An Invitation to Write for our Advent Blog

From Darkness, Together we Find the Light

We know that this Advent will be different this year, so I picked up a favorite book by Madeleine L’Engle, The Irrational Season, a book about connecting Advent seasons.  Here is a quote from the book:

“This is the irrational season.

When love blooms bright and wild.

Had Mary been filled with reason

There’d have been no room for the child.”  

In a year that has been irrational, unprecedented, and filled with all levels of feelings and emotions, we need to remember that God created light to come out of the darkness.  

This is an invitation to share your stories, poems, artwork, cherished recipe, video, music, or vignettes for our Advent Blog, where light, love, and hope shine through the darkest days of the year.  We are looking for submissions of 400 words or less this year and multisensory submissions.  If you write a poem, you can include a picture or song that goes with it to hit more than one sense.   

Please submit your blog post via email to Marcie Doll doll.marcie@gmail.com.  Advent starts on November 29th, so submit as soon as you can.  Do you want help with your writing?  Please reach out to Marcie at doll.marcie@gmail.com to set up a time to work together.  

Thank you for considering this opportunity,

Marcie and the Marble Women’s Ministry

Opportunities to Connect (Virtually) This Summer

We wanted to share with all of our blog readers some opportunities for you to connect virtually this summer.

How I Want to Rise from this Time! Creating a Vision Board

Here’s something fun to do this summer – join us online on Monday, July 27, 7:00-8:00pm EDT to create your own vision board. What’s a vision board? It can be a sacred space, a collage, to share your hopes and dreams and bring them to life, especially as you plan your next steps after stay-at-home orders are lifted.

Together, we will assemble our own 3D vision boards and plan our road map out of quarantine. Items you could use might be: magazines, photos, scissors, paper, glue or double-stick tape, songs, quotes, your own artwork or a digital version on your computer… you get the idea. There aren’t any rules when designing a vision board. Afterward, we’ll have a show & tell of our creations.

Note: this program is best enjoyed by video conference. A link to access the meeting will be sent to registrants by Monday, July 27, 12 Noon. Click here to register in advance or email Don Piper.

Encouraging Word
We all need encouragement during this time. To hear an uplifting recorded message from one of Marble’s ministers, please call at anytime (212) 686-2774.The messages change periodically and are available to listen to day or night.

Afternoon Prayer
Weekdays, 4:00 – 4:20pm
Wind down your day with a brief time of sharing and prayer, led by Marble ministers. Join us via Broadview chat by clicking this link, or call (646) 741-5293 and enter meeting ID 111 712 8389. For instructions on how to connect, click here.

Chair Yoga
Thursdays, 10:00 – 10:45am
Join us for a beginner-friendly time of gentle movement as we center ourselves physically and spiritually. Please note that it is video only, call in will not work. Join us via Broadview by clicking this link, enter meeting ID 111 294 4994. For instructions on how to connect, click here.

Sunday Worship at 11:00am*
To tune in live or view the archive please visit our live stream page.
*Prelude begins at 10:47am

Call-In Sunday Worship
We are pleased to announce that for those without internet, they can now call (866) 893-5381 to listen to Sunday Worship, either the full service or sermon & scripture only, 24/7. Please spread the word!

Wednesday Worship at 6:15pm
To tune in live or view the archive please visit our live stream page.

We Can Bloom, Even Between a Rock and a Hard Place

 

Bloom through the Driveway

Many people have witnessed a plant growing in the middle of a cement sidewalk or noted a flower springing forth from the middle of a concrete wall.  At the side of my driveway and up against the cement wall of my neighbor’s foundation, a small purple little flower demonstrates the possibility of growth under the most difficult of circumstances.  The picture above is of that pretty flower that blooms.

God expects his people to bloom wherever they are planted.  

In Philippians 1:12-14, the Bible tells the story of how Paul bloomed while he was in prison.  He realized that his current situation was not as important as what he did with the time he had.  Paul was facing release or execution.  He befriended the Roman soldiers and wrote letters encouraging Christians who were afraid.  Like Paul, we all must look for ways to bloom even when our movement is limited by law and could be dangerous to ourselves and others.

Here is the scripture:

Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.  As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.  And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.

The Bible is filled with stories of hope.  Hannah. Mary. Ruth. Esther. Elizabeth. Rachel. Hagar. Martha. Rebekah. And many other stories of hope…

These women bloomed.

Once a plant blooms, it is thriving and flourishing and produces fruit; and once the fruit is produced, a seed develops, which ultimately produces a harvest.  We are witness to the countless people producing, like those who are sewing masks.  And everyday people who serve as essential workers in healthcare, grocery stores, delivery, truckers, public transportation, assisted living and nursing homes, EMTs, our National Guard and law enforcement, and all of the people cleaning in stores and healthcare facilities.  And parents.  And teachers.

A person can bloom wherever they have been planted just by helping others, which shows the love of God, and also when using one’s gifts and talents that God has given them.  People of faith must bloom wherever they are planted.  

Thank you for joining us for the Marble Women’s Ministry Lenten Blog this year.  We hope the blog inspired you and gave you some hope in this truly difficult season.  Please let us know what you thought of our blog.  And we hope you continue to pray for all who need our prayers right now.

Marcie Doll

Ode to Joy this Easter…

Sunrise

It was into a world like ours that Jesus was born.”  Sarah Christmeyer

And today we celebrate his resurrection!

Happy Easter!

“Christ the Lord is risen today, sons of men and angels say. Raise your joys and triumphs high; sing, ye heavens and Earth reply.” Charles Wesley

“This year, Easter will be different for many of us, but by keeping apart we keep others safe. But Easter isn’t cancelled; indeed, we need Easter as much as ever. The discovery of the risen Christ on the first Easter Day gave his followers new hope and fresh purpose, and we can all take heart from this.”  Queen Elizabeth II

“May the hearts of those who have enough be open to filling the empty hands of those who do not have the bare necessities.” Pope Francis

“Easter was about a tragedy that was turned into a triumph; about God working behind the scenes, invisibly, in ways that people didn’t know.  And if we work together with our God and together with each other we will find our way forward.”  Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Michael Curry

“The story of Easter is the story of God’s wonderful window of divine surprise.”  Carl Knudson

“Easter is meant to be a symbol of hope, renewal, and new life.” Janine di Giovanni

“I still believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and true love. Don’t even try to tell me different.” Dolly Parton

While not a traditional Easter Hymn, I find great solace in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Ode to Joy!  Here are two versions and another song you might find helpful this Easter.

A street orchestra Flash Mob of Ode to Joy in Sabadell

A Socially Distant Ode to Joy

What the World Needs Now…

Happy Easter my friends,

Marcie Doll

The picture above was taken at dawn from close to the most eastern point in the United States, Acadia National Park, Mount Desert Island, Maine in 2017.

 

Not so Empty Tomb

Karla Flower

Usually I imagine myself watching from afar with the other women on the day Jesus was crucified and buried.  This year, I feel as if I’m in the tomb.  We don’t know much about day two of that weekend — Saturday — the Gospels all seem to leap from Friday to Sunday.  But we know it certainly wasn’t a busy day.  In fact, all activity had come to a screeching halt because it was the Sabbath.  On Friday Joseph of Arimathea had hurried to get the body to the tomb, burial preparations had been made and sabbath prep done, so by Saturday the women who were always busy suddenly weren’t.  So there was Jesus in the tomb, abandoned, cold, dead, buried and alone.  Stillness and fear pervaded that Sabbath.  But that doesn’t mean God wasn’t at work in the midst of that stillness.

This year so much has come to a screeching halt and life as we know it has ceased to exist.  We may feel helpless due to our inaction or inability to stop this global crisis, and may feel that time has either accelerated out of control or perhaps stopped altogether.  As we find ourselves entombed in places of isolation, aloneness, loss of livelihood, illness or despair over the loss of dear loved ones — let us remember that we are not left there alone.  God is at work even now.

Today in the stillness of Holy Saturday, let us draw a deep collective breath as we remember the words of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux,

“May today there be peace within.  May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be.  May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others.  May you use the gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you.  May you be content with yourself just the way you are.  Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.  It is there for each and every one of us.”

 Thank you, Little Flower.  For we know that this place is only for a brief time and that transformation is just around the corner.

A song for today, with gratitude to Ana Hernandez who shared her gift of music with us at the Marble Women’s retreat recently.  Here is her rendition of this powerful battle hymn to carry us through:

“Don’t be Afraid” is by Scottish composer/activist John Bell. Ana’s arrangement is available on iTunes and YouTube, and the album, Sending You Light, by Fran McKendree and Ana Hernandez, is available on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, etc… and on Ana’s webstore here:

https://ana-hernandez-105676.square.site/product/sending-you-light-by-ana-hernandez-fran-mckendree/1?cs=true

By Karla Hendrick

A Message of Hope this Friday

tree photo

Spring is usually my favorite time of the year. I love the tiny yellow green buds dotting the bare branches of winter and their promise of abundant new life.  I took a picture of such a tree on a brief walk the other day.  (As I live in New York City, I practiced social distancing and wore a mask.) It was a gray and cloudy day and part of me wondered why I was even bothering to take the picture with the light so dull and flat. But I wanted a reminder of hope and as I looked through the lens the clouds shifted, and patches of blue appeared in the sky.

Since that day, I have gone back to that picture again and again and here are a few thoughts that came to mind. One, the patches of blue reminded me that blue skies are always there, it’s just that clouds sometimes obscure the blue.  Two, if I wait and look, the blue in the sky will appear even if it wasn’t there just a moment ago. Three, the tiny green buds that promise abundant new life are as plentiful as God’s promises about new life.  These verses came immediately to mind:

Isaiah 43:18-19 Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Revelation 21:5 Behold, I make all things new.
1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

I was curious about just how often God talks about new things. According to OpenBible, it’s 100 times. I guess it was a point that God wanted to emphasize. That’s a good thing. I need all the reminders I can get sometimes.

https://www.openbible.info/topics/new_things

And the ultimate emphasis on that point would be Easter Sunday. As I thought about that this favorite verse came to mind:

Job 8:21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.

During these dark days, sometimes I wonder how laughter and joy are even possible.

Then I remind myself, I don’t have to know how.

Our God is the God of the Impossible. Our God is the God of the Resurrection!

Let’s hold on to hope and faith and trust that God will provide.

 

Shared by sisters Patricia and Eileen Wu

Maundy Thursday

Harp strings flutter their touch through me –
Soothing my soul.
“Holocaust” symphony –
That does not flutter.
It seeps into you –
behind your eyes,
within the wailing wall of your heart.
How could such beauty and gentleness
in the twinkling music
Co-exist with the knowledge of such terror –
knowing that this could happen is horror.
Living it is unspeakable,
And yet, must be spoken.
Was the harp played in a German home
as Jewish families were herded to their death?
Could beauty and this horror co-exist?
Not with the knowledge of the terror –
only in blindness,
cold, dark blindness –
stone silence of deafness.
You can’t hear a harp
and hear their anguished cries
with the same ears.
You’d go mad.

Susan Ceely Phillips

Turning Point

IMG_4347

A time when a decisive change in a situation occurs, especially one with beneficial results.
A point at which significant change occurs.

Imagine a dancer.
You choose.
A ballerina spinning with supreme control.
A modern dance interpretation.
A jazz gyration.
Swing dancing in synchronized, yet wild enthusiasm.
A powerful footfall through hip hop.
Do it yourself rock n roll.
Salsa swirling.
Hindi twirling.
Imagine the dancer
and the turning point.

Turning, spinning, whirling
Now and then
Or on and on.
But, each turn has a point
When a decision occurs in the dervish
To continue to repeat the cycle
Or to move into a new step,
A fresh pattern,
A solo exhibition,
A cling or clash with a partner,
A fusion with the corps,
Or to just stop.

Turning Point
A time, a point when a decisive change, a significant change, occurs, especially with beneficial results.

Easter – a “turning point”, both grand and minute.  I pray that it’s lovely and kind, either way.

 

Susan Ceely Phillips

Just for Today

Just for today, I will try to live through this day only and not tackle my whole life problem at once. I can do something for twelve hours that would appall me if I felt that I had to keep it up for a lifetime.

Just for today, I will be happy. This assumes to be true what Abraham Lincoln said, that “most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

Just for today, I will try to strengthen my mind. I will study. I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.

Just for today, I will adjust myself to what is, and not try to adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my “luck” as it comes, and fit myself to it.

Just for today, I will exercise my soul in three ways: I will do somebody a good turn, and not get found out. I will do at least two things I don’t want to do –just for exercise. I will not show anyone that my feelings are hurt; they may be hurt, but today I will not show it.

Just for today, I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, dress becomingly, talk low, act courteously, criticize not one bit, not find fault with anything and not try to improve or regulate anybody except myself.

Just for today, I will have a program. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it. I will save myself from two pests: hurry and indecision.

Just for today, I will have a quiet half hour all by myself, and relax. During this half hour, sometime, I will try to get a better perspective of my life.

Just for today, I will be unafraid. Especially I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful, and to believe that as I give to the world, so the world will give to me.

There is a great deal of question around who wrote this and it seems the earliest attribution is to Frank Crane in 1921, although Dale Carnegie and Kenneth Holmes show up as the authors on occasion.  George Harrison wrote a song based on this text called “Just for Today.”  

Make a Space for Prayer

Today is the Monday of Holy Week, the week where we journey with Jesus to the cross. It is time to pray without ceasing for this world.   But where do you pray in your home?

Designate a special place to pray in your home, apartment or wherever you may live.  And what should you pray at this difficult time?

Here are some ideas…

  1. A candle or lamp to light your space.
  2. Your Bible.
  3. Family Pictures.
  4. A Cross.
  5. Angels.
  6. Piece of Cloth.
  7. Natural elements like leaves or flowers.
  8. Seasonal Elements.  (see my pictures below).
  9. Anything from your collection that is special to you.
  10. Click here for some healing prayers from Women’s Day…

 

 

Shared by Marcie Doll

 

 

%d bloggers like this: