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Sabbath Plans

September 1, 2011

I have three thoughts at the end of this sabbath day: I am very happy; I love where I live; and I thank (you) God for most this amazing day.

My sabbath began with a beautiful sunrise, shower, and early out of the house. I spent my morning in a park on the Hudson in Ossining, reading mediveal homilies for my Ph.D. dissertation. I discovered a medieval tale of a cross-dressing saint by the name of Marwin whose occasion for suffering and penance was the monastic practice of physical labor – a nice exemplum for my dissertation on images and representations of labor in 14th century preaching.  I also had an insight which re-organized the first chapter of the dissertation. A fruitful morning in a beautiful setting near  water.

Noontime brought a luncheon with colleagues from the Hudson River Presbytery: A gift – truly – to share both the joys and challenges of faithful ministry. I know this is a sabbath day – but this “churchly’ lunch was a blessing and in no way ‘work’.

After lunch I raced back to White Plains to meet my son’s kindergarten teacher. I spoke to my son August on the phone (he is trapped in Florida, a victim of ‘Irene’) from his classroom and listened to his excitement grow as I described to him the blocks, the cubby, the teacher’s guitar, and the art corner. My son’s teacher is male, and this may be either a Presbyterian or a childhood bias, but he reminded me of Mr. Rogers (who was a Presbyterian minister – “The Rev. Fred Rogers” – and Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood was his ministry in the Pittsburg Presbytery.) He is soft spoken and plays guitar.

I spent the afternoon lingering over a cup of specially brewed coffee at Serafina in downtown White Plains while reading more mediveal homilies. I then visited the White Plains Public Library, had  a cup of soup at Uno Chicago Grill on Martine Ave, and enjoyed an apple while watching the sun go down over the fountains in the City Center Park.

On my way home I discovered the Holocaust Memorial Garden in White Plains. This was so deeply moving that I spent my entire walk home in prayer.

The Gates of Remembrance.  Holocaust Memorial, White Plains, NY

There is a stunning sculpture of Isaiah, the prophet of peace, looking out from the garden as he snaps a half dozen swords into pieces in order to beat them into plowshares. As he does so, doves alight on the fragments. From across the street, a larger tha life statue of Martin Luther King, Jr., the ‘King’ of  nonviolence, gestures toward, and looks directly at, the prophet of peace.  I love where I live.

I spent the rest of my evening reading Chaucer, listening to the Grateful Dead, and talking with friends. 

 Thank you God for life, for my life, for where I live, and that you live in me. Help me ‘make a difference’ so that others may  lift up this same prayer to your glory.


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