Honoring Memorial Day

June 6th, 2019 will be the 75th Anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy where 156,000 Allied troops started a campaign to liberate Europe from Nazi Germany.  Today, I want to honor Memorial Day to take a moment to remember the sacrifices of those who have lost their lives in service to our country.

Did your father serve in WWII, Korea or Vietnam? Or Desert Storm?  Or Iraq and Afghanistan?
Maybe you had an uncle who served. Or a Grandfather?
Or an Aunt who volunteered to serve?
Or did you hear about the family member who left for war, but did not comeback?

It is Memorial Day.  We remember the sacrifices of the fallen and lost.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”  John F. Kennedy

With the anniversary quickly approaching, I wanted to share this speech from Ronald Reagan that he gave at Pointe du Hoc in 1984 on the 40th anniversary. World leaders gathered to remember. While the first part walks through D-Day, the last half of the speech is what the speech is remembered for.  The speech challenged the world to find a pathway to peace, especially between the US and the then Soviet Union.   You can read the speech here, transcript of speech   or here you can watch Ronald Reagan’s Speech from June 6th, 1984

How do you honor Memorial Day? Many communities have a parade, many head to a national or local cemetery to place flags, and you can also place flowers at your community’s monument or walk of honor. I like to watch the Memorial Day Concert from Washington, DC where our country can collectively remember.

Here are are few songs for Memorial Day:

“Eternal Father, Strong to Serve” performed by Military Wives

Eric Bogle’s “The Green Fields of France”

Sometimes the true meaning of Memorial Day gets swallowed up by the ceremonial start of summer, but focusing on the true meaning is what we should do.

“Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid.  They have earned our undying gratitude.  America will never forget their sacrifices.”  Harry S. Truman

The following quote is on one of the crosses of an unknown soldier buried in France, “Here rests in honored glory a comrade in arms know but to God.”

We remember you and you are not unknown to us. You helped us be free. Thank you.

Marcie Doll

Amen Grammie…and thank you for joining us this year!

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For the last lenten blog post for Marble Women’s Ministry this year, I wanted to share a cute story and to honor my Mom too, who played a large role in finding some of the special poets and other contributors for this year’s blog.  And a few times, she had to listen to me when I was overwhelmed a bit.

The picture above is of my Mom, Lynn Doll and her twin granddaughters, Catherine and Chandler (I mentioned them in the “Magical Thinking” post earlier).  We were on vacation together in Bermuda.  All smiles for sure.

You see, my Mom puts her heart and soul into everything she does, but her prayers before a holiday meal, well these are particularly special to me.   She prepares for this important moment and does not forget anyone who needs prayers, our late family members, and all around the table.  I am still not sure how she can go from preparing the meal a few seconds before, to sharing a carefully prepared prayer that is so thoughtful and most of the time leaves me a bit teary.

Well you see there was this one Easter.  Chandler who was 5-years-old at the time was sitting in front of a plateful of food and she was ready to get started.  To her, my Mom’s prayer had gone on a bit too long.  Chandler interrupted the prayer by saying in a stern and definitive voice, “Amen Grammie!”  Then my whole family erupted into boisterous laughter, as a child can say the darndest things! And the prayer was finished that year. My Mom had to throw in the towel.

Honestly, it is a moment that my family will treasure forever.  “Amen Grammie!”  Well it gets said at every holiday meal now.

Now to all of the followers of this blog….

Thank you for joining our Marble Women’s Ministry Blog for Lent this year, a growing community from around the US and world who join us each day.  Praying with a Camera this year was an idea that I had and I so enjoyed looking at the pictures and the stories behind them.  We had another focus, honoring the poetry of women to guide us on our lenten journey.  Our team hopes that the daily blog gave you an opportunity to add something positive to your lenten journey and also helped you to focus more on what is important in this life that you are leading.

We had many contributors who have been a part of our blog for many years.  But these year, our circle expanded and many new contributors felt moved to share their pictures, poems, and stories.   Thank you all for putting your heart out there for all of the readers!

And finally…  If you are local to NYC, our Women’s Ministry is sponsoring a 4-part program: Bold Authenticity: Answering the Call to Greatness with Greta Muller starting on April 29th.  Click here to find more information and to sign-up.

We wish you a blessed year and we will be back at the start of the Advent Season.

Marcie Doll and the Marble Women’s Ministry Team

Consider the Lilies

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Through heavy curtains
Morning steals in–
Gray, sullen, frowning,
As though carrying a grudge
Against yesterday’s tumultuous birth
That scattered its gold everywhere,
Bursting through windows,
Streaking through the willows,
Blushing the face of the pond,
Then rousing soft twitterings
Tucked under feathered wing.

But this day arrives, perfunctory,
On schedule since its Genesis.
Duty bound to serve, and bestow
Its allotted measure
Of mercy and grace
Upon pilgrims passing through,
Who, because of the somber gray skies
And the sun’s truancy,
Are apt to fail to consider
The lilies of the field
Whose faces are lifted up
In celebration,
Regardless.

By Lena Coapstick
Copyright 4-22-09

When Lena wrote this poem ten years ago, she was in the last stages of a valiant struggle with Cancer and would pass away later in the year.  Our Marble Women’s Ministry Blog honors her today and her family who shared this amazing poem with us.

The Easter Lily represents Christ’s resurrection, a new season in Christianity and rebirth.  In a way, sharing this poem about lilies on our blog this Easter, we give Lena a chance to reach and inspire more people.

Lena was a self-taught poet, who lived her entire life on a farm in Indiana.  Her works were published in her community and statewide.  Her favorite American poets were Mary Oliver and William Stafford.    She had a love for nature and found joy in music.  Many who loved her shared that she created beauty in everything she put her hands and heart to.  And even a when she was facing difficult times, she always looked at life with great hope.

Another thought from the poet:

“There are no detours on a spiritual journey.”  Lena Coapstick

A Blessed Easter!

Sunrise on Easter

The sun always rises.  Slowly.  Quietly.

Sometimes amidst rain.  Sometimes amidst wind.  Sometimes covered by clouds.

But slowly, quietly, the sun always rises and shatters the darkness.

God always comes to us.  Sometimes quietly.  Other times through a cacophony of unexpected events and “life turned upside down” experiences that stop us in our tracks.  But God always comes to us.  God comes to shatter the shadows and pierce the clouds of our lives.

On this Easter Day, may you feel the glory of God’s rising and the clarity of God’s brilliant light.  Look for the light.  Move toward the light.  For the sun always rises.  God has risen this day for you, to bring you God’s radiant and glorious light.

Reverent J. Elise Brown, Ph.D., Executive Minister at Marble Collegiate Church.

God’s Glorious Contrary Ways

Nails

Who’d ever put treasure in frail jars of clay?
Come to us in our failure not strength,
Choose the weakest and least,
The discarded, not kings,
Recruit from the gutter for His family?

Who’d take objects of scorn:
Vile cross, crown of thorns,
And die to slay death,
Conquer hell, sin and grave?
Who’d pick children and slaves
The most frightened not brave,
Broken, outcasts, poor, lost,
As the ones He would save?

Only One ever did
Humblest King in our midst,
Calling sinners to Him
To be cleansed, made brand new;
Who took Love as His sword,
Fought to win us to God,
Loving Savior from heaven,
Jesus Christ, one true Lord!

“I have come to call not those who think they are righteous but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.” Luke 5:32 (NLT)

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the surpassing power belongs to God, and not to us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 (NLT)

© 2019 Karen DiProspero

Jesus Jar

 

Light Always Breaks Through

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If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light around me become night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

Psalm 139: 11&12

Today is Good Friday, the day on which we remember the crucifixion of Christ. Though it is a day filled with sorrow, it reminds us that even when it seems that death and defeat will be the last words, the light of God will break through. With God, light always overcomes darkness. With the light and love of God, we can overcome the darkness in our lives.

Dr. Michael Bos
Senior Minister, Marble Collegiate Church

Jesus Walked this Lonesome Valley

Jesus walked this lonesome valley.
He had to walk it by Himself;
O, nobody else could walk it for Him,
He had to walk it by Himself.

We must walk this lonesome valley,
We have to walk it by ourselves;
O, nobody else can walk it for us,
We have to walk it by ourselves.

You must go and stand your trial,
You have to stand it by yourself,
O, nobody else can stand it for you,
You have to stand it by yourself.

While this song has been embraced by American folk and country music singers since the 1950’s, the origins of this song are found in the African American Spiritual Canon and sung in communities throughout the south following emancipation.   I have included several versions of the spiritual, as all will move you.

  1. Jesus Walked this Lonesome Valley sung by Sunday 7pm Choir
  2. A moving rendition of Jesus Walked this Lonesome Valley by James Hynter and Jack Horner
  3. Middle Collegiate Church singing Jesus Walked this Lonesome Valley
  4. Mississippi John Hurt singing You Gotta Walk the Lonesome Valley

Shared by Marcie Doll

The picture below is of a crass that I found in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  It is silver with heart and crosses in purple that stick out.

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Landmark for Peace

MLK and RFK

I did not know about this speech, the one that Robert F. Kennedy gave on the evening of April 4, 1968, the day Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated.   This impromptu speech given by a man whose time on this Earth was not long, but he did not know that.  To calm a city at the brink of riots.

This picture has RFK reaching across the divide to MLK in bronze and there is a gap.  My visit moved me to tears and reading the speech made me think of a time such as this.

It was a beautiful night in Indianapolis when I visited with a sky full of wispy and puffy clouds.

Here is the speech given by Robert F. Kennedy on April 4, 1968:

“I have bad news for you, for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and killed tonight.

Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice for his fellow human beings, and he died because of that effort.

In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it is perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. For those of you who are black–considering the evidence there evidently is that there were white people who were responsible–you can be filled with bitterness, with hatred, and a desire for revenge. We can move in that direction as a country, in great polarization–black people amongst black, white people amongst white, filled with hatred toward one another.

Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and to replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand with compassion and love.

For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and distrust at the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I can only say that I feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man. But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to go beyond these rather difficult times.

My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He wrote: “In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black.

So I shall ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King, that’s true, but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love–a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke.

We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times; we’ve had difficult times in the past; we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; it is not the end of disorder.

But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings who abide in our land.

Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.

Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.”

Shared by Marcie Doll

One of those places…

Hangzhou

This is a picture of my silhouette at West Lake in Hangzhou, China.  For many, this is a place on their bucket list and is listed in the book, A 1,000 Places to see Before you Die.  For many centuries, this lake has inspired a nation and many artists and poets have created masterworks with the beauty they found along the lake.  The lake is sheltered by hills on three sides and has numerous pagodas, temples and spectacular gardens around the shoreline.

One Song Dynasty poet wrote:

Sunny water waves its glow,
Misty rain tricks the hill.
Plainly or gaily decked out like Xi Zi,
West Lake is always alluring.’

When I visited on a rather gloomy day, it looked like winter with barren trees and a mist in the air.  But I felt an overwhelming feeling of God’s presence at West Lake.   Even in winter there is beauty and peace to be found by all who visit.  The birds chirped in song to remind me.

I know that spring will come soon and while I may only see the bare branches and the gray sky, God is at work. As the days warm, I know that those branches will be in bloom in just a matter of weeks.

It’s a matter of my perspective here on Earth.  From God’s point of view looking down on Earth, the sky is always blue.   I need to remember that my perspective is often limited.

Shared by Patricia Wu