By Inspirational Columnist and Author: Linda Mose Meadows


However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"--
1 Corinthians 2:9

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

REMARKABLE CHAUTAUQUA: A SOUL AWAKENING EXPERIENCE!























http://www.ciweb.org/interfaith-lectures/















































He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."
Jeremiah 17:8





Incredible God! This is thundering through my spirit as I recant the remarkable previous week spent with honored “Fellows” from diverse religious backgrounds and their spouses selected for week # 2 of The New Clergy Program (NCP) of Chautauqua Institution’s Department of Religion. The theme for week two is: The Ethics of Leadership.’ My husband Richard had the distinct pleasure to be honored as one of the fellows.

As we careened down the highway yesterday headed for home, Ricky and I had fun reminiscing about the tremendous power packed agenda and our anointed new friends: Stephen, Nannette, Mark & Michele, Clemette & Mary, Lee Ann & Stefan, Phoebe, Jennifer & Nathan, Evie, Derrick & Marnie and Ann & Loren.


He’s the pilot smoothly navigating the highway. With pleasure, I’m co-piloting happily sharing my “road safety” commentary and speed limit observations. But for this blog post it will serve as my imaginary seat perched comfortably in the Chautauqua Institution’s Department of Religion’s Amen corner. That means I highly support and recommend Chautauqua Institution’s Department of Religion’s endeavors.


I can hardly contain all the spiritual benefits received regarding all that my heart and soul witnessed. As folks once would say, "I was weary!" Kindly indulge me and I gladly will share a few soul awakening moments.


The drive from New York through the mountains of Pennsylvania didn’t seem so tiring because our spirits are celebrating and laughing about my bold pronouncement of my “vacation”, during the opening introductions. Why didn’t I just announce the entire truth when the opening facilitator requested participants, spouses and partners share why they agreed to be a part of The New Clergy’s Program?


Good question. Answer, probably my pride was at work!


I missed a golden opportunity to thank God audibly in that instance. I knew the moment I made my pronouncement of vacation, that that wasn’t the entire truth. Maybe I was too spent to share all that had preceded our arrival to Chautauqua Institution. So, instead I shared that I was “vacationing”, when the fact of the matter was I needed an immediate elixir. Yes my friends, what was missing prior to Chautauqua Institution was a very tall glass of spiritual refreshment, an encounter with God on a deeper level-a renewing, nectar from the wellspring of living water.


My soul yearned for respite, a safe haven and revitalization.


Yes, Lord! Send REVIVAL!







I believe revival did happen! It was a vacation indeed, a vacation from the stressors of life! I witnessed and re-experienced revival up close and personal with many others! Life Anew! Revival which captured our Spirits!




Almighty God, We worship and adore you,
Most Holy and Righteous creator.
You have done all things well.
We have gathered in your name
And we pray for your blessing
on the church in this place called Chautauqua, its people and pastors.
Here may the faithful find salvation, and the careless be awakened.
Here may the doubting find faith,
and the anxious be encouraged.
Here may the tempted find help,
and the sorrowful find comfort.
Here may the weary find rest,
and the strong be renewed.
Here may the aged find consolation
and the young be inspired;
through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Amen.

Through many dangers, toils and snares, we have already come,
Twas grace that brought us safe thus far, and grace will lead us home.
Gracious God, in the name of Jesus we beseech you,
to hear our prayers, hear our pleas for mercy
and grace in this time of trial, called life.
It is written in your Holy word that we would be
tried, but just as we are tried, we trust you to walk with us
and guide us, along this journey.
Every good and perfect gift comes from you,
So, gift us with joy in times of sorrow, peace in the time of struggle. We lift our hearts and minds to you, looking to the hills from whence cometh our help. Knowing that our help comes from you.
Help us to abide in the shadow of thy wing. Amen.

Then the eagle will carry our prayer for peace and love,
and the people of all communities can sit in the same circle
together to communicate in love and experience the presence of the
Great Mystery in their midst.
God of our weary years, God of our silent tears,
thou who has brought us thus far, on the way,
thou who has by they might led us into the light,
keep us forever in thy path, we pray.
Let that day be today for our sake, through
Jesus Christ our advocate and redeemer. Amen.

Prayer written by Richard D. Meadows, Jr. (July 2010) for Closing Worship of
The New Clergy Program of Chautauqua Institution’s Department of Religion






The beautifully sculpted prayer written by my beloved Ricky does convey this sentiment of need for a fresh spiritual wind, especially during these complex and turbulent times. (I just feel it- the Holy Ghost orchestrated its inception.)


In a final moving Praise and Worship opportunity this prayer was corporately shared. It spoke beautifully to our hearts along with Rev. Will Terry pulling no punches with his timely sermonic message and Rev. Stephen Austin lifting our spirits with his beautiful voice and piano worship selections. God was actively ministering to each of our needs. The feet washing, laying-on of hands and lifting in prayer the program’s major supporters and our exemplary servant leaders: Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, Rev. Will Terry, Rev. Cameron Pennybacker and Rev. Dr. Albert Pennybacker was certainly in order for this blessed outpouring. As some might say, “God was in the house!”



God’s presence was not mistaken, it was apparent-surely felt and appreciated daily, especially during the morning messages from the esteemed Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr., President and Founder of the Healing of the Nations Foundation of New York and Senior Minister Emeritus of the Riverside Church. Rev. Dr. Forbes, Jr. beckoned believers to embrace a holistic heath regiment and appreciate the Great Awakening in our midst.


Undoubtly our minds were awakened during the Morning Lecture Series and notably when the dynamic President of Echoing Green, Cheryl Dorsey, shared about her passionate commitment and alliances with philanthropic leaders which are providing the needed seed capital and business acumen for jump starting young innovative Social entreprenuers. As a result of these "socialpreneurs" insight, lives are being changed for the better! Her testament about these global change agents was very encouraging. The power of her ingenuity and dedication for service couldn’t be overshadowed.



God’s love was visible in the stirrings and poignant accounts of Daisy Khan, Executive Director, and American Society for Muslim Advancement. Mrs. Khan shared in the Hall of Philosophy and during NCP session/dinner. Hers is a heartfelt commitment of embracing others and reaching across Ecumenical barriers. She lovingly shares her Islamic faith principles, humanitarian endeavors and hope for rebuilding torn lives.





Yes, also the divine was evident when Rabbi Irwin Kula, President of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership expressed passionately his receptivity and desire to actively engage listeners to embrace new thinking/actions for living effectively in a chaotic world. Not to mention his generosity to all the NCP’s a gift of his most recent literary work: Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life (Hyperion, Sept. 2006).


And Lord knows the creative interpretation of the Preacher Extraordinaire: Rev. Otis Moss III, pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ’s panel discussion and “talk” of our need for the urgency of all Americans to become Jazz lovers, preserving Louisiana, and more importantly not take for granted a rich musical /historical legacy which should be treasured. He creatively said we should start a jazz orchestra inclusive of all, an intergenerational experience-partaking in a united love supreme jazz rendition.

Enriching moments experienced at these lectures and during worship spilled into simply celebratory encounters. Angelic encounters on every turn! God's handywork was realized and you couldn't help but to acknowledge the divine instantly! Reflecting on this my Spirit agrees that it must have also been the Spouse’s Luncheon/Partner Luncheon with Lynn Stahl wife of Rabbi Sam Stahl of San Antonio, Texas, or the raucous sacred laughter and sheer enjoyment shared!
No, it was marveling in awe of the picturesque landscapes, or my instantly applauding as I walked pass the Ampitheatre during the rehearsals of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, or closing my eyes and intently absorbing the choir voices and the organist's mastery of music witnessed for early morning service! And then meeting the outstanding multimedia artisans ( Cheryl Olney aka "Louise's Daughter", Rebecca Grace Jones, James Sankowski, Alan Resnick and Gail Markiewicz) who displayed their anointed creations and entertained my questions too!


Well it surely was in the assortment of the delicious home baked cookies and our indulging in the slice of heavenly carrot cake! Have your tastebuds ever sang? Simple abundance was all around us! It spilled over into one opportunity after another, appreciating this stimulating community and life force at Chautauqua! It was expressed in the love of ministry, passion for sharing the Gospel and in demonstrated service .


It must have been in the weeklong soul connections and sheer joy of seeing God in others! It included the resounding hospitality of the Robertson’s and the Stahl’s. It was found in the welcome received at The Mission House, and Nancy Robert’s emails, her concern for us and securing our breakfast groceries? Goodness, grace, caring -there was plently distributed!



This was God's soul food that we feasted on!


Friends, it was all of that! Rev. LaVerne Gill and Rev. Dr. George Wirth’s sweet spirit and devotion to service and inclusivity were spiritual presents, just like the inviting tall-backed white rocking chairs found on the porches.


How did this equation of people and spirt connect so well? It must have been the divine configuration of new clergy? Was it their partners and spouses which created an uplifting support community, new kinships/friendships and love for brethren which trust and understand our reliance of a sure foundation? Yes, I too believe it was that and a culmination of chats, the impressive and varying architecture, creative artisans, hearty luncheons, the ingenious visual and performing arts? Friends it must be God's love woven throughout!


Hands down, it 's evident in The anointed Religion Department with their stellar leadership team of: Joan, Will, “Penny” and, Cameron and the fine supporters (i.e. Daney-Holden Family Foundation, Robertson Foundation, Constance Somers and Sam and Sarah Everett McLaren and others I am confident). Just possibly it's the rich panel discussions, the genuine embraces, Dr. Forbes’ affirmations, receptions, testimonies, unbelievable landscapes, and culminating worship experiences gathering diverse religious and cultures converging and partaking in the wonderful Chautauqua Experience!



This Chautauqua Experience is an ongoing revival and nourishment for the mind, body and soul!


A real angel Cheryl Olney! Louise's Daughter!


I feel very confident that during our past week’s sojourn the longings of our heart were evident. This private and public awakenings erupted our spiritual and natural gifts, that I am confident of. We can be peacefully assured that God is doing a new thing in us and has not abandoned us! It's ok to acknowledge that we too are blessed even in the midst of discomforts. Thank God for the discoveries made at this historic landmark! Discoveries of self, our freedom to unmask vulnerabilities and limitations! God’s wonder filled omnipotence is present and presence enough! New leaves are falling, healing is all around.

Thank you Holy Spirit!
Thank you Dr. Forbes!
Thank you Chautauqua!


Our hearts are forever changed we're dancing in our new nature! Love has resurfaced void of ecumenical and denominational alliances. Heart matters are revealed, resistance haulted! Lord! Lord! Honest dialogue has spawned into sacred and cherished experiences. Remarkable! Remarkable!




The table is spread, let's feast! Thanks be to God!





Grateful to God for a Fresh New Wind!
Sharing in Faith, Linda Mose Meadows,
Urban Views Weekly Columnist and Inspirational Author of:
The Blessedness of Believing
A Devotional Journey of Life's Lessons and God's Promises
http://blessednessofbelieving.blogspot.com/

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Linda. It was a blessed week and you captured it here so well. The rich worship experience on our last day together is one I'm sure I will never forget. It was a gift to witness (and participate with)these servants of God, gifted and broken, so aware of their need for God, worshipping God together. A beautiful ending to an incredible week.

Peace and Blessings to you, Linda!

marnie

LMM/RDM said...
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LMM/RDM said...
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Lydia said...

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