“Home is where the heart is.”

In this issue of Thema, we continue to explore the theme of gratitude. We explore how the experience of searching for and finding Home is shaped by the socio-historical influences on our spiritual development. This issue’s selections invite us to reflect on the particular kind of gratitude that flows from the experience of finding Home.

Gratitude for Miracles

Jerry Rutledge, JD

There is always God’s Light for our inspirations to dispel the darkness of despair. The famous English novelist and social critic, Charles Dickens, eloquently expressed this for me in his novel, The Tale of Two Cities, with the literary quote, “It was the best of times and the worst of times. …”

Hope for Home

Rev. Dr. Rindy Trouteaud

At a critical point in his ministry, a winded, would-be follower of Jesus rushes up to him on the road and says, “I will follow you wherever you go.”  Jesus stares hard at him and replies, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”  He knows that those who prize the security of home – four walls and a roof overhead – will not take up their crosses and follow him.

Sabbatical Opportunities at WVIS

Rooted and growing in the light of God’s love, the West Virginia Institute for Spirituality (WVIS) provides a quiet, four-season setting where individuals can find peace in solitude; savor God’s presence in prayer; delight in the gifts of creation; experience new ways of being in relationship with God, with self, with others, and with the world.

Are You a Tree?

Joy Marie Clarkson

I am a potted plant, I said to myself. Always ready to be moved, never mingling my roots with those of my neighbors, a stranger to solid ground.

Become like children this Earth Day (and beyond)

Kaitlin B. Curtice

Kinship can feel like a very abstract thing, but imagine it like this: I have a string attached to my body, to my heart center, and it goes directly from my heart to yours, and to every other living creature on this planet, to Mother Earth herself. Whatever I do with this heart, with this body, affects you; it travels across that thread and finds its way to you. And whatever you do or embody travels to me, to the ants, to Grandmother Moon, to someone across the world we’ve never met.

In Art Class Making Aspen Trees

A poem by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, Poet Laureate of Colorado’s Western Slope

They Were Afraid

Dr. Diana Butler Bass

When I was ten, nothing could have made me tell the story of seeing a man that looked like my newly-dead grandfather standing in the doorway of his bedroom with a glowing light radiating around him on Easter Sunday. I covered my head, and closed my eyes as tightly as I could for terror and amazement seized me and I said nothing to no one, for I was scared out of my wits.

The Hospitality of Vulnerability

Rev. Rebecca Messman

The word “hospitality” conjures images of special nametags and coffee stations. I think of Southern Living flower arrangements on the perfect Thanksgiving table. I imagine neatly turned-down bedspreads with chocolates on the pillows. Given that the word shares a root with “hospital” and “hospice,” I find it stunning that hospitality has come to mean anything but vulnerability.

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