Saturday, November 30, 2013

Steadfast Love

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity

and passing over transgression

for the remnant of his inheritance?

He does not retain his anger forever,

because he delights in steadfast love.

He will again have compassion on us;

he will tread our iniquities underfoot.

You will cast all our sins

into the depths of the sea.

You will show faithfulness to Jacob

and steadfast love to Abraham,

as you have sworn to our fathers

from the days of old. Micah 7:18-20

The snow is falling steadily here in Sitka. Watching out the big picture window, from the comfort of a chair, I cannot help but think of those ancient ones who called this place home and the challenges they faced in just surviving. The Tlingit people had safe sheltered harbors and plenty of fish and game. God has blessed them with a land of such beauty and abundance. It is also a land of hardship, of rough waters, cold and dark. There is great beauty in being with people of the land who have survived and been blessed for countless generations.

Micah's words resonate for me in this time of year. As the days grow rapidly shorter and Christmas draws near, it is important to remember God's faithfulness, no matter where we find ourselves. Whether nestled in our homelands or in new territories, God is there and faithful. God does not hold onto our mistakes and our faults but casts them into the depth of the sea. Our faults and failures are known and ignored by God, whose desire is to bless us and be with us each step of the way. As we begin this Advent Season, we are invited to remember God's love and faithfulness throughout it all.

Today I ask God to help me claim this steadfast love and compassion. May we delight in the blessings and people that surround us this day, no matter where we find ourselves. May we let go of the burdens of our mistakes and give them over to God. God promises to remake us and delight in us, over and over again.

Friday, November 29, 2013


Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” He said to them, “You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:20-28


The darkness surrounds
the frost stands on end
everyone is huddled indoors
capturing the warmth inside.

We protect our investments
secure our bright futures
arm our doors and windows
and shut the real world out.

On the cold dark streets
the teacher stands with a lamp
calling us to stand with him
inviting us to undo our hard hearts.

The children who have no one
will be the line leaders
and the maligned foolish and poor
will sit at the banquet head.

Our fear keeps us from offering
and offering will wipe away fear
if we would be first let us serve
it we would be free let us be slaves.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


“For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ So the last will be first, and the first last.” Matthew 20:1-16

I spoke with my 90 year old Mom this morning. She was cheerful and happy to have some family in the house. My sister in law, brother and aunt were getting the turkey and all the fixing together in her kitchen. She promised me she was behaving herself and staying out of the way. She was a fabulous cook in the day and it must be hard for her to step aside. But she laughs and delights in having folks with her, grateful for what she has today. It is more than enough, she told me. And it is. Some seasons, we w have a huge crowd and full pockets, and other times we will labor long and the feast will be simple and small.

God blesses us as we rejoice in the generosity we have received. Not looking back and sighing, nor looking ahead and wishing, but being tight here, right now, reveling in our many blessings. And they are many. We have more than enough and warm shelter. We can talk freely to those we love and gather with friends who make us welcome. God knows us and see us in the back of the line.
May we hear God's invitation to generosity and kindness this day. May we not worry about what we will get but what we can give.

A Thanksgiving Prayer

O God who treasures the giggles of children and the sweet hugs we give one another, let us rejoice in the many small blessings that surround us today. May we be quick with love and laughter and never have a harsh word or a selfish thought. May we outdo ourselves with kindness, knowing we have been blessed beyond measure this day and always. Amen

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Leaving Home Behind

And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first. Matthew 19:23-30

When I was a child we often had missionaries in our home. We lived in close proximity to the church headquarters at the time, and our large home could accommodate guests. My parents loved having visitors and welcomed them with open arms. They were exotic creatures to me, characters to be watched. I was fascinated with these people who willingly left family and familiar behind to serve God half way across the world. I truly didn't understand why they would do such a thing. Now, all these years later, I know the impulse to serve God where called, and truly how hard it is to be so far from home.

The disciples are slow to understand what Jesus is saying. Our possessions and our baggage can keep us from receiving God's great blessings. With God, everything is possible. We are simply asked to let go of the things that keep us from opening our hearts to God's call. We are asked to let go of the circumstance that might keep us from doing impossible things in service of God's people. We, who are also slow to understand, are invited to look beyond the security we have, to the possibilities that God is offering us.

Today, I ask God to give me the courage to leave comforts behind. May nothing encumber our desire to serve God and may we joyfully stand ready, knowing that we will lack nothing as we go forth. May we see the impossible before us and know that is where God is working today.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Poor and Vulnerable

Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away.

And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Matthew 19:13-22

My eldest daughter works for an organization that houses, feeds and clothes many people throughout the year, along with providing job training and mentoring. On Thanksgiving, lots of folks want to come and volunteer to serve the big meal. Other times of year it is a real challenge to find volunteers for the tasks to be done. And they still struggle to get enough financial donations to purchase the turkeys and trimming to feed the crowd. Folks want to feel good for a few moments in time but they rarely want to dig a little deeper and truly give of themselves.

Jesus reaches out to the poor and the vulnerable. He overrides his disciples and blesses all the children, saying that they are the kingdom of heaven. And when a well meaning young man comes to him, he suggests that the young man sell his possessions and give to the poor. In that giving he will find the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of heaven is found with the poor and the vulnerable, not in our gilded cages, our safe houses or our comfortable life styles. Seeking God means seeking out the poor and the vulnerable and making a home for them.

Today I ask God to help me find the kingdom of God in the midst of the poor and the vulnerable. May we be ready to sell what we have so others may live, and may we not hinder the little ones from God's blessings. May we be agents of real change in our neighborhoods and communities, so that all might see the in-breaking of the reign of God.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Various Trials

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. I Peter 1:6-9

Various Trials

Sometimes it seems too much
the prodding and the poking
the testing and the evaluating
midnights and dawn full of challenge.

Sometimes the aches overwhelm
an aging body out of kilter
an ancient car sputtering to start
aching to close the distance gap.

Sometimes you seems so far off
no presence in the waiting room
no one to look after me at night
so long the darkness compared to day.

These trials they grieve us all
and yet we are refined not broken
softened and not burned down
a new life and heart is promised.

The long winter's night will end
and the pain subside in love's arms
the ache will become joy again
we will sing songs of delight again.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Bread of Life

When the crowd found Jesus on the other side of the sea, they said to him, "Rabbi, when did you come here?" Jesus answered them, "Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal." Then they said to him, "What must we do to perform the works of God?" Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent." So they said to him, "What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, `He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'" Then Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." They said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always."

Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." John 6:25-35

Today we are celebrating Thanksgiving as a parish family. The tables are being set and folks are decorating and making ready for a feast. We as people get very focused when it is time for a big meal or festivity. Sometimes we forget to prepare our hearts in the same way we fuss of decorations and dishes. The meat or lack there of is really not why we get together. We get together because we are loved by God, and in that love we can share everything, our plenty and our want.

Jesus is followed by a crowd who seems confused. Many followers of Jesus, then and now, are confused on how we should go and where we should be. Jesus invites them to consider their relationship with God primary, rather than where they are or who is setting the table. We are invited, in this season of gratitude, to consider our hearts, our attitudes and concerns, so that we truly focus on the love and let the decoration and the artifice go. God will be with us however we set our table, in how little and how much we have, and in our willingness to draw together in love.

The Collect

Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Lost Sheep

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Matthew 18:10-20

Today marks the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination. I was just a kid in grade school and it shattered our world. It seemed after that the world became more violent and more dangerous, even though I know it was my own perception. We were like lost sheep wandering around with unbelievable pictures in our head, undone by loss and total disbelief. From that point on it seems, assassination became the way of life for a time. Instead of a world that sought out the lost, and love and care taking precedence, violence and fear seemed to get the upper hand. It seems that we loosed violence on the earth.

Jesus is conversing with his disciples about how God cares for us, and how we are expected to care for one another. He was facing his own violent death and was trying to prepare them for that. He wanted them to be react differently, he wanted them to not return violence for violence, putting the care of others first. He suggests that even when having legal disputes we should take these on with dignity and humility. In a world bent on winning through violence God invites us today to rededicate our lives to seeking the lost sheep and seeking peace with one another.

Today I ask God to help me dedicate my life this day to the lost sheep and to those who need to be set free. May our words and actions be gentle despite the world's anger and violence, and may God use us to bind the wounds of those who have been lost. May healing and peace be the order of the day.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Become Like Children

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
Matthew 18:1-6

Become Like Children

Rising the bones creak loud
the aches encouraged by cold rain
the indwelling of age and experience
makes this body slower and more careful

There was a time when jumping and flying
swinging and spinning round and round
these were my hours and my days
and God was with me never to fail.

Adults too long and childhood long gone
we take ourselves so important, so serious
words measured and life calculated
and giggles and joy have gone from us.

Wake up you old bones and complaining ones
God is still with us and adoring the child
dancing and singing with our ancient bones
seeking the sweet humble one inside us all.

Come out and walk in the rain and fall
into the snow and the waves trusting
completely on God's mighty strength
to see us through the most trying day.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Go to the Sea

As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed.

When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?” He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?” And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.” Matthew 17:22-27

The snow came down yesterday, off and on all day. We accumulated several inches and the whole harbor basin twinkled in the dark. We are still new to this environment, and winter coming so early throws us off for a bit. But the sheer beauty overwhelms our dislocation and we learn something new about ourselves and God here. It takes a level of focus not to offend, and to learn the customs and the ways of people where ever one is. And there are always small miracles every day that provide insight and strength for our journey.

Jesus has just told them of the coming of his destruction. Their distress is very real and they continue on their journey, puzzling the whole meaning. They found themselves in new situations, with new challenges they had never witnessed on the fishing boats or the tax tables. These are lives interrupted, always out of their comfort zone and always challenges with new learning and new customs. When challenged about paying taxes, they find a small miracle even in this. Jesus sends Peter, the professional fisherman to the sea to fish. He sends him to a familiar place in order that they may not offend. Something familiar and customary is changed before their eyes. Sometimes we don't know why we are challenged and distressed, but God still had miracles for us, often in the smallest places and the familiar situations.

Today I ask God to help me trust that their will be answers for all the questions ahead. May we let go of the details and trust that God will find us a way through the confusion and dilemmas. May we seek the beauty and blessings of the places we find ourselves, and live this day with finding miracles in the simple and familiar.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Moving Mountains

And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:14-20

Moving Mountains

Sometimes the mountains disappear
covered by deep dipping clouds
wet fog hugging the Sitka pines
thick snow angling towards the sea.

Those who have lived here long
can tell you an name for each wind
each storm tells a story to them
we look up and wonder.

All this new world discovery
hard not to believe is miraculous
wondrous scenery and delightful sunsets
can lull us into being caught in the dark.

Can we move these mountains
and even change set the troubled free?
We can barely understand the changes
and so much new to take within.

God is calling us to miracles
to serve the broken with healing
the destitute with hope and food
and we look up and feel quite helpless.

Help us now to have earth moving faith
in the midst of storms and wind
may we stand up and pray with expectation
knowing God will change the landscape.

Help us Lord to see their trouble and need
to pray constantly for the sick and addicted
may we bend our hearts to hear your call
and ask for miracles now in our time.

Monday, November 18, 2013


And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, 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 white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.

And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.” And the disciples asked him, “Then why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” He answered, “Elijah does come, and he will restore all things. But I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man will certainly suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist. Matthew 17:1-13

Sometimes there are many weeks when I do not remember my dreams. There are other times, when they come night after night, unbidden, showing me a familiar world changed and transfigured. This time of year, when we have moved back to standard time, and the day light is decreasing rapidly, is a time of dreams and notions. Some are frightening, but most are new adventures in an old world changed but still alive within my imagination. Often the dream images give me a new perspective on my life and new possibilities to hold before me.

Jesus takes the three disciples up the mountain. They often went to pray with him in small groups, often falling asleep as he knelt in prayer. This time, they witness a vision, a waking dream, of the beauty and reality of Christ, and his intimacy with God and the pillars of the faith. They witness a vision that will lead them to the cross, and that vision will be their beacon to find their way through the violence and fear that is to come. They had a revelation of the timelessness and constancy of God and of God's commitment to creation. This moment on the mountain, both vision and portent, will change their understanding of their teacher and their God. God with them moving within creation, promising them more than they can imagine.

Today I ask God to help me hold fast to the vision of God's love active in my life. May we not fear what is ahead but rather cling to the promises we have been given. May we work in the light of God's love, not fearing what is to come, but rather trusting in the visions we have been given. May we hold fast to love and let fear go today.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, Jesus said, "As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down."

They asked him, "Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?" And he said, "Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, `I am he!' and, `The time is near!' Do not go after them.

"When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately." Then he said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.

"But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will give you an opportunity to testify. So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls." Luke 21:5-19

I am a long distance swimmer, not a competitive fast swimmer, but one who can go a mile or more for the love if it. Some people find it boring, but I find I lose count, lose track, lose myself to the water and the breathing. There is sometimes more work for me getting ready to swim, then once in the water. As soon as I jump in, it becomes a part of me and I become absorbed into the water. Enduring is breathing, taking one stroke, one pull, one kick and one breath after another. Nothing more and nothing less.

Jesus is preparing his disciples for the turn of events to come. Things are pretty pleasant and comfortable for them but the conflicts are mounting and he wants them to be ready. the designers of the lectionary want us to be ready. They anticipate both Advent, the joyful waiting to celebrate the birth of Christ, and our readiness for Christ's second coming. Life will be full of challenges beyond our imagining, we are warned. And we are promised that if we endure, if we rely on the love of God, breathing in and out our faith, we will be found at the end, surrounded by love and new hope.

Today I ask God to help me endure. May we not give up when life throws the worst at us, and it will, but may we rather breathe in and out the love of God. May we rely on God's love through our darkest nights, knowing God is ready with the answers and solutions. When we have none, God promises to be our supply, today.

The Collect

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Night Watch

A Prayer of Moses, the man of God.
Lord, you have been our dwelling-place
in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You turn us back to dust,
and say, ‘Turn back, you mortals.’
For a thousand years in your sight
are like yesterday when it is past,
or like a watch in the night.

You sweep them away; they are like a dream,
like grass that is renewed in the morning;
in the morning it flourishes and is renewed;
in the evening it fades and withers.

For we are consumed by your anger;
by your wrath we are overwhelmed.
You have set our iniquities before you,
our secret sins in the light of your countenance.

For all our days pass away under your wrath;
our years come to an end like a sigh.
The days of our life are seventy years,
or perhaps eighty, if we are strong;
even then their span is only toil and trouble;
they are soon gone, and we fly away.

Who considers the power of your anger?
Your wrath is as great as the fear that is due to you.
So teach us to count our days
that we may gain a wise heart.

Turn, O Lord! How long?
Have compassion on your servants!
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
and for as many years as we have seen evil.
Let your work be manifest to your servants,
and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and prosper for us the work of our hands—
O prosper the work of our hands!
Psalm 90

Night Watch Prayer

A fresh blanket of snow
falls in the silent night
each new day we are anointed
every night new dreams emerge.

Our hands rough from labor
our hearts torn by toil
we worry about our children's safety
and prayers like fevers rise.

We feel the sting of poverty
and the ache of isolation
we never meant to wander so far
we wanted only to explore the wilds.

The battle to watch the night
to keep the children safe from harm
our weariness we wear like garments
makes us ready to give up.

You make us beds in the frigid wood
and light a fire for our food
we thought we were alone but failed
to see you tender hand stirring the embers.

Give us vision again to see you
to feel your breath as a whisper
your confidence swelling in our hearts
so that we might rise again renewed.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Keys of the Kingdom

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ. Matthew 16:13-20

Serving here in Sitka, at St. Peter's by the Sea, I am very aware of keys. The symbol for St. Peter is keys and The Keys is the name of our newsletter. We are daily reminded of the authority and responsibility given to Peter by Christ, and how fragile our understanding of the faith can be. We live on an island where all of live is in the balance, a fragile balance of ocean's abundance and nature's fury. We have to wake up every day giving thanks for the gifts of revelation we have inherited from our patron, and we are called to live with care for all around us.

Jesus is talking to his disciples and asking them questions about his identity and theirs. They are a band of pilgrims and seekers, with new experiences around every turn. Peter blurts out his understanding of Jesus as the Christ, the long awaited savoir of the world. It is a dangerous revelation, as the truth is always dangerous and he is rewarded and sworn to silence. Their world was wracked with threats and violence. So they o hold in the truth they knew, but they could count on the great protection of God, who will not let "the gates of hell prevail' against them. We are invited to understand ourselves as those who possess the keys as well, and we are given that grave responsibility and amazing love.

Today I ask God to help me hold tight to the keys of the kingdom. May we live lives of faith and humility, so that others might see the love of God in our lives. May the truth of Christ be a delightful burden that we carry with joy to the world. And may we trust tat whatever confronts and confounds us, god will keep us safe to the end.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Leads Me Beside Still Waters

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness

for his name's sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil,

for you are with me;

your rod and your staff,

they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies;

you anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

all the days of my life,

and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord

forever. Psalm 23

Ancient Words for These Times

We were taught the psalms
other bible verses as well
the goal was to have a well packed bag
a tool belt armed with scripture.

I could not imagine where I would go
that there would not ne a bible
our shelves groaned with them
our meals included their reading.

The ancient words tripped my tongue
memorized they became a part of me
never thinking they would be useful
I sent them to a dusty place.

Never thought that I would start
saying David's ancient words
as the mask for sleep descended
and the surgery prep began.

The ancient words flowed like a stream
deep in the fabric of my soul
they cried out for me to the Lord
and reminded me to whom I belong.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Walking Beside the Sea

Jesus went on from there and walked beside the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain and sat down there. And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel.

Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” And the disciples said to him, “Where are we to get enough bread in such a desolate place to feed so great a crowd?” And Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.” And directing the crowd to sit down on the ground, he took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over. Those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children. And after sending away the crowds, he got into the boat and went to the region of Magadan.
Matthew 15:29-39

I love walking beside the sea. It is a constant changing palette, light filtering and dancing, waves crashing and receding and gulls keeping up their choruses. Living along the Pacific ocean is different than our lives by the Atlantic and yet there are similarities that make my heart feel right at home. There are mountains here, that hug the water, like constant caretakers, close by young offspring. The sea is a life giving place, where food and dreams of travel spring from. It is where we began and how the world is renewed.

Jesus is walking beside the sea and people swarm to him. There is hope and healing in his presence and they seek him out in droves. They want to be reborn, rebuilt and remade. And he has compassion on them all, that in their hurry and ache they did not plan for the needs of their body. Their whole lives were focused on him. The small amount that was collected became the feast for thousands. A little faith and willing offerings can transform the world.

Today I ask God for a deep trust and expectation, believing that the little I might offered might be used for the good of all. May we trust that God is so ready to renew, rebuild and remake us, that we might venture forth and follow him. May we be transformed by the love of God and offer what we have so that all may receive today.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mother and Daughter

Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, ‘Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.’ But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, ‘Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.’ He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ But she came and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, help me.’ He answered, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’ She said, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.’ Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed instantly. Matthew 15:21-28

I am a mother blessed with three marvelous daughters. I feel them in my flesh and their hurts and aches are mine also. We are part of one another and I love them completely and fiercely. Ask them, but teachers and others knew that I would fight fiercely for their needs and rights and I would travel the ends of the world to rescue them, still. I guess I too might argue with the Savior of the word on their behalf and many nights have found me on my knees pleading and arguing in prayer on their behalf.

Jesus was in transit and focused on the journey, when a Canaanite woman got in his way. She got in his face for love of her child, her daughter. She had heard the stories people were telling and knew God to be larger than human imagining. She knew God would not limit love and healing to Israel only. Jesus told her that her faith was great and immediately her child was healed. We are invited by God to be bold in our faith, strong and insistent in love. We are never outside the healing an embrace of God.

Today I ask God to help me be constant in faith and prayer. Help us be fierce in our intercessions for other and constant I our willingness to go to bat for others. Let us not be reticent or reluctant but as fearless as the Canaanite woman in the face of some much evil. May we stand for the innocent and vulnerable knowing God will come and heal those we fight for today.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Singing with the Heart

I cry aloud to God,
aloud to God, that he may hear me.
In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
my soul refuses to be comforted.
I think of God, and I moan;
I meditate, and my spirit faints.

You keep my eyelids from closing;
I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
I consider the days of old,
and remember the years of long ago.
I sing with my heart in the night;
I meditate and search my spirit:
‘Will the Lord spurn for ever,
and never again be favorable?
Has his steadfast love ceased for ever?
Are his promises at an end for all time?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he in anger shut up his compassion?’
And I say, ‘It is my grief
that the right hand of the Most High has changed.’

I will call to mind the deeds of the Lord;
I will remember your wonders of old.
I will meditate on all your work,
and muse on your mighty deeds.
Your way, O God, is holy.
What god is so great as our God?
You are the God who works wonders;
you have displayed your might among the peoples.
With your strong arm you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.

When the waters saw you, O God,
when the waters saw you, they were afraid;
the very deep trembled.
The clouds poured out water;
the skies thundered;
your arrows flashed on every side.
The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind;
your lightnings lit up the world;
the earth trembled and shook.
Your way was through the sea,
your path, through the mighty waters;
yet your footprints were unseen.
You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron. Psalm 77

Sleeping on benches in transit
alone in the crowded places
unknown and totally unrelated
the sunrise is slow to find me now.

They weary ancient ones wait vigil
but their singing has come to a stop
they are too weary to hold even a note
they faint in the night watches.

I am waiting to get home
to dig my bare feet into warm sand
to sit by the ocean and sing again
now only humming in the night cloister.

Alone resembles abandoned so
that I shiver with these hollow eyes
that search the horizon for face
a welcome smile and open arms.

Once we nestled in safety cocooned
we thought we were being stifled
anxious for independence we fled
now all trying to get back home.

Lead me again great shepherd
guide me through these deep waters
take my hand for the sea is rising
and the harbor home so far away.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Trouble and Testing

Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus and asked him a question, "Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; then the second and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless. Finally the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had married her."

Jesus said to them, "Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection. And the fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush, where he speaks of the Lord as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive."
Luke 20:27-38

I have spent the past few days with students in the Iona School for Ministry in the Diocese of Texas. These are all people who give up a weekend a month to study for the deaconate and priesthood. They will all be bi-vocational and will never be paid a salary for their ministry. This is a great community of learning, faith and support. They study, take tests and write papers under pressure, studying and being formed while doing many other things. There was peace and joy in the midst of great effort, trouble and testing.

Jesus was being tested by the religious leaders who did not believe in the resurrection. They were trying to make him look like a fool and to fail in front of his followers. In the middle of testing and trouble, Jesus turned their queries around and talked about the God of the living. He called us to understand the truth of God living among us and living beyond time and space. A God of love that is not captured by the trouble of our times, nor destroyed by testing. We are invited by God to cling tight to the one who lives beyond the tests and the trouble and WHO IS right here in the midst of ours.

Today I ask God to help me cling to the everlasting arms and let go of the trouble and turmoil that swirls around me. May we be made new this day for the life of the living, trusting that God stands with us in our tests and trials. God is always making rom in eternity for us.

The Collect

O God, whose blessed Son came into the world that he might destroy the works of the devil and make us children of God and heirs of eternal life: Grant that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves as he is pure; that, when he comes again with power and great glory, we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Beginning to Sink

Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Matthew 14:22-33

Beginning to Sink

It began with high hopes
surprises and miracles
the gift of friends and laughter
singing into the night.

The calm seas never last
and the gentle rolling waves
turn in a moment to terrorists
more fear with every surge.

In this night terror
so alone and tossed about
I am longing for land
I am longing for your strong hand.

I thought we could go on alone
but when the sea revolted
threatening to swallow us
we cried out in panic and fear.

You were always beside us
but we did not see or know you
fear was all we knew
and we let it take our hearts.

Well take my heart and hand again
let me rise from the briny water
let me be a child at your feet
and I will sing for you forever.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Give Them Something

Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. Matthew 14:13-21

Yesterday we spent time with folks in the Diocese of Texas. We had a tour of the Cathedral and the Diocese. We also got to visit the Beacon, which began as a homeless ministry of the Cathedral. They provide scrubs to hundreds of people while volunteers do their wash and they take showers. They are fed and provided with a medical clinic along with a host of other services. Often Glynnis spoke of the dignity of the clients and how important that was to the center. They took a seed of an idea, and literally feed and clothe thousands through God's blessing.

Jesus went to a quiet place, away from the city but the people followed him. He had what they needed and they would not let him be. Compassion and love was his response to their need. And then he taught the disciples how to respond to the needs of the people. "You give them something to eat!" sent them scrambling. They found a little among the huge group, but it was enough. Actually it was more than enough. We often don't respond to the needs around us because we don't have enough, but God invites us today to see that what we have is enough with God's blessing.

Today I ask God to help me be bold and to accept that what I have is enough. May we seek God's blessing in our with our need and with our abundance. May we trust that God will provide the bounty if we will but take a step forward into the crowd. May our small amounts be great blessings today in God's name.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Do Not Delay

Make haste, O God, to deliver me!

O Lord, make haste to help me!

Let them be put to shame and confusion

who seek my life!

Let them be turned back and brought to dishonor

who delight in my hurt!

Let them turn back because of their shame

who say, “Aha, Aha!”

May all who seek you

rejoice and be glad in you!

May those who love your salvation

say evermore, “God is great!”

But I am poor and needy;

hasten to me, O God!

You are my help and my deliverer;

O Lord, do not delay! Psalm 70

It is amazing how traveling makes some people highly anxious and others take it all in stride, I am in Houston now, after a wonderful experience at Nashotah House. 5 flights down and three more to go. It seems the word delay makes many people angry and nervous, as if our schedules are so tight we cannot wait. In fact, some act as if the whole world will fall apart with any delay. And yet the whole system is dependent on weather in major hubs in the system. Waiting and delays are part of life, although we don't like to wit.

The psalmist begs the Lord to come quickly. Enemies surround him, the enemies are working in the same office, it seems. The distress and pain of being isolated by hate is overwhelming. We can learn from this psalm and many others that our prayers can contain our hurt and anger as well as our praise. God invites our impatience and our need. God is more ready to hear and respond then we are ever to ask. When we are overwhelmed with anxiety we can pour out our hearts to God rather than punishing the powerless clerks, waitresses and flight attendants. We can pray like the psalmist wherever we find ourselves.

Today I ask God to give me the patience to trust everything to God. May our impatience with delays and timing of things not be poured out on the innocent, but rather may we give it all to God. May our prayers be honest and our interactions kind so that the world might know that God is in charge despite all they delays we are caught in today.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


And when Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there, and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief. Matthew 13:53-58


I'm not sure if I can change
and sure I am the same scared kid
sure that I have feet of clay
and everyone sees the scars.

The hometown still the same
I have changed but they don't see
I'm just too big for my britches
and everything here is suddenly small.

A child of promise and talent
encouraged and promoted as a child
suddenly shunned for silly reasons
always the victim of jealous hearts.

Sojourner, traveler, homeless wandering
the world is no longer a home
it cannot contain the beauty
the revealed heart of God.

Incarnate living divine
may our hearts and lives
be sanctuaries for your grace
a place form which to grow love.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Treasures New and Old

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

“Have you understood all these things?” They said to him, “Yes.” And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”
Matthew 13:44-52

Traveling always encourages me to open my eyes to new sights and my ears to new sounds. I am at Nashotah House, a place I thought I might never have gone. I am seeing the gifts of this place and the joy the community shares together, and hearing the many ways the gifts and treasures are shared. I got the opportunity to preach today and to see the hopeful expectations of the students here.

Jesus was telling the people about the kingdom of God. What we treasure will be how we are defined. I here the invitation from God to treasure our God given relationships. If we treasure our polity, politics, theology over the gifts God has given us, we can be consumed by these alone. If we treasure the relationships we have been given, if we reach across the aisles and boundaries, God will bless us in ways we cannot even imagine.

Today I ask God to give me an open heart. May we all be radial in our love and compassion for all the people around us. May we be found loving our enemies and treasuring all those whom God has put in our path.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Our Inheritance

In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God's own people, to the praise of his glory.

I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1:11-23

The parish of St. Peter's Sitka was founded by the first bishop of Alaska and was his home and see during his episcopate. I have been curious about him and recently looked up an article about him in the New York Times archives. The writer describes him as a man of average height and slight build. His consecration in NY was a three hour affair and the the author noted with surprise that no one left the church the whole time. " Mr. Rowe is a man of great personal endurance. He has more gut to the square inch than muscle. His nature overflows with sympathy for everything that is oppressed and helpless, and in his coal black eyes shine the fires of repressed enthusiasm and tireless zeal. How astounding to have inherited, for a time, this place of such a remarkable bishop.

As we celebrate All Saint's Sunday and remember in prayer all those who have died, it is always helpful for me to look back at the lives and ministries of others. The challenges they faced were incredible, and they sacrificed comfort and safety for the mission of God. They sacrificed so that we could thrive today, working for the inheritance of those who come after us. They did their best with the tools and skills they had in their time and we are asked to use the gifts we have for the church today. We might not feel like we live up to the standards of some of the saints of the past, but God invites us to serve I this context, in this time and in this place.

Today I ask God to give me the strength to serve and the courage to offer what I have. May we trust that God will supply the love, compassion, enthusiasm and zeal that we need to be faithful. And may we honor the saints in glory by working with joy today.

The Collect

Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Saturday, November 2, 2013


He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.” Matthew 13:31-33


The laughter of children
the forgiveness of a friend
the light filtering in morning
all the leaven I need.

Your sweet voice humming a tune
a hand across the icy porch
giggles and silly games in the yard
raising up a sorrowing heart.

A simple dinner at dusk
a sandwich shared on the beach
picking beach plums with little ones
brings a lifetime of joy.

Listening to my children sing
their hopes and fear shared
pie cut up and passed about
this is the leaven of love.

Leaven makes the whole loaf rise
love lifts us all to generosity
tender shepherd tucks us in
and we are wrapped in the arms of God.

Friday, November 1, 2013

All Saints'

Jesus looked up at his disciples and said:
"Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. "Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. "Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. "Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets. "But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. "Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry. "Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep. "Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets. "But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you." Luke 6:20-31

Waking up on All Saints' Day means remembering the fun of Halloween and the reality of our humanity. We are here on this earth for but a passing moment, and we move from cradle to grave. Life is short, and we can suffer many losses in our lifetimes that can make us lonely and bitter. Or, for the sake of all those who have come before us, who have loved fully and lived generously despite all of the challenges they faced, we can live with the same love and generosity they taught us. I give thanks today for all who have gone before me, my Dad and sister Pegi, especially, who taught me love, laughter and life worth living.

We hear the familiar words of the beatitudes. Jesus promises blessing despite our circumstances. We are invited to remember, on this Feast of All Saints', those who taught us how to live. They lived with love and laughter despite pain and loss. They gave of themselves despite their need or poverty. They held us and wept with us, prayed and laughed with us, showing us God's love in their bodies and their spirits. God invites us today to honor our saints by living like them with great joy and a grateful heart.

Today I ask God to give me a grateful heart and a generous spirit. May we honor our saints by living as they did, suffering through the trials of life with the hope and joy of God's love for them. May we give from our gratitude and our need today.

The Collect

Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.