On Sunday, June 28, 2015, I led worship at the North Anderson Community Church, Presbyterian in Anderson, South Carolina. When I arrived the rainbow was being installed behind the pulpit. The prelude was a beautiful rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Below are the call to worship, the readings for the day, and the sermon I preached. Continue Reading →
Author Archive | Laura Collins
I am sick.
When Trayvon Martin was murdered, I wrote this. When Mike Brown was shot down in Ferguson and his body left unattended in the street for four long inexcusable hours, I was outraged. And more so when the police officer was not even indicted, much less convicted.
And then Tamir Rice, age 12. 12 years old! I felt too numb to even say his name.
And now nine people at prayer and Bible study, massacred. Nine Black people. Black leaders and teachers and pastors. The senior pastor who was also a state senator. Continue Reading →
Rising and writing the date in my notebook, I see that 62 years ago my mother married my father. This will be my mother’s seventh wedding anniversary without him. Today she will take the champagne of celebration to another couple’s house to celebrate their anniversary, married the same day, one year apart, each standing in the other’s wedding.
I imagine my mother now, walking the aisle in a dress borrowed from her sister-in-law, carrying a bible with a magnolia blossom – her faith and beauty represented there – moving toward my father. Continue Reading →
I first began to blog after reading an article by a woman who called herself The Velveteen Rabbi. At the time she was a poet beginning her rabbinic studies. I read the article in Bitch Magazine (of all places). I’ve followed her through the years as she became a Real Rabbi and now a national leader of the Jewish Renewal movement. This morning I share one of her poems. (The poem stands alone, but for her beautiful explanation, click through to the link.) I will be meditating on these words today:
only thing I know is, the universe
is expanding and my heart with it. …
All the mitzvot
add up to this: every sinew in the body and
every day of the year, hear the command
Day 7 of the Omer by Rachel Barenblat
Every Easter of my childhood, we gathered at the lake on the hill above the church where my father was the pastor and as the sun crept up over the lake, our voices echoed: “Christ is risen!” “He is risen, indeed!” The youth group provided the breakfast and we broke bread together in the morning chill before heading to the big sanctuary for the formal service, complete with soaring organ singing alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Later, I led a smaller congregation who gathered at Lake Ontario in the still-winter dark, standing in the cold, and often the snow, to await the rising of the sun and of Christ. Then we would go to our church and fill the empty cross standing on the lawn with the flowers we had carried.
Today, I slept long past sunrise, arrived late for the service, cried through the Hallelujah Chorus – who knows why? Except, why not? And still I was blessed with a Sunrise Service, the sweet words of local poet, Mendy Knott. I share them with you. Continue Reading →
Eight years ago, on the first week of March, my husband of 14 years moved out of the house we had purchased together only eight months before. That same week I got my first real job offer for any position not related to the church. Ever. The following week I turned 44. After the hands-down-worst-year-ever of my life, the chance for a fresh new start brought liberation and relief. Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten” played almost every day on the radio and became my manifesto. “Feel the rain on your skin. No one else can feel it for you …”
This month, I am settling into my new home. For eight years the house I never wanted–the house of broken memories–had also become the house where my son grew up, the house where I took a leap of faith into self-employment, the house where I fell in love again. And then again. The new memories patched the old ones and put on a fresh coat of paint. But the structural integrity of the foundation of my life there never felt entirely stable.
Today I turn 52. Continue Reading →
While not many of my friends are climate deniers or creationists, plenty of them are happy to throw science out the window and put children and vulnerable adults at risk by refusing to vaccinate their children. I’ve seen links to some really goofy pages recently in their defense. How about we read peer-reviewed journals instead, folks?
My theory is that smart people throw reason out the window when faced with a deep fear reaction. But decisions made from fear are not rational – we see this daily in the news. We become afraid of the wrong things. We become afraid of Muslims instead of the extreme poverty situations that breed terrorism. We become afraid of environmental regulations killing jobs instead of afraid of the destruction to our water systems caused by fracking or to entire eco-systems due to mountain-top removal of coal. Continue Reading →
When I was a teenager I had a poster on my wall that said, “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.” This was before John Lennon sang “Beautiful Boy” so even though he gets lots of credit for some version of this quote now, I can attest I had the poster first.
I started 2015 with lots of plans. This blog. A series of retreats. Ideas for workshops and public speaking and opening a new spiritual direction practice. My mind was whirling with interesting schemes. I felt ready to start dating again after last year’s heart-break. I set my word for the year as discipline and wrote down goals for numbers of miles I’d be walking and number of words I’d be writing and number of retreats I’d be leading.
And then, life. Continue Reading →
Who doesn’t love those a-ha moments when you understand something in a new way or for the first time – something about your life or your work or what you’re called to do and be in this world or about someone you love or about the world itself or about God?
Usually these moments get triggered by something outside of us –the astonishing taste of the eggs, perhaps, or a star in the sky as the Epiphany story of the Magi in the Bible describes. But if we’re waiting on the big new star to catch our eyes kind of epiphany, we might miss the taste of the eggs kind of epiphany.
Pema Chödrön, in her book, The Places that Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times, tells about a cartoon where the drawing is of an astonished looking man saying “What was that?” and the caption below reads, “Bob experiences a moment of well-being.”
Happy 2015. Next Sunday in West Asheville I’ll be holding my first “micro-retreat” of the year. You can find more details here.
You can email me with any questions.
Or check out the facebook page.
Suggested donation of $20. Everyone is welcome, but I do need to know if you are coming because space is limited and materials will be provided.
Hope to see you there.