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With Love and Misconceptions from Honduras

Posted by Ann, July 20, 2016

Ten years ago, before I worked as a priest at Christ Church, I came to Honduras to attend a Spanish-language immersion program offered at Our Little Roses Home for Girls in San Pedro Sula. That summer I had the delight of meeting those who were on the annual Christ Church OLR mission trip. This summer, I have journeyed here with Christ Church’s 26th mission trip as their priest and chaplain. It is incredible to return to this land of extremes: extreme poverty, extreme friendliness, extreme heat, extreme rainstorms, extreme natural beauty, and trash everywhere you look. The moment you arrive at the airport and see the many Christian mission groups in their matching t-shirts lined up in the customs line, you know you’re in for an adventure.

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For What I Thirst

Posted by Ann, June 17, 2016

Last night I attended a prayer vigil for the Orlando victims and in solidarity with the LGBTQ community. Rev. Chuck McCoart of Emmanuel Church on Russell Road reflected on our thirst for Christ in the Gospel of John. He then asked us to take a few minutes to write down some things that we thirst for. In no particular order, here’s my list:

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What is Saving Your Life Right Now?

Posted by Ann, June 1, 2016

For the last month Prayer 101 has been meeting and we have been focusing solely on the form of contemplative prayer called Centering Prayer. Each week we sit quietly for fifteen minutes. When our minds get busy - which they inevitably do - we are encouraged to come back to God by saying a sacred word or phrase to ourselves. That’s it. That’s all Centering Prayer is. I have learned that I make it so much harder for myself than it needs to be.

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In the meantime...

Posted by Ann, April 14, 2016

The season of Easter always feels like the celebration of a new year to me because we cannot ignore the dizzying, liberating possibilities for new life that Christ’s resurrection holds for us. Brother Geoffrey Tristram, SSJE, said, as Christians we cannot escape the reality that “because He lives, we live also.” I wonder what resurrection looks like for you? What are you going to do with your new life?

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Getting Real in Lent

Posted by Ann, February 17, 2016

Every year on Ash Wednesday, I am surprised by the number of people in the pews whom I don’t recognize. Sometimes as much as half of the congregation are unfamiliar to me. That’s a big switch from Sundays. Who are all these people and what pulls them to church on this day? Ash Wednesday is absent the big festive celebrations of Christmas and Easter, another time we see lots of strangers. In fact, Ash Wednesday is a kind of anti-celebration.

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Don't Push for Answers

Posted by Ann, December 2, 2015

Advent, which means “coming” in Latin, is the liturgical season that marks the four weeks leading up to Christmas. It is a time of waiting and preparation. We wait in anticipation of the birth of Christ. We prepare our hearts and souls and minds for the infusion of love and light that is coming soon.

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The Consecration of a New Chapel

Posted by Ann, October 14, 2015

What does it mean to consecrate something? At the Holy Table, the priest, along with the assent of the people, consecrates the bread and wine and after that somehow mysteriously they hold the presence of Jesus Christ where before they were merely Taylor Cream Sherry and paper-like wafers of bread. The priest is the presider, but it is God who does the actual transforming. Perhaps that is similar to consecrating the new Immanuel Chapel at Virginia Theological Seminary. The old chapel went up in flames five Octobers ago.

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Saying Goodbye for Now

Posted by Ann, February 18, 2015

“We live a life of departures,” one of my seminary professors once said. “We are given all these opportunities to practice and prepare for the final departure,” he went on to say. That’s why goodbyes are hard. There is loss and grieving around goodbyes, just as there is loss and grieving around change and death.

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All of Us are Grass

Posted by Ann, January 7, 2015

On the cover of Atul Gawande’s new book called Being Mortal there is a single piece of grass. If you rub your fingers over it, you can feel that it is embossed, raised off the paper. Even though the picture of the blade appears raised because you can see its shadow, it actually has dimension if you touch it. Although there is nothing overtly religious about this book, it is one of the most theological books I have read in a long time, beginning with the subtle reference to Isaiah 40:6-7 on the cover.  The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it. Surely the people are grass. This was a brilliant design metaphor. Kudos to whomever came up with it. Even though we are all grass, each of us can have dimension and dignity until we die.

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Marriage and the Movies

Posted by Ann, December 3, 2014

Yesterday my husband and I saw the movie, The Theory of Everything. It is based on Jane Hawking’s book about her marriage to the physics genius, Stephen Hawking. Stephen is diagnosed with ALS in college and given two years to live, and they decide to marry anyway.  She then commits herself to enabling his life (which has lasted 50 more years) and work. They have three children together. The acting in the film is beyond glorious and little is sugar coated about the disintegration of his physical capabilities or the weight of it on her and their family. It is a beautiful and honest picture of a mature marriage, including their ability to let one another go as life proceeds.

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