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Showing posts from August, 2020

Music Mondays

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We spend most of our lives trying to figure out who we are.  Part of what makes this an endless quest are the constant shifting forces within and around us.  That is, there is a river of movement in our soul ~ we are being continually remolded and remodeled inside through different experiences and encounters with the world outside.  John O'Donohue says that the task of life is to build a bridge between the world within us and the world outside of us...and we are continually constructing that bridge because things change.  Not just in the year of a pandemic and a political election and social unrest.  The shifts may be more subtle and slight...but they are always there. I think about this particularly today as my kids start back to school.  The relationship within their world inside and outside is changing.  They know this visually as they walk out the door wearing masks, but also internally thinking it is a brand new year with new teachers and new learnings awaiting them.   The abo

Prayer Friday

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  God who crafts, creates, loves through words... I am not sure what words I can borrow today to give expression to what is within me. August is winding down and this year has felt so chaotic and uncertain. Every choice felt like being between a rock and a hard place. The word, "kerfuffle" comes to mind ~ only because it sounds less harsh and hard than all the words I hear tossed, thrown around right now. God create in me a new heart that seeks healing. God craft in me a new way that works through the wounded-ness of life. God love through me to those I encounter everyday. Where there is misunderstanding, grant me an openness and eagerness to listen. Where there is tension, grant me a strength to lean in rather than run away. Where there is joy, let me join in with laughter. Where there is sorrow, let me be vulnerable to weep too. Where there is peace, may I be still and not miss the holy moment. Where there is beauty, let me do more than take a photo, help me enter fully. Wh

Word Wednesday

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  On Monday we focused on the opening chorus of Dream God's Dream... Today I want you to read slowly and savor the final stanza: I'm dreaming of the way that I want my life to go I've got hopes and I've got goals I'd like to meet I'm reaching for the stars, but I won't forget the scars Of Christ who died to show that the Dream's for all... The sense that I am reaching for the stars but I won't forget the scars.  That line can feed and fuel my soul.  It is like saying, I am sharing God's love, but I won't forget the vulnerability that can happen.  It is like saying, I will shine my light, but I won't forget that others might say or do things to cause hurt and harm.  The path isn't easy.  The path isn't paved with chocolate rivers.  The path is rocky and sometimes so rough that we stumble.  The path can be beautiful at the same time. Recently, when our family took a vacation to a cabin up North, it was beautifully imperfect.  That i

Music Mondays

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  The opening chorus to the above song by Bryan Sirchio is beautiful...prayerful...hopeful...read the words slowly ~ savoring each one: Dream God's dream Holy Spirit, help us dream... Of a world where there is justice, and where everyone is free To build and grow and love And to simply have enough The world will change when we dream God's dream Scripture is filled with dreamers. Abraham and Sarah dreamed of a son. Jacob dreamed of angels ascending and descending. Joseph of many colored coat fame dreamed of his brothers bowing down to him (not the most humble dream!!) The people of God in Egypt dreamed of freedom from oppression. The people of God in Exile dreamed of freedom from oppression centuries later. Prophets dreamed of lions and calves laying together; for justice rolling like an ever flowing stream. Joseph had a dream to take Mary as his bride. Peter had a dream that he should eat un-kosher food. Scripture is filled with dreamers. When did we stop dreaming? Did the pand

Prayer Friday

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Hello, darkness my old friend...I've come to talk to you again. So begins my prayer, O God, who in the beginning befriended the darkness, collaborated with the chaos, and unleashed a creative prayer that is written inside every heart. And yet, when the days are long...the stress sits on our shoulders...the uncertainty clouds us...and confusion confounds us...we are not sure what to do or where to go or what to say. While we celebrate our human relationships for all the beauty they bring...we also need our connection to You.  A connection that takes different contours, shapes, and colors.  A connection grounded often in silence ~ Your first language, O God. Stillness to breathe and be. Sacred silence where we don't have all the answers, but we do have Your presence. Holy darkness where we release what is hidden and unknown within us and around us. Grace-filled confusion where we confess that we don't have life figured out. Love-awakening and life-giving relationships with ot

Wednesday Word

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Twenty years ago today I married my best friend.  I remember my nervousness and hopefulness having a meeting in my stomach.  I remember walking down the aisle, standing before the pastor who spoke about love being a three-fold chord, the person who sang, "In this very room there is quite enough love", the reception, opening gifts then next day, everyone leaving...then thinking, "Now what?" What happens on the day after the celebration is life. Twenty years later. Two kids...now teenagers. Three moves across the country. Vacations to amazing places. Pizzas on Friday nights. Grieving family members deaths. Ordinary days. Stressful days. Days my heart seemed to grow three sizes. Our relationships matter.  Perhaps more than a profession or any other accomplishment, what we really leave in this world is our fingerprints upon the fragile hearts of others.  That is it.  Regardless of who is trending right now on twitter or what is causing our hearts to break today or what

Music Monday

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A bit of nostalgia today from my growing up.  The Brooklyn Duo in the video above is playing, "True Colors".  It is a beautiful and moving rendition.   If you are not familiar with the lyrics, here they are: You with the sad eyes Don't be discouraged Oh I realize Its hard to take courage In a world full of people You can lose sight of it all And the darkness inside you Can make you feel so small But I see your true colors Shining through I see your true colors And that's why I love you So don't be afraid to let them show Your true colors True colors are beautiful Like a rainbow Part of what is powerful is the juxtaposition of how we can feel the mixture of fear and faithfulness - both overwhelm and courageous - both unsure and hope-filled that we will find a way.  Inside our hearts and minds is a roller coaster we ride everyday.  That coaster is built both by what we experience and encounter as well as our attempts to make meaning of it all.   I know I was taught

Friday Prayer

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Listen again to the words of, "Invocation". Hear anew and afresh the call to open your heart to the holy. Hear anew and afresh the call to listen, lean in to the sacred. Hear anew and afresh that our connection to God is what feeds, fuels our souls and whole lives. What this past week would you share with God? The good ~ moments of joy overflowing and times of peacefulness.  The good tension that can come from hard, holy conversations.  The good blessings of seeing one another, even if it is only on a screen.  The good and traces of grace that littered your life these last few days. Name and notice, share aloud to the screen. The bad ~ the moments your heart was heavy; the increasing numbers of people dying from the virus, the systemic racism and discrimination against people created in God's image, the brokenness of relationships that won't mend easily and sometimes no matter what we do.   Name and notice, share aloud to the screen. The ugly ~ the quicken pulse of an

Wednesday Word

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I invite you to listen to the above song, listen to the words, pay attention to the images, and see what is awoken with you through the melody of the music. The above song is another by Christopher Grundy entitled, "Invocation".  Invocation is a churchy word for prayer.  And the song starts by asking God to hear us, to hear what is in our hearts.  A great place to start in prayer is by letting loose what you are carrying.  For you to name and notice what is stirring in your soul. Pause with me...what is going on in your heart right now? What concerns? What celebrations are you laughing in your joy? What ordinary moments do you find yourself coming back to from yesterday? Go ahead, speak those aloud to your computer screen. Then, the song continues by asking God to speak to us for we are listening.  I love the invitation to think that prayer/invocation is not only our monologue tossed toward God, but a conversation to connect with the holy.  If we were to live

Music Mondays

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Christopher Grundy, who wrote the above piece of music, is a professor at Eden Seminary.  This particular song touches my heart.  The opening words, "Holy One may Your presence here." Right here and right where you are. We share this moment even as we are separated by social distancing. The word here is not just a place but a sense that even in the vastness there is an intimacy. We share this time together even as we are apart. Here in this place called today, here in this moment called right now. Here is a powerful and profound word because it reminds us that there is no place and time when/where God is not.  So, by that holy thread we are already tethered together.  We don't think that way, we don't always feel that way. But here can help us reframe and reorder our understandings. If here is holy than God's presence can renew and refresh us if only we open our whole lives to that movement (more on that on Wednesday). I am wondering, what did the words of this mu

Friday Prayer

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This is the day God has made...let us rejoice and be glad in it. This day, with all of it's beauty and brokenness. This day, with all that is hopeful and uncertain filling it. This day, with all of it's marvel and mystery ~ it's fantastic and frustrating. This day around you right now. What is stirring in this moment? What is swirling in your soul waiting, watching for you to notice? What is the good... the bad... the ugly of right now? Take the time to notice and name what is on the shelves of your soul, what is tumbling around in the thoughts of your mind, what is humming in your heart. Write it Draw it Put together a beautiful chart in neat columns and rows. It doesn't matter how you express it, just that your head and heart and hand all collaborate together. To measure the number of our days, specifically this day. This one day God has made. This one day where you and God conspire together to what you can, where you can, with as much love as you can. This one day wh

Wednesday Word

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Time... What images dance around your mind when you hear that word, "time"? Clocks Calendars Magazine by that name Is time friendly or a foe? Does it offer a blessing for this present moment or seem too fleeting and fading ~ like trying to grasp at sand that slides through your cliched fist? Volaire poetically penned his definition of a day as that longest and shortest; the swiftest and slowest; divisible and extended; neglected and regretted, without nothing can be done, devours all that is little and ennobles all that is great.     Often the image that comes into our mind when we think about our days is a calendar or planner.  Neat boxes of equal size that form a bigger box that lead to the next month that looks just as orderly.  But that isn’t life.  Some days are filled with laughter and love, some days drag on.  Some days cause our hearts to break and other days our souls to soar.   Why is that?   There is a tension within the truth within us in someways with time.  We k

Monday Muse

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Recently I have been living, re-reading, trying to let the words of the following poem sink deep into my soul.  I invite you to read this poem several times... A Blessing for Traveling in the Dark  By Jan Richardson Go slow if you can. Slower. More slowly still. Friendly dark or fearsome, this is no place to break your neck by rushing, by running, by crashing into what you cannot see. Then again, it is true: different darks have different tasks, and if you have arrived here unawares, if you have come in peril or in pain, this might be no place you should dawdle. I do not know what these shadows ask of you, what they might hold that means you good or ill. It is not for me to reckon whether you should linger or you should leave. But this is what I can ask for you: That in the darkness there be a blessing. That in the shadows there be a welcome. That in the night you be encompassed by the Love that knows your name. What is your initial