Archive | July 2017

sabbath

On the seventh day

God said “Lay me down to sleep

watched over by all.”20170731_133249

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Another small

goldfinch flashes by
shot of color in the sky
summer on the wing
sunflower

Are we born longing?

A part of me goes missing whenever I think of you. lost-cat-tree-sign-fun-159868.jpeg

I know from long experience

that this missing is as old as I

and that you are only one

(such a dear one) of many

who chases me out on the path

searching for something

someone to fill the hole

that opens up when you come to mind

and I start digging

frantic or steady

constant or distracted

digging for the You

who is part of me.

The power of small.

There is a little world filling up my driveway at the parsonage. A little car. A little boat. A little camper. And a really BIG smile as over the next couple of weeks we ride off, first to the campground up the road, and then off to the little cabin on the little island in Maine.

small sruff

If a picture is worth a thousand words this one says a lot about what grabs me. Trust me here. “Little” powers us up in a BIG way.

This coming Sunday at my church we are going to be celebrating something really big in the form of something(s) very small. We will be baptizing a toddler brother and his infant sister, witnessed by their three year old sister who already got sprinkled by me a couple of years ago. It is a small thing because the kids are little. It is a big thing because it means that more lives; the children, their parents, the God parents (don’t you love that word?) and all the folks who come to celebrate will be mixed in with the rest of us and we will never be the same. Baptism does that to us. It wakes us up to who we belong to.

The Gospel message for this Sunday fits the occasion. Jesus shows up talking to a crowd about what the Kingdom of God can be compared to. Even Jesus can’t pin that Heaven/Earth relationship down. According to Jesus, it all centers on really tiny, really common, really underestimated small stuff that when acted on makes everything grow really big. A tiny seed planted in a field becomes a bush that feeds a flock. A teaspoon of leaven when tossed in with flour and not much else feeds a nation. A ratty old fishing net dropped over the side of the boat scoops up a great side dish to all that bread. Nobody then or now understands it but we live into it and that is a really big thing.

Sunday will be a parable – crying babies, water from the tap and prayed over, people taking pictures and not having any idea of what is really going on, a reception of donuts and coffee for grownups and juice for the kids, a mom and a dad who are trying to live like they know Jesus really does love them and so do we.

Heaven on earth is all about the Power of Small opening us up to BIG.

These boots…

I am grateful for boots. More specifically I am grateful for my Bogs; boots that I can pull on in any season and that take me where I need to go – no matter the weather. This is not an advertisement for Bogs, or maybe it is that too. What it really is, is a poem that is a prayer.

 

enhance bogs pic

Thank you God for Bogs

for boots that take me out of myself

into the world

splashing through puddles, chasing the dog

stopping wherever I hear You calling

and not caring a whit about anything

this moment

knowing that

around the bend

there will be a turn

I don’t want to take

a ditch dropping me below my comfort

a muddy slide sending me to a place

where I trust You will find me laughing

or crying out

grateful for my boots, and for You, and for the rain.

 

Preach it sister and brother

I so love being preached to and thank goodness the world seems to be filled with preachers these days.

In my Wednesday morning “Listening to the Gospel” group, the men and women who sit with me and with the text frequently go into the silence and come out preaching – giving me exactly what I needed and that I had no idea I even wanted.

picture

 

At the Community Clothes Closet today the director of the Emergency Food Pantry tells me that his brother lives in Israel and years ago helped begin an interfaith Ultimate Frisbee team that is called Ultimate Peace. Toss by toss, encounter by encounter, word by word, the athletes are bringing peace into the world. When I hear about this sport  – how there are no referees so everyone referees themselves and each other in the Spirit of peace, I find Ultimate Hope.

And then, as I am about to pass the baton at  this free community clothes closet to another volunteer I meet the mother of two young women I had met weeks ago. They had told me about their mother’s loss of her husband and how grateful they were to be close to her now – three women, a slew of kids and grand kids, shopping for free clothes for everyone. And today, in comes the mom, who shyly and joyfully preaches to me about her vision of her husband . She says “Absent in the Body. Present in the Lord.” And oh, I am moved by her faith and her joy and her excruciating grief and the Presence that is following her wherever she goes.

And so I say “Preach it sister!” “Preach it brother!” Tell me what I need to hear.

For the beauty

Today I came around the corner and saw the beauty of the earth. Multiple corners, multiple beauty,  multiple times; I saw the beauty of the earth and the sky and everything in it – and I was hushed and humbled, quieted in my soul and full of gratitude for this beauty and for how it calls me out – out of myself and out to do something to honor it, to protect it, and to be in it.

for the beauty of the earth.jpg

How easy it is to sink into despair about our planet and for very good reasons. How easy it is to be caught and held down. And so when my heart sings a song of praise or a song of lament or a delightfully silly tune I know I have joined the harder work of defying and defending another truth. The truth that sings “There is more love somewhere. There is more joy somewhere. There is more peace somewhere. There is more beauty somewhere. I’m gonna keep on till I find it. There is More right here.” And so: amen.