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Reflections


2018-01-11-reflection-300x300

Letting Go Into Love

Our son, Wallace, turned eighteen on Tuesday. It’s hard to believe that so much time has passed since that first encounter in the wee hours of the morning ­­­­­­­­–– after 23 hours of labor –– that this amazing young man is was once the tiny, helpless, ‘burrito baby’ I learned to wrap so carefully to keep him feeling warm and safe.  I have, of course, snapshot memories of the intervening years, delightful and challenging moments that contributed to making him who he is and,

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2018-01-04-reflection

T’is the Season . . .

Story hour is the best time of the day. When my sister and I were small my mom would read to us before bed – Baum’s Oz books were our favorites.  I still love to read but find I fall asleep with my nose in the book.  We can’t count the number of times Ed has taken my glasses off and put my book aside and I never knew it!

When I was working for the Bishop of the Diocese of Michigan I spent hours and hours in the car driving between churches.

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2017-12-28-reflection

Christmas

Merry Christmas to all!  I pray that you are all enjoying the twelve days of Christmas with time for recreation and renewal.  My reflections this day will be on the brief side, with invitations to watch some sweet video clips of our Advent Lessons and Carols Pageant on December 17 and the Christmas Eve 4pm Eucharist.  Enjoy!

We began with original blessing and God’s delight in creation . . .the congregation was a bit surprised by their role:

And delighted with the results:

Abraham’s long journey was a little more challenging when there were technical difficulties .

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2017-12-21-reflection

Light Shines

Tonight is the winter solstice, literally meaning “still sun”; it is the turning point during the year when we move from lengthening dark to lengthening light. Originally, December 25 coincided with the winter solstice, but an error in the old Roman Julian calendar resulted in slippage by the 16th century, when Pope Gregory instituted our current calendar. Correcting one problem created another, however, as the solstice now came three days before Christmas Day. According to anthropologist,

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2017-12-14-reflection

Inner Voice Calling

Perhaps you’re one of those people who is peaceful and calm during this season, with gifts long ago carefully chosen and wrapped, all the menus planned and groceries purchased and with plenty of time on your hands.  If so, perhaps it’s best not to say that to the rest of rest; I suspect it wouldn’t go over very well!  Instead, most folks I know are busy spinning plates right now—juggling holiday preparations on top of ordinary life. 

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2017-12-07-reflection

It’s All a Story!

I was so moved—and horrified—by the story of our preacher’s father in the Indian boarding school. In painful and powerful ways, it shed light on something in my own family’s story…

It is incredible to be listened to so deeply…

It was easier to tell my story than it was to listen to others’ stories closely enough to engage with them meaningfully…

It is amazing how someone can be seen so vividly through the stories told at their funeral…

My spouse wondered why I was attending this workshop,

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2017-11-21-indigenous-people

Healing and Hope

So often, I’m blind to just how blind I am.  The recent movie, Hidden Figures, about the brilliant black women who served as ‘computers’ at NASA was a part of our history to which I had been completely blind.  So, too, this Thanksgiving I learned about the Navajo code talkers whose incredible efforts changed the course of history in World War II.  There are so many inspiring and heartbreaking stories that remain hidden to us.

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2017-11-22-reflection-300x299

Happy Thanksgiving

I give thanks for all of you, as I reflect on the many blessings of my life. And I offer this  prayer by Robert Louis Stevenson: Lord, behold our family here assembled.

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2017-11-16-reflection

Allowing God to Care for Us

Life can be challenging sometimes.  My friend Sarah has been going through a challenging time of late.  In a recent meeting with a spiritual director to talk through what was going on and try to see how best to move forward, Sarah surprised herself by curling up on the sofa with a blanket.  Toward the end, as they were summing up and Sarah was feeling heartened by a sense of greater clarity, the director asked her what God was saying to her.

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2017-11-09-reflection-1-300x300

Prayerful Resistence

Here we are again, reeling from horrific violence inflicted on innocent people from one to 77 years old while they worshiped in church.  It comes just weeks after the tragedy in Las Vegas.  Five years ago, on the same weekend that I met members of the search committee from St. Simon’s, the massacre of children Sandy Hook shook our nation and the world.  Since then, according to one article dated October 3, 2017—so it did not include Sutherland Springs—the U.S.

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2017-11-02-reflection-300x300

What Matters Most

I am allergic to cats.  And when I say allergic, I mean off the charts allergic. I vividly recall having to go home from a sleepover because I couldn’t breathe and my eyes were so red and itchy I could no longer see.  Or the time when someone thought my allergies were just in my head and so told a party host to hide their cat in another room—she’ll never know,

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2017-10-26-reflection

Bridges Get Stepped On

When you’re a bridge for people, you can’t be surprised when you get walked on a little bit.  What words of wisdom.

Jasmine Mullen is the front singer for a rapidly rising—as in Rolling Stones’ Top Ten New Artists You Need to Know—pop, soul and rock ‘n roll sound I had the privilege to hear in a live performance last night. Together with her cousins, twins,

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2017-10-19-reflection

What’s Your Story?

So, what is your story?  What has shaped and formed you in the past?  How do you make sense of what you’ve been through?   I remember working for Xerox selling, copiers and fax machines right out of college, and finding myself wondering, not how many copies they made or whether they needed one side or two, but how they made sense of their experiences and what they did with their joys and hurts. 

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2017-10-12-refection-300x300

Kingdom Math

I don’t know about you, but I am exhausted by the polarization and division that are the norm these days in nearly every arena. We are encouraged to focus on getting our needs and wants met in order for us to be happy. But it is never enough. In truth, we are more informed by competition and sibling math—that somehow including others means less for us—even though as Christians we are called to be conformed to kingdom math,

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2017-10-04-reflections-300x300

Transforming Pain

This week, once again, we experienced a horrific act of violence on innocent victims enjoying companionship and music.  Drawing from a stock pile of guns, many that were modified to function as an automatic weapon, the shooter intended to harm as many people as possible in the shortest period of time. Perhaps you know someone who was there or who might have been there. Perhaps you, too, are sick and tired of these rampages, of the layers upon layers of violence in our world on both the individual and global levels.

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2017-09-28-reflection

Participation

Just yesterday I shared a prolonged time of laughter with some others, and it felt so wonderful to let the laughter come from deep in the belly as we allowed ourselves to become caught up in the delight.  While it is true that there is a lot going on in the wider world that is deeply troubling, it is also true that laughter is a rich and necessary part of our lives.  Laughter signals our participation beyond words in the mysterious wonder of the moment.

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2017-09-21-reflection-300x300

The Master’s Path

Well, I’m stuck. I cannot seem to get out what I want to say. In my head echoes the promise that God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness. Right now the only thing made perfect is my perfect weakness. Sometimes reflections just flow easily. Other days are, well, more like hardened molasses. This is one of those days.

So, I’m going to get out of the way and share some of Jim Finley’s teaching on Thomas Merton that helps me begin to see,

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2017-09-14-reflection-300x300

Seeking Balance

Several of us were brainstorming not long ago about ways to weave music into the fabric of our children and youth ministries when suddenly I burst into song:  “Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love, show us how to serve, the neighbors we have from you. Kneels at the feet of his friends, silently washing their feet, Master who acts as a slave to them…” And I didn’t stop there, I kept right on singing the verses because it is a song I learned as a child and remains very much alive in me to this day.

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identity-300x300

Choosing the Kingdom

Have you ever wondered what God has to do with it all? Wondered why, for example, doesn’t God heal this hurting world or answer the prayer of our hearts?  Every time we pray the prayer Jesus gave us, we pray ‘thy kingdom come.’  Have you wondered why didn’t Jesus simply come as a powerful political leader?   God is both apolitical and at the same time entirely political.  Many of us have been raised to think of the Kingdom of Heaven as a place we go when we die,

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elizabeth-300x300

Floodwaters

As images of Hurricane Harvey’s destructive path have flowed before our eyes, floodwaters of incredible magnitude have flowed through an estimated 30-40,000 homes and impacted the lives of 13 million people.  56,000 calls to Houston 911 came within the first 15 hours, with additional Good Samaritan rescues too numerous to count.  Having taken a mission trip to a flood zone years ago, I have a tiny sense of the miserable and heart wrenching devastation floodwaters cause,

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2017-08-24-reflection

Deepest Truest Self

We saw the movie Wonder Woman recently and like many people found it to be a story full of beauty and meaning—far more than I expected. It’s a story of good and evil, of violence and love, but most of all it is about defining moments and the clarity and wisdom that emerges from them. Diana believes human beings are simply under the influence of Aries, the god of war, and when he is vanquished all shall be at peace. 

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2017-08-19-reflection

What We Do for Love

A long, loving look at the real. That’s how theologian Walter Burghardt described contemplation. And it is more essential than ever that we who call ourselves Christians—and all who call themselves Americans—have the courage to engage in contemplation in a way we’ve not been able or willing to do. It’s time. No, it’s way past time. It begins with a question. What kind of world do we want to live in? What do we want our community,

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2017-08-10-eflection

Circles

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

I practice yoga…well, sort of.  In truth, I move through the various poses I’ve picked up along the way at lightning speed, eager to move on to the next one so as to get on with my day.  I’ve gone to yoga classes before, but not with any regularity. 

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2017-08-03-reflection-1-300x300

Pilgrim Ponderings

Many have asked me to share the spiritual insights that emerged from our recent travels so below you’ll find a few of my pilgrim ponderings on the journey of life.  While I’ve selected a few photos to include here, you’ll find a larger collection—taken by several members of the group—shared in this video. I hope you’ll enjoy them.

Beginnings and Endings

  • We cannot force extraordinary things to happen to us,

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2017-07-27-reflection-300x250

Notice What You Notice

I don’t know how to start this reflection because there is so much to say and at the same time not nearly words enough to say what is real and true.  My dear friend, Barbara, died on Tuesday morning. She died as she lived—peaceful and steeped in love.  Our lives were so entwined; it is hard to fathom this life without her. And yet, rather than feeling burdened by suffering, I am filled with gratitude. 

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2017-07-21-reflection

Wheat and Tares

Prayer in troubled times: wheat and weeds together sown.

Prayer is an important part of my life spiritual and otherwise. I understand prayer as an opening to larger realities. I put my own problems – small or large – into the hands of the Holy One. I put the problems of the world that concern me into the hands of the Holy One. Sometimes I receive an insight, and sometimes just a glimmer of how I might be part of the answer to my prayer concern. 

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2017-07-13-reflection

Friendship

It was a hot summer day in Pinecrest, California when I first met Beau Delmore at the summer camp where I worked in college.  A large group of us had been assigned to spread mulch in order to keep the dust down and make the grounds look pretty.  As we worked with pitchforks and shovels to spread the mulch in the hot sun, Beau decided that instead of spreading mulch, it would be a lot better if he went into one of the unoccupied cabin tents for a mid-morning snooze.  

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2017-07-06-reflections-2

You Can

It was early morning when we met at the trailhead—Jim, Abbott, and I together with our friend, Jeff, who lives here in Estes Park, Colorado. We had chosen to ascend Twin Sisters Peak in part because we could see it from their front porch and in part because at 11,400 feet it would give us a taste of the extended backcountry pack trip that we embark on tomorrow—but then we’ll be sporting 40 pounds on our backs!

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2017-06-29-reflection

Pilgrimage

With all the racket of wedding planning and travel filling these summer months–including my trip to New York which will prevent me from joining you in church this Sunday–I can’t help but think back to where I was this time last year: On pilgrimage walking the Camino de Santiago, or the Way of St. James, in northwest Spain. I was delighted to share stories and reflections from my experiences walking the Camino with our St.

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2017-06-22-reflection-300x300

Radiance

I’ve never witnessed so many fireflies in one place, flashing in the dusk as we hiked up the mountain last night, dancing around us with their flickering light. On our way back down, however, we witnessed a gathering so dense that it appeared the milky way was caught in the trees, flashing like tiny paparazzi through the dark night. It was stunning, causing us to linger so we could enjoy creation’s light show.  Although we tried to capture the beauty,

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