Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Lilies

Wishing you a blessed and glorious Easter! 
He is Risen Indeed!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Via Dolorosa

A friend of mine posted this on his Facebook page:

Walking Via Dolorosa using Google Maps

It's worth checking out!

Holy Saturday

If you've ever wondered about the Paschal candle in your sanctuary...

The flame of the Paschal candle symbolizes Christ as light of the world and his presence in the midst of his people. The Paschal candle is sometimes referred to as the "Easter candle" or the "Christ candle." The term "Paschal" comes from the word Pesach, which in Hebrew means Passover. The tall white candle in many ways signifies the Divine pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night that lead the Israelites in their Exodus from slavery in Egypt.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Tools of the trade...

When onlookers sneered "He saved others; He cannot save Himself" they could not see that only because He had never thought of saving Himself could anyone be saved at all. And those who shouted "If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross" could not see that it was because He was the Son of God that He would not come down.(anonymous)

Mary, the mother

34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” (Luke 2)

Mary knew these words, she heard them shortly after the birth of her baby son. One wonders how ofter she thought of them as He grew. When He started His public ministry, did the thought of them bring fear? He was God's Son, He was God Himself and yet, He was her child. She carried Him in her womb, and while nestled there, He heard the songs she sang, the words she spoke and the constant beat of her heart.
File:Michelangelo's Pieta 5450 cropncleaned edit.jpg 
Michelangelo's Pieta

25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman,[a] here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. John 19

Even as He hung there, dying, He thought of her. Can you imagine how she longed to hold Him during those hours? How she ached for Him? Even though she knew He was fulfilling the promise of God, this human mother of the Divine Son could have felt nothing else.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Holy Thursday...

John 13: 1 - 17
It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” 10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. 12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

The Gospel of John is the only one that tells us of the footwashing. Jesus speaks, telling his disciples that he has set an example for them...the example of service to others.

I don't think John brings Jesus' actions to our attention so that we will brag on Jesus for being a thoughtful and compassionate person.  This text in it's self is not so much about actually watching Jesus put his hands on somebody else's feet but about letting Jesus put his hands on our feet. This thought will no doubt make some of you uncomfortable. Although you may attribute it to the "state" of your feet, that's not the real reason. We don't want Him handling our feet because, if we do, we must also allow Him to touch our will. Our feet allow us the freedom of action. Going from point A to point B. We have a hard time turning our "free will" over to someone else...even Jesus. We know that, if He washes us, he may scrub away our closely held insecurities, to wash away our weariness, to buff off our bitterness. It should not be hard for us, He is God after all. If we  don't open ourselves to Jesus cleaning our feet, our story with Him stops as we will have choosen to ignore his admonition to Peter "Unless I wash you, you have no share in me".

If you remember the words from John, you know that just before Jesus sets about His task, He says to His disciples, "Whoever sees me sees the one who sent me." 

So it isn't just Jesus we see taking off his robe and kneeling before us, it is God Himself. Think of your image of the Eternal God. It can be absolutely mind blowing to picture Jesus asking for the honor and privilege of washing our feet. But we must...because in doing so, we agree to accompany Him when His feet walk that long, painful, sacrificial road alone.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Hail Him to Nail Him in a week...

The Sarcastic Lutheran has a thought provoking post concerning Holy Week...

Every year, on this, the first day of Holy Week, as we read about the fickle crowds waving their palms and laying down their cloaks and shouting hosanna in the highest to the guy riding into Jerusalem on a donkey – or a colt, or whatever- an unimpressive animal, and I do, I cringe.  Like I’m just a little bit embarrassed for how sure they seem of themselves and how miserably they are about to fail when put to the test. I hear of the celebration that day and cringe knowing how quickly  the shouts of the fickle crowd go from hail him to nail him. And I think to myself “they are only hailing him as a king because they don’t get it.  They don’t know what’s about to go down, so really, it’s all just empty praise”

That day the multitude of the disciples – the same ones who will deny and abandon him were praising God joyfully with loud voices for the great deeds of power they had seen and they were shouting Hosanna…, and praising God is great but In his famous poem Murder in the Cathedral, TS Elliot said

"Tis the greatest treason to do the right thing for the wrong reason."

Yeah, their triumphant celebration feels regretfully treasonous to those of us who know how this all is about to play out.

Read it all, she makes some excellent points....

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Holy Tuesday

         John 12:20-36
Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.

‘Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—“Father, save me from this hour”? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’ The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, ‘An angel has spoken to him.’ Jesus answered, ‘This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgement of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.’ He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die. The crowd answered him, ‘We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains for ever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?’ Jesus said to them, ‘The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.’

After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them.

                                                                                       Van Gogh

Jesus’ metaphor to the disciples about a grain of wheat falling into the ground and dying was an important lesson. He would be their great example, and they would later learn to give their lives as he gave his. “What good is saving your life,” he asked in effect. “If you do that, you destroy it. It is only by living generously — by sowing your life profligately, as wheat is sown — that you enable the future to spring from your deeds!”
                                                                                           Dr. John Killinger

Monday, March 25, 2013


Passover begins at sundown today. This is an important holiday to followers of Judaism as well as Christianity...

"For years, the popular media has mocked the biblical accounts of Joseph, Moses, the Passover, and the Exodus as being completely incompatible with standard Egyptian chronology. Year after year, we have been told by numerous scholars that events recorded in the books of Genesis and Exodus are nice legends devoid of any historical or archaeological merit. 

However, a new wind is blowing. An emerging pool of scholars, representing diverse backgrounds, has been openly calling for a drastic reduction in Egyptian chronology. Such a reduction would serve to line up the historical and archaeological records of Egypt and the Old Testament. Surprisingly, there is a substantial amount of evidence to warrant a significant reduction of Egyptian history. And by doing so, the reliability of Genesis, Exodus, and the entire Old Testament will have to be reconsidered as a viable source of historical truth.

...In the traditional chronology, the Egyptian oppression of Hebrew slaves would have occurred in the 18th dynasty. The problem is there is little to no historical evidence of Hebrew slaves in Egypt at this time. However, when placed in the 12th dynasty under a revised chronology, there is substantial evidence for Israelite slave laborers in Egypt.

There is much more to be read concerning the accounts of Josephus and others here..."

Another interesting article from Rabbi Brad Hirschfield gives us "13 things you need to know for Passover 2013". Including #8 below:

8. Is Passover Only for Jews?
Definitely not!  While Passover marks the birth of the Jewish people as a free nation, it speaks to the larger human impulse to be free, and that is why so many people, both Jewish and not, celebrate the holiday.

In addition to the large number of Jewish families which either include non-Jewish members or welcome non-Jewish guests to their own Passover celebrations, increasing numbers of Christian communities celebrate their own Seders, emulating what must have been an important part of Jesus’ life experience in the first century.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Known by his deeds

In the few days since he was named, Pope Francis has been busy. By word and deed he is showing the world how he sees his role as leader of the Catholic Church.

Along with many acts of humility, like reaching out to the Eastern Orthodox Church, we have the following:

But he also reached out to those who don't belong "to any religious tradition" but feel the "need to search for the truth, the goodness and the beauty of God."

Francis echoed his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, saying that the "attempt to eliminate God and the divine from the horizon of humanity" has often led to catastrophic violence.

But Francis, who has set a humbler tone to the papacy since his election on March 13, added that atheists and believers can be "precious allies" in their efforts "to defend the dignity of man, in the building of a peaceful coexistence between peoples and in the careful protection of creation."

He showing himself as a true successor to St. Peter and St. Francis.

Palm Sunday

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Acts of love...

Samantha Ford has a sticker on her car that reads "Half my heart is in Afghanistan". Imagine her surprise when she came out of a Dunkin Donuts Monday and found the following:

Sometimes it's easy to believe that there is no kindness left in the world. Acts like these should remind us God's love will never be overpowered by evil.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Musical Mice

I try to find a moment or two each day to spend in the pure enjoyment of "being". Whether it is music, a book or story, a picture or piece of art, or perhaps a little knowledge that I did not have before, it is a gift that I relish and enjoy. This was today's discovery:

Orchestra Da Camera is a musical installation in which the 40 elements of the chamber are mais running on their wheels.

Each wheel its connected to a carillon and when it turns the carillon starts playing its musical note. The great number of carillons and the random actions of the living creatures makes unrecognizable the melodies (lullabies by Brahms, Schubert and Mozart ) creating an unexpected musical carpet determined by the mice.

Happy People...

This article should give us all some things to think about...

There are two types of people in the world: those who choose to be happy, and those who choose to be unhappy. Contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn’t come from fame, fortune, other people, or material possessions. Rather, it comes from within. The richest person in the world could be miserable while a homeless person could be right outside, smiling and content with their life. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves.

The question is: how do they do that?

It’s quite simple. Happy people have good habits that enhance their lives. They do things differently.

Check out what they do here...

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Excellent article for those of us who love and work with young people (read the whole thing!).

This experience sparks in my some reflection on what kind of leadership we need to build bridges with the non-churched populations with which we interact on a daily basis (as well as the Christian community in place that we fail to guide).
  1. what is our touchstone? — a touchstone tests the quality or purity of a substance or thing.  What is our touchstone?  What standards do we hold one another accountable to as we promote Christian growth and maturity?  What are we hoping to help people become?  What attitudes and behaviors will we challenge to help people grow and mature?
  2. how will we shepherd? — is our job just to mingle with the sheep or are we guiding, directing, prodding, nurturing and leading to greener pastures?  When we see our charges — young or otherwise — straying into dangerous territory, what is our role and responsibility?  The care and feeding of young faiths is important work, and helping those newer to the faith to discern the differences between acceptable and unacceptable behavior is crucial.
  3. what is our witness?  — how are we modeling the attitudes, actions, and practices we hope to encourage in young believers?  Just as there are sins of omission, there are also powerful blessings of omission — refusing to enter into gossip, backstabbing, mocking, insulting, cursing, and mud-slinging.  Modeling a respectful, kind, generous, encouraging and affirming worldview can be a mighty witness to counter the behaviors deemed acceptable in a broken and dysfunctional world.
  4. how are we different? — when I studied young spiritual seekers, one of the most prevalent desires was connection to a counter-cultural community operating by Biblically based core values of tolerance, acceptance, decency, compassion, love, gentleness and sacrificial giving.  When our leaders do not offer a counter-cultural option for young people, why should they ever bother changing, growing, progressing or becoming better than they already are?
I am not saying that leaders with young people should be perfect, but I do believe we owe it to the kingdom/kin-dom of God to provide a better way.  When we encounter toxic and destructive words, behaviors, and attitudes, the very least we can do is confront and challenge.  There are some basics that should just be universal givens: (think fruit) love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control — not to mention mercy, compassion, grace, tolerance, caring and sharing.  This isn’t rocket-science.  Being good, being kind, not doing harm — these are the things we have to offer young people in a contentious, dangerous, and often unkind world.


Recently our Pastor spoke during worship about the Parable of the Prodigal Son. His main focus being on the extravagant love our Father God has for us. But I wasn't hearing it.You see, anytime I hear a message about this parable, I can only see how badly the younger son messed up and wonder about the OLDER son? I'd like to blame it on the fact that I'm the elder sibling in my family. And so, on the way out the door that Sunday, I asked him..."What about the older son"?

He chose that very subject for his message this past Sunday. Bringing light to the fact that Jesus used these stories (Luke 15) to speak to His audience... and the very first lines tell us that there were sinners and tax collectors (younger son) coming to hear Him, while the scribes and Pharisees (older son) were grumbling.
Needless to say, the message opened my eyes (yet again) to the fact that it's not "all about me".

I've spent the last couple of days talking to myself about how and why I had made this parable about me.I realize now that I was seeing my sister as the younger and myself as the older.I did always have more responsibilities than she, but being older, I should have been an example. It did seem she was forgiven for things I would never dreamed of doing, but it wasn't her fault that I was such an introvert. But still, the story wasn't about me or her or us or our parents.

Sure, she may have been reckless and extravagant but I was resentful and quick to point out who isn't pulling their weight. She may have been a free spirit but in many ways I acted as if I was entitled because I was so "good". I realize I was no better than she, and she was no worse than me. I was no more deserving of any honor. Most importantly, I realize how all the years I've wasted thinking this way have wounded my Father God.

My relationship with Him has nothing to do with my being nice or being good. It isn't determined by anything I have ever done, or will ever do. It is determined solely on a wonderfully generous God who runs to meet me whenever I turn to Him, freely giving His extravagant love.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Passive Christianity an oxymoron!

U.S. Christians are a lazy, passive, well-intentioned bunch.  I am not talking about the 11% who are engaged in some form of regular hands-on ministry.  I am speaking of the 89% who define “active” faith as attending church when convenient, showing up at an occasional potluck supper, buying the doo-dad-du jour from the youth group, or who toss a few bucks in the offering plate so that somebody else can do ministry for them.  This is the group for whom faith is about “feelings” more than behaviors.  69% of active church-goers have never been on a mission trip or even a one day mission project — yet most are very proud of the mission work of their congregation.  Living the faith by a few degrees of separation.  I know, whenever I bring this up, people tell me I am being unrealistic to think that people’s actions will reflect their core values and beliefs.  Actually, I DO think our actions belie our true beliefs and values — this is the problem.

Read the rest and decide which mold you fit.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A cruise?

Sorry! Just couldn't resist!

What can you handle?

Excellent article especially in the face of the slogans we use when we are unable to look friends or family in the face and say..."I see your pain, I ache for you, is there something I can do to ease your burden"?

Don’t hear me saying I am rejoicing because of the last couple of weeks.  I am not.  Not once have I danced around our house shouting, “Yeah suffering!”  Instead, in the midst of pain and hurt, I am actively expecting God to do something.  I don’t know what.  I don’t know when.  But I am expecting the God of resurrection to heal us.  I am expecting God to restore us.  I am expecting him to redeem this situation.  I am expecting him to do this and so I will be actively looking and waiting for him to do something.  I believe expectant waiting can only happen when we exchange our feeble platitudes for an authentic faith that engages God with the full brunt of our emotion and pain.  Only then can salvation been seen.

But that exchange takes courage.

Read it all, here...he says it much better than I...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Why this place? Why this time?

I read a blog that was responding to the basic question...not why was Jesus born but why did God choose to have him be born in 1st century Palestine...why would he choose that place and time? Although I must admit that I have pondered the question myself, and I do know part of the explanation offered (the part about Alexander the Great...even though he leaves out one crucial point...because of Alexander, the conquered world spoke Greek and so there was a universal language to be used)...the blogger does give a thoughtful answer:

...Thus, it is pure speculation to venture a guess as to why God did what God did at the time that God did it. God’s ways may be entirely arbitrary, but I think not. So in instances like this, I am often drawn to the aesthetics of the situation. Was there something so beautiful about that time and that place that it appealed to God? I think that may be the case. The Roman Empire, while not nearly as revolutionary in terms of art or literature as the Greek Empire that predated it, did curate beauty in a way previously unknown. The reason that we still study Rome, and visit it, is that the Empire collected and guarded much that was beautiful in the world. Ultimately, that was fused with Christian theology, generating much that we treasure about our tradition today. Alas, the power and violence of Rome eventually suffused across Christianity as well.

Take a moment and read his entire answer here...

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Something Celtic

  In honor of St. Patrick's day, some features of  Celtic Spirituality...

  • Love of nature and a passion for the wild and elemental as a reminder of God's gift.
  • Love and respect for art and poetry.
  • Love and respect for the great stories and higher learning.
  • Sense of God and the saints as a continuing, personal, helpful presence.
  • Theologically orthodox, yet with heavy emphasis on the Trinity, and a love and respect for Mary, the Incarnation of Christ, and liturgy.
  • Thin boundaries between the sacred and the secular.
  • Unique Church structure: there were originally no towns, just nomadic settlements, hence the church was more monastic rather than diocesan, resulting in quite independent rules and liturgies.
  • Ireland was very isolated; it was hard to impose outside central Roman authority.
  • Influenced much by middle-eastern and Coptic monasticism.
  • Monasteries were often huge theocratic villages often associated with a clan with the same kinship ties, along with slaves, freemen, celibate monks, married clergy, professed lay people, men and women living side by side.
  • While some monasteries were in isolated places, many more were at the crossroads of provincial territories.
  • Women had more equal footing in ancient Irish law, thus had more equal say in church governance.
  • Developed the idea of having a "soul friend" (anamchara) to help in spiritual direction.
  • Invented personal confession.
  • Oral word-based culture; most of the people were illiterate but had great memorization skills. They loved to hear great stories.
  • A sense of closeness and immanence between the natural and supernatural.
  • A mandate for hospitality.
  • Emphasis on family and kinship ties
  • (from All Saints Parish in Brookline, MA)


Casting a Caim/Ring of Protection

Casting a caim is a technique that was used by the Christian Celts, both Protestant and Roman Catholic, and it is still valid. Draw an invisible circle around yourself with your right index finger by extending your arm towards the ground and turning clockwise with the sun. As you do this, become aware that you are safe and encompassed by the love of God: that you are encircled, enfolded and protected.
Circle me Lord
Keep hope within
Keep doubt without
Circle me Lord
Keep protection near
And danger afar
Art by Cari Buziak
Circle me Lord
Keep peace within
Keep evil out
Circle me Lord
Keep light near
And darkness afar

May You be a bright flame before me
May You be a guiding star above me,
May You be a smooth path below me,
And a loving Guide behind me,
Today, tonight, and forever.

*Cross image by Cari Buziak

Friday, March 15, 2013

I give up...


Last year I read a book by Ian Morgan Cron called "Chasing Francis". It is a wonderful book and is absolutely filled with "quotes" of my favorites is:

"You'll never be able to speak into their souls unless you speak the truth about your own wounds. You need to tell them what our Lord has come to mean to you in the midst of your disappointments and losses. All ministry begins at the ragged edges of our own pain...

Do you know the story of Rabbi Zusva?, he asked. He was a Chasidic master who lived in the 1700's. One day he said," When I get to the heavenly court, God will not ask me 'Why weren't you Moses?' Rather he will ask me, 'Why were you not Zusva?'" Thomas let that thought hang in the air for a moment, then continued. "Churches should be places where people come to hear the story of God and to tell their own. That's how we find out how the two relate. Tell your story with all of it's shadows and fog, so people can understand their own. They want a leader who's authentic, someone trying to figure out how to follow the Lord Jesus in the joy and wreckage of life. They need you, not Moses," he said..."

Although the new Pope is a Jesuit and took the name of Francis (he is the first Pope to use this name), it is not in honor of St. Francis Xavier (the founder of the Jesuits) but in honor of St. Francis of Assisi (founder of the Franciscans). According to the details we've been given, the name is not a surprise to those who know him. Like St. Francis, the new Pope is explicitly honoring "a saint that transcends the Catholic Church and is loved by all people, a saint who reached out for simplicity, poverty and care for the poor,".

Our prayers are that he lead his flock with compassion, humility and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Whether it's a new job, a new phone, new clothes or anything else, we all know what it's like to finally get something we want and then to feel as if we don't deserve it. Perhaps the new gift makes us question if we should have something when others don't. Or why we were given something considered a luxury when others do without basics. 

A few months ago, a dear friend gifted me with clothes that she was no longer able to wear. When she called, she asked me to come over and see if there was anything I wanted...I was floored when I arrived and saw not only the number of pieces but the quality and the obvious care she had taken with them. She ushered me into her bedroom and told me to take all the time I needed to try them on and then to make my selections. I felt like a princess! Although I did not keep everything, I walked out with the makings of a completely new wardrobe!

While I was relishing the feel of all the items as I tried them on, I did question whether I deserved such extravagance. It was obvious that being able to make a gift of a new wardrobe was bringing my friend joy. Think of how hurtful it would have been for me to question her or even worse to refuse her.

If we allow this feeling of unworthiness to linger, we are diminishing those who have made the gift possible. Rather than consider what we have done to deserve the gift, we should turn our thoughts to gratitude. After all, it's not really our place to question the gifts others want us to have...we ought to trust and understand that the gift is ours because we are meant to have it. Otherwise it would not be available to us. Accepting the gift with gratitude and then using it to the best of our ability is showing humility.

Needless to say I wrote my friend a note to try to express my joy and gratefulness...and in the course of doing so made a pledge to do the same for another if ever the chance arose.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Today marks the official beginning of the Papal Conclave. The College of Cardinals will start their voting this afternoon which will result in smoke coming from the chimney. 

Let us all pray that the Cardinals will hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and choose God's man for the next "Papa".

Better or better off?

The world would be better off if people tried to become better. And people would become better if they stopped trying to become better off. For when everybody tries to become better off, nobody is better off. But when everybody tries to become better, everybody is better off.

Everybody would be rich if nobody tried to become richer. And nobody would be poor if everybody tried to be the poorest. And everybody would be what he ought to be if everybody tried to be what he wants the other fellow to be.                                  

Peter Maurin

Monday, March 11, 2013

Ready to quit?


Eragon: "What is the worth of anything we do?"

Saphira:  " The worth is in the act. Your worth halts when you surrender the will to change and experience life. But options are before you; choose one and dedicate yourself to it. The deeds will give you a new hope and purpose."

Eragon: "But what can I do?"

Saphira: "The only true guide is your heart."

From the book "Eragon" by Christopher Paolini

Sunday, March 10, 2013


"Have you availed yourself to the means of grace this week?" John Wesley asked his followers this frequently. Why is it necessary? Because it is through the means which God has ordained, these means of Grace that God imparts upon us Grace in a real and tangible way. The only way we can grow in our relationship with Christ is for us to show up and allow God to show us Grace.
                                 David Dorn from Ministry Matters

Friday, March 8, 2013

What can I do for you, Pastor?

How many Sunday mornings has this thought been on your mind when you entered the church building? Unfortunately, most of us, if we think about the Pastor at all, are wondering what the subject of his/her sermon will be (or if we are more truthful, how long will it be?).

I read an article recently on the 7 things we can do for the one who shepherds us..
Don't critique
Don't share something you want us to remember
Be Kingdom minded
Introduce us to visitors

Take a few moments and read the details, then let's all pledge to do this for the one who does so much for us...

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sacred Space

Sacred Space  a website run by the Irish Jesuits. Enjoy the following then visit their site.

Something to think and pray about this week:

Imagine two little children looking up at the stars on a dark, clear night. One child says: “I bet you those stars are five miles away.” The other says: “No, they're not – they're ten miles away.”
The first child says: “Don't be stupid. If they were ten miles away you wouldn't be able to see them.” So they end up fighting over whether the stars are five miles or ten miles away. 

We can laugh at the children. But we adults also disagree and fight and rubbish one another - over our contradictory understandings of God! These children are trying to express a truth, on which they both agree, namely that the stars are a very, very long way away. Five miles or ten are hopelessly inadequate concepts to express how far away the stars really are. But they are the only concepts the children have, and they are doing their best to express a truth. The idea that would adequately express the reality – “quadrillions of miles” – is beyond their comprehension. 

Likewise, God is beyond our understanding. But like the children, we too make the mistake of trying to 'capture' God with our small minds. We claim that we know God, while we think that everyone who disagrees with us is wrong. In fact we can never know God: we must only search for God. To search for God is to acknowledge that we have not found him yet. Were we to stop searching, we might start claiming that we have found him and that we now understand him fairly well. And then of course we would miss God, who is too big to understand. 

So when we have differing views about God, let us disagree gracefully, and always be alert to the possibility that the other person or group may have caught on to a facet of God which we have missed. One thing we can hold fast: that God is the Giver of all the good things in our life. I try more now to notice these things and being with the poor and the un-gifted puts them into sharp relief. So I try to be grateful.

Sacred Space also offers a Lenten Retreat...follow as you can, when you can.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Living and thinking...

"You don’t think your way into a new kind of living. You live your way into a new kind of thinking."
                                                                                           — Henri Nouwen 

Lent is a marvelous time to change the way you live your life. It's expected that we will spend time contemplating the ways we would be different. If you need encouragement, or direction or just a thought to set your feet on the path, think on these...

"“Help” is a prayer that is always answered. It doesn’t matter how you pray — with your head bowed in silence, or crying out in grief, or dancing. Churches are good for prayer, but so are garages and cars and mountains and showers and dance floors." — Anne Lamott

"Nothing is more powerful than allowing yourself to truly be affected by things. Whether it’s a song, a stranger, a mountain, a rain drop, a tea kettle, an article, a sentence, a footstep … feel it all … Take it and have gratitude." — Zooey Deschanel  

"When you choose to compete, you make the conscious decision to find out what your real limits are, not what you think they are." — Pat Summitt

"Faith is like stepping off a cliff and expecting one of two outcomes — you will either land on solid ground or you will be taught to fly." — Hillary Rodham Clinton

"People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost."--Dali Lama

"God, I give myself to you. I am your vessel. Whatever comes, I want to know. Show me."                                                                                                       — Life of Pi

"Prayer is not asking for what you think you want, but asking to be changed in ways you can’t imagine"                                                                          — Kathleen Norris 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Habemus Papam!

...actually means, "We have a Pope"! Since we all know this hasn't happened yet, thought we'd share some insight into how the #1 Papa gets elected...

Virtual tour

I have always loved visiting our local Catholic Church to walk the "Stations of the Cross" during Holy Week. St. Andrews has always been most welcoming and accommodating of our youth group. Whether we've requested a tour or asked to be allowed time to walk from one station to the other at our own pace. This has become a most treasured part of my Lenten practice...

If you are unable to visit a "real" place or if you'd like something a little different, Busted Halo is offering a virtual tour:

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.

Enjoy your walk...

Monday, March 4, 2013

2 reasons

I wonder....

Thoughts for Monday:

I wonder what would happen if
I treated everyone like I was in love
with them, whether I like them or not
and whether they respond or not and no matter
what they say or do to me and even if I see
things in them which are ugly twisted, petty,
cruel, vain, deceitful, indifferent, just accept
all that and turn my attention to some small,
weak, tender, hidden part and keep my eyes on
that until it shines like a beam of light
like a bonfire I can warm my hands by and trust
it to burn away all the waste which is not
never was my business to meddle with.

                         by:                Derek Tasker

Now ask yourself, how can I apply these words of wisdom to my life this week?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Ready to Launch

Power to Love

Agape love is the power to love the unlovable. It is the power to love people we do not like. Jesus commands us to love our enemies in order to be like God. We are not told to love in order to win our enemies or to get results, but that we may be children of God, who sends the rain on the just and the unjust, who looks after both the good and the evil. The predominant characteristic of this agape love is that, no matter what a person is like, God seeks nothing but his or her highest good.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Mozart and goats...

The other day, I told you all that I am a big fan of classical music. Although they don't always go hand in hand, I love opera also. I guess I should not have been surprised to find the following on "Classic FM's" website! And just for fun I thought I'd share it with you...

 Mozart's 'Queen of the Night' aria from The Magic Flute has gone the way of Justin Bieber, One Direction, Taylor Swift and others - a 'Goat edition' of the song has surfaced online, using a Royal Opera House production of the opera.

The 'Goat edition' meme has seen popular chart songs manipulated so that certain snippets of the song are replaced with footage and sound of a goat (or sheep) screaming like a human. It stems from a separate internet meme where footage of goats screaming like humans are compiled and posted online.

In the Mozart goat version (which actually features a sheep) it's still possible to hear much of the vocal acrobatics, but the phrase-ending F natural and D natural in the most famous section have been replaced with the goat screams, as well as the C natural in the line "meine Tochter nimmermeh r."

The 'Queen of the Night' aria is one of the most famous Mozart works and an enduring standard for operatic sopranos. It's not the first time goats and opera have crossed over - goats take a central role in Gershwin's Porgy and Bess and Cilea's L'Arlesiana, in which a whole aria is dedicated to a courageous goat.

Friday, March 1, 2013


Although I'm of the age that I'd really enjoy a nap in the afternoon (while actually sleeping), I can see why this little one had rather be having fun!

Christians and Jews...

A very interesting read from  Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein:

"...Christians who listen to the Jewish saga begin to understand how Jews lived with themselves through the long centuries of persecution. Jews felt the power of conviction—of belief that if you are fortunate enough to possess the truth, you do not compromise or sacrifice it, even if it means that you continue on only as tiny fleck of mankind. Ironically, those who mocked Jews for their insignificance now consider voluntarily choosing to live with the same ethic. Pope Benedict XVI will be remembered, among other things, for his theological depth, for facing intellectual challenges head-on and refusing to water down what he considered essential truths. Writing as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in Das Salz von der Erde, he made a startling confession. "We might have to part with the notion of a popular Church. It is possible that we are on the verge of a new era in the history of the Church, under circumstances very different from those we have faced in the past, when Christianity will resemble the mustard seed [Matthew 13:31-32], that is, will continue only in the form of small and seemingly insignificant groups, which yet will oppose evil with all their strength and bring Good into this world."

Lastly, Christians are discovering their Jewish roots—how deeply dependent Christianity had been on its Jewish beginnings. As T.S. Eliot put it, "And the end of all our exploring / Will be to arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time."

That place, for many Christians today, is looking more Jewish all the time."

Read the entire article...