Thursday, February 28, 2013

Life Giver

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 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 5:19-29

Life Giver

The sun pushes up through the sky
and I rise slowly and begin to walk
facing an new day a new breath of life
you have released me back to the wilds.

Another day to be trouble or kindness
a new horizon to wander off or make home
a new occasion for celebration or sin
another moment to know your loving presence.

Breath after life giving breath I draw
into my lungs and moving my heart
you instill me with courage in the dark places
and help me bend and stretch with the day.

Open my eyes that seeing I may be moved
to forgiveness and compassion to tenderness
faithfulness and good humor despite my fears
set me free from them to serve the world.

Life giver this is my morning prayer
my morning hymn of hope and desire
let my life be an offering to your love
and let my day be a light to the wanderers.

Life giver pain bearer friend forever
help me to rise up for justice and honor
to lend my hands for the vulnerable and bleak
let me live today as a song of freedom.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Gettng In the Pool

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.
Now that day was the Sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.” But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’” They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working." John 5:1-17

Lots of people have trouble getting in the pool. Recently I began swimming again, an exercise I love and which is good for my back and my body. But finding the time to get there and then matching it up with their schedule can be a challenge. Time, work and people get in the way. All of us know our excuses too well when it comes to the healing and exercise we need.

Jesus finds a man waiting by the pool, never able to get in. He has no one to help him and life has dealt him some huge challenges. He needs help to get in and the crowd is anxious for their own and very selfish. Jesus offers him healing and tells him to take up his bed and walk. The religious authority is there and angry because the man was healed on the Sabbath, as of God is against our health and healing on the sabbath. God aches for us even on the sabbath day and is willing to heal us whenever we are ready to receive what we need. God is active, even when we perceive nothing and God is not bound by our earthy parameters and rules.

Today, I ask God to heal me and help me to get up and do the things necessary for today. Everyday presents challenges and limitations but may we bravely ask for what we need, knowing that God is working for us around the clock, not bound by our limitations or our fears. May we be ready in every moment to receive the help and healing we need from God today.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


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 tragedy and isolation
bend our heads down we see
only the ground moving slowly
under our dragging feet.

Sometimes the fever and shaking
the silence and the nightmares
are our only terrifying companions
and we pray for sweet release.

Sometimes we are burdened with grief
folks walk away for lack of words
we have been shunned for loving
we are marked as stranger at home.

Sometimes the fashions of the world
are whimsical and frivolous most often
they are cruel and selfish leaving
the needy and broken in the cold.

Sometimes the wind rises up
pushing the damp diseased climate
out of our houses and our lungs
letting us breathe again,

God is always working to clear
the debris and the bindings
to release us from prison
and to make our live anew.

God is always rising up against
the cruelty of the world
gathering the children and the vulnerable
to the warmth of the Creator's arms.

God is acting when we are sleeping
when we are crying in our beds
when we are bent in sorrow and shame
God is moving for us with love.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sowing and Reaping

Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” They went out of the town and were coming to him.
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.”
Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” John 4:27-42

Something happens late in the winter, late in February. I get very itchy to think about planting, looking at seed catalogs and websites. In this new place, it is hard to know what can be planted and what will grow. The summer does not get very warm, and although we have long hours of sun during the summer, we have even more cloud cover. The itch is there, no matter where I am, to get my hands dirty in the earth, to turn over the garden and tend the little seeds that get planted.

Jesus was talking with his disciples who were very confused. They had come across him in conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well. They didn't know how to talk to him about that so they talked to him about food and eating. And in response Jesus talked to them about planting, sowing and the harvest. He wanted them to understand that we all have a part to play in God's garden of healing, but that we are not the only ones, and the garden is on-going and eternal. We can only do what we have been given to do. Some of us will reap what others sowed, some will plant and tend, and yet others will watch and pray while the severe winter sets in. God is the ultimate gardener and invites us to see the big picture of our reliance on one another and our complete need of God.

Today, I ask God to help me simply do my part, and to discern which role that is in every moment. May we all be participants in the Creator's garden, willing to labor for love to grow. May we rejoice at being temporary hires, migrant and itinerant workers, knowing that we labor in an eternal garden, fed by love, healing and forgiveness.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Gathering a Brood

Some Pharisees came and said to Jesus, "Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you." He said to them, "Go and tell that fox for me, 'Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.' Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, 'Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.'" Luke 13:31-35

When I was in high school I had to be in a full length leg cast. My Mom got me overalls to wear so I could be comfortable. The school superintendent took exception to my clothing and called me into his office. He didn't think I was dressed appropriately. He called my mother in who took him to task and made him write a note of apology. What he saw as disrespectful was anything but and my mother took him on. We do that for those we love, we rise to the occasion and will stand between those we love and those who are trying to do them harm.

Jesus aches for love of Jerusalem, the holiest of cities, always in turmoil. He aches to gather and protect them all. He aches to gather and protect us all. God loves us so much that, despite our in-fighting and crankiness, our stubborn and rigid behavior, Christ is willing to stand between all threats and us. Christ desires our healing and transformation not our punishment.

Today I ask God to help me accept the love God has for me in its fullness. May I never be ashamed to call upon the Lord and may I always be ready to be sheltered and hidden from the turmoil. May we be people who know the true source of love in Christ and run to the shelter of God's loving embrace.

The Collect

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.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Drawing at the Well

Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.
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 4:1-26

Today marks the one year anniversary of my back surgery. A long procedure (actually seven different procedures) has been followed by a long period of healing and rehabilitation. I am so much better than I was but still have a ways to go for the healing to be complete. The strength I drew to get me through came from a deep well of faith, mostly from the people around me, who walked with me until I could stand on my own. I have to draw strength from deep down, to face each day honestly, and trust that God was walking with me, despite an uphill road. I was not judged by loved, offered all that I needed to be restored and healed. For that, I will be ever grateful.

Jesus encounters a woman at the well. She is astounded by his insight, his conversation and his acceptance of her. She comes to the well to draw water and in doing so, finds new life. A routine task becomes a transforming encounter. God finds her right where she is, in the midst of her daily routine, and changes her life forever. And through her, we too are changed and healed. She was unafraid to reach out to Jesus, willing to cross the line for healing and forgiveness. She was willing to share the love and forgiveness that she received for the transforming of the world. We are invited to go to the well this Lent, seeking God in our daily lives, and drawing deep of love, forgiveness and healing.

Today, I ask God to help me go to the well. In the midst of our daily tasks and troubles, may we seek God in the ordinary. May we draw in the healing and love we are offer. May we be honest with ourselves so that our healing can take hold. And may we boldly share the love and forgiveness we have received with a world so in need of that love.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Draw Near

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

Draw Near A Song for Lenten Fridays

I know you are weary
spent from the trauma
poured out and weak
so tired and terrified
draw near to the throne of grace.

Draw near to the throne of grace
and we will find mercy
help in our time of need
and loving strength for today.

There is no quick solution
we are in this long haul
our brokenness is before us
visible to all the pain
is not what we deserved.

Faithful and yet deeply wounded
a people who seem failing
God does not abandon you
there is yet more life to come.

Draw near to the throne of grace
and we will find mercy
help in our time of need
and loving strength for today.

Sorrowing parents, broken children
amidst families torn asunder
wracked by loss and isolation
love is binding you back together.

Draw near to the throne of grace
and we will find mercy
help in our time of need
and loving strength for today.

He who suffered for us all
walks our roads of loss and pain
carrying the load with us
bringing the healing as well.

Draw near to the throne of grace
and we will find mercy
help in our time of need
and loving strength for today.

God was bent and broken
shamed and defiled upon a cross
bleeding and dying for us all
we are invited to seek God now.

Draw near to the throne of grace
and we will find mercy
help in our time of need
and loving strength for today.

Draw near to the throne of grace
and we will find mercy
help in our time of need
and loving strength for today.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Joy Complete

The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.”
He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:29-36

I write this as I pack my bag for the last leg back home. There is something wonderful about returning after a good event. One is well worn out but full of joy for the experience. And looking forward to being greeted at the airport and falling into comfy clothes and tender surroundings. We humans are best when we feel we belong and are home, when we feel accepted right where we are and as we are. No need to prove anything or put on airs.

Our Gospel repeats the words of John, who knows well his relationship to Jesus. They are not in competition but known by God. They know they have a calling and a place. He is comfortable with his role in God's love story, thrilled to be able to play his part. He is comfortable with himself, knows he is accepted by God in his uniqueness. His security in that makes him free to love, free to be filled with God's spirit and presence. We are encouraged to see ourselves as loved by God exactly as we are. We too re participants in God's love story with the world.

Today, may we live as people who are loved by God. May we not spend one ounce of energy trying to prove our merit, but instead, raise our voices in thanksgiving for God's constant love. May we find complete joy right where we are today, knowing that God wants us as part of the on-going story of love for the world. May we happily do our part today.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


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.”
Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And 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. John 3:1-15

We are just returning from Wintertalk, three days with Native leaders from across the church. Old friends and new friends, relatives all gathered together to share ministry and support one another. Somehow we found common ground in such diversity and complexity. Although we all have challenges that are big, we found ways to share and the load seemed lighter. By the time we were done, many felt renewed, reborn in a way by God's spirit. Gathered together in love and respect, God made us all new so that we could return home and serve. God made room in our hearts again for love.

Nicodemus wants desperately to understand how to be a follower of Jesus. He wants to get it right. Jesus tells him it is only by God's spirit changing him, remaking and renewing him that he can be saved. Nicodemus and all of us have to let go of control so that God can remake us and renew us. We often wait so long and struggle until we feel defeated. And in our defeat we let go and give it up to God, who can and will do something with us - bring us new life. God is more ready to heal and restore us than we are to let go.

Today, I ask God to help me let go to the worries and challenges of the day. May we be ever ready to give over all our troubles to God, who needs room within us to remake us. May we be pliable clay, flexible learners, and willing vessels. My we open the dark closed places to God so that God might heal and restore it all. And in so doing, we will be reborn the living children of a loving God.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Protecting the Sacred

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

Waking in the dark I hear their song
we have come from this sacred earth
it is a part of our people our beings
each mountain and valley is holy
and the Creator walks among these hills.

Still and silent like a frightened child
watching the ancients circle in the dance
there voices like moving waters
move my heart to tears of joy.

We are never alone in our isolation
the rocks and trees will sing for us
we are never broken but the wind and wings
will find a way to bind our bodies until whole.

We merchandise and destroy
cheapen and sell off
the earth sighs for our folly
and waits through our selfish rants.

We cover the pain with noise and hurry
we forget the silent watchers who pray
despite our anger and greed in the day
at night we are vulnerable and needy.

They sing the sacred song of holy temples
God house this our earth our home.

Monday, February 18, 2013


Jesus said, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete." John 15:1-11

I arrived in Oklahoma yesterday after long days of travel. We are gathering for Wintertalk, and it is a joy to see new and old friends alike. We are all relatives, no matter the tribe or the location we live. We are gathered to encourage one another and to learn together as we strengthen our ministries. I have been coming here for many years and much has changed. It is encouraging to see so many willing to serve God despite the challenges we face. We learn from one another and lean on each other.

Jesus uses the illustration of vine and vinedresser to help us understand our relationship to God and one another. We are interwoven and interdependent. We are all being reshaped and renewed as we offer what we have. God is tenderly encouraging growth and helping us to thrive and bear fruit. We are all tended daily, moment by moment, by a loving and caring creator, who stands with us through sunshine and storms.

Today, as we begin together, I ask God to help us all be tightly bound together, relying on one another for insight and strength. May we not fear the pruning and welcome the reshaping and renewal that God has for us. May we draw closer together trusting God to use the gifts we have for the strengthening of all.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

In the Wilderness

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread." Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'One does not live by bread alone.'"

Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, "To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours." Jesus answered him, "It is written,

'Worship the Lord your God,
and serve only him.'"

Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written,

'He will command his angels concerning you,
to protect you,' and

'On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.'"

Jesus answered him, "It is said, 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'" When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time. Luke 4:1-13

In The Wilderness

We can be tested to the breaking
on frozen rivers and city streets
in the depth of frozen winter nights
and in the deep warm of tropical waters.

Each has a wilderness a deep dark side
where our aches and mistakes swirl
the bitter taste of failure on our lips
sobbing like small children asking for release.

He became like us with throbbing needs
unfulfilled desires wanting tenderness
knowing the taste of jealousy and rage
humanity raw and uncontrolled.

He stood in our shoes and fought
for us and for all who follow
standing against the laughing evil
the selfish profane ugly greed.

Gentleness and forgiveness substituted
the weapons of love wielded against hate
compassion excising the world of lavish waste
and God making even the frozen cliff safe.

We each stand alone in our temptation
we think no one can survive what we face
we are held from the precipice by warm arms
and carried through the deep on the wings of love.

The Collect

Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan: Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Under the Tree

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” John 1:43-51

When I was a kid, I loved to lie in the grass and watch the clouds go by. Every cloud shape would tell a story. When it was too hot to do that, I like to lie down under a tree and watch the light dance through the branches and the leaves. I listened to the stories they told, a singing with the soft breeze and looked beyond to the sky and wondered about those stories. If I couldn't be in water in the heat of the summer then I was in the shade of a smart tree that had much to share. And from there I could observe the rest of the world.

Jesus continued to call his disciples and has an interesting encounter with Nathanael. Nathanael is an observer, a watcher, one who takes everything with a grain of salt. He was sitting in the shade of a fig tree, enjoying his own musings when Jesus saw him. He questioned everything and was not sold when his friend tried to convince him of the importance of Jesus. He had to see and hear for himself. Some of us are immediately won and others, like Nathanael, need to see and be known. God wants us all, even those of us who question everything, ponder and waver, struggle with doubt and confusion. God wants us enough to find us before we are willing to be found.

Today as I set sail on another journey, I ask God to help me be open in body, mind and spirit. May we live today with the honesty of Nathanael and the enthusiasm of Philip. May we be willing to voice our doubts and confusions, trusting that God will clear a path for us. And may we remember that God desires all of us, and is willing to seek us out at all times, even when we are not sure we want to be found, even when we are hiding or ashamed. God's love is not bound by our doubts and God is constant and sure even when we are not.

Friday, February 15, 2013


The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “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, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).
John 1:35-42


Some days I don't know
how to follow
what to write
or how to go forward.

Some days there is a testing
in me, a wanting to see
a need to touch to know
I am not alone.

Some days begin
without enthusiasm
and fear bubbles up drowning
faith's regular breath.

Some days I walk alone
there are no other shadows
no lights on the path
no voices in the dark.

Some days we lose our way
step out of line
ache for comfort and affluence
rather than the barely enough for today.

Some days it is hard to follow
we just want a solid home
a place of comfort and support
our familiar faces and things.

Some days it is hard to follow
the one who took on the cross
the one who took on evil
and died for the sake of love.

Some days Jesus lost his temper
asked for the cup to be taken
was as fearful as the rest
and needed comfort in the dark.

Some days we seem to suffer
alone and afraid we whimper in prayer
we are never alone and always lead
held tenderly by a strong hand.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13

Valentine's Day for Mark

We have grown old
together since our youth
babies came and now grown
we laughed and played
like children with
our children.

We have loved beyond
illness and pain
loss and moving
all the changes changed us
for the better.

We can laugh and cry
together holding tight
we color with the newest one
who reflects the love
begun so long ago.

We have grown ageless together
willing to dream new dreams
and sail new seas
adventurers on strange seas
we look beyond the landscape
to the deep love we share.

We have rested in the sun
and shivers in the winter
and always there was laughter
and songs upon our lips.

I will go with you where ever
and know the sun will shine
if only through my heart
which is so full of love
my eyes brim with thankful tears
for the years yet to come.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday

Jesus said, "Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

"So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

"And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

"And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:1-6,16-21

I remember clearly where I was on September 11, 2001. I went to a doctor's appointment in Wilmington Delaware and then on to a clergy meeting. I was oblivious to what was happening that morning as I was listening to music from a CD in my car. I walked into the Cathedral and was told what happened. We clergy met and some discussed at length the prayer services they were planning and the other statements that would be made. I finally couldn't contain myself any longer. I jumped up and said, "I need to be with my children, I need to be with my family!" My treasures, which I am most greedy about, are the ones I love, my daughters and my husband. I could no longer converse but needed to see them face to face and make sure they were okay.

Jesus instructed his disciples on the basics of being a faithful Christian. Those who are faithful in order to get attention, status or wealth are not numbered among the faithful. God expects us to seek a relationship with God not the adoration of people. God loves us and gives us families, friends and communities in which to live. We are blessed with an abundance of love. Our task is to live humbly and gratefully, always putting others first, always serving since the love we have is the gift of God and the sign of God's presence with us.

Today, as we begin the journey of Lent, I ask God to help me be humble and grateful throughout the day. May my every word and action lift others up. May we be the source of renewal for others. May we love genuinely and serve with great joy, for in doing so, God's love is made visible and tangible in the world.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Shrove Tuesday

And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
(Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing. John 1:19-28

Today, Episcopal churches all over will hold pancakes suppers. The tradition started long ago, when folks rid their pantries of fat, celebrating the last day of the Epiphany season before Lent began. Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras, is celebrated by people all over the world. In England, it is commonly referred to as Pancake Day. I am truly fascinated with the many ways people celebrate today.

On Pancake Day, "pancake races" are held in villages and towns across the United Kingdom. The tradition is said to have originated when a housewife from Olney was so busy making pancakes that she forgot the time until she heard the church bells ringing for the service. She raced out of the house to church while still carrying her frying pan and pancake. The pancake race remains a relatively common festive tradition in the UK, especially England, even today. Participants with frying pans race through the streets tossing pancakes into the air and catching them in the pan whilst running. The most famous pancake race,at Olney in Buckinghamshire, has been held since 1445. The contestants, traditionally women, carry a frying pan and race to over a 415 yard course to the finishing line. The rules are strict: contestants have to toss their pancake at both the start and the finish, as well as wear an apron and a scarf. Traditionally, when men want to participate, they must dress up as a housewife (usually an apron and a bandanna). The race is followed by a church service. Whatever you chose to do today, remember it is a day of preparation, a day to get ready for a change of season and a change of hearts.

John was being questioned about his ministry and his methods. He was clear as to who he was and what he was doing. He was the one preparing the way for the coming of Christ. He was the one helping people turn from their greed and self=deception and open their hearts to the love of God. Christ's ministry was about begin and John was making the way open by encouraging folks to rid themselves of the excesses that insulated them from true love and true healing. John was the one who prepared them all for the Savior of the world. God invites us today to prepare for the change of seasons and the passion of Christ as we welcome the season of Lent. Before we can begin we are invited to divest ourselves of the excesses have bound us in the past days and to turn again to God.

Today, I ask God to help me celebrate Shrove Tuesday, this day of the turning of the seasons, by letting go of those things which keep me from the love of God. May we all celebrate Shrove Tuesday by examining the hidden shelves of our lives and being ready to let go and make room for God. May we let go, knowing what God has for us is ever greater than what we can amass and hoard.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The True Light

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
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.’”) For 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 1:1-18

We are resting in Seattle between flights back to Sitka. Our daughter Emily bravely drove us to the airport before the sun was inching up. We said our tearful goodbyes and began the long road home. It is hard to leave our family behind on the East Coast as we fly back to Alaska. It is hard to be separated by miles when we are so bound together in love. As the sun came up and we climbed into the clouds, I was thankful for the sunshine and the light. And for love that spans time and miles.

The beginning of John's gospel is different tan all the others. Although we find out in the others who Jesus was related to, we find out at the beginning of John the nature of his relationship to God. He is the one who is God's light and carried it into the world. He is the heart of God, the word made flesh and carried God's love into the world. Across time and space, we find out that he is the one who binds us all together in relation to God, and we are wrapped in the light of God, that love which is fearless and ferocious, constant and without limits.

Today, as we travel, may we remember how loved and blessed we are, and give thanks for the light and love we are wrapped in this day. May we find ways to cherish everyone we love, appreciating all the wonderful gifts they bring to the world. And may we trust Christ to bring us ever closer to God's love, that ferocious and constant light which surrounds us all.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


About eight days after Peter had acknowledged Jesus as the Christ of God, Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah"--not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!" When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen. Luke 9:28-36

We are in the last days of our journey. Our flight home to Sitka leaves early Monday morning. As the sun shines on the new snow and the world looks clean and bright, I am reminded how we all need hope and signs for the journeys ahead. A quiet Sunday morning, flooded with light reflecting off the snow, promises a way ahead, a good journey and clear vision. I will hold the faces of my family in my mind as we travel and take all the laughter and good moments we have had with me on our journey. Love will sustain me as we go.

The disciples witnessed a moment when Jesus was in his full glory, surrounded by Moses and Elijah. They watched as the three conversed in a radiant moment, and the disciples had a clear vision of Jesus. It would hold them on the road and carry them through all they would face in Jerusalem. They understood in a new way the timeless relationship of God to Christ, and would hold the images in their hearts and minds forever. The road ahead was the road to the cross. God's vision and God's love would sustain them as they went forward.

Today, I ask God to help me hold on to love. May the radiance of God's love shine in each of us, so that we can face the road ahead with joy. May we not be afraid of what is to come, and may we hold dear the visions God has given each of us. May our steps be guided by love alone.

The Collect

O God, who before the passion of your only­begotten Son revealed his glory upon the holy mountain: Grant to us that we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Help My Unbelief

And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” Mark 9:14-29

Help My Unbelief

Stranded and waiting
the weather to change
roads to open again
a way forward from this
stuck place.

Passing time conversing
total strangers at breakfast
colliding visions
far from home
making a new way forward.

Voices raised
celebrating welcome
a waiting room
hoping for the cure
praying for release
seeking some way home.

When caught between
today and tomorrow
amidst prayers and keening
dark clouds lift
and the snow gently fades.

Faith is walking until
the road is visible
beneath us one single step
one set of footprints
the horizon clearing
the directions sure.

Faith is hanging on
until the stranger reaches out
until the neighbor smiles
until the healing become
real and folded into life.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Things Change

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only. Mark 9:2-8

We were expecting to leave for home out of Newark tomorrow morning. When we arrived back in New York we found out things had changed. A big snow storm is coming and flights are being cancelled as well as some road closures expected. We will now have to hunker down for a few more days and wait the storm out until we can fly again. In life, circumstances change in a blink of an eye. We gain a radically new perspective because of where we are. We find out what is most important when we are faced with radical and unforeseen change. God breaks into our firm plans and rigid way of thinking and surprises us with new vision.

The disciples think they are following Jesus to a remote place to pray. This is something they do on a regular basis with him. A small group, in this case, Peter, James and John accompany him. They are accustomed to this, they aren't expecting anything different. Instead they have a glimpse of their rabbi in his full glory, radiant and shining, surrounded by the fathers of the faith. Jesus changes for a moment but this vision changes them forever. God offers them a new vision, and they move forward on the road with a radically new perspective that they could never have planned for or made happen. God offers all of us, from time to time, new visions of the love that surrounds us. God offers us, often in our weakest moments, new insights and strength for the road ahead.

Today, I ask God for patience when thing change unexpectedly, and the courage to seek new vision in the process. May we be people who do not fear the storms and the sudden changes but rather know these times to be an invitation from God. May we wait out the storms and the dark times in isolated places knowing that God is moving in spectacular ways to fortify us for the journey ahead.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Who Am I?

And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him. Mark 8:27-30

Who Am I?

On the long winter road
a journey of discovery
finding power and family
seeking a way to find God
within the very human.

We walk and the dust flies
we sing as we struggle along
the road ahead winds away
the darkness shrouds tomorrow
and we cling together for comfort.

Along the way we touch a chord
deep within each of us we know
we are made of heaven and earth
dust and water spirit and fire
God moving along with us
finding us a way home.

Some people have turned away
some have shunned and jeered
others have tried to kill
the holy and the love they see
we are targets the worst of our kind.

We carry the God songs
light the torches of Creator's spirit
shout despite the fear and hate
because love has found us
love has made us family now.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Seeing Clearly

And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.” Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. And he sent him to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village.” Mark 8:22-26

It is often hard to see things clearly. This trip has made some things clear that were only partly understood. Seeing people face to face is much different than hearing them over the phone or emailing back and forth. Seeing clearly requires a full presence understanding, a face to face encounter and being able to touch one another. I knew our grand daughter had grown, but seeing her face to face, watching her run and talk, I now understand who she is a good bit better.

Jesus healed a man who was blind. It was a process and a conversation up close. The man wanted to see but to be healed he needed to see clearly. Other from the village were the ones who brought the man to Jesus, but Jesus tells the healed man not to return to the village. We don't know why because we were not there. But the man's healing was not just in sight but in the fullness of his person, he was saved from whatever misunderstanding and hurt that might happen in the village. God provides us all with healing. God also sees us clearly and invites us to do likewise, choosing to stay away from the places that hurt body and soul.

Today, I ask God to help me see clearly, to draw near and understand the tremendous blessings in my life. May we always move toward love and healing and away from those places that would tear us down and make us blind again. May we be grateful for the people in our lives who help us see clearly. And may God continue to heal and strengthen us so we might reach out to those who do not have a way to see the love that surrounds them.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Desolate Place

In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him and said to them, “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.” And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?” And he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them. And they ate and were satisfied. And they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. And there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha. Mark 8:1-10

I was not able to write my blog yesterday since we had no internet available at my Mom's house. Being home for a few short days was sweet, and she is well despite her years. This time of year our town is empty, with even the year-round residents visiting warmer climes. One can walk in the street without seeing others and can drive around without seeing another driver some times. We walked up onto the beach this morning to smell the salt air, to listen to the roar of the surf and to get some sand in our shoes before our journey continued. It is a desolate place this time of year, but full of the wonder of God's beauty and the sweet memories of family and friends.

Jesus was with a crowd of people who were hungry and needy. They stayed with him to listen and be made whole again, but it was a challenging journey, a challenging place and they were in need of food for the journey home. There was nothing available where they were except a few loaves. A blessing and sharing became food enough for all. I do not pretend to know how the miracle happened, all I know is that they went away full and strong for the journey ahead. God promises to find us in our most desolate places, and feed us enough for the journey ahead. How it happens is a mystery but God is with us always even in our hunger and wilderness places.

Today, I ask God to feed us enough for the journey ahead. There are days when the tasks and challenges seem too great, our tanks are on empty, and we are spent. God promises to be with us in these moments, and more than that fill us so that we might go on in joy. So may we ask for our fuel and food, and be ready to rejoice in the miracle of God's great love for us today.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Hometown Bound

In the synagogue at Nazareth, Jesus read from the book of the prophet Isaiah, and began to say, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, "Is not this Joseph's son?" He said to them, "Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, 'Doctor, cure yourself!' And you will say, 'Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.'" And he said, "Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet's hometown. But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian." When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way. Luke 4:21-30

Hometown Bound

The garden state parkway ahead
airports and hotels behind us
the familiar smells and comforts
await despite the years passing
I am going home.

We have grown older and somewhat wiser
the agony of siblings and conflict
set aside to celebrate a milestone
grateful not to be returning in sadness.

Oh yes they do not understand me
I infuriate them at times
as they do me some
but we are bound in love.

Love drapes us all in kindness
when we want to take the upper hand
love shrouds us in patience
when we want to run and hide.

Hometown bound is hard on all
the marks of childhood throb
again the memories rise as ghosts
and we are lost in failures.

Love beckons us to go anyway
love holds our hands as we tremble
this time we want the best
and know it will be hard for everyone.

No prophet is accepted
in the prophet's hometown
but love hides us in the crowd
and saves us from the brink.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Ground Hog Day 2013

Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise. Galatians 3:23-29

We have been traveling for days now. We arrived in New York last evening and were met by Emily at the train station. Leaving Boston, we felt like we were leaving familiar ground and arriving here we felt we had also arrived at home. Tomorrow we will travel on to be with my Mom, and that is truly a home reception feeling. Moving has provided us with a sense of belonging in many places, although it can also instill a sense of loss and wandering. As the train speed along and we gazed on the ocean, I was reminded that we do belong here or wherever we are, because we are children of God. The little groundhog pulled out of his home to face the sun was probably truly put out, but we can enjoy the light wherever we are and in whatever season.

Paul, writing to the Ephesians, was one who by birth, belonged among the chosen people. He knew how people liked to separate us from them and enjoy a sense of superiority over others. Outsiders are often distrusted and shunned, although fascinating and new. We are told that through Christ, we are not outsiders anywhere, in any community or family. We are members of the family and body of Christ. The restrictions once applied no longer hold sway. We are to know ourselves as children of the light, in all seasons and in all places.

Today, I ask God to help me be at home where ever I find myself, and to make home for those who are lost and wandering. May we live our lives not by judgement and criticism but with curiosity and fascination, opening our hearts to the people and places we encounter. May we know that we are never alone and never far from God, where ever we are today.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Crossing the Water

And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened. Mark 6:47-52

Crossing the Water

We must get wet to cross
feel the wind and salt sting
fear the undertow and the current
to make it to the other side.

So many wait and want us
to walk on water but God alone
makes miracles and we just row
into the wind most days.

We are followers of the one
who defied the darkness and storm
who mended broken hearts and lives
and is mending and walking still.

We sink and swim praying hard
to make it to shore once more
to be wrapped in loving arms
and welcomed to the banquet feast.

None survives peril without love
nor clings to life without a glimmer
hope and possibility intertwined
shine like a lighthouse on a dark coast.

We can be beacons but not gods
vessels but not the Creator
songs but not the composer who breathes
life into all our days.

Come sit by the calming water
and listen to the far off voice
God is drawing near, rescuing in love
the weakened terrified ones
who cry out with broken whispers
in the deep blanket of the night.