Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Path. . . .

Some people always have to have a path. They just have to know where they're going-- and how they're going to get there. I think these are the folks who created MapQuest and GPS. And that's fine, I suppose, sometimes.

If you have someplace you have to be, and a time you have to get there-- best know where you're going.

But every now and then, I believe it's important to ditch the path and wander. Why not?

What's the worst that can happen? You get lost. (And you may even have to ask someone for directions. Gasp!)

Years ago when I first moved to a new town, I had a mission: I started at our apartment-- and I just drove. I paid little attention to the ways I was turning or the streets I was on.

I set out to get lost.

And then-- I set out to find my way home again. And I made it home to write about it.

I think life's like that. Once in awhile, just stop. Put it down, whatever it is you are carrying, and go away. Try to get lost.

Because you just might find that in getting lost, you find part of yourself you didn't know was missing.

Forty days Jesus was in the desert, and wild beasts cared for him. Angels hovered over him.

Where will you go today?  Leave the path behind. . . .

Monday, February 23, 2015


Covenant is definitely a "church word," or once in awhile, a legal beagle term. Its origins come from Latin, and mean "to come together in agreement." Kind of a handshake and a promise.

But when God makes a covenant, suddenly it becomes more.

God made a covenant with Abraham, and he becomes the father of nations, offspring too numerous to count, like the stars in the sky-- and he gets a late start in the game.

And even when Abraham and his wife Sarah aren't completely faithful to God's plan-- God remains faithful.

No matter what.

And so it is with each of us. We may not be capable of unwavering faithfulness, but the God who created us is always faithful.

Remember that the next time things in life seem to be sliding south.

All the peoples of the earth will be blessed through you.

Think about that for a minute-- and believe.

Sunday, February 22, 2015


(During Lent, I will be following the photo prompt words from Rethink Church, but using them to create word pictures. Discipline, discipline, discipline.)

Celebrate. Celebrate? Seriously?

It's Lent, after all. And even if we are allowed to "take Sundays off," still. Celebrate?


This is the day the LORD has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

The sun came up, we all woke up-- hopefully on time for worship if that's your Sunday thing.

I have a roof over my head, food in the refrigerator, a car that takes me where I need to go.

I have eyes to see the beauty of the snow sparkling like diamonds in the rough (okay, really rough where the plows came through).

I have ears to hear the intricate melodies and harmonies of Beethoven as it streams from my radio.

I have a voice to proclaim the goodness of the God I serve.

And-- I have two strong legs to walk across town, shuffle through the snow, dance with joy. (But it's a little cold yet, so unlike David-- I think I will keep my clothes on!)

Praise the Lord in his temple! praise him with timbrel and dance!

It's Lent. Celebrate anyway! Or celebrate-- because!

Saturday, February 21, 2015


(During Lent, I will be following the photo prompt words from Rethink Church, but using them to create word pictures.                                                                        Discipline, discipline, discipline.)


That deep sense of well-being and effervescence, it seems, that pervades our being and fills us and carries us in unexpected ways. There are a lot of joy-filled people in Scripture.

Sarah, who embarrassed herself a bit by laughing at the angel's promise-- but when that child Isaac was born, I imagine her heart was filled to overflowing.

Noah's family, upon realizing the waters were receding, finally-- whew! Relief and joy-- and a fresh start.

The psalmist, over and over again, realizing how great the LORD was whom he served-- and his awestruck joy fills so many pages of our holy book.

Peter, realizing it was the risen Christ preparing breakfast on the beach-- so overjoyed he splashed his way through the shallow waters, completely oblivious to any sense of decorum at all. That's joy!

But for all the joy-filled moments and stories in the Bible, in my opinion none tops the very first story.

You know-- the one where God looks around at all that God has created: the land and seas, the creatures, the sun, moon and stars. And surveying the beauty and bounty of Creation, God declares it all good.

And I believe, even today, through all the darkness and brokenness, still-- it is good. And it makes my heart sing with joy.

Weeping and mourning may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

Where in your life have you found joy? Look again. . . .

Friday, February 20, 2015

ALONE. . . .

(During Lent, I will be following the photo prompt words from Rethink Church, but using them to create word pictures. Discipline, discipline, discipline.)

There he stood, hood up over his head, cloak pulled tightly around him. He had laughed at lesser gods, taunted and murdered the prophets and really, really ticked off the queen. 

He was running for his life, sleeping in a cave, shivering in fear.

The prophet Elijah had never felt so alone in his life. The few he had loved, he had left behind in his mad rush to flee to safety.

Too terrified even to realize: these were angels of the LORD caring for him, providing him rest and solace. No, he was convinced: there was no one whom he could trust. He prayed to the LORD to die, to join his ancestors. At least then he wouldn't be alone.

But now Elijah is waiting. The LORD has promised to pass by, and Elijah waits in uncertainty and expectation. 

After all, this is the LORD! How will the LORD arrive? With a fanfare of angels and trumpets? In fire and glory? A demonstration of might and power?

Not at all.

As Elijah waited, there was fire and wind and earthquake-- but the Lord was not in any of those things. (Good to remember, eh? Destruction is not God's preferred modus operandi.)

Then, when Elijah's heart grew still, he heard it: a still, small whisper that was the voice of the LORD. A whisper asking a simple question: What are you doing here, all alone? 

The LORD's presence and comfort come not from the world around us, but from within. And we are never as alone as we might feel at any moment.

The LORD was not in the wind . . . or the earthquake . . . or the fire.

Stop. Look. Listen with the ears of your heart.

Thursday, February 19, 2015


(During Lent, I will be following the photo prompt words from Rethink Church, but using them to create word pictures. Discipline, discipline, discipline.)

It started early in the morning, on the first day of spring. Those cramps somehow felt different, not the usual stuff. I wondered, could this be it-- finally? Was this labor-- for real?

In due time, we headed to the hospital, taking an alternate route because the city was in the midst of a hundred-year flood. The hospital admitted me, and the games began. (It wasn't always pretty-- I remember quite clearly having moments of wanting to throttle that man who had done this to me!) After what seemed like forever, there was one big push-- and our son entered the world.

The nurse swaddled him up and handed him to my husband, who brought him to where I could see him. Ten tiny toes, ten perfect little fingers.

And those eyes! Those eyes, big as could be, slowly taking in this world that he had been hearing for so long-- now opening up before him. 

As I gingerly stroked my son's hand, his eyes met mine. They were wide with wonder, as if he was aware that these people he was seeing now, for the first time, he somehow already knew! 

I looked. He looked. And in the silence and wonder, we truly saw one another for the very first time.

And it was very good. Thirty-two years later, it is still very good.

God saw all that God had made, and it was very good.

Open your eyes today. Look-- and see your world through the fresh eyes of a child of God.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


(During Lent, I will be following the photo prompt words from Rethink Church, but using them to create word pictures. Discipline, discipline, discipline.)

And so it begins: with an announcement. 

"We're getting married!" "It's a BOY!" Pizza for dinner! Oh goodie!"

That word, announce comes from the same Latin root that brings us message. And messenger. And angel.

You will be with child, and give birth to a son, and you shall give him the name . . . Jesus.

It all began with an announcement from the angel Gabriel, to a young girl no one had even heard of-- until then. And suddenly, the whole world began to change.

Throughout his ministry, Jesus lived a life of announcement, of angelic message. 

Your faith has made you well. She's not dead, but merely asleep. I give you a new name: Peter.

Woman, here is your son. Man, here is your mother.

Words. Redefining family, redefining wholeness, redefining what it means to follow God-- and sometimes, pi**ing people off. Important people who didn't much cotton to being told they were seriously wrong.

As we begin wandering towards the Cross, pretend you don't know how we believe the story ends. Truly focus in the moment and ponder the ways Jesus' announcements and proclamations were heard-- right then.

And imagine. Imagine the shouting, the rage. The confusion and broken dreams.

After all, not all news is good news. At least, not at first.

Behold! I am making all things new!

Blessings on this journey we will make together. Peace.