Friday, June 13, 2008

A Pictorial Guide to Blogs I've Intended to Write

A number of blogs have been inhabiting my mind, my heart, my soul since January. They refuse to be abandoned to the passage of time. This little blog will provide a pictorial representation of the hope for those blogs. The first, which kept insisting on being written all through my final semester of seminary is about the amazing beauty and rebirth that happens on the CST campus every spring semester. Every week something new is budding and something else is in bloom. I first noticed the beauty of this natural rejuvenation in my first spring semester. Even with my heart burdened with heavy grief over the death of my father, I couldn't help but notice some of the blooms. The next spring, I noticed with attentive awareness that truly, every week, something new was in bloom. This spring, I eagerly anticipated this progression through the season of renewal. I had hoped to document it with photos. Instead, I simply appreciated the new blooms each week.

Another blog that has been begging to be birthed would be one about CST's outdoor labyrinth and how walking it, sometimes in tears, sometimes in joy, sometimes slowly, sometimes rapidly, often alone, but sometimes in the company of beloved others, sustained me throughout my three years of seminary. I first walked it that same spring I was noticing the blossoms, and it sits in the midst of a mediation garden that is home to many of those plants. And each year, it seems, has at least one walk that served almost as an icon for the year. This year, it was the day that all of the commuters who formed our close community when we entered in 2005 and 2006 went to the labyrinth at 3 p.m. in California to be in solidarity and prayer with our friend,Jeri, who was attending the memorial service for her mother at 6 p.m. in Florida. We didn't walk the labyrinth; we weeded it. At the end of our time, we had transformed it, given it new life, made it inviting and walkable again. (Allison Rainey even preached about it in the valedictory sermon of the semester.) And my last week of seminary, I walked it again. My favorite time was always nighttime because you can look through the branches of the oak at the center and sometimes see the moon. My last day, I made a special trip to the center of the labyrinth and prayed in thanksgiving for all the life it had sustained and drawn forth and transformed within me.

This represents a blog I have wanted to write for more than a year. It is a blog about communion. It is a blog about baking my "first communion bread" for baccalaureate last year. It is a blog about my call, which has always included a strong call to sacrament, particularly the sacrament of communion. It is a blog about being at General Conference and seeing all the the things I could do for the church as laity should I choose not to pursue candidacy, yet walking the labyrinth there and knowing within moments that "it's about sacrament," my call I realized some years ago that I can tell my call story -- in fact my entire faith journey -- as a series of communion stories strung together. I am so very thankful for all of my experience of communion and all the people with whom I have been and am in communion. I am particularly grateful for a communion experience that came as a blessing and benediction in the last week of seminary.

And, I've been wanting to tell the graduation week story, beginning with our senior prank.
In the 50-year history of Claremont School of Theology, there has never been a senior prank. So, we decided to transform the Craig Academic Building into a cruise ship, complete with portals on faculty offices and a Bon Voyage sign.


And I would love to tell the story of how my friend Jeri and I became unofficial members of last year's baccalaureate worship planning committee and official members and participants in this year's baccalaureate worship planning committee. Both years it was a joy to be at the beck and call of Kathy Black, CST's worship goddess. And, both years, the worship service was a moving and healing experience. The cornbread in the right corner of the photo above is my "second communion bread."



And it may be some time before I have words to convey the depth of the friendships I formed at CST and the difficulty in not having these friends as a regular presence in my life any longer. My friend Eunice is returning to Nigeria at the end of this month. And Jeri and Carol live in Arizona, Jeri in Mesa and Carol in Tucson. I miss them already but I know that they will be a meaningful part of my life Always.

3 comments:

Jeri said...

Always in your life. Good times at CST. Many many communions, pranks, and friends. All great memories and hopes for what is yet to come.

Kelli said...

I am glad to be in communion with you, as a CST commuter and always. I am grateful for your presence and assistance with vespers. And I am glad that we remain in digital communion here. PEACE, PEACE.

Rev. Joseph P. Shore said...

Peaceful words, there will defintely be a different feel to cst this year now that so many of my beloved classmates have moved on.

I thank you for this this way our connection to each other remains very real.

peace
and love to you
Joe