Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I am giving serious consideration this morning to the place of coffee in the life of a Presbyterian minister. What is it they call it - Presbyterian holy water?

Some questions for Wednesday - the day when Sunday becomes a reality:
  • Can I write a sermon this week?
  • Can I write a sermon without coffee?
  • Why would I want to try? :)
Some of life's greatest pleasures:
  • The smell of coffee beans as they are grinding
  • The sound of that first spurt of water as the coffee begins to brew
  • The first sip of black gold on a chilly autumn morning
  • Watching the sun come up as the steam rises from my mug
What a thrill- and a vindication - to read that scientists/nutritionists now believe that coffee is good for me! Take that, all you virtuous health nuts!

Monday, September 25, 2006

It's no longer OK to claim that I will get started tomorrow. The plan is to get started today.

So I rolled out of a warm bed at 5:30, laced up the shoes, snapped the leash on the dog (stuffing several plastic bags in my pockets for the inevitable doggy gifts) and headed out the door. It's dark at 5:45, and the stars are still out and no one else is out at all.

As I power walked through the neighboring college campus, I got started.

I prayed - for all the elders and deacons who were absent from worship yesterday, for all the young parents who took their children to soccer rather than Sunday School, for all the elderly who are staying home until they get their flu shots. I prayed that God was blessing their morning wherever they were with the eyes to see the presence of the Lord all around them, and the hearts to give thanks in all things.

I prayed, giving thanks for the beauty of the morning, wishing I had the nerve to awaken the dawn as I walked past silent sleeping college dorm rooms, but remembering how much I had needed that sleep when I was a student. And I gave thanks for the blessings that came my way yesterday in worship - the joy of seeing so many new faces in the sanctuary, the gift of so many new faces that came in so many different colors, the gift of my husband's thumbs-up after my sermon.

It's no longer OK to claim that I will get started tomorrow. I'm starting today and counting my blessings one by one.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Living into the "priesthood of all believers" is really tough. Especially when it comes to the physical stewardship of church properties and functions. Volunteers are a blessing and a curse. A blessing because volunteer labor allows us not only to accomplish so much more in the name of God than we could otherwise, but because the opportunity to volunteer is also the opportunity to grow in Christian discipleship. A curse because it strikes me that over and over again, we allow people to volunteer for tasks we know they will not complete and then we get angry and disappointed when they live up to our expectations.

Sometimes it makes one long for the money to hire these things out!

Friday, September 15, 2006

1. Tell us about a time...
The fam was in Rome waiting in line for the Vatican museums to open. The boy suddenly realized that something was happening and that he wanted to be part of it. Resisting all attempts by forceful Italian grandmothers to dislodge him with their suitcase size purses and sharp elbows, he claimed a spot at the curb and refused to move. We joined him and waited. And so glad we did. Pope John Paul rode past in the Popemobile not three feet away. An amazing experience of holiness on wheels. Both men in the family were overcome with tears - I've never quite felt that before.

2. Tell us about a celebrity....
I'd like to meet the racehorse Barbaro and his people. Someone once said that there's nothing better for the inside of a (wo)man than the outside of a horse. I think the inside of this horse and his people is pretty amazing too. Tremendous spirit, huge heart, and courage in spades.

3. Tell us about someone great...
Everyone should have a chance to meet my husband. He is the world's nicest guy, the greatest dad and the best life partner anyone could ever ask for. That sappy song, /The Wind Beneath My Wings/ doesn't even begin to express it. I don't know how women who aren't married to my husband do the work asked of pastors. Too bad - he's mine ;)

4. Do I collect....
Nope, no autographs or other collections. Not enough patience, I'm afraid.

5. If I were to become famous....
I'd like to be famous for proving the NY Times article about the stained glass ceiling wrong. In fact, I'd really like to be famous for that.

bonus round:
No question about this one. Joel Osteen's fifteen minutes are up. Now will someone please tell him!
Lord, you have always given
Bread for the coming day
And though I am poor,
Today I believe

Lord, you have always given
Strength for the coming day
And though I am weak,
Today I believe

Lord, you have always given
Peace for the coming day
And though I am of anxious heart,
Today I believe

Lord, you have always given
Me safe in trials
And now tried as I am ,
Today I believe

Lord, you have always marked
The road for the coming day
And though it may be hidden,
Today I believe

Lord, you have always lightened
This darkness of mine
And though the night is here,
Today I believe

Lord, you have always spoken
When the time is ripe
And though You be silent now,
Today I believe
(Celtic Daily Office)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

'Now therefore why are you putting God to the test by placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? On the contrary, we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.'  Acts 15:10-11

My prayer for this day is that I would remember throughout it that the grace of God is sufficient and effective, where I am not. I pray that I would be reminded that the work of salvation is God's work and that through the Holy Spirit I have been graciously invited to participate - graciously because in no way do I merit the privilege. I pray that God would create in me a heart renewed, open always to the giftedness of those around me. And I pray that Christ Jesus would live in me this day, that I might reflect the mercy and compassion and understanding of the Lord into the world.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

My father used to say "Red sun in the morning, sailors take warning." The sky over the trees was a glorious red this morning. Perhaps it will rain. We could use it. It doesn't seem a warning to me, though, but more a proclamation that the Lord reigns. Thanks be to God that each morning provides new evidence that God continues to hold creation in the palm of God's hand.

Monday, September 11, 2006

"Be still and know that I am God." Very hard work. Peace and quiet, very hard to find. Can women pastors keep Sabbath? Is it true that a woman's work is never done?
Monday morning trying to get started and join the blog generation. Who knows? It feels a little like writing into a black hole.