Which, in this case, means just two more photos. As this blog posts (7 AM EST), I am probably enroute to Phoenix Skyharbor airport to begin the trip back to Savannah. I will have just spent the past week visiting with my daughter and her boyfriend during her Christmas holiday break from the rigors of vet school. I will also have had a chance to visit with my sister and her family as well as my stepmother and her husband. But, I am scheduling this blog ahead of time just so I don’t have to worry about it while in Phoenix. So, next week, I just may be posting photos of our trip as I hope to get at least one desert hike in while there. Meanwhile . . . the final photos:
It has been a busy week as we got ready for and attended the 198th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia. As Canon to the Ordinary (Assistant to the Bishop), my husband, Frank, and I had to leave early with the rest of the staff to help with preparing our convention site at Georgia Southern University (where my husband and I met as students 37 years ago).
On Thursday, I attended a Creation Care Committee workshop on tree planting at the Botanic Garden at Georgia Southern University after visiting with my mother and taking her to lunch at a local restaurant. We planted four trees, beginning the Committee’s initiative to plant 222 trees in the Diocese by 2022 (see Revelation 22:2).
That evening, we attended Evening Prayer at Trinity Episcopal Church where I was Baptized, Confirmed, and one of the Diocese’s first female acolytes. It is also the church that sent my husband to seminary and where he was ordained to the Priesthood in August of 2000.
We decided to take a trip down memory lane that night and went to Dingus Magee’s, the restaurant where we had a lot of our early dates. Then we returned to the hotel to rest before the morning’s big event: the election of the 11th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia in which Frank was one of the five nominees.
Following the opening Eucharist, we were led to an empty room to await the counting of the ballots. Imagine our surprise when the entire Standing Committee filed in and informed us that Frank had been elected on the first ballot! It is still sinking in. Frank will be consecrated by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry here in Savannah in May of 2020.
Frank and I have a new book coming out for Lent 2020 called A Spring in the Desert:
Jesus stepped out of the water of baptism into uninhabitable wilderness, emerging forty days later to offer the water of life for those thirsting for God’s presence. A little more than two centuries later, a group of Christians withdrew from a spiritually barren Roman Empire to find their faith blossom in the stony soil of the Egyptian desert.
We offer a Lenten journey inspired by the many passages of scripture that use images of water in the desert as a sign of the healing and wholeness that come through God alone. To this we add the distilled wisdom of the Desert Mothers and Fathers and the surprisingly rich inspiration of the plants and animals that thrive in an arid land. Along the way, we share the ways our faith speaks to the barren places in our lives and how those times of drought can be a source of strength.
You can preorder it here: A Spring in the Desert
We have also created a video class to go along with it featuring 20 5-minute classes; See the intro video here:
Tomorrow is the feast day of Saint Mary Magdalen. She is someone I have always been in awe of having grown up under the shadow of this painting by La Tour, which always held a place of honor in our home (at least, it always stood out to me). It wasn’t just the skull as much as the way she is gazing into the flickering light of the oil lamp and the way her hair shimmers in the light.
In the Episcopal Church, we mark this day in our Calendar of Saints with the following Collect:
Almighty God, whose blessed Son restored Mary Magdalene
to health of body and mind, and called her to be a witness of
his resurrection: Mercifully grant that by thy grace we may
be healed of all our infirmities and know thee in the power of
his endless life; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and
reigneth, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew,“Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her. (New Revised Standard Version)
And from the Gospel According to Mary Magdalene:
1) But they were grieved. They wept greatly, saying, How shall we go to the Gentiles and preach the gospel of the Kingdom of the Son of Man? If they did not spare Him, how will they spare us?
2) Then Mary stood up, greeted them all, and said to her brethren, Do not weep and do not grieve nor be irresolute, for His grace will be entirely with you and will protect you.
3) But rather, let us praise His greatness, for He has prepared us and made us into Men.
4) When Mary said this, she turned their hearts to the Good, and they began to discuss the words of the Savior.
5) Peter said to Mary, Sister we know that the Savior loved you more than the rest of woman.
6) Tell us the words of the Savior which you remember which you know, but we do not, nor have we heard them.
7) Mary answered and said, What is hidden from you I will proclaim to you.