Saturday, March 17, 2012

It's so bright...

Meditation for Lent 4B

In the gospel for Lent 4 we find one of the most known passages of scripture.  We find it at almost every gathering of people, from football games to car races to t-shirts to church signs.  It has been trivialized and the richness of its meaning lost to many. 

The verse following it is also rich in love and grace.  It is the reminder that we are loved to the point we need do nothing for God has already done the work.  The words of darkness and light are beautiful images that speak to the depths of God’s love and our willingness to run from it.  A colleague recently shared that our response to God’s love is too often that we are blinded by the light, the love, so we put our sunglasses on to hide from the light.  In doing so we are able to run just a little while longer from the depth of God’s love. 

It can be difficult to trust in the gift of that love because we are unable to see it.  While it is there, how can we believe it when we cannot see it?  This life of faith would be so much easier if we were provided with special glasses that allowed us to see God’s love in times we have forgotten what it looks like when we have spent too much time focused on the darkness.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


(Meditation for Lent 3B)

God comes to us in many amazing and unexpected ways and to those of us most would think are less than stellar choices.  The poor, the weak, the broken, the sinful, the fragile.  God redeems even those that seem unredeemable. 
The most unbelievable of the ways God comes to us is in the incarnation.  How astounding is it that God came to us as a baby in a smelly manger?  Became a worker of wood?  Became one that continues to touch us and heal us?  Came to die for us?  That continues to come to us in unexpected and “foolish” ways?
This is the God whose law continues to teach us how to love God and our neighbor with the words given on a holy mountain.  The God who becomes angry at the cheapening of the temple.  The God that seems to make no sense.  The God who continues to do the unexpected, the unanticipated, the unexplainable, and the foolish. The God who continues to call us, each of us to follow this upside down journey to the cross.  The God who says repeatedly to believe in those things that seem to make no sense…to lose our lives to save them, to serve in order to lead, to give away to gain…the God that calls us out of our comfort zones to follow.

This is the God many find foolish.  Are we willing to appear foolish for God’s sake?  Foolish enough to share the Good News of God in Christ?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Kindness Chronicles

One of my favorite artist's, Jane LaFazio, began The Kindness Chronicles today with some of her friends.  You can read about it here on her blog:  Janeville

The goal is that the first Sunday of each month we pay attention to kindness, both shared and received.  Part of me wishes that I knew about it before I left the house today and I had to chastise myself because I shouldn't need a prompt to be kind.  

I have no huge things to share and realize that is how most days really are when we don't make kindness a priority.  

As I reviewed the day I was reminded of the smiles I both received and gave, the hugs shared, and the gifts that are part of what this vocation calls me to, sacramentally and relationally.  

Kindness was given in sharing a God box with a friend who needed one, chatting with a teen I have missed about life and then finding a snack together, making a collage for someone I haven't seen in a while, and in guarding my tongue when I wanted to be not so nice (perhaps that really is something else, yet today it felt like a kind thing).

Kindness was received in words of affirmation after stepping out of my comfort zone in the pulpit, new trees to bring shade outside my kitchen, a chance to make amends, and receiving a holy meal with brothers and sisters as we journey together.

The lessons for me are:

~ that I shouldn't need to be reminded to be kind.

~ I am blessed to do what I do where I do it.

~ being kind is mostly about the little things that add up to make a big difference.

I intend to pay more attention to kindness not just the first Sunday of the month, but every day especially as we make that journey to the greatest kindness we have received.  

Feel free to join me in paying attention to kindness and the lessons it brings.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Follow the Leader

(Meditation for Lent 2)

Do you remember playing follow the leader?  The goal of the game is to do what the leader is doing.  Failure to do as the leader is means you lose and are out of the game.

The leader’s goal is to do increasingly more difficult actions quickly so that others are unable to keep up.  The winner is the last one (other than the leader) left in the game.

The readings for the Second Sunday of Lent remind me for many reasons of playing follow the leader. 

First we see Abraham who in spite of all outward appearances believes God’s covenant with him.  The covenant which lets him know he will be the father of many.  Here Abraham is 99 years old and Sarah is barren.  Against all odds, Abraham believes and follows God.

Next we have Peter who focuses on the human, the safe, the known.  He attempts to rebuke Jesus as Jesus shares what is to come.  Aside from the boldness, Peter makes me chuckle.  How much I am like him at times!  “Um, God, no…not so much.  It’s going to be like this…”

And then we have Jesus who reminds us of the need to follow him.  To follow him in this upside down journey to the cross.  This journey that makes no sense on the surface.  This journey that calls us to lose our lives to save them.  This journey that calls us to lead as servants.  This journey in which we follow an unseen God.

A person much wiser than me said, “Faith is obedience without reservation.”  May we follow THE leader without reservation.