Welcome to our blog! This is a place to share ideas, thoughts, concerns and joys of our faith journey. I'll be posting sporadically, but hope you will feel free to comment and join in the discussions.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Giving Thanks

There is something about this time of year, when hunkering down under a warm lap robe is just the right thing to do. Although today was mild, it promises soon to be Winter and soon a lap blanket won't feel like enough. If you are lucky enough to have a dog or cat, they might either nestle on your feet or even your jump up on your thighs, increasing the warmth factor by 90 degrees!

And it's a good time to take stock of things, too. Without all that hustle and bustle of outside work, you can look around and appreciate what you have. That old song from the movie, White Christmas, talks about "counting your blessings." I don't think it means looking at a stock portfolio and seeing how your dividends are doing (although the I guess it could mean that). Too many of us look at the money we have or the possessions and forget to look at the intangible things like friends or family. What about the nice warm greeting you get when you come in from a blustery morning to worship with your family in Christ? That really can't be measured on a scale.

Take time to really look around you this Thanksgiving between the cooking and cleaning and see the treasures you have. You might be surprised the many things for which you can say, "thanks."

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

First One Step, Then Another

Watching a small child learn to walk is exciting, isn't it? They stand tentatively at first, wobbling back and forth on chubby legs. It there is something to hang onto, they begin to trust the vertical experience and shuffle sideways until they get the hang of this walking thing. Their smiles are usually so huge then, as if to say, "Hey, lookee what I can do!"

This Sunday, our congregation got together between the services to take the next steps towards calling a new pastor. We elected a Call Committee from the people in attendance. It's a nice cross section of people who will act as something for our congregation to hang onto as we begin the steps in this process. It's an exciting and scary time for our congregation. Full of hope and promise, just like the small child learning to walk. But I am convinced God is with us in this time, and his arms are sure and strong as we ask him to take us from the here into the future.

I can't wait until we can smile that big, huge smile with a new pastor and say, "Hey! Lookee what we can do!"

Thursday, September 4, 2014

All Things Great and Small

On the milkweed plant outside in my yard, there is a monarch caterpillar happily munching it's way to chrysalis oblivion. I go out and check it's progress day-to-day. Also on some other milkweeds are some very tiny bugs called aphids. They are also happily munching on the leaves and stalks. And there are hundreds of them all over the plant, sucking the life out of it. Why does one bug make me happy as I watch it consume a plant (the caterpillar) and the other distress me so much (the aphids)?

I don't know the reason. Any more than I know why I don't like spiders very much even though I know they are helpful creatures. It occurs to me that we are all here on earth in unique ways. Each of us impact the world, some in very small ways, others in huge, impressive ways. But the earth would be a little different if we weren't a part of it. And whether we can see the part we play is pretty much irrelevant. We are not here to judge someone's worth or acceptability. We are not here to judge, period.

This Sunday, we will all come together at St. Marks. The caterpillars, the aphids, the butterflies, moths and even fruit flies will join together in a service project or two to help someone out. To think of someone other than ourselves. To share God's Work with Our Hands. We hope you will join us as we celebrate our diversity and comraderie on this special Sunday. You don't even need to bring some milkweed!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sometimes It's a Surprise

I've been reading a lot of things lately which are about recognizing the many blessings you have, or that the world has to offer. I appreciate being reminded about the wonders of nature, the universe, people most of the time. But sometimes, when I'm wallowing in self-pity or self-doubt, I don't wish to be reminded of the bounteous world we live in. On those days when I drop the milk carton on the floor and half the contents spill across the kitchen; on the days that I've succeeded in messing up something at work and will have to spend half the day re-doing the project just to get back to square one; or the day that my sister calls and tells me her woes, then my brother emails me to tell me his and my mother calls to say not to worry, but she fell down--again, it's very hard to look up and thank the Lord.

But I have noticed something in these times of stress. A small window of light will appear somewhere if I only look for it. It happened this past Sunday actually. I was fretting and fussing about all the things I had to do and lamenting in my mind about the lack of time to do it all. When something caught my eye. It was a green, shiny, star-shaped balloon. It was tracking across a parking lot I was in the midst of crossing. The funny thing was it wasn't racing upwards as balloons usually do. It was moving, slowly, even stately, in a horizontal pattern above the cars. I marveled at the sight. I mean it was just so calm and sedate, traveling it's way, just above the trees, but below the telephone and power lines. I took a deep breath then. And stopped fretting and muttering. It made me stop. And wonder. And I looked heavenward when it was out of sight. And thanked the Lord for the wonder of shiny, green star-shaped balloons.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Song of the Nightime

There is an old song entitled, "In The Still of The Night." I used to know all the words to it and when my father's radio station would play it, I would sing along. The song spoke to me of the night, when the world was mostly sleeping. It seemed a time of magic, or even a time to imagine scary things. It's easy to imagine things when it's dark outside and you can't see down the street.

I'm older now, and the dark time at night seems more restful, not quite as scary as it used to. I am more aware that the scary, evil things can come in the daytime, too. Night isn't a guarantee that nothing bad will happen, but neither is the daylight. What I have come to realize, though is the presence of the Spirit with me. Sitting with me while the "world is in slumber." And walking with me in the daylight as well. Sometimes I don't feel that presence, but when I think I'm most alone, I have come to rely on the Advocate. It does not take away the pain or the anxiety, but it reminds me that even in the still of the night the Spirit breathes with me. And I am comforted.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Singing an Old Song

There is only one place on earth I can sing with other people and they don't mind. It's in church. There is only one place on earth I can talk about the things that bother me about the world today and receive some kind of understanding for my rants. It's in church. There is only one place on earth, that I know of, where I feel like part of a family with people I'm not related to, who share a past and a hope for a future and share all the mess in between. And that is in our church. I have been a member for a long time. I haven't counted the years in a while and don't intend to do so right now, so don't worry. I have a family that loves me, a husband, two children and siblings and a mom and step dad and cousins. But my congregational family seems to think I'm okay too. They uplift me when I am down and sometimes surprisingly even when I'm not down. We share stories of our faith and our lives and we trust each other to hold those stories and the emotions tied to them within our hearts. But we pray together too. And complain sometimes. And meddle other times. Because the people of God are--wait for it--people! That's right our Christian community is made up of human beings. Which means we can be mean and spiteful. Or hurtful. But we are welcomed and loved as we are. In all our moods, in all our brokenness. Loved and welcomed. This is the hardest part of being a community of faith, I think.Some of the broken and bitter people like themselves they way they are and I'm a fixer-upper. I want them to be happier or at least act happier. I want them to be Christians the way I am! But that isn't the deal with faith and belief in God. It isn't up to me (or you either, come to that) to change the way a person believes or practices their faith. It is up to us to welcome and love them. You don't have to agree with them! Jesus taught many things but the greatest thing he taught was that we need to love one another as God loves us. And this is hard sometimes. But I figure if a bunch of people can stand next to me when I sing or rant and rave about the condition of the world, then I can stand next to them as well whether they sing on key or off or know different words to the same song. We're still singing the same song. To love and welcome.

Monday, July 14, 2014

In a Hurry to Wait

I've noticed something lately about me. I am not very patient. Those of you who know me I'm sure are chortling with glee as this is an understatement if I ever made one. But it's true. I want things to move along at the pace I want them to, or I feel like I have to push them along. At work, if I have to wait for either a return call or someone to stop by and give me information I practically wear a hole in the floor, pacing impatiently. I don't know if I've always been like this. If so, there are probably a few dozen people to whom I need apologize.

I've asked The Lord for patience lots of times. I remember seeing a bumper sticker which said, "Lord, give me patience and I want to now!" It could be a motto tattooed on my forehead.

But I was reminded of my lack of patience today in a most humbling manner. A friend of mine is sick. Very sick. He is battling for his very life these days and sometimes we're not sure he has many of them left. But he is doing what he has to do every day, carefully, with deliberation and patience. And he's gracious about it as well! What an example he is to me. A model of learning to live each day in the here and now as tomorrow is promised to no one. I want to be like him, not sick, but able to be patient with the world, with life, with myself. He is teaching me without even trying. I will try tomorrow to be more aware of life, more cognizant of the world and the people therein. And pray once more for patience, only just not right away, maybe.