Nine more days – but who’s counting

These days I practically live in my carrel at the library.  Although, truth be told, I went out this morning to a seminary women’ brunch and had some great conversation and some very delicious cinnamon buns. So it is not all, 100% work.  I still eat and do laundry too.

But, things are coming down to the wire.  In nine days I write my Greek final.  I’m almost past caring how I do – but if you know me you know that means I still care way too much.

I turned in my next to last Church History I essay and today I completed a good chunk of my research paper for that class. My essay was on the devotio moderna and the Brothers and Sisters of the Common Life.  Such a fascinating group of people – spanned about 300 years. Died out with the Reformation and with the printing press since they mostly earned their living by copying books. Their raparia were journals they kept of devotional sayings and of how they lived out their faith in the midst of daily life trying to imitate the early church. Most people have heard of The Imitation of Christ – this is the group out of which came such writings.

Now I’m on to the Christological controversy between Nestorius and Cyril.  Poor Nestorius was likely more misunderstood than a real heretic.  And Cyril was more a bully than a saint I’m afraid. Hope I can wrap this one up by Monday.

Then with a deadline of May 9,  I will only have 2 book reviews, 1 ten page essay, 1 more twelve page research paper and one more final and this year will be done!

Hoping it doesn’t finish me off.

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Black and White – Winter is still here.

I just set a new header picture and realize it looks very stark – black and white – winter is still here.  It is not a black and white picture just the world is black and white since the last snowfall.  Before it was beginning to feel and look like spring – streets mostly melted clear and the ground showing through the ice.  Winter seems to have set in again.  This is Saskatchewan I guess.

I have been spending a huge amount of time in the Archibald Library.  Last night I was there till it closed at ten.  My head was so tired by the time I got home.  Sometimes in spite of being so tired it is hard to sleep and that was the case last night.  Had to wake up in time for an on-line class; which I did.  But as the discussion with the prof went on, I realized how much I still need to learn – all about how Luther and Calvin and the Anabaptists and the Catholics understood justification, and the sacraments and the idea of free will.  Very heady stuff.  Made my head spin anyway.

Then back to the library to slog away at my Greek exegesis paper.  Till 6.

But since it is Friday (isn’t this the day one is supposed to let loose and have fun?) I spent the evening doing something I consider fun.  I went back to the library to read some of my poetry in an evening event designed to showcase the writing arts.  Shared my reflection on Psalm 62:9, which you can read below.  Its not new but it makes me want to be done all this studying so I can get back to doing things I love.  Well, I do love studying a bit.  I guess.

Psalm 62:9 (NLT)

From the greatest to the lowliest –
All are nothing in his sight.
If you weigh them on the scales,
They are lighter than a puff of air.

Small Breaths

A puff of air
No more,
Scarcely even a breath,
Our days are nothing.
We are born.
We live,
Hardly even a small breath
Exhaled quickly
For the Divine.
Then we are still.

Yet, he esteems
Us; small
Breaths. Gathering us he
Raises a current.
Zephyrs trusted
To carry
Gossamer seeds. Moving them
To good soil;
O Breath of God
Your breath in us.

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Filed under Poetry and Stuff, seminary experiences, Studying, Writings

Almost

I look outside my window and snow is falling. Inside I sit in my room between my desk and the small table I brought to supplement working space. I am studying for a quiz today in Greek. Principle parts. I do not like principle parts. They are the first person forms of the most common forms of the Greek verbs. I have gone over and over them and y would think that they would stick. But they do not. At least not very well.

Last night I took a break.  St Aiden’s, where I attend church while down south here, had an evening of story and song.  The “Inklings” they call it although the setting is not very pubish.  I volunteered to read a couple of my poems.  Then I also realized that Bob Currie, Saskatchewan’s Poet Laureate was also reading a poem.(He is a regular member at St Aiden’s) a bit intimidating to read one of my amateur efforts in front of him.  But he gave me a thumbs up after the first one so I guess I passed that test.

Not quite as much fun studying for the Greek quiz today.  I would rather be in front of my fireplace at home with a cup of hot chocolate reading a good book – in English.

Instead – well it is strong coffee, no fireplace and Greek verbs.

Almost done for this semester though. Final exam on Thursday afternoon. Then it is home to my fireplace and Christmas preparations.

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Have you ever thought about . . .

What happened to the church in Jerusalem in AD 70 when the city was destroyed by Rome and Jews were banned from the city and the surrounding area?

Well I had never thought much about it till this question kept poking at me – and caused me to choose this to write about for my first church history paper.

I learned a lot of stuff I had never even been curious about. The person of James – as one author says – he may have been more concerned with purity than his older brother.
And I wonder what would have happened if Paul hadn’t fought so hard for freedom from the Torah law for the Gentiles.

History is very interesting as one starts to dig around.

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It grows on one

The one being me.

The other day as I was driving back from Moose jaw towards Caronport I found myself looking off at the horizon and thinking; “God has made some beautiful country out here.”  There is a hill actually that I had not paid attention to before and it caught my eye thinking of Psalm 121.  “I lift my eyes up to the hills, Does my help come from there?”  No.  The presence of God does not depend on the presence of hills or mountains or trees or any created thing.  They are nice to look at but they are really only signposts to the one who created them and who is always present.

Then I joined a house church group (which is really more like a small group than a separate church gathering) and the scripture we delved into was Psalm 121.  I got to know some local people and I think I needed that as much as the reminder that God’s presence is constant – hills or no hills.

So this Sunday I am making a trek into Moose Jaw to check out the Anglican church which has a very welcoming web site and since I now know a couple others who attend there, I am hoping to find a home away from home there.  I find myself longing for the richness of liturgy and should get a good dose there.

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So is this a place I can connect?

This morning I decided to attend one of the two churches in town. I suspect the are both fairly similar in their theologies but the one I went to is the more “laid back” I guess. The group calls itself “The Gathering” and there were probably 300+ people worshiping this morning. I may have been almost the most senior of the group. It was OK as far as a service went. The music was OK – most of the songs were familiar. The leader did go overboard a bit on her lyrical additions but I guess it wasn’t too much.
I sat by myself. After awhile a young woman and her child joined me and I didn’t feel quite so much by myself. But i did feel as if I would love to have someone notice that I was new, ask me my name, speak to me, welcome me, something. I guess with all the new students maybe there were just too many of us newcomers.
Lessons learned – never ignore a visitor. They may need to feel less alone.
So, I will see if this place is where I fit. I wish I could find someplace welcoming, with just enough liturgy to help me feel the richness of life in the body. Not stuffy but connected to the church universal in a significant way.

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And Here I am, Far from Home

It’s Friday night and here I sit in my room, Greek texts out, reviewing for a quiz on Monday.  I’ve been doing this most of the day off and on.  Yesterday too.  Well, actually, I rode on my bike over to the library both days and worked at this same subject there for a few hours.  And I watched a bit of TV. The woman I am living with has a little white dog so I also walked it around the block so it could use the outdoor facilities.  The fresh air did my mind no harm.  Having my head stuck in a book is beginning to feel very restrictive.

I know all this will pass – if I indeed do pass these Greek classes.  And others have before me so there is some hope.  I hang on to this hope as my brain fills up with participles and verb tenses.

Caronport is a weird sort of little town.  An island of protestant conservatism. There isn’t much to do here but study.  The Husky station has a Subway and a little restaurant and food store attached.  One can buy eggs and milk and bread and other essentials like ice cream but that is about it for eating or retail establishments.  On the plus side of the town’s report card – no one would think of stealing a bike so no need to lock it up.  Unlocked doors also feel a bit weird – trusting strangers with unprotected possessions.

Lord forbid that there should be a pub.  I think one has to smuggle strong drink in behind these unlocked doors!  Think I may just conceal a bottle of wine in my suitcase next trip down from PA. I could use a glass right now.

The town is very flat.  This is a bonus when riding a bike but I keep looking for some place of beauty – some site to feast one’s eyes on.  Some people seem to put a great effort into their yards but there is little in the way of natural beauty.  Until one looks at the sky and the horizon at sunset.  God seems to have stored up all the missed beauty from the flat landscape and poured it out into colour on the horizon both to greet and to bid farewell to the day.  And so as I sit in the morning by my window talking to God, I give him special thanks for this beauty which he paints above me.  “Let my soul rise to meet you, as the day rises to meet the sun.” And as I say those words I remember that God is a constant presence – my unfailing companion – even in this time away from so many people and things that I love. The sun continues to rise; God continues to be my God; I continue to search for more of him.

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Filed under Day to Day, Dealing with stuff, prayer, Reflections, Studying, Travels