Sunday, May 27, 2007

Holy Ground: Lilacs

With his arms swinging, he flagged down our car as we drove past his house.

"You need some lilacs" he said. My husband and I looked at each other- we were already a bit late for another engagement. "They are beautiful," we said, "but we don't need any- we can't cut them anyway"

"Oh, don't worry. I've got a branch cutter all set for you."

C is about 85 years old, and a retired carpenter. He comes to church faithfully every Sunday, sits 3 rows back from the pulpit on the right side, and loves, LOVES to belt out old gospel hymns like "the Old Rugged Cross." Every Sunday as he leaves the sanctuary, he shakes my hand and says "now have a good rest of the day"

So we pulled over, got out of the car and started clipping lilacs. the back seat was filled. And as we cut, C told us of moving the bushes from his father's farm out to the lake. Planting them lovingly, and now his yard was filled with lilacs.

As we drove away, the car was filled with their lovely scent.

I think we'll plant lilac bushes this year. And maybe ask C for some advice...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

As I listed to news commentators talk about how long this war has gone one- longer than WWII, for so many months now I realized...

For my entire married life, my country has been waging war. I have never known what it means to be married and to not be worried, angry, frustrated, fearful, enraged, sorrowful and despairing over this war and this world.

While neither my husband or I serve in the military, we have friends and family members who do. How many relationships are affected by this. Even indirectly, we all suffer the weight of the violence that is happening in the world, and we absorb it into our day to day interactions with each other.

How long O Lord? How long?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

visions of the kingdom...

This last weekend I took part in the coolest pastor installation service I have ever witnessed. (never mind that I can probably count the number of installation services I've attended on one hand...)

My friend and colleague is at a small and very rural congregation that has left the mainline denomination- so... there was no official representative there to officiate. While he used the traditional service, his approach was novel and wonderful.

He invited each pastor in the town ministerial to attend and asked them to take part in the service. We ranged from catholic priests to retired ordained pastors to self appointed preachers.

As we all gathered around the small altar to lay on hands and pray for our new colleague the spirit was moving. (for some, moving in tongues... this skeptical Lutheran just marveled at that one)

And then we all shared the peace with one another afterward- even the uber-conservative- women-should-never-be-preaching-to-men guy shared peace with me.

It was pretty amazing. And my friend celebrated his call from God, his love for his new congregation and his affirmation of his community colleagues.

I can't imagine another way to begin serving as a pastor in a community. For a brief moment, we caught a glimpse of the kingdom of God.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Ah marriage...

I love my husband.

Tonight over the dinner table, he looks up at me and says:

"Sh#@! I was going to bring you flowers!"

I guess even the thought still makes me a little fuzzy romantic... how that changes after some years of marriage...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday Five: Big Event Edition

Getting Bloggers together! Peace on Earth! Te Planning Committee is formed!
In that spirit, Songbird presents the Big Event Friday Five.

1. What would the meeting be like? (Continuing Ed? Retreat? Outside Speakers? Interest Groups? Workshops? Hot Stone Massages? Pedicures? Glorified Slumber Party?)
A little bit of this, a little bit of that: my biggest dream for continuing education is that we actually do self care rather than receive lectures and books on the subject. My CE is at my discretion (thankfully) and this would be a good use for it.

2. When in 2008 might you be able to attend? January? Shortly after Easter? Summer? Fall? Some other time?
After Christmas- before Lent. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day. And the weeks preceding Advent. And if it's not already stated- midweek is MUCH better than trying to use a precious Sunday vacation.

3. Where would your dream meeting location be? (Urban Hotel? Rural Retreat Center? New England Camp? Southwestern Fantasy Hotel? Far away from civilization? Nearby Outlets or Really Great Thrift Stores?)
Dreams are different than, what I think should be reality (yes, yes, I am constantly the parade rain-er- but a good realist) somewhere near a major airport. Folks from all over this great world will need to get there, and no matter how we try, our carbon footprint will be big for this. So I'm sayin': Vegas Baby! Everyone flies there cheap!

4. Who would make a great keynote speaker? (That's if #1 leads us in that direction.)
Hmmm, now I am in the dreaming stage... a gathering of women who were among the first to be ordained in their traditions. Great preachers like Barbara Brown Taylor. Activists, Yoga practitioners, Academics, Superstars... all would be great.

5. Did I leave out something you want to suggest?

if it is a big slumber party, is someone bringing the silly string?

Other big thoughts out there?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


After all the ranting about the downsides of the internet, here is an amazing way the internet is being used to connect people, to speak truth, to build solidarity and courage.

Ava Lowery is a 16 year old peace activist from Alabama, and her skill and talent with media has her making amazing videos that she posts on her website

One of her videos is WWJD? which is one of the most powerful things I've seen in a while.

May we all find our voice to speak out against destruction, violence, hatred and war.

Monday, May 14, 2007


I have been working under the assumption that I am somewhat techno-media savvy. I mean, here am I- blogging, using search engines, finding info on the great world wide web. I appreciate the tools the Internet offers.

But... I just do not get facebook and myspace. I have a facebook page. I really couldn't tell you why, except that it seemed the thing to do. I don't know why I need one. Especially since I see my husband and friends relatively regularly or I email them. I have come to the sad and somewhat scary realization:

I am old and curmudgeon-y. Sigh. I guess it was bound to happen.

I mean really, what is the point of high schoolers (in a school that graduates 30 kids per class) all having myspace pages even though they see each other almost all waking hours of the day? Here is a place where I am worried about the Internet taking the place of meaningful relationships. Really. Will soundbites on a blackboard or a wall push out good conversation? Am I worried about nothing?

Friday, May 11, 2007

As I have danced around the blogging world (reading, but rarely commeting, I know, I know) I've noticed that I am not the only one who is a little silent...

It is May, after all... the season where everything speeds up in anticipation of slowing down. There is confirmation, graduation, mother's day, spring cleaning, summer hiring, staff training, spring visiting, snowbirds returning... the busy month of May.

I think I am seeking wisdom from outside myself- rather than finding it within. That's why I am staring at the computer screen right now, trying to share something of value (and hopefully spurring a meaningful sermon to honor our graduates)

As the heat turns up for summer (which, in northern vacation land means that our congregation actually increases during the summer months) may the fresh breezes of spring fill you with peace.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Friday Five: It's My Party...

It's a Friday Party over at the RevGals today-

I hate to say it, but over the years I've been to too many parties where I, or the birthday child, has felt much like the chorus of Lesley Gore's old tune. I am therefore not the biggest fan of birthday parties.

For this Friday (which happens Songbird's birthday), tell us these five things about parties, birthday or otherwise. Happy birthday Songbird!

1) Would you rather be the host or the guest?
Host- I love hosting parties- and it is something that my husband and I do really well together. We love planned parties, small parties, big parties, impromptu parties- the only thing really needed is some good sitting areas, a porch or patio, tiki torches, some games and some good beverages.

2) When you are hosting, do you clean everything up the minute the guests go home? Will you accept help with the dishes?
This has been a growing edge for me- I will accept help in cleaning, but I try to clean as much ahead of time as possible... and I'll let the dishes sit till the morning, but experience has taught me that a good soak for those pans is never wasted!

3) If you had the wherewithal, and I guess I mean more than money, to throw a great theme party, what would the theme be?
FOOD THEMES! After the great success of the paella party (see #5) Food and drink parties, while horribly expensive (so got to save those pennies!) are the way to go! Next on the list: pocket food party: share the love, and bring your favorite food you can fit into some kind of dough pocket: examples: pasties, calzones, steamed dumplings, empanadas, samosas... the possibilities are endless!

4) What's the worst time you ever had at a party?
My very first sleepover at a friend's birthday party: her parents decided to really celebrate, and got really tanked. I ended up calling my dad to come pick me up because I was really scared. It was an awful night, and I always felt like I abandoned my friend to her parents- she soon after moved away.

5) And to end on a brighter note, what was the best?
Once upon a time, some lovers of good food, good wine and good experiments got together for a paella party. With 4 kinds of paella, 2 kinds of Spanish wine, great appetizers and creamy burned cream dessert, the evening, sporting 13 guests was a huge hit! We set up a bistro in our dining room and laughed, ate and drank the whole night. We are hoping for a reprise in another cuisine...

How about you? What's the best party you've had or want to have?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

only one day?

In the US, I grew up thinking May 1 was a day where we would leave some cute baskets of candy on friends doorsteps. In other countries the plight of the working class is lifted up, recognized if even for only one day. Then it is back to reality.

Sometimes this feels like an empty gesture. Kind of like the National Day of Prayer is today. For one day we should pray as a nation? And gather around the town hall to do it? I must admit, I find this really difficult. I don't need the government to set aside time for me to pray. Nor do I need a school to do it. And really, just one day?

For one day only, (whether it is May 1 or Labor Day) we should remind ourselves that most people work very hard for little pay (and most people don't get a paid holiday on either day)? For one day we should remember the horrors of war and the people who have sacrificed their lives in pursuit of ever elusive peace?

Ah, May. The month that seems to have many one day celebrations. We don't have enough time to truely honor these events. Can we really hope to internalize them in our lives?

Can we make issues of justice, spiritual hope and memories of peace our own?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Holy Rest

Vacation: a respite or a time of respite from something: an intermission

Often times when I return home from a vacation... I'm ready for another vacation. A sort of vacation to recover from the vacation. I love to travel and explore new places, but often when I travel, I try and take as much in as possible. This, while a vacation, (because it is a time of respite from the busy pattern of my work life which tends to consume much of my social life....) is not always a time of rest.

For the first time in a long time, I returned from vacation today... rested. I reveled in this on the drive home. While I was still tired returning to a not-as-clean-as-we-should-have-left-it house, I found myself welcoming the challenges of work, church, family and all those things that will be juggled again.

What a gift.

Thank you dear friends who hosted us, laughed with us, entertained us and listened to us. It was indeed holy time and holy ground (and grounds- on those coffee porch mornings!)