Last Sunday I was blessed to read the eulogy at a memorial service for an elder I had met several times, but did not know due to her advanced Alzheimer's. Several generations of friends and family were present. How wonderful to hear her vibrant life remembered by so many. This poem was on the back of the printed worship service and I did not see it until yesterday. I think it fits all our journeys. They certainly vary, but in so many ways are the same.
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015
This morning's walk was accompanied by a gusty, rather chilly wind. Last week was not the easiest of weeks for me. Certainly in the midst of some changes I am receiving much encouragement, but I have also gotten my feelings hurt more than once, and those voices kept surfacing. As I walked, I realized that was probably a sign that I am simply tired. I then turned turned a corner, the wind paused for a moment, and this lovely scene peacefully greeted me. I heard the psalmist plea, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me (Psalm 51:10)."
Some translations read " a pure heart." Not sure I will ever have one of those. But, a clean, or at least cleaner, lighter heart, is surely possible. Such is the gift of Lent. Such is the gift of God.
Saturday, February 21, 2015
This morning I woke thinking that since God has made us from the vastness of far flung stardust mixed with the waters of all the oceans, we should be living a little more boldly. Breathe deeply today and live. You are golden and beautiful, and you have been given the gift of love. This journey from dust to dust is more spectacular than it sounds.
Praise God, you sun and moon;
Praise God, all you shining stars!
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Worshiping in rehab hospitals and skilled nursing communities means worshiping in a fair amount of chaos. In addition to the needs and wants of the residents, there are always announcements going on overhead. Doctors, nursing students, and caregivers are constantly moving in and out, monitoring blood sugar levels and other vital signs. I am often left wondering how people actually heal, or at least rest, in such environments of constant noise and activity.
Today a volunteer and I were in two such hospitals, and in both communities someone showed up about the same time with ashes to be shared. In the first community, a team showed up just as we were finishing our service. While they seemed quite surprised and maybe a bit uneasy to see us there, cordial greetings and blessings were shared.
In the second community the person bearing ashes came during our service. We paused as she moved through, and I asked her if she would place ashes on my forehead. With her thumb she marked my forehead with the customary dusty cross. "Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust." She then kept on moving through the room filled with people, most of whom were in wheelchairs.
"That's it?" I actually almost asked this out loud.
As she finished, we continued our service, a bit dustier, but still singing of God's promise of eternal life and love. Some of these good folks I have worshiped with for close to eight years. Every month I stand in front of them and witness their slow demise, and no doubt, they witness mine. I don't think any of us are foolish enough to believe that these bodies in which we are housed will not eventually fail entirely. Those I worship with probably know this even more than I. Disease, suffering, old age, and physical death are real, and not easy to celebrate. However, God's love is simply, and mysteriously more. Of this we continue to sing.
My life flows on in endless song; above earth's lamentation.
I hear the sweet, though far off hymn that hails a new creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife, I hear the music ringing.
(My Life Flows on in Endless Song, Anonymous)
Sunday, February 8, 2015
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
"Instead you must recognize the Presence in one rock, one flower, one lizard, one tree, and then from loving the concrete thing, you build up to loving everything, and everything in between."
Lately I have been grateful that photographing flowers helps me to hear the birds sing.