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Religion

  • Grateful witness: Stories from an enlightening journey

     I received a request to review an unusual book by L.S.L. Noble. It is a spiritual autobiography, an account of “fateful occurrences” the author encountered throughout her lifetime. Interestingly, I completed my reading simultaneously with entry into Eastertide — a time when Christians contemplate the meaning and message of resurrection. This is also a period for unique pondering of reality, the entwining of absence and presence, life and death. My reading of this book seemed more than coincidental. Noble would likely term it “synchronicity.”

  • You’ve got to be carefully taught

     I was happily, well not so happily, attacking my morning exercise on the treadmill with the radio at high volume to distract me from the challenging chore when I heard the announcement. “NPR continues a series of conversations about the Race Card Project where thousands of people have submitted their thoughts on race and cultural identity in six words.” My attention was immediately caught.

  • Go beyond the shadow of doubt and find life

     So often we have allowed doubt to cast a shadow on our faith. We let it tinge credence with incredulity, casting the gloom of uncertainty upon the grace of certitude — causing distress and dismay to dog our steps and burden our spirits. We are shaken, but not to the core. To try to dismiss doubt summarily — banishing it to the darkest corner we can find — does no good. Somehow it surfaces when we least suspect and we are, once again, ill at ease.

  • 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.