Sunday, October 22, 2017

Give to God


The Pharisees went and plotted to entrap Jesus in what he said. So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away. Matthew 22:15-22

The challenging part of every new year, is not the resolutions to keep, or learning to write the new year on a letter or a check. Really, it is trying to make sure all the previous year's receipts are gathered, collated and added up for taxes. We then send them off to a guy we know who is a specialist in clergy taxes. Clergy taxes are a unique challenge and very, very complicated. We decided a long time ago to get someone to help us with our taxes in order to keep us sane. I have often wondered how much help most of us get to know what we need to give to God. Or do we just guess?

Jesus is being tested, which seems to be a sport for the Pharisees. Actually it seems that Jesus makes them nervous. So they try to trip him but he answers simply and confounds them all. They had rules but lived by the letter of the law rather than by God's intention. God's intention is always for compassion, healing and generosity. We are invited to put our best forward for God, to be generous so that we might bring God's love to this world.

Today, I ask God to give me the strength to give my best at all times and to live for others. May we not focus on the small worries of our lives but rather give our best and know God will supply the rest.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Listen!


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

Listen

Can you silence your internal dialogue
your need to be heard, front and center?
Will you take the time to quiet down
and hear the heartbeat of a loving God?

We are here to welcome and to serve
we are made for loving and caring
can we listen to the needs of those around
and act for those who cannot move?

The day by day loud shouting voices
will not listen nor will they hear
the singing, laughing joy of those
who within God deems to dwell.

Come dance with those who once
could not walk or who could not see
come rejoice with those who once
could not hear the whisper of the Creator.

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Poor Have Good News


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 11:1-6

The visible and outward signs of the presence of Jesus is healing new life and good news. Too often our churches are full of political struggles that are none of those. Too often, we get hurt and walk away just when our hands, our time and our service are needed most. Jesus always tell people to declare what they have witnessed - the love of God changing lives for the good. Our squabbles are no help to the Gospel of Jesus.

Some people came from John to find out who Jesus was. Jesus answered them to see what has been done and report back. The good news of God is always in the doing, not in the talk, the theories and the politics. There are no winners when we follow Jesus, but rather those who bring good news with action and service. Today, Jesus asks us to not worry about the trappings or the politics, but rather get up to our elbows in service of others.

Today, I ask God help me to leave politics alone and get busy in service of others. May we all follow Jesus who brings healing and new life for all.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

A Cup of Cold Water


Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
“For I have come to set a man against his father,
and a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.
“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.” Matthew 10:34-42

A Cup  of Cold Water

How often in the middle of the night
does a child stumble into their parents
asking for cold water or protection
for there is much to fear in the night?

We would never refuse our children
there is always time and space for them
but so many others we can shut out
who simply need a little sip of kindness.

The church can be a place of welcome
and it can be a place of judgment
competition can break our among us
and we can take each other down.

Let us treat one another today at least
as blessed family, dear children in need
making room for the awkward and fearful
giving honor to the aged and infirmed.

God is love and sadly we rarely are
we preen and gaze at our reflection
yet we never see the servant we can become
we never see the friend that is so needed now.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Spirit of the Lord is Upon Me


Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.
When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”  Luke 4:14-21

The Spirit of the Lord

In the quiet of the night I prayed
make me an instrument of peace
help me be a way to your healing
let me be a conduit of all things good.

Convicted by the Spirit is humbling
so many would hear God's voice
only if it comes with personal gain
not if we are brought low by our brokenness.

Come hear the Spirit of the Lord
who invites us to bend and serve
asking us to see the beauty in all
keeping us from serving self alone.

We who would follow the Beloved One
must spread love and healing daily
turning from our selfish desires that damage
lifting others up always before us.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Wise as Serpents, Innocent as Doves


Jesus said, “See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” Matthew 10:16-23

There are times in my life when I have gotten confused and let people walk all over  me and hurt me trying to keep the peace. There is a campaign on Facebook in recent days, for women who have experience sexual assault and abuse to say, "me too!' I added my name. Too often we women have kept silent because we are afraid of the shame, the discounted reactions, the worsening of punishment. We are called to be wise and innocent, and too often, we have only been innocent, fearing that showing our strength might make life unbearable. It is time to listen to Jesus and to be wise in many more moments.

Jesus knows just how complicated a life of faith can be. He was often criticized for being too political, too cutting edge, too "in your face." Yet, living the love of God is a call to learn and be wise, knowing when to speak and act.  The price of this life of faith is high, and there are many assaults along the way, but we know Jesus walks with us every step. We are invited to be both compassionate and firm,  loving and fierce in the care of those who have no protector.

Today I ask God to help me be wise and innocent, compassionate and firm. Let our words and actions be signs of our faith in Jesus, who walks with us and encouraged us when we fall.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Shown Great Love

One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner.” Jesus spoke up and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Teacher,” he replied, “Speak.” “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt.” And Jesus said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” Then he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”Luke 7:36-50 

Shown Great Love 

She saw the chance to demonstrate 
Love and gratitude to the humble Savior
The one who had accepted her as she was
Never shamong or sending her away.

In many places she was simply a woman
A possession, a servant,  set aside, ignored
Without a voice nor any kind of power
Except to please whomever demanded it.

Just a woman, no status, no regard
Yet this man, unique among all men
Treated her with honor and respect 
Gave her space and listened to her.

Should she not respond with love?
Should not tears overwhelm her?
Should we not lean in and listen 
To his kindness and compassion?

We woman so oftenjoy an object
Become a precious friend welcomed
A mother respected and dignified
In a kindness which changed the world.


Sunday, October 15, 2017

A Heavenly Banquet


Once more Jesus spoke to the people in parables,
saying: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared
 to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. 
He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited
 to the wedding banquet, but they would not come.
 Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who
 have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, 
my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered,
 and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.’ 
But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, 
another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, 
mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged. 
He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned
 their city. Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, 
but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom
 they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.
“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ 
And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants,
 ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many 
are called, but few are chosen. Matthew 22:1-14

A Heavenly Banquet

Get ready folks a train is coming
Taking us to a grand celebration
A place of welcome and joy
A seat reserved just for you.

We may feel broken or foolish
Maybe not worthy of this place
We might want to get busy
We might find a bold excuse.

Yet that seat at the table still awaits
A groaning board full of delights
Satisfaction in a life of disappointment
Fullness in a life of grief and loss.

Oh people get ready for the journey
It is not a trial nor a painful hike
Songs easy to sing surround us
A festival of transforming love.



Saturday, October 14, 2017

Sheep Without a Shepherd

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him Matthew 9:35 – 10:4 
Today I am in Fairbanks at an Interior Deanery worship leader training event. There are 25 people here learning to lead their communities and villages in worship. There are many years places where a priest is an infrequent visitor. Some have felt like a sheep without a shepherd. They are being empowered as the disciples were. What a joy to be a part of it!
Jesus is overwhelmed by the lack of leadership and care for the people. He empowers his disciples to be his heart and hands in the world. Likewise, God invites us to step up and offering ourselves in our communities. There is so much need in our very day.

Today I ask Gofor to help me see the need and offer myself to be God's heart and hands in this world. May we all be ready to offer ourselves for the healing of our world.

Sheep Without a Shepherd

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him Matthew 9:35 – 10:4 
Today I am in Fairbanks at an Interior Deanery worship leader training event. There are 25 people here learning to lead their communities and villages in worship. There are many years places where a priest is an infrequent visitor. Some have felt like a sheep without a shepherd. They are being empowered as the disciples were. What a joy to be a part of it!
Jesus is overwhelmed by the lack of leadership and care for the people. He empowers his disciples to be his heart and hands in the world. Likewise, God invites us to step up and offering ourselves in our communities. There is so much need in our very day.
Today,  I ask God to help me see the need and offer myself to rEsmond to that need. May we all have the courage to step forward to be empowered by God's love. 


Friday, October 13, 2017

Have Mercy on Me


As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, crying loudly, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” When he entered the house, the blind men came to him; and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you.” And their eyes were opened. Then Jesus sternly ordered them, “See that no one knows of this.” But they went away and spread the news about him throughout that district. Matthew 9:27-34 
After they had gone away, a demoniac who was mute was brought to him. And when the demon had been cast out, the one who had been mute spoke; and the crowds were amazed and said, “Never has anything like this been seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “By the ruler of the demons he casts out the demons.”

Have Mercy on Me

Waiting for the Alaskan sun to rise
Breathing life into this fragile morning
Creaking as I reach and stretch aching
For strength and agility for this day.

Joining with others, venite and jubilate
Listening to the words appointed for today
Giving ourselves over to service
Finding the light in this autumn darkness. 

Oh Lord, have mercy on broken me 
Wishing to be more than my ability
Wanting to be less irritable and hurt
Kneeling and waiting for new life.

This healing is a gift and a sign
This need is a road to the Divinend
Our brokenness can be a welcome 
For God'said love to dwell within.





Thursday, October 12, 2017

Take Heart, Daughter!


While Jesus was saying these things to them, suddenly a leader of the synagogue came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died; but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” And Jesus got up and followed him, with his disciples. Then suddenly a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his cloak, for she said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be made well.” Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. When Jesus came to the leader’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, he said, “Go away; for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl got up. And the report of this spread throughout that district. Matthew 9:18-26 

Yesterday was the International Day of the Girl Child. I am a girl child and I gave birth to and nurtured, as best as possible, three girl children. Yesterday, the boy scout of America chose that moment to announce that girls would be "allowed" into scouting, although we have been scouting for generations. Things are better for girls and women, for the most part, in the present day. The importance and capacity of women is still overlooked, underpaid and always compared unfavorably to men still.

Jesus is on the move again. The healings that happen involve a dead girl child and a woman who has bled for a very long time. There were taboos against touching women, especially ones who are bleeding or dying. Jesus stretches out his hand, his love and his respect for them, counter to his culture and upbringing. God invites us to see Jesus as the outpouring of God's true love and compassion for all people, all genders, all orientations and all cultures.

Today I ask God to help me live God's love and compassion. May we embrace difference and illness with the love that has healed us and given us life.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

I Desire Mercy


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

I Desire Mercy

So many tweets, so many judgments
words that hurt, behaviors that wound
demands that the poor make sacrifices
shaming the broken from any protest.

There are Pharisees among always
wanting to shame the weary and sad
hurling tirades and rejections
love will never exclude the broken.

The Incarnate One came to the table
of outcasts, sinners and tax collectors
made friends with rough sailors
and women who were society's scorn.

Yet even know God desires mercy
not requiring sacrifice from anyone
making room at the table for the least
shutting out the criticism of the powerful.

Come sit at the table where mercy is spread
there is always enough for everyone
we are not cast out or down or aside
always gathered in to be cherished by God.



Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Stand Up and Take Your Bed and Go 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

Today, while I am working in Montana my beloved husband has to drive into Boston for an MRI. As a caner survivor of 13 years, every time a doctor suggests another test, we get very anxious. Although  I am probably no great help, but I would like to be there and go with him. He is very brave and we manage, but we always want to hear the words, "everything is fine, go home." I am praying all day, expecting God's love to surround him and make him whole and strong.

Jesus is traveling, along a busy road. When he sees a man in pain, being lovingly carried by his friends, he stops and heals him. He sets him free from the pain, the fear and the limitations. He is now whole and able to go home on his own steam. Religious leaders nearby are critical and judgmental. Instead of rejoicing in the man's healing, they argue with Jesus. Yet, Jesus stays focused on the man, and his friends, standing there thrilled with a broken body healed. God would have us remember, in these times when criticism, cruelty and judgment are the norm, that the Creator is still focused on healing the broken and rejoicing with the faithful.

Today, I ask God to help me stay focused on the people around me and ignore the chatter and competition of this world. We are at our best when we focus on love and compassion, rather than looking for a theological fight. May God grace us all with the strength to honor and serve the people in our midst.




Monday, October 9, 2017

Indigenous Peoples Day


When Jesus 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 sea 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

Indigenous Peoples Day


We are not and cannot be discovered
we are people of great social traditions
who taught this nations' early leaders
about democracy and autonomy.

We never owned the land we loved
we care for her as our mothers' heart
and all our relatives, who swim and fly
the ones who walk and run on all fours.

The land was never to be carved up
never to be bound up for greed and evil
never to be less than any other life
always to be honored in all our lives.

We cannot be discovered for we are still
here despite efforts to run us off and slaughter
everyone of us, sending us like swine to die
forced over a cliff, the living signs of evil.

We are mothers, fathers, daughters and sons
veterans, chefs, teachers, writers and priests
we cannot be bought and sold so we will defend
this land and our people always with love.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

All Along the Watchtower


Jesus said, “Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.” So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.”
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures:
‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is amazing in our eyes’?
Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.”
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet. Matthew 21:33-46

All Along the Watchtower

We cannot help ourselves sometimes
we want what is not ours so fiercely
we plot and scheme to overthrow
fighting and whining to all who hear.

Blessed with rich soil and good work
we find so much to turn to worry
thinking our burdens are too great
we try to undermine what is not ours.

The gentle gardener the one who holds all
walks with us row by row and daily
watches as we unhappily fret and toil
returning to safe homes and full cupboards.

The loving Creator of all that is good
walks and sings to us tho' we listen not
hums to us as we shake with anger
calls softly to us as we struggle.

This rich vineyard, this sweet garden
can be lost and found in a breath
we can rest in love as we share this
as we lean in and care for all.




Friday, October 6, 2017

Got Up and Served


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.”
When he 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 8:1-17

When I was a child I had a huge operation and a long hospital stay. As a young mother I had another extensive surgery that resulted in an extracted hospital stays. Both times I recall talking to God from a place of fear and brokenness. I asked if God would heal me, I would serve my Creator. I really didn't know what that meant at the time. I was afraid and trapped. And it is truly my blessing that God saw fit to not only heal me but use me. The joy of healing comes in service to others. Those of us who have been broken and defeated know what it is and have compassion for those around us.

Jesus is on the move after coming down from the mountain top. He is energized and the people around him see that. They all have needs, many were very sick and hurting. He responded to each and marveled at those who acted on the healing, getting up and serving as Peter's mother-in-law did, or trusting completely and getting on with our work, as the centurion did. We are invited by God to seek healing, and as we receive it, get up and serve those around us. It is our true joy to serve!

Today, as Diocesan Convention begins here in Montana, I ask simply to serve the people who come this day. May we all be strong, so others might live and embrace our healing so that we might know the joy of service.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

On the Rock


Jesus said, “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!”
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. Matthew 7:22-29

On the Rock

Oh secure me to solid rock
for the storms are surely coming
bind me to the one who never moves
so I may live with joy tomorrow.

The winds and waves are threatening
the world is dark, the sky is weeping
let me see the shore light through it
my small boat is sinking fast.

I pray not for the torrent to end
but for me to live yet another day
to see the sunlight and hear birds
singing again with great glory.

Today I seem to have lost my way
yet there is ever a rock and a light
the love that liberates also saves
we can trust in him who rescues.



Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Come Unto Me





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







Yesterday, I flew from Boston to Helena. These two places are very different worlds. Different world in the same country, which sometimes have very little in common and much to separate them. And yet, I live and work in both places, and find a home despite radical difference. I revel in the beauty of each place. One dry with big, wide open skies, the other with moist cluttering of buildings and trees. The leaves are turning and dropping in both places. God loves me in both places, and God created the vast array of difference as an expression of the Creator's love for all. Today is the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, who has helped many generations to love all, and to serve all of creation, as the expression of God in our midst.

Jesus speaks to the crowd in a prayer and we hear the invitation to all. Jesus excludes no one by inviting all who are weary - since we all are weary and heavy leaden. None of us is without the need for rest and refreshment. We all need to be held and comforted. And Jesus tells us that the Creator of all, invites all to be come and receive blessings. Nothing or no one is excluded.

Today, I ask God to help me see God in every moment, in every expression of creation before me. May we follow the lead of St. Francis by praying and living love for all creation.


Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.




The Collect
Most high, omnipotent, good Lord, grant your people grace to renounce gladly the vanities of this world; that, following the way of blessed Francis, we may for love of you delight in your whole creation with perfectness of joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Lillies of the Field


Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:25-34 

Lilies of the Field

Oh how we worry and spin
tossing and turning at night
believing we can make a plan
that will keep everyone fed and safe.

We think ourselves some minor gods
looking down on the whole situation
making deals for the care and feeding
setting the world right by our might.

In every season we torment ourselves
missing the summer warmth for stress
avoiding the winter's silent delights
distracted while the children sing.

We are worth more than gold and lilies
more than the eagles, the ravens, the whale
we ache for love in our deep sadness
while it lives all around us in the light.

May we stop and breathe today
for we are loved beyond measure
children precious in God's sight
surrounded by arms that embrace us all.

Arms that embrace the broken and incomplete
the angry, the sorrowing and the lost
love that lifts us up beyond this pain
arms that hold us as we cry and as we dance.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Rust Consume


Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
“No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” Matthew 6:19-24 

Rust Consume

Everything and everyone is crossing over
nothing is forever, we can hold onto nothing
we are all fading away even as stardust and ashes
Yet even at the grave we make our song Alleluia.

The precious treasures of our lives today
are screaming in the hallway, whining at school
losing their socks and teeth, staying up too late
the golden gifts surround us and we are rich.

We often envy those who are at the heap's top
yet they fear losing ground in every moment 
they try to look young and keep their wealth
while love fades away and turns to dust.

We know the fragility and brokenness of life
we are here but briefly and then taken away
love endures beyond life and understanding
run, embrace love for it has come to stay.

Life and beauty, wealth and status fade
yet even at the grave we make our song Alleluia!



 

Friday, September 29, 2017

Gather From the Four Winds - St. Michael and All Angels


And if anyone says to you at that time, “Look! Here is the Messiah!” or “Look! There he is!”—do not believe it. False messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce signs and omens, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But be alert; I have already told you everything.
 ‘But in those days, after that suffering,
the sun will be darkened,
   and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from heaven,
   and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in clouds” with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. Mark 13:21-27


Gather From the Four Winds 

This land is holy and we who walk it
know ourselves to never be alone
the ancestors walk with us this day
and surround us with their beauty.

This water is holy for life, for baptism
we know we are surrounded when we dive
deep into these holy waters, holy spaces
we are nestled in the love of our Creator.

Every breath, every exhale is a sacred gift
life being shared and moved beyond us
the visible and invisible dance in the day
dreaming at night of mending the circle.

We might shatter fragile bonds of love
hurl insults to the air, sky and to the sea
yet we only damage ourselves when we do
we leave this sacred circle and mourn.

Yet never far from our discontent is love
never beyond our grasp is new freedom
the holy ones, ancient and present here
gather to teach us to dance the circle again.



Thursday, September 28, 2017

Seen By Your Father


Jesus said, “Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.
“So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
“And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
“And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18 

Seen By Your Father 

Returning home and we are known
by sight and sound and our very breath
we who grieve and ache in silence
find our selves embraced and wanted.

We are those who are not highly regarded
our hidden prayers do not receive fame
we are not celebrated on any screens
we are beloved children of a loving father.

For some it is not enough to be loved
they need celebrity and sensation daily
that will never feed their deepest need
and will never be heard in deep silence.

For we are known in our deep silence
 loved beyond measure in the whispers
the prayers we say as we scrub and toil
the words we mouth as we serve others.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Responsibility


Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.” Matthew 5:21-26 

 A Prayer for Responsibility

Dear God, Creator of our sacred circle, this home we share,

Give us new eyes to see the  beauty all around us and the brokenness we have caused.
Give us new hands to embrace the strangers among us and to mend the wounds and tears we have inflicted.
Give us ears to listen with our whole hearts to those who live off the land and to those who extract resources.

Teach us to depend on you alone as we learn how interdependent our lives truly are.
Teach us to listen when we ache to speak and to humbled ourselves when others speak.
Teach us the love which you would have us share broadly this and every day.

You are the one who seeks out the lost, binds our wounds and liberates the prisoner;
help us to know you as we serve in the name of your beloved son Jesus
Amen.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Doing and Teaching


Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17-20 

Tomorrow many bishops and some spouses will be flying out to villages from Fairbanks for a day visit. We will listen and celebrate with the people. We all have much more to learn than we have to teach. Many who will travel have never traveled to remote villages and imagine an experience like something from the previous century. It will be a gift to be with the people of Tanana tomorrow, however briefly. I expect my understanding of present day life of Indigenous people in Alaska will change after this trip. I have so much more to learn, even as an Indigenous person. So little to give, except love, and so much to be given by their welcome.

Jesus, speaking to his followers didn't want them act or behave in a superior fashion. Even if they felt they had received a great gift in knowing him, he expected from them even greater humility and compassion. A willingness to be patient and forbearing with all, helping everyone in their journey. A life lived for others.

Today, as we set out, I ask God to help me live this day, and every day, humbly and with great compassion. May my energy for and patience with others be steady and strong. May we all live for others so that they may know the truly loving heart of God.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Light Has Dawned



 Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the lake, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
‘Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali,
   on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
the people who sat in darkness
   have seen a great light,
and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death
   light has dawned.’
From that time Jesus began to proclaim, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Matthew 4:12-17


Light Has Dawned

It was a dark night with rain
the wind howled through the cedars
the end seemed near and justified
and we cried out in fear and panic.

These storms of our lives
so cruelly fierce and unrelenting
a rabid dog biting down
tearing us down and apart.

The sea reached up covering us
we were sure to drown at night
the wind persisted beyond all
we said our what were our final prayers.

Yet the morning light did shock us
we awoke to birds singing again
there is new life after such destruction
we will hope in the Lord and never fear.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Not By Bread Alone


Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’ But he answered, ‘It is written,
“One does not live by bread alone,
   but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

 Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,
“He will command his angels concerning you”,
   and “On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.”

Jesus said to him, ‘Again it is written, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”

 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! for it is written,
“Worship the Lord your God,
   and serve only him.”

Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him. Matthew 4:1-11


I had the privilege of serving as celebrant yesterday in St. Peter's Cathedral here in Helena. Father Paul Bresnahan, who is acting dean, preached and what a moving sermon it was. It was of course all about forgiveness and I spent most of the day thinking about forgiveness in light of recent evidence of rising racial hatred, swastikas and 666 defacing St. James' in Bozeman, and many other moments in our present reality. It is easy to be angry. It is easy to be hungry as well. We can move to hate, and feed our faces, but we rarely move to prayerfulness and forgiveness.

Jesus is tempted by the devil after more than a month of prayer and fasting. We would all be delirious and probably vulnerable. I know I would. Yet Jesus faces the temptation of stuffing himself, getting his rightful authority and honors by reciting the language of prayer and love he has known since the beginning. He prayed the psalms and held them close at his worst moments. Today we are invited by God to hold close when we are tempted to anger and hate, hold close to those words and actions that draw us into the heart of God.

Today I ask God to help me be faithful in the face of temptation. May we all draw close to the heart of God by refusing to give into the real temptations of anger and hate with forgiveness and love.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Beloved



Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”Matthew 3:13-17

Beloved


Darling you are precious and wanted
The world may reject and despise
yet beloved and sought out daily
Perfect in the sight of love's eyes

And imperfect mother might criticize
A human Father might bluster and yell
We love only partially today
Yet God loves perfectly always.

This is our whole family story
despite our shallow whining
The Creator of all smiles on us
And delights in our human creation.

We are because of one
All beloved in God's eyes
Loved beyond time and space
shaped of star dust and infinity.










Friday, September 15, 2017

God Is Able


In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.'” Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
“I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3:1-12

God Is Able

You seem to expect miracles from me
yet I am simply a woman, a mother
a follower of the living God who moves
within us and around us God is able.

We cannot breathe without creation
we cannot function without love
we are nothing short of needy and soft
yet even we are made strong as God is able.

The fires and floods surround us all
we have messed with the world too much
we have not cleaned up our mess for years
we cannot renew the earth yet God is able.

We often stand like stones with fear
we often trembled in our frozen state
life often overwhelms us as we get stuck
yet helping us move again our God is able.






Thursday, September 14, 2017

God So Loved the World


Jesus said, “Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:11-17

God So  Loved the World

Oh tender little one when you began
I held you in my hands and marveled
I wept at your beauty and perfection
and you cried in need with all your breath.

I watched over you in the night time
snuck in while you slept to check
put my face close to yours smiling
you never knew how close I was.

You grew into a beauty and intellect
you pushed back against rules and time
I watched as you found you voice
I hovered as you bent from many mistakes.

This tender creation always breaks my heart
you run far from the love that created you
thinking your strength and beauty is yours alone
unaware of the tender mercies afforded you.4



Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Wise Men


In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd my people Israel.’ ”

Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road. Matthew 2:1-12

Yesterday I flew from my home in Boston to my home in Montana. I always marvel at how different our places and spaces are, and how quickly we move from place to place. Some many of us notice so little, these days, distracted by our phones and other devices that we never even look up or notice the world. I always wonder how much more we would see if we took our time and noticed the world around us completely. There might be more artists in this world, there might be more songs and there definitely would be more poems and wonder.

The wise men from the east come to see Jesus after visiting with Herod. Their journey began when they observed the star. Then they had to travel many weeks and maybe months over hazardous terrain, through hostile regions and among people, cultures and languages so different from their own. All of this to find the child king, who became a dangerous threat to Herod. They found Jesus, after continuing to follow the star, with his humble parents, in their humble make shift dwelling, not being able to return home. This small family would become refugees because of the violent threats on the child's life. I imagine that those expensive gifts might have sustained that small family while in Egypt. God invites us today to  notice that strangers brought honor to the child, and that politics caused the living God to become a refugee. God invites us to take notice of our world, so that we might see the living presence of God among us today.

Today I ask God to help me pay attention to God's presence in my every moment. May we look up and see the stars that guide us and look around and see God's love among us.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Terror and Amazement Seized Them


When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint Jesus. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.” So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
Now after he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went out and told those who had been with him, while they were mourning and weeping. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it. Mark 16:1-8 

Terror and Amazement 

Oh we went out with tears in our eyes
dreading but doing our final duties
we came to wash and embalm his body
there was only a bright angel in his place.

We had been through the worst week ever
from delight and joy in Jerusalem's streets
to the worst of violence, deception and greed
we only brought our final sad offerings.

The jars of ointment flew from our hands
one of us sunk to her knees is terror
could we possibly hope for such a promise
could we be the recipients of such miracles?

No one believed us when we ran home
our aging legs becoming young again
our hope and fear carried us along
we saw love which we thought was gone.

Love eternal and yet often unseen
we cling to solid objects and shun it often
tortured and buried and yet rising again
love has come again and we will sing.