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


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

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


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


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.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Looking On From A Distance

There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. These used to follow him and provided for him when he was in Galilee; and there were many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem.
When evening had come, and since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead for some time. When he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph. Then Joseph bought a linen cloth, and taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where the body was laid. Mark 15:40-47 

Looking On From A Distance

The terror within looking on from a distance
when love and prayer cannot stop the abuse
beaten and hung on a cross among theives
the helper of all we are helpless to save.

The tears dried like ocean's salt on my face
storms within and without with no relief
the pain is not ours but the horror mine
alone in the crowd who think death a sport.

Helpless and poor, with no clout or say
governments and officials whisk the dying away
I cannot bear to see him buried quite yet
they will not let us near so we just stare.

When there is nothing left to do but see it
taking it in completely and being a part
this day of horror, sorrow and great loss
might someday transform our broken world.

Today is a day for clearly remembering
I will never forget where I was on this day
yet some will thing me foolish and weak
since really I just looked on in the distance.


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Loosed on Earth

Jesus said, “If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Matthew 18:15-20

I have been thinking about the clothes line. It was a place of toil and a place of mystery. We would come home from the beach and sit on the low brick wall, waiting our turn for the outside shower and watch the towels flap in the breeze. As children, we would hide behind the sheets and try to scare people. I was always amazed at how things changed as they were pinned to the line. They became sails and flags and places of mystery. The full clothes line was also our weather vane. We knew when a storm was coming as the wind would pick up and send formerly pinned things flying. It was time to gather everything and bring it in before the storm hit. Otherwise, they may take off and end in another yard.

Jesus instructs his disciples about life in community, both within the church and in the wider community. People sometimes read this passage as affirmation for shunning folks, but remember that  Jesus  hung with gentiles and tax collectors and made some his disciples. No one is to be lost, even if their role has to change. Compassion and care are always the rule. We are not to let the wanderers fly off and be lost but gather everyone and protect all from the storms of life. 

Today I ask God to help me be kind and loving to those who do not listen and refuse to participate. May we live as people who have been forgiven and love, willing to run out as the dark clouds amass, so that all are brought in and saved.

Grant us, O Lord, to trust in you with all our hearts; for, as you always resist the proud who confide in their own strength, so you never forsake those who make their boast of your mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

A Loud Cry

When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah.” And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!” Mark 15:33-39 

A Loud Cry

The child was born with a loud cry
breathing, wiggling and now living
joy beyond measure for the parents
a hidden fear in his mother's heart.

God had promised this tremendous gift
not just for them for the whole world
shepherds and wise men came to visit
a mother's heart shaken and amazed.

Grown and moving through the world
healing and changing hearts far and wide
sharing the good news of God's love
and his mother wanted another miracle.

There were some who welcomed him
they made him king and threw palms
others jealously plotted against him
and his mother was bent in deep fear.

That last loud cry from the cross
broke her heart and rent a curtain
her sacrifice complete as he died
that last sound she treasured and cried.

This cross is a living memory of love
love poured out, humble and complete
there was a loud cry of birth and death
the whole world was healed for us all.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Casting Lots

Then they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it. And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take.
It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!” In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also taunted him. Mark 15:22-32 

Casting Lots 

Casual insensitivity, deriding, mocking
ignoring another's visible agony
dividing the spoils of tragic life
becoming buzzards hungry for death.

Parents push children to be winners
to crush the opposition and succeed
standing at the foot of the cross again
making fun of the dying incarnate love.

We measure our lives in what we have
others will take it from us now or then
tenderness and mercy are measureless
stockpiles of kindness can never fail.

It is a safe bet that we will all die
yet how we live between no and then
a total mystery and our daily choice
to view the cross and to be transformed.

May we be ever changed into humilty
may our garments be those of respect
may we seek justice for the least here
carrying those who have been shunned again.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

What Evil Has He Done?

Pilate spoke to them again, “Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” They shouted back, “Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him!” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.
Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters); and they called together the whole cohort. And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. And they began saluting him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him. After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.
They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. Mark 15:12-21 

What Evil Has He Done?

We would simply do it all over again
stand in the crowd and shout crucify
we who do not want to admit our sin
would put to death love made flesh.

Love is love is love and always
our heart give in to rage and jealousy
we think ourselves better than others
and weep at night for our very lack.

What evil has been done, brother, sister?
is there a cause for your cruel heart
deep within we are angry and ashamed
so we make our heroes the outlaws.

The presence of love incarnate weakens us
we are humbled and afraid of its truth
we feel naked and exposed by authenticity
we cover up with bravado and blather.

Oh, come again to the foot of this cross
judge not the neighbor or the enemy
hear your trembling heart aching for love
know that your savior draws ever nearer.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017


As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” He answered him, “You say so.” Then the chief priests accused him of many things. Pilate asked him again, “Have you no answer? See how many charges they bring against you.” But Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed.
Now at the festival he used to release a prisoner for them, anyone for whom they asked. Now a man called Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder during the insurrection. So the crowd came and began to ask Pilate to do for them according to his custom. Then he answered them, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” For he realized that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. Mark 15:1-11 

When we lived in Sitka, Alaska, one of the great events of the year was the eagle release. The noble birds had all been hurt in some way and had been kept in the raptor center while they healed. The center has a high roof for the young eagles to fly back and forth in once they were well enough to spread their wings. Then at an appointed time, heavy glove clad  rangers would unband their dangerous talons and set them free. The public was invited to watch in the field at a safe distance. The birds were released, one at a time, and we marveled as they first hesitated and then found strength to soar. Most flew for a bit and then found a high branch to rest in. It seemed as if they were contemplating the reality of the freedom of their flight, looking down on all of us, so earth bound and strange. They might just have been thinking about their next meal as well.

Jesus is tested before Pilate, who seemed very reluctant to condemn  the gentle prophet. As a political ruler, he had to always plot what was best for him to stay in power. He was comfortable in his role and uncomfortable with the behavior of the religious leaders, wondering what this was all about. Relying on what he thought would be his out, he offers to release Jesus for the people. Obviously, they had other ideas. We often want to cage and abuse those who we fear, our of jealousy and pride. God's love lacks the conniving of politics, jealousy and fear. God invites us to release the gifts of love daily, rather than caging up those who make us unsettled and fearful.

Today, I ask God to help me release only love and understanding.  May our work and desire be always to set others free. May we live for justice in a world that craves power, live for love in a world that condemns what they fear and work every moment for the freedom of all.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017


While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came by. When she saw Peter warming himself, she stared at him and said, “You also were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.” But he denied it, saying, “I do not know or understand what you are talking about.” And he went out into the forecourt. Then the cock crowed. And the servant-girl, on seeing him, began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” But again he denied it. Then after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them; for you are a Galilean.” But he began to curse, and he swore an oath, “I do not know this man you are talking about.” At that moment the cock crowed for the second time. Then Peter remembered that Jesus had said to him, “Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept. Mark 14:66-72 


Oh you can stick your head in the sand
pretending that you cannot see the world
acting as if the suffering of others is in silence
demanding that gates be shut and walls built.

You can weep salty tears after the fact
after you have sold your people down river
cry as much as you want but we all know
self-preservation is your single motivation.

Someone knew you were only out for you
they have watched you all along and know
just how much honor and respect you demand
just how fearful you are of any mess or conflict.

We can all emphatically deny like Peter some days
we pretend we are compassionate and always kind
yet the heart of God is never fooled by our whimsy
the heart of God is solidly made out of love.


Monday, September 4, 2017


They took Jesus to the high priest; and all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes were assembled. Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest; and he was sitting with the guards, warming himself at the fire. Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for testimony against Jesus to put him to death; but they found none. For many gave false testimony against him, and their testimony did not agree. Some stood up and gave false testimony against him, saying, “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’” But even on this point their testimony did not agree. Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?” But he was silent and did not answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” Jesus said, “I am; and ‘you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power,’ and ‘coming with the clouds of heaven.’”
Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy! What is your decision?” All of them condemned him as deserving death. Some began to spit on him, to blindfold him, and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” The guards also took him over and beat him. Mark 14:53-65 


We are so quick to condemn others
our discomfort becoming another's fault
their difference becoming a sign of guilt
our fear turning into righteous hate.

We think ourselves so open minded
believe ourselves to be tolerant moderns
yet so quickly we turn welcome to dust
inclusion is for those who are in the club.

God used our weaknesses to show great love
the Divine bear witness to that love still
daily we have the invitation to be welcomed
as we are the foreigners in the kingdom of God.

We invoke the resurrection yet live crucifixion
those who upset us or confuse us must die
ones who differ must be the true enemy
those who healed us and brought us life must go.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Take Up Your Cross

Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?
“For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” Matthew 16:21-28

We want it easy and want to be recognized for what we do. I think being a mother, more than anything, taught me what denying myself truly meant. For the love of one of my children, I would give up anything I needed, completely without thinking. Love freed me to be selfless. When the world looks at heroes, it never looks for moms and dads just doing their everyday work. But truly,  the love for my children has taught me much about the love of God. In my very imperfect way, I learned a small understanding of God's love for us. Taking up my cross is a daily decision, and yet I do it freely and now instinctively thanks to my children, for love's sake.

Peter has just recently declared that Jesus was the Messiah. Within a very short time he rebukes Jesus and forgets the divine love that propels all of Christ's work. Because of love, he freely goes to the cross for each of us. Yet, we humans, would rather control the outcome, make things easy and comfortable, or avoid them all together. Yet love, real love, makes us face the hardest places, encourages carrying our crosses, despite how much we want to run and hide. Love helps us to stay by the dying's bedside, walk with the poor and homeless, pray with the weary and afraid. Divine love helps us to make room despite our fears, make welcome despite our discomfort, give ourselves despite our desire to preserve our lives. God, the author of all love, invites us today to take us the cross of discomfort, fear, and self-preservation and to enter this needy world for love's sake alone.

Today, I ask God to help me lift these crosses of mine again, following the One who embodied perfect love. May we all move, despite all our fears and anxieties, so that love can be born again into this needy and aching world.

The Collect

Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of your Name; increase in us true religion; nourish us with all goodness; and bring forth in us the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Running Away

 Immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; and with him there was a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, ‘The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.’ So when he came, he went up to him at once and said, ‘Rabbi!’ and kissed him. Then they laid hands on him and arrested him. But one of those who stood near drew his sword and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But let the scriptures be fulfilled.’ All of them deserted him and fled.
 A certain young man was following him, wearing nothing but a linen cloth. They caught hold of him, but he left the linen cloth and ran off naked.  Mark 14:43-52

Running Away

Oh how I wish to hide from my troubles
from the things too painful to face
aching to run from the storms that come
wishing to turn and hide from the world.

Some run away for self-preservation
some run away out of sheer fearfulness
others because it means facing the truth
yet others run to avoid being caught.

We all have turned tail, deserted and fled
all have boasted one day of great faith
the next have denied and distanced ourselves
we cannot move fast enough when we are called.

The human heart is shallow and surely fickle
always wanting to be on the winning side
yet we are losers and part of the outcast
we are loved because of our true brokenness.

The Sheep Will Be Scattered - Feast of David P. Oakerhater

And Jesus said to them, “You will all become deserters; for it is written,
‘I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep will be scattered.’
But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter said to him, “Even though all become deserters, I will not.” Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, this day, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” But he said vehemently, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And all of them said the same.
They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. And he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.” And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. He said, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.” He came and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour? Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to say to him. He came a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.” Mark 14:27-42

The Sheep Will Be Scattered - in honor of St. David P. Oakerhater

Working in the field of broken promises
from church and government to the people
like scattered sheep without a shepherd
we serve the lost, forgotten and denied.

From Oklahoma to the Dakotas to Alaska
Montana, Minnesota, Virginia, Alabama
we looked the other way when progress rolled
denying our people their languages and land.

Yet there were those who were always faithful
released from jail they went back home
to honor the Divine and restore their people
to love beyond measure and live without fear.

Let us honor those sainted before us
who faced down ignorance and correction
who offered love in the face of abuse
who shared and lifted up when beaten down.

Those times have changed they change little
still left in the margin are our tribal people
we will not be put in museums and sideshows
we will thrive among the ones who would conquer.