Archive | August, 2019

Red Bridge

30 Aug


My imagination is sparked when I look at this picture.
I see a horse-drawn wagon approaching from the
distant side of the stream.  I hear hoofs clomping
on the wooden base, and I watch a young man as
he shifts the reins into one hand and lifts the other
in a big, friendly wave.

I’ve driven a lot of miles in the last few weeks,
and I’ve crossed a lot of bridges.  Some of them are
functionally common while others, mix-masters
they’re called, are works of engineering art.  How
anyone can design and construct one of those things
is a marvel and a puzzle.

In my hometown, a new bridge was built recently
over a very busy interstate highway.  It took more
than a year to put the pieces together, and a work
crew of skilled people…hundreds of them.  I like
the bridge but it doesn’t excite my imagination
like the old red covered-bridge.

History reminds me that covered-bridges were
built by communities, not companies.  Farmers
left their plows in the fields, gathered at the
stream bed with hammers, nails and wood from
an old barn that had been torn down.
And they built a bridge.
When they got tired, they stretched out on the bank of
the stream in the shade of friendly trees.  Their laughter
and the sound of hammers striking nails can be
heard to this day when the wind passes by.
They built a bridge.

May I make two suggestions?
Figuratively, we need to build some bridges.
There are a lot of metaphorical, raging rivers
that need to be spanned.  I can name them,
but you know them.   And, it wouldn’t be a
bad idea intentionally to create community
so that our common needs can be shared and
something done to address them.  Community
does not mean partisan factions.

Maybe bridges and community might help us
out of the mess we’ve created.

Who does it?
Not the anonymous “them”.
We do it.

This Moment

29 Aug


Sitting together just on the edge of wonder,
she said to him: “What if this is the last time
we will see this startling beauty?
What if there is not a next time?”

Moments passed before he leaned closer to her
and smiled:  “Then we will have had this moment,
and no one else can claim it.  It belongs
only to us.”

This moment, detached from yesterday,
not anticipating tomorrow, is the
raw reality of life.
It is the one-act play repeated again and
again.  Lines change.  Costumes vary,
the audience applauds or sits in bewildered silence.
And all that really matters is that I have filled the
moment with the fullness of myself, not for
the sake of self, but to honor that slender span
of life that is validated not by yesterday nor
by tomorrow’s headlines, but by the
experience of a profound engagement
with the present.

If we never sit on this bench again,
if the sun never falls across your shoulders
again like it did today,
if there is no next time,
I will forever be grateful for this one moment
when life happened, really happened,
and we knew it.

Lift Off!

27 Aug

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I admire beautiful birds in flight.
Such graceful power.
I would love to rise in the wind as they do.

Someone told me a long time ago:  “Son, if
God wanted humans to fly, he would have
given us wings!”
If I could find that old wise man, I would tell
him:  “Well, God did…and I can fly!”
And today I intend to do just that.
I will watch for the fresh breeze of the Spirit
and I will catch the current and be lifted by that
source of strength.
I may not have wings, but I will not be limited by
that minor technicality.  I have a relationship with the
wind and the sky and the One who created it all and
who awakened the desire in me to soar in the Spirit.

My only problem is that I need a flying partner.
It’s a big sky…lots of room for everyone.
So, how about flapping your wings today
and feeling the lift of the Spirit?
I’ll look for you!
We’ll do cartwheels through the clouds!

Power And Principle

26 Aug

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The beautiful water appears smooth
and serene in the distance,
but when it encounters an obstacle,
something challenging its way,
serene turns to savage.

It is the nature of power, when used
only for self-interest, to set
principles aside and seek
out its prey.
Power, unleashed from ethical values,
is a voracious animal.

I know this to be true because I feel
the churning in myself sometimes.
Simple differences are magnified into
boulders that block my way, and the
challenge is to move them aside with slight
regard for ethical or moral values.
Misused power doesn’t persuade,
it pounces.

I pray today for wisdom to recognize the
the warning signs of my need to
control or dominate,
and for the courage to control those urges
by remembering and reliving the
Way of Jesus.

And I pray for the nation and nations of
the world in this time of
troubling turbulence.
May power honor peace,
not personal pride.

May it be so.  Amen.

All Is Well

25 Aug



Just another day?

I think not.

No day dares to end like this unless
it has been remarkable.

Average days tidy things up a bit
then quietly close the door
behind them.

Ah, but this day is Pavarotti
singing Nessun Dorma or
the ceiling at the Sistine Chapel
or Rembrandt’s interpretation
of the Prodigal Son.

Breathtaking in power,
healing in its tenderness,
this day departs in majesty
and mystery.

Even the waves pause in
their endless journey to receive
the day’s benediction —

All is well.
Safely rest.
God is nigh.

Sleep in the arms of Peace.

Keep It Simple

22 Aug

Last evening I rented a car for our drive to Oregon, which begins in just about
four hours, 8 a.m.  Yes, it’s 4.  I know.  That’s a bit early since there’s no rush to
leave or to arrive at our first overnight stop.  Did I mention I rented a car?

When I first sat in the driver’s seat, I thought to myself:  Oh, no.  It looks like a
commercial airline cockpit!  The attendant tried to explain the basics, but there
are no “basics”.  Only extraordinaries.  It was then that she offered me a 537 page
Owner’s Manual.  I reminded her that I didn’t need an “owner’s” manual; I’m just a borrower; can’t I have the simplified version.  She didn’t seem to think that was very funny.  Neither did I.

So I have four hours to become proficient in flying this thing to the Northwest.
Between my first and second cups of coffee, while trying to figure out the
different EV modes in relation to the Electric Vehicle System, I thought:  “I
complicate my life too much.”  I’ve even been known to complicate my faith
life more than I should.  You?

Why don’t we keep it simple?  For some questions, there are no answers.  I can’t
finally understand all that I would like to.  Just when I think I’ve connected the
dots, they move and I start all over again.  So, I propose that we keep it simple:

*I am not alone in this cosmic adventure.
*I know there is an Intelligence greater than myself.
*I will go to my grave believing that kindness and compassion are good.
*On my little grain of sand, there used to live a man named Jesus and I want to
be more like him.

Beyond that, it suddenly gets complicated.  I like simple.

I don’t like this 537 page book.  And now I have three hours left!

The Emerging

14 Aug

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When the hard surface begins to crack
there is no holding back the inevitable.

No wall is strong enough.
No enclosure so secure.
No theory infallible.

Something will emerge to challenge the landscape
of the mind and heart
when the hard surface begins to crack.

One Of A Kind

13 Aug


There is only one you in this world.
There is only one me.
You are not a copy of anyone else.
You are unique and
you are lovely.

But the most important thing
to know is that you
are loved.
Love is in you, around you,
through you.
You didn’t make it, earn it,
or deserve it.  It is a gift
given to you before you
ever breathed air.
It is your nature.

Just as you are right now,
let your gift be the
guiding force in
your life.

You are unique.
You are special.
It’s true!

Beautiful Day!

11 Aug


Treat this day with the embrace it deserves!

See life all around.  Listen to the Tree.

Look deeply into the delicate Flower.

Find animals and funny faces in the
white puffs of Cloud.

Greet the Song Bird with a smile.
Return her gracious gift.
Sing to her.
She will forgive a missed
note or two.

And when the Sun breaks through the
gray clouds, as it certainly will,
say Thank You.

See how the world shines.

And You shine, too!

Morning Metaphor

6 Aug


Time to think about Sunday’s sermon.
“Where your treasure is…”
What DO I treasure?
“do not worry about your life…”
Worry?  Doesn’t everybody?
“the Mindful Presence provides all you need…”
Really?  Sometimes I have to be reminded
that I already possess the ultimate treasure.
Perhaps it’s better to say “it possesses me.”
I am an integral part, connected to each
element and fragment of the grand gift.

To think more about my ultimate treasure,
I decided to take Maggie for her
morning walk.
She’ll sniff everything and I’ll ponder one thing.
Making the last turn toward home,
I looked up and saw it…the subtle reminder.

No, not the astonishing eastern sky,
even as beautiful as it is,
but what it means in this moment.
The Ultimate Treasure in plain
view, painted across the dawn
sky.  Revelation.
“Where your treasure is, there your
heart will be, too.”
The Morning Metaphor.

Thanks be to God!