Thursday, March 31, 2011

So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning. I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father. So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” As he was saying these things, many believed in him. So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”John 8:21-32

It is Thursday afternoon and we are finally slowly resurfacing after two solid days of moving. The truck has gone back to the rental place and our bed is set up. All the boxes and bins are stored in my mother’s garage and basement. We have so much unpacking to do but at least we had a full night’s sleep and will take the rest in small chunks. It feels like coming up to the surface for air after a long time submerged. Breaking through the surface, drinking in fresh air and facing the light of day – it seems like a long time coming and yet it seems right on time. When divers resurface, they are reminded to come up slowly, so as to acclimate to the pressure and the surface. It takes time to acclimate and that is what we plan to take – plenty of time.

Jesus took the time to linger - in prayer, with the disciples, with the crowds and alone in prayer with God. The importance of taking time to a faithful life and abundant life cannot be underscored enough. He also knew when the time was right to move and the time was right to stay put – all because he spent time talking to God, learning the landscape and knowing he was at home in God no matter what transpired.

Today, as the rain pours down and they predict a nor’easter for tomorrow, I ask God to help me take plenty of time with everything to enjoy the fullness of this new found life. Even familiar territory can seem like the surface of the moon. I pray that we can take the time that is needed to make a home and to know that where ever we find our selves, we have a home with God.

Monday, March 28, 2011


About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching. The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?” So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone's will is to do God's will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. John 7:14-18

The rectory is a lot emptier this afternoon than yesterday and by tomorrow afternoon we hope to be on the road south in a truck and car convoy, letting a new adventure begin. Some begin new adventures hoping for fame and glory. This adventure is more about growth and transformation, creativity and new life. We are seeking deep wisdom from God, hoping to find that wisdom and insight by the seas surrounded by family and friends. It will be both full and lonely, new and familiar. I have done a lot of study and earned many degrees. Now is the time to seek God's heart and the teaching that is revealed with an open spirit.

Jesus is not of the learned class and the religious leaders find him both brilliant and lacking - he is not one of them. And yet he is from God. They know his words hit home, and his spirit is holy, and they are afraid. We human too often put stock in professionalism and credentials, and often shun those who simply live in truth and have an honest and discerning heart. We want to impress and be impressed, and overlook depth for the shallow flashes of light.

Today as we pack and wrap, may my soul be trusting completely in God's leading and insight for me in the days to come. Too often, I trust the shallow, apparent things of life and forget to look for the hidden depth in power in each day. May I resist the temptation to brood or fear, rather give my heart to trusting in God's wisdom and God's glory.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Again at the Well

A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, "How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?" (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, `Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water." The woman said to him, "Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?" Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life." The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water." John 4:5=12

Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

In the process of packing I came across a favorite storybook of our children. There are certain stories that children glom onto that somehow resonate with them, as if they have to learn something over and over. And parents who read these stories have read them so often that they can recite the book word for word. "Rikki Tikki Tembo No Sir Rembo Charri Barri Ruchi Pip Perri Pembo has fallen in the well" can be recited automatically by a simple prompting. The story of a boy who has such along name he almost dies after falling into a well. The lesson of the story is simply to keep things simple so we can do what we can. We so often visit the well where we first learned these truths.

And so, the lectionary finds us again staring at the story of the well, where Jesus has the most profound theological conversation with a Samaritan women with a jaded moral history. He has the most profound exchange with an outcast, an enemy, a loose woman. And we return to this story, over and over, because of the importance and depth of it. We gaze down a very deep well and realize the most profound is also the most simple. God love is for the broken down failures, the rejected, despised and forgotten. God's love is for those who aren't welcome in the fancy, high places and for those have to be on the move and are outcasts most often.

Today, I want to remember all the simple, profound lessons I learned as a child. the ones I can recite without hesitation at the smallest prompt. For it is our ability to remember God's love and hold it close in these changing ties which not only help us all to survive, but will bring about the renewal of our villages and communities where ever we find ourselves. May we all have the courage to hold to child like faith so that profound love can transform us all.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him. Now the Jews' Feast of Booths was at hand. So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” For not even his brothers believed in him. Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.” After saying this, he remained in Galilee. But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private. The Jews were looking for him at the feast, and saying, “Where is he?” And there was much muttering about him among the people. While some said, “He is a good man,” others said, “No, he is leading the people astray.” Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him. John 7:1-12

Today is our daughter Emily's birthday and although we are up to our eyeballs with packing, it was important to take time out to celebrate. She had decided that she wanted to invite a couple of friends and her two young cousins out for fun at the arcade. We gathered for several hours while the kids, young and old, made themselves giddy on winning tickets and playing games. Skeeball was a necessary element of the day. Although it wasn't really the time to celebrate, with so much to do, it made all the difference in the world to take time out and watch kids eat cake and have a blast. Sometimes, even when the times don't see right, it's important to celebrate and to have a ridiculous amount of fun.

Jesus was aware of the complexity of his life and ministry. He had to think about when and if he could be in public, as he was causing quite a stir and wasn't well received. His family was not even in a good mood with him. Life was displaced and out of sync. He finally joined them at the feast, although quietly. Even the Son of God found it important to seek out and be with his own and to celebrate.

Today, I want to celebrate the wonderful gift that is Emily. She turned our world upside down thirty three years ago today and she is still makes this world a wonderful place to be. I am so grateful to God for her. May we all take time to celebrate the loved ones in our lives who make the world a place of joy and light, even in the midst of major transitions and displaced emotions and belongings. For in the celebration we find God anew.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Nothing On My Own

“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not deemed true. There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true. You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. I do not receive glory from people. John 5:30-41

Nothing On My Own

My burden is heavy and my hands scarred
deep cuts from carrying this load
I fear I will stumble, draw attention
to my plight, cry out in agony and reveal
I need your help desperately.

We button our suits and tuck papers
underarms tuning out the world crowding
in with strangers on a train platform
silent aching for conversation we are aloof
needy beyond words and yet sickeningly sure
of our independence.

The water rises and sweeps away poor
rich alike and we rush to aid the far away
and we still ignore the needy in our midst
the outstretched hands the searching eyes
our eyes our hands
we can do nothing on our own.

The Son with powers extraordinary and human
needy an infant, a small clumsy child
desperate for attention and affection
ran to a mother a father and cried
out to be sheltered from being alone.

We are made for each other by another
who aches to hold us tend us and guide us,
we are nothing on our own and yet we run
stiff legged pretending we are solo warriors
small children playing at being God.

And yet God aches for us
and we can do nothing on our own.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

From Death to Life

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. John 5:24-29

The world is blanketed once again with snow and a black bird sits outside my window, looking like a backdrop in a horror movie. Although the earth has turned towards spring on the calendar, it is not today bursting forth with new life. It is, in fact, still cold and wintery. The bunny decorations on a neighbors lawn look frozen and angry, wanting to be inside or in a burrow some where. When cold still covers everything, it is hard to believe spring is coming, and that new life is bursting forth in our souls.

Jesus tells us, in John's Gospel that the dead and the living can both hear the words of love and the call to revival. In a bleak setting, when the politics and the leadership were corrupt and brutal, he was reminding us all that there is more life hidden from view than we can imagine even. That God's love is so fierce that no ugliness, even death itself, can overshadow the life and love ready to burst forth.

Today I ask God to give me the strength to see the blossoms in the snow, the jonquils and the snowdrops and remember that even in the depths of the grave, new life is near. May the shadows of darkness and death find no hold on me today, rather may we all turn towards the light and lean in to the Son.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Healing Pools

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. John 5:2-9

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to trust in something or someone new. Even though the definition of crazy is doing something over and over again that has proven to be destructive, we humans tend to gravitate towards the familiar, even when it's so hurtful and doesn't work. We like our familiar over stepping out in faith. We would rather lie by the pool for years, begging strangers to toss us in, only to be passed over by another. It's our neighborhood, our town, and we know our way around. Even dysfunction junction is someone's neighborhood.

Jesus finds a man who has been waiting for years to be healed. Healing always passes him by and yet he is determined to get help. He thinks one more time and his luck will change - someone will have mercy on him and put him in the pool first. Life has passed him by, compassion and kindness have eluded him, and yet he waits with hope and expectation. It's his only option, his only neighborhood. Jesus comes by and tells him to get up - he tells him to do the impossible. And yet there is enough faith and enough hope in this withered man than he takes the risk - gets up and walks away from all that has defined him and held him back. He is probably afraid but even more afraid of being stuck by the pool, second in line for the rest of his life. And so he follows Jesus and leaps into new life.

Today, I want to remember that the healing starts with one step into an uncharted world. And God provides healing and wholeness, if we are willing to get up and change our view. So I pray that we can all take that one step, the one that says we are afraid not to be well and not to be whole. Despite all the things that trap and hold us may we grab onto the lame man's lead and walk, following the gracious road of a loving God who desires our healing this day.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Just Go!

So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee. John 4:46-54

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to just go. We hang on to so much and can get bogged down with the sorting and the letting go during transitions. Sometimes the first step in faith is the hardest. We often keep looking back to the solid ground we knew. We keep hoping for a reprieve or more information to comfort us on our journey. Getting out the door is a tough challenge. And yet it is the step out, the step forward, the small leap, the pedal to the metal - all these let us move on and find God where God has been waiting for so long.

A man comes to Jesus asking for help for a sick child. The child has been sick so long. The Dad is in despair. When Jesus grants his request, the father is dumbfounded and stuck. He;s used to his son being sick, and not really prepared for his son to be well. He has to take the first step on the road home. Each step there after is easier. As he approaches home, they tell him his son is indeed well. And that it happened when he stepped off the anxiety curb and headed home. When he just went, when he took that big, first, awkward step - it was then that everything changed. Health replaced worry, hope replaced doom and dread.

Today, I ask God to help me take steps out in faith. May I be strong enough to take the initial step on the road to where God is waiting. May we all know that the resolution has been accomplished and that God is waiting for us to join the celebration.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The One Who Reaps

Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” John 4:31-38

We awoke this morning to snow on the first full day of Spring. We had a few warm days and it seemed like warmth was just around the corner. This morning seemed like we got a set back and winter still has a little bit more to give. With each season, there is the possibility to enjoy and to bemoan, to wait for a different harvest or to frolic in what we have been given. Too often, we close our hearts to the here and now waiting for another season, until it is too late. None of us control the seasons, and most of the blessings we have come from others' labor and faithfulness.

Jesus was trying to help the disciples see the world around them and to be more than linear. They needed to see a fuller picture through the lens of God's love. And like us, they were stuck in the day to day routines, frustrated when schedules and things change, unable to see the gifts around them in the challenges and complexity. They wanted to reap what they would sow, but that was not their call. They wanted a transaction and they got a relationship, dynamic and moving.

Today, I want to rejoice in every complexity that I am offered and remember that God dwells in the changing places- seasons, times, outlooks and hearts - rather than in stagnant ponds of the long dead, frozen in time. May we all rejoice to be alive and ready to do the work we are called to do this day, for God's reign and for the care of the least in our midst.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

God So Loved the World

O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God." Jesus answered him, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above." Nicodemus said to him, "How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, 'You must be born from above.' The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." Nicodemus said to him, "How can these things be?" Jesus answered him, "Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him."
John 3:1-17

Last night, as we were returning from a farewell dinner with a dear friend, full of wonderful Korean Barbecue and sweet promises of seeing each other again soon, we can across a rise to a breathtaking sight - the full spring moon. The huge orb was green to the eye and sweetly benign of face. Every time the road curved and dropped we were again awed by the beauty, silent and promising of this spring moon, so close and so familiar, yet so changing too. Looking on the beauty of creation, love springs forth, even in human beings - a mother's first glance at her newborn's face stayed imprinted forever -one can imagine how God looks upon us, with such fullness of love that no sacrifice is too great an act of love.

Nicodemus is trying to understand what God requires of him. He is trying to find rules to govern his life. He is a theologian, a teacher and a faithful leader. Jesus tells him that God requires him to be born from the heart of love, to be in relationship with God as infant to parent, vulnerable and openly needy. This is hard for any of us to understand, especially the learned and the responsible among us. The extreme love of God for us is hard to stretch our imagination around, let alone opening our hearts completely to our own need of God.

Today, I ask God to help me give thanks for my need and vulnerability. I ask God to help me see the look of love in the face of God and God's imprint on the face of all I encounter today. May our vulnerability be offered up to the great love of God for each and every one of us.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

True Worshippers

A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.” John 4:7-26

I am not the usual sort nor
are you and we had our hosts
of troubles and turn downs
had to make our living any old way.

Not the prize pupil nor the model
child of want and neglect fierce
with love and loyalty among the riffraff
we are trusted like saints.

The Pharisees look down their patrician noses
in daylight revered feared in the dark
making and breaking pawns, toying with confident
youth who become slaves to the fashion
and lose to their darkness.

We walk in broken down shoes
spent laces and tattered jeans
along dusty highways we hear singing
and we run to the well with joy.

We will not be afraid although darkness comes
too often to human leaders hearts
to people who mouth spirit and inhabit
the mildew of their own violent needs.

We will run in rain and sorrow
in tall grass and deep mud
the spirit calls our hearts and tugs us
beyond circumstances and maps
beyond race or class
to a sanctuary made of love
and fired with compassion and welcome.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:11-16

One of my favorite books that I read and reread as a child was the "Little Engine that Could". It was a hand-me-down when I got to it and I think I wore it out reading it. It is the story of a small engine with a mission - a mission too large for this small engine. And yet there were others who were dependent on the little engine, small children who needed a Christmas on the other side of the mountain - not these local children but children far away. Even as a small child and new reader, I understood what the symbolism meant and that confidence is drawn from love and compassion, not unbridled ego and self-inflation. There was a real need and so real love responded.

In Hebrews we are instructed as to what real confidence truly is - the need to draw near to God, so that we can be faithful in service and compassion for others. In our time of need, when we are weak and overwrought, we are encouraged to seek Christ in the hour of need, since he shares an understanding of our real human need and responds to us in perfect love. Real confidence is a gift from God, our willingness to admit our need and fully depend on the depths of God's love for us.

Today, as we continue to step out in faith, I ask God to help me to be constantly confident in Christ's compassion and love for me, knowing that alone I am unable, but in Christ Jesus I can be strong and compassionate in all things. May we all, with confidence draw near to Jesus, knowing that whatever we face today is a challenge worthy of God's love and support this day.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” John 3:16-21

There is an old joke that goes something like this - How do you know that Jesus is really Irish? 1. He was 33 and still living with his Ma. 2. The night before he died he went out drinking with his friends. 3. His mother thought he was God. 4. He thought his mother was a virgin. This wonderful day when we celebrate St. Patrick and all that is good about the Irish, it helps to remember that we have to have a sense of humor about our faith and our understanding of who we are. The Irish, who came to this country in droves, who have contributed to the life and faith of our society and country, are also people who know great tribulation, sorrow and suffering. They have offered the world great art and literature and been burned for their faith, treated like slaves and starved like animals all for the sake of land and conquest. The have faced great darkness and still try to live in light and hope.

John's Gospel tells us the simple story of God's love for us, which is so great that he sacrificed the love of God's life that we might walk in God's love and light. When we suffer on this earth, we often attribute our sorrows to God. And yet, the gift of the faithful who have gone before, like Patrick, who himself was a slave, stolen from his home, is the gift of life lived in the light, confident in God's great love for all of us.

Today, I want to celebrate by truly living with light and hope. It is easy, when the challenges get so large, to blame God and wallow in darkness. But the true measure of our faith is how we live and act in God's love, sharing what we have, fighting for justice and caring for those who cannot care for themselves. God is in the midst of us when we march in the light of God.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Raining all the Time

Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man. Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 2:23-3:8

March is one minute spring, one minute winter and seems to be raining all the time. Rainy days can be dreary but they do remind me of other times, the several springs when I had a baby on the way and all the world was turning. Life was beginning again and anew and the dark, cold and dreary days seemed ominous and full of portent. Rapidly moving clouds giving way to extraordinary light and blue. In fact those days were the edge of new life and new light, the internal mending, building and healing that causes new life - water and spirit. Sadness can enfold us when it the day dawns so dark, and yet I am reminded of all the wonders hidden away just waiting to be born, just waiting to spring forth, just waiting until the time is right.

Jesus knows how fickle humans are and how easily our hearts are swayed by fashion, stardom and group think. We are all swayed by circumstances and weather no matter how many seasons we have lived through. And so Jesus reminds Nicodemus that true transformation in God is not fashionable or trendy, not seasonable or light but grueling and messy - being born again. As a mother of three, I know from experience that birth is not pretty, it is exhausting, life threatening and simply hard, messy work. And yet God invites us to enter the places of messy, hard work that we might be transformed and born again.

Today I ask God to give me the strength to enter the hard, messy places and to be renewed by water and the Spirit, made whole by God's activity and my vulnerability. May we all open our hearts this Lent to being remade, being born again by God's working in us and leading us through dark, rainy, messy times to clear vision and new horizons.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father's house a house of trade.” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”John 2:13-17

Early Sunday morning we turned clocked forward, and even though it really is not spring yet, it seemed to help change the seasons. In this season of turning for us, I am finding out how powerful it is to get rid of old things, and how much of my life is exposed when the common commerce of daily life is suddenly put away. We can find holy things, memories and relationships, that have withered with the profanity of daily life. Moving furniture and changing location, the light seems different, revealing scars, battle wounds and reminders of victories hidden by the noise. We can renew in an unexpected way, be reborn to the truth of who were are called to be and for what we have been made.

Jesus comes to the temple, that holy place which was to be a house of prayer for all people. It had been turned into main street, commerce alley, and there was not path to God there, only trinkets for the wealthy and relics for poor pilgrims. There was no space for the holy because the bizarre/bazaar was in full swing. When we get hung up with money and commerce, it is surely hard to be prayerful and Jesus found it infuriating. His home, his sanctuary was a market and there was no place for the poor, the indigent or the sick. There was only a place for those with money in their hands.

Today, in this season of turning and new life, I want to be grateful for the opportunity to grow and experience new life with empty hands. I want to be open to the holy and the sacred and let the worry about the lucre be beyond my grasp. May we all make space this day for the holy so that those who have nothing might find a home in God.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Listening to Mom

On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you." Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. John 2:1-11

We are in Cape May Point today, making final arrangements to move down here for a while with my mother. She is 88, proud and upright, in her own mind and thoroughly strong of will. She has lived alone for a long time and managed to thrive in a tiny community a long way from big city life. She has incredible hands, hands that show the marks of the years, and yet, they move to reach out in love, to smooth a tormented brow and to hug the smallest to the largest friend. These hands have made a million biscuits, stirred thousands of pounds of spaghetti sauce and sewn late into the night. There is so much to learn from her and I have spent so much of my time ignoring her. Mothers chide us and urge us when we are small and we often take a long time to let go of all our stubborn childhood ways.

Jesus and his Mom are at a wedding, probably that of a family member. The wine runs out and she starts giving him orders. He really doesn't want to do this, he is not ready and he sure as heck does not want to listen to her. He has practiced this for some time like all humans do. And yet, her urging brings about a miracle, and the start of his ministry - a ministry which transformed time, space and our understanding of
God. So I guess it behooves us to listen to our Moms, our aunties, our wise women, who have lived and reached towards the heart of God.

I pray that God will give me new eyes and ears with which to begin again this relationship. I want to open my heart to her listening to the heart of God. May we all have the courage to welcome the wise women in our lives, the moms who have given us so much and want to urge us all on to serving others.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


After Jesus was baptized, he was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." But he answered, "It is written,'One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, 'He will command his angels concerning you,' and 'On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.'" Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'" Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! for it is written, 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.'" Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him. Matthew 4:1-11

We are human, made in the image of the divine, and yet, seduced by the devil far too often. We lust for things we cannot have. We are too curious for our own good. We push buttons we are warned not to. Even worse, we give into the temptation to judge others and act like God. Those who have hurt us we want to punish. We want to test God's love for us by putting ourselves in harm's way and thinking we are indestructible. And through it all, God love for us is beyond measure and forgiveness and freedom wait at every turn.

We begin Lent every year by hearing the story of Jesus' temptation in the wilderness. Starving and thirsty after a long spiritual quest, the incarnation of evil comes to him and tempts him. Jesus resists. The story is told to us so that we know Jesus is truly human and truly divine - he faces temptation and over comes them all. We humans face temptation and over come some - never all as we are truly human loved by the divine.

Today, I ask God to help me live beyond temptation and to know I am completely human and completely dependent on God's love for me. It is only through Christ's love and sacrifice that I can live as a servant of God. God help us all to be more aware of our humanity and our dependence, so that we seek not to be divine and to judge, but to lean completely on the divine heart of God.

Friday, March 11, 2011


“Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter). John 1:36-42

I took a long walk the other night, in the rain, to clear my head among other things. Sometimes walking at night helps me to think and to pray. Not many people walking, if any, and few cars driving by. The shadows are deep and there is space to think and dream. I thought I wasn't following any path, I though I was just going where my feet led me. But then I realized I was following a walk I had taken many times as a child, a walk to the school yard, a walk to turn and face the past so as to face the future. Sometimes following God for me is a clear path and a clear call. And some days, it is walking, following until I am aware of where God is inviting me to go. It is often also a call to enter into the storm of life, trusting that the path will lead me to a deeper relationship with God. Stepping out is the important part of following in order to see and have insight.

The disciples encountered Jesus and they were confused. John had made some statements and they wanted to understand what was going on. Jesus asked them what they were seeking and they answered by asking Jesus where he was staying. They didn't really know what they were seeking, really. They just knew they were being spiritually yanked and overwhelmed by the wrenching change within, they asked to know where Jesus put his head. They wanted some direction, any direction at all. They wanted to follow on a path, even though they could not understand why. They needed to step out and follow in order to understand.

Today I ask God to give me the strength to take the first steps on this new journey of deeper relationship and faith. I pray for courage and patience as I follow a new road. I know from experience that God always make clear in time the way ahead. I ask that I can concentrate on the small steps of today so that my journey might be always towards the heart of God.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Be Still

Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers!
For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb.
Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.
God will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.
In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. Psalm 37:1-10

Be Still

Let the rain cover your tears
walk in the night hiding in shadow
slip through the hands of your pursuer
let the water run.

These are dark days the sky repenting
the groaning globe turning and changing
seasons and perspectives all of it
hurts in the process.

They are jealous tasting your flesh
as sating for their shame they writhe
in their anxiety and torture you
at the silent stake of abandonment and disdain
wanting you all the more.

Do not seek them for their bodies crawl
with vermin and contagion and
disease infects their hearts
mothers them to a frenzy of doom
God knows their illness to death.

Take shelter here and hide
for a season is passing a move afoot
a change for the better
the world turning towards the sun.

Be still and know
you are hidden buried in the dark
recesses of the heart of God.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ashes, Ashes, We all Fall Down

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14

Much can be said when it comes to Ash Wednesday but little is really appropriate in my mind save confessing that we are rarely as humble and contrite as our honest human predicament demands. Most of us do our best and yet feel inadequate some or all of the time, and yet we are quick to judge our neighbor and love all the shows that display people as they are falling apart. We watch with fascination as Charlie Sheen falls apart in front of our eyes. And yet, each of us know that we too live with illusions of grandeur, we trick ourselves into thinking we are "all that". We turn other people's tragedies into our taunts and too often, teach our children to do likewise - ring around rosy came from people dying of the plague.

Jesus points out our very human condition. Accepting the truth of what he says is the beginning of Lent, the beginning of the way of a pilgrim, walking the road to Jerusalem. We are all captivated by our own self-importance. We are invited to seek our insignificance and our humility, for they are what draw us to God. Our vanity keeps us away, our need invites us near.

So today, I offer my need and my heart to God, wiping the true grit and dirt of my life on my face so that honesty and truth may reign. This Ash Wednesday, on this new pilgrimage, I ask God to give me the strength to turn and face all of the scars of my own humnaity, all of the hurts I have inflicted and all of the way I have closed my heart off to God and to love. May this be a season for us all, where we grow into the full humanity of Christ as we seek to walk the pilgrim's road with him.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fat Tuesday

Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. Hebrews 2:1-4

Today we celebrate Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, the day of seemingly reckless abandon before Lent begins. Church basements everywhere will be filled tonight with people stuffing themselves with pancakes and sausage. The young and young of heart flood the streets in New Orleans, Rio and across the world to participate in the climax of carnival season, the end of Epiphany, the cusp of the time of penitence. The bawdy and gross, the silly and the scary are all a part of the experience. Very few have any notion of the real need for this day or for the season of Lent. The time is coming, and indeed is upon us, when we need to pay close attention to what we have heard. To be beings that not only consume and gorge but which can sacrifice and open our hearts to others because of what God has done for us. Today we celebrate. Tomorrow we repent.

The letter to the Hebrews reminds us how easy it is to stray and fall off the wagon, and how common it is for us to take God's love for granted. When things are full and fat, when times are abundant and healthy, we slap ourselves on the back for our accomplishments. When fortunes reverse, and they always do, we need someone to blame and it's usually God, or one of God's emissaries. God has richly blessed us all, and given us great gifts and miracles in our lives and yet we often neglect to be thankful and grateful for the abundance we have received.

Today, I ask God to help me be completely grateful. May the richness I seek today be an abundance of thanksgiving - a huge pile of gratitude for the love and blessings I have in my life. May I examine my heart today, and know such deep gratitude for my family and friends, that my day might be rich in joy and grace. May we all count the richness we have and thank the author of all and the Creator of love and life this day.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Grace upon Grace

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known. John 1:14-18

After a long day and a half of rain, the sun has finally shone itself and the sky is crystal blue. The early morning light filters through winter draped windows urging all of us to see the light that is breaking forth. Sometimes there are dark days. Sometimes there are hard and cruel hearts, people who chose to hurt others rather than to seek their own healing. But with the dawning of this day, we can all remember that we are given grace upon grace, no matter how high the water rises or how complicated and frustrating the times.

John writes to tell the same story in a different way. John has a different way of thinking and being, a mystic and a poet. His writing tells of dreams and visions, of images and poetry that draws us to the heart of God. From a distance of age and years, the writer tells us of the emerging Christ, the one who actively came into the world and took on our flesh and our lives so that we might know God intimately, as children know a loving parent. We are invited by John to see ourselves as emerging from our past to the present truth of God with us, within us and around us.

Today, I ask that God help me to know grace upon grace, even in the midst of radical change and tremendous obstacle. May my focus not be on the tasks ahead but on the relationships that re given - grace upon grace, not upon my own struggles but what lies ahead - the emergent, renewed life. May we all seek grace upon grace today as we offer these times to God emergence in our lives, bringing healing and grace to all.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Up on the Ridge

Six days after Peter had acknowledged Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, "This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!" When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Get up and do not be afraid." And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, "Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead." Matthew 17:1-9

Years ago, we lived in Colorado at the base of the Rocky Mountains. Often we would go for a drive up into the mountains, sometimes with no destination in mind. We would stop and go for a short walk or a hike and talk about life and show our oldest daughter the beauty of the mountains and the trees. From a high ridge, looking out over vast endless miles, one cannot help but be in awe of Creation. What amazing things God has done. The air is thin with each ensuing rise and sometimes the lack of oxygen and pressure can do strange things. Elevated, stunning beauty can bring new insight and great vistas as well as extraordinary challenges. We often were caught as the sun was setting, trying to get back to our ride, while the warm temperatures fled like spooked horses.

Jesus is preparing the disciples for his last journey to Jerusalem, to face the real threats and political intrigue that have plagued his ministry. God's son, with all of the gifts of spirit and love was pestered troubled and worn down at times by enemies and his followers alike. Faithfully serving God is never a cake walk - it is more like a perpendicular climb. And so he took a small group of disciples up the mountain with him as he restored his heart and mind for the coming days. The pillars of the faith Moses and Elijah- appear before them, talking with Jesus as a family member. They are too stunned to talk, to afraid to act, to worried that they all were loony in the thin air to do anything. And they said nothing about this to the others for a long time afterwords. It is terribly hard when God puts expectations on your life, clearly and visibly. It is harder still to explain the visions and transformation that can happen up on the ridge. And it takes time to know how to live in the aftermath.

Today, this rainy, dreary, early March Sunday is a time for reflection on the visions from the ridge. Sometimes we all need to remember God's call in our lives and we need time and space to know how to live into that call. We need some familial conversation and some prayer to walk the next road. So I ask God to give us all the time and the inclination to reflect on God's call and love in our lives and to help each of us find the path ahead, where ever God should lead us.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Building on the Rock

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”Matthew 6:24-27

We are in the process of packing this house up so that we can move ourselves and our personal belonging to live by the ocean and to be with my Mom. We are a block from the ocean and the world is covered with sand. Every time I walk by the ocean I am reminded how fragile the sand is, how it shifts and flies with each tide, and how the whole of life can be shattered by winds, floods and storms. The old house we will share has been moved several times to protect it from destruction. I have lived through many hurricanes there and listened with my head buried in pillows as the storm howled like a freight train through the night. The next morning, after the worst was over, you could wander hip deep in water, as bits of other people's lives floated by in the streets. We will live in a fragile environment that deserves respect and care.

Jesus is teaching his disciples and reminds them of the true consequences of being shallow, selfish and disrespectful. So many people, with a little bit of money, think they are better than others and know it all. They build on the sand so they can own what they think paradise. Too often their lives are folly, there is no ground under them and the slightest storm destroys everything. Building on God's love is the only secure and permanent ground for us. The rock is not sleek nor seductive or supple like warm sand. It is sometimes almost foreboding to gaze upon. And yet real love and the source of that love in God is solid ground and permanence that is unmoving despite all the changes and pilgrimages of life.

Today I ask God to make me grateful for this life on this day. I ask to be embedded in the rock, not seeking glamor or fame but permanence and rooted in love. May my heart and mind be so fixed on loving God and others that the temporary bumps we face may seem only like a summer rain. May we all be grateful for the unshakable, unmovable love of God which is our strength and stay through every storm of life.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pearls before Pigs

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you." Matthew 7:1-6

Pearls and Pigs

We cannot dance on this ground anymore
it was never sacred but now washed
in the blood of innocents, bathed in jealousy
rage and tyranny, we run to shelters change
identity and slip across continents and borders
as refugees.

The terror of judgment scapegoats
innocents civilians living and loving children
running in the sun shaking from blasts
screaming crying we are moving frantic
with worry avoiding the giant teeth of loathing
grinding with desire and rage seeking
our precious pearls of love and compassion.

Hide away you little flowers you gentle wisps
of hope and fragile dreams these are not the ones
bearing freedom but aching for blood and visage
unsatisfied with tender morsels brooding
to conquer, to own, to digest.

You are holy, marked by the beloved lips sealed
with water and bright spirit tender
to the heart of God.

Fear not and move quickly loving
sheltering arms will enfold you will quiet
your heart and give you to sleep.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Lilies of the Field

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?" Matthew 6:24-30

The sun is shining and much of the snow has melted. The air is not very warm and yet the daffodils have pushed their anxious heads through the hard earth anticipating spring bringing color to the world. Even with everything brown and gray they insist on being seen, insist on bringing color and promise to early March, insist on reminding us of the greatness of the Creator. Life, which seemed dead or suspended, was resting only, getting ready to bloom again. And these daffodils, the precursors to summer's lilies, trumpet in their small but mighty way of love that is and is coming again.

Jesus tells his disciples and those who will listen that we cannot serve God and money. If money defines us and bind us, we are his. And if we let God define us then we are God's. If we are willing to embrace the signs of life and potential, even in the darkest days, then we are God's, especially when we know in our hearts that God's love is unquenchable and we are precious in God's sight. Too often, when spills and shortfalls happen, we blame God or scapegoat an easy target, rather than seeing the growth and transformation, the new life, being offered.

Today, I want, with each breath I take, to know myself as belonging to God. I ask God to release me from worry and to help me put all my energy into trust and praise. The sun is shining and God is blessings us even we refuse to or cannot see the blessing. May we all work to be God's today, so that the world might know the incarnate love, the indwelling presence of Christ who sets us free.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!" Matthew 6:19-22

Today, March 1st we start packing in earnest for our move at the end of the month. What we cannot give to our children for their homes or get rid of we will put in storage until we have a more permanent situation. My mother's house is full to the rafters (literally) with furniture in all sorts of repair and disrepair. As I look over and sort things to box up and give away, I realized how unimportant most of these things are. My family is healthy and despite the changes we face there is love in abundance and laughter still breaks through. The love of God and of my family is my treasure. The rest is just stuff.

Jesus instructs us to lay up treasures in heaven. Compassion, forgiveness, tenderness and justice,and love are both the gifts of heaven and the activity that makes us rich in heavenly treasures. During times of transitions likes these it is easy to focus on earthly treasures and to be miserly with the true treasures. We are human and the pressure of transition and change gets to us all. But we are invited to remember our real treasures today and to know that God is walking with us and guiding us each step of the way.

Today, I ask God to give me eyes to see the treasures around me, the pateince to do the tasks ahead of me and the peace to know that this transition is in God's hands completely. May we all store up treasures in heaven by loving and forgiving in challenging times.