Like a Ripening Peach

I am going to church today–not to preach as I often do at congregations across Virginia, but for myself, to worship. And I am going twice.

Actually, this is a pretty big worship weekend for me. Friday night, I joined Jonathan at Congregation Or Ami for shabbat. We sang, we prayed, we heard Rabbi Ahuba Zaches share a thoughtful message about fear (an appropriate topic on Halloween!).

This morning, I am going to MCC Richmond–Metropolitan Community Church of Richmond, where I used to serve as Pastor. Now, my dear friend and colleague, Rev. Carolyn Mobley, is serving as the Interim Pastor. I so look forward to hearing her and sharing in the All Saints’ Day remembrances.

This afternoon, Jonathan will join me as we drive to the Gayton Kirk, a Presbyterian Church in Richmond’s West End, for Jazz Vespers. There, another dear friend and colleague, Rev. Janet James, and good friends Jill and Andrew Isola, will lead us in worship–as we listen to the wonderful jazz trio of Ross Riddell, Tommy Witten and Joe Sarver.

ripening peachesI am spiritually among the most blessed of people. I am fed through each of these spiritual communities. MCC Richmond is my spiritual home, but I am also part of these other communities, Christian and Jewish. In fact, although I am not Jewish, I am a full member of Congregation Or Ami because of my marriage to Jonathan, who is Jewish and a member.

And I have a fourth community–it is more of an online community most of the time, but it is nonetheless important and vital for me. It is called Wakan, the word that means “sacred” in the Lakotah language and “heart of the sky” in Mayan. It is led by an amazing shaman, Dr. Tom Pinkson, a psychologist by trade but more importantly, a man who has been in training with the Huichol Indians of Mexico and other native peoples for more than 40 years.

He led the Vision Quest on which I journeyed in September in Yosemite National Park, as he has done every year for 42 years. It has changed my life. Now, I can stay in touch with friends I made there, as well as others who support Tom’s work, by being part of the Wakan online community.

I have learned, and am learning, so much about the wisdom of wilderness and native peoples through Wakan. My prayer life, and all of my life, is much richer today than before I went on the Vision Quest.

It is the interweaving of all these gifts that is making this time the ripest of my life. I feel like I imagine a luscious peach must feel in the warm sun of summer, every day increasing in beautiful color, juiciness, and sweetness.

Richard Rohr, the Franciscan monk whose writings are another source of wisdom and joy for me, speaks of the “slow ripening” that leads to maturity. I think I know what he means. I am not done yet, actually will never be, but I am increasingly aware of how all my life is the foundation for this time of ripening, and that it will only grow more full–provided I stay open and participate as fully as possible.

And I am realizing how this ripening is helping me see new ways to give back, to pay forward, all that I have received, and am receiving. That is part of the ripening process–like that peach being picked and feeding another being.

It is one of my primary intentions to continue to share more about this rewarding spiritual journey. I hope you will stay tuned.

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