Friday, June 14, 2019

Day #1991

June 14, 2019

Today marks the 11th anniversary of our Godson’s mother’s ordination. She wrote on her FB page:
Eleven years ago on Father’s Day, on the hottest day of the summer at Grace Lutheran Church in State College surrounded my family and friends, I was ordained into word and sacrament as an ELCA pastor. My journey in ministry has taken me many, many places. It has allowed me the opportunity to meet many, many people. It has changed me as a person inside and out. Some days it fills me with so much joy I could burst. Some days the weight of the office is so heavy I feel like I can barely stand. But through it all there is nothing else I’d rather be doing than living out the calling God placed upon my heart. Thank you to everyone who has supported and walked along side of me for eleven’s to a few more.
I’m so grateful for you and your ministry, your collegiality, your faithfulness, and all those who walk with you. But mostly, I’m grateful to have you in my life and that we were able to be there 11 years ago to be a part of such a special and important day! 


Day #1990

June 13, 2019 

More thoughts from the devotion d365, this time by Erin Spengeman Hutchison:
We are not defined by fear. We are defined by love — God’s love. We don’t rejoice in the suffering; we rejoice that suffering cannot destroy our hope. We have hope that God loves us today, just as we are, whatever we’re going through. God’s love for us is greater than our fears.
Imagine...suffering cannot destroy our hope, because hope lies in the fact that God loves us. Wow!!


Day #1989

June 12, 2019 

The word for the day - thankful - for a passionate reminder from someone that our hearts need to be changed by God. I agree and am thankful God provides the way for that to happen; through the Holy Spirit Jesus promised in the verses following yesterday’s Thoughts on Scripture.

Also, I have to share something that happened yesterday that has me overwhelmed (and thankful I was not close to it). A truck transporting beehives (see Day #1593) overturned and some 40,000 pounds of bees, roughly 133 MILLION of them, were at risk. And angry. And escaping. But thanks to the work of many, only a small portion died. Still…yikes! 


Day #1988

June 11, 2019 

Tuesday’s Thoughts on Scripture comes from the Gospel of John, chapter 16, verse 12: [Jesus said,] “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. (NRSV)

Jesus will soon be leaving his disciples and he has so much to say to them and so much to teach them. But there is not time, nor the capacity in the disciples’ minds and hearts, to receive it all at once. We further read that Jesus promises to send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, who will continue to teach them along the way. 

Could this be compared in a small way to learning something like math? Perhaps 1st graders should be taught calculus, right? Of course not, because our brains don’t work that way. We begin with the basics - addition, subtraction, etc. and with teachers who understand the appropriate progression helping them, students can learn calculus at the proper time. Maybe that is a simplistic comparison, but it helps me realize why lifelong learning about God, with the help of the Holy Spirit, is not only vital, but possible. 


PS There is also reason for giving thanks - the hubby’s shoulder is doing really well and he’s out of his bulky sling. Yay!! Thanks be to God for healing, and for giving surgical gifts to the physician!

Day #1987

June 10, 2019 

The day could not go by without remembering it’s Boomer’s 2nd birthday. 

He’s a tad less of a puppy now, but don’t tell him that! 

Note: Full disclosure - the picture was taken a day late. He had to spend his special day and night at his favorite “doggie spa” because the hubby had a surgery follow-up appointment. But what could be a better birthday than spending it playing with lots of friends?!?!


Day #1986

June 9, 2019

The “think” portion of the daily devotional d365 caused me to ponder. Daniel Ingram wrote that it takes two months for something to become a habit. I think that is actually a rather long time, considering it may only take a couple of days or so of not doing something for a habit to be broken. Either way, creating good or healthy habits takes work, intentional work. 

What really caused me to ponder, however, was the question he posed: “What could you do every day for the next 60 days that would help you to love more and fear less?”



Saturday, June 8, 2019

Day #1985

June 8, 2019

Angie Shannon wrote an article called “We’ve Got People” for the September, 2011, Gather magazine. It was redacted for today’s Daily Grace blog by the Women of the ELCA. She writes:
Baptism names, claims, and confers salvation. It is not “fire insurance,” but rather it commissions us for a life of love and service as a child of God.
This perspective and definition is most helpful. Thank you God for adopting us into your Kingdom, and for giving us purpose and work!


P.S. This may have been my longest stretch ever of getting behind in posting for the Daily Intersection. Thank you for being patient with me and continuing to read my musings. Hopefully they remind you that God is with you everyday, all day, and may they help you to make connections between God's grace and your life, too. 

Day #1984

June 7, 2019 

Danita Jones’ article, “Connecting the Dots,” from the June/July Guideposts spoke to me. She wrote about her Mama, who said to her after she lamented over something not being fair, “‘It’s just a dot, Danita.’” When she told her mama she didn’t understand, she wrote that her mama “pulled a sheet of paper out of her desk drawer, a worksheet with numbered dots all over it.” It was a dot-to-dot picture, but Danita couldn’t make sense of it because it just looked like a bunch of dots with no apparent shape. Then her mama explained, “‘That’s how life is,’ she said. ‘God places things in our lives, and sometimes they seem confusing or out of order. Most of the time, we have no idea why things happen the way they do.’ ‘So…we’re the dots?’ ‘No, we’re the pencil,’ my mother said, handing me one. ‘The pencil never knows what the dots make up - it just goes from one dot to the next. But God sees the big picture.’”

I thought this explanation helpful. I believe God allows things in our lives (not necessarily placing them there) that we cannot understand and that seem unfair. Yet, because God has the knowledge of the big picture, there is always something to learn from them or use in the future. And sometimes the dots make a beautiful picture. 

May we all trust the artist, who loves us and is with us, always. 


Day #1983

June 6, 2019

It seems as though the last couple of weeks have been exceptionally busy. I’m trying to catch up, but I don’t seem to be getting too far along. Yikes!!

On another note, today there have been many reminders that 75 years have passed since D-Day. A good thing to remember, and pray nothing like it ever has to happen again. 


Day #1982

June 5, 2019 

School’s out (almost) for summer! Well, at least Wednesdays are done for summer. The High School Youth met for the final time of this school year. 

And the Confirmation Students enjoyed their celebration dinner. I am going to miss this great group of kids:

I'm going to miss seeing ALL of you on a regular basis, but have a blessed, safe, and relaxing summer!


Day #1981

June 4, 2019

This Tuesday’s Thoughts on Scripture comes from the Gospel of John, chapter 14, verse 8: Philip said to [Jesus], “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” (NRSV)

I am so very thankful for this question from Philip. After following Jesus for years, watching him and learning from him, Philip still isn’t certain about who Jesus is. Just show us, he pleads. 

This gives me hope as we humans seek some sort of proof. This gives me a sense of tolerance when we have questions about the reality of Jesus as Son of God, both human and divine. This gives me patience when others scoff at those who have faith. 

We, who don’t have the advantage Philip did of spending physical time with Jesus, can take heart at his question and desire. And we can trust that the Holy Spirit works in the midst of all our doubts and questions. It certainly worked in Philip and all the disciples. And works in us, too. Thanks be to God!

And, a Simon "is" - finishing the school year. Here is a comparison of the first and last days:

You are becoming quite the young man! We love you!


Day #1980

June 3, 2019 

Three things about today spoke to me of God’s love and grace at the Intersection of life. 

The first, a person who listens and understands is worth their weight in gold. It was a long weekend and the mind, body and spirit needed some refilling. Thank you for hearing that in my voice and sensing my need to be heard.

Next, a song I sang long ago came to me. These are some of the lyrics:
Jesus, Lamb of God, worthy is your name. When I fall down you pick me up, when I am dry you fill my cup, you are my all in all. 
Thank you, God, for this reminder when I certainly needed it.

And then a fun thing. Last fall a neighbor boy told me about his excitement that he was getting a four-wheeler at the end of the school year. Tonight as I checked the mailbox, he called out to tell me he gets it tomorrow. The fact that he remembered he had told me so long ago made me smile. Oh, by the way, I did remind him to be careful and to wear his helmet!


Day #1979

June 2, 2019

Almost as quickly as it began, the Synod Assembly ended. 

This is the final Holy Communion Bishop Jessica will serve at an assembly and she gave the assurance of God’s love in the Body and Blood with her usual grace and pastoral presence.

When we left the assembly, we went to the graduation for one of the High Schools where three of the youth from the congregation received their diplomas. What a joy to witness this special and important day in their life. Well done, guys - I believe you will all go far!


Day #1978

June 1, 2019 

As the Assembly progressed, the voting that seemed overwhelming at the beginning was completed. There is a new bishop-elect, Rev. Dr. Laurie Jungling. There is thanksgiving and anticipation. 

I also found this to be ironic - three years ago at another Synod Assembly, I took this picture of Bishop Jessica on the screen as she gave her annual report. In the audience is the back/side of Pastor Laurie. She is in the blue shirt at the right side of the picture. 

Who could have known that three years later Pastor Laurie would be elected to follow Bishop Jessica upon her retirement. Only the Holy Spirit knew, and certainly led us all throughout the day. 


Day #1977

May 31, 2019 

Today was a busy day. It began with a Synod Council meeting, including the final preparations for the upcoming annual Synod Assembly.

Then I was honored to attend a celebration for some of the servant work of the congregation I serve. For many years, the congregation has been assisting the ministry of the Transition Center, a place for those leaving incarceration and returning to their lives “outside”. The administration and Board of Directors of the Transition Center invited several of us to lunch in order to give the congregation this award. 

Certainly the award is appreciated, although the real gift is the congregation’s heart for the ministry.

Then there was the beginning of the Synod Assembly, including worship and Holy Communion. This will be a “big” meeting as a new bishop will be elected. Many prayers for all the business and the attendees.


Day #1976

May 30, 2019

On the fortieth day following the Resurrection, the church celebrates the Day of Ascension, when Jesus returned to the Father by being “taken up,” with his followers looking on as witnesses. This day comes on Thursday, meaning the congregation I serve does not usually have a worship service to commemorate this important moment in time. Yet, I stopped today to wonder about what this all means. That Jesus came, died, rose and ascended. 

It came to me that perhaps it is less about wondering what it “means” and more about simply being thankful. That is truly what makes all the difference - receiving, and responding, in thanks.


Day #1975

May 29, 2019

I was blessed to attend one of the High School in town's Baccalaureate service tonight. I find these services to be meaningful and I am grateful they continue, thanks to the commitment and help of many parents. The message this year from the speaker - God is in love with you. And desires for you to be in love with God. 

Thank you! I think I will be pondering this for a while. Hopefully, others there will do the same.

And for all those students about to graduate...prayers! 


Day #1974

May 28, 2019 

Today’s Tuesday's Thoughts on Scripture comes from Revelation 22:13: I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (NRSV)

“Pastor, I have a question,” the confirmation student said to me as we studied the beginning in the book of Genesis, “if God made the earth and everything in it, then who made God?” I wish you could have seen their face when I said, “God wasn't made...God just always was.” Doubt and skepticism were just a couple of the thoughts that looked as though they ran through the confirmation student’s mind. Always was?!?! That cannot be - there had to be a beginning to God. 

I thought about that exchange when reading this verse from Revelation, which isn’t something that makes logical sense at all. Yet, this mystery of God as always being shows but a piece of the magnitude of God. The awesomeness of God. The inability of us to fully understand God. Yet we are invited by God to receive God’s love and grace in faith, from beginning to end, first to last, A to Z….from always and now and forever. 


Day #1973

May 27, 2019 

As we take a day - Memorial Day - to give thanks for those who have sacrificed their lives for the freedom of others, I express my gratitude for all who have given their lives while in service. And I pray for the day no more lives are needed to be given!


Day #1972

May 26, 2019 

This from Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation: “the only thing that separates you from God is the thought that you are separate from God!”

Wow! Just wow!! 


Day #1971

May 25, 2019 

May 25 is a special day in my life. An important day in my life. Perhaps the most important day, other than my birth. This is the anniversary of my baptism. So Happy Baptism Birthday to me, along with a deep appreciation and awe for God’s welcoming me into the Kingdom!

Here’s a Simon does - a picture of him at the end of his soccer season (that actually came on Wednesday, but I missed sharing it). Looks like he had a great time - and grew A LOT!

Lastly, something happened that gave me a renewed appreciation for folks trying to keep their young ones quiet - in worship, in public, wherever. I do realize it’s difficult to keep another being quiet when they are excited, but you may be wondering what happened? Well, we took the pup for daycare at his favorite place. He was so excited he kept barking - quite loudly - as we waited to get checked in. I tried as hard as I could to quiet him, but he wanted to be acknowledged by the woman behind the counter who was busy helping someone else. I was frustrated (wish I had thought to take him outside), especially as she reprimanded me for not keeping him quiet, with looks and with words. I was so embarrassed that I thought seriously about us never taking him back. I’m certain I will go back (he loves it there), but I do hope it’s not when she is working the counter. Either way, this feeling is something I hope I remember the next time I witness someone struggling with another’s behavior, so that I will demonstrate tolerance.  


Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Day #1970

May 24, 2019 

A special note came in the mail today. A thank you and an update from someone who had a life-changing experience that I was honored to be a small part of a few years ago. Do I feel like I did much? No. But I witnessed God doing amazing things. Suffice it to say, God gave this person a little of that peace I spoke of on Day #1967

Thank you, God!!! Awesome!! And I appreciate the update, too!


Day #1969

May 23, 2019 

On a show that features local folks, we caught a story about a cross country ski guide in Yellowstone Park. This may seem rather ordinary, until you learn this person guides folks who are blind. What a gift that those without sight can enjoy the outdoors in a safe way. 

Thanks be to God for folks who share their gift and passion with others, especially those who might not be able to participate otherwise.


Day #1968

May 22, 2019

Wednesdays are about to change. The HS Youth will stop meeting as school comes to an end. And one of our regulars will be graduating, meaning I won't see him most every week. The Confirmation Class had its last official class. And one of our students will be affirming his faith in a couple of weeks, meaning I won't see him most every week.  

But with these changes, and endings, there will be things that continue on, like Bible Studies and conversations. So Wednesdays will continue to be holy, albeit different. Thanks be to God for things that are different, and things that are the same! 


Day #1967

May 21, 2019 

Tuesday’s Thoughts on Scripture are Jesus' words that come from the Gospel of John, chapter 14, verse 27: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. (NRSV)

Perhaps it’s looking ahead at June and the busyness of what should be a slower summer month. Perhaps it’s trying to be in too many places at once. Perhaps it’s looking at the news headlines and realizing we humans are fighting every day for peace of mind, peace of heart, peace of life…and not succeeding. Perhaps it’s that the scripture for today will be read on the day before Memorial Day when we honor the hundreds of thousands who have died trying to keep peace in the United States. 

Whatever "it" is, I find the words Jesus speaks to his disciples just before he is arrested and led away to be crucified are as applicable today as they were two thousand years ago. The peace that Jesus gives is not as the world gives, or tries to give, through battle and legislation. The peace Jesus gives is a gift. 

Can I imagine a day when there is no longer a need to send men and women off to "fight" for peace? Can I imagine a day when there is no longer a need to worry about the future, the present, the lack, the fear…whatever causes hearts and minds to be troubled? I can't. At least not by what we humans try to do to obtain peace.

So what does bring that kind of peace? Perhaps it is as simple as trusting that God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, loves us. And loves us not due to what we do or don’t do, but simply because we are God’s children. And that, as part of that love, never leaves us alone. No matter what! 

There is definitely a peace that comes with knowing we are loved. No matter what! And what a gift to share the assurance of that peace with others. 


Day #1966

May 20, 2019 

The word for the day - thankful. For doctors who make room for patients with sudden ailments. For caring folks who work tirelessly to serve others. For insurance that helps pay for expensive procedures - and employers who provide coverage. 

Yes, in a word…thankful!


Day #1965

May 19, 2019

Two days ago, hubby looked at me over the top of his phone with a look that said something was terribly wrong. What’s happened, I asked him, steeling myself for the worse. I’m reading that the diner is closing, he said. WHAT!?! I cried? It can’t be! But it is. Because the building owners raised the rent by an enormous amount, he read, the diner owners decided to retire instead of fighting it.

This news came as a shock. We had just eaten at the diner the day before, as it is one of our favorite places. For over four years, it has been our “go to” place. They know without being told that he likes Diet Coke without a straw and that I like relish on my diner dog.

Now we know that in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t a tragedy. It’s sad. It’s heartbreaking for the owners and staff. Certainly we will miss eating there and regularly seeing folks who have become like friends. 

We went there for lunch today, and commiserated with many in town who will miss this iconic landmark. Well done, good and faithful folks. You’ve fed lots of us with a smile and good food. Please know you will be missed.

The day then ended on a high note with a family potluck dinner honoring our High School seniors. The connections between the two young men present run deep - grandparents who also were in confirmation class together and graduated High School together. Even great-grandparents who served the congregation years ago as pastor and secretary.

It’s heartwarming to see faith being passed along to two fine young men. We are praying for you and are grateful God goes with you into the days and years ahead. 


Saturday, May 18, 2019

Day #1964

May 18, 2019

On a rainy, gloomy day, we decided to go see the spring runoff water coming over two of the area falls. Here are a couple of the pictures we took.

It was certainly good to be out and about enjoying some of the sights where we live.


Day #1963

May 17, 2019 

As we look this Sunday at the Gospel of John and the “new” commandment that Jesus gives his disciples to love one another, I found this to be helpful in thinking of why Jesus finds love to be so important. Yes, love does give us hope. And love transforms, I believe always for the better!


Day #1962

May 16, 2019

We had the honor and joy again this year of providing dinner for about 50 folks with Special Olympics who are in town for the games. Athletes and their helpers came and ate and laughed and showed their appreciation. It was a delightful evening. 

Good luck to you all. Enjoy your time together!


Day #1961

May 15, 2019 

A while ago someone commented to me: That’s why I’ve never read the Bible. There are just too many unanswered questions and too many ways to interpret it. There is just too much that is unknown. 

I thought about this comment on the day when there are two Bible Studies and Confirmation class. It makes me sad this person finds that the way to reconcile the discrepancies of scripture is to simply avoid reading it. What treasures and assurances they are missing!

Yes, scripture sometimes leaves us with questions we cannot find answers for, and inconsistencies that cause us to wonder, but throughout it all we hear of God’s love and care. Seems to me that makes it worth the effort to read.


Day #1960

May 14, 2019

Tuesday’s Thoughts on Scripture comes from the 11th chapter of Acts, verse 17: If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God? (NRSV) 

The apostle Peter is trying to explain why he has come to the understanding that God calls and accepts Gentiles, as well as Jews, as followers. He has come to the conclusion that he is not the one called to decide who is welcome in God’s Kingdom. 

Many years ago the denomination in which I serve came to a decision that was unpopular with many. And there were many who were upset and concerned about the decision and what it might mean for them and their congregations. After a long conversation with someone who was worried, they left my office not certain of how they felt or whether they were convinced the “right” decision had been made. Several days later, they came back. I think I have it, they said. I think I have reconciled my mind to this. After all, who am I to question or decide who has been called by God?!

Oh, yes, they certainly “had” it! Just as Peter did. And "it" seems to be the very definition of the grace of God that is available to us all.


Day #1959

May 13, 2019 

The word for the day - thankful. 

Today I am thankful for folks who get work done. Who take on tasks and get them completed.

Also, I am thankful for those who trust me to talk with about situations in their life. Who share openly and honestly what is happening and trust me to hold their concerns close to my heart. And to pray for them, knowing that God leads us through difficulties in ways we might never discover on our own. I am thankful for that, also!


Day #1958

May 12, 2019 

Let me begin with Happy Mother’s Day. 

And then say, this can be a difficult day for many reasons. I was pleased and thankful that the folks at the congregation celebrated with a cake that recognized ALL women. And I was pleased and thankful for this prayer from the ELCA:

So in honor and with thanks for all the women who’ve been and are in my life as mentors, friends, colleagues, family, and fellow followers of Christ - Happy "Women’s" Day!