Saturday, April 30, 2016

Day #851

April 30, 2016

I am reminded that often the intersection of life and God happens through people. In fact, it happens that way most often. And when it does, I hope I take time to let others know I appreciate them.

So to those who surround me - especially staff today - thank you for your professionalism, your dedication and your attention to detail. All of you!!

I also appreciate those who take time from their day to gather and be with others in need. I appreciate shopkeepers who care about their customers. I appreciate servers at restaurants who do their best to make a meal enjoyable. I appreciate family and friends who understand this crazy life and schedule.

Basically, I appreciate everyone God places in my life. Thank you for sharing your gift of faith with others, especially me!!


Day #850

April 29, 2016

The word for the day - thankful! For supper being provided. For time of fun and fellowship with others. For time to spend with my husband and doing some catching up. AND for a little extra sleep and reading.

Yes, thankful!


Day #849

April 28, 2016

The prayer themed week culminated with attending another Continuing Education class. This one on leading worship, primarily on learning to write prayers. Not just any prayers, but prayers in worship known as the prayers of the people (or intercessory).

Here is my take-away for those who consider written prayers to be stodgy and not Spirit-led:
  • They require paying constant attention to the needs of the world and the people - current events especially. That keeps them fresh and relevant.
  • They are written to God - speaking with God, not sermonizing or talking about God.
  • They move in a particular form - from church, world, nation, congregation, to individuals - or from the wider to the narrower.
  • It is an honor - and work - to prepare them.
  • It is not easy to do.
  • Lastly, the more specific the prayers, the more realistic they also become - and the less stodgy.
This is a lot to keep in mind as they are prepared week after week. What do you see as the essence of the prayers of the people? What would you hope to have God hear while worshipping?


Day #848

April 27, 2016

There seems to have been a theme covering this week - prayer. There are so many who ask, so many who need, so many who are thankful to have you pray for them. What a gift!

Me? I’m thankful God listens! Always. And that I’m trusted to be asked to pray for others. Thank you for that honor.


Day #847

April 26, 2016

It is always, always, amazing to me when people you have barely had opportunity to meet trust you enough to talk to you about deep, personal, painful memories and troubling issues. What an honor! And what a reminder that being available to listen makes a difference. Being heard and cared about helps - even when it doesn’t solve anything, it helps.

Thank you for bestowing that honor upon me. I try always to handle it with care and prayer.


Day #846

April 25, 2016

Note: This is an ode to our daughter - our godson’s Momma - who taught me so much about how to relate to others and what’s important in relationships. At least I hope I learned well! Either way, thank you!!!

I spent most of the day in a Continuing Education class discussing how to interact with folks who research claim to be “spiritual but not religious.” My take away: oh, if only we could dispel the myth that Christians think they have all the answers, have it all together, and only want to judge the rest of the world.

So how can I better communicate about God’s love and grace? How can I better live and model God's relevance? It begins, in my humble opinion, with prayer. LOTS of prayer.


Day #845

April 24, 2016

A great day!!! A reminder of God’s love in worship - in word, meal, prayers, and music. Spirited conversation as we continue studying thriving/transforming congregations. Safe travel and a delicious dinner with the husband, now home from his week-long class. And prayers continued for those in pain, sorrow and gripped by fear.

Thanks be to God for it all!!


Day #844

April 23, 2016

Some days the requests for prayers come in bunches. This was a day filled with prayer requests. Yes, peace and healing are surely, and sorely, needed!

May the peace of God surround you, may the love of Christ enfold you, and the may the Holy Spirit guide you! Everyone!


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Day #843

April 22, 2016 -

Today is Earth Day. This reminder came from the ELCA Churchwide offices and I share it here:
Also on this day came the honor of being with a family at the Funeral Home as they make arrangements and decisions for remembering and celebrating their loved one. This is such a special, holy time to walk with others - sharing memories, tears, prayer, and often laughter. I always feel privileged to be with families in these holy moments, even as I am sad they are necessary. But it's just another reason why I love and am thankful for what I do.


Day #842

April 21, 2016

It happens often - folks stealing the identities of others. Companies get hacked and personal information is stolen. Credit cards are cloned, new accounts set up, and phantom FaceBook accounts appear. It happened to my husband. Thanks to someone sending a text that they had received a FB friend request from him even though they were already friends, we were able to help some folks avoid the inconvenience. And eventually get the issue resolved.

Not too long ago, I was mistaken for someone who ran a red light in a rental car. Turned out the rental company had mistakenly switched the contracts. When the other person committed the offense, my information showed up, so the bill was sent to me (they ran the light at a red light camera intersection). It took a while to get it all straightened out and was very frustrating.

Having your identity stolen can be a horrible experience. It can take weeks, months, even years to get everything straightened out, along with spending a lot of time and money. Not to mention how violated it makes you feel.

So where is the Daily Intersection in my diatribe? Well, there is a preciousness in being known and loved for who you are. And God does that without any mistaken identity errors. We can be assured that God knows us as we are, each of us individually, and loves us. For we are each a member of God’s creation, a child of God's kingdom, and no one can snatch us from the Father’s hand - or pretend to be us to God. It just cannot happen. Thanks be to God!


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Day #841

April 20, 2016

As the items were placed back into the time capsule for the congregation (see Day #838), I gave thanks for the history, the lives, the faith of the saints who have gathered in this place for many decades. And I couldn’t help but dream and wonder about who would be here in the next 25 years: the changes that would happen, the lives that would be touched by God, strengthened by the Holy Spirit, and reassured by the grace of Jesus Christ and his love. I pray with thanksgiving for the past and hope for the future, trusting all into God’s hands.


PS It was also fun to talk with the confirmation youth about the time capsule and see their enthusiasm for maybe making a time capsule of their own. Great idea!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Day #840

April 19, 2016

Now this was a beautiful spring day - sunshine, light breeze, and warm temperatures. A nice day for a walk - thankful I took advantage of it!


Day #839

April 18, 2016

Some days the ways of the world weigh very heavy and put up roadblocks that are almost impenetrable for seeing the Daily Intersection. Today’s presentation at a monthly gathering was from a local High School History teacher on the Holocaust, which is certainly one of those roadblocks. She included pictures, stories of survivors she has met, statistics of the horror, and more pictures - most overwhelming.

At the end she reminded us to “Never forget.” No, absolutely never forget. Along with deep, agonizing prayers for something like this to never happen again, yet fully realizing it does nearly every day. How long, oh Lord!


Day #838

April 17, 2016

An event of the congregation made the newspaper again. Here’s the link (The Tribune) for the article about the time capsule being opened as a part of the 125th anniversary, which actually coincided with a spring stewardship emphasis and roof funding celebration.

Not expecting a reporter after worship, and being totally caught off guard by her and her questions, I was thankful when the Holy Spirit gave me these words in answer to what makes an event like this important: We celebrate the past but look to the future. The memories bring us together, the mission moves us to the future.

Thanks be to God for memories, for stories written in scripture, and the history of God’s relationship with God’s people. And thanks be to God for leading us, as the Good Shepherd, to the next thing.


Day #837

April 16, 2016

At an early morning hour, as the youth were finally settling down for some heretofore elusive sleep, the question came to mind to ask - what is something you are thankful for today? Somehow I can imagine God was as pleased as I was to hear each young person state something they were thankful for.

I suppose, however, that’s not a bad question to ask everyday - would you agree?!


Day #836

April 15, 2016

The clouds that brought the rain (see Day #835) also brought another type of moisture:
Just a spring snowstorm in the west. No big deal. :-)

Then, later the same day, some time with the confirmation youth! Actually, an overnight filled with giggles, energy, eating, talking, learning, and building relationships I pray last a lifetime! Certainly I trust the ones will that are being built with God, because that’s the way of God!


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Day #835

April 14, 2016

I suppose if you have to get up for an early meeting two days in a row, being rewarded with this makes it worthwhile:

Oh, most definitely makes it worthwhile!! And honestly, the picture doesn't do the sunrise justice.

And those clouds, well they're bringing much needed and hoped for rain/moisture. A beautiful day all around!


Day #834

April 13, 2016

As usual, I am reminded that God never disappoints when we pray. Oh, the situation for which we pray may not change (at least not immediately), but it sure is comforting to know that God listens, cares and changes/transforms me.

Also, as usual, I am thankful for a group of AWESOME kids in confirmation class. They are attentive, smart, eager to learn, and never cease to amaze me with their insights and questions. Wow!!!


Day #833

April 12, 2016

The word for the day is appreciation.

I appreciate colleagues in ministry who meet weekly to discuss the scripture readings for the upcoming week. Yet it is more than just a study time. It is also a time to share ideas, concerns, challenges, and joys - to learn from one another and encourage one another.

I very much appreciate that I have been fortunate in both calls to have these collegial relationships/friendships. It sure makes a world of difference!


Day #832

April 11, 2016

Had an opportunity to attend an appreciation lunch for volunteers in a program called "RSVP." This program involves hundreds of retired folks who give freely of their time to help make a difference in the community.

I was overwhelmed by the impact these folks make - thousands of hours making sure homebound seniors receive hot meals, welcoming visitors to the community, making sure hungry folks can receive food staples and/or a meal, and many more. As the brochure states: because of you, peoples’ lives were brightened and our community is a better place to live.

Thank you to those who don’t let a little “age” get in their way of serving and helping! It's definitely inspiring!


Day #831

April 10, 2016

What a great way to spend the day!

First, certainly, is worship. And a reminder of the four parts to the service: gather, word, meal, send. It’s important to come together from the things of the week for the purpose of worship and renewal, to hear the word, to receive the meal of Holy Communion, and be sent - renewed and refreshed - back out to the week and the world.

Then to have part of that "sending" be to enjoy some time at home - cooking, baking, and my husband - just tops off a great day!!


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Day #830

April 9, 2016

Regularly I receive an e-newsletter from Seattle University. Someone I used to work with on a committee, Dr. Michael Trice, is Assistant Professor and Assistant Dean for Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue at the School of Theology and Ministry there. He recently wrote this: 
Using Burke’s words, the “passion of fear” can make human beings seek out a person or group that we perceive will free us from the fear we are experiencing.  The process works like this: We choose a scapegoat who we brand as both the source of our fear and, as Rene Girard points out, is also our salvation from our fear.
He went on to say:
Unmitigated fear identifies a source and offers a way to alleviate it, and simultaneously “robs the mind of all its power of acting and reasoning.”
These words were included as he shared his thoughts about the current political scene and how fear is being used to control (my word) our thinking "for" one person by being irrationally (again, my word) "against" the other. Trice posits that fear is truly the enemy, not the “other.”

It made me reflect on how this thought of fear can be played out in so many ways. When threatened, or feeling threatened, we tend to think that eliminating the threat will alleviate the fear. But it doesn’t really work - we just find something new to fear.

Yet, praise God, there is hope. The freedom Christ brings through the resurrection is the antithesis of fear - and, I would add, the way to eliminate fear. For as we trust the assurance of being loved through Jesus, fear is broken down and its power taken away. Then as we follow Jesus and love others as we are loved, the need to control them or overpower them is destroyed.

Sounds simplistic? Maybe, but it's not my idea: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear” 1 John 4:18a, New English translation.

Jesus IS perfect love. And has a lot of work for us to do, doesn't he?


Day #829

April 8, 2016

This caught my eye to share from the WELCA devotion, "Daily Grace" (see Saying Yes):
Have you experienced what it means to listen to God’s call? Our discernment affects not only our own lives and families but also our congregations and our communities. God calls us continually, and our partnership with God can give us the focus we desire and the direction we need. 
What are your hopes for your own life, and how have you discerned what your God-given gifts are? Do you believe you have a calling? Are you living out that “yes” to God? Has there been a time when you helped someone else in their discernment? Adapted from “Saying yes,” an offering devotion that appeared in the May 2011 issue of Interchange

Day #828

April 7, 2016

The word is thankful. I am appreciative that someone shared with me that my presence in their life makes a difference - there is a feeling of being loved.

It also invited me to reflect: just how do we love others? I would say for me it is by listening; through encouraging; by being positive; being real/authentic; and when the time may come to admonish, making sure to do it with love.

What would you add are ways to love others?


Day #827

April 6, 2016

Claimed as Montana’s day, because 406 is the area code (for the whole state, by the way!).

What fun! Happy Montana Day!!


Friday, April 8, 2016

Day #826

April 5, 2016

Sometimes it is difficult to see/believe God is at work in daily life, especially our own. It is easy to see all the suffering/wrong/pain in the world, so how can God be at work, right?! Every day there is cancer diagnosis, job loss, hunger, death, destruction, pain. IS there anything good?

The prayer from d365 reminded me that God IS always at work, because Jesus is risen and alive and “on the loose.” Sometimes it's a matter of me opening my eyes and heart to realize/remember it. Here is the prayer by Aram Bae:
God, you are full of surprises. I confess that sometimes it’s hard to see you in my life. Open my mind and heart to the ways Christ is real and working in my life. Remind me that you know me deeply, and that I know you, too. Amen.

Day #825

April 4, 2016

For the taxes are done - and soon to be paid!! Always a burden (the preparation part!) off my plate when this is accomplished!!

And something cool to share - purchased some Girl Scout cookies and instead of receiving the change, invited the girls to keep it. Was told later that they decided to use it to buy a box of cookies for someone else as a gift. Pretty cool!!


Sunday, April 3, 2016

Day #824

April 3, 2016

The Second Sunday of Easter - Christ Is Risen - still! We gather around Word and Meal - still! We sing, pray, laugh, listen - still! We are sent to go in peace and remember the poor or share the good news - still! Isn’t it awesome!!!!


PS A Simon says: Mom says I want you to be getting smaller, not bigger (don't we all want our little ones to stay little - at least somewhat). But Simon says - I can't mom. That's not how God made me. God made me to get bigger. Now that is a wise 5 year old!

Day #823

April 2, 2016

A beautiful day to be out and about, like “regular” people. :-)

Yes, as the busyness calms down, I must say it is good to be back to some “normalcy.” Don’t get me wrong, I love the season of Lent and Easter, but less busy is not a bad thing, either. Just sayin'.


Day #822

April 1, 2016

Just one word - awe - at some of the beauty on the return drive!

Day #821

March 31, 2016

More learning at the conference/retreat included a passionate reminder that baptism matters. And that when you boil down the message of Jesus, it comes down to love. So when this came through on FaceBook, it seemed the perfect way to sum-up much of the Bishop’s message.
Then a reminder why we should really want young people in church: it isn’t because they are the “church of the future,” but because we deeply want all (old AND young) to have a deeper relationship with God and the assurance of the grace and love of Jesus Christ.

To that I say: AMEN!!


Day #820

March 30, 2016

It is a rare opportunity to hear directly/in person from the presiding Bishop of the ELCA - much less from the presiding Bishops of two denominations (the Episcopal church, also). But those of us at the retreat/conference have this privilege.

There is a lot being said, a lot to take in, learn from, and process, beginning with a reminder that we need to be clear about what we believe in order to have deep conversations with those who believe differently. It is only helps the conversation when we can be clear about our beliefs. Perhaps there is a need to brush-up on the Small Catechism!

And then a reminder about baptism - that we are not baptized into church membership, but into a community we call the church. And this thought: “Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, not the Dead Sea.” In other words, our baptism is into a “movement,” the Jesus movement, that is on the go and on the move - doing the ministry Jesus began and being who Jesus calls us to be. Then, a final reminder to continue preaching the message of Jesus’ love because many don’t know that the grace church exists.

As I said, LOTS to ponder (and this only scratches the surface)!


Day #819

March 29, 2016

On the drive to a pastoral retreat/conference/time for learning and relaxation, we are reminded that when it comes to spring out west, the weather is certainly diverse. Or should we say vacillates?

Maybe not quite the spring I've been used to most all my life - but beautiful nonetheless!


Day #818

March 28, 2016

Ahh...the day after. Christ is risen, and there is some time - sort of - for rest (at least some time to catch my breath). Then we had a really fun Book Club. We read this book:
and then were fortunate to have the author join us for discussion (he lives in town). It was a treat to have the chance to ask him questions, get his insight, pick his brain about the plot, etc. It was an opportunity that doesn’t present itself often, but certainly fun.


Day #817

March 27, 2016

What a glorious Easter Day! Alleluia!!

With one more thanks to all the staff and volunteers, worship and fellowship were wonderful! A baptism made the day extra special. The spontaneous Easter parade was joyous. And what fun that the kids remembered the Alleluia had been hidden and were excited to have it back!!

Then a relaxing afternoon that included talking with family - heart-filling.

All in all, joy abounds that Christ IS Risen! For that makes ALL the difference in the world - and our lives!