Friday Festival – March 17, 2017

On St. Patrick’s Day, our bloggers are finding all kinds of saintly behavior – and some sins.

At yoga class, Lindsay Hardin Freeman encounters an image of the Samaritan woman who stands up to Jesus, and gets a glimpse of her past and possibly future selves in a feisty woman with a yoga mat.   Before class begins, Lindsay ponders whether to give in or stand up for herself.

The quest for fitness got Deborah Lewis to commit to swimming regularly, and on an out-of-town trip, she swam as a guest at the local Jewish Community Center.  She recalls, “From the membership coordinator I spoke with on the phone to set up my guest pass, to the front desk guy ready with a “Good morning” and a dry wit, to the concierge-style lifeguard, this is a place that does hospitality well. And I’m not kidding about Pete the lifeguard. He greets each swimmer by name when they enter the pool deck (he knew mine by the second day and remembered me when I showed up again in February) and gets off his chair to assist swimmers adding into lanes when they are all full.”  Even when the wave of bomb threats came, the JCC didn’t stop issuing guest passes, or give up the practice of hospitality.

Keeping it real, Ruth E. Hetland begins her prayer:

“Dear God,
I yelled at the dog
I had a cookie for breakfast
I was impatient with the children.”

House of Grace is reflecting on how to bring the Lent spirit to life in our daily encounters with each other.  On the way to a retreat, she experiences God in the everyday shifts that travel brings.  A particularly kind shuttle bus driver offers the image of God to her.  “When I arrived at my terminal, as I gave the driver a little more generous tip than usual (it is Lent, after all), I thanked him for his service and complimented him on how well he did his job.  He teared up and told me that his whole day had changed.  Having experiencing God’s love, loving others.”

Christy Thomas at The Thoughtful Pastor is thinking about forgiveness, and whether we have to be friends with someone who wronged us, after we do the difficult work of forgiving.   After ending a toxic friendship, and doing the work to forgive, do we have to, as the old saying goes, “forgive and forget,” and start going out for coffee again?  Spoiler alert: “Rebuilding trust that leads to reconciled relationships puts all the responsibility on the offender, not the one who does the forgiving.”   Forgiving is our inner work, in our own and God’s time.  Repair is a two way street, says The Thoughtful Pastor.

Breathe, says Rachel Hackenberg, inviting us to:

Breathe in: the loveliness of God.
Breathe out: to articulate God’s grace.

Breathe in: the spirit of God.
Breathe out: with purpose as God’s image.

Breathe in: the wild creativity of God.
Breathe out: to embody your God-given gifts.

Breathe in: the delight of God for you.
Breathe out: with joy in being.

Breathe in: the peace of God’s presence.
Breathe out: and take the journey before you.

Deborah Lewis concludes, “My neighbor-loving neighbors at the WJCC know how to stick their necks out. Given the national climate and current threats, I wouldn’t have been surprised or angry if they had closed ranks and temporarily stopped offering guest passes to unknown non-JCC members just passing through town. But they know Whose and who they are, and what they have to offer at just such a time as this.  Frankly, even if the Swimmers Guide showed me a closer pool somewhere else, I’d choose to keep going back to the WJCC when I visit Richmond for work. Not just for laps or for the kind and gracious lifeguard, but because these are my neighbors.”

Saintly behavior eludes many of us, but another Jewish teacher has reminded us to love one another, and in this work be known as his people.  Along with green bagels and shamrock cookies, may that gift sustain us this St. Patrick’s Day.

What are your thoughts today?  We’d love to hear in the comments section below.

(Image via Wikimedia Commons, By graymalkn –, CC BY 2.0,




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