Tag Archives: St Lydias

Necessary Work

Sometimes you need crunchy guitars to get you through the day, and some days you need to listen to Bach to drown out the rattle and whirr of the window unit. I know this particular song is turning a bit into a cliché, the piece of music that those of us who know nothing about classical music listen to on repeat, but I don’t really care. You could call anything old and beloved a cliché, except it hasn’t lost its beauty and meaning. Not to me, anyway.

The other day I wrote this note to myself (another necessary cliché, perhaps) as I was wading through a long to-do list:

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Of course, I was in the middle of writing an email and listening to music when I stopped to write this down. I am a hypocrite, sometimes because I know the right thing to do but choose not to do it, and sometimes because I am pulled in so many directions I am often trying to go both ways at once.

Maybe that’s why we pray, to carve out a little space, to find a way. Prayer is simply pointing yourself in a direction.

I haven’t been praying much lately, to be honest, but nonetheless prayers are still answered. The next issue of Trinity news is almost done and St. Lydia’s met its fundraising goal though donations are still needed if you have a few bucks to throw our way (and I feel the need to show you this ridiculous and fantastic meme that Emily Scott, our pastor, made).

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Work doesn’t always feel like a clean and simple checking off of to-do lists (I’m sure you know this). It’s often messier than that because it involves our own fallible hands and minds and, worse, other people. The work of living together and creating something good, whether it’s a magazine or a church, music or a meal, is sometimes a slog, but it’s also necessary and it’s the only way forward.

St. Lydia’s is Moving

For about as long as I’ve been living in New York City St. Lydia’s has been my home. It’s a progressive, inclusive community that combines liturgy and a meal. The people who attend range from young twenty somethings who have just moved to New York to homeless men and women to even a few families with kids. It is, I think, an example of what church can be at it’s best.

We’re moving into a new space, so I’m sharing this video with you so you can get a sense of what we’re like and what we’re up to (and I confess I’d love it if you’d to consider making a donation). If you’re ever in New York, come visit!

Quiet Love

Last night I participated in a contemplative prayer class, led by Phil Fox Rose, who is a congregant at my church. We sat in silence for twenty minutes, and whenever a thought came into our heads , large or small, we tried to let it go. Phil used the metaphor of sitting on the bank of a river. We notice the boats and the driftwood and debris floating by, but we don’t follow them down the river.

It was hard, and for the most part I failed, (which was fine, Phil said).

I’ve been feeling a little jittery this week – it could be finishing up Trinity News before I leave on vacation, or maybe I’m drinking too much coffee – and it was good to force myself to sit in silence. This was only the second or third time I’ve tried meditation, but the feeling I’ve gotten in the last five minutes or so is akin to the feeling I get when listening to certain music, like I’m stepping out of myself, or at least out of the stream of my consciousness for a few moments and glimpsing something bright and quiet and holy. The sunrise on the other side of the river.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Julianna Barwick lately, which sometimes fills me with that feeling. Her music is lovely and kind of haunting in a warm, comforting way. It’s twilight fall music. This video was filmed in the church where I am getting married.

On Sunday at St. Lydia’s we blessed our wedding rings. Denise is Brazilian, where they don’t do diamond engagement rings. Instead, we wear their rings on our right hands until our wedding day, when we will switch them to our other hand.

So on Sunday, the congregation sang a simple melody and passed our rings from person to person, each holding them in their hands for a moment and saying a brief, silent prayer, even visitors whom we did not know. Then they laid hands on us and prayed. Some of us wept, and again I glimpsed whatever holy and true thing exists between us – hope and love and God – visible only sometimes, in quiet hearts and human love and song.