Though it is in our lectionary, our Lamentations text – this prayer of pain and petition – is not something we hear every day. I doubt many of us could quote from Lamentations as easily as we could from Psalms, from Isaiah, or from any of the gospels or epistles. So when we do hear from this book, it may come as a shock to our system. When I’ve told people that one of the texts I would be preaching from this morning is Lamentations, I got very similar responses. There were a few “ohs” and “that’s interesting,” and even an occasional “oh my.” Not exactly the words of assurance a woman would want. But these words did not really surprise me for what we find in this book – undiluted expressions of despair – are rarely the passages we seek out for nice Bible studies or our bedtime readings.
by Stacey Midge
I began seminary with several single classmates, but our number was
significantly reduced over the three years we spent there. By senior
year, it seemed like a mass headlong rush to the altar. Those of us
who had not joined the stampede mostly avoided the topic, as though
voicing it would speak it into reality, but in a fit of honesty, a
friend moaned one night, “Once I’m a pastor, all hope of getting
married is over.”
At the time, I was puzzled by – and occasionally scornful of – my
classmates’ partnering inclinations. “Get Married” has never made it
to my life to-do list. It still hasn’t. Although I’m sure I’d make it
work if it happened, I can’t imagine doing ministry as a married
person. I can’t imagine living as a married person. Still, doing
ministry and living as a single person has brought my classmates’ fears
into sharp and sometimes painful clarity.
by Katherine Willis Pershey
It’s happened too often to write it off as a fluke. There was that one time in the pulpit, and again the Sunday after Hurricane Katrina hit. At the last board meeting, once during choir rehearsal, and of course the day after we found out our beloved dog was dying of lymphoma. I’ve only been serving my congregation for twenty-six months, and I’m inching toward needing a second hand to count the incidents. No, it’s not a fluke. I’m a crier.
by Carol Howard Merritt
We’ve been in our home for a year now. In actuality, it’s been almost two years, but that first year, this didn’t feel like our home. We were renting. Now we own our home (or at least part of it), and I feel settled.
I am a nester. Not in the sense that I like to clean, but in the sense that I like to decorate and I don’t like to move. I love to hammer nails into the plaster. I am the one who buys the paint entitled “late tomato red.” In our last home, my husband and I embellished our upstairs with the designs of the Ndebele tribe of South Africa.
It was 8:35 when my alarm clock betrayed me.
And I only knew of his defiance because the phone rang. Twice. But I rolled over insisting that this, too, was part of my dream. The rebellion continued until the answering machine interrupted.
“Lexi?” My answering machine called. It was then that I realized that this was the morning I was betrayed. It was now 8:37. Worship had started seven minutes ago, and I was supposed to be presiding.
by Erica Schemper
And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation. Genesis 2:1-2 (NRSV)
He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
Psalm 121:3-4 (NRSV)
I was sure I’d be back in church within one week of my daughter’s birth—not as a pastor, but as one of the faithful, gathered in the pews, free to worship God without fear.
For this, our inaugural feature, we bring you two very different pieces, "On Women and Children and Poverty," a visual piece by Suzanne Stovall Vinson, and "&," a poem by MaryAnn McKibben Dana.
While the medium and focus of the two pieces differ from one another, each piece speaks to the particularity of women’s experience while touching on broader themes that unite many of us.
Are you a poet, fiction writer or visual artist? We want to hear from you! Please see our submission guidelines for more information.
And now, on to Christ & Creativity…
by Kate Smanik-Moyes
Last night as we lay in bed, my husband Simon, who is
a student at the college where I am the chaplain, mentioned that a fellow
classmate had asked to “friend” him on Facebook. He asked what I thought he
should do, so we began a conversation about his options and how he might handle
the situation, knowing that there wasn’t really a perfect answer.
“There are consequences if I choose not to friend her,
if I choose to friend her while locking her out of all the personal portions of
my page, or if I choose to leave it all wide open,” he said. “And I’m pretty
sure I don’t want her to see the pictures from the last time we went clubbing or the ones of me in the wedding dress at my stag do.”