Sonntag, 20. Januar 2013

Walking in the Vineyard with Gratitude

It snowed again overnight. Not much, but enough to make everything beautiful. God but a cover over all that was dirty or broken.
The bishop spoke about gratitude. The Gospel here today was the story of the ten lepers who are healed by Jesus. I know in our lectionary today was the Wedding of Cana. What struck me was that the bishop called all who of us who were in church those who knew about gratitude, because we were there, because we had come to praise God as the one Samaritan leper had done, praising God with loud voice.
But what about the other nine? What about those who were, what, not able, not willing or just ignorant? Those who went to the priests in the temple to be announced clean, but did not come back to thank and praise God?
I have learned in the course of my life that I am not good in giving thanks. I am trying to get better, but expressing my gratitude is not something I am good at. Or at least I am not good at expressing thanks the way I would like to do it. When I came here to Romania, with little Romanian and hardly anybody who spoke a language I knew, I said, Thank you, all the time, because I was grateful for any help I got. One day one of the monks told me, I was saying, Thank you, too often and didn't need to do it so much. Hmmm. So much about gratitude and giving thanks.
Sundays here are quiet. After the service we have lunch, the first meal of the day at about 11:30 am, then nothing until dinner at 7 pm. Most of the monks and nuns stay in their cells resting, praying or reading. Some take a walk occasionally.
The sun was shining and it was just beautiful. I feel called outside and make my way into the vineyard. It is actually pretty warm and thawing. The sound of dropping water is everywhere. The cart which we use for all kinds of things is covered by a thin layer of snow.

The warmth made the snow soft and with every step I sink in. In the vineyard snow which dropped from the espalier stands up like icicles. I wonder if they dropped down last night, when it was still warm, half thawed and then turned into ice by the cold of the night.

 At the end of the vineyard the view back. I am not sure what the tower is for, but it looks nice. In the back the cathedral towers and the entrance tower of the bishopric. There is peace in the picture.

It takes me an hour before I finish my round. Slowly walking, taking pictures, meditating. I am grateful for the sun, for the beauty, for God's love. I know I am blessed richly.
The door to the orchard is open and the last beams of the sun are coloring the church in a soft pink. What more can one ask for? I return into a warm room and enjoy the rest of the day.

Mittwoch, 9. Januar 2013

Back to Blog

Ok, it took me half a year to find the access to my blog again. I know put it in a place where I should find it again. There was just too much going on in Munich and the paper on which I noted the password etc. got lost.

Romania at this time of the year is cold. It is a new experience for me to know that there are roads around the city I am living in which are blocked by snow. One of the is the way to the next airport in Iasi. Last night I heard in the news about 60 national streets are closed in the three districts of Vaslui (in which ich Husi where I am living), Iasi (where the next airport is, about 100 km north from Husi), and Piatra Neamt where I have been visiting a few times.

The other street which was blocked last night from snow was the one from here to Crasna. That means currently the only open street from Husi is to the Republic of Moldova.

I didn't take a picture today, but this is the street to Crasna on December 18th. It was closed December 17th. It is a European street, leading to the border near Albita to the Republic of Moldova eventually. 

And it is cold. Last night we had -15°C (about 2 °F). Tonight it is supposed to be colder. I hope that the power will  not go off or we will have a serious problem in the bishopric where the only house with a generator is the bishop's. But there are places with fireplace, the old kitchen for example which is just behind my room.

Please pray for all who are suffering from the cold here in the area. People got stuck in the snow. Power fails. Villages are cut off from any help or supply system.

Still I am grateful. It is beautiful outside. We had sun today and a dry cold, which made my freshly washed clothes freeze on the 200 meters from the 'valley' as we call it, to my room. A room with bathroom. A luxury about 85 % of the people in this area do not have. They have outdoor bathrooms - at -15 °C or more outside tonight ...

Sonntag, 10. Juni 2012

A Vision for the Convocation

What is the vision for a diocese, in our case the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe? This is what we have been talking about since last night. It was good for me to be here even though I would have very much liked to stay in Romania. But I can only find support from the parishes when I do talk to all of them, especially the rectors. And when they feel called to participate in this very special endeavor, engaging in mission trips, with the willingness to be transformed. It takes courage, but it also shows where Church really is.
Now I am on. I need to prepare material to get them to have me visit and present this possibility in being alongside those who we want to help. Being alongside, listening to their needs, trying to help them to find the solutions they need to develop to be able to move forward.
May God guide me and all of us in this endeavor so that all we do may fulfill his will for us.
This is of course only a small part of the vision we have for our congregation which in spite of its small number of members is yet so spread and so rich. But whatever brings us closer to God is worth engaging in. And that is to be our goal and our vision for the next years.

Freitag, 8. Juni 2012

Visit in Germany

This is my first blog and I should probably introduce myself and my project. Well, that will come, but not today. Apologies for that. I am fighting the technique of blogging and just managed to get the picture in the way I kind of want them. I put the time in but it shows Pacific Summertime, no, that's not where I am, but I can't change it. Or at least I don't know how to change it. The internet and I, an ongoing struggle.

It is just too strange to be away from Husi, the place and people I got to love and about which this report will be. I am currently on Clergy Retreat with my fellow clergy of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe in Schloss Fürstenried, Munich, Germany. Here one of my collegues showed me how to start a blog. So here we are.

I left Husi already a week ago and hope to return there next Wednesday, God willing. My program of what to do here is way to big and I just hope to be able to manage at least the bigger part of it.

Today Vision 2012 will begin, a conference of the Convocation, my diocese, to plan for its future and my hope is to make this project a part of it.

Schloß Fürstenried was built in 1715 by the Bavarian Prince Elector Max Emanuel as hunting lodge and royal residence. From the upper front windows one can look directly towards the Frauenkirche, the Roman Catholic cathedral of Munich.

Today's entrance is on the side, but it looks very impressive when one can look through the gate that was used for the royalties. 

In the middle of the 19th century an order of Trappist nuns found refuge at the Schloss. This was the first religious use of the building. At the beginning of the 20th century Prince Otto was incarcerated there for many years until his death in 1916.

Today it is used as retreat center of the Roman Catholic Church. It has a French as well as a beautiful English garden with wonderful old trees that stretch their branches towards the sky and in which many birds find shelter. 

This blog will continue when I am back to Husi, the place this is blog was created for. So stay tuned! If God's plan for me fit my plans, I will be back mid week.