Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Gifts Workshop Experience by Hawley Todd

Dear Sisters and Brothers at Grace,

Several months ago, I went to a Gifts Workshop that the Diocese offered. It was intended to be a model for what we could do at Grace. It deeply moved me and I would like to share with you what happened.

Our instructions to prepare for the workshop were to divide our lives into 10 year segments and think of

one or two persons in each segment who really inspired or touched our lives. When we came together as a group we would share how and why one or two of those people were important to us.

I prayed and asked God to bring to my heart and mind those persons he wanted me to remember. I was surprised at the two people who came to my mind. They were very different. The first memory was sitting in the living room of my home holding my infant baby daughter Tina. The second memory was living in India and meeting a holy man in an apartment in Bombay. I knew the images were important but I did not see any apparent connection.

When it came time for me to share who my two people were and why they had impacted me, it all became very clear. While I had been holding my first child, I had looked deeply into her eyes and experienced the unconditional love of God. Being present with her and simply cradling her in my arms had been a doorway into a profound experience of God's presence and love. While I had been in India and met the saint in an apartment, we were not in a religious or holy setting. We were watching Get Smart on television. Yet in that very secular and common setting, the holy man touched and blessed me. I experienced the love and presence of God in ways so deep that I cannot come close to describing it.

God had been revealed in two totally different people. Yet each had acted as a bridge to divine love. What was even more eye opening to me was the realization that both experiences were in the midst of everyday activities. God was and could be present anywhere: holding a baby or watching TV. Something about each of those souls and their very presence enabled me to be touched by God.

Hawley Todd
March 30, 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

Common Ministry Bible Study March 14, 2010

Common Ministry Bible Study

March 14, 2010

Handout and outline of the session is attached.

Present: Ken Lyon, leader, J. White, Hawley Todd, Roger Perna, Belinda Perna, J. Tan, Tina Larkin, Fr. Howard, Wanda Miller and Carol Lyon, Mary McLain, Ray Betts

Ken opened the session saying that John 15:19-16 was part of Jesus’ final instructions to his disciples.

Ken read the scripture from the NRSV version. After a short pause, members shared the word or phrase that stuck out to them. They were:

  • · “Your joy may be complete,”
  • · “the father may give you whatever you ask,”
  • · “If,”
  • · “You did not choose me I chose you.”

Ken read the passage again, this time from the Contemporary English Version.

After sharing answers to other questions with one or two others, Ken asked what people learned or what insights were gained from this discussion

  • · “to delve more deeply into what it means to be a spiritual person”
  • · “to imitate Jesus’ love to one another:
  • · “What does this have to do with Common Ministry?”
    • “all take our church back”
    • “speaks to the attitude of Common Ministry”
  • · “You have been chosen to carry on”
  • · “Jesus touched people’s lives. People came to him”
  • · “God calls each of us. How people respond is up to them”
  • · “Love one another. Celebrate the other’s gifts”
  • · “I hate pain. Difficult to be with others when they are in pain. Easy to be with gifts.”
  • · “Difficult to let people go through difficult times when we can’t make it better for them”
  • · “Spending life doesn’t always mean dying, it can mean giving time to a friend”

Carol Lyon

Lectio Divina on John 15:9-16


Today’s passage is part of John’s record of Jesus’ “farewell discourses.” It is the night before the Passover—the night before Jesus is killed. Jesus is with his disciples. He washes their feet. Judas leaves. Jesus knows his death is near, and in five chapters, he does all he can to prepare his disciples for his departure. After Jesus finishes his last-minute instruction, they all go to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Judas identifies Jesus to his enemies and they take him away.

NRSV: 9As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. 12“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will

Contemporary English Version: 9I have loved you, just as my Father has loved me. So remain faithful to my love for you. 10If you obey me, I will keep loving you, just as my Father keeps loving me, because I have obeyed him. 11I have told you this to make you as completely happy as I am. 12Now I tell you to love each other, as I have loved you. 13The greatest way to show love for friends is to die for them. 14And you are my friends, if you obey me. 15Servants don't know what their master is doing, and so I don't speak to you as my servants. I speak to you as my friends, and I have told you everything that my Father has told me. 16You did not choose me. I chose you and sent you out to produce fruit, the kind of fruit that will last. Then my Father will give you whatever you ask for in my name.


1. Listen to the bible passage. As the passage is read, imagine Jesus speaking directly to you. Listen for one word or phrase that speaks to you.

2. Share the word or phrase with the group.

3. Pair up with a person next to you and share why this word or phrase speaks to you.

4. Listen to the passage again.

5. Pair up again and share answers to these questions:

a. What would your life be like if you fully lived the message of this passage?

b. How would your life be different?

c. Why is this so hard to do?

6. After conversation in pairs, share your insights with the group.

Ken Lyon
March 14, 2010