Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Lifted Up the Lowly

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord."
And Mary said,
"My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever."
And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home. Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. Luke 1:39-57

The Visitation

Sometimes we need our mothers badly
other times we need to get away to those
who can see us completely at a distance
who can encourage the goodness within
not worrying about what people think.

What we see in our small rooms and mirrors
limits our understanding of grace and blessing
to sing the song of thanksgiving takes a journey
of heart and mind and soul broken open
to love and discovery so strange, so mysterious.

The sight which we gain in our leaving
makes our returning lighter in step and speed
we found our voice and our song in weakness
strength came in our vulnerable hours alone
the dance overtook us when we weren't looking.

Hear the drum beat and the singing now
even when it is so far off it will remind you
the blessings that we are within and without
the humble strong and sweet beyond measure
and the least becoming divine adored children forever.


Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day 2016

Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; 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; on finding one pearl of great value, he 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 caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out 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 furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
“Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.” And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” Matthew 13:44-52 

On this Memorial Day 2016, I remember my father, Commander Donald K. Theobald, USN, who served in the Second World War, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He was a chaplain to many service personnel who never returned home. My father, and each of those men and women who served, understood the treasure they had in their freedom and in their country. They served and honored each of us by their sacrifice. My Dad was a Presbyterian Minister, who taught us the priceless nature of our faith by his life and witness. He understood that everyone was priceless to God,and everyone was never far from that saving and transforming love. No greater gift can a father or mother give to their children.

Today, Jesus is teaching about the realm of God. He wants them to understand that what God values is each of us, and that God seeks out the entirety of humanity, even when we try to stay hidden in our sorrows and fears. God invites us today to see that the sacrifice of Jesus was for all, and for all generations.

I ask God to give me the courage to follow those who sacrifice themselves for God's justice and freedom. May we live like those before us who, not thinking of our selves, but of the generations to come, go out on a limb and live for the healing, freedom and transformation of our world.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Children of the Kingdom

Then Jesus left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!” Matthew 13:36-43 

Too many Americans worry about what they can give to their children. Often their focus is on material goods and thing. My father served in a church that was a bedroom community of New York City, so I grew up in a very wealthy area where many of my friends had more than they could ever possibly need or want. The parents weren't happy and often were very broken people. Their children were troubled too. They worried about looking right, being in the right crowd, living by the strict laws of material things. My parents were rarely unhappy and provided in their very limited income a home that flourished with joy and acceptance.

Jesus does some translation of his parables to his disciples. He remind them that they can live a greedy and selfish life or they can live a life serving others and serving God. He talk to them about final reward, which most of us don't understand. We can understand that to be truly happy, there i no thing that can make us that way. Only love for God, self and others can transform our weary hearts and minds.

Today I ask God to give me a generous portion of love for everyone I encounter today. May we be children of the kingdom, marked by how we love and care for others.

Friday, May 27, 2016


Jesus put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs 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 yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.” Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet:
“I will open my mouth to speak in parables;
I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world.” Matthew 13:31-35 


The dry grainy flour dry awaits the leaven
yearns to be molded and shaped
aching for loving hands to inspire it
seeking the yeast so all can rise.

A little moisture and some leaven
and there is life within which pushes
to grow and expand to the edges
awaiting the prospect of feeding many.

We can bear well the  harsh kneading
when we are fed and strengthed by love
without that yeast we scatter and blow away
we cannot stay together and grow.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Weeds Among the Wheat

Jesus put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’” Matthew 13:24-30 

Good times and full fields come with challenges and weeds. Things happen to good people that they neither deserve nor asked for by their behavior or their words. We can lose heart, and feel defeated watching healthy ministries be undermined by troublesome folks. I have to remember in each of these moments that God is truly in charge and that the troubles will cease and we are cared for throughout.

Jesus used stories to illustrate the truth of God in human experience. The heart of God is caring for us in the midst of troubles, and we are being strengthened despite the weeds and the detractors. God is in the midst of our growing, caring for our every need and the final out come.

Today I ask God to help me remember, when overwhelmed that the outcome is set. May we all remember, despite our worst fears and our worst enemies, God is always for justice and healing, for restoration and completion. God indeed will deal with the weeds in our lives.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Family of God

Jesus said, “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it wanders through waterless regions looking for a resting place, but it finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ When it comes, it finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and live there; and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So will it be also with this evil generation.”
While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers were standing outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, “Look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” But to the one who had told him this, Jesus replied, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:43-50 

Family of God

Too many want to exclude some
the ones that frighten in their difference
those who seek asylum from violence
and those who cross lines to be free.

Too many fear what they do not know
suspecting trouble from innocent hunger
suspecting abuse from the weakest
hoarding what has always been too much.

Too many of us are the family of God
so we break away, we separate
as if God won't follow them or us
as if we can define the family of God.

The colors of God's people are all colors
the ways and traditions are many
the name for God's people are all y'all
me and you and everyone.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Good Fruit

Jesus said, “Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good things, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person brings good things out of a good treasure, and the evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure. I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so for three days and three nights the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth. The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah, and see, something greater than Jonah is here! The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and see, something greater than Solomon is here!” Matthew 12:33-42

Good Fruit

The smell of the meadow
tall wheat waving in the sun
ripe fruit ready to be picked
food for many, food for all.

The storms of spring lashed us
winter wore us to the bone
the season of growing is upon us
and we breath in deep the rich earth.

We live by the seasons of waiting
we live by the times of growing
we grow by living through these times
produce good fruit as we grow wise.

The heavy work of tilling is ahead
weeding and watering will be our lives
the work of praying and waiting is over
come out into the sun and rejoice.


Monday, May 23, 2016

A House Divided

 Then they brought to him a demoniac who was blind and mute; and he cured him, so that the one who had been mute could speak and see. All the crowds were amazed and said, ‘Can this be the Son of David?’ But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, ‘It is only by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons, that this fellow casts out the demons.’ He knew what they were thinking and said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? If I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own exorcists cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you. Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property, without first tying up the strong man? Then indeed the house can be plundered. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. Therefore I tell you, people will be forgiven for every sin and blasphemy, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. Matthew 12:22-32

We had the chance this weekend to visit a few ghost towns in Montana. Places that boomed with mining and gold fever which now are small or non-existent. Virginia City had some wonderful displays, even though it was before the season, which showed life in the boom times. How quickly people can disappear when the money or the excitement runs out. Nevada City, which we were not able to tour, is a collection of old buildings, reminding us  how quickly things fall apart when a community becomes divided and when there is no life left or a reason to go on.

Jesus did some wondrous miracles, healing a man who was unable to communicate or see his surroundings. The religious authority accused him of working evil, rather than good and Jesus responded that evil does not build up good. Things fall apart when evil tries to do good, as a house divided cannot stand. When the life goes out, there is not new life but deterioration.
God invites us today to serve and build up the good, the loving and the life changing. God encourages us, even in our differences to be those who build up the whole church and community.

Today, I ask God to give me the strength to be a builder and repairer in the name of love. May we forgive and work together so that our houses, where ever we find ourselves might show forth the goodness of God and the abundant blessings we have been given.

Saturday, May 21, 2016


When Jesus became aware of this, he departed. Many crowds followed him, and he cured all of them, and he ordered them not to make him known. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
“Here is my servant, whom I have chosen,
my beloved, with whom my soul is well pleased.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
He will not wrangle or cry aloud,
nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.
He will not break a bruised reed
or quench a smoldering wick
until he brings justice to victory.
And in his name the Gentiles will hope. Matthew 12:15-21 


A small break in the ominous clouds
a simple gesture of welcome or care
a moment in time when the fog lifts
it is then we find our hope again.

Unlike wisdom she is very fickle
this hope plays hide and seek with our hearts
we bend and wail in our dark hours
but we shall never hope in vain.

Despite the dense and cruel clouds
there is sun behind blazing for us
despite the loneliness and fear in us
there are throngs of companions on our way.

Our hope may flag in blue deep loss
hope may whither in us from the cold
there is a fire of love that burns to warm
restoring even the most broken among us.


Friday, May 20, 2016

Stretch Out Your Hand

At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. When the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the sabbath.” He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him or his companions to eat, but only for the priests. Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests in the temple break the sabbath and yet are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”
He left that place and entered their synagogue; a man was there with a withered hand, and they asked him, “Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath?” so that they might accuse him. He said to them, “Suppose one of you has only one sheep and it falls into a pit on the sabbath; will you not lay hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a human being than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the sabbath.” Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and it was restored, as sound as the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him. Matthew 12:1-14 

Recently we were in a restaurant and the waitress said that there were two types of people. "Those who share food and those who don't." I know that there are more than two types of people, but she did have a point. Some people like rules, like to keep what they have, while others love to explore and encourage adventure. Some of us can be sharers in the right moments but not when under stress or complications. When we find ourselves in complicated places, are we willing to be stretched or do we draw in and hold fast to the rules?

Jesus was about on the Sabbath when he and his disciples broke some rules. They knew what they were doing but they also knew the circumstances demanded mercy not sacrifice. Jesus goes on to heal a man with an injured hand which infuriated the religious leaders. They could not enter into the place where mercy and acceptance take precedence over the rules. God invites us to be people who live for sharing, live for love and live for mercy.

Today I ask God to help me live for love and mercy. May our lives demonstrate God's presence, that divine presence that is always merciful, always blessings and always more ready that we are to forgive.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Gentle and Humble in Heart

 At that time Jesus said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
 ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ Matthew 11:25-30

Gentle and Humble of Heart 

The music of Handel's Messiah rings
her head full of song and line
the old stage fright and anxiety
shrugged off onto stronger shoulders.

Afraid of stumbling and cruel failure
scared to not have enough for the children
terrified by the postponement of promises
sleep is never easy nor nearby.

The living One among us has promised
despite the trends, the seas and abuse
we will be born by gentleness and light
carried into the new days' dawn.

So often we try to carry ourselves
pull ourselves up and put on the face
self-reliance and strong will evaporate
into our regular and familiar night terrors.

The music swells, the frightened child begins
"come unto him all ye that labor"
the crowd is hushed and silent that night
for their hearts have heard the truth.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

You Did Not Dance

Jesus said, “But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another,
‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not mourn.’

For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”
Then he began to reproach the cities in which most of his deeds of power had been done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, on the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to Hades. For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that on the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom than for you.” Matthew 11:16-24 

In many of our Native traditions there are times and seasons when we dance and times when we do not. We have been taught what to wear when and who should wear it, which dances are for tribal members only and which are for everyone, visitors included. Respect and correct behavior are expected so that we can model for  our little ones. At every pow-wow I have attended those who have served in the military are honored first during grand entries. Our lives are shaped by respect, honor and responsibility - for the traditions, for one another, for all people, for all living things and our earth.

Jesus is responding to the accusations of his inappropriate life style. He has brought so much goodness and love to the world, and yet some wanted to trip him up and disrespect him. He knew their hearts were not full of respect, honor and caring. He knew they wanted to sit on the sidelines and criticize, even those who had received abundant blessings at his hand. We are invited by God this day to live as people who honor what we have been given and live responsibly, celebrating and sharing the love we have received.

Today I ask God to help me model respect, honor and responsibility in all things. May all that we do be done to the glory of God. May our lives encourage others to turn to the Incarnate God and live in the love that is being showered down upon the whole of creation.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written,
‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.’

“Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John came; and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. Let anyone with ears listen!” Matthew 11:7-15 


My child, there is so much noise
so many ads so much distraction
love is often a wind born whisper
strange doings in the wilderness.

The dawn unfolds with gradual light
songs begin with soft rising music
love begins when we start to listen
to still small voices and hopeful sighs.

The messengers arrive early to the city
the farmer rises early to observe the growth
parents rise early to prepare the child's food
the Divine is up already spreading new life.

My dear one, listen to the elders speaking
they have learned to walk in love and beauty
they have fallen often and gotten up again
so you can be surrounded by wisdom.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Go and Tell

Now when Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and proclaim his message in their cities. When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.” Matthew 11:1-16 

One of the things that is hardest to watch in the church is when jealousy and competition rears their ugly heads. We are called to be people who humbly live and proclaim the works of God -healing, hope, new life, faith, freedom, abundance and love. The true leaders of the Jesus Movement can rejoice when they see another bringing the gifts of God to the people. We have each, lay and ordained alike, been given gifts from God to share with the world. As far as I can tell there is no time or room for jealousy and competition.

Jesus was done with his teaching and was sending the disciples out. He was challenged by John disciples and responded with the evidence, the evidence of God's love in the midst of the people. Sometimes we forget that we are disciples of the teacher rather than the teacher. Jesus tells us to go out to all the cities and share the good gifts that God has given us. These gifts are not of our own devising but true signs, true evidence of the presence of the living God.

Today, I ask God to help me live humbly and share all the gifts I have been given. May we not fall into jealousy and competition but be busy with proclaiming and sharing the good gifts of the living God.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Greater Works

Philip said to Jesus, "Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied." Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, `Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you."

I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid." John 14:8-27

Greater Things

Having faith is definitely hard 
being patient with God even harder
when the boat rocks and wind blows
desire rises to get back to shore.

The days have seemed endless
gathered together in our small rooms
waiting for signs and answers
we have clung to one another and sigh.

We often get it our own way
thinking we are not cared for
trembling in the long winter nights
assuming only disappointment.

God's time is not our anxious timing
God's abundance more than our imagining
we limit the possibilities and promise
for the Divine is setting our hearts on fire.

Shortly there will be no limit for love
no longer hiding from our shadows
no longer living in fear and trembling
breathing in the new breath of life.


Friday, May 13, 2016

Mercy, not Sacrifice

 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew 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 the house, many tax-collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax-collectors and sinners?’ But when he heard this, he said, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.’
 Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, ‘Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘The wedding-guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak, for the patch pulls away from the cloak, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; otherwise, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.’ Matthew 9:9-17

Mercy not Sacrifice

There is too much need and hurt
for us to burden the poorest more
there is plenty of food and hunger
for us to turn the broken away.

Our lives are tenuous at best
every day a gift and a challenge
every mistake is written on our hearts
choose to celebrate the light of love.

The puddles are deep and the pitfalls many
every course we undertake can fail
we might fall when we are dancing
dance we must while the love abides.

Forgiveness comes as the price of humility
healing comes when we can ask for help
love comes round when we open our hearts
and the Divine stays with us in all our trials.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

At Home

And after getting into a boat Jesus crossed the sea and came to his own town. And just then some people were carrying a paralyzed man lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” Then some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Stand up, take your bed and go to your home.” And he stood up and went to his home. When the crowds saw it, they were filled with awe, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to human beings. Matthew 9:1-8 

I have lived in many places in my life and since my Mother's death, our family house has been sold. Over the years, I have come to understand that a home is very different than a house. We can make our homes in many places, as long as the people we love are nearby, and we have a sense of being grounded and belonging. I really don't know what Jesus' home was like. I imagine something very simple, more like our Indigenous longhouses than our modern day dwellings. And I know that he had a sense of belonging and being grounded in that place.

Jesus goes home and comes across a very broken man, who surrounded by friends, is being carried to Jesus for healing. It is quite possible that he knew the paralyzed man and his friends. Despite the taunting of the scribes (who he probably also knew), he healed the man and forgave him whatever was on his heart. He did this at home, a place where earlier he had been rejected. He knew he belonged and he knew his community needed healing as much as the wide world. We are reminded today that God makes a home with us, wherever we find ourselves, and that God's desire for us is healing and forgiveness.

Today I ask God to help me know the divine presence and indwelling spirit. May our homes and hearts be open and ready for the renewal of God.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


 When he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs coming out of the tombs met him. They were so fierce that no one could pass that way. Suddenly they shouted, ‘What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?’ Now a large herd of swine was feeding at some distance from them. The demons begged him, ‘If you cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.’ And he said to them, ‘Go!’ So they came out and entered the swine; and suddenly, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and perished in the water. The swineherds ran off, and on going into the town, they told the whole story about what had happened to the demoniacs. Then the whole town came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood. Matthew 8:28-34

Sometimes the positive changes we make in our lives can make people angry, especially when the circumstances are not good but everyone is used to it. " That's just the way they are," we hear and wonder why we keep allowing the sick and dangerous to rule our lives. When we get healthy and strong enough to turn away, the response is rarely positive.

Jesus heals the two who are possessed with demons, men who have been terrorizing their families and neighbors for years. Casting the demons into the swine and the destruction that followed made the people angry with Jesus and told him to go away. They were used to their sickness, it had become a part of them. The loss of the pigs was minor compared to the loss of identity. When God makes us well, we often feel the sting of loss-the familiar illness that defined us. We often have to go, to move on, to be completely renewed and to live into the new whole and healthy person. God invites us today not to look back but to look forward to all the goodness that is before us.

Today, I ask God to help me live in hope and to be forward looking. Nothing can be done for our past, and God holds a wonderful future ahead for us all. May we embrace the new, despite our sense of loss and discomfort and be ready to go!

Monday, May 9, 2016

What Love Does

When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible distress.” And he said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion answered, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and the slave does it.”
When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, “Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the heirs of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you according to your faith.” And the servant was healed in that hour.
When Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever; he touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she got up and began to serve him. That evening they brought to him many who were possessed with demons; and he cast out the spirits with a word, and cured all who were sick. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah, “He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.” Matthew 8:5-17 

What Love Does

We get up after being made well
we walk the cold night streets
looking for the lost and forgotten
sharing a sandwich and some comfort.

We beg for life of our employees
we carry the lost and lonely longer
we share all that we have today
tomorrow might be our turn in need.

We cannot be the Savior and the healer
we can offer the love which we have
we can forgive despite our  wounds
and serve the ones who dish cruelty.

We can live for others despite them
we can dance for joy despite our infrimity
we can demonstrate love to the world
smiling with the heart's perfect assurance.

We can welcome the alien in our midst
for we were once strangers like them
the Creator showed kindness and light
bearing all our pain in our isolation.

So we can stand with the outcasts
and carry those who are not able
walk we the elderly and informed
for love walks with all who are broken.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Love Within

Jesus prayed for his disciples, and then he said. "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

 Today is Mother's Day and people all over are honoring and celebrating their mothers. As a mother of three, I cannot begin to describe the depth of love that is within me for my daughters. There is nothing in the world that would tear that out of me and nothing they do can temper or change that love. I know I got that imprint of love from my mother, Betty WalkingStick Theobald, as she was relentless in her care for us, no matter our age or circumstances. The depth of love that God has imprinted on us from mother to child is beyond understanding.

Jesus is praying for his disciples as nay parent does for their children. Aching for their protection and understanding, desiring most that they know they are loved and never alone. He has planted the love of God deep within each of them and is praying that they will never doubt or fear the depth of that love. And Jesus intercedes for us as well, at all times and in all places we find ourselves - that we might know we are embedded in the heart of God.

Today I ask God to help me demonstrate the depth of love implanted in my heart. May we live for others so that they too might know the saving power of God's love in their lives today.

O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Saturday, May 7, 2016


****This blog was in process on May 4th when my computer was airlifted to the computer hospital****

Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: “What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying,
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet”‘?

If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?” No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions. Matthew 22:41-46


Some days are smooth waters
most days are choppy and dark
the rain pours in and we sink low
our lives are spent frantically bailing.

The tides are often against us
and the fish no where to be found
we wring our hands as we wring clothes
trying desperately to be high and dry.

We are never alone in our challenges
silently and sweetly we are stood with
as a parent watches over a sleeping child
God lingers when we think otherwise.

Let us cry out in our times of fear
let us remember we are called by name
children of God ever loved and desired
children of One who will never leave.

Let us trust the One who lives
the triune and undivided Creator
who is known in relationship always
and who speaks through children and angels.

Make Me Clean

Now when Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.
When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him; and there was a leper who came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I do choose. Be made clean!” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” Matthew 7:28—8:4 

Make Me Clean

I wear all mistakes on my flesh
others glide by without blemish
my sins cover me over and over
my only identity is my sinfulness.

I wear the jumpsuit of a prisoner
the torn and dirty clothes of the homeless
the repulsive dying skin of leprosy
the bend and twisted body of disease.

I am what people choose to put aside
they turn from me and hasten steps
the beautiful, the slim and wealthy
assume I am deserving of my fate.

I wear the wounds of a selfish world
they try to blame me for their discomfort
I live in their tossed off goods and shelters
knowing God see the behavior of us all.

At the end of the greatest teaching moment
the living God bent to the lowliest one
with love and tenderness in his eyes
said I am willing and made him clean.

I wear the wounds of the selfish world
there is more than what the world can see
there is a broken heart mended by love
a spirit renewed by the touch of God.


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Sower

Jesus said, “Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” Matthew 13:18-23 

Good relationships take a long time to build and they need care and tending to maintain. In an instant, a selfish person or someone in a hurry can ruin a good working relationship with an off-handed comment or simple impatience. Healthy ministries can die on the vine just as easily and programs can be ruined when someone puts their own agenda and timing first. Love takes time as do growing things, and each person and ministry deserves all the time and care it might take.

Jesus tries to explain to his followers what it takes to have a healthy faith by using the image of the sower. Not everything we plan will take hold, and sometimes the conditions are right for flourishing. The ones that do will need good soil, tender care and enduring patience. We can sow and God will provide the abundant yield, if we will put love first.

Today I ask God to give me the strength to be a patience and tender gardener. May we build good soil in loving relationships, so that God's love and mercy can shine through each and every one of us today.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Greater Things

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” John 1:43-51 

We live in a world where the miraculous has become common place. We have devices and use tools daily that we couldn't have imagined ten years ago. And we have an African American president, who has been the an icon of inclusion and grace. We now live in times when people are accepted as they are and there are laws to protect their place in society. Yet, we also know that the backlash against inclusion by race and gender are terrible. And the devices that we use daily are also used to bully people and destroy lives. What humans have created, the seemingly miracle devices always have down sides, great cost and challenges.

Jesus calls Philip and Philip in turn, invites his friend to meet Jesus. Nathanael is a plain talker and shoots from the hip. He wonders how Jesus could have seen him and known him. Jesus promises him great things ahead as disciples. The promises of God differ from the promises of humanity. There is no downside in the miracles and gifts God gives to us. There is no exclusions, fine print or cost. God always moves us to justice and inclusion, no matter how hard the world fights back. We are invited to imagine what is possible when we live the love of God everyday.

Today I ask God to help me follow Jesus. May we live the love we have been given, forgiving everyone and making room for the excluded, the different, and the confusing. May miracles work through us as we get out of the way and let God bring love and justice forth in our time.