Poured Out

“The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:5)As I carefully picked up the pottery pitcher filled with water, our pastor began to read the “Affirmation of Baptism” that Sunday morning. At her nod, I very slowly poured out the water into our church’s shimmering baptismal font. Listening to the words, it almost seemed to me that I was experiencing a slow-motion moment as water met water, symbolizing so much.In…

Continue ReadingPoured Out

Joy in the Midst of Sadness

“God’s one and only job description is to turn death into life. That’s what God does with every new springtime, every new life, every new season, every new anything.” — Richard Rohr The words above stand in tension with my past few weeks, as I said to more than one friend “Death is my constant companion of late.” Here in this season of Easter, of resurrection I’ve had more death than I’d like. Above you see a picture of a joyous occasion, the…

Continue ReadingJoy in the Midst of Sadness

March Madness Mentoring

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly (& sisterly) love, in honor giving preference to one another. Romans 12:10In our household March Madness has always been watched and followed diligently by my husband, Danny. But this year I decided to take an interest in it, too. I haven’t been able to watch the entirety of most games thus far, but have watched enough to learn more about basketball and to follow it more closely. I’ve especially enjoyed the wild close-call endings! In…

Continue ReadingMarch Madness Mentoring
Read more about the article Jesus Meets His Mother
Worshipers of Legio Maria in Nairobi attend a prayer session

Jesus Meets His Mother

Station Four - Worshipers of Legio Maria in Nairobi without the words Emily Dickinson Steadfast God,You draw us together to glorify yourhealing name, whether we’re separatedby physical distance or digital divide.May we boldly proclaim your love in allplaces and circumstances. Remind usthat we are bound to one another inChrist’s love regardless of how wegather. Amen.What are the most memorable worship experiencesyou’ve had in this time of virtual and limitedin-person worship?What are the things you want tokeep from this time?What are the things that havefrustrated…

Continue ReadingJesus Meets His Mother

Love

Today is St. Valentine’s Day, a favorite day among retailers. The price of flowers, particularly roses, rises to amazing heights. Jewelers hope to upsell bewildered patrons on larger and sparklier diamonds. After two years of financial difficulty, restaurants are undoubtedly hoping for a busy evening. In grocery stores and pharmacies, the busiest aisle is the greeting card aisle as last-minute purchases are made.This day dedicated to love is strangely named after St. Valentine, although it is somewhat unclear as to which of the…

Continue ReadingLove

Ubuntu

The word Ubuntu is an African word meaning “humanity to others.” The word has come into my life at different points in the past 20 years (starting way back when I was blessed to work at a YMCA camp as a counselor which hired international staff and my first summer there, we had two men from Africa on our staff team) and reminds me and us of the idea that ‘I am what I am because of who we are.’ I am offering…

Continue ReadingUbuntu

Love Never Fails

The lessons for this week are held in Luke and Corinthians. Both are well-known citations, and I will leave the Gospel text encounter of Jesus with evil to the pastors.I’m much more called to examine the Epistle text in 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13. This well-known text is Paul’s treatise on love and his conclusion that of the three components: faith, hope, and love, the greatest is love.Many people choose to use some piece of this text for the groundwork of their marriage vows.…

Continue ReadingLove Never Fails

Hope Arising…

“… (Jesus) passed through the midst of them and went on his way.” Luke 4:30 In recent months I’ve had the occasion to interact with persons in our health care system—from the persons who greet me when I check in for an appointment to the those who care for me in the hospital and examination rooms. I’ve been struck numerous times with this thought: “This terrible pandemic has actually made these persons better people!” They interact with me in caring, committed, professional, and…

Continue ReadingHope Arising…

Love As a Verb

As we honor the life of Martin Luther King Jr. I am first drawn to the words from Saint Francis of Assisi…Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood…

Continue ReadingLove As a Verb

The Practices that Sustain Us

I am mourning the loss of two family members in recent weeks.  My mother Mary died following a stroke in Tucson, Arizona on May 29th.  My brother-in-law Geoffrey died following a massive heart attack in Meridian, Idaho on June 3rd.  My husband Glenn and I have been through every emotion since these events and there have been and will continue to be difficult days.  There have been moments of pure love and grace during this time.  I’ve been trying to identify what practices…

Continue ReadingThe Practices that Sustain Us

The Fruits of Pentecost

…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, gentleness, self-control…Galatians 5:22-23Today we celebrate Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit to the followers of Jesus as they huddled together in the Upper Room. Jesus had ascended to the Father and the promised Advocate came to the disciples through wind and tongues of fire, landing on each one individually (today’s first reading—Acts 2:1-21). It must have been quite a scene! The mystery and marvels continued with those receiving the Holy…

Continue ReadingThe Fruits of Pentecost

A Commitment that Cherishes

About twenty five years ago I joined a group of people who would eventually start Corpus Christi House, a day shelter for the homeless in Boise. We studied the writings of Dorothy Day and examined the Catholic Worker movement she started, a faith-based but not religious movement (catholic meaning universal). We wondered together what a Boise House of Hospitality could look like.In those early years we spent a lot of time discussing what love is. Love is a word that seems perfectly clear…

Continue ReadingA Commitment that Cherishes

Think on These Things

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.Philippians 4:8, NIVThis verse from Philippians is one of my watchwords. It’s a verse that raises my spirits.The problem is, it dropped out of my mind in the last year. Covid-19, which is far from over, drove it out of my consciousness.The verse quoted above is actually part of Paul’s closing exhortation in his letter to…

Continue ReadingThink on These Things

Witness

“Witness” can be a scary word to some church people. Even apart from church contexts, it can be scary to be a witness. Your name is now associated with a case, situation, or incident. If a new development or question might happen later down the road, you will likely be called. Whether you desire to get the facts straight or find yourself in a tricky situation because of being in a certain place at a certain time, being a witness can be stressful.Beginning…

Continue ReadingWitness
Read more about the article On the Sunny Side of the Street
invitation to hopscotch

On the Sunny Side of the Street

A recent television commercial features a young girl sitting on the walkway to the front door of her family’s home. She is chalking the concrete but also looking rather longingly at the people passing by to see if anyone will give her a smile. We see a delivery person walking rather quickly; he may or may not see the girl, but he does not acknowledge her. She looks disappointed but then we notice, from her facial expression, that she’s come up with an…

Continue ReadingOn the Sunny Side of the Street

Just Tom

Imagine with me for a moment: You’re a guy who has spent the last three years traveling and working with your best friends. It’s been exciting and exhausting and oh, so much fun! That is, until it wasn’t. Your leader, the glue that held your fraternity together, was just arrested and killed. What now? You have no idea if the cops are looking for the rest of you. You couldn’t handle losing anyone else right now. You all go into hiding together. And you’re…

Continue ReadingJust Tom
Read more about the article Joy Comes with the Morning!
man embracing joy in the morning

Joy Comes with the Morning!

Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.Psalm 30:5bToday we are in the midst of the Easter Three Days, the high point of the liturgical year beginning the evening of Maundy Thursday and continuing until the evening of Easter Sunday. These three days are a single celebration that mark the end of the season of Lent to the celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection at the Easter Vigil and the later Easter Day worship celebrations. (Go here for a slightly longer…

Continue ReadingJoy Comes with the Morning!

All are Welcome

All are Welcome ”Let us build a house where love can dwell And all can safely live, A place where saints and children tell How hearts learn to forgive. Built of hopes and dreams and visions, Rock of faith and vault of grace, Here the love of Christ shall end divisions, All are welcome, all are welcome All are welcome in this place.” Marty Haugen I must admit, I have struggled with this song at times. But not because I don’t love the…

Continue ReadingAll are Welcome

All Your Mind

Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40Today I am focusing on the “mind” part of this verse as that is, in my opinion, where it all begins; even though it is listed last. Our desires begin there.There was…

Continue ReadingAll Your Mind

Love Bats Last

Nonviolence is absolute commitment to the way of love. Love is not emotional bash; it is not empty sentimentalism. It is the active outpouring of one’s whole being into the being of another. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Today our country celebrates the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I can’t think of a better way to begin this historic week than by honoring Dr. King and his message of nonviolence. Our country has experienced heartbreaking violence and yet there is hope…

Continue ReadingLove Bats Last

Part of the Family

Recently my husband and I bought a new bed. This was unplanned because we were quite happy with our old bed—a full size—which we had had since early in our marriage, almost 30 years. The reason for our new bed purchase is our small Schnauzer mix, a dog we adopted from a rescue organization in southern Idaho. Fauzie (pronounced Fozzy) was found wandering on a farm road in Burley. His coat was so long it covered his eyes, and he had developed vision…

Continue ReadingPart of the Family

Waiting for……..

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon...There was also a prophetess, Anna...” Luke 2:25 – 38My childhood memories of Christmas include a lot of waiting. Of course, there was waiting for the time when I could open my presents and, waiting for everyone else to finish opening their presents so I could start playing with my new toys. As I got older, there was waiting to watch others as they opened the gifts I had prepared for them. There was waiting…

Continue ReadingWaiting for……..

Dance in the Dark, Watch for the Light

These days, you don’t have to wait long for night. It gets dark fast. We often talk about the shortened length of days this time of the year. However, the days aren’t actually shorter. We have the same hours to our day as ever, it just feels different. Days like these provide us with an opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with the dark. Things feel different, they look different, we have to do things differently because there’s less light, but that doesn’t take away…

Continue ReadingDance in the Dark, Watch for the Light

Stolen Identity

I have a friend who recently discovered that her identity had been stolen. As she was sharing with me the process for reporting the fraud and protecting her identity, it surprised me just how exhaustive the process was. There are so many entities that rely on our personal information and “identities.”This gave me pause to wonder: what is an identity?According to the government, an identity is our name, address, birthdate, and social security number. Perhaps according to our own selves it is the…

Continue ReadingStolen Identity

Good Soil

A dear friend of mine will be consecrated as a Lutheran deaconess this weekend. She has had to wait several months for her service to be rescheduled and it will look very different from her original plans. But we know God is faithful and that God continues to call us regardless of what is going on in the world around us and no matter how long it takes us to make things “official.”One of her texts for the service is the Parable of…

Continue ReadingGood Soil

Can we learn to love our neighbor?

As we get closer and closer to the election in November my soul is grieving deeply the division and lack of respect for others that politics seems to exude. How we have let ourselves become so divided by party lines that we cannot even have civil conversations with those we disagree with, if we can even talk to them at all. This divisive politics isn’t new, I always dread the TV ads where opponents just seem to disparage each other and not talk…

Continue ReadingCan we learn to love our neighbor?

An Unexpected Thank You

One of my favorite things to do when I was a Youth Minister was to go on retreats with young people. The opportunity to be together away from the normal routine helped us grow closer to each other and to God. During each retreat we would create rituals together that matched the theme of the retreat and the gifts of the youth in attendance. One retreat stands out in my mind all these years later. We decided to do a blessing based on…

Continue ReadingAn Unexpected Thank You

Transformation in the Suffering

“A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” Mark 4:37-38 I’m afraid I am approaching “overwhelmed” at this point. With the ongoing pandemic, wildfires, racial inequality and injustice, and the upcoming election my anxiety is hammering at my good humor. Any one of these troubling issues can…

Continue ReadingTransformation in the Suffering

A Two-Way Relationship

My best friend Penny is an introvert. This is a good thing, because I am an extrovert so we balance one another nicely. Penny knows me very well; and understands my tendency to talk on and on about things in my life. She listens well and offers good feedback. We’ve known one another for over 50 years, and Penny recognizes all of the nuances in my voice and all my pet phrases and expressions. I’ve learned how to draw Penny out and get…

Continue ReadingA Two-Way Relationship