Archive for ‘October, 2016’

There’s a question I ask the middle school youth with whom I get to spend many Sunday evenings:  “Where did you see God this past week?”   We’ve come to call these “God Sightings” and I cherish their trust in sharing their experiences with me.   This beautiful, breezy, cool, autumn Monday, I’d like to share some of my “God sightings” over this past weekend

There were glimpses throughout the news coverage and personal videos of folks weathering the storm.  There were glimpses on social media as folks were praying for others and helping neighbors and strangers alike.  There were glimpses in the blue sky and autumn breezes along the Blue Ridge Parkway, but truly – the most impactful “God Sighting” I had this past weekend was sitting as a visitor, a few rows back from the front of St. Leo the Great Catholic Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.


View from the Blue Ridge Parkway, Looking back towards Pilot Mountain ~ Across the state lines

If you’ve ever been to Catholic Mass, you know the format:  Readings from the Old & New Testament first, then a homily by the priest, usually tying the two together in relevance and grounding.  If you haven’t ever attended a Catholic Mass, here’s your invitation.  They happen every day.   Anyway, after both readings on gratitude this weekend I was expecting a reminder to be grateful for the gifts received into my life.  I got so much more.

Rather than remaining at the altar to speak, the priest came down to the first few rows of the congregation commenting on how the Holy Spirit sometimes moves on a different schedule than we humans can understand.


The beautiful brick of St. Leo The Great Catholic Church, Winston Salem, NC

What happened next was a short few lines inviting us to look around at one another and to remember that WE represent Christ and the Church to everyone who encounters us.  There is always something that draws folks into or pushes folks away from Church; and on that day, the goodness, welcoming nature, and love of the people in that community was being reminded of to be grateful for one another.   Rather than leave the congregation, the priest introduced a young man, had him stand up, and confirmed him there in a beautiful ceremony with a full congregation in attendance.

Normally this process of adults being received into the Catholic Church is reserved for a ceremony during Easter.  But this young man asked for Confirmation early, and was granted it, because as a U.S. Marine he may not be here with his family or congregation next Easter.    At the end of the service, the priest reminded everyone once again of OUR role in keeping one another uplifted, not only in times of trials and storms, but in the ordinary times as well.  And really, if we think about it and look for those moments of Grace, I think even the ordinary time qualifies as a beautiful gift.


Peaceful garden with a statue of Christ. Come, Rest, Peace be with you.

Where did you see God this past week?

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Most of the trees here in this little part of the world are still heavy with green leaves, but, in small patches, there is a glimpse of what is to come. The deepest green just a few short weeks ago, the Oaks are now starting to show a lighter shade, some a little yellow, some tinged in copper, the rest waiting patiently for their time to come.   Meanwhile, more beautiful than any human made stained glass, the evening sun illuminates those leaves already embracing their new hues in the season’s change, as if drops of gold could grow on old trees.


Sun beams and oak leaves reaching one another one more time before sunset.

Around here, the squirrels are competing and challenging one another for the bountiful harvest of acorns.  My grandmother Ava would say “that’s a sure sign of a cold, hard winter.”  My Dad would say “Everything we need to know is right in front of us, we just need to pay attention.”  I miss them.  I would say I miss their wisdom, but I try to use it – even if I don’t speak it –  every day.


Reflection of a beautiful autumn sky amidst a cup of hot tea and fallen leaves. 


These are those in-between days.   Summer is slow to leave, still wanting to linger, still heating the afternoon air beyond sweater range, still bringing the occasional evening storm as a backdrop for its annual dance with Autumn.  Autumn, for its part, seems to be slowly gaining control, emerging from the storms with heavy blankets of fog in the coolness of the morning, soon lifted through the trees up to reveal clear blue skies and another day to dance with the earliest falling leaves.


Just before the sun slipped below the horizon this evening, I looked up once more.  The droplets of gold and copper were no longer shining.  Instead the huge, trees stood like silhouettes against a glowing evening sky.  Earlier than even just last week,  one more hint of the beautiful changes that autumn brings.


Sunset setting the sky aglow beyond the trees

And so here’s to us, my friends,  may we all remember to take a few moments  as we prepare for tomorrow, or the next event in our lives, or the next storm, etc, to be thankful for these little reminders as we wait for Autumn:  Change can be beautiful………

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