Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Faith and Family

On Sunday, I took my mom and dad to church before driving down to Miami to drop them off for their cruise.  Our interactive worship service was starting a new module, and I was interested to see how it would turn out.  My folks were game.

We're using this devotional which weaves the poetry of Mary Oliver with Gospel readings for Lent.  We're adding some music in the beginning and communion at the end.  We've kept some of our Faith 5 practices, like talking about our highs and lows and how they relate to the text, praying for each other, and blessing each other.

It was a great first day, and I'm happy to have experienced it.  Even better, my parents liked it too.  My mom had been feeling anxiety about the cruise, which she talked about when we talked about our highs and lows.  On our way to the cruise ship, she marveled that she wasn't feeling anxiety anymore.

I feel fortunate that our faith journeys haven't taken us further away from each other, the way that often happens in families.  I'm grateful that we get to experience a wide variety of worship services together.  I'm grateful for the foundation that they gave me, and the way we still build on it together.

Here is the Mary Oliver poem that we read on Sunday.  It spoke to me in quiet ways.  One of our members mentioned having seen a mother duck with 12 ducklings, and another member reminded us that the goose was a symbol for the Holy Spirit in Celtic Christianity.  I spent the afternoon thinking of God as mother duck, God as wild goose nipping at our legs, and reminding myself that I don't have to walk on my knees.

 Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
call to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

New and Selected Poems, 1992

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