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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

552 We take you with us, and with you, we choose as a community, the deeper path of living.

Day 552 Sunday September 19, 2021

We take you with us, and with you, we choose as a community, the deeper path of living.

Victoria opened and closed our retreat yesterday with two beautiful blessings:

Victoria: Good Morning Everyone.

First, A Preface Before our Opening Blessing:

In preparing for our retreat today, I came upon these words:

...the people we have loved

and those who have loved us,

not only make us more human,

but they become a part of us

and we carry them around, with us, all the time,

whether we actually see or hear them… or not…

And in some way we are a sum total

of all those who have ever loved us

and those, to whom we have given ourselves.

It reminded me of a time when I was attending a retreat for Spiritual Directors at Mercy Center Burlingame. Those of you who have been there, know there is a beautiful labyrinth nestled in the grassy knolls that surround the center. After one of the presentations, there was about an hour’s break in the schedule, and so about 30 or 40 of us went to walk the labyrinth.

As we walked, we could see one another walking and making the many turns… and as each person finished, they walked to the perimeter of the labyrinth and stood there watching the rest of us finish our journey…there they all were, standing in solidarity with us, watching us, at one with each of us.

This memory has stayed with me over the years, as family members and friends have died, and it brings such comfort to me that each one is there, still standing, and watching over all of us as we finish our life journeys.

With this in mind, I invite us all to envision all those who have died, those who have gone on before us, those who have loved us, and those to whom we have loved, from times and cultures past, (like Jesus, Mary Magdalene or maybe Gandhi), and those from our own times and cultures, our own family members and encircle our gathering here today. Let us listen... as we hear these words of blessing from all of us today…this, our opening blessing:

Victoria “You Are With Us Still”

(Blessing found in an old Protestant hymnal)

In the struggles we choose for ourselves,

in the ways we move forward in our lives

and bring our world forward with us,

you have not melted into dust and have not disappeared;

you are with us still.

The lives you lived, hold us steady.

Your words remind us

and call us back to ourselves

and move forward with us.

It is right to remember the names of those

who gave us strength in this choice of living.

It is right to name the power of hard lives well lived.

We share a history with your lives.

We belong to the same motion.

You too were strengthened by what had gone before.

You too were drawn on by the vision of what might come to be.

You who lived before us,

who struggled for justice and courage and love...

you evoke our own.

We carry you with us;

we are your voices now, your hands, and your hearts.

We take you with us, and with you, we choose as a community,

the deeper path of living.

Victoria: A Closing Blessing

- John O’Donohue

May you know tender shelter and healing blessing

when you are called to stand in the place of pain.

May the places of darkness within you

be surprised by light.

May you be granted the wisdom

to avoid false resistance,

and when suffering knocks on the door of your life,

may you be able to glimpse its hidden gift.

May you be able to see the fruits of suffering.

May memory bless and shelter you

with the hard-earned light of past turmoil,

to remind you that you have survived before, and though the darkness is now deep, you will soon see approaching light. May this give you confidence and trust. May a window of light always surprise you. May the grace of transfiguration heal your wounds.

And the good people of this our beloved Emmaus, and wider communities, say,

Amen! All: Amen!

Videos from the Retreat:

Step By Step: Accompanying Each Other Home

With Diarmuid O’Murchu

Part 2: Accompanying Each Other Home

1. Being an alternative Faith Community today – prophetic presence and pastoral challenges

2. Theological focus: Serving the new Reign of God (Empowerment) and not merely the Church

3. Our predominantly older age-group – Becoming a community of wise elders

4. A community for the world – an eco-justice that empowers.

5. Creativity in Ritual and worship

6. Our ministry of befriending / accompanying one another – formally and informally.

7. Holding the sacred memory of past members.

Link to ZOOM video for Part 2:

Step By Step: Accompanying Each Other Home

With Diarmuid O’Murchu

Part 3: Dying and Rising to New Life in Contemporary Theology (Overview of Diarmuid’s Book: Doing Theology in an Evolutionary Way)

Link to ZOOM video for Part 3:

Announcement about Jim McFadden:

(Jim enjoying a hearty breakfast at Sonoma Valley Hospital)

Jim went to the gym to work out after the retreat yesterday and once home JoAnn noticed that Jim was slurring his words (they were reading together). She decided to take him to Sonoma Valley Medical where they asked Jim to stay overnight for observation. According to JoAnn and her sister Catherine: "Jim had a good night. Moved him to Med Surge this morning.🌠💕Will have additional tests on Monday. Happy to report that his blood pressure was 104 over 88👍. Let's keep Jim, JoAnn, Catherine and their whole family in our prayers.

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