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Showing posts from September, 2018

Friday Poem and Prayer

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The flame flickered and fanned with the wind.
Against the chill of the air,
The warmth of the tiny light kept the cold at bay.
Against the creeping darkness,
The tiny light reached out allowing me to see.

One candle.
One flame.
Yet, it is more than enough.

One moment.
One hope.
Yet, with God's grace there is always enough.

This day.
Right now.
Opening us to a promise and possibility that is more than we can describe or define.

So may the One who is with us and for us
Surround you with more than a trace of God's grace
Every moment this day and week.

Blessings ~~

Rest

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Rest

There is an advertisement on the radio right now that in a cheery voices proclaims, "Being busy is good.  You are getting things done.  Checking things off your to-do list."  It then goes on to say that because you are so busy, you don't have time for dinner...so don't worry this particular place will help you out...because everyone needs help.  So just stay busy...that isn't the problem...the problem is this body that needs food.  But don't worry the cheery voice and food place has your back.

Rest.

What does that word awaken within you?

Maybe the cliche that if you rest you rust.
Maybe it makes you wonder if you are being lazy.

As a self-identified Type A person, I know that it is easy to push myself.  Just one more thing...just more box to check...maybe if I get that thing moved from "to do" to "to done" I will feel better.  Only once you get it done...you are tired and another two things just appeared on your "to do" lis…

Vision

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This morning in church, we were singing the hymn, "Be Thou My Vision," I was struck by just how counter-cultural these words truly are.  This isn't about God affirming our hopes and dreams, this is about us turning and tuning our lives toward God.  The very first line is a petition for us to let go of individualistic ideas that are only and all about us.  Let these words linger in your life:

"Be now my vision, O God of my heart:
nothing surpasses the love you impart.
You my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Your presence my light."

Sounds exactly like something you'd hear in church.  But when you consider the commercials that we are surrounded by every single day that tell us we need to have it our way and right now!  To suggest that God's vision could surpass our vision challenges many of us to our core.

The second verse also challenges us:

"Be now my wisdom, and be my true word;
Ever within me, my soul is assured;
Mother and …

Dust part Three

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Dust-playing God, move in the dusty parts of my life this day.
As you did in the beginning, breathe life into the parts of my life that I tend to ignore or imagine don't really exist.
Those parts of my life covered in dust of neglect.
Those parts of my life I keep hidden, tucked away.
Breathe into that dust, O God, this day I pray.

Stir and swirl up those million dust particles til they are spinning around me.
Stir and swirl the dust until like removing mortar from the floor a cloud hangs and hovers.
Stir and swirl the dust of my souls crafting and creating something new.

To be sure, there is chaos when the dust flies.
To be sure, it is messy and causes disruption.
But, just as You did in the beginning, O God, it was out of the sloshing, watery chaos where life came forth.
Out of the dust of renovation, creativity still comes forth.
And if that is true outside of our lives, perhaps it is true inside as well.
Inside as deep as our very souls.

So stir up the dust.
Swirl the million…

Dust part Two

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In the last post, we explored the invitation to show both the sides of our life that are beautiful and broken...to be honest that in our souls there is both which we are accustom to letting shine but also that which has a layer (perhaps thick) of dust settled upon it from years of sitting in our lives.

I am reminded that in Genesis 2, God takes dirt...or dust...forms, fashions and loves humanity into being.  God seems to see something sacred in dust, which might make all of us feel better about our living room furniture which we have been meaning to clean for the last few weeks. 

God plays in the dust...not only then and there in the pages of Scripture, but also here and now in our lives.

God delights in the dust...not only kids who are roll down grassy hills or splash in puddles causing splotches of mud to cling to their legs/arms/hair/everywhere, but also when we as adults can see how dust enables and enlivens life.

Without dirt and dust, there is no life.
Within dirt and dust, swi…

Dust

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In the journey of a thousand steps that is our bathroom remodel, yesterday's step was to remove tile from the floor.  Apparently our twenty-year old tile really preferred not to be removed...it protested and pleaded and was simply a pain coming up in a thousand tiny pieces.  It also left most of the mortar still stuck to the ground.

Which meant we had to grind it away.

Which meant a cloud of heavy dust hung in the air after about thirty seconds.

Which meant that dust went everywhere.

On every surface...out the tiny crack beneath the door...and, of course, on us.

A million tiny particles of dust flowing and flying...swirling and stirring so much that you could not even see.  Surrounded and swimming in that sea of dust.

On Ash Wednesday, usually when you have the dust of palms placed on your forehead, the pastor says, "From dust you come, to dust you shall return."  Yesterday, I felt like I had returned to the dust.

This is about some morbid thought...although we do live …

Running on Empty

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Like a car...our physical/mental/spiritual/and emotional lives have a tank that can run on empty.

As you might remember from a previous post, we are remodeling our bathrooms, which means that physically I am working harder than I am used to.  This is also a new moment in our lives when we feel over our heads...and need to watch several YouTube videos to figure out each problem.  This reality leads to mental fatigue.  Then there is the spiritual and emotional tiredness that happens, perhaps as a result of the first two or because I feel like I am praying constantly with every swing of the hammer. 

When was the last time you felt that physical exhaustion?  Perhaps when you were out for a hike or doing some major yard work?
What about mental fatigue...what is it that taxes the firing of neurons in your mind?
How about spiritual or emotional tiredness?

These realities happen around us and within us.  And unlike my car, it isn't always easy to refuel and fill the tanks of our mind, bo…

Favorite Color

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What is your favorite color and why?

Most of us know our favorite color...but have you ever paused to ponder why?  I know I love the color blue.  I find it to be peaceful...plus it seems that every style of men's clothing is made in blue... so I have a plethora in my closet. 

But is that really my favorite color?

Maybe I'd prefer the passion of red that awakens excitement and energy?
Or the brightness of yellow that can cause even the grey and gloomy day seem a bit better.
Or green that symbolizes life.
Or purple that Alice Walker said God put on earth for us to notice.

What about the ways white and black dance in photographs or help a piano make music?
What about the ways the blue sky turns pink as the sun waves goodbye?
What about the ways red causes us to stop while green helps us go?

Take time today to notice the colors around you...which ones sing to you and why?
Are there colors that you tend to shy away from or shield your life?  And again...why?

May the One who crafte…

A Handful of M & Ms

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A handful of M and Ms sits beside me.
The colors mixed and mingled together,
I mindlessly push the blues ones off to the side,
Saving the best for last.

I wonder if God's grace is like that?
Am I surrounded by blessings that I miss?
Blessings like laughter of family,
A meal shared,
A moment of progress made, small as it is.
Blessings like a church where people care,
Friendships grow,
A moment where we deepen our faith.

Perhaps our lives are like a handful of M & Ms.
The colorful ways God moves in our midst,
Beckoning us to pay attention.
Orange for sunsets each night.
Brown for the earth producing food.
Yellow for bright moments of smiles.
Green for goodness that nourishes our lives.
Red for passion that stirs us from complacency.
And blue...
Always blue last...
For the peace that lingers and lasts on the tips of our tongue like a small piece of chocolate.

A handful of M & M...
A faithful prayer...
One in the same.

Amen.

Prayer and Poem

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I was recently reading something for a friend, when a hymn popped into my head that has been stuck on repeat and replay all week long.  What I was reading was about how the world is changing and by default the church has to change too.  The hymn that was playing over and over again is the one below:

In the Midst of New Dimensions

Words and Music by Julian Rush (1985)

In the midst of new dimensions, in the face of changing ways. Who will lead the pilgrim peoples wandering in their separate ways?

 [Refrain] God of rainbow, fiery pillar, leading where the eagles soar, We your people, ours the journey now and ever, now and ever, now and ever more.

Through the flood of starving people, warring factions and despair,Who will lift the olive branches? Who will light the flame of care?

As we stand a world divided by our own self seeking schemes, Grant that we, your global village might envision wider dreams

We are man and we are woman, all persuasions, old and young, Each a gift in your creation, ea…

Moments of Grace

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One of the points of this blog is that it is a spiritual/prayerful exercise in noticing God's grace.  Where we live, school is in full swing and session.  Our son just began high school and is in the marching band ~ they celebrate the Scottish ancestors who settled in this area.  They do this by wearing kilts.  In Florida.  Where it is still full on summer temperatures.  Let's just say that the smell of wet wool in Florida is not an odor you will ever forget.

But I digress.

The fun part of this is watching our son have a great time, hanging out with friends, working hard at something he finds meaningful. 
The graceful part of this is that both my wife and I were in marching bands when we were in high school. 
The heartwarming part was having my son come up to me...during the game...and pose to have a picture taken with me! 

Usually, Friday nights are down time for me after the work week.  Our family enjoys pizza and ice cream and catching up.  Now, for the next six or seven w…

1000 Little Steps

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This week, our family set out on a great and grand adventure.

Not to some exotic or exciting location.
Not to some amazing destination.
Not even to some place we'd been wanting to visit.

We began the journey of remodeling our bathrooms.

This is a journey we have been on before.

Our first trip down this road was painting our master bedroom room in our first house.  The paint we got from the local hardware store was mixed incorrectly.  It essentially looked like cottage cheese.  We didn't know it was not right.  We kept stirring and stirring and stirring.  We even put some of it up on the wall before convincing ourselves that something was wrong.  We ended up with some very nicely textured walls!!  There was removing the little blue bird wall paper in the guest bedroom of that same house.  Then there was building a small home office in the basement of our second house.  There was remodeling both bathrooms in that house too- goodbye pink vanity top ~ seriously why was that even …