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Monday, December 27, 2010


Health is a bottom line kind of thing. Without it, other things pale by comparison, except the spiritual which becomes more important.

Tagging on to the pruning idea before this entry is the idea that maybe when health dips, there is a pruning going on. Maybe so we will focus on the spiritual, health challenges us.

I'm having an odd sort of health thing. I awoke with numb feet & lower legs plus the feeling of electrical charges in my arms & hands & a bit on my cheeks & tongue. So far there has been no answer as to why.

So, I'm thinking, as I go through tests & questions, what value could this irritating & painful experience have? What comes to mind is to slow me down from my usual busy life so I have to focus even more on my spiritual life. Or it is my body reacting to the traumas of 2010 & complaining about them. Or I'm supposed to keep on keeping on the best I can, not allowing my physicalness to stand in the way of my life. I so far have not been able to think of more possibilities. I imagine more are on their way to my mind though.

Interesting thoughts come  --- I need my hands! Sure I need my feet, but I NEED my hands. My life revolves so much around my hands -- typing, quilting, other sewing, painting & drawing, cooking, hugging, holding books, driving, holding hands, holding the chalice on Sundays, & on & on. This electrical pain has to stop; I NEED my hands!!!

So, I am left to contemplate the messages both physically & spiritually. I know the answers will come, maybe not in the quick way I want, but come they will. At that point I will deal with the answers in the best way I can.

Lord, You have always been with me through the valleys & mountain peaks of this life. I know You never leave me. I ask You to show me what I need to see/know & lead my body to healing as only You can heal. I rest in Your healing arms. In faith I seal this with Amen, Amen, & Amen

Sunday, December 26, 2010


I was thinking today about Jesus' thoughts on being the branches of his vine & also of pruning away what does not bear fruit. Everyone experiences things being pruned away in their lives - sometimes or maybe often in an unexpected & unwanted way.

So, what if our "losses," things pruned away, are actually non-fruit bearing & need to go? What if the pruning is actually good for us & our growth?

It's time to prune the roses again. Maybe the rose bushes don't like the pain of their branches being cut off. If rose bushes had egos, they might not like the barren look they have after pruning. They might pine away for the lush greenery & fragrant & colorful blossoms of last summer. They might not be able to see that the pruning means they will have more greenery & fragrant & colorful blossoms next summer.

What if we're kind of like that? What if we stopped mourning the pruning that happens & relax in faith to know that even more good is being prepared for us? What if we realized that even if we cannot see the next summer of our lives right now, it is made better/more fruitful because of the pruning away of the unfruitful now?

We often hold on to the status quo as if life depended on it. Yet, we want to experience more of God, more that life has to offer -- and that requires letting go of the unfruitful parts of us & of our lives. I wonder if we can celebrate the pruning more, trusting it makes way for greater good?

I am going to contemplate some of my recent pruning experience to try to understand it as unfruitfulness being cut away to make room for the fruitfulness of Spirit. The cut hurts, but the summer is coming.

Father, I am doing my best to embrace Your pruning in my life & to trust that, with the unfruitfulness gone, a way is made clear for an abundant summer. I want to live a life fruitful for you. Here I am Lord. I surrender to Your working in my life. In faith & trust, I seal this with the ancient seal of faith as I say Amen, Amen & Amen.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Holy Christmas

It's Christmas Day here today - the day we celebrate Jesus' birth, even though we don't know exactly when it was. The historic day is not the point. The point is, whatever day it was, there was a day when God became visible via Jesus & his life.

People had long, maybe always, speculated about God, prophecized about God, prayed to God, did various practices said to lead to God, but had not seen God. Now God was visible. People could look into the eyes & life of Jesus Christ & know God.

By his life, by his choices, by the way he walked on earth & by his teachings, humans became privy to the mystical knowledge about the nature of God. We have seen through the veil. We know what it is God wants from us.

What is that? God wants us to receive the great Love He has for us, to Love Him & each other, to forgive, to give, to live a life that glorifies God, to put our spiritual life first, to be the people we are called to be. We must forsake hate, ugliness, meanness, attack, & darkness of all kinds. By being the people who follow Jesus by living as he lived, we then participate in bringing the Kingdom of Heaven into earth.

It is simple, but as we have seen, it is not easy. Perhaps it has been rejected as a way of life by so many because it is so simple, yet difficult. I wonder how each of us could follow in The Great Example, to be "little Christs" as some have said??? What would it take for us to turn to the Light & turn our lives & our planet around??? I know with every fiber of my being that we could do it - it IS possible. But as stubborn humans, we keep turning to darkness, away from The Light. Maybe we could give God a gift back by turning to live as He showed us.

Maybe we could say this year, Merry Christmas, God. Here I am. I give You my life. Lead me to live it as Jesus taught us to live, the way You want us to live.

Father, thank You for becoming visible for our sake. Open every part of us to see You in the life of Jesus & to become followers of Jesus' way to live. Lift us out of darkness & into Your Light. Heal us of our fascination with the way that leads opposite of The Great Example You gave us. Help us know that this is the most important gift ever given, & help us to fully receive Your Gift today. In the sacredness of this day, we seal this prayer in the name of Christ with the ancient seal of faith, Amen, Amen & Amen!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Thoughts

Christmas is a time for me/us to take the Christmas Story personally as well as theologically, historically & any other way we might take it. Back when I was a pastor, on Christmas Eve I would often speak on this theme. So, how can we take it personally?

The Christ Child is calling out to be born in the cradle of our hearts, in the stable of our lives surrounded by the various & sundry characters that populate our lives. Paul told us that the Christ in you is your hope for glory.

The Christ Child as a separate being is an interesting story, a curious event, something from a long, long time ago with various meanings depending on one's interpretation. Look at all the groups claiming to be Christian, each with variations of the Christian message.

But, the Christ Child born in us today is filled with vitality, impulsion to do & be as He would have us be, breathlessly divine, a current revelation, here & now. Christ alive in us is not a dusty artifact. It is the life we lead.

We take communion & take in the bread & wine as a symbol of Christ entering us, or some say as the actual act of Christ entering us. Yet how many of us are awake to the actual Christ actually coming in to us, to live in us, to guide us, to participate intimately in our lives?

What would our lives be like, how would we speak, how would we act if we were awake to Christ being born in us? What would our world be like if all/even most Christians actually experienced the birth of Christ in the manger of their hearts, in the stable of their lives? Can you imagine?

God, we thank You for a dawning awareness glistening on the edges of our lives. We come to this holy time of year in a new way. We lift up our hearts to offer them to Christ as a birthplace. We offer our lives as a stable for this most incredibly precious event. We willingly come to quench the yearning of our hearts for Your birth in us, for the life we would lead as Your offspring. Here we are Lord. Your will be done in us. We ask in Christ's name & for His sake, Amen

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Motherhood Is A Trip

People who don't have or don't raise children, miss a huge lot of adventure, growth, depth, laugher, tears & so much more.

It is kind of interesting which of the gazillion moments of motherhood stick out with extra meaning. I have been pondering one such moment this week. It was October, 1962. It has become known as the "Cuban Missile Crisis."  

I was a single mom at that time with a son not yet 2 years old. I had to temporarily drop out of school & work to support us. The news blared the show down with Russia in Cuba about 90 miles off of our Florida coast & the distinct possibility of a nuclear war. In fact, to many pundits, it seemed highly likely that as we tried to force the missiles out of Cuba, those Russian nuclear warheads would be heading our way. As I listened to the pending disaster, I left work early to go to my son. I cried all the way home. I didn't want my baby to die alone. I held him, rocked him & prayed all night. In the morning, the Russians & Cubans blinked & it seemed we would be safe after all.

So, now my son is a man. Yet there is still a part of my heart holding him, not wanting him to be alone & still praying for him. There is a part of me that is still there in October, 1962. However far he goes from me, my mother's heart still holds him with love & prayer.

Dear God, thank You for the gift of life coming through me. Thank You for holding my children & grandchildren in Your Love. Wherever they are right now, let them feel my love & Your Love. Protect them, guide them, heal them, uplift them & let them know they are never alone. I ask this in the name of Christ. Amen.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Sometimes it seems that bringing the kingdom of heaven to earth is a lost cause. The small picture at times looks dismal. But this week-end I heard some statistics about the progress Christian groups are making in the world in various ways including bringing clean drinking water to people & reducing the vast numbers of starving children dying from hunger & malnutrition --- rates reduced by 50% in the past 20 years due mostly to Christian groups working for others. I also heard that American television is being watched in Muslim countries, including Christian programs. The people are discovering who we are, end-running around propaganda mills. People are discovering that Christ is far more than the good prophet mentioned in their holy book.

I feel encouraged. Hope is reignited.

Each little thing we do can make a difference. The Christmas gift we can give to the world this year is to find at least one little thing we can do to help bring the kingdom of heaven to earth --- and then do it. We could bring a wave of God's Light to earth together.

Father of us all, we come to You this day with a renewed hope in our hearts. We know it IS possible for Your Kingdom to be made manifest here. We come open to You. Lead us. Guide us to take whatever steps we can to bring forth Your Kingdom here on earth. Lead us to be Your Love & Light wherever we may be. Open our eyes to see what we can do. Grant us the courage to do what we can do. We rejoice in what is about to happen. Thank You, God. In the name of Christ we seal this with the ancient seal of faith, Amen, Amen & Amen

Monday, December 6, 2010

Being a Christian

I saw/listened to C.S. lewis' stepson on TV yesterday. One of the things he said has been as if stuck to my mind ever since, & my mind has been turning it over & considering many things.

He was asked why he was a Christian. His answer went something like this - Because there is no where else to go. There is no alternative. There is  no substitute.

Now these statements seem rather simple, yet deeply profound at the same time. Jesus stands out in history as one of a kind at all levels. Who else taught & modeled love, forgiveness, oneness with God & peace? Who else was so purely who he was that knowing him was knowing God? Who else inspired great mystics who endeavored to live as he taught & become Christed, (the Christ in you, the hope of glory)? Who else inspired vast quantities of inspirational music, literature & art? Who else challenged everyone to do greater things than he did? Who else was modest & asked not to be given the credit, but to give all glory to God for all he did? Look at all he did & all he was & see divinity. Who in all of known history comes even close to him? Indeed, there is no where else to go.

I agree, there IS no where else to go, at least no where that makes any sense at all. So, what stands in the way of the whole world being Christian since there is no where else to go? Maybe it is some of the people who say they are Christian but in no way live as He lived. Not endeavoring to be the loving, forgiving, reaching out to all, shining light of God he was, but instead being judgmental, arrogant, exclusive, ugly, superstitious, etc. really turns people off. Who would want to be that, if that is what Christian is?

Maybe it is just that many live unexamined lives, giving little thought to the spiritual. Maybe some are just following without question in the path of their ancestors. Perhaps there are many "reasons" for not following in the Way of Jesus.

Ultimately, if each person truly lived as followers of Jesus' Way, the world would be healed. We would actually create the kingdom of heaven on earth. Love & forgiveness would be the rule. To God would be the glory. What other way would lead to this outcome? Imagine if some alternative actually was adopted by all? What would be the outcome of other paths? None of them leads to love & peace as the Way of Jesus does.

I think if more of us truly lived to the best of our ability the kind of life Jesus modeled for us, just by the way we walked our lives, we would draw to us the weary souls who have searched elsewhere but not found that for which they looked. The only place to go is to the Christian Way of life, the one Jesus lived & modeled.

Lord, lead us to live as you ask us to live. Help us to be shining lights. Help us spread Your Way by being Your Way. Help us let go of those things we think or do that do not lead us & others home to God. Lift us to be the persons we are called to be. We ask this in Your name, Amen.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Hole In the Heart - Again

Round and round she goes - the patterns of our lives. There are themes for each of us, perhaps the lessons our souls need to learn. My themes are different from your themes, yet there is a haunting similarity to our human experience. Teillard de Chardin said, We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

No matter how painful the pattern/lesson, we are not totally consumed by it. The transcendent spirituality of us is unharmed. The more fragile humanity of us is wounded, maybe to crack open our shells to let out the imprisoned splendor.

It hurts, & it has a higher purpose. We keep on keeping on. I often think of Robert Frost's poem about two roads diverging in a yellow wood, taking the road less traveled, & never returning to that fork in the road.

Unfounded accusations tear apart a family. The fork in the road comes. Milestones are missed that happen on the other fork, the one not taken. The milestones can never be shared. They are merely echoes on the other fork that call across with pangs of pain, but cannot come to the other fork of the road.

So life continues, walking on with a hole in the heart. The pain is terrible, but it does not stop life from forging forward. Even in the pain, God is there. We never walk alone. Whatever valley we walk, we can get through the valley & find joy in life again. Yea, though I walk through the valley of death.... The comfort of the 23rd Psalm never ceases.

Dear Father, thank You for being with us even in the dark days, even when forced down the path not desired. Thank You for deepening our relationship with You. Thank You for the strength to walk on. Serving You & Your purpose does not cease. I ask for the ease of the pain that comes from the hole in the heart for all who know such pain. I ask to complete this lesson/pattern so it does not need to come again. Show us what we need to learn to graduate from this lesson. Thank You for hearing our prayer. We ask in the name of Christ & seal this with the ancient seal of faith as we say, Amen, Amen & Amen

Thursday, December 2, 2010


It's officially Christmas season in our home. We decorated the inside yesterday. We'll hope to do the outside this week-end. The electrician is coming Friday because the outside plugs trip the circuit. Hopefully it will be a simple fix.

So, yesterday we brought all in from the garage & transformed the living room & to a small extent the family room. It was the first time in a very, very long time that no grandchildren were here to enjoy Grandpa's toys, marvel over the nativity scenes, treasure the ornaments of various sizes & ages & of course try to sneak past the watch tree outside without triggering it. Grandpa has a motion & sound activated little tree that sings when you approach. Many a delivery person has almost dropped the package when the tree startled them with loud Christmas music. The game is to tip toe in various patterns to try to avoid setting it off. Occasionally the feat is achieved.

The house looks like Christmas. Some of the joy is not infused into it because the transformation was made just by us. It reminds me that whatever it is, it is not just it, it is the spirit of thing that is entered into. Years ago I learned that the spirit of the thing creates a new essence, & by entering into the spirit of the thing a new experience is created.

For example, if we go to a symphony & spend the time criticizing the way the individual orchestra members look, focusing on the faults, etc. we miss the spirit of the music. But, if we enter into the spirit of the music, we are transported, moved, lifted & restored. So, 2 people could be in the same music hall & have totally different experiences. One could have little experience of the music & not be transported. The other could be immersed in the music & be transported.

While we did our best yesterday to enjoy & be with the joy of the birth of Christ, a bit (maybe a large bit) of the usual energy was absent. It was palpable. It looks the same in there, but it does not feel the same.

As my dear soul sister friend in Russia often says, "Life continues." And so it does.

My beloved heavenly Father, I ask for Your Light to fill this home & us so that we fully enter the joy of this time of year. Help us lift our eyes from that which is missing to that which is always here. Lead us to enter into the spirit of Christmas fully & without reserve. I ask this in the name of Christ & seal this with faith as I say Amen.