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Showing posts from February, 2016

Lent: Prayerful and Intentional

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Leap day... A day that is unexpected, unplanned, usual. Twenty-eight days most years. Then, every fourth year, another day greets us at the end of February. Twenty four hours.. Pure gift. Interrupted... Disrupted... In the best sense of those words.
What will you do with this one precious day? This gift received only every four years?
Will you enter into it as usual? Or will you leap into it?
Will you have the same meals, same routines? Or will you let your spirit leap in new ways?
Will you go about this as though the calendar could read February 28th or March 1? Or maybe we can leap around, dance around, and sing aloud?
Maybe this leap day will interrupt us Disrupt us.. in the best ways.
That might open us to the holy, sacred leaping in our midst even here and now.

Lent prayerful and intentional

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There is a disruption when life is interrupted.  We have carefully made plans...
Like posting to my blog everyday. Like always being joyful this Lent. I wanted to make it through Lent following my best laid plans... Unlike those New Years Resolutions.
Then life interrupts. Life disrupts. Like takes an unplanned exit ramp. What then??
What happens when my plans go sideways... without even asking permission? What happens when my to-do lists gets added to.. without even asking permission? What happens when my neat, tidy expectations are suddenly askew, again...without asking permission?
What then? O God...
O right, Lent isn't about me. Lent isn't some marathon I run totally reliant on the unholy Trinity of, Me...Myself...and I
Lent is about God. Relying on God. Totally, Fully, Even when our plans are interrupted and disrupted... Or especially when interrupted and disrupted.
Then, maybe I might find a new understand of Lent.

Lent 10: prayerful and intentional

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“Earth's crammed with heaven,  And every common bush afire with God,  But only he who sees takes off his shoes; The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.” ~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Can God really be found in my bowl of bran flakes? Is God really woven into the words of that person who I always roll my eyes at? Do I really need to take off my shoes as though every where I stand has an "X" that marks the sacred spot where God is? Can I live with God here and now?
Those questions need more than simple responses, they can demand our energy thoughtfulness prayerful-ness pleadful-ness playful-ness
Because at some point...after we let go of the illusion that we are fully in control and in charge. After we let go of the need to understand everything. After we let go of my way or the highway... There is a stunned silence that can be filled best with our laughing.
Our outburst of joy. Our cup-over-flowing Side aching Tear streaming down our cheek Can't catch our breath Jo…

Lent 9: prayerful and intentional

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Here in this place new light is streaming, now is the darkness vanished away; see in this space our fears and our dreamings brought here to you in the light of this day. Gather us in, the lost and forsaken, gather us in, the blind and the lame; call to us now, and we shall awaken, we shall arise at the sound of our name.~ Gather us in...Marty Haugen
Fears and dreamings come together sometimes collide and crash together sometimes culminate together sometimes conspire together in the here and now.
What fears are flying around in your life here and now? What dreams are dancing in your life here and now? Which one talks the lead?
Author Elizabeth Gilbert says fear can be good. Science tells us that fear activates the part of our brain where creativity also originates. But too often we let fear right in the front seat AND pick the radio station.
Too often we let fear cloud the future, demanding that everything be perfectly sorted out before we dare to dive in. Can the light of Christ'…

Lent: prayerful and intentional

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Ok.  Fine.  I get.  God is here. Can we move on now? Let's talk about what is new and next and more exciting. Let's talk about what a celebrity did, a political candidate said, something else.
Talking about God is here, happening...come on, blog poster, think of another idea. We crave the rush of the latest and greatest. We splash in the shallow end, satisfied with tidbits and tweets. We gorge on post after post.
But if we dive deeper into Here...into the messiness of it all. That maybe I don't have my life as put together as neatly as I appear. Maybe I don't prayer as much. Maybe I get angry...frustrated...fearful...doubt-filled.
No...don't go there...just watch another cute cat video. To dare to dive deeper into Here...right now it all of its beautiful, creative, chaotic, messiness... Wait... Is that God stirring and swirling and sloshing around still creating, still singing, still speaking? Maybe, I can stay here for awhile.

Lent 7: prayerful and intentional

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Wait...wasn't this the post for yesterday?
Wait...this isn't some bad pun on the movie Groundhog's Day is it?

Because if God was then and there.
Because if God can be confined to the past, it means I can hold God at a distance,
Like a history book,
Like a quaint idea,
Like a something that happened

If God is here, God is happening!
God is not confined or defined, as some relic in a museum.
God is loose, like a elephant escaped from the zoo.
God is loose, free to start rumbling around...
Even rearranging all the furniture of my life...
And I don't want that chair to be put there.

If God is here, God is happening!
Not past tense, but present tense.
Present...
Here...
Happening around you and me.
Happening in you and me.
Happening here..for you and me, with you and me.

Can we let our lives get caught up in the present tense, happening God?
That might just be the most prayerful, playful question we can ask this Lent.

Lent 6: prayerful and intentional

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Really, here, in this place?
Can this day really be saturated, soaked, drenched, doused in the holy?
Can God really we woven into this minute...
This breath...
This second.

When the toast is burnt and my head hurts.
When I am interrupted right as I was about to have my most brilliant thought ever.
When I have all these things to do on my to-do list.

Here?
Now?
Doesn't God show up on Sundays along with the pastor (on the only day s/he works)?
Doesn't God wait around all week for us to sing and pray?
Isn't God just itching to hear that prayer of confession?

Because if God here...
That makes me squirm, shift uncomfortably...

Well, because of God is here...
That could change everything.

Lent 5: Intentional and Prayerful

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Tuesdays are always tough for me... The day is a prayer of confession just waiting to be written. When the melody of the music and the meaningfulness of worship starts to fade slowly away.
Tuesdays are tough for me... So much lingering that did not get done yesterday... So many days until a day of rest... So many lines still on the "To-do" list.
Until the wisdom of Martin Luther rings in my ear... "I am so busy today...I MUST pray more."
Until the wisdom of Barbara Brown Taylor beckons me to another frame... "Sabbath is permission to once a week be good for nothing."
Until the wisdom of faith reminds me... "Salvation is not up to me...God's love is not earned...but simply is."
So meld me, mold me, fill me, and move through me to sense that this is the day You have made, Even if it is a tough Tuesday.

Lent 4: Intentional and Prayerful

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Another week dawns around us from our Monday morning cup of coffee... We scan our calendar along with the headlines... We munch on manna in the form of Shredded Wheat or Corn Flakes... Wondering what awaits us in the coming days as a hymn of yesterday's service still rumbles around our head causes us to hum along.
What awaits us in the unknowingness of this week? What awaits us as we get dressed and set out? What awaits us as we throw ourselves into our "To-do" lists?
We will see You, O God, at the grocery store, Or only that annoying neighbor who wants to chat about the pizza in our cart.
We will see You, O God, as we volunteer, Or only the blur of faces, names You know and call beloved.
We will see You, O God, in traffic, Or only that person speeding past with the angry look and the less-than-Christian wave.
Another week dawns around us, O God, And we long to sense, to be open, to be guided by a grace to see more than just a trace... We long to see You.
Open our eyes,…

Lent 3: Intentional and Prayerful

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Valentine's Day and Lent...what an odd combination.
The poets shout out, wax eloquent about love...
The Hallmark store and florists shout out, don't forget...
The sappy sentimentalists in us all is stirred, although some still frown to keep that feeling down.

Valentine's Day and Lent...what a strange concoction, yet strangely intertwined.
They both want our intention and attention.
They both ask for us to be thoughtful and caring.
They both invite us to be vulnerable.
They both are about love.

While the love of one is sugar or chocolate coated...Your love, O God, comes in other ways.
Lasting ways.
Ways not contained by foil containers or shaped as heart.

Yet, Your love is found in flesh...in breathe...in laughter and wisdom and grace extended to all in the form of One You called beloved, so that we might know we are beloved by You.

So enter into our lives this Valentine's Day with Your extravagant, expressive, elastic, ever-lasting love.
And let us rest in Your prese…

Lent 2: Intentional and Prayerful

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So here we sit, O God. Waiting, wondering... Where is our burning bush? Where is our descending dove? You've done it before. But here we sit.
Here we sit as an ant cross on our hand, Distracting us from our prayerful focus. It's tiny feet tickling our flesh. We are just about to flick that pesky insect away... When wait...
What if, as we sit, this ant is Our burning bush...       Our descending dove....              A trace of Your grace here and now.
What if, as we sit, this ant tickling our flesh is an invitation To laugh      To sense that You are all around            To know that You are here.
So here we sit, O God. With You And an ant.

Lent 1: Intentional and Prayerful

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God is always exciting to set out on a journey... The thrill of something new, different, to leave behind all our worries and troubles and dirty dishes in the sink. We look to the excitement of the destination; The exotic... The new... The place where no problems can find us.
But...there is always a but... The plane is delayed... The luggage is lost... Those problems we thought we'd left at home suddenly show up and want to sit right next to us.
Help us as we embark on the season of Lent to view these forty days not as an escape from what is. Help us be open to the truths we embody, Those we like and want to share... And those we prefer would stay quiet in the corner.
We are wonderfully, wholly, and holy made. You are the ground and grace of our being.
In you we can be intentional, prayerful, and transformed with each step.
Take our hand, precious Lord... Lend us on...help us stand today and for the forty days to come.
Amen.

Ash Wednesday

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Today is the start of Lent, forty days (not including Sundays) that are set apart and seen as an intentional/prayerful/awaken to God time.  I crave Lent, which may sound like an odd statement.  Some view Lent as a microcosm of where religion veered off-course.  Lent is about sacrifice in a world that constantly preaches, "You deserve it YOUR way, right now."  Lent is about quiet in a world that rewards the loudest voices and most re-tweets.  Lent is about intentionality in a world that is prefers snap judgments and spontaneous decisions...after all why else put all that stuff near the cash register.  Lent is a slow, savory pace in a microwave world.  Lent is about as counter-cultural as it gets...because Lent is about Jesus.  
Jesus who preached loving enemies and peace.  Jesus who lived reaching out to people on the fringe rather than exploiting them.  Jesus who faced death on a cross not as something to be avoided but as a reality for walking on this earth.  Yet, in order…

Bread

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 And he said to them, “How many loaves have you? Go and see.” When they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he ordered them to get all the people to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And all ate and were filled; 43 and they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men.  Mark 6:38-44
This Sunday our church will celebrate communion.  We enter into the mystery of communion once a month...usually on the first Sunday.  While Catholics and Episcopal's celebrate Eucharist every week, other Protestants like my beloved United Church of Christ celebrate less frequently.  On one level this is because when Protestants broke with the…

Grief

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17 For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. 18 For John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. 21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. 22 When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.” 23 And he solemnly swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.” 24 She went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” She replied, “The …