Beyond Wood and Stone

Rev. Elisabeth's Cedar Park Blog site

Month: November 2014

Introduction to Advent

Advent CandlesPerhaps no more so than in this Lectionary Year B, do we feel the aching longing, the anxious expectation, and the courage that it takes for us to experience the birth of God into the midst of a hurting world.

We begin the Advent Season with Isaiah’s gut-wrenching cry from the depths of despair, “Oh God! If only you would tear the heavens open and come down” to heal a world gripped by disaster.   The following week, John the Baptizer tears across the landscape of Empire with a message of radical renewal. Only in Advent Three does it begin to “feel a bit like Christmas,” in part because we have our KidZone Christmas Play to lead the way towards the light and hope of the Stable.  But even this journey, seen through the eyes of Joseph, is one fraught with doubt and decision.  As week three turns to the final week, the waiting, like every pregnancy, gives way to the reality of new life, new hope,  and new roles for those who care for the newborn Gospel of God.  Advent Four lifts the veil on the heart and soul of Mary as she learns of the child she carries, and as she sings of the hopes and fears of all the years, met in the promised Child. But even this scene of maternity is overlaid with the language of revolution; Mary sings of God, who has and will lift the lowly, and cast down the mighty.

I don’t know about you, but for me this ancient story resonates so closely with our anguished world of today.  As  I write this, I’m watching updates on strong women singing out their own Magnificats against gender injustice, and strong, brave people of all races standing in prayer vigil in Ferguson, Missouri.  This is a world longing, fraught and anxious for a word of hope, longing for God to tear the heavens open to come into our world with justice, peace, love and hope.



A prayer for fragile bodies

Jonah contempprayingLast thoughts for a Saturday night.

This is a prayer that appeared earlier today on a blog site for women in ministry.  It’s a prayer for fragile bodies, something that all of us can relate to at some point or other.

(Before I give you the prayer, let me add this caveat: It’s written by another author, not me, so I have chosen not to change her words.  For my own prayer with God, I tend to avoid gendered language, so that my soul can imagine God as being somehow beyond, or inclusive of all gendered features, and none…. so I would pray “Holy One, in your love, hear our prayers.” )

For joints worn out by inflammatory processes, for immune systems that over-react,… or fail to protect us,
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers. (Holy One, in your love hear our prayers)
For viruses that invade, and infections that persist, for sudden collapses and heart-breaking prognoses,
Lord, in your mercy…
For cells dividing in ways we wish they wouldn’t, for drugs that heal but also make us sicker,
Lord, in your mercy…
For lives well-lived by faithful saints, with ends that came before we were ready,
Lord, in your mercy…
For our fragile bodies in a world that claims by dint of our effort we could find eternal youth,
Lord, in your mercy…
For our own families, our parents and children, our partners and relations, who will not, cannot, live forever,
Lord, in your mercy…
For hearts broken and souls suffering, for all those wondering how to offer comfort,
Lord, in your mercy…
For all who minister and deny our own fragility, and believe you prize our activity – O! Lord! – for our own mortal selves,
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayers.

Church 101 meets tonight

… to take on the BIG TWO:  “Who is Jesus?’  and “What do we do with the Bible?”


I’m looking forward to great moments of discovery and discussion with a very eclectic group of people, including two infants!  If you want to get a taste of the conversation, check out this clip from Marcus Borg, talking about the non-literal, but serious relationship we have to Scripture.

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