents, sisters, brothers, spouses, lovers, and friends, we cannot live. Without love we die. Still, for many people this love comes in a very broken and limited way. It can be tainted by power plays, jealousy, resentment, vindictiveness, and even abuse. No human love is the perfect love our hearts desire, and sometimes human love is so imperfect that we can hardly recognise it as love.
In order not to be destroyed by the wounds inflicted by that imperfect human love, we must trust that the source of all love is God’s unlimited, unconditional, perfect love, and that this love is not far away from us but is the gift of God’s Spirit dwelling within us.
New Year’s blessings to all. Just recently I was reminded of a wonderful Eskimo proverb that I read many years ago, and which spoke to me again at the start of this New Year. Perhaps this proverb will speak to you in this New Year of hopeful rebirth, honest and meaningful transactions, and much-needed system changes that ultimately reduce injustices in our world.
May you find many New Beginnings and Heavenly Openings in 2018 and beyond. Melody
“Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven
where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us
to let us know they are happy.“