Tuesday, July 20, 2010

eat, pray, love

Lots of folks have read the book Eat, Pray, Love over the last couple of years. It's one woman's internal and external odyssey -- she travels to Italy to explore the senses (eat); to India, to build a life of spirit (pray), and to Bali to learn of the heart (love). As I sat at the airport in Rome, waiting a long time to get home to Boston, I realized I'd had my own Eat, Pray, Love experience over the last two weeks in Italy.

EAT: Hiking along the Cinque Terre -- five coastal villages built into the cliffs, so that the whole place seems to hover over the ocean -- I felt my senses come alive. The food, the sights, the people, the uphill climbing to get anywhere, even the singing every night at a village pub (yes, they got me to sing solo, and my last night I was actually the featured artist -- crazy, I tell you!!!). In the Cinque Terre, you feel alive and grateful and in your body, and it's glorious.

PRAY: In Assisi, as I shared in an earlier missive, you can't help but pray. It's the town where, early in the 13th century, a privileged young man named Francesco heard the calling to drop everything and follow Jesus and to move into solidarity with the outcasts. That man, later called St. Francis, built a beautiful and simple monastic community (the Franciscans) that has shaped the way many of us follow Jesus. I can't tell you what it meant to meditate on the same crucifix that "spoke" to him and called him, to pray at his tomb, to walk with other pilgrims. But I can tell you I've rarely prayed as I did in Assisi.

LOVE: The whole reason I went to Italy was to perform the wedding of Jason Long and Dani Morello, two beloved members of The Crossing community (Jason has served the last two years as our Minister for Community Life). Dani is half Italian and half Cuban, and her father's family hails from Florence, so they decided to truck the whole wedding to that gorgeous Renaissance town. Even if you weren't there for a wedding, Florence would make you believe in love. The human capacity for love and beauty, art and passion, drives the city and has for centuries. Add to that setting the marriage of two people as loving, as committed, as mature and as hopeful as Dani and Jason -- who wouldn't be weeping at the power of love? (I started crying as soon as Jason came down the aisle with his parents, and I was the priest!).

This final Thursday before our summer Sabbath, I hope I see you at worship. I also pray that, at some point this summer, you get your own Eat + Pray + Love adventure. May you moments that take you deeper into wonder at the holy temple that is your body, deeper into the heart of God who is always longing for relationship with you (pray), and deeper into love for the people with whom God has surrounded you (love). The odyssey starts now ...

this week @ the crossing
WORSHIP and COMMUNITY // Thursdays @ 6pm
Kelsey Hanf offers the final reflection of July -- text pasted below. It's also our last official worship gathering before September 2. Our spiritual practice: continuing to create our own books of daily prayers. If you made a book last week, PLEASE BRING IT BACK! (all drawing utensils will be supplied, but if you've got favorite prayers, bring 'em with you). If you didn't make one, start from scratch this week.

  • BEFORE WORSHIP: Set-up for worship at 4:45pm (all the cool kids are doing it!). Prayer circle at 5:30pm.
  • AFTER WORSHIP: Some simple snacks and then off to Fajitas n Ritas for cheap dinner and drinks. THEN Episco-Disco @ Estate!
  • NEXT 5 THURSDAYS: House church -- simple evening worship gatherings in Crossing members' homes. Five Thursdays @ 6pm: July 29 and August 5, 12, 19, 26.
  • BY SUBWAY: 138 Tremont St -- across from Park St T stop (Red or Green Line); near Downtown Crossing T (Orange)
  • PARKING: Boston Common Garage, Charles Street between Boston Common and Public Garden ($5 with validation @ church)
  • FOR MORE INFO: Head to our website: www.thecrossingboston.org.

EPISCO-DISCO // After Worship this Thursday
We'll make our final procession to Estate, a fabulous nearby club that welcomes everybody and is free if you show up at 10pm. So that's what we do, every 4th Thursday. CONTACT Lura at lsteele120@gmail.com.

WALTHAM HOUSE VISIT // This Friday @ 3-5pm
A small group of Crossing folks who care about justice and outreach will head to Waltham House to share fun, support and some blessing with homeless LGBT youth who live at this half-way house in Waltham. The trip is full now, but we'll do it again on Thursday, August 19. CONTACT Maegan at maeghan.ouimet@gmail.com.

HOUSE CHURCH // Next Thursday, July 29 @ 6-7pm in Cambridge
During our Summer Sabbath, we won't gather for worship at The Cathedral. Instead, at 6pm on five Thursdays -- July 29 and August 5, 12, 19, 26 -- we will gather in homes or other places to share prayer and community. Beth Graham opens her home for this first gathering: 38 Berkeley St, Apt. 5, Somerville -- close to Porter Sq, Davis Sq, or Lechmere T. CONTACT Beth at ElizabethLGraham@gmail.com.

justice & service @ the crossing
As a part of the city-wide Hope in Action campaign -- shepherded by our partners in the LifeTogether young adult intern program in the Diocese of Massachusetts -- many of us have made a
1% commitment to action that makes a difference. CONTACT our Hope in Action Strategy Leader Natalie Finstad at hope@thecrossingboston.org for lots more info. Here's the most recent news:
  • See info above re: the Waltham House visits. And pray as we build relationships with Bridge Over Troubled Waters, a local group that also works with homeless teens.
  • People who made 1% commitments should now be in touch with a Hope in Action team member to build some community support. If not, CONTACT Natalie.
  • We're still setting up and leading conversations about transgender inclusion and rights.

general crossing community info
InBetweenCrossings: groups.google.com/group/inbetweencrossings. Log on and view or share all kinds of random community notices: furniture, apartment sublets, concerts, lost and found, play dates. If you want to share it with our community, start here.

Giving @ The Crossing: follow the link to learn about sharing your money or your prayers with The Crossing -- it's a spiritual practice that we're grateful to invite people into. We raise a huge chunk of the money for this ministry among our own members (the rest comes from grants we apply for and from generous support from our Cathedral and Bishops). To make an ongoing pledge, fill out a card at worship or CONTACT Chris at giving@thecrossingboston.org.

Meet Our Crew: The Crossing is led by a team of amazing, creative and faithful young adults. Follow the link to meet them and see who you might contact to more deeply engage our community.

this week's gospel: Luke 11:1-13
Jesus was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples." He said to them, "When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial."

And he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, `Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.' And he answers from within, `Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.' I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.

"So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are sinful, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will our Abba God in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask!"

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