Everyone's life changes. Mine is no exception.
When I started this blog in 2006, blogging was relatively new, and I was relatively new to the Episcopal Church. I had many questions and few answers that gave me comfort. This blog became a wonderful spiritual gift to me--opening me up to many avenues within the Episcopal Church, particularly any of us who had any affiliation to what I lovingly call "God's Rainbow Tribe." We were all loud, proud--and a little bit cloaked.
The big uncloaking came in 2008, when we all found each other on Facebook and, later, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat--and there will be more.
When I started this blog, I had this notion that I would simply live out my days as the beloved pathology professor and local hospital pathologist, on my 35 acres of heaven in rural northeast Missouri.
God has a funny way of messing with plans like that.
It is now late September 2015, I no longer teach medical school pathology, I only work as a hospital pathologist two days a week, and I am in the process towards Holy Orders. I am the same person showcased in this blog, and I'm not the same person showcased in this blog. But the reality is, it's time to pull up my tent stakes and move to a new blogging adventure.
As many of us do when we aren't sure where we're going, we find temporary digs. For now, for at least 30 weeks, my new blogging home is here, and please visit when you can. I'll probably create a more permanent blog after that, and I'll definitely leave a trail of bread crumbs from there.
Thank you for sharing a piece of my world with me.
"Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine: Glory to him from generation to generation in the church, and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen."
(BBC Proms rendition of Jerusalem)
They're not the Four Questions of Passover, but I believe, that, in an odd way, the Glastonbury Legend and the four questions in the hymn "Jerusalem" are matters important to our faith, even if they are not matters essential to it.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Glastonbury Legend...well, actually there are two arms of it, but it starts with the legend that Joseph of Arimathea, a tin merchant, traveled to England with the young Jesus. The legend was around since at least the 13th century, coupled with the idea that later, Joseph also brought back a chalice containing Christ's blood (aka the Holy Grail) to Glastonbury. The idea that Jesus had actually set foot in England was immortalized in William Blake's poem in 1808, and set to music by Sir Hubert Parry in 1916.
It's at this point the story gets a bit of a checkered past. The reason for setting it to music was pretty much...well...nationalistic. Originally to be a part of Britain's "Fight for Right" movement, and written at the time the British occupation of Palestine commenced during WWI, Parry pulled it from anything having to do with the Fight for Right movement, yet...it quickly became one of Britain's most beloved songs, even elevated to the status of a hymn in the Church of England. (This carries another delicious irony--Blake was a Nonconformist and formally rejected the Church of England.)
Yet for modern-day Britons, "Jerusalem" is the equivalent of an alternative national anthem, crossing religious boundaries (note the woman wearing a hijab under her ball cap, at about 2:05 in the video above.) It's sung at rugby matches...
...even when the participants are in the British commonwealth but not from England...
...and, of course, at Royal Weddings.
Back to "Jerusalem" and those four questions, though. Blake lines them out in the first stanza of his poem:
And did those feet in ancient time
(Read how these photos of lightning bugs in a Kansas hay field were taken here.)
I tried and tried last night to take a picture of what I was seeing last night outside, but my cell phone camera wouldn't come through for me. So I posted this 2009 National Geographic picture to give you an idea.
As I looked out across my hay field, I could see the faint glow of hundreds and hundreds of lightning bugs hovering just above the surface of the grass--a very interesting sight in light of the fact it was the eve of Pentecost. It got me to reflecting on how we've heard the Pentecost story in Acts so many times, and I think we've come to expect that receiving the Holy Spirit is supposed to be some huge gonzo-dramatic rush of wind and hubbub, yet maybe the reality is, that it's more like hundreds of lightning bugs in the dark.
This has been an interesting time in my life. (You might have heard there's an old Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times.") Being a part time seminary student and the letting go process of parts of my work life, have, on good days, been a little messy, and on bad days, anxiety provoking. What's interesting is that other people--including people who have nothing to do with the Church--keep referring to it in conversation as "your transition" and "transitioning." I come away from those conversations with this surreal feeling--they are literally referring to me in the 2nd and 3rd person in the same terminology as when a person switches gender. Then I think to myself, "Well, maybe it IS a little like what people feel like when they switch gender." I find myself passionate about new things, and less passionate about things that used to matter a lot. Granted, it's not hormones, but it is very, very visceral.
Yet perhaps this is how the Holy Spirit works within each of us--a lightning bug shining in fits and spurts, hovering over a dark field. When daylight comes, the lights are too small to notice. Perhaps it's only in the dark they can be discerned.