Wednesday, March 30, 2011

in community.

I am so thankful for the community, the family here at Trinity. 

I was talking with a friend of mine the other day, giving thanks to God for her, for the times she has helped me find strength.  She said, "Have you forgotten!?!?!?  You moved from Indiana to Pennsylvania!?!?!?  Hello!  You had strength to do that!" 

I don't think I have reflected much upon the huge move that happened.  Yes, difficult goodbyes, a super long drive...lots of boxes to pack, and now unpack....and a new congregation, a new call, a new home, a new community.  On those lists of 'stressors' in our the last three months I have been through 3 or 4 of them...not that those stressors are bad, but they are big things that have big impacts on our emotions, our health and our well being.  But something that I hadn't put into words is that I came into a caring, loving, and welcoming community of about 1,400 people!  That's lots of prayers and preparation in welcoming me (& Marley).  It was a HUGE God moment for me to realize the community that prepared for my coming, who welcomed me when I got here and that is still caring for me and praying for me and the work God has in store for us as a sisters and brothers in Christ. 

I am thankful, too, for the small groups I've had the opportunity to visit with and to share with...there are these small groups loving, praying for and supporting one another, building deeper relationships within this larger faith community...there are ways to connect with all sorts of people in all sorts of ways here...and that has been so helpful and life giving though my transition. 

I've only been here for a little over 2 months.  It seems so much longer than that.  And not in a bad way, but in a way that I feel comfortable and energized each day.  Relationships are building, God's grace moments are being seen in all sorts of situations, and the good news of Jesus Christ is being seen and shared throughout the community. 

May God continue to bless our time and ministry together. 


Tuesday, March 29, 2011


It seems that there was good energy at Overtime yesterday. 
Coming together in the social hall at the end of the you could see, hear and smell the results of a busy day. 

As you walked by the kitchen you smelled the apple cinnamon muffins baking while the group that made them waited and waited for them to be done!  (The rest of us were drooling from the awesome smell.)

The sounds from the social hall were conversations, laugher and boomwackers!  At least I think they are called boomwackers or boomwhackers?  Anyway, there was a group in a circle with Sarah clapping, singing and playing with the looked like lots of fun. 

Those who had been working with gymp...that crazy soft plastic stuff....had planted themselves at tables to continue to work on their projects.  I even saw a mom working on a project as she walked out with her daughter saying, I haven't done this in a long time . . .  :)

In the midst of that, some tables had magazine flowers with pipe cleaner stems sitting in recycled airfreshener vases.  There were some hard workers here yesterday...that doesn't mention the crew that was outside playing kickball and other outdoor games in the sun. 

In the midst of all that were two boys, just having a hard time keeping still...a bit of running and a bit of crawling under tables, they just were not in the mood to be stationary.  As I tried to get their attention, I was reminded of this past weeks video devotional we saw during worship....and the importance of seeing the gifts that God has given each and every child that comes to overtime. 

I had them walk down to my office with holding each a quieter setting we had the chance to chat about different game options and one even taught the other a hand clapping game.  It's amazing how just removing the extra stimulus helped these boys focus a bit more.  One boy got picked up ...and the other one looked for a game for the two of us to play. 

I'm thankful for the calm and quiet kiddos and for the one's brimming over the top with energy.  I'm thankful for all the volunteers yesterday who made it possible to offer all sorts of activities. 

God is pretty busy here in Robesonia...the more hearts and hands, the better.


who we really are.

I'm still living in and wrestling with yesterday's Gospel lesson: The Woman at the Well.  I'm looking forward to discussing it further this coming week as part of our Bad Girls of the Bible class.  But in the meantime I'm still sitting with it.  I'm still amazed from the woman's joy and reaction to Jesus presence and God's grace.  As I read the chapter, Dying for a Drink, tears came to my eyes.  The reality that God....and only God...truly knows us, truly sees us for who we are...who we desire to be...who we wish we were...our strengths and our weaknesses....nothing is hidden. 

In the presence of Jesus, the woman at the well, deep down knew that Jesus saw her for who she truly is.
Jesus sees us for who we really, truly our best times and at our worst times. 

Sunday during communion a young child was at the rail with her mother.  As I walked up to bless her, she was sticking her tongue out at her mom.  It was the grace and love of God that moved through me as I made the sign of the cross on her forehead and said, "You are a child of God.  God loves you and God blesses you."  In our bad, grumpy, sulky, jerky moments, God sees us and loves us anyway. 

I'm thankful for that.


Sunday, March 27, 2011


So, this afternoon did not leave many of us with the outcome we were hoping for.  The Luther Bobble Head Trophy, alas, did come come to Trinity. 

But I can say this, there was great energy, passion, laughter, and fun had on the multiple volleyball courts that were going between 1 and 6 this afternoon. 

God was at work through these youth who spent the afternoon together playing, grumbling at some points, laughing and working together.  The gym was full.  There were loving, supportive parents on the sidelines....a wonderful afternoon indeed. 

There is always next year for the trophy.  All the youth played well...and so many showed great skills both with the ball, and as leaders and role models for one another.  To see players saying, come on...good try...keep it up! They were encouraging one another to enjoy the afternoon and the game.  Others showed leadership as they would speak calmly to the person serving at a critical time in the game...or give someone a pat on the back when things didn't go perfectly. 

Young and old exhibited teachable moments.  I loved all the supportive parents in the bleachers.  It was great to be a part of it...and I, for one, am glad my call isn't dependent upon the winning of a trophy...because I truly love where I serve...and have so much to learn from the youth and adults in this place...that I don't want to pack up and leave...God is telling me that there is much for me to learn and to give here....and I'm ready. 

Thanks for this great place...through the wins and the losses....we continue on together. 


Saturday, March 26, 2011

can't stop planting seeds

So I suppose that this should have been a part of yesterday's post, but I was just too tired to write last night. 

My friend and I met for a late lunch/early dinner at Stoudts.  It was a wonderful afternoon...I stayed on a little later than she did, because I had wanted to hear the band that was performing.  They were a trio with violin, accordion, guitar, hand held percussion and wonderful voices.  I love how comforting bluegrass music is...not to mention they threw in a few Beatles songs and one by Chicago. 

In the midst of listening to the band, I got to know some folks sitting near me.  And after some conversation with one fellow, I invited him to church.  He had talked about how he had been away from church for a while and was in a time of fasting....for health I told him when services were.  Who knows if and how that seed will take root, but it's been planted. 

Who knows where you'll be when you find someone looking for a place for worship, love and God's grace.  

The other person I got to know is a Lutheran, attends a Trinity in Lancaster and was just a joy to talk to and with about ministry, youth, college, kids, bee keeping (his wife is a bee keeper) music, history, Europe & England and summer camp.  He went to Nawakwa! 

What a fun evening.  Good music, good food, great people to know. 


Friday, March 25, 2011

up too late...

A super restful day off...I'm thankful for that. 

This week has been jam-packed...full of ministry opportunities, grace-filled moments, busy times, meetings, conversations, worship, food, collegiality, more food, lots of prayer moments, and yes, I have now finished Season 4 of LOST.  Whew. 

I had the opportunity to get together with a classmate from seminary this afternoon. We talked for hours and hours.  We prayed and ate together and talked some more. 

Seeing old friends is just one more way that God is showing me that I'm in the right place.  While I love meeting new people and making new friends, it is a blessing to be close to friends I haven't seen in a while who are here to love and support me in this new call.  I'm getting a good balance of quiet/me time as well as time with friends.  Both help keep me refreshed and strengthened and ready for the continued ministry I'm called to do here at Trinity. 

All in all a great day...and now to bed.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

remembering others

Today marks the day we remember the life Oscar Romero.  He served as Archbishop in El Salvador from 1977 until 1984.  He preached the gospel of Jesus Christ, walking with the poor.  Talking with people about caring for the poor, the lost, the oppressed....during a time of civil war in El Salvador.  His voice was one of a prophet, he proclaimed a message that called people to see the poor in their own country and to care for them...something that the other church leaders and political leaders of the time did not wish to hear. 

In 1984, while presiding at a worship service, he was shot.  They took him to the hospital immediately, where he died.

This is the chapel where he was leading worship.

While I did not take this picture, I did have the opportunity to visit this chapel, Romero's home and heard the story of his life and death from sisters within the community where he lived.  It was on a trip to El Salvador with a group of students from the seminary four years ago. 

It wasn't just that we heard stories about the preaching and teaching that Romero did as he served as Archbishop, but there were many other voices...older adults, who remember the strife of the 1980s, young adults who lost parents and even saw them killed outside of their home, and a younger generation that is hearing the stories, and learning to tell them themselves. 

It was a time of struggle and strife in El Salvador and that separation between the rich and the poor can still be seen today.  For me, remembering Romero...and the voices that he helped lift up...remind me of the poor, oppressed, and those living with injustice now.  Across the country and across the globe we know that God has blessed us with all that we need to live lives without going hungry...but we are maybe not the best stewards of all that we have been given. 

Somedays we are good at it...and others we are not. 
As we continue this Lenten journey, may we be turned away from ourselves to see those around us within our community and across the globe who are in need...and may we share what God has given us all. 


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

the very hungry caterpillar

I love that book by Eric Carle.  The caterpillar who each day of the week eats his way through all sorts of different foods.  I feel like I'm the less than hungry pastor. 

This Lenten journey has been full of good nutrition surrounded by boatloads of fellowship.  Someone at dinner tonight said, this is the season where you'll put on weight.  I don't doubt that could happen.  There have been some amazing homemade soups, hearty breads and tasty desserts.  The fellowship around these meals - in our social hall and in the fellowship halls of community churches has been wonderful. 

Lots of intergenerational conversations and connections...people of all ages eating, laughing and worshipping together...the way we are the Body of Christ of one another is a beautiful thing....

I'm thankful for the nourishment around the table...both in food and in conversation and relationships :)


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

i am the resurrection and the life

I got to share the story of Mary, Martha, Jesus and the raising of Lazarus (John chapter 11) today at a funeral service.  I have been singing a song that I learned at camp all day in my head...

I am the resurrection (clap)
and the life (clap, clap, clap)
Those who believe in me will never die.

I am the resurrection (clap)
and the life (clap, clap, clap)
Those who believe in me will live a new life. 

I can't remember the verses...but that's at least the chorus. 
I was blessed amazingly this day.  It is wonderful to be in a place to share the good news of the gospel when people are grieving the loss of a loved one.  There is something to be said for the opportunity to be with people, to just be present with them, during life changes.  It seems that a special door is opened into space and time, the opportunity to know one another, the opportunity to be with one another...and to just listen and care for one another. 

I had a wake up call that I was in Berks County today.  The family had set a time in the service for people to come forward and share memories or anecdotes during the service.  Well, before the service there was all sorts of chatter.  When I invited people to come forward, you could have heard a pin drop on the carpet.  After the service - at the funeral home, at the cemetery and at the luncheon - the chatter was back up.  I encouraged people to celebrate this time share that as they look back at this day, they will have these memories, too. 

It was wonderful, too, to have the opportunity to deepen relationships and develop new ones as I spent the day with the family. 

Thank you God, for all the people you place in our matter how long that time may be...


Monday, March 21, 2011

this week's sermon

Before you start, I should let you know that at each service this sermon sounded just a bit different.  I am a manuscript preacher, so read scripture, pray and eventually write up what I will preach, but that doesn't mean that at the three services that it will come out the exact same way.  The main message is the same, it may sound a bit different in this form. 
Thanks for reading . . .

March 20, 2011
Second Sunday in Lent
Genesis 12:1-4a
Psalm 121
Romans 4:1-5, 13-17

Please pray with me,
As you led the Israelites through the wilderness, as you were with Joseph and Mary as they journeyed to Bethlehem, and as you journeyed with Jesus to the cross….you journey with us now.  Guide our hearts, minds and bodies on this Lenten journey.  Continue to turn us toward you, our light and our path, guiding us every step of the way.  In Jesus’ name, amen.
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited this weekend.  Those of us here have been scattered around the community and the region during the week, but this day, right here and now, we have been gathered in together.  For some of us this is the place we are every week at this time…for others it may be a first time in this space and for others it may have been a while since you’ve been here.  But, really, none of that matters. 
We have all been gathered into this place by the work of the Holy Spirit…yup.  The Holy Spirit has been at it again!  And we are the proof of that work.  Surely we have been a part of God’s work here…handing out seed packets and inviting people to worship, but it is the Spirit that has brought each of you here. 
All of us, right here, are the example of seeds that have been planted by God. 
That’s why today is so exciting for me…you see, you don’t always see the results of planted seeds.  If you garden, you do often see the results of planted seeds.  You sow the seeds in the spring, move plants into the garden at the beginning of the summer and by early fall you are biting into tasty, dark red, juicy tomatoes J  (can you tell that tomatoes are my favorite?)  So sometimes you do see the results, but other times you may not. 
As we saw and heard from Heather…sometimes she sees the results of things she has said or taught and other times she may not.
You may share a kind word or prayer with someone…and not know what impact it had on him or her.  You may complement someone on a job well done, but not know how that affects them in the future…you may even make a suggestion to someone…they may or may not take it right away…so you don’t know if it ever helped them or not. 
I moved to Robesonia in January, so as you can imagine that I still have a few boxes to unpack.  As I was unpacking a box of books last week I came across this one.  It was a book I received in middle school…and no, I haven’t read it….yet.  But look what is in the front cover:

...signed… My 7th & 8th grade Sunday school teacher. 
And look at me now….proclaiming the grace of God and the good news of Jesus Christ….and sharing God’s love. 
That was just one of the seeds God planted within me…those many years ago…guiding me on my faith journey and bringing me to be here to serve you, now. 
I share this, because in the midst of Plant a Seed Sunday (Saturday) the reality is . . . is that we aren’t the best farmers in the world….(sorry to say it that way) but when it comes to spreading the God’s seeds…we are weak and foolish people….it took the quote in this book and many, many other people urging me to think about ordained ministry…it took lots of people to get God’s message across to me. 
I think it’s that way for all of us in our faith…we need those constant reminders of God’s presence in our lives…it’s as if we are all seedlings….always in need of that nurturing, love and care.  We need that reminder that we are only human…that we cannot make it through this life on our own.  Through the good and the bad….We need to hear that God is with us every step of the way. 

And we, foolish and weak, seek answers to questions that we have here and now….questions about our financial stability now and in the future, concerns and worries as our children grow up in a world that changes every day…questions and worries about the people of Japan and how come in the days and weeks after the earthquake things just seem to be getting worse and worse instead of showing signs of healing and recovery….
Every day we face challenging situations and questions like these...and we search for answers…
I think that in that way we connect with Nicodemus in our gospel lesson for today.  He comes to Jesus because he has heard that Jesus is a teacher who has come from God because of all the signs he and the other people have seen.  Nicodemus comes to Jesus to ask questions that have either been weighing heavily upon his heart or on the hearts and minds of others. 
He asks these questions of Jesus….and there seems to be this word play...answers from Jesus that don’t necessarily answer Nicodemus’ questions.  Jesus seems to skirt around Nicodemus’ questions…and maybe that’s because Nicodemus isn’t asking the right questions…
I had a professor in seminary who, if you asked him a question, he would immediately respond, “Why do you ask that question?” 
Sure, on the surface that response is frustrating, but I think it helped us get to the heart of what we were truly asking, why we were asking and it help the professor to truly give an answer that we were seeking. 
Maybe Jesus should have just said that to Nicodemus.  Why do you ask that question? 
Maybe Jesus should have said, Nicodemus…what is truly troubling your heart? 
Nicodemus, why has the Spirit guided you to talk with me? 
Dear Nicodemus, what is the good news of the grace of God that you need to hear from me? 
It’s no mistake that Nicodemus was meeting with Jesus, even if he didn’t get the answers he was looking for he was at least shaped and directed through his conversation with Jesus. 
It is no mistake that you are here today, any of you….
It is the Spirit that stirs within us, that drives us to and fro in this life…and guides us on the path and to the places where we will see, hear and taste God’s grace in our lives.  The Spirit has brought us all together this day to remember our sinfulness and to give thanks to God for continued forgiveness. 
The Spirit has gathered us together here, to hear God’s word, to share our deepest concerns with God through song and prayer….and to gather around this table.  A place where we hear the words “Given for you.”  No matter who you are….no matter what questions trouble your heart…this meal is a gift for you. 
The Spirit has gathered us here together and when worship ends, we will be like a pile of leaves that will be blown in all different directions…into our homes, our jobs, our schools…into our place in the community.  Strengthened and nourished by God’s word and meal we are sent out…into the world to continue to nurture and help other seeds grow. 
Who knows what the tending may bring…but we encourage others because we know God’s amazing love, grace and forgiveness….and we know how nourishing it can be for others…
As you go from this place…think about the seeds you have helped nurture in others…you may not see the impact today, or tomorrow….but you have made a difference in the life of someone in this room.  Because you are here…someone else has felt God’s presence….
So come back to this place, because you never know what impact that little action may have on someone else. 
And now may the peace which passes all understanding keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus and let all God’s people say, amen. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

planting seed and taking names

A very long day...but one that has left me wonderfully exhausted. 

So many hands and hearts went into making this a successful plant a seed Sunday! 

I'll have more reflections later...I'm a bit sleepy :)

But I am so thankful for the opportunity to serve here.  So many people coming together to reach out into the community, to invite friends to worship...and to talk about faith in their lives outside of the church. 

Giving thanks. 


Saturday, March 19, 2011

all about me.

In the midst of meetings and things to get ready for worship, I found rest and rejuvenation. 

Thanks to the many women of Trinity (and the community) who gathered together to take a "me day."  In the fellowship hall women of multiple generations were quilling, sewing, cross stitching, painting, decorating journals, quilting, knitting, and some other craft cutting out detailed pictures...I can't remember the name of it.

In the midst of it there was laughter, there were conversation and relationships were being built. 

So often, we get so busy...we are often giving of ourselves and our time...which is who God created us to be.  We are called to live and love and care for one another...but it is important that from time to time, we take care to let ourselves be cared for.  In seminary they called it "Self Care".  Making sure that in the midst of a vocation that calls us to care for others, we are also taking care of ourselves.  Because here's the thing, if we are under par, if we are worn out or stressed out, then the care we give, the time we share with others, is compromised...we're not at our best.  Our ability to share God's grace is hindered when we are tired, hungry and missing God's presence in our own lives. 

So in this season of repentance, take time to turn away from distractions and things that drain you.  Take time to love and care for the you that God created you to be.  
Nurture and care for yourself so that God can continue do amazing awesome work through you!


Friday, March 18, 2011


I love music.  I love to dance to it.  I love to sing along with it.
It brings back allows me to laugh and to cry. 

Every Friday morning my favorite local radio station WXPN has the women's music hour from 9-10.  It's a wonderful way to begin a day off, with a cup of coffee of course...good music is always a good way to start the day.

I was thinking about how wonderful that was for most of the day.  I even caught myself singing on my bike ride. 

So the end of my day was perfectly tied into the beginning. 
I headed out (with good company) to the 10,000 Villages Cafe and heard the musical stylings of Amanda Lyn with harmonies provided by Jessie.  The whole evening was wonderful!  Great original songs and audience participation, too! 

The more time I spend here, the more experiences I have seeing more and more people using and sharing the gifts that God has blessed them with.  It was truly a blessing to be in a place tonight (10,000 Villages) that promotes love and care and support for people all over the globe.  And to be in that place listening to original lyrics and local global and so local all at the same time. 

A kingdom moment.  Thanks be to God.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

best alarm clock...ever.

So thankful that interspersed with my alarm clock was a better wake up noise.  The birds were up and at em before I was a joy to hit the snooze button and listen to them in between dozing in and out this morning. 

That was the beginning of a beautiful day.  I was inspired by the voices outside to not spend time on the elliptical machine this morning, but rather to hop on my bike and get out and about. 

This is the view on the way to St. Daniel's:
 An amazing beginning to a wonderful weather and people day :)

Good fellowship, good friends oh and a tasty lunch of soda bread and Irish stew :)  (thanks, to a special delivery:)

It was wonderful to be woken up by another one of God's beautiful was another reminder of the world and God's mission being so much more than just me....thanks, God.  

Until tomorrow . . .

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

expecting God in one place...but finding God in many, many others

So as I headed over to Lenten Family (Fellowship) Night I thought, okay, when I get home, I know that I will blog about Holden Evening Prayer.  I love Holden!  It takes me back to candle light worship at seminary...leading evening prayer there...and singing with good friends.  When I walked into the sanctuary and smelled the incense....I was ready. 

And by golly...Holden was wonderful.  But so was the whole evening.  I ate delicious soups, chatted with families of all shapes and sizes....young and old....just spending time together.  Some painted cross shaped prayer boxes while others watched.  We chatted and laughed and got to know each other just a little bit more :) 

So God was there as we ate, as we talked, laughed and shared stories....God was there as we sang, prayed, and meditated together.  I saw God as a little girl curled up in her grandfather's lap.  I saw God as families ate, worked together and worshipped together.  I saw a glimpse of the kingdom tonight in all that we did together. 

And then came choir rehearsal...what joy I feel when singing...there's that extra added bonus that a bunch of fun people sing in the choir.  So the songs are interspersed with giggles and sometimes guffaws.  It is a group that loves to sing and clearly enjoys each others company.  We have some songs that are easy and others that challenge us...but all of them allow us to lift up our voices to God.  All of them help proclaim God's message to others as we sing. 

Thank you God for the all the voices I heard this day and this evening. 
Thank you for the opportunity to sing and laugh, the opportunity to eat and talk, and for the opportunity to be in fellowship with others.  I look forward to more Wednesdays and the memories we will create together. 

Until tomorrow . . .

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

staff ministry rocks!

Can I just say that the staff here at Trinity is awesome?  I'm not just saying that because I'm on board...I'm saying it  because it's true.  God has called a diverse and gifted group of people to serve the people of Trinity.  On any given day, you can walk into the building and hear shouting....because sometimes that's the way we communicate between offices and down the hall, you will definitely hear laughter, and you will hear God at work as we pray, write, talk, email, and support each other's God given gifts. 

I see God each and every time I come into this place...through the smiles, laughter, challenges and joys...our thoughts and ideas are heard by one another and we encourage one another.  Working together also allows us to see all sorts of different angles that we may not have seen on our own.  In my case, I'm helped when people catch all my awesome typos...

But seriously, our presence to one another helps me remember that we are called together to help proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to our neighbors.  All that we do in this place is to the glory of God...we are a part of God's mission that is happening here and now...and God is up to some pretty amazing things....I'm just thankful I'm part of the mission. 

Every day I give thanks for my colleagues....for the oppportunity to do ministry together...for the love and support I feel from each of's amazing...I've been here almost two months...but it feels much longer becuase of our interactions and our ability to work so well together. 

Thanks to the people of Trinity for calling me to serve here, for the supportive leadership in this place, and for the excitement and energy to continue as we journey through Lent to the promise and celebration of the resurrection of Jesus on Easter.  

Until tomorrow . . .

Monday, March 14, 2011

more sightings....

After thinking and reflecting upon yesterday's post...I was together with the woman I posted about yesterday.  I said to her, I wrote about you yesterday.  She said, "Not on facebook, I hope!"
"Nope," I said, "in my blog, but you weren't mentioned by name."
"Oh. Okay, she said." 

I had the opportunity to thank her for her sharing yesterday...and what a blessing it was to hear her publicly lift up a sister in Christ.  She shared a bit more about what encouraged her to do it...and that following the meeting she ended up in conversation with another person, just listening to how they were doing....God is always busy and is always up to something.  Yesterday, God was super busy in the life, words and actions of this woman.  (Thanks God, because more than once, she has been your presence in my life.)

We had a large group at Overtime today....lots of love was given and shared between multiple generations....always showing gifts that we have...and always humbling us when we see what others are lacking. 

+God's peace

Sunday, March 13, 2011

in a meeting.

So today began (short one hour of sleep...) with a cup of coffee and the daily Lenten devotional from our congregation's Lenten devotional book.  The closing statement today was to identify one God-given gift in a family member or co-worker, and let them know about it. 

Well, after worship this morning, I was in a meeting and in the midst of the meeting one person said, "I'm not sure if this is the time for this, but I wanted to thank Chris for all that she is doing.  She is doing a great job!"  In this meeting, in the presence of others, this person lifted up another member by thanking her for sharing the gifts God has given her.  It was a perfect glimpse of the kingdom. 

Thank you God for those moments...and continue to grace us with them as we journey toward the baptismal waters we will splash in at Easter. 

+God's peace . . .

Saturday, March 12, 2011


So God was definitely present in worship this the singing of the hymns, in the passing of the peace, in the conversations before and after worship. 

Worship, for me, is enhanced when more people are there.  I'm not just saying that because I'm a pastor and I would like everyone to come to church, but I'm saying that because people who are there, who are in worship...are the hearts and hands of God to me (and the others gathered there) in that time and place. 

Hearing prayers spoken and hymns sung together reminds me that I am not alone.  Seeing familiar faces, receiving hugs with smiles and even tears, is the presence of God in the world here and now...the breaking of the bread, the sharing of the cup...all of this is God with us, here and now.  Our time together strengthens us for God's mission in the world around us. 

In this season of repentance, of turning away from ourselves and turning towards God, I pray that people are drawn into worship...whether on a Saturday night, a Sunday morning or a Wednesday evening....the community is enhanced by your come.

+God's peace

Friday, March 11, 2011

God at work.

No really....God was at work as a person who bags your groceries today. 

I was running errands with a woman and her daughter and we stopped at the grocery store.  Each of us carried things different things through the store.  The daughter carried her bag of pizza flavored goldfish and put it on the check out it moved along with the rest of the groceries, she kept a close eye on it. 

As the grocery bagger was putting all the items together, he took the goldfish and put them in a separate plastic bag, tied the top and handed it to the little girl.  That moment was such a simple moment.  Yet so important to that young girl.  What an impact that man made by doing that.  All of us thanked him individually...yet I wonder if he knows how deep an impact he made on each of us.  The mother and I kept saying how nice it was for him to do that...

Such a simple act, that showed us amazing grace. 

Some glimpses of the kingdom are so may not even see them...but they are there, they are here with us every day. 

Thank you God for showing your love to the smallest of us.  Thanks, God, for reminding me of the love, compassion and care you have for everything in your creation.  Especially in the wake of the earthquake in Japan and the tsunamis resulting from that great earth continue to be with us in the midst of it all.  Help me to wrap my mind around natural disasters and the destruction, death and grief in their wake.   Continue to help me (us) be your presence to others who are hurt or hurting, who have just lost loved ones, who now need to our hands to do your work. 

+God's peace  

Thursday, March 10, 2011

the Lenten journey begins

Yesterday, we were reminded that we are dust....and to dust we shall return.  The humble beginnings way back when God created humankind....are with us we remember our own humanity.  It's a journey we do not tread lightly...and I got to thinking/meditating both in worship last night and this morning about this Lenten journey.  I was reflecting on my Advent discipline of praying the hours...morning, noon, evening and nighttime scripture and prayers.  How I reached out beyond myself to pray specifically for others, both individuals, families and groups of bring them along on my journey to the birth of the Christ child. 

I wondered how ... or what that would look like in Lent.  Pastor Bill shared that one of his former colleagues had journaled about the different people/places he saw God every day.  I thought that would be a good way to turn me away from help me each and everyday to see God at work in the world around me.  A reminder, to myself, that God's world, God's plan and God's mission is already happening...and Lent, for me, is a time to turn back to God, essentially to turn away from being self-centered or self-focused. 

Part of the way I am asking God to turn me outward is by using the Trinity Lenten Devotional.  Each day, my day begins with a devotional written by a person from Trinity...It invites me into morning prayer...and to pray for that person, too.  I am hoping, too, during the next 40 days to actively look for the presence of God in the world and in the people around me...and to blog about those moments.  Those kingdom or God moments...when God's presence/love/grace is expressed and shared by someone....(other than me) 

Yesterday there were many....the service on Ash Wednesday is such a moving was/is an amazing thing to see the imposition of ashes on all ages of people from all walks of life...seeing people reconnecting with their humanity...and gathering together to journey through Lent together...humbling......

But another moment that caught my attention smell first and then by sight, was traveling in the car with Pastor Bill and Vicar Caitlin.  We turned a corner and were being a tractor - hauling manure.  So there we were on a winding road...going up a hill, and turning on the air conditioner and recirculating the air in the van, so we didn't have to smell the stink. 

We made it up the hill, and while we were waiting for a straightaway, the tractor pulled onto the other side of the road, kept driving and signaled for us and the cars behind us to pass him.  I've not seen that before...a tractor pull over into the oncoming traffic lane to let those stuck behind him get by.  As we passed, and breathed deeply (because we could!) I thought...there's a kingdom moment.  There is someone who knows he is living/working in community with others...and he was thinking of his neighbor - us - as he took actions that would benefit not him, but the greater community. It was a wonderful sight to see. 

Today, God's presence was revealed to me in a holy hug. 

I attended a day camp meeting in Reading (my internship stomping grounds) and saw an old friend.  The embrace was priceless...I can't speak for her, but I felt friendship/love/joy/excitement/anticipation all in one moment.  Words cannot express the feelings I felt in that moment...but I know God was we reconnected as we remembered old adventures...and anticipated new ones. 

I continue to thank God for calling me to this place. 
The holy moments are overwhelming, but at the same time reassuring...that God's presence surrounds me here.  I feel God's presence in the joy and love and support from others...and I thank God for that. 
I also ask God to continue to reveal God's love for the world through others around me...that I may continually be turned and directed on God's mission. 

+God's peace