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.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Splash of Color

I know I've posted about the fact that life seems to just go on, plodding and uneventful. But sometimes events do happen. Sometimes they are joyful, exuberant things and sometimes just the opposite. The things that make life interesting, vibrant and something to greet each day are varied. They can be something new: like a new dress, a new job, a new house. And sometimes the things that add color to the world of mundane-ness are actually people. If you compare people to colors, which I have to admit is kind of a new idea for me, you'll find that some people are florescent green--all flash and dance.  They can take over a room if you let them. And when they leave, the room is not quite as colorful, but sometimes somewhat more restful. Some people are those wonderful muted shades of natural things, beige, spring green, the pink in a sunrise. These people are usually kind of quiet and yet, the color they bring to your world is necessary for life, for the "coming in and going out". They are the base coat if you will, of your life. These people, with their quiet and understated ways, are good listeners and are happy to paint alongside you as life rolls on.

And then there are people who are a blend of the vibrant splash and the understated hue. If you find someone like this, you know you are blessed. If you are friends with this kind of person, your life is richer, more colorful, more-well-something.

My colorful friend has gone on ahead without me. He left me standing in the middle of the room without a paintbrush or paint. But I can hear the color of his laughter and see the sparkle of his jokes. I can feel the warmth of his brown bear hugs, even though I will never physically feel them again. And oh, I really hate that. Because he brought so much color to me. So much love and joy and exuberance and even passion for life, that my paintbox is suddenly devoid of much. And I want it back. I want him back.

We get to go on, we add some more brown to the day, we splash a bit of cream into the florescent blue, and the sky is not as bright. We hug and hold hands, we pray and we slowly, slowly see the master painter has left us the canvas, to keep on painting. To show others the colors that are in the world even though he is not.

But I am so thankful for that colorful man. So very blessed to have had him as a friend and a painter along the way. Rest well, Carl and save a paintbrush for me.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The People of God

I just got  home from a committee meeting. As meetings go it wasn't the worst or even the best one. It sort of got stuff discussed if not things accomplished. It was a committee at church. There are people at these meetings that although they are part of the same church family, do not think alike. In fact, I would say at least half at one time or another don't think like the other half. But I'm pretty sure we come together for roughly the same general idea. We want the church to do the work of God on earth.

The title to this post may sound exclusionary, but it isn't. The people of God is everyone. No exceptions. Whether you believe in God, Buddha, a Higher Intelligence, a Cosmic Hiccup, or any other terminology. And even if you don't believe in God (or any of those other things), you are still a being of creation. You are here for a reason. At least I firmly believe that. And so, you don't have to be part of a committee, part of a discussion group or even a pew sitter to be a person of God. Maybe it's more like a person TO God. You mean something to someone. And the things you do every day matter to someone. To that Higher Being you either recognize or don't. You mean something.

I have another meeting tomorrow night and for several nights after that. At each one, I listen to others say what is on their minds. Sometimes our minds work in tandem, sometimes not. But it isn't for me to decide who God listens to. It also isn't for me to decide whether they are worth listening to. God gets to decide. I'm just the one taking notes. I wish you would join me, not necessarily in the committee meetings...those kinds of gatherings are not for everyone I know...but come out to St. Marks and listen to the people there, listen to the music, listen for God. He is listening to you. I'm sure of it. No matter who you are or what you have to say.

Would You Like to Build a...?

I looked at my postings recently and realized I hadn't posted anything about Christmas! How could that be? It's one of my favorite times of year for so many reasons! And then I thought of what Christmas was like for me this year. I don't want to complain, but it hasn't been the most stellar of holidays. First of all, I got sick. Not horrendously sick, but juuuuusssst sick enough to make me go to the doctor and get medicine. And then my husband got sick. And just when I was getting used to the idea that "oh, well, I'll get better again," my son got sick. And he's on the West Coast. And there wasn't anything I could do about it. He was sick enough to be in emergency room, but not sick enough that I had to fly out there...although I wanted to. Several times. A day.

We're all on the mend now. And the lights are still up, the candles still in the window and the Nativity scene still adorns the mantel. I lost the magic for a while there. The special feeling I get when I know that God came down for you and me. It was lost behind the closed doors of me, my stuff, my problems, my woes. I couldn't see beyond the doors. I didn't hear anything over the plugged up ears and coughing in the middle of the night. Yes, I was sick. And I was worried. And I'm not suggesting that I should have been superhuman and risen above all that. But I want to realize something as well.  The Lord is there for us behind the doors if we let him in. He may not wave a magic wand and take away all our sufferings on earth, but how much easier it was to bear when I finally went to him and ask for comfort. I slept easier, knowing that God was with me in my circumstances.

In the movie Frozen, which everybody and their brother has probably seen at least once, there is a song called, "Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?" The two princesses are separated by a locked door, but each wishes to be on the other side in company with each other. That's the way this Christmas felt to me. I was wishing to be in company with God on the other side. It wasn't until I realized I had the key all along and opened the door and asked him in, that I knew I wasn't alone. And neither are you.

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.