Thursday, March 27, 2008

Easter thoughts

I'm not sure where I found this because I didn't write down the source but I wrote down the thought. It's related to the Harry Potter series and the concept of Horcruxes, inanimate objects that hold pieces of a soul, placed there through dark magic.

If you think about it the notion that a thing can hold a soul is not a new concept or limited to those who use magic. How many cars have been bought as an expression of who I am? How many mansions have been built to last forever?

If it doesn't resurrect, it isn't worth dying for.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

the ordinary that is more than enough

All too often we focus on what we don’t have and forget that with God we have more than enough. Michael Pollesel writes, “God has been at work, since creation, to bring God's dream to fruition by investing in creation.” God regularly gives us gifts. Michael goes on to say, [But too often] I have been afraid to use the gifts, or to look for new ones. Having been 'forced' out of my 'comfort zone' I did find new gifts which are now being put to good use. Is God continually drawing us out of our comfort zones to help us discover what other gifts God has for us? Could it be that Jesus wasn't aware he could do what he did at Cana? Maybe someone pushed him where he really didn’t want to go. Could it have been an instance when he was out of his comfort zone? Not only does the water change to wine, but the best wine at the wedding party! Using our gifts can have results that are greater than we might imagine.”

There are many in the church who think that they have no gifts, or their gifts aren’t good enough, or they don’t have any gifts left. It’s that “we don’t have” attitude that prompted 'The Reverend William Sloane Coffin to say, "Jesus turned water into wine, but we in the Church have become very good at turning the wine back into water." the new wine of Jesus - the fulfillment of the hopes of God's people - is what we long for and hope for. Yet when we look about us, we can see oldness at every level. We carry old fears and anxieties despite our faith in God; we are weak stewards of God's gifts to us. Sometimes it's hard to see the newness of life, and like the chief steward at the wedding, even when we do see the evidence we misattribute it to the usual sources instead of recognizing the miracle of God working through us.

3 pennies

One of my favorite stories about Mother Teresa happened when she was still Sister Teresa. She went to her Bishop for permission to start a mission. God had called her to be in this kind of ministry. Because of her vows, she had to have permission to change the focus of her ministry. Her Bishop asked her how much money she had to start this new mission. Sr Teresa said, “I have three pennies.” The Bishop said, “Sister, this may be a noble calling but you cannot start this ministry with three pennies. You can’t do anything with three pennies.”

To which Sr Teresa replies, “You are right, sir. But with God and three pennies I can do anything.” She was granted permission.


Albert Einstein said, “There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

You may remember this story. It’s in one of the Chicken Soup books written by Marjorie WallĂ©. One day Mrs. Smith was sitting in her doctor's waiting room when a young boy and his mother entered the office. The young boy caught Mrs. Smith's attention because he wore a patch over one eye. She marveled at how unaffected he seemed to be by the loss of an eye and watched as he followed his mother to a chair nearby.

The doctor's office was very busy that day, so Mrs. Smith had an opportunity to chat with the boy's mother while he played with his soldiers. At first he sat quietly, playing with the soldiers on the arm of the chair. Then he silently moved to the floor, glancing up at his mother.

Eventually, Mrs. Smith had an opportunity to ask the little boy what had happened to his eye. He considered her question for a long moment, then replied, lifting the patch, "There's nothing wrong with my eye. I'm a pirate!" Then he returned to his game.

Mrs. Smith was there because she had lost her leg from the knee down in an auto accident. Her trip today was to determine whether it had healed enough to be fitted with a prosthetic. The loss had been devastating to her. Try as she would to be courageous, she felt like an invalid. Intellectually, she knew that this loss should not interfere with her life, but emotionally, she just couldn't overcome this hurdle. Her doctor had suggested visualization, and she had tried it, but had been unable to envision an emotionally acceptable, lasting image. In her mind she saw herself as an invalid.

The word "pirate" changed her life. Instantly, she was transported. She saw herself dressed as Long John Silver, standing aboard a pirate ship. She stood with her legs planted wide apart – one pegged. Her hands were clenched at her hips, her head up and her shoulders back, as she smiled into a storm. Gale force winds whipped her coat and hair behind her. Cold spray blew across the deck balustrade as great waves broke against the ship. The vessel rocked and groaned under the storm's force. Still she stood firmly – proud, undaunted.

In that moment, the invalid image was replaced and her courage returned. She regarded the young boy, busy with his soldiers.

A few minutes later, the nurse called her. As she balanced on her crutches, the young boy noticed her amputation. "Hey lady," he called, "what's wrong with your leg?" The young boy's mother was mortified.

Mrs. Smith looked down at her shortened leg for a moment. Then she replied with a smile, "Nothing. I'm a pirate, too."

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Holy Week distraction

From Maundy Thursday through the last service on Easter, I will lead 6 worship services, including a wedding.

And somehow, in the midst of all that sermon writing, praying, setting up the sanctuary, cleaning up, locking and unlocking the building, etc., the reoccurring thought I have is: "Thank God I don't have anyone in my congregation running for office."

Sunday, March 16, 2008


We have a running joke at our house that someone can make the Sportsqueen laugh just by saying the word "spoon." In general, in the right circumstances, it works on almost any jr high girl and some boys. With that history, my curiosity was naturally piqued when I stumbled across a website about chronic illnesses that had a link to "the spoon theory."

The website is and the spoon theory can be found here or, of course, click the sidebar link from the main page.

While my curiosity was piqued by our humorous home life, I think the spoon theory is a great analogy for what it means to live with a chronic illness.

Spoons now have another layer of meaning for me.

I may have to visit their store for a "got spoons?" mug.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

you're not broken

Song of the day from NPR

I think I could use this for a couple of folks in my church. Pastoral care by single CD ... how's that sound? (every pun intended)
Site Meter