Thursday, February 21, 2019

Adapt

God willing when I lie
shadowed in the dark night
amidst the spirits fly
head on into the light
success is truly mine
waiting across the
                                   line
       broken verses
                                broken lies
 truth mirrored
                           success denied

      love burst through

                                        ending pattern
                                                  foresight
mine
               yours
you are mind and I am yours

                       fill me 'til I'm empty
                              wash me out
                 the great line has become
                            a circle
                     eternity in one sight

Love your enemies


O Lord, you have taught us that without love whatever we do is worth nothing; Send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts your greatest gift, which is love, the true bond of peace and of all virtue, without which whoever lives is accounted dead before you. Grant this for the sake of your only Son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany BCP 216)

"For the fourth year in a row, the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization that tracks hate groups, reports that hate and domestic extremism are rising in an unabated trend. The center found a 30 percent increase in U.S. hate groups over the past four years and a 7 percent increase in hate groups in 2018 alone, according to the center's annual "Year in Hate and Extremism" report. The group designated 1,020 organizations as hate groups in 2018, a high of at least 20 years." (https://www.npr.org/2019/02/20/696217158/u-s-hate-groups-rose-sharply-in-recent-years-watchdog-group-reports, heard on All Things Considered)

In this coming Sunday's gospel passage from Luke, Jesus tells his disciples to "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you." It seems that in the United States, we have a long way to go in working on loving our enemies.

Whether we have personal enemies, or simply find it hard in our hearts to love those who are different than ourselves, we are called by Christ to offer up prayer and blessings for others. As Lent is coming up, consider the ways you can change towards love this year, letting go of hate, opening up to new people, or simply praying for a change of heart.

This coming Sunday we will be taking a moment of prayer for hate groups in the United States. We will be offering prayer for those we consider our enemies and those who hate us. I hope you will join me in opening our hearts to the amazing love that God has for all people.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany


O God, the strength of all who put their trust in you: Mercifully accept our prayers; and because in our weakness we can do nothing good without you, give us the help of your grace, that in keeping your commandments we may please you both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany BCP 216)

The collect for this coming Sunday is meant to remind us that without God's grace, we cannot do anything good in our lives. All goodness, all kindness, all love, flows from God to and through us. You've heard the saying, "We love because He first loved us." Christians throughout the ages have relied on God's grace and love in order to follow Jesus' commandments to love others, love themselves, and love God.

It is one of those theological mysteries which take pondering to understand how what inside of us that wants to do good and to love others is an outpouring of God's love for us. We can only love God because God gives us love, which we share in return. That which spurs us forward through valley, darkness, or trouble to seek God, is in fact, God inside of us already.

The seasons of the church year, Advent to Christmas, Epiphany to Lent to Easter, take us on a journey through light and darkness. On the journey we go through seasons where we see the goodness of God plainly highlighted in each story and we rejoice in our redemption, and then seasons where everything is hidden and paradoxical, where we remember our sins. Epiphany is a season where light is shown on the goodness, where we rejoice in the Good News, where Jesus is revealed as the Savior of the World. I hope that in the midst of the cloudy weather, you can see the light and have the mystery of Love revealed to you. 

Stanch


what would I give
to stop the flow
                               the
                               drip

                               the
                              loss

                                of life

                                of
                               love

                                of
                                emotion

                                falling

                                out

                                 bandage

                                 please

                                 oh

                                let
                                it
                                go

1/13/18

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Abundant Life


Set us free, O God, from the bondage of our sins, and give us the liberty of that abundant life which you have made known to us in your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany BCP 216)

Life in God is marked by many different things. Community worship, contemplative prayer, care for others, especially those in need, care of the world and God's creation, are all ways in which we can recognize the life of God in others. Another way we can recognize God's presence in the life of another is by their focus on abundance, instead of scarcity.

Scarcity is a threat in our lives. The fear of scarcity works in very subversive and detrimental ways in our society. We may not even always see it as it happens, but scarcity permeates our needs to save up, whether it is saving things, clothes, food, or money, and not share with others. Having an attitude of abundance allows us to relax and enjoy. Knowing God's abundant life means we are not held captive by the fear that there will not be enough. God always has more than enough, more than enough love, more than enough grace, more than enough community, more than enough food to share.

The gospel stories are full of instances of God sharing abundantly. When I look at my life today the list of abundant gifts God has given me would include grace, love, forgiveness, cat hair, paperwork, words to write and share, wonderful community, and sustaining relationships. What has God shared with you abundantly today?

Bindle-Stiff


wrapped in ragged cotton
used to be some mother's pride
a shirt, a second pair of shoes
concealed as precious treasure

what would you carry with you
no home to lay your head
jewels or tools, art or comforts
all you could manage in a bag

consider well the proposition
we are all homeless in our beds
waiting for life's greatest venture
to take us home for eternal rest

1/5/18

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Antithetical


"action, not words"
but, oh! the words!
the red words
the ones which bring connection

through letters
novels, stories
spoken, written
not half symbolized text messages

feel the depth
in the true words
the true actions
born from humanity, not automation

12/31/17

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Annual Meeting

Almighty and everliving God, source of all wisdom and understanding, be present with those who take counsel for the renewal and mission of your Church. Teach us in all things to seek first your honor and glory. Guide us to perceive what is right, and grant us both the courage to pursue it and the grace to accomplish it; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(For a Church Convention or Meeting BCP 818)

Sunday will be our Annual Meeting at St. John's. Each year we gather as a full congregation to review the past year, its financials, its events, its groups, and to look forward to the new year. The Annual Meeting is when we vote on new Vestry members, elect those who represent us at Diocesan Convention, and hear the stories of ministries throughout the year. Our Vestry slate for this year is Jim McDonald, Chuck McKain, and Karen Steele.

Also, the Annual Meeting is a time for the priest of the Church to address the overarching questions of vision and leadership of the Church in this time and place. This year, I  will be sharing my vision and hopes for the next few years, as we work in fulfilling our calling from God. As part of the morning, at Coffee Hour, I will be showing a video of some of our folks sharing stories of our past and their hopes for our future.

I pray that you will join us at 9 am for the Annual Meeting, and again after the 10 am service for Coffee Hour and the video presentation. Come and share in the celebration of what we accomplished in 2018 and in the visioning process for the future!

Permeable


like so many ghosts
convening in the hall
floating through the walls
the floor, the ceiling
history makes itself known
centuries mixed with decades
time as permeable skin
wrapped loosely as a dressing gown
preparing us for forever

12/18/17

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Candor


the honest truth
people don't even like
when others
are not busy enough

the honest truth
we don't know how
to handle our own
frustratingly similar emotions

the honest truth
we forget
that uniqueness and similarity
are not opposites

12/6/17

The Wedding at Cana


Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ's glory, that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (Second Sunday after the Epiphany, BCP 215)

Every three years we hear the story of Jesus going to the wedding feast in Cana. The story from the gospel of John only comes up in the Epiphany season. It is known as the first of the miracles Jesus performs in showing who he is in the world. The other gospel writers did not include this story in their books, but it is an important part of the structure and overarching story of the gospel of John.

The story is an interesting one. We never learn whose wedding it is, but it must have been someone well-known to Jesus' mother and her family. His mother has clout with the servants and instructs them what to do, despite Jesus telling her that it wasn't his time yet. Turning water into wine isn't actually all that miraculous, all you need to do so is some grapes, some yeast, and some time. Crush up some grapes, add some water, add the yeast, let it sit, and voila! Wine. Yet, the real miracle taking place isn't Jesus circumventing the natural processes of turning water into wine. The real miracle is Jesus himself, showing and sharing himself with ordinary people. God participating in the ordinary acts of humanity. That is the real miracle.

As we continue in this season of Epiphany, take moments to open your heart and eyes. Where is God participating in the ordinary acts of your day? Where has Jesus revealed himself to you? God is working in and around us all the time. Take a look, God is waiting to be found.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Truth


the gleaming look in your eyes
belies the falsehood and shows

in stated garb, the truth
as such as it is in war

where lies no justice, no just reward
no righteousness in trade for death

a single sigh, a headless doll
lying on the bank of the pillaged village

this is not the end, nor the beginning
it is in fact, the messy middle

11/26/17

The Baptism of our Lord


"Father in heaven, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized into his Name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen."
(First Sunday after the Epiphany: The Baptism of our Lord, BCP 214)

As we move into the season after Epiphany, the seasonal emphasis of Jesus as a baby in Christmas changes to seeing Jesus start his ministry as a young man. We will hear the stories of Jesus starting his ministry, in starting to show the world who he really is. This coming Sunday we will hear the story of Jesus being baptized by John in the Jordan River.

In some ways this story is quite appropriate for the beginning of a New Year. Jesus starts out his new ministry, and we start a new year again. Both are the beginnings of journeys which will take us further than we expect. Jesus may have had some knowledge of what would happen throughout his ministry, and we have some knowledge of what may await us in this new year, but there are always surprises along the way.

As we start out again this year, we join together to give thanks for the companions along the way. This season we will hear the stories of Jesus finding his companions, and perhaps this year we will find new companions along our ways. Let us offer up gratitude for the new beginnings and the new companions God gives to us each day.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Truth


the room is full of truths
wandering through the minds
of people in their walking sleep
passing by unseen
dust in the wind
catch a breeze... and sneeze
be aware
your body may not like the truth
when it enters in.

11/10/17

The Feast of the Epiphany


O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (The Feast of the Epiphany, BCP 214)

This coming Sunday is the Feast of the Epiphany, which starts the season of Epiphany. Epiphany is a season of seeing God, seeing Jesus as truly divine and truly human, seeing God in creation, seeing the Holy Spirit in others. While seeing is one of our five basic senses as humans, in the Christian tradition, we talk about seeing going deeper. We see with our hearts, especially when it comes to God.

Being able to see beyond what is right in front of you is a gift from God. Having a vision of the future or of a ministry is a gift, not only personally, but also communally. In this season of Epiphany, I invite you into a season of visioning. Seeing beyond what is in front of us to seeing what God sees. God sees into our hearts, into our futures, into our nature. Through following Jesus and keeping close to the Holy Spirit, we too can see deeper and look with God's eyes. I invite you to join us in looking deeper this Epiphany.