Holy Shenanigans

Summer Solstice, Storms and Times of Change

June 25, 2024 Tara Lamont Eastman Season 5 Episode 17
Summer Solstice, Storms and Times of Change
Holy Shenanigans
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Holy Shenanigans
Summer Solstice, Storms and Times of Change
Jun 25, 2024 Season 5 Episode 17
Tara Lamont Eastman

In this episode of Holy Shenanigans,  Tara  reflects on finding the sacred in daily life. Using the biblical story from Mark 4 where Jesus calms a storm, Tara discusses the metaphorical storms of life and how we can navigate them. She shares her experiences and emphasizes the importance of a 'rule of life'—a personal guide crafted through prayer and discernment. Tara recounts her baccalaureate address for Jamestown High School's Class of 2024, encouraging graduates to develop their own rules of life driven by love, intention, verve, and ease. She concludes with a poetic blessing that underscores resilience and gratitude amidst life’s challenges.

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Support the Show.

Pastor Tara Lamont Eastman is an Ordained Minister of Word & Sacrament in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She has pastored ELCA and PCUSA churches throughout New York State. She was a contributing writer to the Collaborate Lutheran Student Bible and the Connect Sunday School curriculum, published by Sparkhouse.

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of Holy Shenanigans,  Tara  reflects on finding the sacred in daily life. Using the biblical story from Mark 4 where Jesus calms a storm, Tara discusses the metaphorical storms of life and how we can navigate them. She shares her experiences and emphasizes the importance of a 'rule of life'—a personal guide crafted through prayer and discernment. Tara recounts her baccalaureate address for Jamestown High School's Class of 2024, encouraging graduates to develop their own rules of life driven by love, intention, verve, and ease. She concludes with a poetic blessing that underscores resilience and gratitude amidst life’s challenges.

Send Tara a Text Message

Support the Show.

Pastor Tara Lamont Eastman is an Ordained Minister of Word & Sacrament in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She has pastored ELCA and PCUSA churches throughout New York State. She was a contributing writer to the Collaborate Lutheran Student Bible and the Connect Sunday School curriculum, published by Sparkhouse.

S5 E17 Summer Solstice Reflections: Faith in the Midst of Change

Tara: [00:00:00] Welcome to Holy Shenanigans. I'm your muse, Tara Lamont Eastman, a pastor, a podcaster, and a practitioner of Holy Shenanigans. In the HSP neighborhood, we encourage a spiritual practice of looking and listening for the sacred in everyday life. And this is what we call Holy Shenanigans. Welcome dear hearts to the official start of the summer season of 2024.

Tara: With the summer solstice just days behind us, the summer weather is here. Hot temps, thunderstorms, and hopefully some spaces for us to find some rest and relaxation. But this week's scripture from Mark 4 takes us into the middle [00:01:00] of a stormy sea. There was a great wind, and Jesus was sleeping. The wind raged, and Jesus in the stern was snoring with his head on a pillow.

Tara: The disciples, afraid for their lives, rouse Jesus and exclaim, Is it nothing to you that we're going down? Jesus looks around and tells the fearsome wind, Quiet, settle down. And the wind ran out of breath, bringing calm. The disciples are amazed and they say, Who is this that the wind and the sea obey him?

Tara: Who is this? Indeed. Have you ever been in a storm like this? In my corner of the world, the weather has been dramatic this week. High heat and almost every evening offers an awesome display of light, [00:02:00] sound, wind, and rain. Following the thunderstorms, the temperature and the humidity drops, and I rejoice for the break in the heat, thanks to this stormy weather.

Tara: Thunderstorms bring some relief, and at the end of the storm, there is calm. But not all storms in life are like that, are they? Times of change have the ability to offset us, to help us question our sense of stability. And the reasons for these kinds of storms are endless. Death of a loved one, illness, global conflict, worry over our children and grandchildren, concern over the future of our lives, The [00:03:00] winds of these storms don't often seem to run out of breath, do they?

Tara: And yet, I feel in this story of Jesus and the storm, there's a call to live into the storms we're facing. That Jesus is calling us, like the disciples, to live into our faith or spirituality in the midst of the many storms. We face, and this storm story is one of my favorites in scripture, not because I love turbulent times of change, but I love it for the way it calls me to continue to trust in God.

Tara: In the times of change and transition, it reminds me that somehow some way the wind will run out of breath and that peace will come. That resilience can be a side effect of living in and through these stormy times. That the [00:04:00] lessons of scripture can give me a foundation to help me withstand the storms of life.

Tara: Scripture is a source of this, advice from wise friends, and even a rule of life. What is a rule of life, you ask? What a wonderful question. I recently had an opportunity to ask this question about a rule of life with a brand new audience. I was invited to give a baccalaureate address at Jamestown High School's Ecumenical Baccalaureate Celebration.

Tara: And what you're about to hear is the live audio of that address. So pull up a chair, even if your weather is stormy, and I invite you to take a listen and learn how a rule of life can be a guide and a support, [00:05:00] especially.

Tara: My name is Pastor Tara Lamont Eastman and I am here on behalf of First Presbyterian Church in Jamestown. And I want to say thank you to the 2024 Jamestown High School graduates. for their invitation to offer tonight's address.

Tara: What is your rule of life? Several weeks ago, I received this invitation from Ella Storms and Mr. Maggio to have this honor to speak and I asked an important question to help frame my thoughts this evening. What is the class of 2024's motto? Mr. Maggio spoke proudly of your class, of your many diverse gifts that span the arena of athletics, academics, creativity, empathy, and heart.[00:06:00] 

Tara: Your class is one of many gifts, but as a whole, you do not have a class motto. Do not worry. This fact alone inspired me. Because I was thinking about today in this time of change and transition and growth, it might be time for your very own rule of life. And if you've not heard this term before, allow me to explain.

Tara: A rule of life is a commitment to live your life in a particular way. It is meant to be crafted in prayer and discernment. In partnership with God or creator, a rule of life helps you to consider the way God has made you to be you, your values, and how you will live into those in your vocation and your calling in the [00:07:00] world.

Tara: A rule of life is a guide for you, but it is more than a motto or a quote of inspiration. It is deeper than that. It is a spiritual, emotional and physical springboard to help each person find their deep joy and use it to be a blessing in the world. Throughout my own life, I have had a few different rules of life.

Tara: And the first one I borrowed from the Benedictine tradition. And this rule is, always we begin again. Always referring to God's promise to be with us in all things. We, referring to connection and relationships that we do not do life alone. Very much like the beautiful anthem bend you shared this evening.

Tara: We, [00:08:00] referring to those connections. And finally, again, referring to that persistent love of God that comes to us and through us again and again and again, always we begin again. That's a pretty good role of life, isn't it? But then, in February of 2020, I had a shift in my own life.

Tara: I had moved to the city of Syracuse to take a pastoral call in a new church, and I arrived in a new city in a new church and with a congregation of 200 new people only two weeks before the arrival of the COVID 19 pandemic. I'm sure that we can all recount our experiences in 2020 The fear, the loneliness, the worry and concern for health of family and [00:09:00] friends and the grief that came with many losses we experienced as a collective humanity.

Tara: As I leaned into that rule of life, always we began again. It was helpful. It was familiar, but it began at one point to feel wearying. I recalled that promise that God was always with me, but I needed to see it, to feel it, and to live it. Because of the changes I was facing, I needed to reframe my rule of life.

Tara: My rule of life needed to change. And this process was not overnight. I had to engage an attitude of being a beginner. in order to find a new way to live. Live was what I wanted [00:10:00] and needed to do. Live was what I wanted the people I served to need and to do. And live, that little word, was my first clue of what my new role of life would become.

Tara: Live. Live with love. Live with intention. Live with verve. Live with ease. This little word live became my personal anagram for an adapted rule of life for me to try on and to live into. And love in that anagram of live was first because without love. How can we live? Love shows up for us in intimacy, friendships, empathy, [00:11:00] compassion and forgiveness with love as a foundation.

Tara: I knew I would have many more opportunities to live. Intention was next to not be married to perfection, but to put love into action in real ways that would serve God. neighbor and self. Verve is the third letter of my rule of life. And Verve means joyful exuberance, energy. And Verve is healing. Verve is life giving.

Tara: That last letter stands for ease. The human experience, as you already know, with all of the work and energy you have put into your education and life thus far, takes lots of effort and [00:12:00] work. But in order to take action and effort, we must first welcome ease and rest and Sabbath. Rest is essential to live a fully engaged life.

Tara: In order to live, we must have spaces of rest and ease. And so this rule of life, live. So tonight, I mentioned that you don't have a class motto, but that is not a failure. Please hear this. In the season of graduation, of moving into life that is truly yours, you don't need a motto from yesterday. You need a rule of life that is yours.

Tara: You need a rule of life that will remind you this day and every day that you are always [00:13:00] beloved. You need a rule of life that helps you live with grace instead of always seeking perfection. You need a rule of life, beloveds, that will help you discover your deep joy and use that joy to meet the deep needs of the world.

Tara: And so, if you like, I invite you to borrow a rule of life like I first did. And you could use, always, we, begin again. Or, if you need And you will, in response to life, you will have to adapt your rule, like I did, and shift it to live, L I V E. Or if you prefer, prayerfully ask yourself tonight, what is my [00:14:00] rule of life?

Tara: And then, listen. Ask for direction. Read books that inspire your soul. Ask for some life wisdom from someone you respect and trust. Pray about it. And as you step into adulthood, it is your responsibility to live your life to the full and to be a blessing to the world around you. So, Jamestown High School class of 2024.

Tara: What will your rule of life be? Tonight, I will leave you with some parting words from the poet and mystic Rainier Maria Rilke. These words have been a comfort and a challenge and a help to me in my own quest [00:15:00] to live into the questions of purpose. especially in how to live. It says, I want to beg you as much as I can, dear one, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue.

Tara: Do not now seek the answers. which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is this to live everything. The point is this to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually without noticing it live among some distant [00:16:00] day into The answer. Let us pray.

Tara: God, may our own rule of life help us to live with love, intention, verve and ease. Help us to meet the deep needs of the world with our own joyous calling of love. And all God's people said, Amen.

Tara: So, dear hearts, I ask you the same question as I asked all those graduating seniors. What is your rule of life? And how are you going to figure it out? You can begin by simply asking yourself this question. And then asking the divine to help you to listen and to heed what you hear. What is your rule of life that will help you to withstand the storms [00:17:00] until the wind runs out?

Tara: There is more to this summer season than thunderstorms. Flowers and gardens are in bloom. Ice cream stands have now reopened. Evenings welcome, campfires, s'mores. And stories. This reminder came to me from author Christine Volter painter, lifting up the joyous season. That is summer and the summer solstice, and I offer you these words to inform your searching for your own rule of life.

Tara: Radiant, one creator of the cosmos and the luminaries, which light our way. Bless this day of longest light. And the gift of the sun to bring warmth into our lives and abundance of growth, [00:18:00] sweetness of blueberries, refreshment of lemons, nourishment of kale and a thousand other kinds of food. We sing in gratitude along with the sparrows and robins rising each morning to celebrate another day.

Tara: Help us remember the universe came into being 14 billion years ago. With ancient skies unfurling, stars spilling across the heavens, and manifesting in every living thing. Light is our inheritance, calling us to be bearers of radiance, bringing new life from the fertile darkness. In the storms, and in our seeking, in the summer and all seasons, Light is our inheritance, calling us to be bearers of radiance.[00:19:00] 

Tara: Blessings to you, dear heart, in this solstice, this summer, and in all of the storms. And may you know, in all things, that you are always beloved by God. I am your holy shenanigans muse. Tara Lamont Eastman. Thank you for joining us for this week's holy shenanigans that surprise, encourage, redirect, and turn life upside down, all in the name of love.

Tara: This is an unpredictable spiritual adventure that is always sacred, but never stuffy. Thank you to Christine Valters Paintner for sharing this blessing for solstice, and to Ian Eastman for sound editing. As well as you HSP listeners for supporting our work with this podcast by way [00:20:00] of www.buymeacoffee.com/tara l Eastman.

Tara: Until next time, get out there and enjoy this beautiful summer season with ice cream strawberries and thunderstorms. 

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