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  • "Re-membering" Faith | Anne Robertson
    in the Water Water Into Wine Lazarus Come Out Stay in the Machine Where are the Shepherds While It Was Still Dark Acts God s Cleansing Love Holy Spirit Sharing the Load Singing In Prison Romans Apart From the Law Maker of Heaven and Earth Tower of Love Who s the Judge 1 Corinthians Here I Stand Resurrection of the Body The More Excellent Way What s It All About Ephesians Holy Catholic Church Philippians Christ the King 1 John Courage Forgiveness of Sins The Catholic Spirit Hebrews Other Alden Bradford Oration On Pests Blog Posts Lost in Ashes Yard Work As Viewed From Heaven In the Pit Re membering Faith Shoveling Piles of White Stuff The Responsibility of Freedom Good Times Decision Time Be the Boss of You Because He Died more Home Blogs annerobertson2 s blog Re membering Faith Mon 03 30 2015 16 28 annerobertson2 The Communion of Saints Tapestry by John Nava Do this in remembrance of me Luke 22 19 Last summer the house I grew up in went on the market and I went to an open house Things had changed of course Some of the changes were intentional but mostly the house and lovely grounds were simply showing their age Small trees were large trees the basketball court was like an archaeological discovery in a jungle overgrowth The apple orchard was gone As I wandered through the house and grounds ghosts of memories emerged like a movie flashback My father was on the riding lawn mower my mother graded papers on the dining room table Aunts and uncles grandparents and cousins were back to laugh and play and gather round the picnic table with my brother and me My friends through the years came and went It was Christmas morning and Thanksgiving dinner and decades of birthday parties all happening in a cacophany of sight and sound a movie only I could see Too many of those people exist now only in memory but those memories took on special shape and particular intensity there in the old places retracing the steps those dear ones had walked laughed and loved with me My father has been gone over 30 years but I could smell the cut grass hear the motor of one of the first riding lawn mowers ever made and see his wry grin as he traveled on his mobile throne the king of his lands Memory is like that The people we loved and the things we did all come into clearer focus when we smell the cologne hold the letter or re enact the traditions that we shared What our brains might dismember our bodies re member when we go beyond just thinking to physically enter the experience This week many of us will make such journeys not only back to our own childhoods but back thousands of years to re member the origins of our faith Whether we are Jews sitting at a seder meal telling the stories of Abraham

    Original URL path: http://annerobertson.org/re-membering-faith (2016-02-16)
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  • On Rites and Symbols | Anne Robertson
    that can be found in the United Methodist Hymnal After some initial uncertainty the liturgy was given the green light and following the fine homily by Cardinal O Malley United Methodist Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar was assigned to lead us back to the moment when each of us first took the name of Christian All of us together Catholic United Methodist and the many other Protestant denominations that would be present would reaffirm the vows that we took or that were taken for us at our baptism THE PREPARATION Because Joel and I are friends when I wrote to congratulate him on Cardinal O Malley s acceptance of his invitation he invited me to travel the hour and a half to attend the service vested in my white robe and stole and to be introduced in my role as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Bible Society I was delighted to accept not only because I wanted to support Joel but because MBS is an ecumenical organization Bible Societies and Roman Catholics have not always had a congenial rapport and although we have had Catholic Board presidents and currently have four Catholic Trustees the distrust has been palpable when I have spoken in some Catholic gatherings This was a chance for me to be a symbol to the many Catholics who would attend that any historical animosities between us have been laid to rest Indeed our new Bible study materials are being used in quite a number of Roman Catholic parishes in the Archdiocese and are being used with Protestants and Catholics together in many settings So I happily told Joel that I would be there As the time drew close and it became clear that there would be a large crowd Joel prepared an overflow room in another part of the church with a live feed of the sanctuary on a large screen But this presented a problem for the liturgy The Reaffirmation calls for the people to come forward and to receive the sign of the cross on their foreheads from the blessed waters in the baptismal font Cardinal O Malley and Bishop Devadhar would be doing the honors for those in the sanctuary but the logistics of the overflow room were problematic To address that Joel had me and a Catholic priest in attendance suit up as the B Team to take the water to the overflow room and anoint the folks in there THE MOMENT Bishop Devadhar finished the spoken part of the liturgy and the blessing of the water Joel then took four little glass bowls and filled them with water from the font The first two went to the Cardinal and the Bishop who then took their places Cardinal O Malley in front of the pew where the honored Catholic clergy including Bishop Walter Edyvean were seated and Bishop Devadhar on the other side in front of the similar pew reserved for myself and the other Protestant clergy My new priest friend Tom and I were

    Original URL path: http://annerobertson.org/on-rites-and-symbols (2016-02-16)
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  • Yard Work--As Viewed From Heaven | Anne Robertson
    in the Machine Where are the Shepherds While It Was Still Dark Acts God s Cleansing Love Holy Spirit Sharing the Load Singing In Prison Romans Apart From the Law Maker of Heaven and Earth Tower of Love Who s the Judge 1 Corinthians Here I Stand Resurrection of the Body The More Excellent Way What s It All About Ephesians Holy Catholic Church Philippians Christ the King 1 John Courage Forgiveness of Sins The Catholic Spirit Hebrews Other Alden Bradford Oration On Pests Blog Posts Lost in Ashes Yard Work As Viewed From Heaven In the Pit Re membering Faith Shoveling Piles of White Stuff The Responsibility of Freedom Good Times Decision Time Be the Boss of You Because He Died more Home Blogs annerobertson2 s blog Yard Work As Viewed From Heaven Fri 11 06 2015 19 34 annerobertson2 YARD WORK AS VIEWED FROM HEAVEN overheard in a conversation between God and St Francis God Francis you know all about gardens and nature what in the world is going on down there in the U S What happened to the dandelions violets thistles and the stuff I started eons ago I had a perfect no maintenance garden plan Those plants grow in any type of soil withstand drought and multiply with abandon The nectar from the long lasting blossoms attracts butterflies honeybees and flocks of songbirds I expected to see a vast garden of color now All I see are patches of green St Francis It s the tribes that settled there Lord They are called the Suburbanites They started calling your flowers weeds and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass God Grass But it is so boring it s not colorful It doesn t attract butterflies bees or birds only grubs and sod worms It s temperamental with temperatures Do these Suburbanites really want grass growing there St Francis Apparently not Lord As soon as it has grown a little they cut it sometimes two times a week God They cut it Do they bale it like hay St Francis Not exactly Lord Most of them rake it up and put it in bags God They bag it Why Is it a cash crop Do they sell it St Francis No sir just the opposite They pay to throw it away God Now let me get this straight they fertilize it to make it grow and when it does grow they cut it off and pay to throw it away St Francis Yes Sir God These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work St Francis You aren t going to believe this Lord but when the grass stops growing so fast they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it God

    Original URL path: http://annerobertson.org/yard-work (2016-02-16)
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  • Shoveling Piles of White Stuff | Anne Robertson
    so fast and furious over 71 inches in just 17 days that real large scale problems are developing Roofs are collapsing under the weight People are being injured and killed on roadways because the mounds of snow are too high for motorists to see and people have to walk in the roads Two have been killed just by snowplows Schools have been closed so much that kids and their teachers will have to be in school until June 30 and probably lose school vacations and holidays to boot Public transportation is down all day today in Boston a city where many people don t have cars And two more storms are on the horizon for just the next five days We are weary frustrated anxious often in physical pain and some are dead As luck would have it I have been living and shoveling through these storms while thinking about this year s social justice theme for the Massachusetts Bible Society Challenges of Racial Justice And all of a sudden today it hit me For the past 17 days and probably for a good bit more all of Boston has been living a metaphor of the Black experience Every minute of every day you have to shovel piles and piles of white stuff In Black America it is always like snow bombed Boston You can t walk safely on the street you can t easily get to healthcare to work or even to the store And the work it takes just to engage the world without physical or emotional injury leaves you constantly frustrated and anxious I feel you tensing up white readers White people often take umbrage at assertions like that but that resistance to hearing the difficulty of others is part of the problem When Black people universally say something is occurring and white people counter that it s not Suppose every single worker in every location of a multinational corporation reported oppressive working conditions and every single member of management claimed it was not so Wouldn t we demand an investigation Wouldn t we suspect that the people with the power and privilege were trying to protect it at the expense of those who don t have the money or power to make their case Such cases are in the courts every day Sadly often the power brokers win or get off with cheap fines If you ve ever been on the lower rungs of the economic ladder you know darned well what is going on Those with economic power however often don t see it or choose to turn their heads and avoid both the personal and corporate implications of the situation Their status either blinds them to reality or gives them the privilege of not thinking about it It is exactly the same with white privilege Normally we white people don t see the white stuff that is piled on the doorsteps of Black Americans Our world is plowed for us so we don t

    Original URL path: http://annerobertson.org/shoveling-white-stuff (2016-02-16)
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  • The Responsibility of Freedom | Anne Robertson
    11 2015 17 19 annerobertson2 Can we just create havoc for a bit of fun without cheapening the freedoms that gave us that right I mourn for the French in these days of fear and grief after the attacks on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo I share their outrage at being attacked and killed for acts of self expression and I agree that two of the rights that are foundational to a democracy are freedom of speech and freedom of the press I support those principles and am exercising that right even now as I write this blog Attacks on liberty of any kind are always something that deserve a full throated response if society and the individuals within it are to grow and thrive So I understand the response to both the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the mayhem surrounding the decision by Sony to release the comedy film The Interview Freedom equals good terrorism censorship equals bad I get it and I agree However Life in civilized society isn t just pure freedom It is a constant balancing act of using law to direct freedom in constructive ways so that one person s freedom doesn t become another person s undoing Traffic laws food and safety regulations the criminal justice code they all limit some kinds of freedom in the hopes of preserving the most fundamental freedoms of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all Freedom must be used responsibly for its benefits to be available to everyone Freedom of speech is no different There are places where we limit our freedom of speech for the sake of the common good The most common example is yelling Fire in a crowded theater A newer example of the same thing is joking about bombs with airport security You are free to do it but don t be surprised if your humor is not appreciated by airport personnel your traveling companions or anyone else at the airport that day In this day and age it is a stupid and irresponsible thing to do and you will experience unpleasant consequences if you try it In my view Sony s film and Charlie Hebdo s cartoons about Mohammad are both instances of organizations using humor irresponsibly The responses of North Korea in the first instance and Islamic extremists in the second are in no way justified but they were perfectly predictable Satirical media and cartoonists have always poked fun at world leaders but is it responsible to pick a living dictator trying to develop nuclear weapons who sits high on the list of enemies of the US and joke about his assassination People have been trashing Jesus in the name of art and humor literally for ages But when Islamic extremists have sleeper cells in every country and sympathizers worldwide and they have made it quite clear that if you so much as create an image of Mohammad they will kill you and anyone associated with you is it responsible to

    Original URL path: http://annerobertson.org/responsibility-of-freedom (2016-02-16)
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  • Good Times | Anne Robertson
    In Prison Romans Apart From the Law Maker of Heaven and Earth Tower of Love Who s the Judge 1 Corinthians Here I Stand Resurrection of the Body The More Excellent Way What s It All About Ephesians Holy Catholic Church Philippians Christ the King 1 John Courage Forgiveness of Sins The Catholic Spirit Hebrews Other Alden Bradford Oration On Pests Blog Posts Lost in Ashes Yard Work As Viewed From Heaven In the Pit Re membering Faith Shoveling Piles of White Stuff The Responsibility of Freedom Good Times Decision Time Be the Boss of You Because He Died more Home Blogs annerobertson2 s blog Good Times Thu 01 01 2015 18 03 annerobertson2 It s not just that you do something but when you do it that often determines its success For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven Ecclesiastes 3 1 For several months I had a lovely fall display in my yard with three big pumpkins strategically placed amidst piles of straw After a couple of months as food in the wild became more scarce critters discovered that there was some good pumpkin to be had with just a bit of shredding Critter lover that I am I decided to leave the pumpkins there and let the hungry have their fill Of course the state of the pumpkins worsened until I had three piles of mashed pumpkin in the straw With a warm fall here in Massachusetts I thought I might have easy access to pumpkin pie if the sun got hot enough but it was getting a bit embarrasing and I knew I needed to clean it up But it was a soggy smushed mess and the messiness put me off Fast forward to today several days into a cold snap that has left ice on the pond With the sun out and a day off I decided to tackle the pumpkin mash They were frozen solid I picked up each one as a single unit and tossed them into trash bags Five minutes no mess And I thought of Ecclesiastes and the fact that there is in fact a time for every purpose under heaven even picking up mashed pumpkins With the changing of time and seasons here at the dawn of the new year my pumpkins and Ecclesiastes reminded me that sometimes all the emphasis on doing everything at the very moment you know it needs doing isn t always best You ve heard the memes Handle every piece of paper or e mail only once the time is now don t procrastinate don t let things fester etc And much of that is very good advice But Ecclesiastes reminds us that dealing with something immediately might not always be the best way Asking your boss for a raise right after you ve missed a huge deadline might not be the best timing Having a difficult conversation when the other person is tired and stressed after a long

    Original URL path: http://annerobertson.org/good-times (2016-02-16)
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  • Decision Time | Anne Robertson
    Times Decision Time Be the Boss of You Because He Died more Home Blogs annerobertson2 s blog Decision Time Wed 12 31 2014 17 15 annerobertson2 You will get 525 600 minutes in 2015 What will you do with your time All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us J R R Tolkien Fellowship of the Ring Time is the dimension in which we live When we are looking forward to a positive event in our lives we want it to pass quickly When we dread what is coming we want to stop time in its tracks As we age it seems like the passing of time spins ever faster and then one day we come to realize that there are likely more days that are part of our past than days that will be part of our future Sometimes I m so busy that deadlines loom like harsh taskmasters demanding that I make my quota of bricks without straw like the Hebrew slaves in Egypt I have moments when I wish that weeks had eight days or that years had thirteen months And don t get me started on Daylight Savings Time when I lose an entire hour out of my day It makes me want to march on Washington and scream Give me my hour back But then I realize that if my week had eight days I would just be that much busier If I had eight day weeks or thirteen month years I would just overfill them as I do my current time The blessing and the curse of time is that every single one of us gets the same amount every day We don t all get the same number of years in a lifetime but for every day that we wake up twenty four hours lie before us laid out in repetitions of seven day weeks And we are the stewards of that time it has been given to us as a blank slate and we are charged by the God who gave it with deciding how to use it Outside forces can and do influence the decisions we make about the use of our time Our own ability to keep the Sabbath commandment to make sure there is one day a week when we do NO work is too frequently hampered by systemic issues in the 24 7 culture in which we live Sabbath is a justice issue but that is a topic for another post What is presenting itself to me this particular New Year s Eve however is the truth of Gandalf s words above Frodo the hobbit at the center of the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J R R Tolkien has just complained to the wizened wizard Gandalf that he wishes he didn t have to witness the horrors of that particular point in the history of Middle Earth But Gandalf tells him that while Frodo s desire is

    Original URL path: http://annerobertson.org/decision-time (2016-02-16)
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  • Be the Boss of You | Anne Robertson
    Earth Tower of Love Who s the Judge 1 Corinthians Here I Stand Resurrection of the Body The More Excellent Way What s It All About Ephesians Holy Catholic Church Philippians Christ the King 1 John Courage Forgiveness of Sins The Catholic Spirit Hebrews Other Alden Bradford Oration On Pests Blog Posts Lost in Ashes Yard Work As Viewed From Heaven In the Pit Re membering Faith Shoveling Piles of White Stuff The Responsibility of Freedom Good Times Decision Time Be the Boss of You Because He Died more Home Blogs annerobertson2 s blog Be the Boss of You Wed 11 19 2014 19 30 annerobertson2 It s good advice always but especially at the holidays be the boss of you Guard your mind and watch your tongue to make a way for peace Finally beloved whatever is true whatever is honorable whatever is just whatever is pure whatever is pleasing whatever is commendable if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise think about these things Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me and the God of peace will be with you Philippians 4 8 9 Here it comes again the holidays It doesn t really matter whether you re talking about Thanksgiving or any of the December holidays celebrated by people of different religions or no religion at all It s all supposed to generate feelings of gratitude peace joy and love Ha To be fair most of us can point to some years of our lives when the holidays did just that But the longer we live the more likely we are to encounter holiday seasons when we would like to rip to shreds every Normal Rockwell painting we can find We find ourselves stressed just thinking about navigating the time pressures family issues and financial burdens that are poured into the holiday pressure cooker And that s before you add in the truly significant losses and hardships that can make any particular year almost unbearable The empty seat at the table the mental illness the loss of income the abuse or acute loneliness that is muffled behind our wreath adorned door So many of us try to tune out by checking our favorite sites online There in place of the personal worries we are trying to escape there are friends asking us to sign petitions to end terrible abuses with the videos of said abuses to convince us There are news stories about terrors and wars beheadings rapes and political rants designed to make us hate each other You can t even veg out in front of the Weather Channel without hearing and seeing the devastating impact of a natural disaster somewhere Sometimes realizing how bad some people have it can bring important perspective especially if we come from a background of privilege We can always find someone in worse circumstances than ours which can help to turn our minds toward gratitude

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