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Showing posts from May, 2011

The Preaching of Trifolium

There must be a sermon in clover. Interlocking roots proselytizing grass and garden, Sheltering the lowest- spiders and earthworms, Within the sweetness of ordinary time. Evangelistic in children's bouquets- Converting hard hearts with tiny flowers Squeezed with dandelions in small hands. The undulating blanket crusades a landscape Bringing singular trinitarian understanding with Fear and adoration. Consumed as solid and liquid, both cud and tea There is no negative theology in clover- No understanding through absentia. Lucky is not the same as necessary.

Book Review: The Long Goodbye

This month’s book review is of  The Long Goodbye: A Memoir  by Megan O’Rourke. Amazon’s description of the book is  here . Information on O’Rourke is  here . Yes, this is another book by a person writing about a universal experience from their point-of-view. I find that while experiences are corporate, journeys are individual. In  The Long Goodbye , in particular, we meet a young woman (early 30s) who wants to believe that her thinking isn’t magical, that the right combination of intellectual pursuits, physical stretching and emotional openness will bring her mother back to life. It doesn’t. Grab a Kleenex or two and a comforting beverage. O’Rourke’s grief landscape is austere and harsh, with emotion-whipped rocky outcroppings and deep caverns of despair. I came to this book somewhat reluctantly. I read O’Rourke’s initial forays into discussing her grief on Slate magazine and, doing my own grieving at the time, I found them inaccessible and, seemingly, self-indulgent. I could not conn

Alter Call

The Lutheran clergy (and a few friends) in my area recently embarked on a musical journey together. We decided to call attention to hunger issues in Alaska and around the world by staging a musical originally produced by Bread for the World . Lazarus: A Musical Call to End Hunger is based loosely on the biblical stories of Lazarus and the Rich Man. In the case of the musical, the Rich Man is offered a chance to change his ways and shares his vision of all eating and being satisfied. The experience of singing with colleagues was both riotous in entertainment and frustration. We practiced throughout the Easter season when we were only slightly busy. (Ha!) Also, we're all used to being in charge, but when we're together, we eschew authority and, um, we don't always respect it. (Just ask our bishop.) One of our accompanist's noted, "I can't really believe pastors are like this." I said, "It's our off-time. We're like kindergartners who were take

A Litany for Mother's Day

A: Loving God, You are everywhere the Lord and Giver of life. We praise You for the gift of mothers through whom You give us life. C: We thank You for their willingness to nurture life, for their trust in You to guide them through the labor of childbirth, the uncertainties of youth, the letting go of young adulthood. A: We thank You for all those women, who did not give us birth, but through whom You give us abundant life: C: We thank You for school teachers, aunts, grandmothers, sisters, pastors, elders, Sunday School teachers, supervisors, co-workers, neighbors and friends who share wisdom. A: We ask Your tender mercies on all those whose mothers now sing with the heavenly chorus, especially for those whose tears are not yet dry. C: Grant them Your peace, which passes all our understanding. A: We ask Your comforting presence on those mothers who have buried sons and daughters. C: Comfort them with the knowledge of their children in Your eternal care. A: We pray for those w

Starting Over (Sermon for Easter 2)

Easter 2 1 May 2011 John 20:19-31 When trying to get an infant to sleep, sometimes they’re almost there and then they wake themselves up or you sneeze or a cold breeze comes by. It can be a small thing and then they’re awake again and crying and tired. And you have to start all over again, trying to get them to calm down and go back to sleep. Parenthood, I’m finding, is often a few steps forward and then one step back. Thinking you’ve moved into a new stage, but then finding vestiges or remnants of the one you left behind. I’m telling [the parents of the baptized] this, along with the rest of you, because that’s partially where the disciples are in today’s gospel. They’ve already heard about the resurrection from Mary Magdalene and yet they remain locked in the upper room, afraid of people who might still be angry with Jesus or about his missing body (not realizing the truth of the resurrection). They’re afraid and their fear has fenced them into a place where they cannot act.