Thanksgiving for Night Sky

Last week I spent a few days at Luther Heights Bible Camp, between Stanley and Ketchum, with a friend. We were there to contribute, specifically to lead staff training sessions. But there are always gifts received while at camp and this time was no different. On our second night, we stepped out of the cabin around 11 PM and took a stroll. The night sky was gorgeous. I remembered the times I came home to my parents’ house, west of Custer, SD, on…

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Practicing Anew

Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and…

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Life of a Community Garden

“Look, I am doing something new, now it emerges; can you not see it?” Isaiah 43:19 (NJB)Fair warning, this is less a devotion and more a story of faith in action. I was asked by Lutherans Restoring Creation to sit on a panel about community gardens so I have been reflecting on the lifespan of Trinity Community Gardens Inc (TCGI). TCGI was founded in the spring of 2008 by three master gardeners (Paulette Blaseg from St. Paul’s Catholic Church and Dale and Sheila…

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Prayer and Justice

On April 9 the church and world remembered German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer who died in the Flossenbürg concentration camp on that day in 1945. I shared this Bonhoeffer quote, posted by the Lutheran World Federation, on my Facebook Page ,“Our being Christian today will consist in only two things: in praying and in doing justice among people.”I have been reflecting on the relationship between prayer and doing justice regularly since last February. I attended a training in California with Mark Yaconelli,…

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Proximity with the Marginalized

A Rewriting of Psalm 113:Praise the Lord!You who try to faithfully serve the Lord; praise the name of the Lord. Praise Immanuel, Prince of Peace, Holy Spirit, Redeemer, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Savior, Healer, Giver of Life.Blessed be the name of the Lord from this pandemic time when we have kernels of hope, from this time when some of us are still so busy and the pace of life has slowed for others, when we feel isolated but see the path towards ending…

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Rest

I have found myself needing rest and enjoying rest in new ways. My body, mind and spirit are occasionally beyond tired—really weary. Sometimes I thankfully have moments, usually when I am in conversation with lay people or other Nampa community members, when I have a flurry of creativity and energy. But when I approach Thursday evenings, a rough draft of my sermon finished and most of the workweek behind me, I look forward to my days of deep rest and disengagement from my…

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Horizons

The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature. This Emerson quote has always resonated with me. My family moved to Custer, South Dakota, in the southern Black Hills, when I was four. We drove southwest to Colorado and east to Sioux Falls and neighboring Minnesota too many times to count. The home I grew up in looked out over those same Black Hills. I first…

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Musings on Ecumenism

We are part way through the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Jan. 18-25), an annual observance with over 100 years of history. Organized by the World Council of Churches, the week is a call for Christians to remember Jesus’ prayer for his disciples that “they may be one so that the world may believe” (see John 17:21). This year the theme is “Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit” (John 15:5-9). I have to say that this is tough…

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After the Waiting…Praise
Redfish Lake

After the Waiting…Praise

This is he whom seers in old time chanted of with one accord, whom the voices of the prophets promised in their faithful word; now he shines, the long expected; let creation praise its Lord evermore and evermore. Amen. Verse 3 from Of the Father’s Love Begotten After the waiting, the longing, the hoping, what is left to do on Christmas day but praise God? It is not even so much about thanksgiving, which has its own place in the life of faith.…

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The Comedy We Need

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, then were we like those who dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter; and our tongue with shouts of joy. Then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad indeed.” (Psalm 126:1-3) I have never been so thankful for the humor in the stories of Advent: Zechariah and Elizabeth having a baby in their old-age, crazy. Zechariah not believing it would happen and so he…

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Practicing Participation

Over my head I hear music in the air. Over my head I hear music in the air. Over my head I hear music in the air. There must be a God somewhere! (verse two, Over My Head) I am writing this on election day. We do not know what the day and night will hold. When I do not have words for my devotions and prayers, I find myself turning to the poets and artists. Poetry and art, including music, has a…

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Sacred Spaces

1The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world and those who dwell therein. 2For the Lord has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. 3Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord, and who may stand in God’s holy place? (from Psalm 24, ELW translation) I have been thinking a great deal about sacred spaces since the pandemic began, but especially in the last few weeks. I was an early encourager of all of…

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What Shall I Pray?

Psalm 19 1 The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. 2 Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. 3 There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; 4 yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun, 5 which comes out like a bridegroom from his…

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Affordable Housing – Through the Pandemic

“The home is the center of life. It is a refuge from the grind of work, the pressure of school, and the menace of the streets. We say that at home, we can ‘be ourselves.’ Everywhere else, we are someone else. At home, we remove our masks.” Matthew Desmond, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City Desmond’s book came out in 2016, about a year after Trinity New Hope, Inc. (TNH) was started, long before masks took on new importance. TNH is…

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Not Expendable

“They make us sound so expendable,” was a comment made a few months ago by several people in my congregation and in my family/friend circle. What did they mean? These elderly people were repeating the sentiment they have read or heard that they are old and that their potential deaths from COVID-19 are just part of how we, as a global community, will get through the pandemic. This all made me think about my reaction to the 2015 film, The Second Best Exotic…

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Dreamers and Something New

Good metaphors, poetry, and art are things I find myself reaching for these days. In addition to taking time to lament and grieve, I am seeking hope. But I do not want the hope that turns out to be a mirage in the desert; I want the deep hope that comes with faith in a loving God.This summer and fall, my congregation is hearing from much of the biblical books of Genesis and Exodus on Sunday mornings. There is a lot of ground…

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Gifts of the CSA

Shortly after everything shifted due to the pandemic, that was back in March here in Southwest Idaho, I realized that there was a good chance I would not be traveling much this summer. I also was reminded that being a good steward of my body would help me with the new extra layer of stress. I found a website listing CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) in Idaho and found one that delivers to the Nampa Farmer’s Market each Saturday morning. This food has been…

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We Are the Letters

“What comes next?” That’s the line King George’s character sings in his second appearance in the Broadway Musical Hamilton, after the Battle of Yorktown. “You’ve been freed. Do you know how hard it is to lead?” In fact, as followers of Jesus Christ, we do know what comes next. Confident that we are freed by Jesus’ love and mercy, we cannot but help share that love and mercy with others. What is it that drives us to love our neighbors, to boldly give…

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Soul Friends

I have been pondering all the kinds of relationships that we are part of and need. We are relational by nature, even those of us who are more introverted. I need relationships with communities of people who have similar interests or background and stories. I need people to confide in and people who will hold me accountable to growth.

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Accompaniment

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26)One of the online groups I am part of was reflecting recently on friendship. It is always interesting, sometimes disheartening and sometimes wonderful, but always interesting, which friends show up for a relationship when I am in trouble. Likewise, we reflected, it has been interesting during the time of the pandemic to…

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By Our Love

"For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love." (1 Cor. 13:12-13). One could make a pretty good argument right now that hope is the greatest, but I know that love has been the strongest guidepost and will remain so for me…

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Time for Questions

Acts 4:32-37: 32 Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. 33With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. 35They…

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Waiting for Morning

Psalm 130 1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. 2   Lord, hear my voice!Let your ears be attentive   to the voice of my supplications!  3 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,   Lord, who could stand? 4 But there is forgiveness with you,   so that you may be revered.  5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,   and in his word I hope; 6 my soul waits for the Lord   more than those who watch for the morning,   more than those who watch for the morning.  7 O Israel, hope in the Lord!   For with the Lord there is steadfast love,   and with…

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