Sunday, October 31, 2010


drowned in the waters of baptism
naked and dead, we come up
out of the water
and are greeted by the body of Chirst

the body of Christ:
this community who is
called to welcome the
Lost & Lonely
Broken & Betrayed
Hurting & Healing
Weary & Worn

to welcome, without prerequisite,
expecting nothing but
New Life

but the church falls short
we (rightly) expect more
from those who
profess to believe that G-d is
that G-d grants
that we are saved by G-d's

we expect more from the church,
but the church,
the body of Christ
is broken
the church, too, is in need of


there, on the table
is the bread
Body of Christ,
whole, waiting to be broken
and given to
the broken Body of Christ,
yearning to be whole

so there, around the table
we gather, and are fed
by G-d's Grace and Mercy

then we rise from the
Table of Grace
and turning, we pass again
the Font
where we are bathed -
washed clean -
and where we are drowned
then granted / gifted / graced
with new life
where we together are made one in Christ.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I've noticed that the way kids play changes as they grow older. The other day, my 11-year-old daughter was babysitting a couple 3-year-old children at our house, and right there in front of my face, it was obvious that 3-year-old play is different from 11-year-old play. My daughter did a great job of watching these kids, and a great job of playing at their level. But the things they did were things she hasn't done on her own for years.

Play changes as children grow older. Now obviously this isn't news to most people. However, it made me start thinking about whether adults still play ~ and if we do, then how.

As adults, so much of our world revolves around work. Those of us with 'regular' jobs (meaning that we go to work and receive a paycheck) seem to highly value our downtime, when we get to relax. Often this involves relaxing while watching television or reading a book or sitting in front of a computer. Also, for many, it involves having a drink or two with friends after work.

Beyond the day-to-day, most of us with those 'regular' jobs tend to highly value our vacation days and weeks. Those times are when we get to 'get away from it all' and really relax.

Whether it's the daily relaxing, the annual vacations, or the weekends, all of that relaxing still revolves around work. Either we're relaxing after work, getting away from work, or resting up to go back to work. And since I believe play must be for it's own sake, those don't count.

And those who work in the home, either running a business or working as a housekeeper, have it worse than we who have a job away from home ~ you never really get away from your work. It's surely much more difficult to take a break, since the place where you live and the place where you work are the same. I've never been in this kind of situation, so I don't know what the challenges are. But the question remains; how do we play?

Watch small children play sometime, and you may notice that they're completely absorbed in what they're doing. It's as if the world around doesn't exist, or if it exists, it doesn't matter too much. This is what I think of as play; when a person can become so completely occupied in something that brings them joy.

Like I mentioned, the way my kids play has changed as they've grown. What I've notice recently is that the way they play is starting to overlap the way I like to play. Last winter, I spent a number of days completely absorbed in skiing with my daughter, and realized that's play. Last week, I went biking with my son. We weren't going anywhere, we were just riding through the park, up and down hills, splashing through mud puddles, and slaloming through the gaggle of geese.

I only understood later that we were playing, and I realize that many of us adults don't recognize those things that bring us deep joy, and don't take enough time to do simply for their own sake. I hope I'm wrong.


Monday, October 18, 2010

parabolic stories

stories of the ordinary
which surprise
our assumptions

geometric and algebraic shapes
curving around a central point
like the trajectory of a body
turned in its path
by the gravitational force
of some other object

perhaps parables
catch us on our journey
altering our trajectory,
altering us at our essence
so we turn, somehow, by degree
toward the divine

Cup of Tea with Milk

I pour milk into the center
of my tea
but the center remains dark
as milk billows up around
the sides of my cup
tinting the edges lighter,
for a moment,
than the center

in a moment,
dark and light and sweet
will blend together
to appear unremarkable
in my cup
then, I will stop looking
and drink

for now, though
I watch
transfixed by a cup of tea.

psalm 121 reflections

standing alone on the plain
mountains regal
in my periphery

turning, i can't help but to
look at the peaks,
my eyes drawn upward
past the slope to where
the ground reaches for the sky

searching for hope, i wonder,
will the lifter-up of mountains
lift me up when i stumble,
fall to my knees?

these mountains may be new -
geologically -
but they have stood since well before
my ancestors
and will remain
when my descendants
are memory

how much longer
will the maker of these
unmoving hills
remain and remember me?

from time now to all eternity

Sunday, October 17, 2010

pastor's sunday morning

Sunday morning, still dark out
I have tea, a cat on the couch
and a quiet house
the world outside is still, silent

partiers are home in bed by now
and it's too early
for even the most industrious
to be out of the house

no one else stirs at this hour
I believe for a moment

until my quiet is interrupted
by the thump of the paper
on the front door

reminding me that
some people do real work
on Sunday mornings

Monday, October 11, 2010

what would I do?

What would I do?
faced with Jesus' healing,
what would I do?

Eyes opened by spit and mud,
leprosy washed away
belly full of fish and bread
demons run out into the lake full of pigs
what would I do?

Do I return to give thanks,
do I follow,
or am I too busy?
what if I have my own agenda,
things to get done?
what if I'm too busy sharing
to be bothered with thanksgiving?

What would I do
met by heavenly hosts' Alleluias
or G-d in a crib?
What would I do when Jesus
looks like the gardener
outside His empty tomb?
Do I build a tent on some
mountaintop road to damascus
when Moses and Elijah
swing low in a chariot
to receive tongues of flame?

What would I do?

Why do I have to wonder?
Is G-d's work stuck in the holy land,
held up in the biblical past?

What would I do if I met G-d?
* no ~ that's not the question *
What do I do
when I meet the living G-d

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ten Lepers

they called out to Him,
seeking divine mercy
as He sent them on their way
(you know the story)
they were healed
one returns to Jesus
"Where are the others?"
He asks
"Why didn't you bring them back?"

Friday, October 8, 2010


rolling over, i stretch and pull the covers down
hearing activity in the other room -
breakfast, coffee,
the clicking of a computer keyboard -
i know it's time to wake

but the bed, warm and inviting
won't release me

i pull the blankets up to my chin
curl up again into the warmth left over
the warmth that held me through the darkness
now gives way (reluctantly?)
to all this day has to offer

but i'm not ready to receive the day's offering
'can't i just wait here for another minute?'
i plead with my better self
so 'just another minute'
becomes five, and five becomes ten
until it's too late to ease into the day

while in the other room,
the boy is up, with questions and stories
that won't wait 'til i've made the tea
and the girl, who is often held by sleep like i am
she's up, so i should be too

so i
throw the discomfort to the wind
with the covers' release
and trust they will be waiting
tomorrow morning
warmed again by the night
not wanting to let me go

Monday, October 4, 2010

liturgy and sirens

we sing ancient chants
kyrie eleison, sanctus, alleluia
sometimes strong
others, off key just a little bit

heaven's hosts' unending hymns
temporarily outsung by sirens
whose wails push through broken windows
drowning out gloria in excelsis

but they're not so considerate
as to intrude only on the singing -
proclamation and prayer must pause ...
only momentarily, though

+ + +

to be insulated from the real-world sounds
would be to emphasize isolation
while the world breaking into our prayer
reminds us that G-d breaks into the world

so we stop, though only for a moment
maybe we even pray for those who pass by
before we continue the ancient liturgy
kyrie, christe, kyrie eleison. amen.