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Advent Awakenings

Art As Prayer

November 19, 2020
By Jodie Rubenzer

Prayer as Art: A Collage-Making Experience

Saturday, December 5, 2020 9:00—12 noon (via Zoom)

Art is a form of communication; Prayer is a way of being with God. Together, this process helps to direct our hands, mind and heart toward God. (~Art as Prayer; Prayer as Art Drawing to God)

This day will be guided by Hillary Gilles and Jodie Rubenzer. No artistic ability is needed; you will be easily guided through a step by step process and registration will assure that you receive all necessary supplies in the form of a prepared kit.

Please Sign up by Dec. 1 Email— or call 715.425.1879 ext.110

Sharing Thoughts That Stir My Soul

November 12, 2020
By Jodie Rubenzer

Feuding with Martha and Mary

April 03, 2020
By Jodie Rubenzer

Feuding with Mary and Martha

This social distancing and Safer at home have conjured up in me an internal feud.  I know this is what has to be, but it’s tough at times.

What am I supposed to be doing now?  Believe it or not there was a time when I longed to be more like Mary, just having some time to rest at the feet of Jesus.  I was even involved in a book study several years ago titled, “Having a Mary heart in a Martha world”.  Well now it seems I’ve found myself in a Mary world wondering, “What should Martha be doing?” 

I pulled out my Bible, so I could read this passage of Mary and Martha again, to see if I could gain any clear insights as to what it was I might be wrestling with.  There it was in vs 40 “Martha was distracted with much”.  I don’t think it matters if we are a Martha or Mary, distraction plays its part in what we are called to do and what we actually end up doing.  At least for me it does.  And especially now.   So when Jesus responds to Martha with “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled with many things, one thing is needful and Mary has chosen the good portion.”   I want to believe that what he meant was “Know your purpose”.  What are you being called to at this moment in time?

So what is “my portion”?  For me I think that it is this:  awareness, combined with compassion which can equal a call to action.  Compassion wells up in me when I watch the news and see both the sadness, and the good that is flooding the airways due to this recent health crisis.  I am moved to tears with the pain and kindness shown by people all over our nation.  Also, when I hear of friends and family losing jobs and struggling to keep small businesses open, my heart aches because we’ve experienced that too.   I realize it’s okay to be Mary for a bit, sitting at the feet of Jesus, but then I need to get moving and become Martha; moving outside myself to do something. 

So now when I pray, I ask God for direction into where He might need to use me today and then I work to be attuned to the people and needs that show up in my day instead of the agenda I’ve prepared for my day.    I suppose it’s a somewhat safe prayer for me now, given what I can do is limited, however I have had opportunities to reach out; as well as opportunities to say thank you to those essential workers providing us with mail delivery, food and healthcare.   I’ve been connected with family and friends through Z00M, FACETIME and strangers, with a wave or smile.  So I guess for me at this place in time, I find myself praying these words:  Jesus, take away the distraction that I may lean more closely into you like Mary so, the Martha in me will know what to do. 

I can only hope that Jesus will respond and say, “Jodie you have chosen the good portion”. 

Taste and See

March 26, 2020
By Jodie Rubenzer

Taste and See the Goodness of our God

You know how sometimes you wake up and you’ve got stuff already swirling in your mind and head.  Well today the words and music of Psalm 34 were playing on rewind in mine.   “Taste and see the goodness of our God the goodness of our God.”  I even found myself saying under my breath “God please, I haven’t even had my coffee yet”.  And then it hit me.  “Taste and see the goodness of God”.  I HAVE coffee this morning.  Thank you, God.  Looking outside, I could see the light of the morning and the song of a robin… Thank you, God.  Later on, at one point I entered our kitchen and noticed immediately the “spotlight of sunshine” overtaking the centerpiece on our table… Thank you, God.  This was what God was calling me to and reminding me of this morning; to be grateful in the midst of this uncertainty.   I know we are smack dab in the middle of restrictions and struggles and stresses we have never before experienced, and yet God reminded me that God is God and always with us. 

Commuting up the stairs to my home office space I pulled out one of my “go to” books for reflection, opened it and was drawn in to this invitation of prayer and I’d like to share it with you; perhaps you might want to use on your own, or with your family. 

Praying with the Five Senses, adapted from Joyce Rupp, Out of the Ordinary
Smell, Taste, See, Hear, Touch
To understand the world knowledge is not enough;
you must see it, touch it, live in its presence and drink
the vital heat of existence in the very heart of reality.
~Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Go for a walk.  Give yourself the gift of breathing.  Notice your breath; celebrate the fact that you are alive.  Be aware of breathing in life and breathing out what is not life-giving.  (and might I offer to say a quick prayer for those who are now struggling to breathe)
As you eat your meals today, savor every bite.  Take time to enjoy all the different flavors.  Chew slowly.  Be grateful for the gift of nourishment on all levels of your life.  (Pray for those who continue to serve us through curbside pick-up and for those not working due to this time of shutting down)
Find something in nature.  Look long at it.  Befriend it.  See all of its details (size, shape, color, texture, etc.) 
Sit very, very quietly.  Be still.  Listen to all the sounds surrounding you.  Listen to all the sounds that are within you and after, your time of listening note what you have heard. 
Spend time with your hands.  Touch the texture of your skin; notice the ridges, contours; feel the shape and size of your hands.  Close your eyes and touch your hands again.  Imagine God holding your hands.  (Be grateful for your hands and those that care for the loved ones we might be separated from at this time)
Sensual Life-giver, you have created me wonderfully.  Awaken me through my five senses.  Surprise me, entice me!  Draw me into gratitude and awe!  Thank you for these gifts of my body and for all they teach me about you.

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