Swimming Lessons

Come gather’ round wherever you roam, and admit that the waters around you have grown, accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone. And if your breath to you is worth saving then you better start swimming, or you’ll sink like a stone, for the times, they are a changin’. Bob Dylan In 1963 Bob Dylan wrote these opening lines to a song which reflected the events which surrounded those of us who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s. To…

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sign of the fish

Trust the Road

“Trust in the Lord, with all your heart,on your own intelligence rely not;In all your ways be mindful of God,And God will make straight your paths.”Proverbs 3:5-6The pandemic is officially over a year old and hasn’t it been full of unknowns and surprises? Think about what was going on in our lives one year ago. Things were suddenly closed down. Grocery store shelves were empty. A scary disease, we didn’t know anything about, lurked behind every cough or sneeze. Information seemed to be…

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Consider the Psalms

Lent is an appropriate time for reflection and self examination and there is no better place to ground our thinking than with the Psalms. This is a book that is actually made up of several books and inside each we can find songs that reflect many ways of describing our relationship with our God. There about nine major types of Psalms and most contain more than one manner of expression. For Lent however, I wish to focus on the Penitential, the Laments and…

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The Path Behind and Ahead

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” (Isaiah 43:1b-3a)Sunday was Faith Lutheran Church’s annual meeting. We held it…

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A Song as We Wait

Can we start by listening to a song? Here is the link to Luther College choirs from 2013 singing the piece I have in mind. It is called “Climb to the Top of the Highest Mountain” written by Carolyn Jennings, based on scripture from Isaiah 40:9.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRU_JESEHJc&feature=emb_logoThis is my Advent song. I grew up attending St. John’s Lutheran Church downtown in Des Moines, IA, and I always sang in our church choirs from the time I was in early elementary school until I left…

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What Are We Accelerating?

So often, I hear claims from people advocating for responsible use of fossil fuels and those who are pursuing advances in clean energy that somehow we will develop better technology and that will take care of many issues we have created in our environment. While I support the pursuit of cleaner energy sources, I’m not convinced. I wonder if it is a cover-up which is only another way of us trying to convince ourselves that we can go on with life as usual…

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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…

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When Hope Seems Fragile

In this long season after Pentecost, also called Ordinary Time, the New Testament lessons have been working their way through the book of Romans. About a month ago (July 19th) the reading was from the first part of chapter 8 ending with verses 24-25 “For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” I was…

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Lost or Found

Labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral If we took a moment to reflect on our lives, I am sure many of us could locate at least one moment that we found ourselves lost and confused about our future, the decisions we need to make, or simply uncertain about what is next. We are used to thinking about these moments individually, focused on how God is speaking to us, personally, guiding and directing us through it. It is no wonder that at this moment in time…

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What if prayer is most important when we feel the most doubt?

Is anyone else finding it hard to pray these days? I am finding it hard - not because the need isn't great or because my heart isn't willing; it's because I hardly know where to begin. On any given day, I have half a dozen urgent things I want to lay at God's feet. By dinner time it's up to a full dozen. And yet I find myself putting it off. Prayer that is. I’m worried God will want to know where I've…

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Be a Presence

It is easy to feel overwhelmed these days. We are in the midst of a pandemic, and are constantly adjusting to the challenges this new reality brings. We are witnessing a time of racial unrest, and are wondering what we can do to make a difference. We experience a wide variety of emotions, sometimes all at once – anger, frustration, confusion, grief, sadness, despair. We also experience from time to time positive emotions influenced by our faith – hope, acceptance, compassion, trust, belonging, love of neighbor. Every person responds differently to the circumstances we are in. One thing we all have in common as people of faith is the desire to make a difference.

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I Doubt It

Every single Easter story in the Bible has fear and confusion and doubt. It seems as if it is impossible to have faith in the resurrected Jesus without also having doubts— and that … that’s okay. (see video)

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Spring Was On the Way

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me. Psalm 23:4It was mid-March. We were having roller coaster weather as the low-and high-pressure systems battled each other; but our sunny back lawn needed mowing. I’m not able to follow the mower around anymore, though I’ve done it for many years and for a number of years many lawns a week. Now I rely on Larry (my oldest…

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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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Touched by Grace

“Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with [the other disciples] when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.’ A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the…

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