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A Name Beginning with J

11 Dec

Today may be a walk in the park. Or, it might be climbing a mountain. If not today, then tomorrow or tomorrow. May I remind you of a basic principle of mountain hiking? Never go alone. At least, don’t go alone on those really challenging, often dangerous, trails. I speak from experience, and I promise you it’s no fun getting lost on a rugged trail, running out of water and having to cut through thorny bushes in hiking shorts. So, I say again: never go alone when the going is tough. You need a friend, an experienced opinion, resource, guide, encourager, maybe even a strong back to carry the load, maybe even to carry you if it comes to that. A twisted ankle or a tumble into that cholla cactus can ruin a good hike. It’s nice to have someone with you who can get those cholla needles on your backside.

So the point is this: Never go hiking alone in rugged mountains or on any challenging path. Likewise, don’t try to go it alone when you have to make hard decisions, when fear or sorrow move in, or when you simply “don’t know what to do.” A good friend is an encourager, a steady hand, and a source of wisdom. Good friends are blessings along your way, especially when the way is rocky.

The other day I thought to myself, “who can I invite to go hiking with me next Saturday?” I know lots of people who like to take on a rocky trail. So, I went to my Contacts app, tapped it gently, and it opened to the letter “J”. A name beginning with “J”. Hmm.

Under The Wings

5 Dec
Some say the Spirit is a Dove. I say a Hummingbird. Powerful. Fast. Graceful. Diverse. Here in a breath. The Spirit spreads its wings over creation as an act of love, and you are standing in the sacred shadow of Presence. A reason this day to rejoice!

Becoming

3 Dec

Amazing what the sun can do, isn’t it? Example: transform this very ordinary cactus into an art gallery exhibit. At any other hour of the day, it stands in the category of “ordinary.” But once the sun touches it,
it glows. Change the “u” to an “o” and be reminded of what you already know…even the most ordinary, when bathed in Light, becomes and becomes and becomes. The faith taught and demonstrated by Jesus is one of constant becoming. Becoming began in Bethlehem long ago, but it continues right here where I am and exactly where you are at this moment. You are Becoming! We are Becoming! There is a pathway of curious hope leading to Bethlehem, and a pathway of Becoming leading out. Dare to walk it. Follow the Way. Allow the sun to shine on you and the Son to shine through you. Become what you are!

Reflecting Beauty

24 Nov

Colors in this season of the year can be stunning.
What a gift to the eye and the soul!
And when there is a reflection, the beauty is doubled.
A shame, isn’t it, that sometimes beauty is treated
with passing curiosity, not experienced as an
encounter with the Sacred. Today I will see
beauty…will I reflect it? Yes, that’s the question?
That’s always the question.

The Honor of Honest Work

18 Nov

Creative thinking saw the future.
Hard work got us there.
Imaginations painted possibilities.
Honest labor changed possibility
to probability to reality.
Strong hands and backs pushed
those cars. Their sweat watered
the dreams that grew into bridges
and buildings, the ones we enjoy today.

Creator and Companion, I am very
grateful for the hard work of thousands
of anonymous women and men whose
efforts touch my life right now. Help
me remember and advocate for ethics
and honor in all who assign the work
and in all who do it. May it be so. Amen.

Holy Ground

15 Nov
It might have been more spiritual or more sacred in the confines of the sanctuary or some other sacred space. But, no. Right here in public, right here in the hurry of life, right here where cars roar down busy streets and homeless people mingle hoping for a cup of soup on this blustery Sunday morning. Right here. A hand reaches up and a hand reaches down. And they touch. A word or advice? Take off your shoes. You’re on holy ground.

Gratitude

13 Nov
Forty-two years ago I walked down this center aisle for the first time as Brigade Chaplain at the U.S. Naval Academy. Yesterday I walked it again. No Midshipmen Choir, no Clergy colleagues in procession, no glorious sounds from the massive pipes mounted on either side of the altar. But as real as ever. Gratitude is an inadequate word for the moments and the memories associated with this remarkable place. But gratitude it is, for then and for now. Let your memory moments fill you today with gratitude. Be thankful. Be glad. Stand humbly in the presence of The Sacred. Rejoice!

Everything Belongs. Everything.

11 Nov

These old, derelict mining carts are waiting to rust away in the Arizona desert. Another fifty years, or so, and they will be gone. They will have served their intended purpose, done their jobs, earned their keep. As for now, they’ve been put on display so everyone passing can observe their inevitable demise while remembering their essential usefulness. Nostalgia, they call it.

I took this picture while on the way to meet my 8-week-old great grandson. He’s fresh and new, sparkling, ready to take on the world. I pray for him. He’ll need my prayers and yours, too. It’s the way of life, isn’t it, that old things pass away and new things take their place. Manufacturers call it “Planned Obsolescence.” God calls it “Creation.” I call it necessary because for life to be innovative and exciting, it has to make room for the new while holding on to the essentials of yesterday. “Behold, I make all things new…” So says the Divine Voice in the Holy Scriptures of the Christian faith. Puppies and stars and galaxies. Old methods, outdated roadmaps, no longer useful mining carts.

Those who resist the inevitable are still part of it. It happens, not just to the best of us, but to all of us. Like it or not, you and I live in a transitional world, even a transformational world. I hope that doesn’t push your panic button. My alarm bells would be clanging all over the place, if it were not for my belief that change is Creation’s calling card and that when I live my life to the fullest — not for myself alone, but for the welfare of others — the process of transformation is my friend. “Behold, I make all things new…” Same voice that said: “None of us lives to himself alone, and none of us dies to himself alone.” So whether we live or die, we belong to Something greater than ourselves.

I can live with that.

Do You See What I See?

8 Nov

Do you see what I see?
Do you see what sees me?
Graceful and beautiful, the deer paused
for a moment to say “Hello” then
bounded off into the woods.
It’s nice to have a friend stop
by for a moment, isn’t it?

Give thanks today for your friends
and acquaintances who bless your
life. What would it be like
without them! They are a gift!
Thanks be to God!

Resting In Love

6 Nov

Rest in peace, beloved. Rest in the simplicity and in the beauty. Rest in the earth from which you came. Rest in the hand that made you and the heart that loves you. You are not forgotten. You lived and will live throughout time. But for now, rest in sweet Mother Earth. Amen.