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by Dan Peeler
Minister for Children and Families

…let your adornment be the inner self with the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in God’s sight” I Peter 3.4b

A Word of Hope
Today, the day before Christmas Eve, the Cathedral’s Order of St. Francis and St. Clare will be sponsoring another of our labyrinth walks. This will be the last walk of the year and the second one we’ve hosted in the sacred space of the Interfaith Peace Chapel. From 2 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. we will pause from the holiday rush to experience calming, meditative music in the candle-lit enclosure covered wall to wall with our canvas labyrinth. The labyrinth was created with love about 10 years ago by countless members of the congregation, on their knees with indelible markers, filling in the city blocks of guide lines we had drawn. God’s eventual plan for the labyrinth became quite evident when we first set it up in the new chapel. It’s a perfect fit.

Walking a labyrinth is an ancient and unique form of prayer and meditation that often has a profound spiritual effect on the participant. It’s not surprising to me that those long-ago labyrinth designers used the concentric circle as their basic layout, since the circle is the symbol of the Eternal God, with no beginning and no end. This walking meditation can be a journey into the very heart of God. The stories I’ve been privileged to hear from walkers confirm this, as they tell me of experiences of peace, healing of the soul, visions of a better life, forgiveness; the things God’s presence inspires.

From a practical standpoint, the act of concentrating on the silent walk is an excellent method of shutting out the distractions of the world and entering into a state of meditation. M.I.T. Physicist, Dr. Claude Swanson observes, “Meditation is often considered to be a ‘quieting of the mind,’ because the talking part of the mind becomes silent. The verbal and analytical processes cease. But Brain wave (EEG) studies show that actually the brain becomes more ‘coherent’ in meditation. This means that the firings of the billions of neutrons in the brain become more ‘in step’ with one another. The electrical impulses from all the cells become less random, less independent.”

As we progress on a meditative journey toward the center of the labyrinth, our minds actually become more “in step,” more coherent of God’s focus for us; a much needed exercise at Christmas time.

May my every walk be a walk with you.

But if you remain silent, who can condemn you? If you hide your face, who can see you? Job 34.29

A Word of Hope
Have you finished your costume yet? Halloween is just two days away and the parties have already begun. Do you ever wonder why so many of us go to extremes every year to dress ourselves or our children as super heroes, grotesque movie monsters or even scarier politicians? The “Hallow” in “Halloween” means “holy”, so how does all this fuss relate to a Holy Evening? The first Hallow-e’en costume parties originated in the Middle Ages, but they were far from parties as we know the term.

European villagers were obsessed with possession in those dismal times of plagues and poverty. Since demonic influence and possession seemed to them to be the most logical and probable cause for all their woes, the idea came about that dressing up in frightening-looking outfits and making lots of noise was the best course to frighten the demons away. The practice was encouraged by the church leaders who also told them that All Hallow’s Eve, the evening before the venerated Feast of All Saints, was the night the spirits of evil were at their most active level, doing whatever was necessary to snatch people’s very souls and thoroughly defile the upcoming worship events. So, everyone put on their masks and rattled their chains to literally scare the devil out of each other and send the demons back to the pits where they belonged.

This is not likely the reason you or some of your friends might be wearing a costume today, but it is not surprising that at this time of year much of the LGBTQ community eagerly embraces the opportunity to play dress up on the streets. Few believe in possession, but most have been touched by oppression. Many are still forced to wear a mask in their work or worship places year round. On this night, wearing a mask is their own choice, not somebody else’s. They are freed from playground mentality rules such as “don’t ask, don’t tell” to noisily proclaim their real identities and maybe drive out a few of their own demons of guilt and shame. And if that is the case, maybe it’s a holy evening after all.

Help us to know that we are all hallow in your sight.

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Childcare is provided at all Sunday and Wednesday services.

9 & 11 a.m. – Sunday Worship
9 & 11 a.m. – Children’s Church
11 a.m. – Youth Groups
1 p.m. – Sunday Worship in Spanish

7:15 p.m. – PULSE Service

5910 Cedar Springs Road | Dallas, TX  75235 (map)
Local: 214-351-1901 | Toll Free: 800-501-HOPE (4673)

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