A reflection from The Rev. Lynn White, Priest Associate

Resolutions

This time of year, resolutions are on everyone’s minds. How can we and the world be better this next year? At our home, we subscribe to The Chicago Tribune each day. There are a few columnists who I regularly read. One is Eric Zorn. In the early days of the New Year, he wrote about his search for his motivating word for the year, and he chose the word “delete.” He was attempting to suggest that in this new year, we ought to simplify our lives and delete or eliminate those things which we no longer used or needed.  

Then, this past Wednesday, January 9th, Mary Schmich, another favorite columnist, called for a New Year’s “purge” also formerly called de-cluttering and getting organized, and offered tips for doing so. Mary suggested that tidying up is for the faint of heart. “Purging is for athletes, soldiers, and conquerors.” We all do a bit of deleting when we take down our Christmas decorations and embark on a new year, but Mary calls us to do more. 

The articles were full of reminders that your “stuff” is not you, that if you don’t remember you own it, then you may as well not. What the articles also made me think about is priorities. What is important to us? What Mike, my husband, might think is “stuff” I might consider treasure. What is it that defines what we value? Our headlines are full of stories of immigrants who leave everything in order to move on toward hope and a better life.

What does our faith have to offer us as guidelines? The best guide for me is the Ten Commandments, simply summarized by Jesus as this: “Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” The second is this, “You should love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mk.12: 28-31).

If we are serious about and live that summary, then everything else falls into place. Forget about the long lists of diets, exercising, and the myriad of concerns to improve. If we truly follow the summary of the Law, our world will be a better place. Our bodies become holy temples and are treated as such, God becomes the priority, and peace and love have the possibility to surround us and the world. May it be so.

To God be the glory!

Amen

A reflection from The Rev. Lynn White, Priest Associate

Happy New Year!

Did you know that there are at least 45,700 spider species that are found on every continent except Antarctica? Most of us are aware of spiders as those arthropods who spin webs and sometimes dangle from the silk-like threads that they produce. However, spiders are enormously more differentiated than humans.  

I wager you did not know this. I read a fascinating article in The Economist recently. I learned that there is a spider, the Toxeus magnus, that looks like an ant and behaves like a mammal. The mother exudes a liquid which is a rich source of nutrients and contains four times as much protein as does cow’s milk. At first, the mother deposits fluid in droplets around the nest, from which the young spiders drink. After that, until they are about 40 days old, the young are suckled. Who would have guessed that a creepy crawly spider could look like an ant and behave like a mammal?!

Rainer Maria Rilke writes, “And now let us welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.” As we are launched into 2019, the tangled web of possibilities is endless. Even in our smaller world of St. Ann’s, we have new leadership in The Rev. Scott Zaucha and already can see changes that are a foretaste of things to come in our church home. Beyond our church, might a Wall be built across our southern border? Might we find life on the other side of the moon? Closer to home, might a solar farm be built in our midst? 

Scripture doesn’t seem to help illuminate us about what we might expect. On the one hand, Ecclesiastes 1:9 says that “there is nothing new under the sun.” Spider-like arachnoids were present 386 million years ago! The T. magnus spider is not just now looking like an ant or acting like a mammal, but we have just discovered it to be so. On the other hand, in Revelations 21:5, God is reported to have said, “See, I am making all things new.”

My sense is that what is new is our continuous discovery of things that God has already created. Beyond the sticky web of everyday conundrums and busyness, we also have a direct line that will lead us to newness, to wholeness.  Our prayer for the New Year might be for God to give us the eyes to see, the mind to discern, and the heart to love what God has provided for us all along; the direct path to Him.  If we work on these things, we have the possibility to be awed and amazed at the wonder of the world and omnipotence of God’s love, creativity, and new life.

To God be the glory!

Amen.

A reflection from The Rev. Lynn White, Priest Associate

Some 35 years ago I was ordained on December 15th. I received this as an ordination gift. It came in a red velvet frame and we bring it out each Christmas, although it's a direction to live by each day.

 "Christmas is more than a day at the end of the year

More than a day of joy and good cheer

Christmas is really God's pattern for living

To be followed each day by unselfish giving

Then Peace on Earth will come to stay

When we live Christmas every day."

-- Anonymous Source