Tag Archives: Family

Celebrating Pentecost at Home

Pentecost is sometimes referred to as “the birthday of the Church,” but the birthday refers not to the institutional church, but rather to our birth into the new life of the Risen Christ, the new creation that comes from the Holy Spirit. Pentecost (this year on May 31) brings the Easter season to an official end, but it also marks the beginning of our new life together. Through the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we are guided and supported in our attempts to live out our baptismal promises.

There are significant meanings in the Acts of the Apostles description of Pentecost. The Jewish feast commemorated the giving of the law on Mount Sinai. The gift of the Spirit to the Church on this feast fulfills the words of Jeremiah, “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts” (Jeremiah 31:33). Pentecost also symbolizes the reversal of Babel in Genesis 11. At Babel, confusion, in the form of diverse languages, confound the understanding of the builders. On Pentecost (in Jerusalem), the apostles understood every language being spoken by the crowds (Acts 2:1-4 and John 20:22). At Babel, the human city is scattered. On Pentecost, the City of God is drawn together as 3,000 believers are added to the Church.

After Easter, Pentecost is the most important day of the Church year. Churches typically celebrate it with everyone wearing red (representing the flames of the Holy Spirit), perhaps a dove kite soaring above the congregation in procession, lessons read in various languages, children wearing construction paper flame hats, red balloons tied to pews, and birthday cake at coffee hour. Not this year! But it can still be celebrated at home. Some ideas and links to others:

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Resources for Advent & Christmas: Year B

adventThe season of Advent will soon be upon us (November 30, 2014) and our lectionary cycle will turn to Year B. This is the year of Mark, when our gospel focus turns to the first gospel written as well as Old Testament themes of the Davidic Covenant and Wisdom literature.

Download AdventChristmas2014 (my updated Advent & Christmas 2014 Ideas, Activities and Resources).

Planning Advent activities for home and church are many. Here are some resources that I recommend for tapping into:

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Heaven’s in My China Cabinet

It’s Sunday, so that means dinner with my parents. Since we moved my mom and dad back to Connecticut from Maryland to be closer to us, Sundays and Wednesdays have become their night to come over for dinner. It’s been an interesting journey these past two years sitting around the dining room table.

As those of you who follow my postings are aware, my mom has Alzheimer’s. She’s now 84 and my dad is 86. Coming here for dinner provides a balanced meal and some respite conversation for my dad. We get into the same loopy conversations “. . . how old am I? . . . what month are we in? . . . I like to jitterbug . . . where is Becca? . . . Oh, she’s getting married? . . . I just like people! . . . what do you do? . . .”

When they arrive we have a glass of wine and talk about the news – lately it’s been college basketball between John and Dad. We try to stay away from talking politics or religion. Or money. But those always seem to come up.

Mom wanders around looking for the cat while I prepare dinner, and I have her set the table. She reads the magnets on the fridge alongside the pictures of Becca, Jamie, and Chris. Dinner conversation is always a bit wacky. There is a lot of reminiscing and asking questions “. . . what was your favorite subject in school? . . . what was your first dog’s name? . . .” Sometimes Mom will start speaking German or French. John is always able to grab a memory out of her. With some “boop-boop-be-doop” always mixed in.

Tonight my grandmother joined us. My mom’s usual seat at the dining room table faces our china cabinet. Full of crystal and china, its back is mirrored. As usual, Mom sat across from Dad, with John and I at either end of the table. But tonight, Edna/Memom was with us. Every time Mom looked up and past Dad, she saw her mother.

“How could she be here? . . . She’s in heaven . . . I think she’s up there looking down at me . . . I miss her . . . She was a good mother to me . . . My father, not so much . . . I know she’s in heaven . . . And when I’m with her, I’ll help you get in too.” She tells my dad she’ll reach down and help him get in too, when it’s time.

I go over and squat down beside her chair so that both of our images are reflected in the mirror. “Mom – that’s you. Look – that’s me.” We laugh . . . daughter has become mother, and mother has become daughter.

And Memom looks “down” upon us and smiles.