Saturday, February 21, 2015

Day #417

February 21, 2015

Two moments of intersection occurred to me today. The first, it snowed. Which is not too surprising, but as my husband and I walked along on the sidewalk to run an errand, we noticed the unusual texture of the snow as it fell. Look, I thought, we're being welcomed to the west again. It’s snowing GRITS.

Now tell me,
my southern rooted friends,
doesn’t this look a lot like
a bowl of fine grits?!

The second thing was a line from a book I’m reading for Book Club called Down the Long Hills: “The boy had learned his lessons well, and was recalling now things he needed to know.” Well, isn’t that the idea behind prayer, study, and worship - Christian disciplines we especially focus on during the Season of Lent? So that we learn? So that we have some basics to reassure us when it is needed? So that when life weighs heavy, we are reminded of Who has claimed us, Who loves us without limits, and Who will always be with us? Yes, there is more to prayer, study, and worship than just something we should do or have to do.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Day #416

February 20, 2015

It isn’t the first time I have included ice cream in my blog. It’s one of my favorite foods, and while it is not exactly in line with a diet, or really a Daily Intersection of faith and life, it's good stuff. And sometimes a splurge is necessary, making it a time to be thankful for a “sweet” gift.

So, who knew Dairy Queen was now serving CHERRY dip cones? Not me. Oh, what I’ve been missing.
(image borrowed from the internet - but mine looked just as good - and was really, really yummy!)


Day #415

February 19, 2015

In my years of ordained ministry, I have placed the sign of the cross on the foreheads of many, and in varied circumstances: at baptism, near death, in moments when reminders of God’s love and grace were needed, and certainly on Ash Wednesday. The ages of those receiving this sign, especially in the form of ashes, vary from the very young to the very advanced in age.

Each person is special, each reminder holy, each mark one of trust and reliance in having been claimed by God in this life and forever. And while I have made the mark and been honored to look into the eyes of those receiving it, I have not often seen a photo and was touched to see this one. Deeply.


Day #414

February 18, 2015

And the Season of Lent begins again with Ash Wednesday. Lent is a season in the church year with a focus on penitence and reflection, a time of intentional focus on our lives of faith. I wrote this description as I thought about Lent, so I share it here:
On Ash Wednesday, we receive ashes traced on our foreheads in the shape of a cross. This is a reminder to us of the journey of faith that begins in baptism, when we are claimed as child of God and marked with the sign of the cross. Our journey ends as we return to dust again on this earth, being transformed into the glory of Christ through his death and resurrection. This season and its focus on repentance, disciplines of faith, and our overall relationship with God can move us toward deeper faith and understanding of the daily need for God’s love and grace. May our Lenten journey be fruitful and faithful.
And for some food for thought regarding what we might hope for an outcome of this particular Lenten Season, here’s a list to consider: 40 Things to Give Up for Lent

Seems Lent just might be more fruitful than simply 40+ days without soda, bread, chocolate or FaceBook. Hmm..


Day #413

February 17, 2015

Often I have compared what it is to love with what it is to have faith. Neither of these words can be fully defined, or easily understood. After all, how can you define faith? Well, the dictionary says it is "complete trust or confidence in someone or something", especially in God. Yet, even with a textbook definition, how do you really explain it? I suppose it can take a lifetime to understand, and never do we fully.

Love is much like faith in being difficult to understand. We may not be able to adequately understand love or define it, but we surely know love when we experience it. I read a line that reminded me of this in a magazine article written by Daniel Wallace: “Because love is just a feeling, an idea, an abstraction, a word that tries to put a name to something essentially unnameable.”

Yes, that is love, just as it is faith. But for someone who loves, or has faith, it is certainly way more than just a feeling, an idea or an abstraction. It is everything.


Day #412

February 16, 2015

It probably is not the first time I have said this, but one of the things that makes this calling so very amazing, and humbling, is how folks welcome you into their lives. There is invitation to walk with them in some of the most joyous, and the most painful, moments of life. It is awesome.

Then there are the visits. Time to talk, share, and learn intensely about someone. It is a gift to have folks tell me the stories about their lives: their faith, pain, joy, hopes, and regrets. I so enjoy hearing about their families, seeing pictures, learning what is, and has been, important to them throughout their lives. It is holy ground time.

Ahh...the joy of having the call to listen.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Day #411

February 15, 2015

A fun event and a “food for thought” moment.

The fun event - Beer and Hymns. The Ministerial Association in town sponsors this fun, ecumenical event at a local brewery several times a year. It’s a chance for folks to get together, sing, have conversation, eat and enjoy an adult beverage (or not). But mostly, it’s just plain fun!

Then, the "food for thought:" a quote from the television program, CSI. Sarah says to Nick, who’s leaving the show, “Grissom would say, you’ve got to go where you can do the most good.” As I pondered what she said, it occurred to me that we are called to do the most good where we are - and sometimes that means going to a new place. Which we did, and all is well!!


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Day #410

February 14, 2015

What more is there to say on Valentine's Day. This was shared via the internet - very creative. And very true!


Day #409

February 13, 2015

Pictures are worth a thousand words, and these show a day of fun and of beauty out in God’s world.

Thanks be to God!


Day #408

February 12, 2015

Thankful on Thursday!

The day began with an early morning meeting, much affirmation, and then some time off for a road trip. Yep, a good day begun with faithful folks, then spent with a wonderful husband. I am truly thankful!!


Day #407

February 11, 2015

During Bible Study, we were discussing moments of “mountaintop” experiences of God’s assurances. We just never know where/when these moments might come. As an example, someone in the group shared a photo of a leaf. Yes, this is a dead, fallen leaf from a tree, that she took a photo of, but look what appears in the middle. 

Have to admit, it’s cool, don’t you think?! Where it may not be a “mountaintop” experience by definition (whatever the definition might be), it does remind us to be on the lookout for God in all sorts of ways and places. We just might be surprised - and blessed.


Day #406

February 10, 2015

I am fortunate to have been called to a place where there is an active Text Study Group in the city. I was blessed with such a group before, but was wondering if I would find one again. These faithful folks who preach the word each Sunday gather weekly to discuss and search the Word for God’s message of Law and Gospel, the need for God’s grace and the assurance of it.

This group is a safe and creative place, and a joy-filled place. Yes, there is often laughter; holy joy at what the Word/God teaches us. Thanks be to God for colleagues!


Day #405

February 9, 2015

Yesterday’s sermon included the thought that worship may just be the very time to find a quiet place to tend to our own spiritual well-being. It may be where, if even only for a few moments, we can pour out our hearts to Jesus, to be still at his feet, and to have our strength renewed. As much as a time to worship God, Sunday can also be a time to be refreshed and renewed by God.

As if in answer to the hope worship can be this time of renewal, I received a message from a good friend who is grieving the death of someone very close to them. The wish of the deceased was not to have a funeral or memorial service, which has been difficult for my heartbroken friend longing for a time of worship to say goodbye. It seems, however, that Sunday worship turned out to be that time. Hymns were sung and messages given that were just what was needed when it was needed.

My friend was thankful for the reminder that God does hear our prayers and knows our needs, and provides for them. And I was blessed to have this shared with me. We never know what folks are experiencing on any given Sunday, but God does!


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Day #404

February 8, 2015

That is how I feel today. Rejoicing in a wonderful time of worship with many folks and fabulous music. Rejoicing in the beauty of a warm winter day. Rejoicing in spending time with others in discussion and learning. Rejoicing in being invited to share in a holy time with a family.

Simply rejoice - for life IS good!


Day #403

February 7, 2015

Sometimes faith and life intersect in the times of challenge. My husband and I are getting used to a new work schedule. Instead of early mornings for him, he’s gone to a schedule that is later at night, including weekends. It’s been quite a while since we spent Friday and Saturday nights apart, and I have to admit it’s not the most fun thing.

Yet, on the upside, at least he’s not working almost two hours away any longer and us spending several nights, all night, apart. Now there is something to be thankful for!


Day #402

February 6, 2015

The Gospel for Sunday comes from Mark, the first chapter, verses 29-39: As soon as they [Jesus and his disciples] left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them. That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, "Everyone is searching for you." He answered, "Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do." And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons. (NRSV)

I read something from John Hougen of Pennsylvania about this reading that stuck with me. He writes that included in these verses are a strategy for helping others. Six of them follow:
  1. Surround yourself with trusted companions (Jesus called disciples).
  2. Respond to the needs close at hand (Jesus healed Simon’s mother-in-law).
  3. Provide those you help with what they need to be able to serve others (Jesus restored her completely so that she could share her gifts with others).
  4. Expand your efforts of helping people beyond those close at hand (Jesus then healed those in the community).
  5. Practice self-care - tend to our own physical and spiritual well-being (Jesus went to a deserted place to pray).
  6. Find peace with the fact that we cannot help everyone - be all things to all people (Jesus knew his mission was to spread the news beyond the needs of just those people in that place).
Certainly some food for thought!


Day #401

February 5, 2015

There was a story I happened to catch on the sports news about a high school basketball team who has welcomed two players that are deaf (see: A Great Team). The story explained how the players have interpreters who listen for the coach’s instructions and sign language them to the players. The players talked about their need to always be on alert as they play, watching for the coach’s lips to be moving and then making sure they can see the interpreter to learn what is being said. It seems they need to work twice as hard as the hearing players, yet they absolutely loved being a part of the team.

It was a heartwarming story, that included a cheerleader who is also hearing impaired. It reminded me of how fortunate I am to have five keen senses...and how much I take them for granted at times.


Day #400

February 4, 2015


This is a milestone. Four hundred blog entries. Wow!

When I first began the Daily Intersection, it occurred to me that it may not last. To be intentional every day in writing about ways faith and life intersect seemed a lofty goal, I must admit. Yet, it wasn’t too long into the process before it became a gift, a joy to think about what spoke to me that day about God. Some days it is scripture, others a conversation, and still others a celebration, but not one day has stumped me yet.

And I doubt it will, for God is a giving God and a loving God and an always present God, if we just slow down long enough to recognize that.


P.S. Thank you to those of you who follow this blog, who send comments, or who just read and enjoy. I am humbled by your interest!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Day #399

February 3, 2015

While studying the readings for this coming Sunday in our Text Study Group, we were contemplating how the writer of the Gospel of Mark tells the story of the Good News of Jesus in such a hurried way. There is quite the sense of immediacy to this gospel, as if everything happened in quick succession. Is it written that way to get the story on paper in a hurry? Is it to draw us in like an action movie does?

As we pondered, the image came to my mind of a little child, eager to tell the story of what has happened to them. Can’t you just imagine a three-year old telling about something like ice cream day at preschool? I had some ice cream…and then they put chocolate on it…and then sprinkles…and then we sat down…and then… You can imagine the excitement and wonder that only little children seem to have about such things as ice cream, parties, presents, first snowfalls, puppies, kittens, or whatever you imagine them telling you with joy and exuberance.

Which begs the question: what has happened today that often keeps the Good of News Jesus Christ from being told with same sort sort of eagerness or urgency?


Day #398

February 2, 2015

Happy Groundhog Day!

According to folklore, if upon waking up and looking outside the critter sees his shadow, the prediction is for six more weeks of winter weather. If it’s cloudy and there is no shadow seen, then it’s going to be an early spring. Hmm…I suppose the weather forecasters need all the help they can get, but a groundhog!!?? Really?!

Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell helped form a new appreciation/thought for Groundhog Day with the film by the same name in 1993 (could it really be that long ago?!). The movie explores what might happen if someone were given the chance to live the same day over and over. What opportunities might have been missed that would be played out in a different way if the same 24 hours could be perpetually redone? What people might be paid more attention to? How might someone become different if they were the only one who knew the same things would happen every day, but their reactions could be different? What a great premise for reflection, and for living!

If I had today to live over with a different outcome, I might not have picked on someone as I did. Or taken someone’s picking on me so seriously. Or wasted those extra minutes when I could have/should have been elsewhere. Or….

Perhaps the blessing is that each day is a new beginning with God, as God looks at me each day afresh as Child of God - called, forgiven, shaped and sent. Thanks be to God!


Day #397

February 1, 2015

A new ministry began in the congregation where I now serve. Literally in…side the congregation. It’s called Family Promise (visit for more information) and is designed as a help for folks with families who are transitioning from being without a home/place to live to having one. That process can take a lot of time and sometimes folks are literally left on the streets. So, the churches in town have partnered to be “homes” for one week at a time for folks until they can complete the transition and be in their own space.

Classrooms in the congregation’s building were transformed into bedrooms; supper prepared and brought in to be enjoyed by all; supplies gathered for breakfasts and lunches, etc; and two volunteers stay overnight with the guests to help with any emergencies or idiosyncrasies in the building. I had the honor to be one of the overnight volunteers the first night. What a joy to be available in this way.

It’s exciting how this ministry has benefited folks in other cities and states. It’s new here, and some kinks are getting worked out, but it’s exciting. Often Christians go outside the four walls to assist in some way; what a great thing to do so within the walls!


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Day #396

January 31, 2015

There is nothing quite as heartwarming as a cheerful person waiting on your table. I met my husband for brunch between his o’dark o’clock work-shifts (next to the last one before he goes on nights - yay!), and we were waited on by a very friendly, uplifting woman. She seemed to be enjoying what she did, wanting those around her to get a good start to the day.

Her contagious attitude was a gentle reminder that how we act does affect those around us. We left feeling uplifted due to her friendliness. Of course, it’s not always easy to be cheerful when we’re in pain, grief, or trouble, but in those times, it sure helps to run into someone who is joyful. It definitely can lift us up.

My hope is that I am more often the lifter, rather than the sinker. :-)