Living through trauma and transition is exhausting work, whether it's in the White House, our family, or faith community. How can we maintain the energy we need to be fully present, to play a positive and constructive role in the face of challenges and tension we face?Read More
Earlier this year I served as a guest musician at Broadway Presbyterian Church, where their pastor, Rev. Chris Shelton, presented a summer sermon series exploring the context and themes of the New Testament. To begin, we invited the congregation to imagine a time before worship bulletins, before hymnals, even before the letters of Paul and the Gospels were written. We created a worship service that was paperless, participatory and poetic. And we used story telling, communal song and images as primary vehicles for the expression and transmission of faith, like the earliest followers of Jesus.Read More
The writings of Julian of Norwich (c.1342– c.1416) have nourished my spiritual imagination since I first encountered them. Perhaps the best known of her words are from Showings, a series of visions that she received in the midst of a near-death experience.
“…but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.’
Like many mystics, Julian’s experiences led her to name God in new and surprising ways. Months ago, I came across these striking passages from her Revelations of Divine Love and found them both challenging and insightful.
“The Second Person of the Trinity is our mother in nature, in our substantial making. In him we are grounded and rooted, and he is our mother by mercy in our sensuality, by taking flesh.”
“Thus our mother, Christ, in whom our parts are kept unseparated, works in us in various ways. For in our mother, Christ, we profit and increase, and in mercy he reforms and restores us, and by virtue of his passion, death, and resurrection joins us to our substance.Read More
Worship is one of the primary places where we enact our relationship with God and others. And more than a form or formula for worship, liturgy is the holy, meaningful work that God’s people do when they gather. Worship isn’t thinking about or talking about God, but is speaking to and listening for Divine. Worship joins breath, voice and body in words and action, embodying deep wisdom about the Holy One and our selves. In worship we become the Body of Christ, a mysterious manifestation of Jesus’ spirit in time and space.
If we “live ourselves into new ways of thinking” as Fr. Richard Rohr asserts, then worship is one of the most formative and integrative things that we can do in Christian community. What we say and sing shapes us; we become what we create together.Read More
"Anytime life ousts us from our places of security,
we are called upon to bring ourselves fully present to our experience."
– John Valters Paintner, The Soul of a Pilgrim: Eight Practices for the Journey Within
The past year has provided many invitations to practice how to be fully present in the midst of change. A little over a year ago I imagined I was leaving full-time music ministry to embark on a new vocation in the non-profit world. I said goodbye to Park Avenue Christian Church and dove into a new position at the Stecher and Horowitz Foundation, assisting two of the most seasoned and dedicated individuals in the classical music business. The experience was invaluable and I am grateful for the way it has shaped me as a person and as a leader.
But rather than feel my interest in the church wane, time away reminded me of what I missed. Weekends off and time with family during the holidays were a gift, something I hadn’t experienced in almost 20 years. But as colleagues and friends invited me to offer leadership in their congregations as a guest organist, choir director or song leader, my heart continued to tell me that my deepest calling is to ministry.Read More