Thursday, February 9, 2012

Image and the Incarnation

It has been far too long since I have posted. It has been a bit crazy the past few months. I am teaching a Bible Study in the parish that I really have to prepare for. I am working slowly but surely at trying to get the house in some presentable condition but I have also been plagued with colds and aggravating illnesses that seem to catch more of my attention than I would like AND I have been on a cruise.

I went on the great Revgals Big Event, a continuing education program run by an online group that I have been a part of for many years. This year we sailed from New Orleans—where I entered the convent 40 years ago this summer. We got there a day early and were able to visit the convent and found one sister who I lived with still there. It was great to visit the old school and convent with present day colleagues and friends as it was so foundational to my faith.

The cruise was a joyful event for me too. Some of the women I had met 3 years ago on a similar trip. But the continuing ed. program was just what I needed. Run by the founder and sustainer of one of the foremost sermon-help websites, Jenee Woodard of , it helped me focus on the images of scripture not just the words. It was just the thing I needed to help me move more into a post-modern grasp of the Bible. With a good foundation of historical-critical method under my belt, a serious gathering of the images of God and how God acts deepens and enriches my journey in faith.

Many of the women in our group are already working with screen images for their sermons. Episcopalians are loath to do the big screen illustrations because the liturgy itself is so visual, but what it does for the heart is significant. Life has become so visual for anyone younger than 50 these days that perhaps we may see the visual embrace of Scripture the path that proclamation of the Gospel may take. We have had 500 years with the emphasis being on the Word—the printed and spoken word. Perhaps the future will be in the visual ‘Word who was made flesh and dwelt among us.’

But as is usual with such events, it was the women that I met that enfleshed the Word for me. We were an international bunch with 2 women from Canada and 2 from Scotland. One of the Scots and I connected. She was as clearly Scot as I am told my great grandmother was. She shared her faith and her Church with me and I shared with her. There is so much faith and family that can be revealed while sitting in the sun on a ship’s deck in the tropics in January! It can even be done without rum drinks! Her tales of a Presbyterian parish on the west coast of Scotland were not much different than the stories I have of Episcopal or Lutheran parishes in the US. But there was so much about her that connected me deeply with the Scottish roots of my forbearers. Across time and sea, the stories my grandmother and father told connected with what is happening in small towns in Scotland today.

J. and I were seated at a table with five twenty-somethings who had been priested only a year ago. They have never known a time when women could not be ordained. They knew little of their church’s history during the Civil Rights movement of the 60’s or the women’s ordination movement in the 70’s. At the same time we did not know of their struggles to be ordained or to be called to position. They were exciting and excited for the Church and give us such hope for the future.

Such friendships provide an opening into the mystery of the Incarnation. So often our glimpses of Christ allow us to just see the Holy in those like us and fail to move us beyond our parochial existence. I am so thankful to have had such a vision to loosen me from the tight constraints my day-to-day living provides. It gives me a broader concept of what it means to be a follower of Christ and it also gives me a foretaste of what the realm of God is like.

I may never meet these women again, but I have been changed by them, humbled by them, cheered by them, fed by them and freed by them to know my God more intimately and to walk in the ways of faith.


Leonardo Ricardo said...

I just got a contact high from your travelstory...thank you (no Rum drink here either).


God_Guurrlll said...

Amen sister friend.

liz said...

Wonderful to read this and experience that sense of connectedness all over again. Definitely a rich seam requiring further mining. Be blessed, sister.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Muthan, your travels sound wonderful. The two women from Canada were lovely, and I enjoyed so very much our dinner in New Orleans. It was a pleasure to meet you face to face, and to meet Judy, Eileen, and Elizabeth.

Where are the stones in the picture? We visited the Loch Buie Stone Circle when we were in Scotland.

You promised to send pictures...

Still dancing said...

ditto, Ditto, DITTO! That raucous dinner at Herbsaint was a highlight for me (even though the raucousness was annoying).