Monday, February 29, 2016

My Little Daughter

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” So he went with him.
And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?'” He looked all around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat. Mark 5:21-43 

We have three beautiful and brilliant daughters, all adults and all doing amazing things with their lives. I cannot help as a mother to be completely proud and so in love with them. I also can't help worrying about them as each has had tremendous challenges and their lives are not simple. Being a parent means always wanting the best, and praying constantly for their health and well being no matter how old they are. I ask God to protect them and help them to flourish night and day. Being a parent also means that we sometimes wish they were little again and the problems were things we could fix.

Jairus' daughter is near death and he comes to Jesus for healing. While on their way they are interrupted by a woman who was bleeding, weakened and at her last. In their hurry they almost passed her by but she reached out with her last strength. Jesus comforts her and tells her that her faith has healed her. Meanwhile, Jarius' little girl is dying and dies before they can reach her. Jesus reminds them that they need faith and proceeds. The girl is brought back and healed. These were dark hours for the family and community, they were stressed for the child and parents. Jesus not only brought the child back, but brought the whole community to a new understanding of faith. Faith that is not simply obedience but faith that imagines and welcomes miracles. God invites us to bring that faith to those dark and impossible places today.

Today I ask God to help me move from worry to faith, from anxiety to waiting for miracles. We are never alone in our troubles and God is always acting for health and restoration. May we go forth today expecting God to work miracles of love and renewal, despite the weather, despite the predictions.

Friday, February 26, 2016


On that day, when evening had come, Jesus said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Mark 4:35-41 


Those days roll upon us
when normal becomes disaster
when our breath is knocked out
when we can taste and touch the fear.

Are we being punished for forgotten sin
is God slumbering calmly at the wheel
are we to die without understanding
left on our own weakling devices?

Human vulnerable and weary
the living God is present in the vessel
despite of the threatening dire and dangers
we are never lost and never alone.

Lift up you head and gaze forward
there is not a storm we cannot survive
there is no enemy that will conquer
peace be calm is our word today.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

On a Lamsptand

Jesus said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under the bushel basket, or under the bed, and not on the lampstand? For there is nothing hidden, except to be disclosed; nor is anything secret, except to come to light. Let anyone with ears to hear listen!” And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you. For to those who have, more will be given; and from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.”
He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.”
He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”
With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples. Mark 4:21-34 

On A Lampstand

We would hide in the shadows
throw a sheet over the moon
shut out the morning sun
so that we can hoard and abuse.

The deepest of winters' nights
reflect the light that shines
no matter how we hide and run
the light will find our secrets.

And we are loved in our brokenness
desired by the Creator even now
we are children of the light
the shadows hurt but do not kill.

Stand up and lift your light
hold up your weary heads
for the living God draws near
healing and joy returning as well.

The storms we face ahead
we do not face alone
the darkness is no match
for the loving light of God.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Sowing Seed

Again Jesus began to teach beside the sea. Such a very large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat on the sea and sat there, while the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. He began to teach them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” And he said, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”
When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; in order that
‘they may indeed look, but not perceive,
and may indeed listen, but not understand;
so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.'”

And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. These are the ones on the path where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: when they hear the word, they immediately receive it with joy. But they have no root, and endure only for a while; then, when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are those sown among the thorns: these are the ones who hear the word, but the cares of the world, and the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, and it yields nothing. And these are the ones sown on the good soil: they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” Mark 4:1-20

This time of year I find myself lovingly looking over seed catalogs and dreaming of the gardens to come. I love growing vegetables, herbs and flowers and set my hopes high on this year's plantings. There is a good deal of work involved in growing plants, starting with the right soil and the right amount of light. Then there is the watering and weeding, the watching and the waiting. Often we find other things to do and fail to care for the tender plants as well as we could. I always imagine a more robust garden than  last year.

Jesus likens the life of faith to seeds sown. The disciples and the people who he spoke to often missed the deeper understanding of his stories, and he had to go back over his parables so that his followers could explain it to others. It's a relatively easy thing to plant and scatter seeds, but to see real fruit and transformation, to have seeds break open and take root and thrive into the autumn, there is much more required. We are invited today to examine our hearts and lives this Lent, and to find ways to deepen our care and commitment.

Today I ask God to help me commit my life to bringing forth good fruit. May we be good gardeners, planting deeply and caring for the faith we have been given. May our lives become good fruit for a hungry world.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Returning Home

Then Jesus went home; and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.” And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.” And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.
“Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”—for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.” Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:19b-35 

Families are interesting groups of people. We want our loved ones to do so well and we are proud of them. We get afraid for them when they are too bold, upsetting the norms of society and standing up in the face of repressive culture. We can love so much, we want to smother them, away from the world's ridicule. Each of my family members is unique and we all grew up in a clergy house. We were expected to behave a certain way by the community but rarely did. Family and home can be our hardest critics.

Jesus comes home and is overwhelmed by the crowds. So much so that his family fears for him. He and the disciples cannot even sit down. His mother, brothers and sisters come to his rescue. They want to protect him from the crowds and the religious hierarchy.  They fear for his safety, thinking him out of his mind to put up with such craziness and abuse. Mary's tender little boy has become so famous that his presence signals danger. At this point, Joseph must have passed, for he would have surely joined the family. Their loving worry for him becomes our invitation from God to join the family. We are included in the family of God in our baptism and our willingness to serve God where we are planted.

Today I ask God to help me serve right where I find myself today. May we live as the family of God, serving the needs of those to whom we are sent, even when the world (and our families) think we have lost our minds.

Monday, February 22, 2016

To Be With and Sent Out

 Jesus departed with his disciples to the lake, and a great multitude from Galilee followed him; hearing all that he was doing, they came to him in great numbers from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, and the region around Tyre and Sidon. He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him; for he had cured many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon him to touch him. Whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and shouted, ‘You are the Son of God!’ But he sternly ordered them not to make him known.
 He went up the mountain and called to him those whom he wanted, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, and to be sent out to proclaim the message, and to have authority to cast out demons. So he appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. Mark 3:7-19

The challenge of being a servant of God exists in the real tension of community versus mission. We humans are inclined to stay with our own and relish the support and love of our communities and families. At the same time, we are sent forth, alone or with a small group to those who differ from us, those who are broken, needy and sometimes, frightening. The desire to be in relationship and stay close to where we are grounded is often strongest when we are surely being sent. Oh how we ache to stay where we are!

Jesus has gathered his disciples and now names his apostles, his companions on the way. And he gives them authority to cast out demons and to bring healing. He also sends them out. I can imagine they were mightily torn, new to the relationship with Jesus and having watched but not participated in any miracles. They must have been excited and terrified! So are we today. The call of serving God pushes us to places we don't want to go, but also provides for us, love and the support of the community. God invites us to live in the both/and, rejoicing in the love that surrounds us, no matter how far from home we are sent.

Today I ask God to help me find joy in the distance from ground. May we know the love of God deeply today as we venture out in mission to a world in desperate need.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Under Her Wings

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

Under Her Wings

There is a safe warm place
close to the heart of God
where we are daily welcomed
and choose not to go.

We are the Creator's offspring
the delight of a parent's heart
yet we willfully reject that place
and try to swim deep waters alone.

We think ourselves grown and capable
shelter is for the tender and broken
we stand on street corners weeping
crying out for direction back home.

We are never far from God's heart
only as far as we choose to be
like errant children under a watchful eye
love will always draws us back in.

We might crow and honk our goodness
in the light of day we spread wings
in the deep cold darkness we cry out
tucked tight alone and never warm.

Let us rejoice in our depedence
may we celebrate our weakness and need
may we see the open arms enfolding us
and give thanks for welcome ever present love.

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 20, 2016

Stretch Out Your Hand

One sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?” And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food? He entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and he gave some to his companions.” Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath; so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”
Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come forward.” Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him. Mark 2:23 – 3:6 

There are so many rules we live our lives by. Not only the state and federal rules that make us a country. We follow rules that our  parents gave us, our cultures gave us, what we are told men and women should do. We often judge ourselves by others' rules and do not hear the voice of acceptance and love that lives beyond human rules. We count calories, exercise to be perfected and healthier, and that beat of conforming can suffocate the God given beauty that is with in each of us.

The disciples and Jesus were hungry so that ate. A man asked to be healed and Jesus was ready to heal. Eating and healing brought judgement from those who ruled the temple. The culture defined this behavior as inappropriate. But God's love is never inappropriate. God's love asks to feed the hungry, heal the broken, welcome the alien and find shelter for the homeless. God's love should be our motivation every day. Sometimes we need to be rule breakers so that God's love might be planted in the darkest places.

Today I ask God to help me spread God's love. May we be fearless in our offering of God's love for that love is abundant and needed. May we be bearers of the Creator's love to a creation which finds itself bound and barred from the fullness of life.

Friday, February 19, 2016

A New Patch

Jesus went out again beside the sea; the whole crowd gathered around him, and he taught them. As he was walking along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. And as he sat at dinner in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were also sitting with Jesus and his disciples—for there were many who followed him. When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard this, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”
Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot fast while the bridegroom is with them, can they? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day.
“No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak; otherwise, the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.” Mark 2:13-22

I turned sixty in December and have pondered a good deal what it means to be old. I know myself to ache for familiar things, familiar traditions, familiar and well known patterns. When times and circumstances change, I find it harder to change along with them. I don't learn as quickly as I used to and have the tendency to dismiss new things. Age can mean wisdom but it can also mean stagnation and rigidity.

Jesus calls Levi and then goes and joins him for a meal. He is roundly criticized by the religious elders. Jesus is a new gift from God, and God is changing history through him. But those grounded in traditions see him as a threat and  his disciples a violation of all their traditions. The new way is a horrifying insult to their familiar lives. We learn today that God changes things, culture and religious practices included. All cultures that live changes. We are invited today by God to face the changes with hope and joy, being flexible and sensitive to changes around us.

Today I ask God to give me the suppleness needed to bend and move with the changes before us. May we make room for the new, so that people may find God in the present world and that we might be able to serve those to whom we are sent.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

What Friends Do

When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them. Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and take your mat and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic—“I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.” And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” Mark 2:1-12 

What Friends Do

When we love we let others down
we bear their burdens and sorrows
bringing them to the point of healing
by cutting through any obstacle.

When we love we take consequenses
of damage and repairs with light hearts
we bring our broken friend to the place
where God's light can bathe them whole.

When we love we fear our losses
we fear even more the disappointments
fighting to bring the beloved nearer
aching for them to be safely delivered.

When we love we too are broken
broken open for love to take root
for love to grow beyond ourselves
for love to blossom into service.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

She Served Them

As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.
A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, “If you choose, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. After sternly warning him he sent him away at once, saying to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” But he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter. Mark 1:29-45 

My mother loved to cook and feed people. I have been sorting through her things and found a stack of recipes, many with notes about how to increase the ingredients to feed ten, twenty, thirty and more. She loved having her home full of people, family particularly, and never had a visitor without offering them something to eat and drink. Even in her last years, when she couldn't do any more, she offered simply what she had.

Jesus comes to his friend's home and find his mother very ill. He lifts her up and her fever disappeared. She immediately begins to take care of them. I can imagine the joy this woman felt, to be up and able to do what she enjoyed. God's love restores people to their joy, and their gratitude for  being restored is visible, From his friend's mother, to the lepers on his way, Jesus restored people and they got up and celebrated that healing, often by serving others sharing their joy.

Today I ask God to help me serve with joy, in thanksgiving for all the healing I have received. May we live today making visible the love of God, showing our gratitude through our joyful, grateful service.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Prepare the Way

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,
“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way;
the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.'”

John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. Mark 1:1-13 

Our country sides, our deserts are draped in snow this season. We do not live in an arid climate, but in a moist one, surrounded by rivers and close by the ocean. Yet there are plenty of pathways to clear, much work to be done to make straight the way of the Lord. The snow shoveling alone, just to get out of the house, can be a daunting task. Every threat of bad weather, this time of year, makes one want to go back to bed. Preparing the way can be a challenge for many.

Today we hear the opening of Mark's Gospel. It echoes through our brains, music from many different generations swelling in our heads. But Mark is calling all of us to pay attention in a new and different way. He set the stage for the relationship of John and Jesus in a brief baptismal moment. Then we are swept into the wilderness.  Our preparation is always about going into the wilderness as well. Places we don't want to go and going to people we don't want to encounter. We are invited to let go of wanting to control and instead make room in our hearts for the possibilities we didn't even imagine and the relationships we didn't think we even wanted.

Today I ask God to help me prepare for the days ahead. May my heart be open and may I let go of control. May we all turn over to God those things which we are holding tight, and let God walk with us on our way. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Putting Love to the Test

After his baptism, 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,'
'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

Love's Test

From the very early beginning
darkly in the damp womb
The Creator gave us ears
to hear the sounds of love.

We pushed out beyond
all that we trust and know
finding ourselves on edge
willing falling so we can be caught.

Feeling small and neglected
we run from what is home
finding nothing to save us
we run tears streaming back.

Always testing always wanting more
we have love all around us
so familiar those comforting sounds
we fail to hear them with wonder anymore.

Yet love is this solid ground
this soft and embracing heart
the artist who created a unique wonder
that is so completely you.

Saturday, February 13, 2016


Jesus prayed, “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
“Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17:20-26 

We have been given many models for living. I am grateful for my parents and the upbringing I had. Being a PK (preacher's kid) isn't easy, but they taught us love for one another and respect for all. We were taught to honor all who came our way and include them in our family. That too is sometimes hard for a child, when refugees from fire and other disasters sit at breakfast with you. But I learned the importance of welcome, hospitality and inclusion and how we are interdependence with all of God's creation.

Jesus is deep in prayer. He reminds himself of his relationship with the Creator, as intimate as parent to child. He prays for the ones in his charge, that they might know that intimacy and interdependence. He prays that love may bind them, as it bound him to the people and to God. He prayed so that we, in the depths of Lent, might rejoice in our embedded-ness in the love of God for the whole world.

Today I ask God to help me know the depths of love God has for each of us and live as an interdependent relative of all. May we see the face of God in every one we encounter today and know them as relatives all.


Sanctify Them

Jesus prayed, “I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.” John 17:9-19

Sanctify Them

We stand up or kneel down
waiting, praying and hoping
to be saved from the evil one
to be rescued from our baser selves.

The beloved One heart of God
has entered into the violent breach
has offered himself for us all
as we continue to assault others.

We separate our children by race and class
we deny them understanding of real love
we preach a gospel of abundance
turning away from the need on the street.

Like the Incarnate present One
we have gone deep into the water
submerged in the variegated light
filtered through stream of baptism.

As a child of the living God
despite our cruelty and brokenness
we are sanctified for sharing love
renewed for service in the world.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Made Known

After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.
“I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.” John 17:1-8 

We often hear people say they have "friends" on Facebook, and some of their friends post things that go viral. We all find joy in hearing about the lives of those we know well, and enjoy the jokes and videos from the less known. We really are close to very few people, those who touch our lives on a daily basis, those who stop and offer us a drink, those who life us up and reshape us, those who help change the bad direction into a good road.

Jesus, at the end of his ministry talks about his friends and his relationship to God. It is a level of intimacy that we rarely have, and yet we find that Jesus has given us to the Creator, as he cared for his disciples in his earthly life, to be molded, shaped and built into the masterpiece of love and compassion for the good of the world.He does not throw his hands up, but puts his hand to the wheel, preparing each of us for a deep relationship with a loving God. Each of us is reminded today of the depth of God's love for us, the closeness of God's care and the radical intimacy that we have through Christ.

Today I ask God to help me walk with love and compassion on my journey. May we live as those molded, shaped, caressed and sent by a loving Creator. May we share the love we have as we made Christ known in our deeds of caring and compassion.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ash Wednesday 2016

Jesus also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14 

Humbled and Exalted

The busy ones rush by today
on streets the homeless unseen
ignoring the humanity that is theirs
rushing to put it all compassion aside.

The poor and the sidelined know
too well their humanity and fraility
too well they know their rejection
too little do they see of kindness and love.

The coddled and cosseted think themselves
protected from every storm and challenge
they dress and exercise in absolute comfort
thinking they know love and kindness.

The storms of life teach us humility
the winds and rain eat into our flesh
we know we are dust when exposed
to the terrors of failure night and day.

May we this Lent be broken open
to our simplest and most vulnerable selves
may we turn and see our hurting neighbor
in so doing see the face of love from God.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Mardi Gras and Shrove Tuesday

Finally, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord.
To write the same things to you is not troublesome to me, and for you it is a safeguard.
Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of those who mutilate the flesh! For it is we who are the circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh—even though I, too, have reason for confidence in the flesh.
If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.
Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:1-11

Today is Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, which ends the season of Epiphany with a Carnevale, or literally, "giving up of meat". We are preparing today for tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Traditionally Christians gave up many things, including fat, sugar and meat and focused inwardly during Lent. Lent invites us to go deeper, to be honest and penitent, to focus our hearts and minds on the suffering and offering of Christ. In our times there are many ways to keep a holy Lent, including giving up comforts, and also by taking on disciplines and performing services to others. Today is the day to rejoice in our blessings. Whatever you do, remember, tomorrow, sisters and brothers, it will be Lent, so delight in the gifts God has given us.

Paul, writing to the believers in Philippi, reminds them that all that we have comes through Christ's suffering and his perfect humanity, a humanity that was willing to lay it all down for the sake of others. His love for us, more perfect than what we might accomplish, is a foretaste of the love we have in God, and will be with us through all our trials and temptations. We can abide in the hope and promises of Christ, through faith, because he knows our sufferings, knows well our pain, and walks with us through the darkest and most dreadful times. Paul, who thought himself to be righteous before his encounter with Christ, now can reflect the love that Christ has give us, and understands how incomplete and fragile we all are. We are invited to take an inventory of all that God has done for us, all that we are and will be, so that we can know the depths of love that originate from the heart of God. For that, Paul reminds us that there is always cause for rejoicing.

Today, I ask God to help me rejoice in the Lord. May we see the gifts and beauty around us and know that God is present, here in our broken world. May we celebrate those many gifts raucously today, so that we may go with joy to our knee tomorrow. May we give thanks for the blessings as we prepare to seek a new and deeper relationship with the living God.

Monday, February 8, 2016


Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard, but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the girl on duty there, and brought Peter in.
“Surely you are not another of this man’s disciples?” the girl at the door asked Peter.
He replied, “I am not.”
It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.
As Simon Peter stood warming himself, he was asked, “Surely you are not another of his disciples?”
He denied it, saying, “I am not.”
One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the olive grove?” Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow. John 18:15-18, 25-27 


We went from overwhelming joy
from the mountain top visions
to the dark and dangerous streets
where you were arrested.

I watched as you were bound and dragged
watched as you were beaten
I watched as they mocked you fully
and stood aside as you bleed freely.

I did nothing but let the fear
like a rabid cancer consume me
holding my back tears and screams
so they would not arrest me too.

I could have done something
more than waiting and wacthing
more than protecting myself
 more than my weak frame would allow.

Instead I did the worst thing
one human can do to another
I denied knowing you my friend
denied the love that saved my life.

I could have told them stories
of wonders and miracles great
instead I folded like a shamed boy
to save myself alone I denied you.

My fear is my biggest enemy
my humanity afraid to need my God
my heart is breaking open wide
as I weep in the light of day.

There is so much more we can do
that give in to the fear and hate
we can stand up for the love we know
and shine light on God's beautiful gift.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Transfiguration Sunday

Transfiguration by Father John Giuliani
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 

More than twenty five years ago I  was anxiously walking into my sister Pegi's hospital room. She was just 42, and awaiting surgery for cancer in Miami. My parents were already there. I was comfortable visiting folks in the hospital, but this was my sister, and the prognosis was not good. I was a wreck. When I went into the room, there she was, without any hair looking more beautiful than ever, and my parents were sitting on either side of her. In that moment I saw her as eternal, radiant. I also knew she was going to die, but was comforted by my vision of her. It gave me the strength to go on. She died about a week later, the surgeon finding her so riddled with cancer they could do nothing more. I miss her still and know she is fully restored and surrounded by the love of God.

Jesus and his disciples are up on the mountain. It is the moment before Jesus sets his face to Jerusalem, and his impending death. On that mountain we were given a vision of the eternal, of the intimacy of his relationship with God and the Creator's faithfulness throughout time. The disciples had a vision that would help them face Jerusalem and all that followed. And we too have a vision, an eternal promise of love and presence that will get us through the days to come.

Today, I ask God to remind me of the mighty and everlasting love we have been given. May we live as people who know mountain top experiences and can go forward facing the biggest challenges ahead with joy and love. 

O God, who before the passion of your only ­begotten 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 6, 2016

Child of God

About the middle of the festival Jesus went up into the temple and began to teach. The Jews were astonished at it, saying, “How does this man have such learning, when he has never been taught?” Then Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine but his who sent me. Anyone who resolves to do the will of God will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own. Those who speak on their own seek their own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and there is nothing false in him.
“Did not Moses give you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why are you looking for an opportunity to kill me?” The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who is trying to kill you?” Jesus answered them, “I performed one work, and all of you are astonished. Moses gave you circumcision (it is, of course, not from Moses, but from the patriarchs), and you circumcise a man on the sabbath. If a man receives circumcision on the sabbath in order that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because I healed a man’s whole body on the sabbath? Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
Now some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, “Is not this the man whom they are trying to kill? And here he is, speaking openly, but they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Messiah? Yet we know where this man is from; but when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.” Then Jesus cried out as he was teaching in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I am from. I have not come on my own. But the one who sent me is true, and you do not know him. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.” Then they tried to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him, because his hour had not yet come. Yet many in the crowd believed in him and were saying, “When the Messiah comes, will he do more signs than this man has done?”
The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering such things about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent temple police to arrest him. Jesus then said, “I will be with you a little while longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. You will search for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.” The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? What does he mean by saying, ‘You will search for me and you will not find me’ and ‘Where I am, you cannot come’?” the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.” John 7:14-36 

When I was a young child I used to argue with a fried of mine about church. She was Catholic and I was Protestant. We thought we knew right from wrong, and each thought our way was right. We were small and foolish and had been taught by our teachers the wrongs "others" were doing. In fact, we were both brought up to worship God and each of our unique ways of worship were not the problem. Our attitudes and cultural teachings were. They tried to keep us from the other. Fortunately, we remain friends to this day and have crossed all sorts of boundaries together.

When Jesus was in the midst of the people, at a cultural festival, there was much confusion, argument and anger about his teaching. Some were threatened, others were trying to understand, and yet others were moved by his simple testimony. There was no violence despite the threats that surrounded him. He was a child of God, sealed as God's son and he stood among them with calm and reverence.There culture and upbringing said "no" to him, but their hearts understood a deeper relationship, a deeper presence. They were connected to God and the eternal through him and all were made children of God. We are invited today to put aside our cultural barriers and our rigid mindsets and see God in our midst today.

Today I ask God to help me set aside all preconceived notions and open my heart to God's love and presence today. May we forge beyond boundaries and find relationships where God in Christ is speaking to us. May we make room for the other and see the child of God in the complete stranger.

Friday, February 5, 2016

For Fear

After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He did not wish to go about in Judea because the Jews were looking for an opportunity to kill him. Now the Jewish festival of Booths was near. So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea so that your disciples also may see the works you are doing; for no one who wants to be widely known acts in secret. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” (For not even his brothers believed in him.) Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify against it that its works are evil. Go to the festival yourselves. I am not going to this festival, for my time has not yet fully come.” After saying this, he remained in Galilee.
But after his brothers had gone to the festival, then he also went, not publicly but as it were in secret. The Jews were looking for him at the festival and saying, “Where is he?” And there was considerable complaining about him among the crowds. While some were saying, “He is a good man,” others were saying, “No, he is deceiving the crowd.” Yet no one would speak openly about him for fear of the Jews. John 7:1-13 

For Fear

We will keep ourselves away
from possibility and pleasure
because we cannot imagine
beyond our binding fears.

For fear we will hide away love
bury desire, kindness and compassion
for fear we will sacrifice our children
and avoid the capacity for growth.

We will keep bottled up our joy
for fear of losing joy and life
we will rein in our unique gifts
for fear of what others will say.

We let shame dictate out actions
let style and fashion rule our art
letting angry people direct our fears
turning on the vulnerable and lost.

For fear we return anger for love
and bind up the already victimized
we imprison the least among us
for fear that they might shine.

For fear and all our humanity
Love Incarnate walked this earth
braving the terror of the crowds
the jealousy of the religious leaders.

For an end to fear and cruelty he came
many turned to follow and many
turned away for fear of what was said
they feared being crucified like him.

For the death of fear he rose again
a bloody body buried returning whole
so that love and hope can flourish
so we can find new life beyond our fears.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

To Whom Can We Go?

When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.”
Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? Yet one of you is a devil.” He was speaking of Judas son of Simon Iscariot, for he, though one of the twelve, was going to betray him. John 6:60-71 

I have spent the last few days in silent retreat with a wonderful group of clergy and one of their bishops. Although silent most times, we had time to share our stories and support one another on our journeys of faith. No one walk is like any other. It is both a wonderful blessings and a real challenge to serve God fully. For many, it can be too hard. I rejoice and hold dear the witness of these brave and faithful people. They are willing, despite the odds and challenges they face, to venture into the world sharing the love they have been given, living for others and for the sake of the Gospel.

Jesus gets real with those who are following him. Some must just be along for the ride, because their friends are "doing it", or because they have to do something. They had heard and seen first hand the words of life, had seen miracles and mysteries beyond their imagining, and yet they wanted safety, familiarity and to live in their comfortable places. Jesus wanted them to understand that a life of faith is a life of sacrificial love, love that does not bail when it gets too hard. We are invited, as we prepare our hearts for Lent, that there will be rough roads ahead, yet we never walk alone.

Today I thank God for the witness of these wonderful people, who shared their walks of faith with grace. May we be thankful for all of those who have shown us the way to be true disciples, who have put others first so God's love might shine through them.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Child of God

When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, the parents of Jesus brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord"), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons."
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,
"Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel."
And the child's father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, "This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed-- and a sword will pierce your own soul too."
There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him. Luke 2:22-40

A Child of God

Oh little one, bundled and swaddled
held tight and offered to God for blessing
the child of the living God made fragile
human and vulnerable like each of us.

Small  hands and legs that only kick
now will become the One who walks
across the barriers of space, time and race
the feet that will be nailed to a cross.

This wonderful reality like us
fully human fully divine creates for us
a connection a living relationship
a home abiding with God even now.

We are also fragile and fearful
brought to the holy places for dedication
we ache to grow strong and wise
we find ourselves falling over again.

You, O Child of the living God
call us to get up and walk 
see when we were blinded and broken
sit at your table and eat with you.

O living God, the incarnate present
help us to fall into your arms of care
help us to be your arms of love for others
and know you are walking with us still. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

The One Who Sent Me

Jesus said, "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. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day." John 6:27-40 
There are days when we hunger for those a new way, new tasty things or new life. In the drear of winter, when every day seems a challenge, every effort seems doubled, and getting out the door is an effort, we can find ourselves wanting a change, a sign, anything to break us out of the drudgery and despair of our lives. We often want a quick fix, even when we are really not broken.
Jesus challenged those around him to stop for a moment and to understand what God is doing. When we want flash, signs and sparkle, it is an invitation to get closer to God by seeing the blessings around us. Jesus was speaking with people who had direct access to the living God, the Incarnate one, the child sent from above. They had it all, and were still wrapped up in their human need for excitement. Yet they had the most wonderful gift of God in their midst. And we likewise, have that gift among us, even when it doesn't feel that way, and even when despair overwhelms. God is with us, close by and available.
Today I ask God to help me remember the reality of God's presence. May we embrace our need for new and exciting as an invitation to draw closer to God. And as we draw closer may we be ready to be sent to those who have an ache to know the love of the living God.