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Showing posts from February, 2016

Anointing

I did a home visit today to a person with whom I do not always see eye to eye. Home visits are kind
of a ticklish part of my work. I enjoy them, but they're actually kind of difficult to manage sometimes. It's a shame that we are all sort of out of touch with visiting, but there it is and so it is.

Anyway, in this visit, I chatted with the person and then gave them communion. As we talked afterward, the person took my hands and prayed for me. It was actually a very gentle prayer, as this person's prayers go, but they prayed for me to continue in the anointing I had received for the ministry I was doing.

It was a really touching and meaningful prayer, which I received with a grateful and glad heart. Not only being prayed for, but being prayed for in such a specific way is very helpful and encouraging. It is the kind of thing that makes this pastor glad and honored to do this work.

Scalia and Grace

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died today. You can read about him here. There is a split decision in my house as to whether or not he was a good judge. I did not care for many (most) of his opinions. His particular Constitutional interpretations may well have hewn to the framers intent- when non-white men and women of all colors were hardly people. I do not think that is the best use of God-given intellect in this present age.

Be that as it may, the man is dead. His wife is grieving. His children, their spouses, and their children are grieving. His friends, including Justice Ruth Ginsberg, are saddened.

I am no longer quite Southern enough to say, "Well, everyone's momma loves them."

I did not like Scalia in a box, with a fox, in the rain, on a train, etc. But God did (does).

God loved him, warts and all. (Which is not to imply that the Justice in question had warts or did not. It's just a phrase.) Regardless of his decision-making, his rancor, his likability,…

Five More Minutes

Believe me when I tell you that I know what five minutes feels like. Five minutes is the difference between picking my kids up in daylight and picking them up in dim twilight. Five minutes in the difference between seeing the sun before I go into work and only seeing it when I go out to get the mail.

Alaska has been gaining daylight- oh, so slowly- since December 22. At that time, in Anchorage, the sunrise was at 10:15 am and the sunset was at 3:43 pm. Now, though, is when we begin to feel the light gain. What was a gasp of additional seconds of light is now a gulping five minutes of additional light. And it is AMAZING!

In my first years in Alaska, I lived in Nome. We used to have "sunrise" Advent services... at 11:15 am. The sun was gone, gone, gone by 3:30 pm. It became nearly unbearable and then... like the Beatles say, "Here Comes the Sun".

Even when you are used to the dark, it is still frustrating to never see much light. The lukewarm light of noon on a cloud…

Mixed Messages

On the way home from Ash Wednesday service, my six-year-old and I listened to a science podcast for kids. In this episode, we heard the sounds of brain waves. We heard waves during regular thinking and then during a seizure. My son asked about seizures- what were they, what happens, and what to do. 
I said a seizure is when the brain gets some signal mixed up. Then the brain and the body get mixed up messages and so they seize... which migh look like spasms or like freezing in place. 
I actually had seen a man have a seizure today, a small one, in line behind me at the grocery store. I told my son what happened and what I did. 
During the service, I actually talked to children about Lent being a "fast fast". We are supposed to fast from moving so quickly that everything and everyone becomes blurry. 
We get mixed messages all the time about our worth, our place, and our shoulds, coulds, and woulds. These mixed messages can cause spasms or paralysis in our spiritual life and growt…

Lifting the Veil

2 Corinthians 3:12-4:212 Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness, 13 not like Moses, who put a veil over his face to keep the people of Israel from gazing at the end of the glory that was being set aside. 14 But their minds were hardened. Indeed, to this very day, when they hear the reading of the old covenant, that same veil is still there, since only in Christ is it set aside. 15 Indeed, to this very day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds; 16 but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit. 
4:1 Therefore, since it is by God's mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 We have renounced the shameful things that…

Were You Wearing A Hat?

Were you wearing a hat when you smashed the window of the church? Was it a hat that I made?
Did you eat a sandwich yesterday- tossing the plastic over your shoulder? Was it a sandwich from the kitchen you set afire? 
Have you come by before? Did you get a bus token, a bathroom, coffee, communion, fustrated? 
Were you alone? Was it a dare? An initiation? A fruitless and annoying search for cash? 
Have you sat in the building for a funeral, a wedding, a high holiday, a low Sunday? 
Did you scoff at the sign about God's people all being welcomed or did you decide that hope had flown in your life, as far as you could see? 
Did it matter who we were? The preschoolers, the elders, the working, the retired, the unhoused, the multiply-housed. 
Or were we just there, where you were- crossing paths at a time that is now linking us both?
You may have already forgotten us, but not we you. 
If you are never caught, we may still yet meet. Sandwich, hat, communion, bathroom, we'd still give…

Beauty for Ashes

Early on Friday morning, January 29, 2016... a person or persons broke into the church building where I serve.

They smashed a concrete doorstop through a window to enter the building. Additionally, they threw said doorstop through the plate glass office window and then ransacked the office looking for money. Not finding any, they stole a small, inexpensive digital camera and tore up the office. 
They proceeded to the sanctuary where they overturned the baptismal font, shattering the pottery insert that protected the brass font from water damage. 
The saddest damage was found on Sunday morning, where they wrote in the liturgical leader book. 
Right over the idea that the Lamb of God takes away the sin of the world, they wrote "lie". Did they stop to read this and react to that specifically? Do they refuse to believe the body and blood of Christ were given for them? Did they simply not care what the book was?
There was no other damage to the book or in the sanctuary (besides t…