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Showing posts from March, 2017

Serenity Prayer Part Three

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I thought I had wisdom when I turned 16 and was given the right to drive a car.
I thought I had wisdom when I was accepted to college, ready to conquer the world.
I thought I had wisdom when the seminary handed me a piece of paper with my name written in bold fancy letters.
I thought I had wisdom when I stood up to preach for the first time.

My knees knocking;
My stomach swirling;
My mind whirling;
My heart pounding;
I was a mess.

The wisdom was not in the words I said;
Or the paper it was written on;
Or the ideas I sought to share;
Or from a committee who said it was okay to call me, "Reverend."

No the wisdom came from the weakness; vulnerability; and my inabilities.
The wisdom was in the uncertainty that hung around ever word that still falls from my lips every Sunday.
The wisdom was in the mystery when my voice cracks like a 16 year old.
The wisdom is in the "maybe" and "possibly" and "do ya think"...
For in those words, I give You space, O …

Serenity Prayer Part Two

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Like the Lion in the Wizard of Oz, I need more than quart of courage today.
In a world of constant comparison and clinging to control and complaining...I need courage to go another way.
Your way, O God.
Courage to simply be, rest...in the face of voices clamoring that to rest is to rust.
Courage to speak rather than staying on the sidelines.
Courage to accept that I am beloved regardless of what comments I hear today.
Courage to change...myself/how I see others/how I respond/how I live and move and have my being.
Courage to admit I was wrong...which might be the best trait of a leader.
Courage to be forgiven and to forgive for the dynamic relationships with my family say that posture is truly love.
Courage to know that I don't know everything.
Courage to quit keeping track of scores on the spreadsheet of life.
Courage to know that in the end I rest in You and if I am not in You, it must not be the end.

Courage...seven letters that take a life time to be embraced by...for the trut…

Serenity Prayer Part One

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God grant me serenity...peace...shalom...wholeness.
God grant me, because I can't find it on my own.
The peace cannot be purchased and doesn't come packaged.
It isn't found even at the bottom of this ice cream container or with the swipe of the credit card or all the other ways I am constantly and continually told I might find it.

God grant me serenity...peace...shalom...wholeness.
Because I cannot control or cling to this promise, this gift, this presence of You.
Even though the church has tried for ages.
Even though we have parceled and preached that we have the answers.
Even though all our words fall silent when truly in the presence of You, O God.

That is peace which surpasses understanding.
That is serenity which swirls where it will...like the breeze from two days ago.
That is shalom and wholeness, because I realize I am fully loved and called to love fully.

So, I need peace especially in the face of things that I cannot control.
All the scenarios swirl around of wh…

Breeze

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The wind whooshed and wrapped around me
While it weaved through the palm trees causing them to wave.
The wind tickled as it touched my skin,
Just as the sun warmed my face.

For a long time the wind has been seen as a sign of the sacred.
Invisible and yet such a real part of life.
Known and yet unknown.
The wind reminds us that we do see in a mirror dimly.

There is so much we think we know and can measure.
How fast the wind goes;
Which direction it blows;
And patterns it might follow.

And yet, there is more mystery than we care to admit.
We cannot really predict when a strong breeze will almost knock us off our feet;
Or why sitting here in the sun with the wind whirling around me feels like the best day ever.
And yet, there it is.
And here I am.
And suddenly the words, "Grace" and "Peace" have entered time and space of my life.
And I give thanks.

Amen.

Washing my car

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This afternoon I went to wash my car.
The tire slid onto the track squealing and squeezing into place.
Slowly the mechanical belt lurked my car forward.
Water blasted all around,
Soon soap came down like manna from heaven.
Pieces of sturdy clothe bounded off the car,
I guess washing away the dirt,
while I sat silently in my car staring out the window.

What if washing away the broken and battered pieces of my life was so easy?
Sometimes we make church out to be a weekly car wash.
But like my car where the grime and pollen of the world quickly congregate,
So too for my soul.
No I need something from God more than a quick soul cleanse ever week.
I something from God more than a drive thru or a filling station.
I need a grace to sustain
when the muck and the mud fly around.
I need a love to strengthen
when the world gets too much for me.
I need a presence that promises to stick around
when the messiness of life stirs and swirls around.

I need this more than once a week or even every few …

Theme Song

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Remember that scene in Saturday Night Fever where
John Travolta is walking down the street?
Where the music is playing and he struts with each step?
Makes me wonder what is my theme song right now?
What notes are strutting next to me as I stroll through life?

Is my theme song..."It is well with my soul"
Or "In the Bleak Midwinter?"
Is my soul singing out to a God of grace and glory...
Or echoing Jesus on the cross...My God...my God why have you forsaken me?
Am I singing out with full voice...or barely muttering the words, almost inaudible?

If you had to pick a theme song for Lent,
What would it be?
Don't feel confined or contained to a section of the hymnal,
Flip through the pages,
Let the words wash over you.
Sing out the words.
Whisper them to yourself, so you can barely hear.

The church isn't the only one who gets to pick the sacred music.
You don't need to be limited to the ones in worship.
There are too many great hymns and we cannot be confined b…

Peeling Sweet Potatoes

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The peels flung and flew across the counter,
with each sweep of the knife sliding across.
Like confetti at a party,
Each peel sailed to freedom.
The pile of skins grew larger and larger.

As I sliced and diced, I wondered,
What in my life needs to be swept away like a peel?
Are there vulnerability that I keep hidden from God,
that if the tough, rough exterior was peeled back,
I might be seen for who I really am?

Am I willing to let God work on my soul in such a way?
Am I willing to be stripped clear of the skins of
Control
Competence
Clinging to being in charge...
Am I willing to release and reveal that which is beneath the surface

Or would I rather stay hidden to
Others...
God...
Myself?

They say every ten years you completely have a new layer of skin on your body...
A complete resurrection slowly, steadily taking place before our very eyes...
Yet, day by day we rarely see the subtle changes.
To look deeply in the mirror and see something beyond the
Bruises
Bad spots
And hairs sprout…

Lost and Found

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Reflections based on Luke 15:1-10, click here to read

There once was a pastor who was staying at the same hotel as the great comedian Groucho Marx.  As grace would have it, the two bumped into each other in the lobby.The minister rushed, raced over took Marx by the hand and said, “Thank you Mr. Marx for bring such laughter and joy into our world.”To which Groucho, with the twinkle in his eye, did not miss a beat, replied, “And thank you, Padre, for taking so much of it out of the world.”Often what makes something funny is that we uncover a truth that might have been hidden heretofore.And certainly, as people of faith, we can be a bit too serious and somber, especially during the season of Lent.I think we need moments when we don’t splash in the shallow end of life, when we stop sliding down the surface, when we can dive deeply into what it means to be crafted, created in the image of God.What does it mean to suggest, say that the holiest week in the Christian year, about a month from …

Sacred Every Day Part Four

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Such a simple thing to behold...
Such an ordinary item to be sure.
A piece of bread held pinched gently between my thumb and finger.
A piece of bread that when tasted does linger.
There is a truth so daring and bold.
That God knows us...even in brokenness...with a grace to hold.

Such a truth is too simplistic we might jest.
If God care so much, why don't we just suffer less?
Why the pain, the war, the famine, and peril,
Why in the world would God use valley moments when we feel stuck in a barrel?

Surely, a God who is there only in laughter, doesn't make sense either.
Rather a sacred flow that surrounds, especially when I seether
And then those days when it isn't up or down...no it is neither.
Just a moment to see the average, ordinariness of breathing.

So, this tiny piece of bread holds infinite grace and invisible molecules dancing.
And the deeper truth that since matter is never destroyed, it just keeps prancing.
There might even be Christ's fingerprints in this mor…

Sacred Every Day Part Three

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The song still rings in my ear...
People still singing of good cheer.
The flames flicker and dance.
Make a wish and take a chance.
Blow out the candles and have some cake.
This is the birthday prayer I make.

A prayer to dive deep into the mystery of God.
A prayer to see grace and share love near and far.
A prayer to stay calm and know the waves will pass.
A prayer to see others with love and know peace at last.
A prayer for this moment.
Fleeting and fading ~ faster still.
A prayer to laugh and cry and notice the sacred fill.

A prayer for you, dear reader,
That you too might sense more than a trace of grace.
A prayer that together we might continue to embrace.
Embrace each other...no longer divided by all the words we speak.
Embrace each other...no longer thinking, "I've got wisdom to teach."
Embrace each other...with care, comfort, and compassion to say the least.
Embrace each other...rather than ideologies and cling to our own piece.
For the song that rings in my ear r…

Sacred Every Day Part Two

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I took my dog for a walk today.
She danced and pranced down the street.
She leapt at another dog.
She tugged and pulled.
She wandered too and fro, weaving from one side to another.

Silly dog...I thought with a smile.

God walked alongside me today.
I danced and prance through conversations.
I leapt at that comment on Facebook.
I tugged and pulled thinking, "I've got this all under control."
I wandered too and fro, not thinking about whether I was living God's love.

While I don't wear a leash, there are limits in my life.
People I have made promises to that I need to honor.
Places I need to go.
Work I am called to do.
Holding up my corner of the world that keeps me trudging the path.

While my dog may or may not know the way home...
The same might be asked of me.

Until I center, sitting still, and the small voice of God says,
"You are beloved..."
And I know the joy of going for a walk with my dog and God.

Grace and peace ~~