Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Trying to think cool thoughts in the midst of record setting heat. It may be that you are tired of hearing about it, especially in the midst of another day. But it is a little difficult to avoid. In watching the local news it is as if the rest of the world has ceased to exist. all there is is our heat wave. News folks standing out in the blazing sun telling us it is hot. One sitting in a car (with a doctor near by) telling us this is really hot! (And don't do this!) It is fascinating for a while, because it is record setting stuff, but then I begin to wish for something besides the obvious, maybe even something that would help me not to think about the heat. And here I am doing the very thing I would decry in others.
Alright, so is there ever anything so dominant in our lives that we cannot help but talk about it? Our kids, grand kids, new possibilities, a sight seen? Does the cross and resurrection of the Christ ever come close to that kind of territory? Typically most of us would look slightly warily at someone who talks too much Jesus. Just something that came to mind. How big a deal is being a Christian in our day to day lives? Something to think about, maybe even talk about. (Anything but the heat.)
A commemoration for this week, today July 29th, Mary, Martha and Lazarus. They are Jesus friends, offered him hospitality. Drawing from Luke's descriptions Martha represents the active life, Mary the contemplative life, and Lazarus was the one over whose grave Jesus wept, and who was then raised from the dead even as Jesus himself headed to the cross.
"O God, eternal goodness, immeasurable love, you place your gifts before us; we eat and are satisfied. Fill us and this world in all its need with the life that comes only from you, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen."
In the peace and power of the cross,
Don't Forget this evening 7:00 PM Jockey Clothing Party at SOV
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
The church has many days of commemoration, times to recall those who have gone before us, to think about how large this family is, and how long it has been around. It is a way to learn from, and about, that "great cloud of witnesses". July 22nd is the date to remember Mary Magdalene. There are several Mary's mentioned in the gospels, and sometimes they get mixed together, and so there are some traditions about Mary Magdalene that are not necessarily true. What we do know is that she is one of the women of Galilee who followed Jesus. It is at the end of the gospel according to St. John that she comes most clearly into focus.
She was present at the crucifixion and and burial of Jesus, headed for the tomb to anoint his body, discovered the empty tomb, reported that to the disciples, and then was the first person to whom the risen Christ appeared. She was in tears when he first appeared to her, not expecting anything miraculous, and only when Jesus said her name did she even know him for who he was. She knew joy at seeing him alive, but also some confusion and sorrow when told she could not touch him. She was the one then who witnessed to the disciples about what she had seen and as a result is sometimes called "the apostle to the apostles".
Tears and joy, shock, confusion, hope, and the need to share it all, just like real life. So much to learn. So many that would teach us. It is a rich history that we share, may know well that we are never in this adventure alone.
Gracious God, you have placed within the hearts of all your children a longing for your word and a hunger for your truth. Grant that we may know your Son to be the true bread of heaven and share this bread with all the world, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
The mid-way point of the month of July. Is it summer for you? Not sure exactly what that question may mean for everyone, many of us have the idea that it is a laid back time when hopefully we do a little less "work" and simply enjoy a slowing down. (It's a nice idea anyhow, and maybe just having the idea in mind feels good for a while.)
Summer in the church means fewer people and smaller offering. That is not a lament (OK maybe it is a little bit), but it is just the way it is, and after nearly three decades of following this call it has become necessary not to sweat some things, especially in summer. Certainly the work of the church goes on, but most importantly I am reminded that the presence of God does not lessen, regardless of the time of year, even if it might be possible to think otherwise.
Personally there has been a sweet way I have been reminded of that very clearly these last few summers. For several years we have brought home a Lilly or two after Easter has passed, and Choice has dutifully planted them in the garden. They look pretty sad when that grand celebration begins to fade (at least as measured by the passage of time), but now we have lots of those old Lillie's, and they don't look sad at all. Every spring they green up again and they have become our 4th of July Lillie's. This year around a hundred blooms. They provide that scent that usually is connected with the altar of Easter Sunday morning. They remind me that the beauty and power of the resurrection is no less real on a hot, lazy summer afternoon that at the height of the grandest of "church seasons".
The presence of God at any and all times, speaking to the whole of us. Ah, summer time.
O God, powerful and compassionate, you shepherd your people, faithfully feeding and protecting us. Heal each of us, and make us a whole people, that we may embody the justice and peace of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Thinking again about this summer time, that is now full upon us, and
how it is often seen as a time to refresh ourselves. (If we are
fortunate enough to have that opportunity.) Maybe one of the ways we
refresh ourselves is by play. And we do not have to go a long ways or
have a great deal of time to play.
Thinking of the time there is to play with the grand kids. They were
down the other day, and usually the first thing that happens is that
we head outside, first to see what changes are taking place in the
ever changing creation of our back yard. At this time of the year
there are cherries, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries all
waiting to be taste tested, and they never fail to delight. It is a
form of play to take in those changes and sometimes literally rush
from spot to spot and see what there is to be seen.
But then the play can begin in earnest with croquet, pickle ball,
playing catch, riding bikes, going to the pool, exploring the creek,
pausing now and again to check out the birds and butterflies, and on
and on. It is play, and it is good. It is not rest as many people
would define it, but it is refreshing, rejuvenating, fulfilling even,
and sleep comes well after a day of play, and a moment to offer thanks
for the richness of this world.
Please, if you are able, take some time to play (don't even have to
have kids around to do it, and the whole of the world can be our back
yard) and be refreshed.
Blessings, in praise of the Creator of all things,
We pray for those who work to protect and conserve our rich and
plentiful resources. Give them insight and innovation as they deal
with the vast challenges of caring for you creation, and for all who
long for welcome and hospitality but find only rejection and
exclusion. Lead us into a ministry of hospitality in our workplaces,
schools, neighborhoods, and homes. In Christ, Amen.
Pray for Vacation Bible School, August 16-20, for the coordinators,
the leaders and the children.