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The Red Cord

November 4, 2009

I wanted to share something that really was meaningful to me and the rest of my family at church this past Sunday.  While every Sunday is full of meaning there are  times when Kim finds something to put in our hands that provokes thought and deeper meaning and action.  She presented us with the following words that I wanted to share here.

From the worship service on November 1, whose theme was “Overflowing with thankfulness…”
scan0003There is a Buddhist tradition of wearing a thin red cord that has had knots tied in it as signs of protection and blessing. The knots are tied by a religious leader, and the cord is a reminder of the blessings offered the wearer.  Reminders are often what we need.  Sometimes it is work to be thankful.  It takes effort to achieve gratitude.  Yet when time and attention are taken, there is much for which to be grateful every day. 
Anne Lamott (in Plan B:  Further Thoughts on Faith) talks about a red cord she wears around her wrist, which was given her by a Buddhist friend and was blessed by the Dalai Lama.  Though she’s a Presbyterian, she wears this reminder as a sign to herself.  She remembers other red cords that speak of connection and of the protection of God:  the umbilical cord that, in our earliest days, connects us to life; and the scarlet rope hung from the window of Rahab (in the story of Joshua and the taking of Jericho,) which stood as a signal that this woman and her family were to be protected. 
Take a piece of red string (which will be distributed) today.  Call to mind some of the things you’re thankful for — people or experiences or an awareness — and as you think of each, tie a knot in the red cord.   Then, each day this week, add a knot or two as you recall things for which you’re grateful during the day.  You may want to wear the cord around your wrist, to put it in a pocket or wallet, or simply to keep it nearby.  Let it be for you a reminder of the blessings you know and of the connection to God that is yours.  Let it be an emblem of the ways your life overflows with thankfulness.

Kim, the church, and nurturing my spiritual life are all very important parts of my life.  This “exercise” is knowing my connection to God and remembering all the blessings of my life came at the right time.  I am richly blessed and have been for a long time.  For me the cord is a wonderful constant reminder of blessings of my past life, my current life and the promise of my future life.  My knots were tied with very specific blessings in mind.  I appreciate the reminder to be content with my life.  I joyfully look at the cord Keith placed on his wrist and the cord Erin placed on her ankle and reflect on the cord on my wrist and smile knowing my immediate family appreciates the blessings in their life and their connection to God.  I look forward to seeing red cords this Sunday and knowing that so many others share the blessings of God with me.   Maybe you would like to join me in wearing a red cord…

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