October 17, 2016
By: Jane Bishop Halteman
And the blog rolls on, from bud to bloom
Last week’s Glimpses of Healing and Hope blog post, Passing it on, appeared as #52 in a full year’s cycle of stories and photos I shared after an invitation during the spring of 2015 from congregational leaders to craft “weekly stories of healing and hope, of grace, joy, and peace, of how we might continue to practice being a faithful community, opening ourselves to God to turn our hearts and words into actions that will make a difference in our world.”
Today’s post reviews that year of entries, considering what themes emerged and what influences prevailed as subjects came to the foreground, some on one occasion, others more than once. Hyperlinks to many of these posts can be found below or at Kern Road’s blog archive or at this Pinterest board, where each also is identified by an accompanying photo.
Little did we know 12 months ago that the US would be embroiled a year later in what feels like an all-out war on the political scene (see this NPR story for election stress report). Though news events are not the stuff of which these posts are made, I discovered on looking back that the fall-out of national or international anxiety often resides somewhere behind an entry…as an example see this Resurrection season story which opened with a reference to a sharing by Loren one Sunday during worship.
Like Loren’s story, nearly a quarter of the blog posts created in the last year sourced directly from the Kern Road community. We discovered the backstory to Danile and Nancy’s musical collaboration; what the congregation’s Longest Night service is all about; how Lindy, Deanna, Nancy, and I made our word for the year picks. We learned about Leonard and Eunice’s interest in bringing family to the US, Elaine and Cathy’s involvement in the Near Northwest Neighborhood, how the western area group welcomed a new family to their community. Other blog posts detailed brief bios of some of the KRMC women featured in The Gifts of Women, spoke of our annual lawn service, shared about our service of lament following a tragic week, and further elaborated on area group and small group activity in the congregation.
A number of posts brought faith practices to the fore in an effort to counteract the dissonance of what’s going on in our everyday lives, whether that dissonance comes from the news or our jobs or our lives on the home front. In addition to focusing on enthusiasm, beauty, and silence as worthwhile spiritual disciplines, blog posts also highlighted photography, joy and delight in our town, self-nurture, breathing at high altitude, resurrection living, blessing one another, care of the earth, and finding sanctuary as useful tools on the faith journey.
Because I am a contemplative and that way of being is how I most often view the world, offerings typically revealed that perspective. In addition to the very first Glimpses of Healing and Hope post about the nurturing Saint Joe River which meanders through South Bend, the blog touched on harnessing old memories, spoke of finding the Divine in the storms of life, and revealed ways in which the seasons inform our faith journeys, here in spring, here in fall.
Loosely organized around the church year, blog posts featured subjects including All Saints’ Day, Advent and Christmas, Holy Week, Easter and Eastertide, and Pentecost. Days of the secular calendar, like the start of the new year, Martin Luther King Day, and Earth Day, stirred other posts into being. And some posts were driven by connections to the larger church, including this MEDA story, another about the area relief sale and MCC, and this one on a Lutheran apology to local Anabaptists.
Occasionally blog posts took root in worship services, this one as the result of a sermon at the retirement community where my parents live, and this one grounded in a KRMC service during which we sang a song that mentioned small paper lanterns.
Sometimes, as sources of inspiration, I turned to books I was reading (like Barbara Brown Taylor’s Learning to Walk in the Dark) or great art (to reflect on Ash Wednesday by looking at Bruegel’s Carnival and Lent or amplify Lenten learnings with a reference to Rembrandt’s Prodigal Son).
Clearly this year's travels, frequent visits with my aging parents, and turning 70 this past summer also have influenced what’s on my mind as I share glimpses of healing and hope. Entries garnering the greatest number of hits this year included Best Gifts Ever at just over 1,200 and Danile and Nancy’s story, referenced above, at nearly 1,170. I have no idea who those readers are, for the most part, but I am grateful.
Many thanks to writers who continue to inspire my own musings, including Parker Palmer, Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat at Spirituality and Practice, Jan Richardson, John O’Donohue, Krista Tippett, Mary Oliver, David Whyte, and many others, as well as social media friends who keep beaming my way hopeful thoughts, encouraging reminders and admonitions, and positive insights to light the way on the faith journey.
The one thing I would love to see increase as this blog moves forward into its second year is interaction with readers. I hope you will subscribe at the website or check the KRMC Facebook page or mine to stay connected. And please feel free to submit your personal glimpses of healing and hope for sharing in future entries.