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Showing posts from September, 2007

How Can I Keep from Singing

For as long as I can remember, I have been afraid of bears. I can remember dreams when I was very young about being chased by bears. I am not entirely sure what that stems from, but needless to say- it's been a lifelong horror. I am not certain that I could put a fine point on the fear- being mauled, just seeing a bear, being eaten. I'm just afraid of bears.

How ironic that someone who is terrified of bears lives in Alaska. I've seen a black bear less than a quarter-mile from my house. Once I was in the path of a running grizzly while in the tundra outside Nome. I've seen bears from far away and not far away enough when I've been hiking in different places. I generally feel pretty calm about at the time, though my heart pounds.

Why am I thinking about bears now? I have had a hymn going through my head for a couple days. Not a hymn about bears (which one would that be?), but the hymn "My Life Flows on in Endless Song".

My life flows on in endless s…

Opportunities from Heaven

I recently went with a friend to see the movie Evan Almighty- the story of a modern man whom God tells to build an ark. He encounters a great deal of ridicule from his friends and even his family as he outlines the plans for the giant boat and begins to appear more and more like a biblical figure each day.

While I wouldn't recommend the movie for its theological soundness, I do think it had a few good points to consider. In one scene, Evan's wife is in a diner and is very upset. She left Evan and took their sons with her because she believed he was going crazy and was potentially harmful. As she looks lamentably at her plate, the "waiter" stops by her table. Though she doesn't know him, the audience recognizes "God" as he has appeared in the movie.

"God" tells her this: How do you think God answers prayers? If you pray for courage, does God give it to you or make an opportunity for you to be courageous? If you ask for patience, does God …

Remembering

Everywhere you turn today, there are flashbacks and memorials to September 11, 2001. People are talking about where they were, what they remember or how they were affected. Many people are also reflecting on the aftermath of that attack and tragedy, even how it is affecting us today in cautionary actions and in worldwide conflicts.

Driving to work this morning, I wondered about how the apostles might have felt at the Passover - a year after the crucifixion. A few of them might have still be in Jerusalem, since some of Paul's letters talk about a group of disciples there, but others left that area and went to other parts of the world to spread the message of Jesus. Yet I am sure at Passover, that celebratory meal, they always thought back to that one time, in the Upper Room- when everything was so uncertain. And then three days later, everything they thought they knew was upturned.

We have slowly found the world moving forward from that particular September day. The memorials will pr…

September Newsletter Entry

It is hard to believe that fall is here. It is not yet time for sweaters, but I find my hand moving past the lighter shirts in my closet, down toward the longer sleeves and darker colors. My drive from Eagle River has changed too. I have to think about the school traffic and more people driving in and out of the city. Everyone is hoping for one more fishing trip, one more hike, yet another campout- trying to enjoy the vestiges of the summer and the fun that autumn can provide in the short time it’s here.

This month marks a mental change for me. For the past three years, the end of August has meant a return to Connecticut and to school. I had to think about books, class schedules, and travel plans. I was a student.

Now I’m still learning, but from you. This year is my transition from student to pastor and Gloria Dei is helping me over that bridge. Internship brings new levels of authority, involvement in decision-making, surprising ministry experiences and absorbing the nuances of the ro…

Faithfully Stepping Out in Doubt (Sermon 9/1/07)

Lectionary 22 Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Anchorage, AK
September 2, 2007 Vicar Julia Seymour

Proverbs 23:6-7, Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16, Luke 14:1, 7-14


Peace and grace to you in the name of the Holy Trinity who gathers us together here, nourishes us and will go forward with us into the world.


How many of you have heard about the book coming out that contains the letters of Mother Teresa? It is a collection of letters she wrote to her spiritual advisors over the course of fifty years about her struggle with doubt and darkness. Mother Teresa writes that she continues to believe in God, but that she no longer hears God’s voice and she is no longer assured, as she once was, of God’s will.
These letters date from the time, in 1948, when she began the Missionaries of Charity in India. Before that time, she came to India with the Sisters of Loreto and then she believed she heard Jesus telling her to start a new mission, a mission for I…