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Showing posts from 2014

Prayer in the Aftermath of Pakistan School Shooting

God of all people, you made all things, you know all things, you are present in all times and places.  We grieve with your Spirit over the deaths of children and innocent adults in Pakistan.  We mourn the loss of life due to religious violence throughout the world.  We long for a day of justice, of peace, of true rest.  The prophet Amos warns us to be careful when calling for the day of the Lord, for it will not be what we expect. We are careful with our words. We are cautious with our prayers.  We wholeheartedly ask for comfort for the families of the slain.  We pray for those who will move the bodies of the slaughtered innocent.  We ask for Your intervention on those who see this action and who have contemplated acting similarly in the past or in the future.  We commend to you the souls of the departed for they are children of your creation and chicks to be gathered under your wings.  Amen.

The Beginning of the Good News

Mark 1:1-8                         Where’s Mark’s joke? Or poem? Or news story? The author of this gospel doesn’t ease the reader into the text. BOOM, it starts. “The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ…” We don’t get an angel, shepherds, a dream, or even a longer description of the prophet, John the Baptizer. Instead, we are plucked right into the story.             We know that Mark is the earliest written gospel that we have. We are talking about a story that existed in a similar written form to what we have in our hands, in our homes, in every hotel room, in our own language- a story marked just under two thousand years ago. Why doesn’t this gospel have the birth narrative or any of the larger details from Matthew or Luke? Why isn’t there a longer, more poetic entry like in John?             Interestingly, Mark’s gospel originally ended very abruptly as well. What we consider the last chapter of the story had only 8 verses. It reads: When the sabbath was over, M

Advent Confession

There is no one who calls on your [God's] name or attempts to take hold of you, for you have hidden your face from us and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity.  (Isaiah 64:7) Holy God, in times gone by you have created, planted, and nurtured.  From the beginning of time, You are a restorer- merciful and gracious. Yet your people have turned from you. I have turned from you. I have sought the comfort of my own knowledge,  The security of my own skill, The surety of what I can prove. I have made the tangible my god  And imprinted with my vanity.  And You, Dance Partner of my soul, have allowed me to consume the fruits of the labor. They do not satisfy. I have sinned against you and with the same mouth I speak Advent hope. Forgive me, O my Maker. Recast me, Spirit of wholeness.  Redeem my life and restore my worth for you kingdom.  Hear my Advent prayer. Amen.

Church New Year's Eve Resolutions

Tomorrow will be the first day of a new church year- the first Sunday in Advent. I usually think of Christ the King Sunday as the "eve", but technically... here I sit on a Saturday night at the true eve of the church year. Yes, yes, the calendar is arbitrary, etc, etc. Nevertheless, here we are. In Judaism, the Days of Awe- Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and the days in between- mark a new year, a time of atonement, and a sense of focused worship both as a course corrective for one's relationship with the Creator and as preparation for the living of another year. In Christianity, we often experience the course corrective during Lent. Once upon a time, Advent was a companion season to Lent- a shorter time of reflection, penitence, and metanoia  before a festival (Christmas). The season of waiting has lost some of that flavor, but it doesn't have to. We can still take these few weeks- four Sundays and a handful of weekdays- and reorient ourselves in our relationsh

Building on a Prayer

Our God in heaven, Holy parent of all black, brown, olive, tan, and peach children, Holy is your name. It is for praise and glory, not to be used lightly. Your kingdom come, We dare to ask for the day of justice Your will be done, We dare to ask to be used for your purposes On earth as in heaven, May it be so, Lord. Give us this day our daily bread, And stop our hands from taking more than our share Forgive us our sins, For they are legion As we forgive those who sin against us, For they are legion Lead us not into temptation, For we are prone to anger, to frustration, to laziness, to despair, But deliver us from evil, From the forces that oppose you- wherever they exist For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory- You alone are God. Everything is yours. Amen. Amen . Excerpted from a post (by me) at RevGalBlogPals


No words necessary. 

Book Review: Mission at Nuremberg

This review was first posted on 11/24/14 at . In the next six months, you will need to buy a present for someone. This person may be easy to buy for or kind of tricky. He or she might be religious, but persnickety about religiously themed books or movies. She might be a World War II buff, but who already seems to have/know everything. He might be a voracious reader of generalized military history, yet shies away from specific biographies. The person you know may have loved Unbroken (Hillenbrand) and wants to read something similar, but despairs of finding such a book. Good news, friend! I have the book for this person, this situation, your (advanced) church book group, and maybe for you. Mission inNuremberg: An American Army Chaplain and the Trial of the Nazis by Tim Townsend is just waiting for you to buy one or two copies, read, and distribute. Frankly, I’m a voracious reader, consuming quickly and without discrimination. I dove into this book and then I

The Grief that Remains

I cried today at the thoughts of the Brown family, of what "justice" looks like for some people, of the division between people I like and people I love and people I respect.  In the brokenness, I have drawn into myself. I spent most of my evening, talking very little. Reflecting. Listening.  Amos is very clear when he says that the trappings of worship offend God, when they are devoid of a regular life of justice and righteousness.  I wrote this prayer: Lord, we have pulled out the Advent wreath, the Christmas tree, the poinsettias. We dusted off the hymns, unsung for a year, and unearthed the words of your prophets. Yet, in your eyes, these efforts are for nothing without the regular, persistent, deep pursuit of justice for all  people. Our efforts are hollow without consistent work toward peace, reconciliation,  and participation in your mission for creation. In our hearts, we do long to be your people, to carry out your mission, to be lights in the darkness- proof that no

Dear Mrs. Till-Mobley

Dear Mamie Till- Mobley- First, I apologize for using your first name. You don't know me and it's not right for me to presume. I cannot stop thinking of you tonight. We have just heard, late at night, that Office Darren Wilson of the Ferguson, MO police will not be charged with any crimes in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Wilson is white. Brown was black. You wouldn't have been surprised by the rhetoric that has poured forth since Brown's murder on August 9th. We've heard about his misdeeds, his alleged activities, his tendencies, his size, his demeanor, his habits, and all other manner of detail meant to reveal that his life was just another brown life, only significant by what it proved in death- that it didn't count for much to the whites around him. Mrs. Till-Mobley, tonight, people are arguing that a failure to indict by a grand jury means that there wasn't enough evidence to prove a crime, that the officer didn't do anythi

Prophets and Kings

Today for Christ the King/Reign of Christ Sunday, I made a slide show of art of the life and ministry of Moses and the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The gospel writers used wrote in ways to make similarities between Jesus and Moses obvious, because a connection to the prophet of freedom lead people to understand what they might expect from Jesus. Of course, he turned out to be so much more than they expected. Jesus is more than a prophet and even more than a king. Here are some rough notes. Moses Jesus Pharaoh orders destruction of all Hebrew baby boys. Moses’s mother saves him by floating him down the river in a basket. (Exodus 1-2) Herod the Great hears tell of a new king, born in Bethlehem. He orders the slaughter of all the babies in the vicinity. (Matthew 2) Moses is adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter, “taken into Egypt”. (Exodus 2) Joseph has a dream in which an angel warns him of the s

Through Time and Space

Earlier this week, there was a blog prompt that involved writing to someone in 1864 and trying to explain modern life to them. I thought of that today. I received text messages this morning from a friend on the East Coast. (cell phones, Seward's Folly Alaska!) This friend had met up with my sister, who had baked her a pie- in an electric oven. (electricity) The friend drove my sister to work, so the latter skipped her morning Metro ride. (cars, subways) I drove to work and checked emails. (cars, computer, internet) I listened in via teleconference to a meeting in Seattle. (telephones) I chose not to fly down for a 6 hour meeting. (planes) I received a message concerned about a person who is not known to me, but- it turns out- knows some of my friends. (Internet, Facebook) I made connections for a support network for this person via her/my friends. (Internet, Facebook messaging, text messages, telephone, voicemails) I talked to a friend on the East Coast. (cell

Litany for Jeremiah 1:4-10

I was doing other writing around Jeremiah 1:4-10 today and I wrote this litany to accompany it. I can't stop thinking about what the words are and their implications. It's actually unsettling. Jeremiah 1:4-10 1:4 Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, 5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations." 6 Then I said, "Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy." 7 But the Lord said to me, "Do not say, "I am only a boy'; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord." 9 Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me, "Now I have put my words in your mouth. 10 See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow,

Simple Truth

Matthew 25: 31- 46   31  “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.  32  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,  33  and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.  34  Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;  35  for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  36  I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’  37  Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?  38  And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked

Video Share: John XXIII

I really enjoyed Fr. James Martin's book, My Life with the Saints . He's made a video series about some of the saints he discusses. This one is interesting. Martin's own reflections based around John XXIII were rooted in his reflections on life in the priesthood and were very moving (to me).

This Week in Reading

I am planning to finish these 3 books in the next 5-6 days. I will comment on all of them in one way or another! Reading for a potential church book study: From Barnes and Noble : The gripping story of the American army chaplain sent to save the souls of the Nazis incarcerated at Nuremberg Lutheran minister Henry Gerecke was fifty years old when he enlisted as an army chaplain during World War II. As two of his three sons faced danger and death on the battlefield, Gerecke tended to the battered bodies and souls of wounded and dying GIs outside London. But at the close of the European theater, with Hitler defeated and scores of American troops returning home to resume their lives, Gerecke received his most challenging assignment: he was sent to Nuremberg to minister to the twenty-one imprisoned Nazi leaders awaiting trial for crimes against humanity. A crucial yet largely untold coda to the horrors of World War II,  Mission at Nuremberg  unearths groundbreaking new research

Just Like Me

One of the prompts for today was to name skills you see in other bloggers that you wish you had. Forme, that felt like an exercise in frustration. I write like me. When I've tried to write like other people, it sounds weird. Something where I have wanted to look like other people, though, is hands.  I'd love to have longer fingers and better shaped nails. I go through rounds of getting my nails done, as pictured, to make my hands look nice. When I don't keep them done, I tend to nibble at them and they look dreadful. I covet nice hands. Consequently, I don't hanker after other bloggers' skills, but I do envy their hands. 


Today was filled with a lot of intense prayer and conversation. I knew it would be ahead of time, so I tried to a lot plenty of time during the past week to quiet and meditation.  HOWEVER... My older child got sick and stayed home from school for two days, which meant I stayed with him. I fell behind in everything- including reaching a sense of peace and stability.  What to do?  Last night, I decided I would do a guided meditation no matter what time it had to happen. This lead to me sitting in the bathroom with headphones on at 10:30, listening to a soft voice talking me through awareness of the moment.  This morning, I breathed my mantra. It is always a version of "grace in... [something] out". Since we were having a healing service with a time for individual prayer, I prayer for "Grace in, anxiety out. God in, self out." Over and over.  When my hands rested on people's heads and shoulders, it was, as always, a powerful and disconcerti