Saturday, August 26, 2017

Day #1333

August 25, 2017

Time certainly goes fast! And puppies grow fast, too! 

Think he’s rather “sporty” in his new collar. Not certain he agrees, however. 


Day #1332

August 24, 2017

It was time for the monthly gathering of the ladies at Let’s Do Lunch - and it was another fun time. Lots of conversation and laughter - and this time someone took pictures (thank you!). 


Day #1331

August 23, 2017 

It’s been busy around the congregation this week. There is a room the women have been painting and doing some updates to. I’m grateful for their work - and apologize for there being no “in process” pictures. 

It’s amazing what a new coat of paint can do for a room!! Thank you!!!


Day #1330

August 22, 2017 

What a joy to gather with others at the site of the new Synod House (office) building to actually put hammer in hand and help nail together some walls. 

This new building is a joint effort utilizing hundreds of volunteer hours through the direction of Mission Builders. It was great to be able to include a couple of my own hours of work, too. And thank you to the others who joined me!


Day #1329

August 21, 2017 

Mondays are days I have been reflecting on different ways/words used to describe Jesus. However, with the historical eclipse, it seems important to share this from the C.M. Russell staff:

Perhaps it could be said, however, that Jesus is order in the chaos. Yes, there has been much hype about getting ready for this lunar/solar event - glasses to procure, places to be to “see” it all, where to tune in for live feeds, etc. Work/regular events of the day had to stop for many to be able to gaze (with protected eyes) at what was happening in the sky. 

Ok, I admit, I took a break from work, too. And I must also admit it was pretty cool. Just imagine, however, if the seeming chaos was the norm? Thank you, Holy Trinity, for creating the order of the systems! 


Day #1328

August 20, 2017

There are so many different ways that those who gather make the worship/church vital. There are those who sing and play beautifully, those who give hugs and hand shakes and warm embraces, those who give generously of their time and talent and treasure, those who listen intently and give feedback on how the Spirit spoke to them, those who simply come, faithfully, each week, those who eagerly open their hands to receive Christ’s assurance of love and forgiveness in Holy Communion, and more. 

Love Sunday!! Thank you one and all!!!! 


Day #1327

August 19, 2017

Saw where someone had seen this on a sign:
Let’s put unity back in community!
Love it! And when I saw this picture of a colleague at a Community Worship Service - I said, yes! This is that sign in action. 

Isn’t this certainly God’s community!?


Day #1326

August 18, 2017

It was the first “doctor” appointment for our “baby.” What a welcome:

He was a good boy - took the shot and exam well. And weighed in at 15.1 pounds - at 10 weeks! He’s gonna be a big boy! Think Boomer was a good name choice. Haha


Day #1325

August 17, 2017 

With all that seems to be going on in the world - I present this from the denomination through which I serve. It was released a couple days ago. A beginning? A step?
ELCA commitment to confronting racism and anti-Semitism 
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), stands against all forms of hatred and discrimination. The church believes that cultural, ethnic and racial differences should be seen and celebrated as what God intends them to be—blessings rather than means of oppression and discrimination. 
The ELCA’s social statement “Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity and Culture” states: “Racism—a mix of power, privilege, and prejudice—is sin, a violation of God’s intention for humanity. The resulting racial, ethnic, or cultural barriers deny the truth that all people are God’s creatures and, therefore, persons of dignity. Racism fractures and fragments both church and society.” 
The social statement, adopted by the ELCA 1993 Churchwide Assembly, calls on the church to make confession for complicity, name the spiritual crisis at the roots, commit to change and make pledges to public witness, advocacy and action to confront racism.  
“We recognize that the kind of violence we witnessed in Charlottesville last weekend is very real and affects all of us,” said ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton. “We need to stand up firmly against racism and anti-Semitism, show up for and advocate with others. Jesus, who makes visible those who are invisible, is already there. We need to show up, and we need to listen in each of our communities.” 
The ELCA is a church that belongs to Christ and Christ’s church universal, where there is a place for everyone. The job of Christ’s people today is to celebrate the diversity of God’s creative work and embrace all people in the spirit of love, whatever race or ethnicity, economic status or gender. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Day #1324

August 16, 2017 

It seems important to share what Gina Yeager-Buckley wrote in the devotion, d365, which is focusing right now on returning to school. Like the rest of life, new situations at school can be frightening and stressful. Gina writes:
Where is the wilderness you must go this week? And where is your UP [by UP, Gina means the ways, places, etc., that give us encouragement, clearer perspective, and a way of refueling]? Consider the people, places, and activities that give you strength and encourage you, and those that lead you into the wilderness.
Who do you turn to when you are afraid? When you are confused or need to talk through something? Are there people that will listen, pray with you (even though we can certainly pray alone), or just sit with you? 

We all need these people in our lives - please know my door is open!


Day #1323

August 15, 2017

There are certainly days when it seems that what I do makes a difference - being present when needed, listening, giving hugs, even playing “devil’s advocate” to a point/counterpoint discussion. This was one of those days - reminding me I am grateful for what I do - and also reminding me Who is with me every step of the way. Thank you, Jesus!!!!


Day #1322

August 14, 2017

After reading an article in the August LivingLutheran magazine, it struck me that the description for Jesus today should be ambidextrous. The author, Kathryn Kleinhans, wrote about how musical conductors do two separate things with their hands at the same time. While one hand keeps the tempo, the other introduces certain nuances, such as an instrument entrance, etc. 

How is Jesus similar? I’m thinking that Jesus, within the relationship of the Trinity, keeps the tempo of the world. The tempo I imagine as days/nights, rain/sun, winter/summer, etc. - the systems set in place at creation. With that on the one “hand,” the other introduces nuances - comfort when one is in mourning or sick, encouragement when one is lonely or afraid, and such. 

After all, without being ambidextrous, how could the Creator of all keep up with and care about one little part of the creation - me?! Not that Jesus is orchestrating the outcome of all things, but is present and attentive and loving - and everywhere! A rather cool image, I think, and I thank you, Kathryn, for it!


Day #1321

August 13, 2017

In the summer, with the heat and there not being air-conditioning in the congregation where I serve, I do not wear a robe, as I otherwise would, for leading worship. One of our young ones, who had not been able to attend worship since I had stopped wearing a robe after Memorial Day, noticed that was the case when it came time for the Children’s Message. Settling in, this young one said: “You don’t have on any clothes!” 

It was a sweet/humorous moment. However, I have to admit, I felt self-conscious for the rest of the service. I hope THAT word doesn't get around - the pastor with no clothes. Haha!


Day #1320

August 12, 2017

This quote from the movie Michael jumped off the screen at me: “You gotta learn to laugh. It’s the way to true love.”

Some days it’s easier said than done, especially at times when the news reports are about people being in danger for standing against hatred or when reports incite fear because of what might happen globally with war or when reports regularly include death, hunger and drought, etc. How can we find laughter when there is so much to be afraid of and to mourn over? 

Perhaps it is possible - from the deep place of joy that our God desires for us. From the joy in knowing that God is with us - no matter what. 

Perhaps we also need to read and take to heart the quote from the book on Day #1318!


Day #1319

August 11, 2017 

One of the congregation’s oldest members passed early in the morning on this day. His health had been declining for a while, and he had shared with me and others that he was ready. 

Thankfully, I am back home. As I gathered with his family to do some planning, we were able to find laughter in the telling of stories from his life. This is, I suppose, a testimony to a life well-lived - that amidst what had to be times of pain, there were many times of joy and laughter, too. 

Rest in peace, George. You will be missed. You already are!


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Day #1318

August 10, 2017 

All too quickly the time came to leave the gathering and fly home. Another day of flying, but less abundant in the challenges, thankfully. It was wonderful to spend time with our Godson’s mother...

and to be fed by so many faithful, deeply committed leaders. Thank you for the opportunity.

On the flight home, while reading the August Book Club book, Flight of the Sparrow, by Amy Belding Brown, I came across this quote I have to share:
“… God weeps when men and women are cruel - to each other, to animals. To the earth itself. He said that Christ’s kingdom will only come when we learn to be deeply kind. […] remember that while we draw breath, there will always be some way we can show kindness.”

Day #1317

August 9, 2017 

This day’s study, led by Rev. Dr. Jay Alanis included this photo of celebrating Holy Communion at the border of Texas and Mexico, near El Paso. 

Apologies for the quality of the photo, but there is a fence between the two groups of people and Holy Communion is being passed between it from one group to the other. It is an image of oneness in the body of Christ that touches me deeply.

Then we were privileged beyond measure by Rev. Dr. James Forbes, who helped us to see that God is calling Christians to be the agent of change in this world. Through the love of Christ! 

Thanks be to God for his sharing and his deep commitment to the gospel. Thank you Dr. Forbes for being a part of the balm of Gilead for us. 


Day #1316

August 8, 2017

The gathering is off to a healing/caring start. Music before Morning Prayer was led by Jonathan Rundman and Rachel Kurtz. 

As a gift, Rachel sang "There is a Balm in Gilead" to those gathered. What a gift!!

Then morning study was led by Rev. Dr. Shauna Hannan. She is a fabulous teacher of homiletics and has a phenomenal ability to help others see the scripture in new and insightful ways.

It is so good to be here! Looking forward to the rest of the time!


Day #1315

August 7, 2017 

The descriptor of Jesus for today - abundant. 

On the heels of the telling of the feeding of the 5,000+ in the gospel of Matthew, chapter 14, it is impossible to think of Jesus as anything but abundant. Abundant in his love, his caring, his grace, his fulfilling of the needs of people. Thank you, Jesus, for not only loving us, but doing so in abundant fashion!

Also, as I left for Atlanta for the first ever Rostered Leaders Gathering, I witnessed a couple of other abundant things - challenges with air travel and numbers of people in general. There are nearly 1,000 people at this gathering - that’s a lot of folks in one hotel for the same purpose.


Day #1314

August 6, 2017 

worshipper on this day was the granddaughter of a long-ago pastor of the congregation I now serve. He was a beloved pastor, faithful for many decades baptizing, confirming, marrying and burying many, along with teaching and leading worship, of course. The fellowship hall is named after him, and it was wonderful to watch his granddaughter in that same hall catch up with others at the fellowship time following worship. It was a reminder that it is in the memories of the community that deep connections are not only made, but celebrated. And another reason that I give thanks to God for the church.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Day #1313

August 5, 2017 

Finally - after almost three weeks - a night with eight hours of sleep. Not all together, but at least it was eight hours. My body isn’t quite sure what to make of this long lost phenomena. Haha. Oh the joys of puppyhood! How do new parents do it!?


Day #1312

August 4, 2017 

On a cooler afternoon, we decided to head to the state fair that happens to be in town. We ate the obligatory “fair food,” walked through some of the exhibits, spoke to some folks we know, spent a little money, and all-in-all enjoyed a nice day in the open air. 

Oh, and saw some of the cattle judging - pretty cool! These folks do a lot of work to help care for God’s creatures!


Day #1311

August 3, 2017 

We wonder sometimes why we repeat things in worship. For instance the Lord’s Prayer or the Apostles’ Creed. How boring to do the same thing over and over and over, right?! Yet, those things stick in our brains and can bring comfort, especially as we age. 

Often in celebrating Holy Communion with someone who suffers memory loss, the Lord’s Prayer is one thing they can pray right along with me. It’s in that part of their brain that can recall it. I’m thankful for that being the case - just as the words "The body of Christ given for you and the blood of Christ shed for you" bring comfort and assurance. 

Thanks be to God for the wisdom of repetition. 


PS For those wondering about Boomer's booboo (see Day #1310) - he's all back to "normal." 

Day #1310

August 2, 2017 

This from Richard Rohr in his daily blog:
The word “human” comes from the Latin humus, which means earth. Being human means acknowledging that we’re made from the earth and will return to the earth. We are earth that has come to consciousness. For a few years we dance around on the stage of life and have the chance to reflect a little bit of God’s glory. As a human, I’m just a tiny moment of consciousness, a tiny part of creation, a particle that reflects only a fragment of God’s love and beauty. And yet that’s enough. And then we return to where we started—in the heart of God. Everything in between is a school of love.
A school of love. A beautiful image! And important to remember.

Oh, and the first booboo for Boomer - a wasp sting (maybe two). Poor baby. His little head and ear swelled. 

But I am thankful for having someone to call who gave us good advice. And Boomer is a trooper - no whining or complaining and it has to hurt. Poor baby! Maybe he will learn to keep his head out of sketchy places. :-)


Day #1309

August 1, 2017 

The word for the day - thankful! For a little break in the oppressive temperatures. And a prayer the cooler weather helps with the fire season!!


Day #1308

July 31, 2017 

The descriptor for Jesus this day - Companion. The One we can count on to be by our side, to lead us and guide us, and to never leave us. Also the One to sometimes push us out of our comfort zones and challenge us. Yet, the promise to always be there is something we can count on.

I thought of this as I watched my hubby and his new puppy walk in the backyard. 

He’s learning to be a companion, too (even though a very different one). Hopefully!


Day #1307

July 30, 2017 

My favorite day of the week once again - and this Sunday we worshipped with accordion music. Yes, the Accordion Players, along with tuba and piano, shook things up for us and livened up the day. Different? Yes. But fun, as worship should be. Oompah!!


Day #1306

July 29, 2017

Saw this on a sign:
Worrying is like thinking God won’t get it right.
Well, maybe so, but sometimes my worrying is wondering if I’ve done my part right. :-)