Sunday, November 23, 2008

Worship at the Iona Community

We have worship twice a day here -- at 9am before work and at 9pm at the very end of the day (things change in winter, but that's the routine for most of the year). I'm finding it very important to me to have the day framed by worship and prayer, even on the days when I'm not particularly paying attention or feeling prayerful. It reminds me that God is here no matter my experience, that my day is filled with God and goodness, whether I notice it or not -- indeed, whether I want it or not. I'm reminded of Psalm 139:

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there.
If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
If I settle on the far side of the sea,
Even there, your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say "Surely the darkness will hide me
And the light become night around me,"
Even the darkness will not be dark to you,
The night will shine like the day,
For darkness is as light to you.

Now add to that the fact that, as I sit writing this at 4:05pm, the sun has set, and it won't return until 8:30 tomorrow morning... it's nice to know that even the darkness is as light to God. =)

For all of this -- God's presence everywhere, the days framed by worship, the light in the midst of the dark -- I am immensely grateful.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Language Casualties (warning! adult content and language...)

1. Yesterday in the grocery store: "unsmoked joints"

2. A week ago in staff conversation: "where can I get some rubbers?" "There are lots of them in the cabinet in the front office. Help yourself."

3. Last time I was here in my words... oops: "Wait just a moment. I need to go get my fanny pack."

4. I've been trying to be really good at this one, but slipped up in talking about my murder mystery costume: "I think I'm just going to wear some black pants tonight. Does that sound okay?" (insert here shocked and then bemused faces of my housemates)

5. Last time I was here, in the words of a vollie: "I'm dying to suck a fag." (insert my shocked and confused face and a quick sputtering of explanation on his part...)

6. Last week at Dunsmeorach, conversation between my housemates: "We're going out. You coming?" "Yeah! I'm just going to get my glad rags on first, though."

And now the keys to those conversations, in case you need them... rubber = eraser, fanny does not equal bum, joint = a cut of meat, fag = cigarette, glad rags = dressy clothes, and, of course, pants = underwear.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Babies and choirs...

I've been thinking lots about babies lately... One of my friends is struggling with having lost a baby and all the grief that means, another of my friends is newly pregnant, another of my friends is very much wanting a baby but being able to have one seems unlikely. And there is a cute little kiddo that's part of the community here...

I've also been thinking lots about choirs lately... I lead about three or four different choirs a week, now, most of them full of people I've never met before...

And I have to say that there are some uncanny similarities between the two. (Didn't see that one coming, did you?) =)

I'll let you make most of the connections, but the biggest one I was learning last night was how much of a mirror babies and choirs are. I was directing a choir and realizing that they sounded very proper and were hitting all the right notes and making good sounds, but that they were very rigid and horizontal in their singing. As I tried to think of why, I realized that this is something that I, myself, struggle with, and I further realized that I had been teaching in a very horizontal manner. They were simply imitating something I was unconsciously demonstrating. It was amazing the way my choir mirrored to me something to improve in my own self and way of being.

Kids do that too, don't they? They have such a knack at making us notice things in ourselves, simply by their imitation of us. It is indeed a frightfully wonderful thing to be a part of a child's learning.

And choirs... perhaps a bit less frightful, but still quite wonderful. =)