Saturday, April 28, 2012



Society wants us to think that crying is a sure sign of weakness. But the quote above is true...and if that's not the reason, perhaps like me, you cry when you're angry. Got to release that emotion somehow and I try really hard not to hit things (or people)! Or maybe you have had your feelings does happen...not always intentionally, but sometimes carelessly, sometimes unknowingly. Or maybe you're sad, from memories...thinking of someone you've lost...through moving, or failed friendship, or death; or because something you wanted desperately didn't turn out the way you planned. Could be unrequited love...and not just romantically, but maybe a person you felt you could trust, sacrificed your trust...then again it could be a broken heart...most all know how that feels.

When you see someone crying, don't always assume they are weak, or that you know the reason. But don't be afraid to reach may not know what to say but that doesn't really matter...what they probably need most of all is just to be held...and that is something all of us can do!

Friday, April 27, 2012

A sign

And if you're perspective is out of whack...

Perhaps you need a sign!


If you cannot see God in your life,

Perhaps it's your perspective...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sisters of Loretto

Today the Sister's are celebrating 200 years! They started out in the wilderness of Kentucky in 1812...and have been around the world!

More information here. Also check their Facebook page and their website.

I've had the privilege of staying at the Motherhouse in Retreat last year and have another planned for this year...(last years visit posted here and here). It is a beautiful place and I cannot say enough about all those who live there! Do yourself a favor, relax and learn more about them...

Thank you, Sisters, for opening your arms to people of all faiths. May God bless you with another 200 years!


A message from the United Methodist Women to General Conference 2012:

Way to go girls!

Lest we forget...

One Bread One Body
One bread, one body, One Lord of all,
One cup of blessing which we bless.
And we, though many, throughout the earth,
We are one body in this one Lord.

Gentile or Jew, Servant or free,
Woman or man, No more.

One bread, one body, One Lord of all,
One cup of blessing which we bless.
And we, though many, throughout the earth,
We are one body in this one Lord.

Many the gifts, Many the works,
One in the Lord, Of all.

One bread, one body, One Lord of all,
One cup of blessing which we bless.
And we, though many, throughout the earth,
We are one body in this one Lord.

Grain for the fields, Scattered and grown,
Gathered to one, For all.

One bread, one body, One Lord of all,
One cup of blessing which we bless.
And we, though many, throughout the earth,
We are one body in this one Lord.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


This is too cool...

The video contains no computer-aided visual effects or post's because:

YouTube user Brusspup took a subwoofer (a speaker which provides deep bass tones for music) and set it to the same frequency as the frame rate of his video camera. Then, he pumped water through a small plastic hose directly in front of the woofer, which vibrates the water as it flows into a pan below.
Because the water is vibrating at the same rate that the camera is recording, the water appears to freeze in mid air. By slightly tweaking the speaker's frequency, the water can even appear to flow up from below. 

 What minds can conceive!


Mother, Mom, Mommy, Ma, Mum, Mama, Mater, Mummy, Muter, Madre, Mere, and all the other names children use...To all of you, and those who stand in your stead...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Face of Christ

An artist's rendering of the face of Christ using different scenes from his life. I had the option of (2) face with just the drawing and another showing the texts from which the story was taken...


Friday, April 20, 2012


Annie Clark is a 7 year old first grader and this is an example of her handwriting:

The letters are well formed and easy to ready and the Zaner-Bloser Company thought her writing was so good they awarded her one of two Nicholas Maxim Special Awards for Excellent Penmanship. This was the first year that disabled students were allowed to compete. Annie qualifies as disabled because she has no hands.

Her parents tell us she is a hard working and determined student. I think I'd have to agree. Read the rest of the article here...Way to go Annie!!!

A Sad Day

...for the Volunteer Nation. Pat Summit, legendary coach for the University of Tennessee Lady Vols, has officially retired.  Even so, we can't seem to totally let her go...the university has named her Coach Emeritus. Don't get me wrong, given her health issues, it's the right thing to do and the right time to do it. Still, it's hard to grasp that she won't be standing on the sidelines next fall. She has been an inspiration to thousands.

I just read that President Obama has nominated her to receive the Presidential "Medal of Freedom". The Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. Good for him and good for her, I believe she deserves it!

Dan Donovan, creative director at a New York ad agency , a fan, perhaps put it best...

I’m nobody significant. I have almost no Twitter followers. I don’t blog. I’m just a guy raised by good parents who believed in and appreciated the good that people do. My Dad died when I was a kid and my Mom was never a basketball fan, but at some point in my life I learned about Pat Summit. I followed her on ESPN. I read the articles about her and her teams, and I’ve developed a long appreciation for what she has accomplished. I never hung her poster on my wall as a kid, but I was a fan. I am a fan. I have been blown away by the way she has built remarkable teams and helped produce even more remarkable women.
I’m going to be a father in 3 months. We’re having a girl. And like many parents, I’ve allowed myself to dream about my little girl one day becoming a great scholar, or athlete or contributor to society. But as I watch Coach Summit leave (and I completely understand why), I can’t help but think that all I really want is for my daughter to one day learn from a woman like her. A woman who won against odds, lost gracefully and made being great and being modest at the same time seem not only possible but reasonable.
I know Coach Summit will go on. This is not a eulogy. This is a thank you note. And a promise that even the young girls who grow up miles away from her legacy will always know her name, and more importantly, her story.
Good luck, Coach
 As one would expect, there will be continuity in the change. Holly Warlick, a three-time all-American and former Tennessee point guard, who has been a member of the coaching staff for all eight NCAA championships won under Summitt will assume the duties as Head Coach. Good Luck Holly...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I posted last year about time spent in retreat at the Sisters of Loretto Motherhouse and it's almost time for another. In the near future, a dear friend and I will again be spending a few days amongst the beauty and serenity of nature and the Motherhouse and I am terribly excited! It is wonderful to know that I will once again be able to spend a few days at this peaceful and holy place.

They will be celebrating their Jubilee on April 25th...200 years! Check out their Facebook page and this picture of the Motherhouse taken in 1912:

Two Hands

Saw this on a Facebook post...too good not to share!

Journey Box Media - Hands from journeyboxmedia on GodTube.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cats and Dogs

On a rare occasion, you will see another person posting on this blog...he's lurking but rarely speaks out. One thing that usually gets him rolling is a conversation about cats and dogs. He is, without a doubt, a cat person...I, on the other hand, love dogs.

 Do you supposed this says anything about our personalities?

Relic revealed

Whether you believe in "Holy Relics" or not, most of us do have a fascination with the "what if it is real"?
German Christians will be given the opportunity to view the "Holy Robe", that Christ supposedly wore before being crucified.
Over the next four weeks, around a million German Christians will be travelling to Trier to admire the "Heiliger Rock", or the Holy Robe: one of the most important relics in German Christendom, that Jesus supposedly wore before being crucified. Stephan Ackermann, the Bishop of Trier – Karl Marx’s home city – has decided that the robe will be put on display for the eighteenth time in its history, until 13 May.

According to legend, Helena – the mother of the Roman emperor Constantine – brought the seamless garment to Germany, while the first documentary evidence to mention the relic’s presence in Trier dates back to 1196.  According to different versions of the story, she either bequeathed it or sent it to the city of Trier, where Constantine had lived for some years before becoming emperor.

What is different about this time is that Protestants will be undertaking the pilgrimage to view the Holy Robe. Whether you believe in it or not, I would see it, given the opportunity.

Monday, April 16, 2012


I had intended to post about the Titanic yesterday (to go along with the post earlier last week) but daughter lives in Oklahoma and I spent most of Saturday night on the phone with her. She was in a shelter and watched the tornado that devastated Woodward pass about 1/4 mile away. She and all hers are fine with no damage to their living space. But it still makes a Mother hit her knees to know that a child is so close to danger. Daughter has a servants heart and once she knew that they were going to get through unharmed, she immediately went in to "helper" mode. She wanted to be out and about at 3am, helping. But cooler heads prevailed and she rested for a few hours and was then able to offer all of her energies to those in need. Our prayers are with everyone affected by these deadly storms.

As a coincidence (and I don't believe in those), I ran across a post about Father Thomas Byles. He was sailing on Titanic to New York in order to officiate his brother's wedding. "When the Titanic went to the bottom, Father Byles stood on the deck with Catholics, Protestants and Jews kneeling around him. He was saying the rosary and praying for the repose of the souls of those about to perish." John 15:13 tells us, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay day his life for his friends." Seems the priest had assisted women and children into the lifeboats and twice refused to board himself..."saying his duty was to stay on the ship while one soul wanted his ministrations."

While facing imminent death, on a cold dark night 100 years ago, Father Byles remained a priest to the end. Offering the light of Christ to all who needed it.

An unlikely pilgrim

Andrew Domini’s feet were blistered and bloodied. He could barely walk by the time he finally made it to a pink marble church and crawled the last 90 feet to a quiet shrine tucked into the corner.

As he paused a couple of weeks ago in front of the wooden coffin that held the remains of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and prayed, the 19-year-old said he finally felt at peace.

Domini had walked nearly 70 miles, becoming an unlikely spiritual pilgrim. But the religious shrine wasn’t in Rome, Jerusalem or some other officially holy city. It was in St. Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana.

Take a moment and read the rest of the story...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Retreat and greed...


     In a couple of weeks I will leave and, along with one very dear friend, spend a short time on retreat. We drive up one day, spend two days and drive back on the fourth. I do not say short time because it is not productive, or useful, or blessed, or desperately needed, or quiet, or absolutely wonderful...I say short because I am greedy.
     I'm not so greedy that I don't realize what brought me to the point that I can leave my everyday life for a while. The ability to take a vacation from the "real" job when I want, a loving husband who recognizes my need for time apart and joyfully cares for grandson and home while I'm away. A wonderful friend to accompany who is more than willing to go with and just "be". We spend time together, we spend time apart. Sometimes she is inside and I am out, sometimes vice-versa. We make it a point to attend Mass together and to eat lunch and dinner together. Her ear and her heart are always available. The staff and the Sisters are quick to discern and allow me as much company or as little company as I desire. The convent is set amidst farmland and rolling hills, the type of place, that is a salve to my soul. Sounds like heaven, doesn't it? 
     But my greed for more is disconcerting. An annual retreat has been the desire of my heart for many years and now I have it! After all the time spent dreaming about it, God has given me all the ingredients. An understanding family, a wonderful facility and the perfect companion. He has paved the way and I now I'm saying "It's not enough"?  But we all know what this really is, don't we? I am allowing my human nature to keep me from fully experiencing this perfect gift. My sinful self has found a way to turn even this into a struggle. 
    Sometimes I pray, "Father, if this is what you want me to know" or "Father, if this is what I need to change", "Please make it plain...even if you have to hit me in the head with something!" I am happy to say, He's finally gotten through and I am thankful for His generosity and His persistence. This time, I will allow myself to carry what I learn and how I feel back into my life. I will allow myself to spend time in the presence of God, at the feet of Jesus, even when I'm back and praying in my little corner of my home. I will awaken each day and look expectantly toward what He has in store for me, how I can be His heart in my world. I will experience "retreat" in a world filled with instant gratification.
     God has once again shown me that He knows exactly what I need and exactly when I need it. And perhaps the best part is, He always leaves me wanting more! Not greedily or instantly, but in a way that encourages me to create it in my everyday life. In a way which makes it my heart's desire to just "be".

Friday, April 13, 2012

In a word...

Earlier today, under the heading "So What?", I posted a lovely cartoon and told you there was much in the way of theology within the story. (This will make a lot more sense if you go back and watch the cartoon first) Whether this message was intended or not, it is there...but how do I present it? In the cartoon, there are no words, why not use some?

fluffy clouds
babies, kittens puppies,
dark cloud
disheveled stork
alligators, rams, porcupines,
free will
agape love

How many of these words can be used to describe your relationship with your Creator? What other words could you add?

Seeing is believing?

Christians are supposed to believe some things without "seeing" them...and learn from the mistakes of others...

Ultimately, it’s a faith issue. You see, faith is really the same as belief—not just belief on an intellectual level—an active belief. When we ask someone for their advice and don’t take it, we’re essentially saying, “I don’t believe you.” Or maybe we do believe them on some level, but not enough to take heed to what they have to say. And many times, we know the bad things that will probably happen but we still do our own thing anyway.

Read the rest at Ministry Matters

So What?

In case you suffer from "friggatriskaidekaphobia", here's a little something to start your day with a smile...

There's a ton of theology wrapped up in the short film...and I can't wait to post about for it later today!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

We remember

Today we remember Clara Barton:

     Clara Barton, "the Angel of the Battlefield," was born on Christmas Day, 1821. She became a teacher, founded her own school, and became the first woman to work as a clerk in the U.S. Patent Office. With the onset of the Civil War, Clara refused a governmental salary and devoted herself to care for wounded soldiers. When she discovered that many soldiers were dying because of lack of medical supplies, Barton organized donation and distribution of supplies. Because of her efforts, the U.S. Surgeon General gave her permission to visit battleground hospitals to nurse the soldiers. She was appointed Superintendent of Nurses in 1864 and worked on sixteen different battlefields, thus earning her nickname.
    After the war, Barton organized a program to search for missing soldiers. In 1869 she traveled to Europe and heard about the International Red Cross. When she returned to America, Barton encouraged the United States to join this organization. She also expanded the Red Cross to include peacetime needs, such as epidemics and natural disasters. Barton's vision continues today in the organization she headed until she retired at age 83.
    Clara Barton was also active in the women's rights movement before she died in Maryland on April 12,  1912.

Info supplied by MethodX

Push to add Drama

Ok, it's a commercial...but it is clever!

The Authority of Compassion

Mostly we think of people with great authority as higher up, far away, hard to reach.  But spiritual authority comes from compassion and emerges from deep inner solidarity with those who are "subject" to authority.  The one who is fully like us, who deeply understands our joys and pains or hopes and desires, and who is willing and able to walk with us, that is the one to whom we gladly give authority and whose "subjects" we are willing to be.

It is the compassionate authority that empowers, encourages, calls forth hidden gifts, and enables great things to happen.  True spiritual authorities are located in the point of an upside-down triangle, supporting and holding into the light everyone they offer their leadership to.
                                                                                                 Henri Nouwen

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Young people

Somehow, this just doesn't cut it if you're trying to encourage young people to attend...

It's not a "catchy phrase" it's an attitude! What image does the world see when they look at us?

100 years

11:30am on April 11, 1912 sees the Titanic riding anchor 2 miles out from Queenstown (now Cobh, Ireland) harbor while additional passengers board (120 total) and others (7) disembark.

At 1:30 pm, Titanic's starboard anchor is raised for the last time as she departs for her first trans-Atlantic crossing.

This is the last known (surviving) photograph of Titanic as she leaves Queenstown harbor. The photo was taken by Fr. Francis Browne, an Irish Jesuit priest who sailed with the ship for the first leg of its journey, from Southampton, England, to Cobh, Ireland, then called Queenstown. 

He would have stayed for the remainder of the transatlantic journey, too, having received an offer of a ticket from a wealthy family he befriended while on board. However, when Browne reached Cobh, he received a note from his clerical superior, ordering him to return to his station immediately rather than sail on. Browne disembarked. 

An enthusiastic amateur photographer (who had received his first camera from the same uncle who later bought him his ticket for the Titanic trip), he brought with him the only photos of the Titanic at sea that would survive the shipwreck. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


laughter and learning....

If you've ever spent time with a little one, you know how absolutely adorable time like this can be. The sheer joy in the little one's laughter can't do anything but make you smile. 

If you ever doubt where our children need only watch a few seconds of this video. About half way through the little starts to pretend to sneeze in order to make his dad
laugh..children do what they see...

It's burden to be a role model but that's exactly what you are...grab the opportunity with both's worth it!

Monday, April 9, 2012

What can touch us?

"No man or company of men, no power on earth or heaven can touch that soul which
is abiding in Christ with first passing through His encircling presence and receiving the 
seal of His permission. If God be for us, it matters not who may be against us; nothing
can disturb or harm us, except He shall see it best for us."
                                                             Hannah Whitall Smith


by: Asbo Jesus

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter is here...

Blessed Easter Morning!

 Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
      heaven and earth are full of your glory.
          Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
          Hosanna in the highest.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross...

Take a few moments...for meditation or for prayer and remember the price paid.

The Easter Vigil

is practiced in some United Methodist Churches (information taken from the GBOD webpage

Preparing for the Easter Vigil by The Rev. Dr. Dwight W. Vogel, OSL

What's so special about the Easter Vigil? That basic question reminds us of the child at the Jewish Seder who asks: "Why is this night different from all other nights?" The answer to the child's question points to the basis of this holy meal in the "Pascha"1or Passover, when the Israelites left their bondage in Egypt and were led to freedom through the waters.2
Our answer points us to the Christian Pascha---the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, through which we are freed from slavery to sin and fear of death and led to freedom through the waters of baptism. Scripture speaks of "Christ, our paschal lamb,"3 and so this service is sometimes called the Great Paschal Vigil.
Following Jewish tradition (in which a day lasts from evening until the next evening), the early church began the celebration of any feast or holy day the evening before. A reminder of this history can be seen in Christmas Eve services that are treated as a part of Christmas rather than Advent. Thus, the Easter Vigil is also "The First Service of Easter."4
Celebrating the Easter Vigil has been part of the worship life of the church for a long time, although we don't know how long. Parts of it may be as old as the first anniversary of Christ's death and resurrection, when the early disciples would have remembered "what happened at Passover this time last year," even as they were lighting the evening candles, telling the story, and breaking bread together. We do know that by the third century the celebration of the baptismal covenant had been linked to it in a special way, when Egeria, a pilgrim from Spain, traveled to Jerusalem around 381-384 A.D., and wrote a detailed description of how the Easter Vigil was being observed there. Through the centuries, the celebration of the Easter Vigil has continued, more prominent in some traditions and centuries than in others, but never completely abandoned. It is being rediscovered by more and more churches today. 
The primary symbols of the Easter Vigil are basic and ancient. When our nomadic ancestors pitched tent for the night, they gathered around a fire, told stories, made use of precious water, and ate together. Light, story, water, and feast are foundational to human culture. They are also primary symbols of the Christian faith, and provide the focus for the four parts of the Easter Vigil: The Service of Light, The Service of the Word, The Service of the Baptismal Covenant, and the Service of the Table -- the Easter Eucharist. 
For the early church, the Easter Vigil lasted all night long. It began with the kindling of a new fire as night fell, followed by readings from Scripture and responses through psalms, canticles or hymns, the celebration of the baptismal covenant just before sunrise, and it ended with the Resurrection Eucharist just after dawn. In some settings, an all-night observance may still be possible; but in most cases today, the Vigil is shorter. It can be as long as three to four hours.

More information can be found at MethodX

Friday, April 6, 2012

'Nuff Said...

Riding Westward

In his poem “Good Friday, 1613: Riding Westward,” John Donne wrote about a business trip from London to Wales. On Good Friday, he was obligated to ride westward on business while his soul leaned eastward in memory of the suffering of Jesus on the Cross. As a devout high-church Anglican, Donne felt guilty for not being in church on Good Friday, which was a high holy day—a day that was supposed to be dedicated to worship and devotion, not used for either business or pleasure. The predicament of riding westward “when my soul’s form bends toward the east” became a metaphor for his divided nature: one part pulled toward worldly pursuits, the other drawn toward heaven. And it became the occasion of one of the most extraordinary religious lyrics in English.

Good Friday, 1613: Riding Westward

LET man's soul be a sphere, and then, in this,
Th' intelligence that moves, devotion is ;
And as the other spheres, by being grown
Subject to foreign motion, lose their own,
And being by others hurried every day,
Scarce in a year their natural form obey ;
 Pleasure or business, so, our souls admit
For their first mover, and are whirl'd by it.
Hence is't, that I am carried towards the west,
This day, when my soul's form bends to the East.
There I should see a Sun by rising set,
And by that setting endless day beget.
But that Christ on His cross did rise and fall,
Sin had eternally benighted all.
Yet dare I almost be glad, I do not see                                                           That spectacle of too much weight for me.
Who sees Gods face, that is self-life, must die ;
What a death were it then to see God die ?
It made His own lieutenant, Nature, shrink,
It made His footstool crack, and the sun wink.
Could I behold those hands, which span the poles
And tune all spheres at once, pierced with those holes ?
Could I behold that endless height, which is
Zenith to us and our antipodes,
Humbled below us ? or that blood, which is
The seat of all our soul's, if not of His,
Made dirt of dust, or that flesh which was worn
By God for His apparel, ragg'd and torn ?
If on these things I durst not look, durst I
On His distressed Mother cast mine eye,
Who was God's partner here, and furnish'd thus
Half of that sacrifice which ransom'd us ?
Though these things as I ride be from mine eye,
They're present yet unto my memory,
For that looks towards them ; and Thou look'st towards me,
O Saviour, as Thou hang'st upon the tree.
I turn my back to thee but to receive
Corrections till Thy mercies bid Thee leave.
O think me worth Thine anger, punish me,
Burn off my rust, and my deformity ;
Restore Thine image, so much, by Thy grace,
That Thou mayst know me, and I'll turn my face. 

It is finished....

Jesus words in John 10:18 "No one takes it from me (my life), but I lay it down of my own accord."
And John 19:30--When He had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

Do not think that this was Christ (the Sacrifice) giving up. He was giving Life for life in order to give us another chance. If man had been in charge of Jesus' death, He may well have died after one of the many beatings, or from the pain, or the dehydration or exhaustion from carrying the cross. But man was not in charge, he could not take this life. Man, no doubt, made His death miserable. But it was His to give. It was the ultimate submission to the Father, giving all.

He spoke very little during His trial even though they mercilessly questioned Him, ridiculed Him, mocked Him and beat Him. He allowed it all in order to show the price of our redemption. He could have stopped it ALL with ONE WORD! But chose not to use His power. He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. There was nothing Pilate, Herod, Caiaphas, the mob, the soldiers could do to Him. The Ruler of All came for us, and finished it.

Jesus pronounced "It is finished" because there was nothing left for Him to do. All the prophecies from the Old Testament about the suffering of the Messiah were finished. The work of man's redemption was now complete.

The Bible tells us He died at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Today at 3pm, stop, think and thank Him for doing what no one else could. And for doing it willingly.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Holy Thursday Poem:

by William Blake

‘Twas on a Holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean,

The children walking two and two, in red and blue and green,

Grey headed beadles walk’d before, with wands as white as snow,
Till into the high dome of Paul's they like Thames’ waters flow.

Oh what a multitude they seem’d, these flowers of London town!
Seated in companies they sit with radiance all their own.

The hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of lambs,
Thousands of little boys and girls raising their innocent hands.

Now like a mighty wind they raise to heaven the voice of song,

Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of Heaven among.

Beneath them sit the aged men, wise guardians of the poor;
Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door

Maundy Thursday

Another take...

If you're a member of our congregation and if, you read my post in this week's newsletter, you may think I'm having a hard time getting past Palm Sunday. You may be right!

From time to time I read a blog by Nadia Bolz-Weber called The Sarcastic Lutheran where she has a refreshing take on God and Christianity. Her sermon on Palm Sunday was about the fact that many go to church on Palm Sunday and then again on Easter Sunday but skip all the Holy Week stuff.

"...It seems reasonable to me that people choose to go from the Big Parade to the Empty Tomb and skip the stuff that makes them uncomfortable: stuff like how Jesus ate his last meal with the people he loved most, all of whom (perhaps like me) would betray abandon or deny him, that these friends (perhaps like me) couldn’t even stay awake while he prayed in the garden, that the crowd (perhaps like me) would strike and taunt him for not living up to their expectations, that the people would (perhaps like me) shout crucify him! And twist him a crown of thorns, that passersby would (perhaps like me) shout “for God’s sake, save yourself”.  Because we would save ourselves.  And the fact that Jesus got himself killed in a totally preventable way never once showing enough self-respect to fight back or get himself off that damned cross…well maybe he had it coming."

and then a little later:
"...So don’t go from glory to glory and skip the cross, because as Christ’s broken and blessed body you move into this week with only one certainty:
that as you enter it, you do so in the company of a self-emptying God who pursues you and saves you with relentless, terrifying love and who ultimately will enter the grave and the very stench of death in order to say even here, even here I will not be without you. Hosanna in the highest indeed. Welcome to Holy Week.  Amen."

Take a few moments and press the link on Palm Sunday and read the entire sermon. Powerful words of truth...and then think long and hard about attending the Maundy Thursday or Good Friday Tennebrae service with a congregation near you.

Ecce Homo

Ecce Homo (Behold the Man)

The Bible Study we've used for the Youth this Lent is: 24 Hours that Changed the World by Adam Hamilton. The workbook is written with Youth in mind but I have borrowed the suggestion to use a painting to encourage discussion each week from the adult study. Although I have no experience with interpreting works of art, there have been some exciting insights that jumped out to us, uninitiated as we are.

Ciseri's Ecce Homo is one such painting. It shows Pontius Pilate leaning out toward the crowd, arm stretched back dramatically, as if trying to will the crowd into changing their minds about the crucifixion. I can almost hear him saying "Behold the man, this King of the Jews, what has he done to deserve death?" Although I'm sure he understood that the root cause of the Sanhedrin's request was jealousy, I truly believe (as evil as he was), he couldn't fathom why the crowd took up the chant. Pilate had the power to turn Jesus loose, but he was unwilling to go against the mob and was unable to change their mind.

Jesus, of course, stands mute with head bowed. But what of the others standing behind Pilate? The guard behind Jesus leans back as if to stay out of the view of the crowd. The man on the far right (with his back to us), looks as if he is leaning against the pillar for support. Perhaps he heard Jesus speak and His words had changed the man's heart. Is he disgusted that he cannot find a way to speak to Pilate now? Maybe he's asking himself, "What do you say to the most powerful person you know to change his mind?" Especially with the crowd against you? The woman facing us must have been Pilate's wife. We see her hand on the shoulder of the other woman, it's as if the wife is saying, "I've done all I can, I just wish he would listen!" The young lady is there to comfort her but even she seems anguished. Can you hear her thoughts? "Why doesn't Pilate just change the verdict? Can't he see how this is upsetting my mistress?" Finally, what of the man on the left? With hand on hip, he surveys the entire scene...Is he oblivious to what's going on? Is he hoping for a change of  verdict? Or is he just wishing it was all over?

I mentioned Pilate's inability to change the verdict. It wasn't that he couldn't, he most certainly had the power and jurisdiction to do so! But, he would be seen as going against a fractious population that hated the Romans. At what point do you do what is right regardless of how unpopular your decision makes you? Did washing his hands of the matter truly make him innocent? Only in his mind...

Spend a few moments contemplating the painting. Which character "speaks" to you? 
For me, it is Pilate's wife:
We can relate to her agony by inserting how our own sins have caused the suffering of Jesus. The brilliance of the perspective of Pilate's wife is that she, apparently, had no idea that Jesus was God or that he was dying for ours sins. If she had so much sorrow simply because she sensed that something was unjust, imagine how great her sorrow could have been had she known the sublime and grim reality of what was happening before her eyes.

Had you been in this group, who would you have been?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Tree Church

Located in the French farming village of Allouville-Bellefosse, this amazing oak tree is home to more than just woodland flora and fauna: its hollow, thousand-year-old trunk serves as the base for two small chapels accessible via spiral staircases that surround the tree.

This oak tree is the oldest known tree in France and many locals speculate that it actually dates back to the Charlemagne’s reign in the eighth century. While scientists date the tree some 800 years, the tree is a timeless symbol of French strength as it has stood steadfast throughout the Hundred Years War, The Black Death, Reformation, the Revolution, both World Wars, and the Napoleonic era.

What a truly remarkable place of worship! Read the rest here...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Compassion and Sevenly

If you've visited us before, you know I am a supporter of Compassion International. My "little" girl lives in Hati and has been part of our family for 9 years now. She's not so "little" any more...this month will see her turn 14 and my family and I have been blessed to watch her grow!

Compassion is partnering with Sevenly...Who is Sevenly? They exist to "harness the power of art and community to build sustainable awareness and funding movements that support charities in their efforts to change the world." This partnership will only last through next Monday, April 9 at exactly 9:59 AM PST. Each person who sponsors a child through 4/9/12 (time noted) will receive a free T-shirt. Be sure and use this link to sponsor...

Although malaria is not fatal (in most cases) for adults, did you know that children 5 and under can die? Did you know that a child dies of malaria every 30 seconds? Compassion's Malaria Intervention fund intervenes by providing children in poverty with mosquito nets.

If you cannot sponsor a child at this time, there is another way to help...for every T-shirt purchased from Sevenly,  $7.00 will be donated to Compassion's Malaria Intervention fund to help send a net!

It's a win - win situation! Check out the links above and do what you can to help!

Virtual Stations

from Busted Halo :

The Stations of the Cross is a devotion following the events leading to Jesus’ crucifixion. Prayers accompanying it allow time to reflect on the mystery of his death. Originally the Stations of the Cross was an actual physical journey in and around Jerusalem. Later the series was symbolized in outdoor shrines, and today many parishes display artistic representations in their sanctuaries. The Stations of the Cross may be done at any time, but is commonly a part of Lenten spiritual practice, specifically on Good Friday.
This year, Busted Halo® has created a series of virtual stations designed for personal devotion. These stations relate to Jesus’ teachings about the Kingdom of God and the reason his vision of this Kingdom led to his death. Find a quiet place to watch these stations, and as you do the devotions be open to how God is speaking to you through the Stations of the Cross.
Station 1:

Station 2:

Station 3:

Station 4:

Station 5:

Station 6:

Station 7:

Station 8:

Station 9:

Station 10:

Station 11:

Station 12:

Station 13:

Station 14:

Be sure and check Busted Halo's website linked at the beginning of this post.

Monday, April 2, 2012


We all know one (or more) or perhaps you are one...whatever the situation, these are people who are worth getting to know. But there are rules: