Archive | January, 2022

Pathway to Promise

24 Jan

In the evening of the day,
I remember with gratitude
the kind word spoken to me,
patience extended,
forgiveness granted,
peace offered,
love demonstrated far beyond my deserving.
And I am truly thankful.

In the darkening hours
I remember with regret
the harsh words I spoke to another person,
my bad attitude because things didn’t go my way,
my hurt feelings when I felt unappreciated,
the truth I ignored and the pain I caused.
And I am truly sorry.

Now in the darkness of another night,
Lord accept my gratitude and my remorse.
It has been a good day in many ways,
but I hope for a tomorrow better because
of your grace, your mercy and your abiding presence.

Wake me, I ask, with the gentle touch of your Spirit
and set my feet once again on the pathway of Jesus,
the pathway to the promise. Amen.

Two Words

22 Jan

Wasn’t it Popeye who uttered those famous words: “I yam who I yam.” If you don’t get it, don’t worry. You’re just too young to know the fella I’m talking about. But for some unexplainable reason I thought of the cartoon character’s words the other evening when two people in a small group meeting read their spiritual autobiographies. There are about ten people in the neighborhood group, and over the course of several months, each of us has shared insights and information about our spiritual journeys, our Spiritual Autobiographies. As you might imagine, each is unique and a blessing to hear.

But the one common thread running through each is the impact or importance of relationships. Granted, sometimes that relationship was not positive or life-giving, but it was important in shaping the person’s life. We learn from each other, don’t we? We are influenced, sometimes for a lifetime, by the actions of significant others.

Who in your life played a role like that? Name the person or persons who formed you in your early years. Or, who guided you through that early development time. I have found that two words usually rise to the surface of our consciousness when we think of those who influenced our early years. Forgiveness and Gratitude. The Way of Jesus makes those two words pretty important. People who follow The Way cannot ignore them.

Would it be helpful for you to pull up in your memory the person or persons who influenced you, to remember them in the light of these two words? Probably. The effort might even bless you and those you remember.

STWTRW

17 Jan
Let’s STWTRW — Start The Week The Right Way. Here’s how. Resolve right now, from the moment you read these words, to follow the direction of an elementary school child who made the poster…to Be Kind to Everyone you meet during the course of the day, the person who serves you food, the cashier at the grocery store, the person you most recently argued with, the grumpiest person in your neighborhood, the driver who cuts in front of you, dogs and cats that you encounter, people who make you impatient, your children or grandchildren or both, the earth that is your home, yourself. That should fill up your day. Have a very good one. You don’t necessarily deserve it. Consider it a gift.

Living Faith

15 Jan
Yesterday fifteen people got together and filled 100 plastic bags with various canned foods, pasta, rice, beans (the blue bags in the distance) and added the white bags in the foreground which contain fresh produce. Their efforts to reduce hunger didn’t make the morning news, and, of course, they didn’t eliminate hunger as a social plague. So did it make a difference? Ask the 100 families who picked up the bags later in the day. The time spent preparing the 100 bags was not done for publicity, applause or headlines. It was done because the need exists, because no child should be hungry, and because the volunteers were motivated, not by hungry people, but by a common faith they share, a faith stance that redefines the word “neighbor”. If you don’t mind my asking: What do you do, as an expression of your faith commitment, to make a difference in someone’s life? May the Spirit tug at our sleeves and whisper in our ears until we finally say: “Here I am, Lord.” The Word of God lived out in the simple acts of compassion. Amen.

Meeting

9 Jan

I will meet you in the slow dawning
of the morning,
I will see you as you appear from
the fading darkness,
I will hear you speak my name out
of the exquisite silence,
I will reach out, place my hand
in yours, and feel the
universe tremble.
Your smile will ignite an
explosion of fragrances propelled
by the grand sweeping of
angelic wings.
I will meet you in the slow dawning
of the morning.
I will know you.
You will know me.
And we shall disappear into
endless delight.

O death, where is your sting?

Take A Closer Look

6 Jan

Camera in hand, finger on the trigger, ready in a moment’s notice to capture elusive beauty. I stalked it. I felt it in my bones, a flash of loveliness about to appear very briefly. Be ready. The hummingbird, here in one moment, gone in the next breath. A butterfly fliting from one delicious flower to another. Here and gone on the wind. A cloud formation posing in grandeur, then breaking up into rather common globs in an average sky. A sample of graceful beauty is about to open the door and pass quickly through my life. I will capture it in one click and admire it for weeks to come. If only that horse would get out of the way.

Some things are stately and serene. They invite a response of admiration. The Deer on the trail the other day. Stunning creature. Beauty is expressed in so many ways. The fluffy Kitten rolling across the family room floor, tangled in the ball of green yarn. The evening Sky just before the sun waves a final goodbye. O, the colors! Magnificent! This old world is awash in banners of beauty flapping in the winds of opportunity. I’m ready. Aperture set, sit very still lest the breakthrough of beauty is missed by my fidgeting over trivialities. If only that horse would trot off out of my frame. Beauty is about to appear. As I wait, I feel a rush of gratitude for all the amazing sights and sounds that fill my life with joy. Take a deep breath. Beauty is about to burst open any moment. If only that horse would move.

Gifts For The Child

2 Jan

There he was, snuggled down in the blanket on soft, fresh-cut hay. Did he look into the faces of the curious, the shepherds, his Mom and Dad? Did he wonder about the men dressed in fine robes? They looked different, not like the villagers who also wanted a quick peek at the little boy. But, then, the question can be turned around: what did the foreigners think when they looked down into his eyes? I wonder about several things connected to this remarkable story. And up there, high on my question list is this: What gifts would have been laid at Jesus’s feet if the foreign visitors had been women? The Wise Men brought gifts fitting for a King Who Was A Child, treasures of great value. But I’ll wager that if the visitors had been women, the gifts would have been a new blanket to keep his warm, a new garment or two for traveling home, maybe a collection of items a baby and his family might need. They would have brought gifts to a Child Who Was A King.

How wonderfully diverse we are. Different in our understandings, our expectations, our hopes. When you sit next to someone in worship, remember that he or she does not think or act exactly like you. And, yet, that person is your sister or brother. Your family. We are all related through this child who claims our hearts and souls. Thank you, God, for wise women and men who are drawn by Grace to his birth in the world.