RETURN: The Song of Lent

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by Katie Harmon-McLaughlin

Therefore, I will now allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her.
From there I will give her her vineyards,
and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
There she shall respond as in the days of her youth,
as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.
-Hosea 2:14-15

The song of Lent is return, return, return.

When we stop wherever we are for just a moment and listen, we can hear this ancient call in our souls to drawn near to the One who is fullest life. The season of Lent is this precisely: listening to the voice that is always present, but in a way and a place that we can truly hear.

This return call will lead you into the wilderness and it is where the wilderness will lead; return to God, return to what really matters, and return to who you really are.

It is the exodus and the prodigal and the forty-day desert fast. It is the hope of union and the letting go of what is not. It is a shedding layer by layer of the false gods we cling to, temptations toward comfort, and conveniences that numb us. Lent is not about feeling bad. It is an invitation to feel again! It is about getting in touch with the source of our lives. It is about removing the anesthesia and being willing to feel what is really real about being human, about being alive, about being beloved.

This Lenten season, we invite you to journey with us through the wilderness where God can speak to your heart. What, in this wilderness place, does God most desire to say? What do you most desire to hear?

Lenten Spiritual Retreat with Presiding Evangelist David Brock. March 13-15, 2015 Click here to register!
Lenten Spiritual Retreat with Presiding Evangelist David Brock.
March 13-15, 2015
Click here to register!

To Dwell in Sabbath Rest

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by Katie Harmon-McLaughlin

Keeping hope can be hard.

In one moment I am consumed
With possibility’s fire.
In the next I am in the cold, dark cave
Of uncertainty, doubt.
Then moments like these creep in-
Of tempting apathy
That diminish the intensity
And also the fullness
Of life.

I need something between the fire and the cave
That is not half-hearted.

Something like sabbath rest
Which is more than a day off
To watch tv or clean the house.

It is a soul nourishing silence
Or laughter
Or sweet release
That does not distract
But moves with and through
What IS.
It is not anesthesia.
It is renewal.
It says to the heart-
And does not make false promises:

You are enough.
You are beloved.
All will be well.
Breathe.
Let what is within you
And beyond you
Fill you
Sustain you.
Listen to the rhythm of your soul
To rediscover your place among all things.
Rest in belonging.
Find peace in awe-
Refreshment in gratitude.
Let what is overwhelming humble you
Out of your addiction to control.
Spend time in the very source of the
Love-movement in the world
Which you seek and desire.
Let your actions and words
Flow forth from this space.
Trust your deepest oneness instinct
And allow this reality to permeate
Your knowing AND doing.
Divine Love does not desire your exhaustion
But will hold you close
When burn-out is near
If you allow yourself to be held
To dwell in sabbath rest.

From this place
In the time it takes
Enter again the flame or the cave
Or the wooded mountain path.
Enter with a heart in tune
To the God-song singing HOPE
In all you see.

We Wait: An Advent Poem

by Brittany Longsdorf

As a child watches the window
for signs of first snow
we wait
for you
oh, infant Christ

We have stooped low at the river Jordan
with John the Baptist
plagued by uncertainties,
our world in turmoil,
tempest-tossed days

We have been righteously called out,
over-taxed, burdened,
found wanting
on our journey

We have knocked at the Inn,
found rejection,
uncommon hope,
deep warmth
in the unlikely places

We have gathered here
compassion and community
sifting through the darkness
for one white flake
one flurry of light
for the world

We are watching at the manger
we wait
for you
oh, infant Christ.

Brittany Longsdorf is a University Chaplain at Boston University who specializes with international and interfaith students. With an undergraduate degree in Religion from Graceland University and an M.Div in World Religions from Princeton Theological Seminary, she has a passion for multicultural ministry, interfaith work, and spiritual formation of Young Adults. Brittany is currently an Elder in the Community of Christ church.