Friday, February 13, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day, Friend!

Happy Valentine's Day, Friend!

A friend is a treasure who loves you as you are, sees not only who you are but who you can become, is there to catch you when you fall, shares your everyday experiences, accepts your worst but helps you become your best, understands your past, believes in your future, accepts you today just as you are, and comes in when the whole world has gone out.

Genuine friendships are characterized by love, loyalty, and honesty.  Our greatest prayer for our friends is that they become more like Christ as we grow together in mutual friendship.  Let's celebrate friendships this Valentine's Day!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Broken Truth

A wonderful children’s book, Old Turtle and the Broken Truth, written by Douglas Wood with watercolor illustrations by Jon J. Muth, tells an imaginary story of how the world came to be so fragmented when it is meant to be whole and how we might put it back together again.

In a far-away land that “is somehow not so far away,” one night a truth falls from the stars. And as it falls, it breaks into two pieces—one piece blazes off through the sky and the other falls straight to the ground. One day a man stumbles upon the gravity-drawn truth and finds carved on it the words, “You are loved.” It makes him feel good, so he keeps it and shares it with the people in his tribe. The thing sparkles and makes the people who have it feel warm and happy. It becomes their most prized possession, and they call it “The Truth.” Those who have the truth grow afraid of those who don’t have it, who are different than they are. And those who don’t have it covet it. Soon people are fighting wars over the small truth, trying to capture it for themselves.

A little girl who is troubled by the growing violence, greed, and destruction in her once peaceful world goes on a journey—through the Mountains of Imagining, the River of Wondering Why, and the Forest of Finding Out—to speak with Old Turtle, the wise counselor. Old Turtle tells her that the Truth is broken and missing a piece, a piece that shot off in the night sky so long ago. Together they search for it, and when they find it the little girl puts the jagged piece in her pocket and returns to her people. She tries to explain, but no one will listen or understand. Finally a raven flies the broken truth to the top of a tower where the other piece has been ensconced for safety, and the rejoined pieces shine their full message: “You are loved / and so are they.” And the people begin to comprehend. And the earth begins to heal.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Risk Everything for the Gospel

A thief hears that the holy man of the mountain has one of the most beautiful diamonds in existence.  The thief determines to steal it.  He sneaks into the old man’s hut, finds the diamond and prepares to flee when the old man suddenly enters.  The thief is about to strike him, but the old man laughs and tells him to go ahead and take the diamond.  Halfway down the mountain the thief turns around.  He returns and hands the diamond back to the holy man, saying, “Give me instead whatever you have that allowed you to give me this diamond so freely and joyfully.”

 When our experience of loss and failure is planted in the fertile soil of faith, we become spiritually stronger and gain greater independence from immediate satisfaction.  We are more able to fight the good fight with enduring wisdom.  From “Faith-Rooted Organizing” pg.172.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Open to Healing

This quote is powerful.  “Religion is lived by people who are afraid of hell.  Spirituality is lived by people who have been through hell and come out enlightened.”

I’m making my way back from hell once again as I walk the journey with my mother’s mental illness.  Finally the judge agrees she needs help and for the first time healing may be hers and mine in a new and different way.

Can we finally surrender to healing?  Will our judgmental heads, closed-down hearts, and abused bodies come together to surrender to the transformation that can happen?  It is possible, if only you can surrender to the light of your being.  Nothing is impossible with God.

And the work of spirituality begins again knowing we start with the power of the Holy Spirit.  Come to the light and heal from all your pains and hurts.  Come again knowing that our Lord desires healing and wholeness for us.  Help us, Jesus, to bring your light to our closed-minded, dead-hearted, body-denying beings. 

There are so many situations that pull us apart in this world, but faith pulls us together…mind, body, and soul as well as brothers and sisters in Christ.  I’m ready to begin again.  The journey from hell to light as we gather once again to receive the body and blood of Jesus, to hear the words of forgiveness, and to feel the hugs of fellow travelers along life’s journey.  Open us all to your healing and bring us into your light.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Eternal Love

One week ago, we said our final goodbyes to our beloved family dog, Tasha.  It is a decision we all must face as our furry friends decline in their health and we spare them of any more suffering.  As I reflect on the day we brought her home, my memories take me back to our children and their happiness.  My oldest, Jenna, was 15 years old, Krysta was 13 and Josh was 11.  They were the perfect age to take on the responsibility of a new puppy.  On our way home from the breeders, we stopped at a park alongside the road and played with her in the grass.  I can still remember this moment in time, listening to the laughter while trying to name our newest member of the family.  Krysta would name her Tasha and Krysta would ultimately become her closest friend.  These memories contrast with the final moments of her life, one of which I will never forget, forever implanted in my soul.  It was one of those spiritual connections you don’t ever anticipate.  I was sitting on the floor with Tasha saying my goodbyes and kissing her nose.  With a tear in his throat, Dave said he couldn’t stay in the room.  I looked in his eyes and saw such grief and pain.  At that very moment, I connected with Dave as I spoke the words, “it’s okay, I’ll see you in a little while.”  The deep connection I felt with Dave continued with Tasha and then with each one of my children.  Our spirits had somehow connected in a way I can’t explain.  I spoke each one of our names and added the words “loves you”.  And then it came, the peace that surpasses all understanding, the peace that clearly says to your heart and soul. “all is well.”  The peace that affirms all love as eternal whether it is for people, animals or nature connecting with the love of God.  This eternal love reached the deepest parts of me as I understood once again the connection to the source of all life.  In this moment surrounded by eternity, I felt God leading me into the great mystery.  A mystical moment where our lives where connected by the breath of God. There it was the peace that passes all understanding, the deeper knowing that love is eternal.  When have you felt this peace in your own life?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Dirty Hands

The Orbit's commercial about having a dirty mouth makes me laugh...the one with the goat lady. We may not want a dirty mouth but as Christians we should have dirty hands. This coming weekend will be one of the first times I will get my hands dirty at Zion or in the community. There are 7 volunteers from Zion experiencing the powerful transformation of our landscape as well as the transformation of our hearts. The only other time I got my hands dirty was helping at the food pantry in July of last year. This makes my heart sad. Whatever happened to the transformative power of service in Jesus' name? God has placed a huge longing on my heart and I want to share this with you. I would like to engage in Saginaw in a significant way...more time spent at the food pantry and the soup kitchen. I would like to find out ways I could bring a group of youth to our church for a mission trip within Saginaw. We have the space to house and feed all of the youth. There are pastors from the lower part of the state that would like to work together to make this happen. This is burning on my heart. I would like to engage in community programs...volunteer in a school or hospital setting....all in the name of Jesus. When we serve in Jesus' name, the focus is on the power and promise of the risen Christ present in the mission at hand. Transformation is possible because Jesus is present. And so we engage! It will touch our hearts, shape our minds, and change our lives! I need some help with this...Is there anyone who would like to find out more about some social justice issues of Saginaw and how we can make a difference in this community?