cairns me home

being still in God's big world

Category: 2010 (page 1 of 2)

I’m just looking for someone to walk with me…

I spent this morning writing my Ash Wednesday sermon. This may sound a bit odd in light of the fact that it is the day after Thanksgiving and only 3 days before Advent 1, but I assure you, all of these things played a heavy role in the text that resulted. First of all, the sermon is for my preaching class and since I do not have another sermon to be preached at field ed this semester I figured it would make good sense to write a sermon that I will use next semester. Second, since Advent is another penitential season of the church year I was able to settle into the task quite well. For me, the connection between Lent and Advent is intrinsically bound so going to that place required commitment to begin the journey a few days early.

Ten years ago, when my mother died, Advent became my Lent -A role reversal of sorts that works on the outside because they are both penitential seasons, but in the hustle and bustle of the commercial Christmas season can be quite a difficult feat.

Now, as I prepare for the ten year anniversary of that season and that day, my whole world is different. I am more the woman my mother knew I could be, but that I, in my adolescence, had no knowledge of. I still ache for her: this time of year more than any other. But I smile too, because she would be proud. Advent is my lent. I prepare for a birth as I prepare for a death. I search my heart and ask what God wants of me. My adolescence stopped abruptly and I wasn’t ready. In that time I was so angry and wanted to know what I had done to deserve the ache; but now I ask what I did to deserve such a wonderful woman to be my mother for even those 19 years.

So this Advent will begin with the traditions I learned growing up: with the preparation for a birth. I will decorate. I will sing. I will worship. I will sit quietly and know that God is God. I will be thankful. But a different tradition that I have added to my repertoire is that I will remember. I will remember who it is that God has called me to be, and I will remember the many gifts that God has given me along the way to help me become the woman I am called to be. I will remember and give thanks for my mom.

I listened to a Kris Delmhorst song on repeat for much of my sermon writing process and I offer you now the words of the chorus:

“I’m not on no yellow brick road, got a mind and a heart and guts of my own. I’m not looking for a one to set me free. I’m not on no yellow brick road; I’ll find my own way home. I’m just looking for someone to walk with me.” -Yellow Brick Road by Kris Delmhorst

So, I invite you now to walk this Advent road with me. I invite you to remember what it is that we are preparing for even when the commercials and store displays try to distract us from the truth. And I invite you to give your loved ones a hug and to thank them for walking with you. Thank you, my friends, for walking with me.

goodbye dear friend.


I suppose it is fitting that my last service at the Virginia Theological Seminary chapel was the Thursday evening prayer and praise service; it was, after all, the Thursday evening service that solidified my understanding that I belonged at VTS. When I toured VTS two years ago I arrived on a Thursday afternoon. After a nightmare-ish cab ride and wandering around lost for several hours a helpful student pointed me in the direction of the welcome center and there I learned that there would be a prayer service in the chapel at 5:30. We sat together in the choir on the raised chancel and sang songs led by some students with guitars and banjoes. I was asked to read a lesson and after the service the students brought me to the refectory. In my first few hours on campus I was afraid I had made a terrible mistake coming to visit VTS, but when I sat in that chapel looking at the stained glass window of Jesus at Gethsemane and heard familiar songs on the guitars I felt at home.

Our chapel got a hard rap. Some people didn’t think the chapel at the seminary was aesthetically pleasing. There were four different colors of stained wood, the windows didn’t match in color or style, it was not a moveable space and it looked like it was designed for a high church crowd when we are decidedly broad church, if not low. But I thought it was beautiful. Oh sure, I went along when we dreamed of ways of improving it, but at the end of the day… I hate change and I really liked it just as it was. It was at least comfortable… homey. Last fall when I was having a tough week I was walking out of the chapel and I saw a prayer stone left on the lip of one of the stained glass windows. It had been there for months, since the FTE conference that met there in July, and seeing that stone on that day reminded me that God was right there with me. The prayer stone remained on the window sill all year long. No one ever moved it. There were a couple nights last year when I went to the chapel in the middle of the night just to sit and be still with God.

Today I stood out on the lawn in the grove as we watched the chapel burn. White smoke was barreling out of the roof, I was one of the first to spot it and call 911. It was too late. I listened as the slate tiles on the roof popped and cracked. I watched as the orange flames broke through the roof. I cried with my classmates and the staff as we helplessly watched the stained glass windows shatter and the roof fall away. I looked on in horror as a place I loved so much went away.

But I did something else too, something besides simply watching: I prayed. In the midst of it all I felt a classmate grab my hand and I looked over as students, teachers and staff all joined hands. Then, Ginny -the middler class president and all around classy lady- started the Lord’s Prayer. We prayed. I prayed for the firefighters who worked hard to ensure that the other buildings were safe. I prayed for the alums who couldn’t be there with us. I thanked God that no one was inside and no one was injured.

I am on a plane on my way home for a week. It hurt my heart to walk away from school today -to turn my back on the people I love as they stayed and watched and cried. But it is where I am supposed to be. I heard that they held a prayer service in Scott Lounge at 5:00 while I was waiting at my gate. I prayed too. I called my friends who went to VTS in the past. Peter was at his diocesan convention and he texted me to let me know that the Diocese of Western Massachusetts was praying for us. Mostly, I was in shock because as much as I prayed and as much as I talked it hurts. I am grieving. I am sad that I will never walk into that chapel again.

Last night at the Thursday evening Prayer and Praise service we sang my favorite song. Caleb and Ginny played guitars. I read the OT lesson from Ezra. I arrived at the service early because I was having a stressful day and I wanted to sit and be still with God. God met me there and I left feeling revived and thankful. I am going to miss the VTS chapel. I will miss hearing Charlie Price’s piano and the beautiful music that people make on it. I will miss the Gethsemane window that I used to sit and study. I will miss the mission window with the man riding the donkey into the village. I will miss my seat in one of the back pews on the right against the pillar. And, of course, I will miss the six toed Jesus. (Yes, I said six toed Jesus.) But most of all I will miss the quote on the east wall that everyone jokes is preached about too often: “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel.” It was a daily reminder of my call.

In spite of all that I will miss, though, I know that it is only the building that is gone; because the chapel is really a combination of the talents and hearts of those who worship there. We loved that building but as my classmate Jennifer said, “It’s okay, the Holy Spirit is out here with us.” Our hearts, our songs, our words, our prayers: we are VTS.

 

What is your mulberry tree?


“I came to church in a difficult place this morning and now I am leaving changed.”

“I don’t ever take notes during church, but I couldn’t stop writing.”
 
“Your sermon was pretty.”

 

Above are three of the comments I received after preaching my first field education sermon this past Sunday at St. Anne’s. I think the lessons I learned this summer preaching two, let’s face it, not so hot sermons at home was: listen to my own inner voice. I spent so much time stressing about what others would want me to say that I lost my voice this summer. Sunday, I think I took a little of that back. Thanks be to God. My sermon below is based on the lectionary texts from this past Sunday:

2 Timothy 1:1-14 and Luke 17:5-10.

Why is it that the Gospels are constantly calling on us to do hard things? I am waiting for the gospel lesson that says, “Jesus told them they were doing a great job and that they should keep up the good work.” But I don’t think that one is coming anytime soon.   Last week we heard the story of Lazarus and the rich man. As Fr. Jim pointed out, this was an excellent lesson to start our stewardship kick off, but a difficult lesson nonetheless. The Lazarus story calls on us to share our material wealth while this week we are called upon to share our faith.  At first glance this gospel lesson looks a little less challenging. Jesus is telling the disciples to use the faith that they have. It may seem less challenging, however, immediately before this section of the gospel text, Jesus says to the disciples, “It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble.” He goes on to explain that even if the same person sins against them 7 times a day, they must  continue to forgive that person if they repent.   When I consider how I feel when someone has done wrong by me I recognize how difficult a challenge this charge can be. Sometimes it feels like it will be impossible.  And then, when I look at the claim that Jesus is making I am even more confused. Jesus tells the disciples that if they had even a little faith, they could tell a tree to plant itself in the ocean and it would obey. In the gospel parallels of this verse Jesus tells them they could tell a mountain to move aside and it would.  Forgiving those who wrong them, not leading others into sin, and moving obstacles the size of mountains or trees… that sounds like a lot to ask of one person.  So that brings me to the question on my heart: How am I to move the mulberry tree in my life?

We all have those things which seem impossible to bear –those obstacles which are too tall to even consider scaling.  For the disciples, their challenge was following Jesus’ directive to forgive those who sinned against them and to keep from leading others away from the true path. It can be hard enough to keep one’s self on the right track, but for Jesus to tell the disciples that they must also consider how their words and actions will affect others seems a tall order.  And after all that, there is still the mulberry tree in our way. Even if we are able to forgive and to guide others on the path there is still more to do.

One of the things that attracted me to St. Anne’s when I was looking for a field education parish was the amazing involvement of parishioners in the many ministries that are offered here: Christian formation classes, youth group, Koinonia small groups, a 20s/30s ministry, programs aimed at feeding the homeless, a partnership with ministry teams in Liberia, a thriving lay reader and lay Eucharistic minister ministry, successful music programs… the announcements go on and on! This church has its hands extended out to the world. That means there are numerous opportunities to plug in; and I imagine that sometimes it can feel overwhelming.  Juggling soccer schedules, client meetings, family obligations, and all of the other things that pull on us from many directions it can feel like any one of them has become your mulberry tree.

In a society so caught up in what more we can do, this passage is actually asking us to do less.  Less holding of grudges, less desiring of those things which we think we lack, less perseveration on the difficulty of the task ahead:  this passage is inviting us to let go and to trust that God has given us all we need and that the bit of faith we have is strong enough to get us through.  What Jesus is instructing in the example of the mustard seed of faith is that contained within that one, tiny seed is the possibility of so much more. The fact that so much possibility can be contained in such a tiny seed seems impossible.  Jesus is asking the disciples to stop doubting that what they have is enough and to start trusting that God can and will work through the gifts they already possess. He is asking them to let go.  If they hold tight to the seed for fear that it is too small to amount to anything they will never have the opportunity to experience what it could become when planted and cared for.

Less fear makes room for more faith. When we let go of a grudge we make room for more love. Less desire for things we lack means more gratitude for the blessings we enjoy. Less fear of the journey ahead means more curiosity about where the path will lead. Less obligation to the task at hand means more joy in the act of charity contained therein. It is only when we loosen our desire to control the outcome that we are able to cooperate with God who is already working through us.

If we look to the reading from Timothy we see a faith that has been passed along through the generations by the Holy Spirit.  It is described as a “sincere” faith and the author is encouraging Timothy to “rekindle the gift of God that is within [him]… [because] God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.”  The gift of God that is within him.  It is already there, Timothy is being invited to use his mustard seed of faith.  The spirit of power, love, and self-discipline is all contained within that tiny seed. Timothy is being encouraged, along with all of us here this morning to let our light shine from within rather than doing more to force the light out.  The ministry opportunities at St. Anne’s do not require us to stand before Christ and to ask for more faith or more gifts; the ministry opportunities invite us to spend less time worrying about the skills we think we lack, which will in turn give God the space God needs to work through us with an authenticity of our faith.  When we hear members of St. Anne’s standing up for the stewardship drive in the coming weeks asking for our offering of time, talent, and treasure it is a chance to search within ourselves to ask what is the “more” we are doing that could be getting in the way of what God would like to do through us.  Which mulberry tree is Jesus asking you to send out to the ocean?

When discussing the passages for this week with a friend I was introduced to an image from Julian of Norwich that has remained in my prayers ever since. Julian writes,

—> (hold up hand with an acorn between my thumb and forefinger.)

“In this vision he showed me a little thing, the size of a hazelnut, and it was round as a ball. I looked at it with the eye of my understanding and thought “What may this be?” And it was generally answered thus: “It is all that is made.” I marveled how it might last, for it seemed it might suddenly have sunk into nothing because of its littleness. And I was answered in my understanding: “It lasts and ever shall, because God loves it.”

What a gentle, lovely image. Everything in all of creation contained within a single ball the size of a hazel nut. All that has been and all that will be contained within something so small she has fear of losing it. (put acorn away) But there needn’t be any fear because, “It lasts and ever shall, because God loves it.” Less fear, more love.

Before coming to seminary I worked as a Child Life Specialist, helping pediatric patients to cope with their illnesses and injuries. About seven years ago I had the privilege to work with a 17 year old girl named, Jessica. Jess was a senior in high school. She was beautiful and smart and talented.  One September morning while driving herself to school, Jess was traveling up a hill and as she came to the crest of the hill the sun momentarily blinded her. When her eyes adjusted to the light it was just a moment too late.  A school bus was stopped right in front of her. She slammed on the brakes but her car continued forward and ended up underneath the school bus.  She was paralyzed from the neck down.  Jessica came to the hospital for months of inpatient treatment and rehabilitation. She had to learn how to do everything differently. She would never regain any movement in her limbs. She had to learn to operate a wheelchair using a straw she blew air into. She had to learn about her medications and about complications she might experience. This beautiful, 17 year old girl who had just gained so much freedom and was applying to colleges had to learn how to rely upon her parents for everything from getting dressed to washing her face to feeding herself. Jess’s life seemed to be crowded with Mulberry trees.  But there was something very special about Jessica: her smile.  Jessica was always smiling. She would sit at the nurses’ station telling them stories and singing songs. She asked me to give her voice lessons because her injury affected her diaphragm and she wanted to regain breath support so she could sing in her church choir.  Jess told everyone who would listen that God had a plan for her. She didn’t yet know what that plan was, but it was her intention to continue to sing God’s praises everyday trusting that eventually it would be clear. Jessica chose the road of less: less anger, more joy; less blame, more curiosity; less complaining, more singing. Jess chose to take the mustard seed that was given to her and to see what God would do with it if she let him.

Jessica has a lesson to teach us all: we don’t have control over what is given to us, we only have control over what we allow God to do through us with that which we have been given.  A few minutes ago we baptized five new members into the body of Christ. Five new people were reborn into the possibility of everlasting life. But when it came time to collectively join in the baptismal covenant we did not promise to persevere in resisting evil, strive for justice and peace, or seek and serve Christ in all persons all by our selves:  we promised to do those things with God’s help.  Jesus didn’t tell the disciples that they had to move the mulberry tree all by themselves: Jesus told the disciples that if they had but a mustard seed of faith, they would know to trust God working through them to accomplish great things.

I was lying out in the oak grove at school last weekend reading a book. A great wind stirred up and a shower of acorns clamored to the ground. What if each of those acorns was a mustard seed of faith, or, like Julian of Norwich describes, a little container of all that has been made… imagine the possibility contained in the acorn allowing itself to fall with the gravity rather than struggling to remain on the branch…  at the beginning of my sermon I said that I was waiting for the gospel lesson that says, “Jesus told them they were doing a great job and that they should keep up the good work.”  I think that is the opportunity presented to us today. Let’s write that gospel lesson together: with less fear and more faith God will be able to do more through us because God loves us and has already given us all that we need. Remember, “I will, with God’s help.”

if at first you don’t succeed…

Last month I preached the first sermon I ever had real reservations about. At 11:30PM the night before I finally had to put it to rest and say “it is enough.” Inspiration was hard to come by and I was having a hard time allowing myself to rest in the preparations. I spent the whole week thinking about the passages and I feel like my heart had a direction that it wasn’t communicating to my mind. I preached and experienced another first: my first ever coffee-hour sermon dissection. An intelligent and faithful woman asked me if I would like some constructive criticism and I invited it. She proceeded to articulately point out the shortfalls of my sermon as well as to offer advice for where I could have expanded. I took it all in and tried to remember to take it constructively. It stung. Although I was not particularly proud of the words I delivered, I wanted everyone else to feel fed. I felt as though I had failed.

Reflecting on it over the past few weeks I have embraced the opportunity embedded in this experience. I was disappointed in myself but I have to remember that I cannot hit every single sermon out of the park. In addition, I cannot expect to please all people even if I preach the best sermon of my life. I need to balance my expectations of myself. But, I need also to learn to ask for help sooner in the process when I need it. I wish I had structured my preparation time differently. I wish I had invited conversation with peers before the full introspective examination of the verses. I wish I had breathed more. I am proud of the beginning of my sermon. I was authentically myself in the beginning but then it just unraveled.

I am excited to start preparation for my next sermon. I am preaching at the end of the month on the passage where Jesus teaches the disciples to pray the Lord’s prayer. I need Jesus to teach me to pray right now… to give me the words when all of my own words escape me. I want to be okay with hearing a friend say, “To tell you the truth, I was disappointed with your sermon.” I want to trust Jesus and the Holy Spirit to meet me where I am and to help me in the process of writing but for them to find the space I must structure my time properly. Come, Holy Spirit.

There’s much I to do in the coming weeks, the most important of which is to breathe.

The song I carry in my heart this week is:

Breathe on me, Breath of God

Fill me with Life anew,

That I may love what Thou dost love,

And do what Thou wouldst do.

 

In Christ’s Immeasurable and Indescribable Love,

Audrey

tales from the book fort

If I could live in a library I would. And not one of these new fangled libraries with their computers everywhere and teenagers busy chatting in the corner. I would live in a musty smelling brick castle of a library with shelves from floor to ceiling and ladders to reach the upper most shelves. There would be panes of glass warped from time and brass desk lamps with green glass shades. There would be overstuffed brown leather arm chairs in the corner and oriental rugs in front of marble fireplaces. And it would smell of old books and there would be lots of friendly faced patrons reading quietly, engrossed in the wonder. I would want my library to be situated near a stream with weeping willows along the bank so I could bring my treasures out to read by the water.

There are not enough hours in the day. There are too many things to do and places to go. And there are too many books that I want to read. I haven’t had time to read this summer and I want to very badly. Perhaps this will be a good self-care goal: to read. It took so long for me to get the hang of reading that I feel my life will be spent catching up on all of the reading I missed earlier.

Today I will start a book. It will be grand.

CPE survival blog

So, I am sitting on my bed drawing a total blank when it comes to writing my CPE reflection paper for this week. So, what do I do instead? Compose a blog posting of course!

This past week I stayed on Peaks Island for the whole week. I rode the Ferry, breathed the salt air, swam, and generally relaxed. This is a good thing because CPE itself has been tremendously difficult. We had mid-unit evaluation, presented a paper about our personal experience with suffering, and then I presented a verbatim of a difficult interaction I had with a patient. I am feeling a bit beat down, but I also see the potential for growth that can be born of these experiences.

For my own survival as a minister I MUST learn how to chill out. I am far too keyed up and stress too easily. I make most things harder than they should be. Self care is an absolute priority. If I don’t figure this out now, my life as a clergy woman of the church will suffer. I talked to two of my closest friends in the past couple of days and those ladies are really floating me through. I see God in the day to day and the interactions I am having. God’s presence is definitely seen… and there are days I can feel God. That is truly a blessing for which I have been praying.

This weekend I will unpack. And go to the beach. And play with my nieces. And go hear some music. And run. And take a walk to the river. And relax. This weekend I will breathe. And it will be good.

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.

Amen.

Being still…


I am sitting on the front porch of a lovely house on Peaks Island in Maine. (Thank you Jon and Beth!!!) The western facing porch looks over the harbor and I am watching as a fiery orange sun slowly sinks below the horizon. Time moves more slowly here. I sat on the ferry enjoying the scenery on the way over and then arrived at the house wondering what to do first… and then I realized. I don’t have to do anything. I got changed and rode a bike around the perimeter of the island. Came home, put on PJs, read the lectionary readings for this week and then decided to just sit on the porch and watch………………

The sky is now a brilliant mash of mauve and lilac and rose with a trace of tangerine lining the clouds. The sun is gone. The bell on one of the buoys is ringing in the distance. I love Maine. I love everything about it. On my bike ride I started going around and could smell the salt and the seaweed. I breathed as deeply as I could trying to take it all in. Then there is a wooded part and immediately upon entering that I could smell the husky pines and the clean wood air. I could have continued riding all night if it weren’t for work in the morning.

I am a lucky girl. I am loved and supported. I live in the greatest of the 50 states. I am in formation for a calling which encompasses my entire being. I can see and feel and sense God’s presence all around me.

Next week I will spend 3-4 nights out here. I cannot wait. I want to run around the island perimeter. I want to have a picnic on the water. I want to breathe deeply. I want to put my toes in the Atlantic. I want to be still and know that God is God.

Now, if only my sermon would write itself. Alas, this too can wait.

Holy and Gracious God,
Thank you for the sounds of maritime bells and vessels, for birds over head.
Thank you for the orange sun and the purple, velvet sky it leaves behind.
Thank you for the cool fresh air and the smell of home.
Thank you for people who love me: crazy and all.
Thank you for night and the stars it will bring.
Thank you for shadows, and thank you for sleep.
Amen.

*The image above is from Michigan 2006… I do not have my camera here tonight.

CPE is for me!

Perhaps if I say the title of this blog with an exclamation point at the end I will begin to feel the excitement. 🙂 CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) is a mandatory intensive summer chaplaincy training that looks at your personality and upbringing and how those things influence your ability to minister. I have heard it said that CPE is the most painful 12 weeks growth experience you will have in your formation. I am starting to believe it! But, I also see the merits of the program and am grateful for the program of which I am a part. My supervisor and my peer group are top notch. I am tremendously blessed to have found a program that will encourage me to grow organically rather than the old school style of the supervisor/group tearing you down in order to build you up.

Otherwise I am trying to find healthy outlets for my down-time. I got a gym membership and have been running almost everyday after work. I am typing this blog entry from my NEW macbook pro!!! The youth group parents are amazing for having saved the money to give me this amazing gift!

I will try to update this over the summer… but there will likely not be much to say. I spend 40 hours a week at the hospital and then rest of the time I am doing homework and rockin’ family time. I am looking forward to getting back to VTS to my friends who I didn’t realize I would miss quite this much.

If anyone is in Maine and wants to go canoeing or hike Katahdin gimme a call 🙂

All my love,

Audrey

 

 

one… more… exam… :-P

It’s true folks, home stretch for reals. Tomorrow morning I will take my systematic theology exam (ready or not!) and then I will be officially done with my first year of seminary. This will be a short post since I really do need to study a lot more, but I am taking a brain break and was thinking of all the lovely people who are supportive of me. (Thanks guys!)

This has been an emotional roller coaster of a semester and I can’t wait to get home. I wish I could say it was going to be a restful summer; but at least it will be a summer in Maine! I start CPE at Maine Med next Monday. I am exhausted, emotionally and spiritually so I will be searching for ways to find refreshment in the midst of a busy schedule. But I think that is one of the life lessons we all need to learn!

I was reading one of my favorite blogs today (Sheila’s Feel Good Blog.) It is written by a female Anglican priest in England. She wrote about those “Phew” moments that help you recognize the gratitude in your life. (As in “Phew! Something really bad almost happened, but it didn’t.”) She had several examples of little “phews” from the last week. As I reflected on my last few weeks I didn’t find any of those “phews” but that only led me to recognize the bigger gratitudes. I am alive and healthy. I have a roof over my head and food to eat. I have people who love me. I am pursuing a vocation ordained by God. I am blessed.

Even when all the little things feel overwhelming and too big to bear, I can fall back on the assurance that I am beloved by God. I know that “this too shall pass” and until it does, God is there.

Now if only God would see fit to send someone else to come take my systematics exam for me! 🙂

Back to it!

With love and gratitude,

Audrey

the little things………

I wish I had been a bit more ahead of the times on technology. This Lent has been an especially solemn journey for me. I have had my own wilderness to cross as Christ crossed His. I have really missed my mom, even more than usual these past couple of months. I wish I had had a digital camera when I was a teen so that I had some pictures of us together. I have very few from those last few years and that breaks my heart. There are just sometimes in a girl’s life when she wants her mom, and this has been one of those times. This Lenten journey has been lonely and long. Although I know that Christ is with me, I have not been able to feel Him in this walk. But I think that is what our path is like a lot of the time. I think that we live for those mountain top experiences that are so few and far between. But these amazing moments, glimpses into the divinity here on earth come through when we need them most; if we are open to seeing them.

Yesterday I was sitting on the patio in the sun reading for New Testament with some friends. All of a sudden it hit me: I looked up at a bird flying across the bright blue sky and I realized that it is my job to sit in the sun reading the Bible. For real: that is my job right now. What a blessing! For years I have longed for an excuse to tear away from my work and to have more time to sit with God… I don’t need an excuse anymore. A smile cracked across my face as I recognized this fact and I said it out loud to my friends sitting there. We are exceedingly blessed. But then the realization expanded: I have never needed an excuse to make time for God… I have just allowed societal expectations to tell me that I needed an excuse. I think this will be one of my missions as a minister – to help others see that they do not need an excuse to make time for Christ. Rather, they need only remain open to the calling of the Spirit and to make a priority God’s commandment to keep Sabbath.

I really wish that I could stay here and keep learning over the summer. I am on a path that many people are not able to take. I am called to a life that is overwhelming and lovely. I pray that for this conclusion of Holy Week and for my steps into Easter I may carry the knowledge that I am blessed with me. I pray that I may be truly grateful for the Grace God saw fit to send in Jesus. And I pray I may remember to use my life as a light in answer to God’s call to Love in this world.

Thank you for walking this journey with me. I carry all those in my life along for the ride inside of my heart. I could not do this without all of you.

Love and Peace,

Audrey

PS The picture above is of a rainbow that appeared on my wall after hours writing my church history paper. It was just the hope I needed to finish strong:-)

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