Lumunos helps you Reflect ~ Connect ~ Discover your gifts to find your call in life, through these stories and observations here, through our website, and through retreats. Help us help you continue to discover your calling in life. Donations are accepted through our Website.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Earth Day 2013

by Tom Pappas

Be it known that I love this planet. I love the excellent good life God breathed into being. That said, I want to reflect on three experiences that when fit together to make me slightly uncomfortable on the week before Earth Day. 

A week ago my church hosted a regional conference for over 100 people. Laurel and I have been instrumental in establishing a practice of not using disposables for coffee hour and meals at our church and we once estimated several miles of foam cups (we always line them up end to end) that did not grace our landfill since the practice was started. Five meals and three snacks were served at this recent event our Green Team was invited to wash the dishes. I personally spent 11 hours over the two days (along with others) and we felt the use of actual cups, glasses, plates and silverware was appreciated. We did it happily imagining how the dumpsters would not be loaded with billowing black bags.

Last week we also had a primary election for city council where seven candidates are vying for three at large seats. The primary would eliminate the lowest vote getter. A letter to the editor in our paper commented on some of the different candidates and issues. It closed with the hope that the candidates he favored would get rid of our city’s “preposterous green agenda”.

We went to a program today at the state capitol which concluded across the street in the State Bar Association building with a lovely luncheon served on foam plates with plastic utensils and bottled water on the table. (We brought our empty bottles home for recycling.)

We do what we can; some times it doesn’t seem like much. I am nevertheless convinced that I am called by God to be a responsible steward. I wish my fellow citizen didn’t think what I value was preposterous. I wish those with means to host a luncheon believed it was worth time and effort (and probably additional money) to not use disposables.

We will be doing Earth Day activities because on the mundane level it is our best place to live and we don’t actually have another option if we ruin this one.

We will be doing Earth Day activities because this planet is God’s remarkable gift to us and being proper stewards is a noble call that feels right in spite of inconvenience and occasional discomfort.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

In Memory of Gordon Cosby

by Doug Wysockey-Johnson
 Gordon Cosby died on March 20th of this year. For some of our readers, Gordon Cosby is a well known name.  For others, this is the first you have ever heard of him. Gordon is best known for the innovative and prophetic forms of the church that he pioneered in Washington DC.  He also had a significant impact on the mission of Lumunos. 

For many years Lumunos (then called Faith at Work) was based in the Washington DC.  My predecessor Marjory Bankson worked closely with Gordon through their common participation in Church of the Savior.  Focus on the “journey inward and the journey outward;” call; and relational theology are just a few of the values we hold in common with the church that Gordon founded. 

The web has been filled these past weeks with quotes and stories from Gordon’s life. I encourage you to explore Gordon’s life and legacy through these quotes from Inward/Outward, or his book “By Grace Transformed” (order it through The Potter’s House, a Coffee House he helped start.)

To get a sense of Gordon Cosby, let me end this blog with an extended quote from him.  This was reprinted on the bulletin from his Memorial Service, and probably tells you everything you need to know about this great man:

When we hear the invitation to claim our membership in God's family, it's like we've stumbled onto a Grace Party. We can hardly believe our good fortune. The sights and sounds of it are pure delight. Abundance characterizes the whole shindig. The most delectable manna is falling everywhere, and wine flows as though from an artesian well. Everyone is eating and drinking endlessly yet not being harmed because this food and wine are not of the world but New Life.
And get this: Everyone's invited! That's the really good news. No one has to crash this party, there's no limit to how many of my friends I can bring along with me. Or my enemies for that matter. It's such a blast  that I want everyone to come - those with wealth or not a penny to their name, those who are down and out or who thought they had some power. I do notice, though, that the so-called nobodies seem to be having the most fun. It takes the others awhile to lay down everything they brought with them and start to play.
What are people doing at this party? That's the funny thing-We're not 'doing' much at all. We're just being. We're being our real selves, relaxed and eager to help out with whatever the host asks of us. Love is flowing all over the place. Whatever you need, we're ready.
  • Do you want someone to listen? We'll hear whatever you need to say.
  • Are you bleeding from the wounds of the past? We'll soothe and bandage your wounds.
  • Do you need to be held for a while, just being quiet in a safe place? Not a problem. We have all thtime in the world.
  • Looking for respect, even reverence? You'll get such a dose of it you'll wonder if you can take it all in.
In fact, there's so much peace and joy at this party that it can be hard to absorb. Some of us just aren't able to let in this much unimpeded Love and goodness. That's all right. The host isn't pushy. We can come and go as many times as we need to until we can handle this much joy.
This is simply the nature of a Grace Party. None of us is here because we deserve to be. We haven't earned any of it. And although some of us might keep turning down the invitation, the host will never stop inviting. And neither will we who have decided to stay. We'll be spreading the news of this unbelievable feast everywhere we go. Come to the party! It won't be the same if you're not there.
  -Gordon Cosby

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Prayer for my Goddaughter

by Angier Brock

Yet even at the grave, we make our song: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

The road ahead: Is it really a dead end, or does it lead to grace? That question is raised by the juxtaposition of two signs placed within a few feet of each other half a block from my church, Grace Episcopal Church. Both signs point in the same direction. One of them, erected by the state department of transportation, is intended as a warning. “Dead End” is what it says. The other sign, pointing to the church, is meant as an invitation and a welcome. Whether you continue on the road or search for another way depends, I suppose, on what you are looking for and which sign you trust.

The events of holy week pose essentially the same question as the two signs: Do they lead to a dead end in the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus, or is grace at work in spite of how things look? Once again the answer depends on what you are looking for and what signs you trust. I have heard it suggested that Judas, reading events through his hope for a king like David—that is, a king who would be a strong political and military leader—had foreseen only a dead end on the horizon. Feeling his hopes betrayed, he became the betrayer. Surely the others must also have feared a dead end at first. But they stayed the course, and slowly they began glimpsing signs of hope—first Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb, later Thomas in the upper room, and gradually others. Jesus appeared to them, spoke to them, ate with them along the road. Their lives with the earthly Jesus would never again be the same, but the grace of the Risen One was there to comfort and sustain them in new and surprising ways.  

The Easter story has been more immediate to me this spring than usual. Four weeks into Lent, my goddaughter’s husband, only in his thirties, lost his struggle with acute leukemia. He died less than two weeks shy of the date scheduled for him to receive a bone marrow transplant. He died exactly a week before the birth, on Good Friday, of their second child, a daughter. The untimely loss of her young husband, the love of her life, must seem the ultimate in dead ends to my goddaughter. And yet smack into the aftermath of her unspeakable grief has come a new life. What a profound final gift of love her husband has left her and their two-year-old son.

Does the arrival of the baby diminish her grief? No, I think not. Only the passing of time will do that. But neither does her grief keep her from embracing this new child with delight and joy. My goddaughter will undoubtedly live for a while the way the followers of Jesus lived in the days and weeks after the first Easter, that is, in the tension that comes from holding both great grief and great joy simultaneously. My prayer for her is that through her tears as well as her joy, her sadness beyond telling as well as her devotion to both of her young children, she will know the sustaining love and power of the Risen Christ.

What about you? Is there a place in your life that looks like a dead end? Stay the course. Look again. You too may see signs along the way that point to grace.

PS: A hymn text by a 19th century Scottish poet Horatius Bonar, speaks to the reading of signs, both in the physical world and in the Easter story. Here are the verses found in the Episcopal Hymnal 1982 (#456): 

O love of God, how strong and true,
eternal and yet ever new,
uncomprehended and unbought,
beyond all knowledge and all thought.

 O wide-embracing, wondrous Love,  
we read thee in the sky above;
we read thee in the earth below,
in seas that swell and streams that flow.

We read thee best in him who came
to bear for us the cross of shame,
sent by the Father from on high,
our life to live, our death to die.

We read thy power to bless and save
e'en in the darkness of the grave;
still more in resurrection light
we read the fullness of thy might.

Bonar’s poem can be sung to several tunes. My favorite is by 20th century composer, Calvin Hampton: