Tuesday, April 28, 2009


This past weekend a group of my old (and one new!) friends spent two days taking in the gorgeous display of wildflowers and migrating birds in Adams County, and enjoying much-needed, but too infrequent, time to just "be." We shared good food and good stories. We laughed and cried. We checked each other for ticks. It doesn't get any better than that.
On Friday and Saturday night American Woodcocks started their aerial courting displays exactly at 8:45 pm and we watched their silhouettes against a cloudless, dusky sky. Then, right on cue, at 9:15 the Whip-poor-will began his loud (some said, obnoxious) repetitive call in the pines near the deck. After all that...the silence...and brightness of the stars.

During the early morning we took birdwatching hikes on the property at Prairie Pond Woods. Late morning we left for jaunts to local nature preserves to see spring carpets of Trilliums, Violets, Wood Poppies, Bluebells, Jack-in-the-Pulpits and courageous flowers hanging off rough rock faces.

Sometimes nature came to us, as when a flock of 30 Cedar Waxwings congregated in the Persimmon tree so we could watch them dive out for bugs. Or when three Indigo Buntings came to the hanging feeder. Or, in an odd moment, when a Scarlet Tanager left its familiar tall tree tops to perch on a deck chair!

My friends, like nature, are one of my spiritual lifelines. Deep friendships are sacred. Mine give me encouragement, purpose and context. I love the growth I see in them...even though we all acknowledge (and sometimes laugh about) the few things that beset each of us year after year. But my friends extend the grace I need to deal with my humanity. Like the wildflowers and warblers that show up every April, my friends are faithful, reliable and bring me comfort...and a whole lot of joy!

See you next year, you wild women! --Cindy

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Reading Luke's account of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus this bright Easter morning, engaged many thoughts and emotions for me...especially around the women who played such an integral part during those gut-wrenching days.

As Jesus hung on a cross, many women, spiritual sisters of Jesus, some who had traveled from Galilee, stood at a distance watching hopelessly and helplessly. This holy man, this teacher, someone who had treated them graciously as equals, was being tortured to death for no reason that they could understand. Hours before they had been wailing for him in grief, as he walked to a horrible place known by everyone as The Skull. As they beat their breasts, he turned to tell them not to weep for him but to weep for themselves... These same women followed the council member, Joseph, to the cave he purchased, and they watched in sadness as he laid the body of Jesus inside it.

And now it was their turn.

They probably had no money or business standing to buy a tomb. No political clout to protest this injustice. But they had their cultural role...to do the unlovely work of preparing a dead body for burial. Such a long two days. Such anguish and emotion. They had been unable to do or say anything to stop it. And now this person they came to love, and the hope he had given them of something beautiful and new, was gone forever. So they prepared spices and ointments, the one thing they could do, and anxiously awaited their time to honor him. But first, even with the eagerness to go to him, even amidst all the adrenaline rushes as they recounted the events and wondered about their future, they rested.

And now it was God's turn.

Indeed, the new and beautiful hope was not dead. In fact, as they rested, it came alive after being lifeless. The old spiritual culture was dead...torn in two and opened up. Jesus entrusted the most significant spiritual news ever, not to the apostles, but to a bunch of women whom the men considered silly and full of idle tales. But the resurrection brought a new, life-affirming theology of the heart, and maybe Jesus knew how much these women treasured him.

So one Mary, his mother, first saw him incarnated into this world as a baby, and another Mary saw him as he re-incarnated as Head of a whole new world order. A world where stereotypes and biases don't blind us to the marvelous things God is doing...or wants to do.

And so now it is our turn....

"I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." -John 13:34

"Let us relinquish the future. Let us relinquish it to God, who upholds us in our pain, who frees us for doing what is faithful, but who frees us from the need to prevail... Gathered around Word and sacrament, fellowship and prayer, a confessing church, in the midst of encircling chaos, will stand in the name of God's peace. A community of reconciliation in the midst of division, of the cross in the midst of compromise, and of joy in the midst of despair, it will play its part by bearing witness to Jesus Christ, crucified and risen.

George Hunsinger
Bearing Witness