• Art and Prayer

    Sketching as Prayer Retreat September 24-27

    Tuesday, September 24 – Friday, September 27, 2024 “Earth’s crammed with heaven,And every common bush afire with God,But only he who sees takes off his shoes;The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.”Elizabeth Barrett Browning Seeing heaven here on earth and recognizing God’s presence, whether in the wildness of a burning bush or in the shifting colors of autumn trees, requires slowing down, stepping aside from our busyness, and becoming receptive to what we haven’t yet perceived. Sketching can be a pathway to seeing, to noticing the ways God is speaking through creation, and to becoming aware of his presence in the world around us. In the process we are drawn…

  • Art and Prayer

    Sketching as Prayer Lenten Retreat

    I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!Philippians 3: 10-11 Who wants to suffer? It’s not something we typically choose, nor should we without good reason. But Jesus did choose to suffer because of his tremendous love for us. He chose to enter into our suffering here on earth, in order to give us life. Lent is a season during which we choose to identify with Jesus, sharing in his sufferings, not for some morbid fascination with suffering, but…

  • Art and Prayer

    Blue Hair, Play Dough, & Snow Angels

    “Choose an activity that will be genuinely soul-stretching…” One of the assignments for Selah, the spiritual director training program I’m in, is to: Do an activity that fosters a communal and/or rejoicing experience of God. Choose one that will be genuinely soul-stretching for you, not one that is easy or already habitual for you. Do it three times in the course of a week. Summarize the experience itself in a few sentences; then summarize the work that this experience did in your soul. What went on in your prayerful awareness of self, and of God? The activity I chose from the list of options is, “do something completely playful that…

  • Art and Prayer

    New Year’s Retreat Rescheduled to January 20th

    I wasn’t planning to start the new year with bronchitis (nor spend Christmas with flu and a stomach bug), but we can’t always plan our days neatly. Thankfully, all the days ordained for us are written in God’s book (Psalm 139:16) and we can trust that we are in his plan, even when our plans seem to fall through. Because I am not up to much yet, nor do I want to share any germs I might still be harboring, I am rescheduling our New Year’s retreat for Saturday, January 20th. Please email me if you would like to attend. I’m hoping that by rescheduling, some people who were unable…

  • Art and Prayer

    New Year’s Retreat: January 6

    We’re just days away from 2024—a new year, a chance for a fresh start, a time to refine our perspective, an opportunity to set our course for the next twelve months. Or… to do nothing and continue on whatever default path we’ve been following. Of course there’s nothing inherently special about January 1st. It’s not like the winter solstice, when the days cease becoming shorter and slowly start lengthening. And it’s not like that glorious day when the first spring blossom bursts forth with its promise of riotous color and exuberant birdsong to come. Despite that lack of inherent meaning, I like to take the turning of one calendar year…

  • Art and Prayer

    Geminid Meteor Shower

    I glanced out my window at 4:36am to the sight of a long bright streak crossing the sky- one of the best shooting stars I’ve seen! I had read that the best time for viewing the Geminids was between 11:30pm and 4:30am, but I was sleeping during those hours. I awoke in my chilly room at 4:35am, briefly considered staying snuggled in the warmth of my blankets, but then roused myself, looked out the window… and beheld an invitation to watch God’s nighttime display of glory. I pulled on a warm robe and hurried outside in time to see… nothing. Well, plenty of regular stars, but no more shooting stars.…

  • Art and Prayer

    Sketching Prayer

    Last Friday I took a quiet day from my full schedule and spent the day at Holy Cross Monastery, where there are quiet spaces, comfortable chairs, good lunches, and wonderful river views, all wrapped up in an atmosphere of prayer and contemplation. Last year I took one day at the monastery each week of Advent, and I’m hoping to do likewise this year. When I am there my phone is on airplane mode and I spend my day in silence, reading Scripture, praying, musing, and sketching. I consider all of these sketches from last week to be a form of “sketching as prayer,” whether or not I have Scripture or…

  • Art and Prayer

    Advent Longing, Hope, & Waiting

    The Advent themes of longing, hope, and waiting have been running through my mind all week. I’m thinking about my deeper longings and how properly placed hope can help me wait confidently and with expectation for those longings to be fulfilled. We’re surrounded by upbeat Christmas music, lights, and glitter, but if we stop to get in touch with the longings that often stay hidden beneath all our activity and also the longings of much of the world, we know that all is not truly upbeat for us or for the world. What are some of my longings? I long for broken hearts to be healed, broken relationships to be…

  • Art and Prayer

    Advent Retreat: Waiting, Longing, & Hope

    “Advent is a season of expectant waiting, tapping into the sense we have that all is not well, the longing for the world to be made right again… By helping  us to hope intensely for restoration, to feel our own need to be saved, Advent prepares us for genuine Christmas joy and faith in the One who saves us from our sin, Jesus.” (Reinders, Philip. Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible Through the Year. Faith Alive Christian Resources & Baker Book House. 2005) Advent RetreatDecember 2, 9:45 AM to 3:00 PMImmanuel ChurchWappingers Falls, NY You’re invited to an Advent Retreat at Immanuel Church on Saturday, December 2nd from 9:45am to 3pm. Join us for a…