Tomorrow is the second Sunday in Epiphany.* Many churches will read and hear the story of Jesus’ baptism. Some churches will invite worshippers to remember their own baptisms. I want to remember mine with you for a moment . . . I was baptized on Easter Sunday, 1973. I know because the date and occasion are written in a Living Bible (very popular in the 1970s) that my parents gave me on that day. What I remember vividly is the little white dress I wore that Sunday.Read More
A wing and a prayer . . . This morning I prayed in darkness. And then I saw a great light. It was the sun. Filling up the all of the cold morning. My husband called me into the kitchen. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sparrow breathe,” he said. Not taken to fits of poetry or even flowery prose, he had to be speaking literally. He began to explain. It seems that the sun is at just the right mid-winter angle to fill our backyard bird feeder with light. If they perched just right the birds at the breakfast buffet were silhouetted by the rising sun. As they took their turns and tilted their heads just so, puff, their tiny warm breath exhaled in a little cloud.Read More
one tiny nest
perched high against a cold december sky
soaking up the gray morning
Pastors don’t pray much it seems. They are busy. But they are not filling their time with prayer, meditation or personal devotion. At least a study that came out this week says this is the case. Seems to me that more than families are likely hurting if pastoral leaders are spending so little time attending to their own spiritual lives. But lest I sound too judgmental, I remember well the struggle to care for my own spiritual well-being while also attending to the spiritual well-being of those I served in the years when I was full-time on a church staff. Even when I was doing what I knew to do to care for my own soul, it was not always the most effective or spiritually nourishing thing I could be doing.Read More
Christmas has finally come and gone and the night is deepening around me. Silent but for the tapping of keys on my computer and the distant whine of a train whistle. A few cracks and pops say that my in-laws’ house is still settling in for a long winter’s nap. Family Christmas celebrations are complete. Scraps of wrapping paper litter the floor and the bare-bottom tree seems a little spent.
Christmastide, being one of the shortest seasons of the liturgical year, celebrates the revealing of God in the world, the inbreaking of a Living Word into the mundane and daily routines of our lives. But how does the season live on through the year? Or should it?Read More
Unhinged and upended . . .
In my first Advent post I wrote about opening the little doors on an Advent calendar [link]. Today I’ve been thinking about a different set of doors.
It was 1993. (Don’t tell me, please, if you were in kindergarten that year.) I was just graduating from seminary. And I attended a worship service in Birmingham at the annual Baptist Women in Ministry (BWIM) meeting. Nancy Hastings Sehested was the preacher that day. The occasion was a ten-year anniversary of BWIM.Read More
Ten weather balloons.
One contact lens.
One very young, very pregnant girl.
Needles in a haystack, all.
Reshaping the body with prayer
As I lay face up on the table a few weeks ago, my massage therapist interrupted my reverie.
She said, “Do you know that your right leg is listing outward.”
“Nope, I had no idea really.” She was standing at my feet and gently adjusted my wayward right leg. “Now that you mention it . . . I notice what you are saying.” My left knee cap pointed straight toward the ceiling, but my right one was tilted outward.Read More
On Thursday of this week I found myself stunned by beauty twice in an hour. Let me tell you about the first of those two moments. The evening before I’d been in something of a foul mood, feeling anger and disappointment, which can take their toll on a body. But the drive and conversation between St. Paul and Collegeville, Minnesota had tempered and mellowed me. I was open in mind and heart, relaxed in body, but I was unprepared for what lay ahead.Read More