Friday, November 20, 2009

Today's Gratitude x 5

These past few days I have been traveling and wrapped up in the events and circumstances where I am staying. I have not been as intentional about thankfulness as I otherwise may have been, though it is during these times that I should be even more intentional about gratitude. Nonetheless, here are today's top 5 of things that I am grateful for:

Nurse Trudy who cares not only for her patient but for those sitting watch with her patient.
Good coffee on a cool morning
A terrific filet from Barney's Meat Market, the hands that prepared it, and the easy conversation with a good friend as this meal was shared
The gift of sadness over friendships lost; this sadness reminds me of how valued these friends were in times past.
The gift of a home to head home to.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Today's Gratitude x 5

I am grateful for more than one friend for whom I will fly across the country
I am grateful for lotion to smooth on to hands that spent (too) much time in water and detergent today.
I am grateful for Swiffer  :-)
I am grateful for the ability to dream about what might be.
I am grateful for groceries on sale.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Today's Gratitude x 5

This is a condensed version of the last two days:

A Super 8 that really was super
A borrowed GPS named "Hazel"
A repeat of "Drops Like Stars" by Rob Bell
Walking blocks and blocks of sidewalks new to me
Knitting a prayer shawl while praying for my dear dying friend.

Thanks be to God,

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Today's Gratitude x 5

Open windows and breeze through the house
Friends across the miles
Vacation time
Beautiful art
Coffee every morning

peace friends,

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


She is one of "those" friends -- you know the type. We can spend time together everyday with nearly non-stop talk and laughter as well as very easy silences. And after weeks, and occasionally months, of not talking, we pick right up where we left off, not missing a beat. She is twenty years older than I am and has always freely shared her wisdom, questions, opinions and youthfulness. And, now, she is going through another passage in her three year battle with Stage 4 bone cancer.

This dear friend and I have shared with each other many of the passages in our lives -- even the difficult ones -- over the thirty years we have known each other. She and her husband provided safe harbor for my partner-in-life (PIL) and me as we were in a very antagonistic setting during a time of deep mourning.  She is one of those persistent personal cheerleaders encouraging me at the many shiftings and changings in my life. She is one who  wouldn't settle for only a manicure when adding a pedicure took just a little bit more. She teaches me the importance of persistence and commitment and perseverance through these many passages.

My PIL and I are planning a trip to see her in the weeks ahead. I pray it won't be the last visit, though it well may be. Please pray for her and her husband, her children and her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren during this next time of passage.


photo from

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Today's gratitude x 5

In this time approaching Thanksgiving, postings by friends have encouraged me to return to a basic spiritual discipline -- that of gratitude. The practice is to recognize 5 things each day for which we may be thankful.  Focus on the small graces.

My mom who loved giving us Waterford
Learning to say, "Oh well."
Rain on dry land
Seeing the foolishness of size 6
Knitting soft yarn

I wanted to post some images for these things that I am grateful for but I'm not quite technically equipped to do this yet. All things in due time.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Stained Glass

Dr. Havens reminded our Lutheran Confessions class that churches and cathedrals of the Middle Ages used stained glass as a means of telling the stories of Jesus, the good news of the Gospel. Folks of that time couldn't read Scripture and needed the "picture version" of the stories of Jesus. So we were each required to share a "stained glass" from our lives. Over the semester we as a class saw paintings and photos, we heard poetry and remembrances, there were dances and stagings. Some of these we understood and some we didn't and these understandings varied among us. Yet, we each have a way of reflecting and expressing Jesus living in us and Jesus living in our worlds.

That seems to me to be how the Church is today. During a recent Bible Study we considered the stained glass of the Church today. Through what method or medium do we as the Church depict and proclaim the good news. Picnic tables sharing food and laughs, face-to-face and eye-to-eye contacts, all of this built on relationships.

Companions. Those who share bread.

Thanks be to God for the holy bread of Christ.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

All Saints Sunday, November 1, 2009

Please pray with me – May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to you O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Amen.
The text for this morning’s meditation is found in the twelfth chapter of Hebrews  – Therefore since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.
Have you been in a situation where you were cheered on by folks on the side lines? One of my experiences with this was in 1987 when I ran the Bay to Bay race in St. Petersburg. It’s about 10k, maybe 7 miles straight across the peninsula that is Pinellas County. The race that year was on Memorial Day weekend. My cousin Kathy came down from Minneapolis to run it with me.  This was a hard race for me. But along the sidelines, on the south side of the street were Earl and our youngest son Matt, who was about 10 at the time. They would be there waiting for me to get to their spot. I would look for them all along the way. I didn’t know where they would be – we hadn’t worked all that out. But they made their presence known as they saw me – and then I saw them.  It was a long hot run, but there they were, cheering me on. I would pass them and then they would move on to the next spot they had selected. I would run. They would wait. I would look. They would cheer. And that’s how it all went that Sunday morning.
Today is All Saints Day and we remember those who have gone before us.  We each have a cloud of witnesses – those people who have helped shape our faith, those who have urged us on. Who are the “saints” in your life who are part of this cloud of witnesses now cheering you on?  These witnesses need not have passed to the Church Triumphant – they may still be alive. Please take a moment and think of their names. Besides my beloved family, three of mine are Mr. Treblehorn, my 3rd grade Sunday School teacher; Katie Grover, a woman of faith who led a neighborhood Bible study that opened Scripture to me in a whole new way 30 years ago; Pr. John Johnson who instilled in me a love of Greek and encouraged me in so very many ways along this path; and Prs. Amy, Lance and Mark who are dear colleagues from seminary.  Well that may be six, but you get my drift. OK, get your three in mind. Plant them firmly there. They are cheering you on along this race.
(PAUSE) Last week we spoke about stewardship in the life of the disciple – we each are disciples and we are called to use the gifts that God has given us to further the Kingdom of God. We recognized that we are each radically gifted and we saw that we each are called to be radically generous.
Now, let’s make a bit of a switch. Let’s not think about stewardship as only an individual responsibility. Let’s think about this family of faith, this community of believers here at Grace Lutheran Church.  This family of faith has been given time, talent, and treasure. This family of faith has been radically gifted.
The gift of time – how do we use this gift here at Grace? Do we as a family “tithe” of our time here? Do we spend 10% of our time in ministry to others? Of the time that we spend in ministry to others, how much of that is spent with others who are not members?
And this family of faith has received gifts and skills and abilities. How do we as a family use these gifts and skills and abilities – these “talents”? Can it be said that we as a family tithe with regard to our talents? How many of our gifts are used here at Grace and how many are used in ministries outside of the family?
And of course, we have been given the gift of treasure. On what do we use these financial resources? Are we tithing? Do we give generously to ministries outside of our family?
Brothers and sisters, this is very important – I am not saying we are not doing these things. The point is not “Are we giving 10%.” The point is “Are we engaged in radical generosity in light of the radical gifts we have received?” The gifts that have been placed into our hands are placed there for the simple purpose of furthering the Kingdom of God.
Now, my friends, we as individuals and we as a family of faith do not give SO THAT we can stay in good-standing with God. Rather, since we are in good-standing with God because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, and THEREFORE we give.
Therefore since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.
Please look back in your mind’s eye.
What is the race that is set before us? What is the challenge that we are drawn to? What is the deepest need of those around us?
Who do you see along the sidelines cheering us on here at Grace?  Who is in our great cloud of witnesses? There are pastors of times past. There are council members of times past. There are Gophers and volunteers of all sorts.  There is Brother Martin, St. Paul, St. Teresa, St. John and more than we can name here.
All of these hands joining together to cheer, assist, encourage, support us in the race that is set before us.  Lace up your running shoes! God’s work. Our hands.