Monday, March 8, 2021

Day #2624

March 8, 2021

After hearing the giving of the Ten Commandments yesterday in worship, and remembering that we are told the Israelites wandered with Moses in the wilderness for forty years, this made me smile. Hopefully it will you, also. 

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2623

March 7, 2021 

The word for the day - grateful! For another in-person worship, folks who willingly respect protocols, and technology that worked as it should. It is good to be together and receive the Word in song, prayer, scripture and meal, and to be able to share it online with those who are unable to be there in-person. Thanks be to God!!! 

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2622

March 6, 2021

On this Satisfied Saturday, I am grateful for the beauty of God’s creation. The mountains are gorgeous (as you saw yesterday). The river we live near is a joy and beauty to cross each day. The wildlife we often see makes us smile. The sky is big, the views incredible and we enjoy something in God’s creation every day. 

Now, we know we do not live in the only place where God’s creation shines. There is beauty everywhere. God is definitely good and what God made is also good! 

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2621

March 5, 2021 

Another springlike day (and a day off) turned an errand into a nice ride in the country. 

We certainly live in a beautiful place. 

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2620

March 4, 2021 

What can be finer than a springlike day in the midst of winter?! Certainly, there is plenty of time for more cold and snow, but today is about enjoying a break in the weather. That, and an enjoyable lunch with someone. All in all, a really good day!

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2619

March 3, 2021 

Wednesday is becoming a tad more “normal” and I am thankful. We had Bible Study for the first time today in many months, and it was very good to be back!! Nothing can be more about the intersection of life and faith than studying God's word with others. 

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2618

March 2, 2021

Tuesday’s Thoughts on Scripture comes from John 2:14-16: 14In the temple [Jesus] found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. 15Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” (NRSV)

While I generally focus on one verse of scripture for Tuesday’s Thoughts, it only seemed to make sense this week to include these three verses. After all, it is about the only time we hear of Jesus having such a visceral reaction to what is happening in the temple. He gets angry. Rightfully so. The temple had turned into something it was not intended to be - a place of transaction that took advantage of others. How? Those coming to make a temple offering were charged a fee to change the money they had brought with them into coins that were “acceptable” temple offerings, not to mention a place to purchase a dove, sheep or cattle for a sacrifice. 

Whenever I hear this, I am reminded of an insurance office I worked in many years ago. Folks would bring their insurance payments into the office in cash and I was instructed to sell them a money order, explaining that the company “would not accept cash.” I never thought it was fair to charge people another few dollars as penalty for bringing cash. Jesus did not think the temple’s actions were fair either. He minced no words in saying so - and made no friends, either. 

In the Gospel of John, this comes early in Jesus’ public ministry. In other gospels, it is closer to his crucifixion. No matter when it happened, it played a part in what would eventually happen to Jesus. Taking a stream of income away from the temple authorities was not welcomed. However, for those being taken advantage of, it was wonderful news. 

Which made me say WOW when I saw this on FaceBook. Certainly makes one think, doesn’t it!?

Blessings. And prayers.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Day #2617

March 1, 2021

The smile for this week speaks to how my life seems to be at times - whoops!

No matter how hard I try, sometimes the obvious just gets missed. Maybe you also see yourself in this, but hopefully you can still smile. 

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2616

February 28, 2021

The word for the day - grateful! For resuming in-person worship. For folks who are willing, and willingly, follow protocols. For the community known as the church. And for the patience of folks as we continue to navigate through this pandemic. 

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2615

February 27, 2021 

On this Satisfied Saturday, I am grateful for those who serve as funeral directors. As a pastor, I have met many different people whose vocation is working in funeral homes. I have found a few common traits - compassion, professionalism, humor, and a sincere desire to help people during a most difficult time. They can be a true gift for pastors, and I hope pastors are a gift for them. It is an important partnership. 

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2614

February 26, 2021

The intersection of faith and life is always evident, from my experience, in the midst of those who are grieving. God comes close to families and friends who have recently faced the death of a loved one. The community surrounds them, prayers abound, people share stories and memories, and healing is taking place. 

Yes, God is present in these times and once again I was honored to be a witness as I accompany folks in this process known as grief. Thank you, God, for always being present and teaching me something new every time.

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2613

February 25, 2021

Out of the generosity of folks of the congregation, several things took place today. It was an exciting day - a new copier, heating system repairs, checks sent for ministries in the community. How good God is and how generous are God’s people. Thanks be to God.  

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2612

February 24, 2021

This prayer caught my attention. It is asking God to help me be open to who God is and was quoted in the devotion God Pause. The author took it from “Meditations of the Heart” by Howard Thurman:

Open unto me—light for my darkness.

Open unto me—courage for my fear.

Open unto me—hope for my despair.

Open unto me—peace for my turmoil.

Open unto me—joy for my sorrow.

Open unto me—strength for my weakness.

Open unto me—wisdom for my confusion.

Open unto me—forgiveness for my sins.

Open unto me—tenderness for my toughness.

Open unto me—love for my hates.

Open unto me—Thy Self for my self.

Lord, Lord, open unto me!

Blessings. And prayers.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Day #2611

February 23, 2021

Tuesday’s Thoughts on Scripture comes from Mark 8:31: [Jesus] began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. (NRSV)

Each time I read this passage, I put myself into the disciples’ shoes (sandals). I cannot imagine how upset they were when they heard this from Jesus. Great suffering, rejection, death - no wonder they missed the last part he said about rising again. That would be easy to miss with my mind trying to grasp the rest. 

As Mark 8 continues, Peter reacts. He takes Jesus aside and rebukes him. Don’t say this, Jesus! It can’t be true! And I can put myself right there with Peter. We NEED you, Jesus. We can’t do this thing called life without you. You have to be here with us. We’ll be lost. We have come to depend so much on you. Little Miss Fix-it that I can be would want to try and figure out something else, some other way. 

Little did the disciples understand that what would happen would be so much better than they could imagine. And that it would be the salvation of millions. It’s no wonder Jesus tells Peter he is focusing on the humanness of things. But, can you blame him?!?! Peter doesn’t know the rest of the story, like we do. 

Yet, don’t we also try to put Jesus in our box? We NEED you, Jesus. We can’t do this thing called life without you. You have to be here with us. We’ll be lost. We have come to depend so much on you. Fix it, Jesus. Sound familiar? It does to me. 

Lord, have mercy, and teach me to wait on your way! Amen.

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2610

February 22, 2021

This says it all, I think, as the smile for this week:

Blessings. And prayers.