Friday, February 28, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Choose

It's that time once again.  Friday is here.  Time to sit, breathe, and write.  For five minutes and only five minutes.  No second-guessing, no worrying, no editing.  Writing and writing only.

Five Minute Friday


Some days there are just too many choices to make.  Too much to think about, too much to do, and too much vying for my attention.  Choices need to be made.  What to wear, whether to exercise, what to eat, what to pack for lunch, whether to make a cup of tea and read the paper,  what I need to get done for work, who needs a visit, what my thoughts are for the upcoming sermon, on and on and on.  Choice after choice confronts me even before I step out of the bed.  The day already rushing by me.  The worries and the fears and the uncertainty already present.    

Yet, there's a moment each morning when I wake up, a holy moment, where all the worries from yesterday and the to-do lists of today fail to settle in.  There's just a brief moment where the only choice, the only option, is to give thanks for the joy of being alive.  There's a brief moment where the sacred seeps in and just to be awake takes cosmic significance.

For a moment, I am reminded that God chooses me.  

Friday, February 7, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Write

Friday is here.  Which means it's time to write for five minutes, and only five minutes.  No second guessing.  No editing.  Just writing.  I am grateful for Lisa Jo Baker and her blog and the community across the world that takes five minutes, five sacred minutes, and honors the words that spring forth.

Five Minute Friday


As a pastor, I write.  Quite a bit.  Newsletter articles, sermons, Bible studies, thank you notes, encouraging notes, prayers, and did I mention sermons?  On and on.  I write to make sense of the world.  I write to share my story.  I write to share God's story. 

Yet, the more I write of God and God's unrelenting love for God's people, the more words fail me.  The more I delve into the mystery of grace, the more I falter with each word.  For as much as I write to make sense of God, the sense of God eludes me.  

And it's precisely in those moments of silence and awe when the words fail to come, that I give thanks for the One who was the Word in the beginning.  

This week that Word of God came to me from the mouth of a child.    

Taking part in learning about first communion with Miley and her family, we gathered around the table in the sanctuary.  Together we were going to set the table, learn about why we take communion, and understand what God does in, with, and under communion.  When we began, I asked Miley, 

"Why do we go to communion?"

Miley answered, "To eat with God."  

There are times when God's story is spoken and all one can do is simply stand in awe.  For more often than not, all the writing in the world can't contain and make sense of the mystery and deep, deep love of God.  In that moment with Miley and her family, no amount of writing or researching could have made as much sense as Miley's words.


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Let me tell you a story....

Let me tell you a story.

February 2nd is the Presentation of our Lord.

So much to celebrate.

40 days after the birth of Christ we gather on this Presentation of our Lord Sunday to remember and give thanks for Jesus' presentation at the temple.  Jesus is brought by his parents, Mary and Joseph.  He is presented to God.  While at the temple Jesus and his parents are met by Simeon and Anna who are the first to proclaim that this is the Messiah.

Just as Jesus was brought to God by others, we also sometimes need others to bring us to God.

Let me tell you a story.

This week, my college, Wittenberg University, grieves the death of one of its saints.  Ann died this week.  Everyone at Wittenberg knew Ann and her smile.  They knew her welcome and hospitality.  They knew her love.  Ann greeted everyone at the Center Dining Room (affectionately known as the CDR) as she swiped everyone's meal cards.  She'd greet you with her warmth and ask how you were.  She'd know if you'd had a rough night or if you didn't feel good.  She knew the right questions to ask at the right times.  One of my friends, John, recounted that after Thanksgiving break Ann greeted him with the words, "It's so good to see you again.  I thought about you and prayed for you over the break."

Ann knew about God, and Ann brought others to God through her grace.  Everyone who walked through the CDR doors were made better people because of Ann.

Just as Jesus was brought to God by others, we also sometimes need others to bring us to God.  And for countless Wittenberg students, that other person was Ann.  Ann brought us to God.

Let me tell you one more story.

After Christmas, Emily and I visited one of the congregation's oldest and wisest theologians, Iva.  Ninety four years young, Iva resides at a rest home where she continues to cause trouble and bring light to the lives of many.  During our visit, Iva shared words of wisdom with Emily as she comes near the end of high school.  "You behave yourself," she says.  Iva shared memories of her time at the church and the love of her family.  We then gathered to share communion.  We prayed.  I recited the words of institution.  We prayed together the words of the Lord's prayer.

Our father, who art in heaven...

All three of our voices prayed together.

And then towards the end, Iva's voice drops off.  She no longer prays the words out loud with us.

Emily and I finish the prayer, Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.  Amen.     

Iva then says, "I forgot the rest of the words.  I just couldn't remember them."

"It's okay, Iva, Emily and I prayed for you.  We prayed the words and spoke them out loud for you.  The community of Christ and Trinity prays for you."

Sometimes we need others to bring us to God.  Sometimes we need others to pray for us when the words don't come.

What's your story?  Where have you brought others to God?  Where have you been brought to God by others?  And where have you heard the prayers of the community when you couldn't pray yourself?

Tell me that story.  And tell me of the One who brings light to the world.

We all have a story to tell.  Of the light of Christ that shines in the darkness.  The light of Christ that came to this earth to know our pain and suffering, to walk with us, to go to the cross, and to overcome death.  So that we have the light and life and love of God with us.  Always.

So that we too, with Simeon can say, "My eyes have seen your salvation."