Monday, April 23, 2007

Oh, the Irony!

I spend a good portion of this morning on the phone. More specifically, on hold as I was trying to deal with an insurance matter concerning payment after an accident, I was beginning to wonder if my great grandchildren would be the ones cashing the check by the time this was all settled...

You've been there too haven't you? So you know exactly how I was feeling after the sixth time of being told "Hold please."

Here comes the music; the garbled, static filled sounds of Josh Groban singing "Don't give up".

Oh the irony!

It would be so much better if they would just be honest and play the music that actually goes along with the company policies:

"I can't get no satisfaction"

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Law of Inertia

Why is it so hard to get out of bed in the morning?

Because there is so much ahead you have to do?

Because there is so much left from yesterday that didn’t get done?

Because there is too little to look forward to the dawning day?

Because you were up too late last night trying to catch up?

Personally, I think it’s all of the above.

And it is what Newton figured out that “objects in motion tend to stay in motion and objects at rest want to stay in bed!”

You tell me he was in some lab when he came up with that, I bet he was trying to pry himself out from under the blankets too! Come to think of it, this is the same guy who “discovered” gravity while sitting under an apple tree…he lead a pretty sedentary life!

Okay, so eventually you have to get up.

While I can’t ease the pain of parting with your pillow, I can offer you two promises, like a pair of fuzzy slippers to help with the cold wood floors of morning reality.

“The unfailing love of the Lord never ends! Great is His faithfulness, His mercies begin afresh each day.” Lamentations 3:23

“Morning by morning He wakens me and opens my understanding to His will.” Isaiah 40:5

So while I need to leave my warm soft cocoon, I step into the day knowing that God will give me a fresh day's supply of understanding to discern what to do and mercies to sustain me so that I can do it.

Now where is that coffee pot...?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Things run out...

…we run out of time, out of money, out of gas.
There’s not enough hot water, food, or supplies.
We’ve run out of patience, strength, compassion.

We are finite.
Everything around us is finite.

Even something that seems as infinite as the ocean viewed from a sandy shore, ends somewhere over the horizon.

We live in a finite world and because we do we cannot grasp the infinite.

Unconditional love.
Eternal life.
An always faithful God.
Forgiveness for every sin.
Grace enough to cover every need.
The unending, unwavering desire of God for us to be close to Him.

Perhaps for many days I manage to be faithful, to be loving, to be compassionate and helpful and serving, then I’m not.
My determination is finite.
My abilities are finite.
My love is finite.

Yet, He calls me saying “I have loved you with an everlasting love.”
I answer “I will love you for all my life Lord.”
But actually all I give is just this moment because it’s all I can hold at a time.
The only thing I know I’ll have, is what I have right now.

How sorry an exchange – His everlasting love for my momentary devotion, until something else that is finite catches my attention and I pursue it, until it ends and I come back to the infinite, again offering my finite love, until my money runs out, or my motivation, or my peace and again I am off scrambling for the temporal.

My mind is finite. I cannot comprehend the concept of anything that is never ending. So I am amazed that God continues to love me and calls me back to Himself again
and again
and again
and again
and yet again
and yet another time
ad infinitum. . .

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Ode to a Thermos of Coffee

Catchy title isn’t it?

I am too far removed from college English to remember what an Ode is. I could look it up, but it might just confuse me. I just know it's what you write when you feel inspired by something.

My thermos inspired me when I poured a HOT cup of coffee at 9:30 at night. I’d made that coffee at 7:30 that morning, and now that my day seemed nowhere near ending I was seeking out caffeine to keep me going late into the night. For a girl who can barely function coherently after 10 pm, I would need all the help I could get!

But back to the thermos… my coffee was still so hot that evening that even adding cream didn’t cool it off enough to have to put it in the microwave.

I was so impressed! (Yes, I am easily amused).

Of course, the whole pot had started off hot and fresh, but then – well, the day happened, and the coffee that was left in the coffee maker was stale and cold.

But a thermos is a marvelous thing, and so is a friend.

There are times when passionate idealism or determination flow from me. I am excited, super-heated with a fresh concept, a fresh vision, and then life happens – just stuff - and my passion cools. My determination grows stale.

But then a friend pours back into me that initial dream, that fresh approach and enthusiasm, that which my friend has kept hot for me for those times when circumstances have chilled my passion.

Someone has said that a friend is the one who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten the words.

Yeah, that’s it – that’s what I’m saying as I have written my own “Ode to a Thermos of Coffee.” It is my friends who hold my dreams hot and fresh for me, and that is a marvelous thing quite worthy of an ode!

The Body of Christ...for you.

It is the time for Communion.
Of stopping and remembering.
Of confession and celebration.

I have always had an affinity for communion. As a child it was the only ceremonial thing my church participated in – the passing of the gold trays with the broken crackers and the little plastic cups of grape juice.

As an adult it’s a time to pause amid all the doing and remember why I do what I do. To remember that my service comes from love because of the love that flowed freely for me from the Cross.

Only recently have I experienced communion by intinction – that is to say when you come forward and take the bread and dip it in the juice. The first time I participated in communion this way, the pastor holding the cup looked into my eyes and said, “The blood of Christ shed for you.” I heard those words as if they were the first time.

Sunday I found myself holding the plate with the bread, and saying to each one that came, “The body of Christ broken for you”.

I have sung for congregations, and taught small groups but this was different, this was not a message to many, this was an invitation to an individual, and another invitation given specifically to another individual.

For each one that took the bread is in a different place in their relationship with their God; some seeking, some hardened, some just beginning, some wandering, some wondering, some going deeper and farther than before.

Yet to each one the invitation was the same. It is the same as it was when His body was first sacrificed, first broken, by nails that ripped into hands willingly placed on that crude cross.

The body of Christ, broken for you

As it was thousands of years ago.

As it is remembered in tens of thousands of churches across the world.

As this invitation comes specifically to you today, as if you were the only one in the world.

Behold, the body of Christ, broken for you.

Monday, April 2, 2007

My Musings on a Maundy Thursday Morning

It is a bright, beautiful, clear, sunny morning.

Was it a morning like this when You awoke, Jesus?

Did You sleep well last night knowing it would be Your last in a mortal body, knowing there would be no sleep for You tonight, or were You up into the wee hours of the morning in one last earnest conversation with those You loved—one for only their ears and not the record of Scripture, as You sought to fortify them for what was to come?

Did You stretch and flex Your hands as You greeted the dawn and perhaps, as the beams of sunlight fell on Your tough, callused palm, did You contemplate its surface, still unmarred by a piercing wound?

It is amazing, Lord, how You suffered for me at Calvary, but Your love was also shown by how You walked to Your cross, with a steady, unswerving step.

You alone knew that by the moon’s rising You would be abandoned by those who are now waking up around You.

You knew that the usual early morning greetings and frivolity of a group that had spent many a night and morning together, would cease after this last morning.

As you made Your way into Jerusalem on the roads so crowded with pilgrims bringing their sheep for the Passover celebration, did You read their thoughts and find their minds filled with inconsequential plans for the day, and hardly a thought of the God for Whom they were observing this tradition?

Did You see their hearts filled with pride and sin and insecurities and confusion?

As You walked among them, did they know that their lambs would no longer be necessary since the Lamb of God was taking Himself to be bound to the altar and that His blood would initiate and seal a new covenant between them and all people to come and their God?

Here now comes John to ask about preparations for the meal. The events of Sunday with the triumphal entry and adoring crowds have faded beneath the daily responsibilities and activities.

Today’s agenda is simply to prepare the required feast as they have in years before.

They do not realize that thousands of years later we too will be preparing this day to remember You.