Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Grace's Window, Discussion 2: "Praying the Apocalypse"

“The Christian year begins in the late fall with warnings of the impending apocalypse. This chaotic upheaval reflected in its scripture readings in turn reflects the chaos of the individual soul in personal cataclysm. Just as individual prayer often begins in facing illness, death, change, tragedy, fires, and floods, the Christian year calls for conversion in the context of the end of the whole world, when the threat of apocalypse awakens the most radical call to prayer.” (p. 4)

Before the birth of Jesus Christ, the world was literally a dark and scary place. God sent Jesus that Humanity (yes, with a capital “H”) might be saved for all time. Jesus IS the light in darkness.

Let’s think about this: is it any surprise that the Christian year begins in the late fall, with all of its dark undertones, and many people in the world feel dark and down in the late fall? I think not. Seasonal Affective Disorder could more aptly be named Sensing Apocalypse Disorder. Our souls, which hold pieces from the beginning of all time, remember this dark time before Christ and they cry out for the Christmas season so that Jesus may be born again and he may walk among us. The falling leaves, bitter cold weather, and general death of nature around us are all visual signals of the world long ago, a world before Christ.

Rev. Guthrie goes on to say,
“During the rest of the time, during the other seasons, prayer does not seem so urgent. Still, I practice this prayer in Advent for that end time, that last crucial breath. I want to learn to pray so that my last moment might be prayer and not a hollow gasp. When I pray for God to rend the heavens and come down, when the skies open for the last time and the Son of man comes on clouds from the horizon, I want to look with longing, not fear, toward the horizon.” (p. 5)

While the soul may instinctively recoil in to a state of prayer, as discussed previously, we must LEARN to pray continuously. We must learn to pray for and during the best and worst of times. Learning to pray certainly does not mean learning fancy languages and postures. Learning to pray means to train your soul to give praise and thanks, and to pray effectively during times of darkness.

The world of prayer isn’t simply “…Dear God….thank you…amen” or “…Dear God…please…thank you…amen” The world of prayer is so much more than that. The world of prayer is much more beautiful, satisfying, and exciting. All of these things we will learn as we continue through “Grace’s Window.”

We must learn it because, as Rev. Guthrie states, “the threat of apocalypse awakens the most radical call to prayer.” (p.4)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Grace's Window

Grace’s Window Discussion 1

"Prayer arises out of the awareness of mortality, rather than the promise of eternal life. Praying begins not so much as a response to a secret, inner spiritual call, but rather to the worldly threat of change, personal cataclysm, or impending death. The soul recoils into a state of prayer. Prayer begins not so much in piety as in panic." (p. 4)

Can I get an amen to that? Lol. How many of us start or finish each day in prayer? How many of us pray throughout the day for things good and bad? Even I, a Christian my whole life, have tended NOT to pray constantly. I wait until something bad happens; perhaps an illness, death, a struggle for a friend in finances or relationships, or a personal struggle in those areas. Praying seems to have become a last resort. "Well, nothing left to do but pray." We need to flip that on its ear. We should pray immediately when facing darkness of ANY kind. That should be our first, middle, and last line of defense.

A friend of mine had a baby in May and he was VERY sick for 3-4 months. She and I have spoken about the power of prayer in relation to her son and she agreed it saved his life. All the cards in every deck in the world were stacked against this little boy. By all medical and logical accounts, according to my friend, she would have put him to bed one specific night and he wouldn't have woken up, the doctors would have labeled it SIDS- but it wasn't. This little boy's mother, father, family and friends KNOW deep within our souls that the strong Prayer and Faith saved his life. There is simply NO medical explanation for his surviving and thriving. Period.

Now that he seems to be out of the woods one might think the prayers could end because the danger is over. However we need to continue to pray for his health and PRAISE his health.

This example is meant to show that while our souls recoil "into a state of prayer" during times of panic, we must praise and pray constantly. We must be thankful the 364 days other than Thanksgiving. Start each day saying "Thank you for this day" and end each day the same way.

Positive energy out-put reaps positive energy.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Mommy Diaries Book Club

Mommy Diaries: Grace’s Window

Grace's Window is a book written by a former priest of mine, the Chaplain of the Episcopal Church at Cornell, Suzanne Guthrie. Suzanne has been the single greatest Christian influence in my life. I picked up this book when I graduated (2005) and am JUST reading it now.

The full title is "Grace's Window: Entering the Seasons of Prayer"
The back of the book says this:

"Suzanne Guthrie teaches us about the seasons of prayer by letting us enter her own. In these forty meditations from Advent through Pentecost, she weaves together her mystical wareness of the presence of God and the experiences of childhood and childbirth, ministry and housekeeping, summer firestorms and family life, suffering and dying. For Guthrie, ordinary life is a window of grace into the holy, where nothing is wasted because everything teaches us the art of prayer."

As I read I will share paragraphs and quotes (some will be religious and some will be good no matter who you are!). It's a Mommy Diaries Bookclub, if you will ;)

Mommy Diaries: Poop

When, exactly, did I become nonchalant about poop on my hands?

I mean, really. Growing up I'm pretty sure that would be the nastiest thing I could have happen during the day, feces on MY HANDS!

Let's see...could it be several months ago in some sleep induced haze when I was trying to change a diaper and he twitched just right, smearing my hand in poop?Possibly.

Or, I think maybe one just gets to a point as a parent where there are worse things than poop. And throw up.

The challenge is remembering to have the hand sanitizer near by.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mommy and the Bible

Mommy Diaries: Climbing out of the valley

In order to climb out of this valley that I'm in, I will post Bible verses that have helped me in the past and I'm counting on to help me again. I'll try to do this once a week. IF you have a favorite verse you want to share, add it in the comments or email me to post it next time!

My first and most most most favorite is the first and only (to date) verse I have memorized. lol. I memorized it maybe in 8th grade?

Matthew 17:20

He replied, "Because you have so little faith [ye of little faith]. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you"

How great is that?! If we hold on to a shred of faith in the middle of darkness and call upon it- we can be pulled out. God is good!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Mommy Diaries on the road

Hi everyone!

Scott, Quinlan, and I have come to Belchertown for the weekend to visit with family and retreat to some nice Fall weather before winter sets in in Lake Placid-yick!

I was just thinking today as I was watching Quinn sleep: I wonder if any baby in the entire world has ever been loved as much as Quinn is.

Let me back up.

We spent this evening at my grandparents house, and it was my aunt's birthday yesterday so we had a nice dinner and a cake. My grandmother made a great ziti-like cassarole and we had wings from the Hangar (which is the same company as "Wings over Ithaca" for those who have had the pleasure).

Either way, we were all sitting at dinner and I took a minute to pause and realize how lucky we all at the table were to be able to eat with 4 generations. My grandparents, my aunt and uncle, my brother and cousins and, of course, my son.

All eyes were on Quinn, of course, whose laughter filled the room and I couldn't think of a better sound. That's when it struck me- love.

There have surely been many dinners and many birthday cakes over the years where the family has focused on the newest addition to the family. Certainly I remember especially when my twin cousins were born-as they were severely premature and clung to life at just over 2 pounds. I remember just ADORING them and thinking nothing in life could be so wonderful.

Enter-Quinn. Something in life can be MORE wonderful (to me).

So, I know there have been babies as loved as he is, but certainly not more ;) And, it makes me happy to know that generations from now my family, some of whom I will never meet, will sit around a meal and a birthday cake listening to the soul-filling laughter of their newest addition in awe, wondering if there's ever been a baby so loved.