Tag Archives: Communion

Several Versions of Freedom and Whole 30 (Later)

I was supposed to spend today grading, but I decided to spend the day doing things I love, instead of the one thing I have to do that I don’t necessarily like to do. I started the day with a bike ride with a good friend and colleague. When we started riding, there was an almost non-existent mist that slowly turned into a full-on ice-cold rain. By the time we parted ways, we were drenched. We had great conversation and so much fun. It’s good to be adventurous, even if that only means two grown women riding bikes in the rain. Freedom.

After the bike ride, I took a nice, long, hot shower to warm up. I savored the warmth and the smell of my coconut body wash. Sometimes the smallest things make me smile. Mint shampoo and coconut body wash. Smiles. I won’t be needing the mint shampoo again any time soon, because I cut my hair.I just couldn’t take the fluff and stuff anymore, even though one of my high school students just told me on Friday that my hair was bad ass. I could be the queen of bad-assery, but it was also annoying, so the hair had to go. And, as another friend just commented on my Facebook page, maybe my this will “shave” a little time off my swimming laps! Freedom.

March 5: Mohawk

April 14: No Hair

After my hot shower, I put on some sweatpants and a sweatshirt and went out on the porch. I sat there watching the rain fall. I prayed the morning prayer for April 14 from Common Prayer. I read from Exodus where the Israelites are beginning to make the tabernacle in the desert and from Thessalonians: “We had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition. For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts. As you know and as God is our witness, we never came with words of flattery or with a pretext for greed; nor did we seek praise from mortals, whether from you or from others […]. But we were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children. So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.” (2:3-8) I love the last little bit there: sharing the gospel and our own selves.Is it freedom to share yourself?

Right there, early this morning, I was challenged to think about the ways in which I may share the gospel, but not necessarily share my own self.

I was forced to ask myself: how can you share the gospel and yourself?

I also spent a little time reading from Reluctant Pilgrim, and I ran across this passage, which so eloquently explains how I feel about communion, or the Eucharist: “I wish I could string together random beads of words to illustrate what it means to me to take Communion. Each time I walk up  the aisle to the communion servers, I always feel like I am walking up to meet Christ. And there’s a weird mixture of awkward embarrassment, longing, joy, relief, and anxious impatience swirling around my insides. I feel terribly unworthy, greedily hungry, and deeply grateful all at once.” Yes, that’s exactly how it is. Such a humbling experience. Tangible grace. Palpable peace. Freedom.

Throughout the day, I made guacamole and lemon-coconut chicken soup with kale, spent time with Bec grocery shopping, took a nap, and then cooked dinner. We had minimally-processed grass-fed sirloin steaks, broccoli and cauliflower, and salad. I had an Angry Orchard Ginger Hard Cider to drink, which wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t delicious. I give it a C. I love cooking the steaks on the grill, and we’ve been using nice hardwood charcoal in combination with some hickory wood, so the steaks taste like they’ve been cooked over a campfire. These steaks were particularly tender and juicy. Delicious.

Angry Orchard Ginger Cider

Yummy Din-Dins

Finally, I have decided to wait until school is out to try the Whole 30. I just can’t have the stress of no sugar and no alcohol on my body while I am in the most busy part of the school year. I know the end result will be much less stress on my body, but I’ve cut things out before and known the way it can fuck with your normal, every day bodily functions, and I don’t want to try to deal with all of that while grading, planning, and trying to discipline for the next to last month of school. I know it will be good for me, and I know my body will thank me once it’s cleansed, so I plan to spend the month of June detoxifying my body. I am hoping to lose another 40 pounds over the summer by eating amazingly well, organic, fresh, local, and all that. But I also hope to do two-a-days, running and swimming in the morning and in the evening. Not as punishment or even as “training,” but just for fun. I love using my body for the purposes it was intended for, and summer always seems to make me feel so much more alive. Freedom.

Lent Day 25, 26 & 27: Lost a Few Days in There

I think I must have been being too joyful over the weekend, because I lost a few days in there somewhere.

For today’s meditation I want to focus on the present, and not in the cheesy way that an email I received encouraged me to: they call today the present, because it’s a gift. Um, yeah. Pema Chodron writes: “One can appreciate and celebrate each moment—there’s nothing more sacred.There’s nothing more vast or absolute. In fact, there’s nothing more!” I spend too much time, in fact, most of my time, focusing on what comes before each moment and on what comes after each moment. I don’t regularly savor each moment as it happens. Too frequently, I waste the moment by thinking about what I could have changed about the past or about how that present moment will impact my future. In general, I don’t just stop and think about how truly beautiful, or how truly sacred, each moment can be or is. I find myself trapped in the past, looking toward the future, and forgetting about the present, the right now, the “moment” of which “there’s nothing more vast or absolute.” I just squander the sacred beauty of what is.

On Saturday night, I had the privilege of attending Mass at St. John’s in the big HC, my home town. I find myself wondering, in a good way, how people can be Catholic or Orthodox. How can they be in the very real presence of Christ every Sunday and be able to stand it? Whenever I think about the fact that Jesus body and blood are literally ingested into the bodies of the followers of those two denominations, I always wonder if they recognize the beauty, the sacredness, the absolute wonder and majesty of that idea. Jesus is real, he is present, and he is giving, yet again, his body and blood for our consumption. I, for one, can only be in that very real presence of God every so often, because I feel so small in comparison, so unworthy, so ignorant.

Communion

On Saturday, I wondered how this glorious and holy mystery impacted those people who shared in the Eucharist. I, of course, did not because I am not Catholic. I do believe in transubstantiation, but I haven’t been baptized in the Catholic church, so I always abstain out of respect for their rules, expectations, or whatever. It’s probably for the best, because I am not sure I could stand it. When the Fr. Dave was emptying the bowl that the body had been resting in, and combining all of the blood into one chalice, I began to think of the sacrifice. It’s Lent, who wouldn’t think of the sacrifice? But when he lifted the chalice to his lips and swallowed down the rest of the body and blood, I lost it. I always tear up in the face of great reverence. How purely beautiful to not want any bit of your Lord to be wasted, to take in all of that pain and suffering and redemption!

On Sunday, I had another great moment with God in nature. I know, I know, a good protestant (forgive me I think I was a nun once in a former life) experiencing Jesus in the Catholic Church and then again in Nature?!? Ack. Maybe I’m not such a good Protestant after all, but how can you not experience God in this:

Beauty at the Mounds

Especially with the flowers and the grass poking through the dead leaves and winter decay, how can a person not experience God?

So then tell me how is it with all of these bits of heaven presenting themselves to me, how is it that I can still get side tracked by thoughts such as these from Psalm 73?

For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong.
They are free from common human burdens;
they are not plagued by human ills.
Therefore pride is their necklace;
they clothe themselves with violence.
From their callous hearts comes iniquity;
the evil conceits of their minds know no limits.
They scoff, and speak with malice;
with arrogance they threaten oppression.
Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
and their tongues take possession of the earth.
Therefore their people turn to them
and drink up waters in abundance.
They say, “How would God know?
Does the Most High know anything?”
This is what the wicked are like—
always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.

How can I be persuaded to compare myself to others? How can I let what other humans do bother me? I think it’s because

I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.

And that’s not likely to change any time soon. But, by focusing on the present, not the past and not the future, maybe I can become less and less of a brute beast (see that future focus?). And maybe I can escape the past of dwelling on what seems unfair or irrational. I’m trying. Let’s hope it works.

Peace.