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Religion

  • What is important is to notice the stars…not to name them

     I cannot recall where I read this message: “The important thing about stars is not the naming, but the noticing.” I only know the statement gave me great comfort. I have often been dismayed over my inability to remember “star facts” gleaned in grammar school. Those were the days when I spent time craning my neck to spot Pleiades, Cassiopeia and Orion and the Dippers, big and small, in the darkened sky over our backyard. I could name them then...I am unable now. However, I suspect I am more prone to noticing them at this stage of my life.

  • When I look up, I can find what I’m looking for

     Elizabeth Hudson did it again. Her welcome editorial, titled “And Dance by the Light of the Moon” in the February 2014 issue of Our State magazine, described her fascination with the moon and all things lunar.

  • Strangers in a foreign land become friends

     Every once in a while, Hubby Dear and I opt to attend a church service for the Latino community. Neither of us speak nor read Spanish, so it is both an adventure and a challenge to be participants, not just visitors. It is also a tremendous learning experience.

    We listen for words similar to our own native language or ones that are ring more familiarly with other languages we know or have studied. We follow along with prayers in the rite, whispering them as an English accompaniment to the variety of Spanish accents ringing around us.

  • Don’t look for Jesus among the dead!
  • Hospital volunteers anoint the sick with kindness

     Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center mandates an annual educational review for employees and volunteers. Like all mandates, it is not always graciously accepted. However, the option to take the test as a group lessens the angst and even makes it fun.

    I am always impressed with the extent and depth of the questions, despite the fact that they also carry a degree of advertising as a means of corporate public relations. This year was no exception.

  • I take, O cross, your shadow for my abiding place

     Some would say, “We’ve traveled a ‘fur piece’ this Lenten season.” Those who traveled the Lenten Wednesdays at noon for the annual Lenten luncheon worship services, especially, have come from happily standing beneath the cross to find hope amidst hopelessness, happy to shine our light on a world filled with false crosses and desperate situations. We’ve recognized the instability that comes when we build our house of grace on shifting sands. We’ve tasted the futility of erecting those edifices in the face of oncoming tides.

  • Palm Sunday of the Lord’s passion is lived today

     Pastors of many mainline churches, following the Revised Common Lectionary, will proclaim the passion narrative from the Gospels this coming Sunday. Holy Week, the final preparation for Easter Sunday and resurrection, begins with harsh memories, bitter sorrow, the desertion of friends, a fierce sense of abandonment, the cruelty of unexplainable inhumanity.

  • How Can We Find Peace In A Stressful World?

     A recent Time magazine article intrigued me. The topic was mindfulness. More specifically, it was titled “The art of being mindful.”  I stopped in my tracks. Typically, one would imagine this process or action would be considered a science, not an art. One might imagine a list of things to do that would lead to awareness. To think of it as an art changes everything.

  • Found in the valley of death

     Rarely do we wish to speak of it. Always are we looking for ways to avoid it. Society apparently seeks to deny its existence. Death is truly the elephant residing on the dining room table.

  • God, give us wings

     It is a rare and wonderful opportunity to read and review a book written by a college classmate and friend. Rarer yet is the chance to travel deeply into the life and spirit of a woman who has endured, survived, and been transformed by the experiences of two assaults on humanity: the Nazi and Soviet invasions and conquests of the Baltic countries.