Monday, June 30, 2014

Day #180

June 29, 2014

A tradition continued today. For many years, the June or July meeting of the Women of the ELCA is a pool party/cookout at a member’s home. Today was that day. Many folks gathered for a nice afternoon of fellowship, food and relaxation.

Hmmm...seems a theme may be beginning in my summer. Just saying. :-)


Day #179

June 28, 2014

There is a myth in my world - that summer brings lazy, restful, relaxing days. So far this summer (since Memorial Day) has been anything but lazy and relaxing. Full, packed and busy better describe at least the last couple of weeks.

Although, please understand, "I’m not complaining, I'm just saying." There is a history to that saying. It became popular for me from a youth mission trip a couple of years ago. As we have taken these trips, our practice has been to have prayer before we climb into the vans to begin the trip.

And to take a few moments to lay down some basic ground rules. One of them a couple of years ago was NO complaining. We were going to be doing hot, dirty work, so if the leaders couldn’t, or wouldn’t, complain, then no one could. Well, not surprising, it wasn’t thirty minutes down the road before someone made some sort of complaint (what it was is long lost to memory), but the rule keepers quickly pointed out the mistake. “Hey,” the youth defended, “I’m not complaining, I’m just saying!” It became the saying of the trip, and one I have used many times since.

So, as I said, "I’m just saying," about these busy days. But, it does mean that when there is opportunity to spend some of a day just relaxing a little, it is very much appreciated! And I had that today. Yea!!


Day #178

June 27, 2014

Today was one of those “one word” days: prayerful.

Seems to be there are many folks with needs, concerns and thanksgivings.

What are the things you are praying about today?


Friday, June 27, 2014

Day #177

June 26, 2014

The Daylilies are in full bloom. These are amazing flowers. Every year they come back to produce blooms that literally last for just one day. At the end of the day the blooms die and make room for more blooms the next day, until the season is done.

Members of the congregation I serve have their garden listed on a nearby tour this year. They have dozens and dozens of varieties - all shapes and colors - each having its own name. The deep crimson pictured below, however, is part of a bed they have named: Our Lost Children. Seems the individual names somehow were lost in the shuffle of transporting and planting, so several reside together without identification. They remind me of the pillars of scripture who were never named - the woman at the well, for example - yet shine just as brightly.
This one with the crimson center (my favorites are the deeper colors) is named: Master of Eternity.
This final shot doesn’t do justice to a corner bed showing the variety of color and majesty of these flowers. What a joy to visit this beautiful garden and be welcomed by such gracious hosts. Certainly God has created beauty for us to simply enjoy - even if only for one day at a time.

Day #176

June 25, 2014

It’s the little things that sometimes mean so much. Yesterday at Bible Study I mentioned how the air conditioning wasn’t working well in the offices. Today, the property chair had the technician out to check it.

Thank you!!! The commitment and conscientiousness of the members of the body of Christ, the church, is amazing! And thank you for helping the offices be more comfortable!!


Day #175

June 24, 2014

Today marked the halfway point of Vacation Bible School. How inspiring it is to watch the volunteers and participants learn about God and celebrate being with one another.

Also, I want to personally say THANK YOU to all those who give of their time and talents to ensure this week happens. It is important work you are doing!


Day #174

June 23, 2014

Last night we began a week of Vacation Bible School with two local congregations. What fun to be with folks from different backgrounds of faith, yet neighbors, friends and co-learners. The pastor of the other two congregations and I are taking turns facilitating the adult class. Tonight was his turn to lead and one of the comparisons he made reminded me of the recent hike up Craggy Pinnacle during Campfirmation (see day #170).

Tonight we were talking about the growth of faith that comes in the midst of difficult or challenging times. He related how someone once told him to notice that often when you hike up a mountain, the vegetation at the higher elevation becomes more stunted and sparse the further you go. It’s like the trees are unable to grow but so high and the plants struggle to thrive. The wind on top is more fierce, the temperatures cooler, and growing is more difficult. Yet, as you come down the mountain, the trees grow taller, the plants are greener and the vegetation more densely populated. The conditions in the valley, it seems, are right for growth.

The comparison was pointed out to our life of faith. When we are on the mountaintops, growth can be more difficult. I related it to being harder for me to step out of the way and let God grow me on the mountaintops. Said another way, when things are going well and I am riding high, so to speak, I tend to think I am in control and in charge. It’s hard for God to get a foot in the door. Yet, when things are tough or challenging or frightening, I am more open and willing to God, even begging for God to take charge. It is in the valleys where God’s glory, might and wonder-working power grow in me as faith, trust and hope. The vegetation of faith thrives.

This was a beautiful, and timely, comparison. At what places or times is your faith most likely to grow?


Day #173

June 22, 2014

Such a busy day - from one thing to the next to the next. Normally, I would rejoice in days like today. Being busy, having important things to do and celebrate feeds my soul. But it’s been day after day of such, and my body and my mind, are becoming weary.

A friend reminded me today of something important - in the midst of the busyness, especially the really busy days, remember to take just five minutes and spend them with God. Bask in God’s glory, rest in God’s peace. Be rejuvenated by God.

It’s amazing how refreshing and refocusing just those few minutes can be. Won’t you try it? Remember, God is always beckoning us to come and rest in peace and love.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Day #172

June 21, 2014

The theme for the camp I’ve been talking about all week is the seasons of the church year:
     A - Advent
     C - Christmas
     E - Epiphany
     L - Lent
     E - Easter
     P - Pentecost
Which all week we say spells the word ACELEP (not really a word, but we make it one). Well, in closing worship today, the pastor pointed out that all week we have been wrong. A-C-E-L-E-P really spells...Jesus. Well, not actually, but here is how he explains it.

All year long, the different seasons (ACELEP) really point to one thing - Jesus. In Advent, we have hope in the coming of Jesus Christ and focus on preparing the way for him. In Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, God come into the world. In Epiphany, we have Jesus revealed to us as light of the world through particular scripture readings. In Lent, we are encouraged to turn from our selfish ways and rely on Jesus. In Easter, we celebrate God’s win over sin, death and the devil through Jesus’ death and resurrection. In Pentecost, we celebrate Jesus sending the Holy Spirit to lead, guide and direct us in our lives and throughout the season, focus on ways Jesus spoke to our faith and life in Christ.

So...A-C-E-L-E-P really does spell Jesus. All the time, every day, every hour, our lives celebrate Jesus. Pretty cool intersections!

And, by the way, the wedding was beautiful. The bride and groom planned really well and it was truly a worship service, filled with joy and celebration.


Day #171

June 20, 2014

Where did the week go!? Before you can turn around, Friday comes and the last full day of camp is here. Except, I’m headed down the mountain for a wedding rehearsal. Which, for me, is just as exciting as finishing up camp week.

A delightful couple has been planning for nearly a year for their “big day.” I am honored to have been asked to marry them, to share in the beginning of their marriage, and to wish them well. Weddings always remind me of the relationship covenant I made with my husband over twenty-five years ago.

And this trip for rehearsal means a little more. I get to see my husband and he gets to ride back up the mountain with me to be at camp for closing worship on Saturday morning. Love that extra together time!


Day #170

June 19, 2014

It was outing day at Campfirmation. History tells me that having rain on outing day is typical, even expected. Today was no exception. Well, except that the rain came before we started cooking.

Let me explain. As we waited at the bottom of the trail we planned to hike up to Craggy Pinnacle, we watched a storm roll in. So, based on the wisdom of those making decisions, we decided to try doing the cookout before the hike - a slight change of plans. As we headed to the picnic area, the bottom dropped out and it rained, hard. There we sat, in the vehicles, hoping it would quickly blow over.

After what seemed a reasonable amount of time, the adults became antsy. Even if the rain stopped, how would it get dry enough to cook on the grills? Did we have enough time to even try? Most importantly, did we have enough charcoal?

Bottom line, the  rain did stop enough for it to be decided we would go ahead and cook. In fact, we had a really nice cookout. Then, as the sun was coming out from behind the clouds, another decision was made - to go back and try the hike.
Wow! As you can tell from the picture, it was a beautiful walk up and back - and the view and time of worship at the top were simply amazing. Without doubt, it was well worth the wait!

As we headed down the trail, the leader who had taken a chance by making the decisions to cook and take the hike said something like, “I was planning in chronos time, but God had a kairos moment in mind.”

What he meant - he had things planned as he thought they should go, but God had some quality time in mind that would not have happened or worked out had the first plan taken place. Being on the pinnacle near sunset was a moment in time unmatched by anything we humans could have created. Truly God moments of basking in God’s amazing creation!


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Day #169

June 18, 2014

Yesterday I talked about an answer to the question, “Does Jesus ever surprise you?” I had a surprise today that came at just the right time and in just the right way.

We took the youth on a Service Project Outing today. We walked next door to a retirement village and half the group spent time talking with residents, while the other half helped with worship and also had conversations. While talking with two delightful ladies, one said to me, “You really love what you do, don’t you?” I said, yes ma'am, I do. Then she said, “You can tell. It just shows.”

Just when I was hot, tired, and somewhat frustrated and discouraged, the joy of Christ was still shining through, enough so that the joy was visible to others.

How surprising of Jesus to bless me with encouragement when that was what I/we were supposed to be giving to others. But then, that’s just how this whole loving others thing usually goes. We receive way more than we ever give!


Day #168

June 17, 2014

One of the topics we talked about today at Campfirmation was an answer to the question, “Does Jesus ever surprise you?”

Now, the youth didn’t have too much to say in response to this question. We’re still in the beginning stages of getting them to talk, share, and engage in discussion. But it got me to thinking. How could I answer that question in any other way than, YES! All the time!

For example, whenever I think that life has backed me in a corner and I cannot see a way out, I can be surprised by a phone call or email that gives me an idea or a way to accomplish exactly what I need to, with no doubt about where it initiated.

Often where Jesus surprises me the most is in his unconditional love. Over and over I am given chance after chance, forgiveness after forgiveness, healing after healing. It’s truly amazing how Jesus loves me. And loves you.

How might you have been surprised by Jesus recently?


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Day #167

June 16, 2014

It is only Monday and I have sat down and gotten up from the floor more in the last twenty-four plus or minus hours than I have in the whole last year. It’s Campfirmation week and we spend a LOT of time up and down, singing, praying, learning, getting stuff, etc.

I couldn’t help but remember last year’s mission trip with the Senior Youth. One of the younger folks on the trip made this comment: “Have you ever noticed that the age of a person is directly related to the time it takes them to get up off the floor?”

Haha! So I can’t just sit down and get up without a little extra time and effort. But I’m doing it. And for these confirmation kids, I would do it over and over and over in a heartbeat - and enjoy every minute of seeing them encounter God-moments - Daily Intersections. Praise the Lord!


Day #166

June 15, 2014 - The Daily Intersection - Day #166

Father’s Day. There must have been a thousand pictures on Facebook today of fathers. Even my own father-in-law made it to Facebook. He was a great guy, lots of fun, hardworking and hard-playing, and I was honored to be his favorite daughter-in-law (his only, by the way).

My father, however, didn’t get posted today. He and I had our trying times as I became a teenager and well into adulthood. He did his best, I truly believe, and taught me some wonderful life lessons, but he wasn’t always my hero. Fortunately, I have other father figures in my life who have helped me in that regards.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I loved my father and respected him and would have done anything I could to help care for him (and did much in his later years). But he wasn’t the man, according to what my granny said, that he was before he went to war. It changed him. It hardened him. I wish I had known the man in this picture.

The one who was God-loving, kind, and patient. I can’t judge the first of those attributes, because he just never talked about God (as I said, I am thankful to have other father figures in my life who are my heroes in the faith).

So, I do honor the man my father was as I knew him: his business savvy, his penchant for doing things the right way, his neatness, and that he expected a lot from me.

Happy Father’s Day!


Day #165

June 14, 2014

Today marks the 6th anniversary of our Godson’s mother’s ordination. What a joyous moment. After three years of class-time in seminary, helping one another, working closely with one another, she was ordained June 14, 2008.

Lots of things have happened and changed in these six years. Marriage, two handsome, smart, sweet and loving sons, a new house, illness, death, celebrations, trips, etc., etc. But there is one thing that hasn’t changed - how proud we are of her and that we love her. And her whole family.

Happy Anniversary, dear!! May God continue to bless and guide you in your ministry and your life.

Day #164

June 13, 2014

The last words in the 28th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew (verses 16-20) hold much comfort for me (this is the gospel lesson for June 15th). Here the disciples go to the mountain where Jesus directed them and there they see Jesus: the resurrected, risen, living Lord - post-crucifixion and empty tomb. And when they saw him, they were overcome with awe and worshiped him. I like to think they fell at his feet in honor, respect, and joy. But….we also read….some doubted. 

Isn’t seeing believing? Don’t we find it easier to believe the things we can see with our own eyes? “Show me” are two words common in our culture. Show me you can do that back-flip. Show me you can add that column of numbers in your head. Do it and then I’ll believe that you can.

However, seeing isn’t always believing. But...some doubted they could believe their eyes. But...some doubted they were worthy to carry on the ministry. But...some doubted this was real and not some crazy, long, convoluted dream.

So where is the comfort in their doubt? At the times when I have my own. Some say to me, we shouldn’t question God. Some say we should always trust, have faith and believe. Yes, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can. But...sometimes I get in the way of myself. Sometimes I have moments of doubt, and knowing the disciples did, too, is a great comfort. I also find doubt is like a warning sign for me. When I’m having those moments of either self-doubt or God-doubt, that’s the time for more prayer, more quiet with God, and more study. And not one single time has God ever let me down or not helped me.

Which are the other words of great comfort in these last verses in the Gospel of Matthew, as Jesus promises, “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Can’t get any better!!!


Friday, June 13, 2014

Day #163

June 12, 2014
 Tomorrow is Friday the 13th AND a full moon. It’s a rare occurrence, evidently, since the next time that this happens, so I understand, will be in the year 2049. And I wonder how many years have only one Friday the 13th? This is one of those years - but next year has three. Oh boy!

I can’t say that I’m overly superstitious. A little maybe, but more just intrigued by those “rare” occurrences. Like when the date is all the same number like 1/1/11. Or how things sometimes happen in 3s. Those kinds of things. Maybe it comes from having a name that is the same forward and backward. That doesn’t happen all that often, so I figure it’s pretty special.

So I’ll think of the full moon on Friday the 13th as “special,” too. And I wonder, what will you do on that “special” day? Maybe it's a "special" day to tell someone how much God loves them...


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Day #162

June 11, 2014

It was a bittersweet Choir Rehearsal this evening. We had planned to have one more before taking a couple month hiatus for the summer, but with little to work on, our Choir Director/Director of Music surprised us by suggesting we make this our last one. That is sweet - having that extra time on Wednesday evenings is always welcome. is not so sweet in that it is the last one we will have with our current Director of Music. Much to our dismay, he has taken another position he couldn’t refuse. Well, he could have, but even I couldn’t recommend he do so. So, taken off guard tonight, we just sort of sighed and said goodnight. After all, we still have a couple of Sundays before he is actually gone, so we still have opportunity to say goodbye. He will be missed!!!

Thank you for your work among us! Godspeed in your next adventure!


Day #161

June 10, 2014

Last night and tonight, I spent the better part of four hours each facilitating the training of a Call Committee. A couple of years ago, I was trained by the Synod to be a trainer of committees that are formed in our denomination's congregations to be the front line spiritual discernment group for calling a pastor to a congregation where there is a vacancy. (The final discernment of calling a pastor is determined by a congregational vote, but a Call Committee is responsible for identifying the person to be recommended for vote.)

It has been my pleasure to train several of these groups so far, and I am always inspired and encouraged by doing so. It is also a time for learning about myself, honing leadership skills, and watching the Holy Spirit at work. Generally these groups consist of between six to eight people, who may have served in their congregations for many years in various capacities, but have come together in this particular configuration for a particular task. Bringing the group to cohesiveness is one of the major goals and anticipated outcomes of the training, along with helping them prepare for conducting conversations with candidates (pastors in the process of seeking calls).

So I give thanks for another of these opportunities and pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance of these wonderful news friends in ministry I have met.


Day #160

June 9, 2014

The Daily Intersection found its way to FaceBook yesterday. Encouraged by the Sunday School Class I so enjoy, I took the leap to truly “go public.” I reflected again today on my hesitancy to put my musings “out there.” What I have decided is that I need to BE BOLD in expressing my musings of where faith and life intersect. Certainly more bold than I am. Perhaps, in my introverted nature, I rely too heavily on living the life instead of using words. But, it is vital to use both in sharing the joy of Jesus in my life and the lives of those I am called to serve.

Thank you for encouraging me. And I pray God continues to inspire me to BE BOLD in sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ - in whatever way I can.


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Day #159

June 8, 2014
Without doubt, the Daily Intersection today was witnessing two young folks affirm their faith using these words:

You have made public profession of your faith. Do you intend to continue in the covenant God made with you in holy baptism:
    to live among God’s faithful people,
    to hear the word of God and share in the Lord’s supper,
    to proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed,
    to serve all people following the example of Jesus,
    and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth?
To which they each responded, I do, and I ask God to help and guide me.

This is the Holy Spirit at work! I’m so honored to have witnessed this affirmation and walked with them in confirmation classes these last two years. Thanks be to God! And how exciting to dream of where God may guide them in the future!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Day #158

June 7, 2014

I followed with interest the election for a new bishop in another synod as they held their assembly yesterday and today. The process for the election is completed by ecclesiastical ballot, meaning that any active pastor in the ELCA is eligible to be included on the first ballot. Once the names listed are verified, a certain number of those with the most “votes” are carried forward to the next ballot. The process continues until there is a clear winner based on percentage of votes (please note, this is a very brief and simplified description of the process).

What is perhaps the most important part of this process, however, is the reliance on prayer and the work of the Holy Spirit to bring forth names and votes. It is an amazing process to watch and/or be a part of. The election was completed in that synod and a new bishop-elect has been chosen. It is someone who most folks seemed not to expect or to have thought much about until the process began. It’s a clear indication that the Holy Spirit is at work in the process.

Our synod will be going through a similar process next year. Already people have begun to wonder who the next bishop will be. A colleague, in her blog, appealed for a stop to this wondering, along with any activity of “campaigning.” “Is there any way we can stop all of these side conversations before the assembly,” she asked. “Like the disciples who were told to wait on the Spirit before the Day of Pentecost, let’s allow the Spirit to do what she does so well. Let’s wait and be surprised,” she continued.

Lots to think about on the Eve of Pentecost, don’t you think?!


Day #157

June 6, 2014
June 6, 1904. The day my Grandma was born, 110 years ago. That sounds impossible. The vibrant, loving, amazing woman who loved me so, and who I absolutely adored, would have have been 110 today?! I remembered almost as soon as I woke up. But then, I remembered the other part, the worst part. It has been over thirty years since she died. How could that be?! It still feels like it was yesterday.

On that day, I was at a meeting at the church when my mother called me to come, as soon as I could get there. When I arrived, she was putting clothes in the washing machine, the most routine of tasks. But as I parked and came into the carport, she turned and looked at me with the most empty, horrifying look on her face. What happened, I asked. Mother died, she wailed, about an hour ago. It was sudden. It was totally unexpected. After all, she had just mowed her grass (with a push mower) the day before at the active “young” age of 79.

My life, along with most of my family’s lives, nearly stopped for almost a year. Oh, we went through the motions of living, but it was hollow. That’s the nature of grieving. Then today, some thirty-plus years later, I still shed a few tears as I remembered her birthday.

My grandma was the first person I really remember telling me about God. She loved God so. And I know she prayed for me, the unchurched youngster and teenager I was. She rejoiced when I finally joined a church, even though it wasn’t of her denomination (they do read the Bible, she asked me, don’t they?!). We had some wonderful conversations about faith in my early years.

Grandma lived about an hour away. No matter when I went, she always seemed glad to see me. In the summers, after I became a teen, I would get to spend a week with her. Those were times I will never forget. Almost everyday we went somewhere: the zoo; the local grocery store (I still love the Piggly Wiggly because she made it such an adventure); shopping; visiting relatives; the park. And there was almost always an ice cream treat included in the day. She kept us busy and I’m sure I wore her out. But she never, ever complained or seemed ready for me to leave.

And we would laugh. At the silliest things. And spend hours swinging on the front porch, watching the traffic go by on the way to and from the beach (she lived on what used to be the main road to the coast). We worked in the garden, cooked and baked, and every afternoon, we each had a “pony” Coca-Cola. Just one a day.

Oh, and I cannot forget the train. Grandma’s house was so cool because the track was literally in her backyard. As soon as I heard the whistle, twice a day with punctual regularity, I would run through the house, down the back steps, and into the yard to wave and hope the conductor would blow the whistle for me. I never got too old for that adventure. And she would just laugh at my enthusiasm.

The memories are as clear as if they were yesterday. My love for her as deep as ever. My missing her as bittersweet. Happy Birthday, Grandma! I love you!


Friday, June 6, 2014

Day #156

June 5, 2014

It was “getting out of school” time today as I was going from one place to another. So, of course, I got behind a school bus full of young folks, really young, coming home after a long day of school.

At the first stop, a woman was waiting at the end of the driveway to walk with the little boy to the house. It made me kind of sad, though, as she continued to talk on her cell from the time the bus arrived until they continued up the drive. At the next stop, a little girl got off all by herself and had no one waiting, although she went up the driveway twirling her arms and skipping along. Then, before the last stop while I was following, there was a hill running alongside the road. At the top of the hill was a little dog, much like the one in the picture. As the bus went by, his ears perked up and he started off in the direction it was going, running faster the further it went. By the time it almost stopped, he was in a full run with his ears laid back, and his tail and tongue competing for the most vigorous wag. Before the door opened, the little dog had caught up. Off came three young girls and the dog went crazy. He was running around them, wrapping himself around their legs - so excited to see them.

It made me smile. Someone once wrote something like: no wonder “dog” was named as it was - after all, backwards it spells God. The giver of unconditional love. The giver of unconditional welcome home.

Now, doesn’t that just make you smile, too?!

Day #155

June 4, 2014

At the monthly Seniors Luncheon, the host pastor shares devotions. The pastor today shared a story of an actual event that happened to him at a movie theater recently. It was quite entertaining. Yet, at its core, the story poked fun at older folks. Let me say, though, that this pastor has the knack for telling a story in such a way that, even though it was sort of picking on many of the folks in the room, there was much laughter. He can tell a story that well.

Perhaps, however, the credit should go to those in the room - the folks who gather together once a month to enjoy excellent potluck food they prepare, wonderful fellowship, cares and celebrations. They have such a spirit of joy and love for one another (and respect for their pastors) that they can laugh at themselves.

Let me say this, too, these meetings are one of the highlights of my month! Their spirit is contagious and I always leave uplifted. May I have that much energy, joy, and commitment as I mature!


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Day #154

June 3, 2014

Have to say, some days just making connections and seeing folks smile is a moment of Intersection. Having gotten behind (again!) in visiting, I’m working to catch up. Both folks today were gracious and seemed genuinely glad to have me come. What more can you ask for?!

And, of course, sharing Holy Communion with them makes the time most special. Is there a better Intersection than the body and blood of Jesus Christ, given and shed for you? I don’t think so!!


Day #153

June 2, 2014

WHAT!? While getting ready to leave the house today, I heard perhaps the most ridiculous claim of a product ever!

Let me say, I rarely pay much attention to ads in commercials in the first place, but for some reason this one caught my attention. Because I am directly quoting the commercial, I will include the product name: “ProNamel is definitely helping me to lead the life that I want to live.” (I had to back up the commercial twice to make sure I heard it right.)

WHAT?! Seriously?! Did a toothpaste just claim to be what can help me to lead the life I want to live?! A TOOTHPASTE?!

Please understand, I’m not trying to knock a brand name or even an advertising company, but when we are encouraged to put our faith in some product to help us lead the life we want to live, I’m almost at a loss for words.

Except these: what about God leading me to live the life God intends for me to live?! Just saying!


Monday, June 2, 2014

Day #152

June 1, 2014

Sunday morning and Coffee and Conversation. What a joy to spend some time catching up with each other about our week and reflecting on God’s presence in the joys and struggles. Sometimes we just have to laugh, too. Today was a time of laughter, hearty, belly-laughter, over surprise encounters with God’s creatures. Shall we say, the less appreciated ones?!

Some may wonder what that might have to do with scripture or God. Well, don’t we all have a need for some good, cleansing laughter? It’s the best medicine. Laughing at our ourselves, our situations, can help bring perspective. Also, sharing stories about funny things can help us learn to share stories about more serious things. Either way, it’s all about getting to know one another. It’s about relationship. It’s about learning to “dance” as one - which Jesus prayed for in the Gospel of John, 17th chapter. That they (the disciples) may be one as he, God the Father and the Holy Spirit are one.

Sometimes it’s hard to understand Jesus’ prayer, because we are not all one. At least not in thought. The disciples certainly were not. The church as a whole today certainly is not. Even individual congregations can be far from one on particular issues or activities. Was Jesus’ prayer not answered?

Hardly. Somehow the disciples (and the church today) were somewhere and in some way, one. Or we would not be here. Perhaps they were one when in prayer. But, as I reflected later in the day, perhaps they (and us) were really most as “one” in the celebration of the Holy Communion. We are all equal in that moment of receiving the Body of Christ, given for you and the Blood of Christ, shed for you. Amen!! 


Day #151

May 31, 2014

The forum time for today at assembly consisted of a presentation by Rev. Mike Ward. He is serving as trainer of the Companions, a critical piece of the NC Synod’s initiative, “Forward Together.” He said a couple of things that really stuck with me.

The first was: “people give to vision.” When an organization has a clear vision of where they are going and what they are doing, people respond to it, not only with their time, but with their financial resources. It seems to be that people want to know their hard-earned money is being spent wisely, and an organization with a clear vision is a good investment. Well, a vision they can be on board with. Congregations that struggle to identify what they are doing in a particular place at a particular time, well, just struggle. In many ways. It begs the often asked question (and one the initiative focuses on): what is God calling us to be in this place. What is God's vision for us?

The second I summarize this way: tell the stories of what God is doing so that others can tell them, too. In other words, get the word out. Sometimes folks have a hard time seeing the connections until they are pointed out. Not that they are not paying attention, but it’s hard to see the forest when you’re amongst the trees. It’s why I enjoy writing this blog and making a Daily Intersection - what speaks to me of God’s work in a day and how I either connect to it, or how I see someone else connecting to it. Because, if we don’t tell the stories, who will? What a tragedy they somehow be lost! And what poor stewardship of God’s gifts.

After all, isn’t that the basis of Holy Scripture. The stories being told so that others can tell them, too!!


Day #150

May 30, 2014

Today was the first of two days of the annual assembly for the NC Synod. A highlight of the event for me is reconnecting with friends and colleagues, some new and some for a very long time. Those connections mean so very much and are so important. These are people who have walked with me, supported me, challenged me, nudged me, and loved me. And certainly laughed with me. However, it isn’t unusual to hear a squeal and laughter and see folks hugging anywhere in the auditorium or on the campus grounds. It isn’t just me who reconnects - we all do.

This year’s theme for the assembly is centered around the synod initiative:

It is a focus of prayer, study and discernment of what God is calling a congregation to be in its place and planning for how it will do what it is meant to do.

Suffice it to say, it is an exciting time for the NC Synod and an exciting time for the church.