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While in the Northern Hemisphere it is the season of “back to school”, down here in New Zealand it is mid-winter and the school year grinds on.  Perhaps for others it is not grinding, but in conversation with my grad school classmates it seems we have reached that point in the academic year when it feels like it is all the reading (three more articles before bed!) and all the writing (only seven papers still to write!) all the time!

This week’s Festival, in contrast, is all about celebrating writing and the pleasure of reading.

If you haven’t read Julia’s ‘The Pastoral is Political’ article from Monday here on the RevGals blog, please do.  Julia writes with clarity and conviction: Some stories belong to the people who lived them, the people who still grieve them, the people in whose bones they rest. 

MaryAnn is writing about rest.  We don’t break instantly. Your body, your spirit, will talk to you, if you listen. There are signs. You can ignore them for a while, grit your teeth, take drugs to mask the pain, but denial only gets you so far. Sooner or later, you must do something different, or there will be a reckoning.

Julia W. made a visit to The Simple Way.  She writes about her own vocation to live in Franciscan religious life, and about what she learned from her visit.  Her description of the current season of discernment in the life of that community will have resonance for many of us whether in congregational or intentional community life.  Just like the peers of my generation in Catholic sisterhood, The Simple Way is grappling with questions of identity and call and how to respond to the signs of these times. They are trying to discern who God needs them to be now, as they stay open to the Spirit’s work and revere the legacy of their founders. They are trying to establish relationships of mutuality with those on the margins of society and build bridges across lines of culture, class and creed. As a bonus there are lots of photos including a number of neighbourhood murals.

Trish’s poem ‘Enough’ captures one of those days in ministry when things are both tough and beautiful.

When the words you have
in your head and in your heart
seem inadequate
to quell the heartbreak of death

Rosa is also writing about call, her niece’s call to serve in the military and how she has expressed that vocation as a gay woman.  What I was able to witness, time and again, was her willingness to sacrifice enormously, in all kinds of ways, so she would never compromise her pledge to serve. She served with distinction, integrity and honor.

If there’s something that it gave you joy to read or write this week, please add a link in the comments.

One thought on “Wednesday Festival: the joy of reading and writing.

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