Poetry, Prayers, Uncategorized

Advent III : "A warm blanket, cup of cocoa and a kiss from God"

I am looking forward to this evening where I will lend my voice in celebration and prayerful reflection of Father Andy Kruger transitioning from Priest in Charge to Rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, Cranford. Gathered together we will chant Taize. It brings gladness to my heart. I am looking forward to tomorrow, where I will humbly present Tammy Young for ordination to the Priesthood at St. Mark’s in Basking Ridge. We’ve journeyed long together and I am overwhelmed by how far we have come. I am looking forward to Sunday, where I will celebrate the Eucharist and witness the hope, love and joy of Christ’s peaceble Kingdom at St. Barnabas in Monmouth Junction. These are some of the candles burning brightly in the midst of the Dark winter days of December. It brings a welcome break to the constant news cycle and the chaos of the week which brought gunfire and hate to my friends and loved ones at home in Jersey City, New Jersey.

This week’s reading from Isaiah 35:1-10 wraps me like a needed warm blanket on a cold day, given a cup of cocoa and kissed on the forehead by God, “It’s going to be ok my child.”

The Return of the Redeemed to Zion

35 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
    the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
    and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
    the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
    the majesty of our God.

Strengthen the weak hands,
    and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
    “Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God.
    He will come with vengeance,
with terrible recompense.
    He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
    and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then the lame shall leap like a deer,
    and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
    and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
    and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,[a]
    the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

A highway shall be there,
    and it shall be called the Holy Way;
the unclean shall not travel on it,[b]
    but it shall be for God’s people;[c]
    no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray.
No lion shall be there,
    nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
    but the redeemed shall walk there.
10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
    and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
    they shall obtain joy and gladness,
    and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

“The desert shall rejoice and blossom”

I’ve never been a good Gradner. I’ve attempted some potted herbs from time to time only to have weeping basil on my kitchen sil. I am in awe of those who can grow things. Take a little seedling, plant it in soil, nurture it with water and love and allow God’s magic to take place in the time in between, lifting and sprouting that seedling into a flourishing blossom. The congregation at St. Peter’s in Spotswood, New Jersey does an amazing job of cultivating food from the earth and spreading God’s abundance in community. I watched and learned over the growing season as they prepped the beds, planted, and tended to its growth with love, hardwork and prayer. I’ve learned alot about actively being patient, and I’ve learned just as they have tended to the seeds, so have they tended to me with patience and love.

There are often no words for those who grieve that ease the pain of loss especially this time of year when all the world seems aglow with holiday preparation. There are no words for a community terrorized by hatred and violence that ease the pain of being victimized and targeted. There are no words for a mother who loses a child or a child who loses a parent. No heady, rational verbal expression can explain away the depth of sorrow or create a sympathetic understanding, but it does not mean that we sit in the stillness of dark days without action, void of love’s expression. No, we have a duty to God and to one another to stand up and tend to each other with love, patiently awaiting the coming of Christ who loves us.

“Strengthen the weak hands and make firm the feeble knees.”

Tending to a garden is not comfortable work, especially as we get older. I find my joints are stiffer, the arthritis is creeping further and the knees aren’t as reliable as they once were. I don’t kneel in worship at times where I once did, instead I gently bow giving rest to my aching knees. The brokeness of the world is as taxing on the body as it is our spirit. Loving earnestly with an open heart as we battle the evil among us is often not easy. It can be rather uncomfortable. After the Tree of Life shooting that took the lives of eleven of God’s faithful people, an older woman approached me at the end of service and asked, ” How am I supposed to love a person who has done such harm?” My heart melted as I listened and understood deeply her anguish.

Pray for strong hands and firm knees as we battle the acts of evil in our earthly world. God’s is with us, Emmanuel even as we await the birth of our incarnate Christ.

Many of my friends and colleagues are exhausted by the the Trauma and relentless attacks on our communities, on communities of color, on our religious communities especially our Jewish and Muslim brothers and sisters, on communities of refugees, on our border communities, on our poor communities and communities who are food insecure, on our LGBTQI communities and on our hispanic communities. We, as many of you, are exhausted and sometimes overwhelmed by the evil acts often committed under the cover of Jesus’s name. It’s tiring, often down right infuriating. We ask for God’s strength and light in the darkness and look to the one that is to come.

I can imagine that as John wrote from prison (Matt. 11:2-11), he may have been tired too, “Are you the one that is to come?” I can also imagine that like the Isaiah passage above is to me, the apostles’ words and witness was to John, a warm blanket, some cocoa and a kiss on the forehead. ” You my child, will be ok.”

As we await for the birth of our incarnate Lord may we live like the apostles, bringing good news and witness to those who sit in the darkness of injustice, pain or grief. May we cultivate the seed of hope, love and joyful expectation to the one that is to come. “The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them.”

May we be living witnesses, loving radically, abundantly, becoming the warm blanket, cup of cocoa and kiss from God for all. O’ come, O’ come Emmanuel!

Peace,

Mo. Allison+

Poetry

My Words

My Words…

I want my words to color the walls of revolutionaries
like a timeless masterpiece
whose brushstrokes never fade
and movement strikes a chord in every man, woman and child,
so that when the evening shadow falls and I am called home,
I will know my weary self gave everything worthy of me to call all men to action.
I will not be satisfied with a song to the wind,
released from the belly of my soul
passed in a melodic rumor, note to note ever so slightly variant and carried away,
taken from mouth to ear then disappear with the dawn of a new day.

I want my words to stay and be the influence of change.
The beginning of a new day.
The enlightenment for tomorrow,
like the works of Michelangelo, Dali, or Freda Kahlo
I want my words to move you past their facade
and into the texture of their threads.
I want you to feel the power of my verse
as if you have just touched the Mona Lisa with your cheek
and seduced Madame X with the call of your eyes.

I want to be free of disguise, naked, wrapped only in the soft strokes, sometimes brisk strokes of my words and fearless I want to leave an impression, with the intention to leave a legacy, that goes for beyond you, goes far beyond me, but becomes that tapestry on the walls of revolutionaries, a Masterpiece of change
a topic for tomorrow.

Allison Burns-LaGreca

photo

Archive, Poetry, Prayers, Psalm, Video

Video by Word Live: Psalm 42 and 43

After a very long and frustrating week, especially this day, I find great comfort in this production by Word Live (Psalm 42 and 43) I hope it brings you comfort as well.

 

 

Blessings,

Allison

Archive, Poetry, Uncategorized

Loved

I awoke in the dessert
with a belly full of passion
and a heart full of fire…
Adhering to the whisper
I stood tall reaching to the heavens
calling upon the oceans to meet me…

Faith-filled,
I wait for them to reach me
but remain Still?
I do not…

Slowly proceeding…
Leaving tracks in the sand
Surrendering to the infinite possibilities
I navigate time…

Gathering seeds,
Collecting grain
Capturing the Spirit
when she dances…
And oh’ how mighty she dances…

Soft, Subtle, powerful
Intimately infused by her touch
I am illuminated by her Grace
And hypnotized by her breath.

Humbly, I prepare
for the coming of the oceans.

Don’t get me wrong….
I do hear the rumblings
of history rage behind me
with the malice of
taking me down that

dark narrow path of
Fear and Doubt
Sorrow and Loneliness
Grief and Pity

Are you calling me?
Are you really calling me? Me?

The melody of promise
Enshrouds me
drawing me closer to
the waters that lie ahead

For it is that cup before me
which drips life upon my lips
That cup of promise
Of salvation in which I drink

Baptized in His Glory
I bathe…
I am loved…
Without condition
or omission to whom it is I am
or love or how I came to be
for it is He who fills me

And with the waters of His grace
I am lifted
above the echoing ashes of those
who’ve Heckled me…
I am that Gay Christian girl
You said I couldn’t be…

I collect the relics of time…
Handed down generation to generation
I sit where others sat before me
and with Spirit
I read aloud my daily prayer,
being moved to heart-felt action

You see, Scripture nourishes me
My soul, my heart, my mind
I hear the whisper growing louder over time
Calling me…
Drawing me…
Taunting me…
Come…
Follow me…
Inter-twined
I’m marked as Christ’s own
Here I am
That gay Christian Girl
Called to… Well, Called to… be me
Called to…. Serve… Him…
To Love Unconditionally- To Love Unconditionally
To Love Unconditionally.…
To be a vessel of His healing
To embrace others as He’s embraced me…

I am called to…
Be here for my sisters and brothers…
Those who have been tormented,
hated, degraded, hurt and mutilated
by the veil of those who proclaim themselves “of God”

You know those,
who deny my sister a respectful funeral
who prosecute my brother for defending
himself against haters as he lay in a Hospital bed
who justify murder and mutilation,
by reason of sexual orientation
And all he wanted was Wedding cake…

Standing behind that Proclamation
That they are the people “of God”
My friends,
Do you hear an Oxymoron?

My God they do not know….

I would say I am the antithesis of such proclamation
But the antithesis of Proclamation is secret
And I don’t love my God in Secret,
(although they want me too)

I love Him in the morning when my feet hit the floor
When I get in my car and go to the Grocery store
When I take my next step,
When I take my next breath
When I kneel down at night and ask Him for rest
I love my God

That’s rather Suess-ish isn’t it?

There is a veil my friends…
Pay attention to that Veil…
The Veil that proclaims to be
greater than you,
greater than me
even greater than the God
it pretends to be

Their judgment on you, on me is a fallacy.

It matters not where you stand, or
How you believe
Yahweh, Jehovah, Mohammad, Buddha, Jesus, agnostic or atheist,
I probably forgot a few

I am here to tell you…
You are Loved,
And if you are open enough to hear it
You are Loved by God
By any of those names, by all of those names
You are loved by God

He calls you by name,

Not faggot, or queer, or stupid or weird
Just Lisa, and Tommy, Judy and Jane
Shaniqua, Kareem, Rashid or even Blaine
Whatever your name

He calls you Loved
just as you are,
where you are,
who you are,

“You are enough”

Allison Burns-LaGreca

Archive, Poetry

Time Cake

If Time was neatly stacked like a seven Layer Cake?
Would you start from the bottom or the top?
Would you lick the cream, feel the sugar on your tongue and sit in awe of each layer?
Would you savour each and every Bite?
Would you know each and every flavour or close your eyes in spite,
hoping, wishing, for something bigger or better?
What if you were told you were one layer short or 2 ounces shy,
would you chew any slower or rush on through to the next?

What if Time were neatly stacked like a Seven Layer Cake?

Allison Burns-LaGreca

Archive, Poetry, Uncategorized

Of who you are-

Dance
make dreams happen
Create everlasting memories of the heart
So, when in time
thoughts fade
touch recollects
the feel of your laughter
the depth of your tears
the heart of your triumph
and the love that made it grow…

Play in the rain
sow, the gift of your seeds
feel the warmth of the golden sun
and Dance in the Glory of your Dreams
Make it Happen
Do it today
tomorrow may fade into the sunset
yet another day untold
could unfold… Possibility …
But Don’t Wait…

Allison Burns-LaGreca

Archive, Poetry, Uncategorized

Who is she?

The funny thing about this economy is…
you never know who is waiting your table,
checking out your groceries or folding jeans at the local Gap~

Their stories and lives, far exceed your imagination, so before you judge your new check-out girl, meat-slicer, associate or co-worker, you might want to take a moment to ask a question or two and share in a conversation; you just may find an amazing history full of teachable moments that maps the soul to it’s authority for this person that you tower over, hold power over was once a person of prosperity and with deep integrity have humbly marched on. And wouldn’t it be something if this person you have so often walked by, pushed aside, and saw quite a bit of your cranky side as you checked out, punched out, or awaited an answer, turned out to be, a published author, or an artist or former executive. And what if by chance… right before you… stood all three? Would you be as teachable, as humble as she?

Allison Burns-LaGreca