Monday, February 04, 2008

Ash Wednesday, Annunciation, Women Spirituality Conference & More

I'm ministering at the following upcoming services and events:
Wednesday, February 6, 2008, 7pm
Ash Wednesday Service
I will proclaim and interpret the Hebrew Testament reading, Joel 2:12-18
I am grateful to have the opportunity to minister on Ash Wednesday and prepare myself and others for the season of Lent.
Saturday, March 8, 2008, 9am-4pm
Women and Spirituality Conference ~ for adult women of all ages and beliefs
I will lead the participants in a simple circle dance for the opening and closing ritual.
Transformations ~Institute for Psychological and Spiritual Development
North Shore Senior Center, Northfield, Illinois
Monday, March 31, 2008, 4:45pm
Evening Prayer on the Feast of the Annunciation
I will most likely dance the Magnificat. I am delighted to have the opportunity to dance on this, my favorite Feast Day.
Motherhouse of Felician Sisters Mother of Good Counsel Province, Chicago , Illinois
Sunday, May 4, 2008, 10am
Confirmation Sunday
I will dance with a ribbon banner, blessing each of the confirmands with a swoosh of red ribbons overhead representing the Holy Spirit.
As you can see, I'm still not booked for Holy Week or Easter or Pentecost, so please let me know if you're interested. Also, I'm working on a rosary retreat for this coming October. Details forthcoming soon.

So, today, I worked on the Joel 2:12-18 reading for Ash Wednesday.
As always, it's useful to spend time with the scripture; repetition brings familiarity and insight. Going over and over the passage, I realized I didn't understand it at all before. I reached a deeper level of understanding. Scripture is so deep. I just keep going deeper and deeper into it. It's amazing.
So, today in the gym, I realized a person's natural hesitation in response to the very first line: "Even now, says the Lord, return to me." I read the entire (short) book of Joel in order to put the reading in its context. The people have messed up. There's a plague of locusts. But, even now, even despite that, God asks us back: "Return to me." How do I respond? Tentatively. Who? Me? You really mean it? Yes, God says, but you need to grovel. Give me everything. "your whole heart. Fast. Weep. Mourn. Tear your heart, not just your clothes." Nothing half-hearted. half baked. I require complete surrender. I want everything. Your whole being. Because why? Because I am gracious and loving. I love you. I forgive you. I will provide for you. So, how does a person respond? Sound the trumpet. Call an assembly. Gather everyone together and ask God's forgiveness today. Have the priests plead for the people. And, God hears, responds, takes us back.

That's a good start for Lent.

Blessings,
Michele


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