Regret and Resolve

The story of Noah and the Great Flood is not just for children–though we all do like the idea of rainbows, boats, sets of animals and such.

For grown-ups, this is a profound story about the depth of human sin and the matching depth of God’s anguish.  The layers of the story are deep; worth considering as Lent begins.

So with all of that in mind, I have a question for you:  At what moment does God’s regret turn to resolve?

Answer my question, or add your own question or comment below.

God of the waters, cleanse us from sin and wash us in steadfast love.  Amen.

Holy Week – Easter 2012

Holy Week & Easter 2012

April 5        7:00 pm Maundy Thursday Worship with Holy Communion
April 6       12:00 noon Ecum. Good Friday Worship with Holy Communion
April 8      The Resurrection of our Lord All services with Holy Communion
                    6:30 am, 8:30 am, & 10:00 am

 

WHO IS CHANGED?

The Transfiguration of our Lord reading from Mark 9:2-9 (Sunday Feb. 19) is a story of change.

Transfiguration: a radical transformation of figure or appearance; metamorphosis.   The story(s) from the gospels of Matthew (17:1-9), Mark (9:1-9), and Luke (9:28-36) capture the attention of Peter, James and John as Jesus is transfigured before their eyes on the mountain.  The portrayal of this event draws our attention to the changing Jesus and creates unending discussions about what this all means.  But when the mountain event is over “suddenly,” the reading moves immediately to them “coming down the mountain.”  If we read further, we quickly realize that Jesus really has not changed, he continues to look the same, he continues to say and do very similar things as before.  So, who is meant to change?  Could it be the hearer?  Are we to change?  Is this story about how we are transformed as we come to know Christ, perhaps not outwardly in appearance, but inwardly?

How has life changed as your faith has grown?   New experiences usually have an effect on us and they often result in changed perspectives.  Is this “radical transformation of appearance” a matter of transforming one’s perspectives?   As one of “many members of the body of Christ” wouldn’t we want to see as many perspectives as we can?   Try on a perspective that belongs to someone else this week and see how you might be transformed.

Word Search Kind of Faith

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Have you ever attempted a Word Search puzzle?

Simple word searches have a list of words at the bottom and then the goal is to locate those words among the many extra letters arranged in a grid.  Sometimes words in word searches will be vertically hidden, sometimes horizontally, sometimes diagonally. The hardest words to find are always the ones hidden backwards, aren’t they?  This is because our brain has a hard time taking a familiar pattern (like the spelling of a word) and reversing direction with it.

In our Gospel Reading for the Sixth Sunday of Epiphany, we are challenged to look beyond the familiar pattern of illness and healing.  Like a stubborn word search, we may have to look once, twice, ten times…or a lifetime!…to grasp what Jesus is doing.

Healing God, your renewing mercy is here all along, right in front of us.  Reach out your hand, and show us again.  Amen.

Pacing

Living with boys has given us the opportunity of hands-on learning with remote control cars.

The scenario goes like this:

open car package (delightful part)

dig around house to find batteries (boring part)

get battery case on car unscrewed (long part)

place batteries and go outside (exciting part)

short instruction session (boring part again)

take controls and run them at full speed (the best four to twelve minutes of their life)

refuse to be consoled when batteries are exhausted and car sits jauntily on the hill, not to move again.  much shock and denial.

The hard fact is that my sons are learning is that pacing is everything.  Those batteries would last longer if they pulled back on the speed a bit.  But they can’t, of course.  Nor do I want them to.  They want it all, and they want it now.  This is the same truth that marathon runners experience when training is not calibrated to their abilities.  In fact, pacing is crucial to the success of many things that require energy, be it human, electronic, or technological.

And pacing is a hard, hard thing to understand.  The shock and denial when personal energy, personal health, personal resources fail is very real, and often quite painful.

In Isaiah’s time, the people are exiled.  They are soon to return, but they don’t know it yet.  And in that moment when they are weary…when their powers of personal resources, when their faith that life is good is utterly exhausted…God promises this:

Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted;
but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength,                                            
they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary,                     they shall walk and not faint.

Reading the passage (Isa 40:21-31) more widely (esp verse 28), our First Reading for Sunday, February 5th, we discover that God does not promise God’s people a life of full-steam ahead.  God promises a life at God’s pace.

A loving parent finds new batteries.  And the children grow to understand.

Trusting you to set the pace, Gracious God; we offer ourselves again to follow.  Amen.

 

The Lasting Impact of Quilting

For the next few months, every Monday (all day), we have a group of dedicated mission quilters.  They do phenomenal work with scraps, castoffs, and abandoned fabric, and many of them work year-round to prepare tops for quilting in the spring.  It’s pretty cool and if you have a chance, stop by some Monday and see the process in-action.

But.

Ever wonder where all those quilts go?

Read this story and find out!