I missed my monthly blog deadline on Friday. I was traveling and have a new laptop that is not yet loaded with all of the old automatic passwords and access codes and I was short on both time and patience in trying to re-set a password that I was sure that I had right, but kept freezing me out of the system.
So I punted, close to the deadline, and posted a link on FaceBook to our new Way of Love PODCAST- it’s an adventure in 7 installments, beginning just this week! If you missed it, you can find a link to it on our diocesan website, www.diocesecpa.org or on our FB page for the Episcopal Diocese of Central PA.
I left my 3-day meeting in Williamsport this afternoon and traveled 2.5 hours north to where the Diocese of Central PA meets the Diocese of NW PA and got myself in place for a morning visit to the NW PA church in Emporium. I am here to meet with 3 churches in NW PA and invite them to a process of discernment with some of our churches in Central PA, just over the ecclesiastical border, as we explore ministry and mission together.
As I drove through- and over- the Allegheny mountains, I thought that I would do a “spiritual inventory,” or “examen” on how I am doing with the Way of Love. I preach about it every week… but… how am living it? How is it working in and through me? Here’s a quick check-in:
TURN: I really liked how our Clergy Conference presenter, the Rev. Canon Carrie Schofield-Broadbent presented this W of L practice as shifting one’s opinion about something… having one’s mind changed on a subject. “Turning.” In the past, I’ve thought about “turning”as essentially committing oneself (once and/or again and again) to the Christian Way. I haven’t had my mindset turned lately in any profound ways, in the way that Carrie suggests, but I have felt a bit of an awakening in some areas of social discourse that has me agitated- turning, maybe, to more action. Immigration issues, reproductive rights, wacky things happening in our weather that point to the effects of climate change, matters of sexism and racism… lately, it has felt overwhelming to me… and I’m praying about how to act in response to this turning to see more clearly and deeply into issues of social justice in our country. These are issues of our politics (polis- how we are organized as people) but they are spiritual issues of respect, stewardship and dignity, as well.
LEARN: What am I reading? A couple of novels about Sri Lanka, a place that I will travel to in November: The Road from Elephant Pass, Wave, and Sam’s Story. I’ve picked up Dare to Lead, the latest Brene Brown book, and also have Return from Camino, How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work, and Elasticity on my bedside table.
I learned a lot in these past three days from the good facilitators of the “People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond,” but even more so, from our gathered community, about Internalized Oppression, Internalized Superiority and White Privilege.
And I’m learning how to be patient as I await the birth of my grandson.
PRAY: I continue my regular morning practice of routine prayer, but finished up the Easter Season this afternoon with a glorious 2.5 hours in the car singing along to some of my favorite sacred music. That is a wonderful way to pray. I’ve also been called, lately, to some deep prayers for healing for some people close in my life. That kind of prayer feels very… raw, and almost childlike in its bald intercessions to a powerful God.
WORSHIP: I miss being among my monk friends at SSJE. This is the time of year when I have traditionally traveled to Cambridge for retreat and I’ve missed it.. again. (This year when I called 4 months in advance, there was “no room in the inn.” Such disappointment. I have to be better organized for next year, I guess.) Leading worship is a special privilege. And, when one leads worship all the time, “pew sitting” becomes a special gift. Tomorrow I will get to enjoy that in my travels to the NW PA diocese.
BLESS: I don’t know how I’ve been blessing the world, lately. I feel like I’ve been on the receiving end of a lot of blessings, instead.
GO: I continue to step into new places that make me uncomfortable for the sake of sharing the Gospel and stretching myself. I co-taught a class in polity at the College of Bishops (!!, right?) I’m reaching out in a new diocese to invite small congregations to discernment, I’m about to hike for 6 days on the AT. I am go-ing.
REST: I had a wonderful weekend in CA at my daughter’s baby shower. It took 12 hours longer to get there than the airline had promised, and I ended up at a different airport all together, but once I saw my sweet girls, my heart was at rest. I have another trip to CA planned once the baby arrives, and I am committed to crossing that big green bridge over the Piscataqua River come August if it is the last thing that I do. Down East or bust!
How’s your journey on the Way of Love?