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Showing posts from September, 2019

Soul-scape - Puddles

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Perhaps puddles are not the most inspirational part of creation.  Maybe not something that you think of as hums with the holy.  Maybe you see puddles as an annoyance and something to be avoided.  Maybe once a person driving crashed into a puddle that splashed and soaked you when walking down the street.  Maybe you had to leap over a puddle hoping to land on your feet so that your shoes didn't get saturated. 

These remnants of rain are more than something we have step around.

Puddles have a beauty and can shape our souls. 

I took the above photo in the parking lot of the church.  I love that in the puddle you can see the cracks in the driveway as well as the reflection of a nearby tree.  I love that the translucent puddle would soon evaporate in less than an hour later be back up in tiny, unseen atoms floating in the air.  I find it fascinating to slow down and see what the puddle has to say, because it is fleeting and fading and doesn't have forever to teach and tell us its t…

Soul-scape - Water

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The clouds hovered and hung above swimming across the blue sky.
The rocks constantly covered with waves of water crashing down.
I stood my feet sinking into the sand letting the foamy water barely touch the tips of my toes.

Water above in the clouds with their .02 percent of water.
Water washing the rocks slowly shaping them over the centuries.
Water before me with a 100 percent wet ocean extending for miles.

Water to give life.
Water to renew...restore...refresh.
Water that awakens the deep within me to connect to the deep of the oceans before us.

Water does more than hydrate,
It teaches and tells us something valuable about ourselves.

We move, swim, around our lives.
We crash down sometimes in reacting to others who have pushed our buttons.
We barely are seen by someone else we pass quickly by.

Water is not only within us, it is us.
It is the way everything in our world works,
including us.

So may the baptismal waters wash over reminding you who and whose you are.
May the waters ca…

Soul-scape - Sea Take Two

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Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.  Revelation 22:1-2

The seas, water, at the beginning in Genesis were described as sloshing and chaotically churning.  The waters, seas, at the beginning of creation collaborated with God to bring forth all that is seen and unseen.
The waters, seas, at the beginning of our Bible never are completely conquered, erased or eradicated but continue to flow.

The stream of creative and chaotic waters flow through all Scripture.  Our Bible is soaked and saturated with holy waters. 

This is true, as we saw a few days ago, with Jacob wrestling God, Noah's Ark, Moses parting waters of the Red Sea, Joshua parting the Jordan, Psalm 23, when the writer of Ec…

Soul-scape - sea

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The same night he got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had.  Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.  Genesis 32:22-24


By the banks of the sea, as the water lapped at the shore, Jacob encountered the holy as he wrestled/struggled with the sacred.  At this point in Jacob's story he and his family are wandering in the wilderness, the wildness of life.  He has fled from every home he had ever known.  
Pause with me here...where is that a truth of your soul-scape? When in your life have you felt spiritually or physically homeless? When have you felt like you wander as you wonder which way to go?  This can happen when in-between a job or when a relationship ends or when you are about to begin a new school year.
Throughout these posts we are paying attention to how creation is an important character in scripture.That the…

Soul-scape ~ sunsets

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When the sun sets and the crickets begin their nightly serenade;
When the stars trillions of miles away start their soft twinkle;
When the memories of my small-child-self reappear to my adult awareness;
I take my place among those who have known the awesome mystery of night.

Night when child-less Abraham heard a promise of descendants more numerous than stars.
Night when Jacob saw angels and also wrestled with God.
Night when in the hustle and bustle of a little town of Bethlehem couldn't stop long enough for God's grand entry.
Night when Jesus would gather with his closest friends.

Night has always been a holy time.

Night has always been a vulnerable time.

Night is when bumps can make you jump.
Night is when a soft sound suddenly seems too loud.
Night is when our imagination spins with wild abandon.
Night is the threshold between the daylight where illusions of our command and control give way to the truth that we are not the center of the world.

Galaxies keeps expanding and…

Soul-scape - trees

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I have stood beneath towering red wood trees in the west and next to snow-covered pine trees in the winter and raked maple leaves in the fall and witnessed the tiny buds of spring when the frost subsides and now see how the variations of green happen in the subtle shifts of seasons of Florida.

The trees have taught me more than I could say.

Redwoods taught me about my own smallness in life and when these trees have been around for over 500 years, suddenly saying, "This is taking forever," sounds rather shallow.

Snowy trees taught me how to shoulder some of the burdens of life that can weigh on us.

Raking leaves teaches patience as you no sooner get them in a pile than a breeze blows scattering them across the lawn again.

Noticing the shifts of green in Florida helps me know that traces of God's grace are not always neon lights flashing.  Often God moves in soft and tender ways we might miss.

The amazing part is once you start noticing what trees can teach and tell us...…

Soul-scape - soil

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There is an understanding that the soil beneath the soles of our feet shapes our very souls.  The oxygen atoms you breathed as a child wove their way into your DNA.  That where you have been impacts who you are today.  Our story has been influenced by our geography.  The places you have called, "home" are more than an address you filled out so your Amazon package would arrive at the correct place.  Like a turtle, we carry our home with us, but perhaps not in such a visible way.

I have lived in the Midwest where the wonderful contradiction of Minnesota nice and Iowa stubbornness shaped who I am today.  I lived in the Northeast weathering nor-easters that dropped a foot of a snow faster than you could shove and I quickly ran out of places to put it.  I have dug up rocks the size of loaves of bread when trying to plant a garden.  I have lived in Wisconsin, a state that celebrates all things dairy.  Now, the sandy soil of Florida is continuing to shape my life whether it is wea…

Soul-scape take three

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As the cloud reached down to touch the top of the trees,
Or billowed up like a plume of smoke from the earth,
I sat rapt in amazement.

I am used to clouds sailing across the blue sky above my head.
I am used to big clouds and small clouds that seem far away.
But one reaching down?
One that if I started chasing it with the dream of touching the pillow-y softness?

I wonder what would have happened if I did race and run off in search of this cloud?
Would have I discovered the place where the sky and earth met in this cloud?
Could I have entered this cloud the way the airplanes do countless times each day?
Could I have touched the pink hues of the sun on the edge of the cloud?
Could I have heard the silence of being surrounded by cool vapor of a cloud?

Suddenly what once seemed to distant came down to earth.
What once seemed far away was remarkably close.
Beckoning, calling, asking for us to pay attention.

Is this not what the dance with the divine is all about?
Is this not what church s…

Soul-scape take Two

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The invitation to pay attention to the creation around us can help us be more aware of the creation within us.  That what happens outside impacts and influences what is going on inside us.

A few friends and I joke about being "solar powered".  If I don't see the sun for a few days I turn into grumpy dwarf quickly.  We could talk about this on a chemical level of my body needing vitamin D or we could talk about this on a psychological level of how the weather impacts our moods.  But I also think there is a soul level here.  The warm of the sun causes my soul to dance.  The rainy days of life give my soul a chance to slow down, sit, and be.  I need both. 

Creation is a character in our stories.  For too long we have assumed it was a minor character - supporting actress/actor at best playing a bit role.  Creation was there for our enjoyment, creation as a means to an end to put a smile on our face or inspire a sonnet.  But what if creation was necessary for its own sake an…

Soul-scape take one

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In what ways does the world around us impact us?

I am not just talking about the news, texts, tweets, and the thousands of commercials we encounter everyday.

I am talking about the landscape right outside your window.

The towering tree I see with branches waving at me.
The blades of grass I can hear slowly growing.
The yellow flowers dancing with the green leaves of plants.
Our backyards are alive with thousands of species of life that we may barely pay any attention to.

Sometimes it has less to do with what we see, rather how we see.

Do I see the tree and the cooling shade it casts or the cost each year to keep it trimmed or the sticks it sheds in every storm?
Do I see the grass or the chore of mowing?
Do I see the flowers or the weeds that have sprung up next to it needing to be pulled?

Part of our world today is that nature has become something we think we need to constantly control.  We have turned nature from something we interact with into something that interrupts us with inco…

Prayer

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Holy One who for six days sang creation into being.
Still crafting God, who continues to call forth life within us and around us.

We offer to you the work of our hands.
Whether we paint, make pottery, write words, balance spreed sheets, hold onto someone who needs to know he is not alone;
May our hands be guided by Your hands.

We offer to you the work of our minds.
Whether we solve problems, listen deeply seeking understanding, dream dreams, lead meetings, participate fully;
May our minds seek and be stirred by Your mind.

We offer to you the work of our hearts.
Whether we delight in seeing patterns, coming up with poems, making connections, caring for all of creation;
May our hearts be in tune with the song You sing to all creation.

We offer to you our whole lives.
From the top of heads to the tips of our toes,
We long to be caught up in the symphony of life.

When we are out of tune or off beat,
Help bring us back noticing the traces of Your grace swirling around us.

When we struggle…

Reflection on Work take Two

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In the last post, I invited you to reflect a bit on work and to include many different definitions of work.

Work as something we sometimes get paid to do...sometimes not.
Work as including both what we do with our hands, but more so with our hearts, heads, and whole self.

Work can be weeding a garden.
Work can be listening to a friend.
Work can be attending a rally.
Work can be in a classroom, board room, building something, or dreaming new dreams.

It is unfortunate that we have so classified and categorized work into a narrow place of what we get a pay check to do.  When the only lens we use to think about work is economic, we get to a limited place.  When we expend to include other moments in our life, we start to enter the place of "vocation".  Vocation has as one of it's roots, "voice".  Vocation is that place were our voice sings in harmony with the world and others.  Vocation are the moments we take our part in the concert of the creation.  We are a part…

Reflection on Work

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On this Labor Day, I invite you to remember your first job.  Can you rewind and remember what you did or how excited you felt when you received your first official paycheck?  Or when you discovered that there is this thing called, "FICA" who decides to take some of the paycheck!

My first official job was in the dish room at a local restaurant.  More specially, I was assigned to pull the steaming hot plates and cups off the conveyor belt of the dishwasher.  I also got to scrub big pots and pans that had caked on food.  Eventually, though, my hard work paid off and I was promoted to mopping floors.  Looking back, it really seems like more of a lateral move. 

I can also remember my very first interview for a pastoral job, which went spectacularly awful.  It was textbook on what not to do ~ unless your goal was to not actually get the job.  I thought I had all the right answers to the questions. 

For example, what do you consider your weakest trait? 
Answer, I work too hard and…