Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Jumping Into God's Promise

Awhile ago I was asked to be a part of an interfaith marriage of sorts. Between a man raised Lutheran ( who in fact was the fourth generation of men to have Luther as a part of their name) and a woman who had been baptized in my congregation but over the next 50 years was never in this place and had in fact embraced pagan earth bound spirituality. He has joined our congregation and she is seeking, trying to make meaning of the baptism she received but the faith formation she missed.
In any event, she asked if they could jump the broom as a part of their ceremony. After speaking with her I learned that this is not just an African American tradition ( my only understanding of it before now) but was Celtic as well. And for her it symbolized jumping into a new chapter of life, leaving old negativity behind. And in her understanding this would happen at the very end of worship.
I offered to think about how this would be incorporated in a Christian ceremony, and realized first that of course we as the church have coopted and incorporated many pagan traditions. And that this is a new chapter of life. But logically jumping the broom after the ceremony would kind of be like jumping away from what happened at the altar.
So I met again with the couple and suggested that at the end of the procession, they jump the broom into the space where they declare their intention to be wed. Jumping to and not away from the altar space.
Bingo. We planned the service and to my delight they wanted vows that invoked the Trinity, not just simple words. They had looked for Scripture and settled upon a passage from Song of Solomon- arise and come away my love. And also the familiar two becoming one, but also 1 John which speaks of perfect love while also offering a word about fear and lying and imperfect love. Given the fact this is not a first marriage very appropriate. And so we gathered and I chose to fully integrate that broom into the homily for the occasion.

Eric and Brenda we have traveled an interesting road to here. We met first in cold and blustery days. And it gives me great joy to have the honor of sharing today in celebration. And to be a part of a tradition I had never experienced before, the jumping of the broom. I remember when we first talked about it and the symbolism of leaping out of negativity and the past and into new life together. Jumping that broom into the declaration of love began your wedding today. Knowing your story and this symbolism, it is altogether fitting that our first reading spoke words that fit this day- arise, come, winter is past, storms are gone. Let us enter into a season of singing and flowers and beauty and abundance. Whenever there is a wedding everyone here is in some way reminiscing about, celebrating or hoping for love. And it is obvious to me and I think to everyone else who is delighted over your happiness, that you guys kind of radiate that love- like that light shining before us. Your light reminds us that your love reflects God’s love for all of us. That is powerful indeed.
And we are celebrating God’s gift of your love with bold and beautiful words. Love has been perfected. And love casts out fear. You have been through days of winter and storms, and are happy. There is much to celebrate!

And we hope today is a day to remember. Of course, we could be celebrating this marriage anywhere. Yet, you chose this place, God’s house. Jumping the broom is also a symbol. Of moving into a new chapter in your life of faith. Happening because of what God has been revealing to you. The story of a God whose very being is a love that has brought you into this new chapter of your lives.
And now we are here for the new chapter. But while you are leaving some things behind, we are also connecting the role God has had to the role God should and will have in your lives together. Those bold words we read are not just words of beauty, they are words of faith. Even the ones that sounded a little out of tune. As rich as those words from Song of Solomon, love poetry in the Bible are, the words from 1 John are almost a buzzkill. Words about fear and hate and lies. Who on earth wants to hear that? We want to hear about love. But they remind us I think as jumping the broom does, that every day beyond this one is a leap of faith.

As much as we want to believe that jumping that broom is the perfect talisman, every day to follow will be a day where you make decisions about what it means to love, to comfort, to honor, care for, and sacrifice for each other. As you know there will be days of loving and days where one or both of you are kind of unlovable. It’s true. Because while we want to believe we will be perfect in love, God knows we will not quite get there.

So what can we offer for the journey? First, remember that God brought you together- into each other’s lives-God has been working. Giving you not only love, but perspective. God’s deepest desire for you is continued happiness together.
Second, remember that we all made promises too. Last night we joked about tripping over that broom. But in seriousness, today we promised to pick you up and care for you and for your life together. And we promised to love you as a sister and brother. And to bless your journey together. God gives you this group of friends and family.

God also gives you this church. With people who have been praying for you whether you knew it or not. And who long to know you better, celebrate with you and share the light of Christ with you. You never have to go it alone. Some days your light will be the one guiding us, other days, we will be the ones guiding you.
Do not become a stranger to this place, or to those who have this day said they are walking with you. Our lives are woven with yours just like the ribbons on that broom.  And even more, our lives are woven with the eternal message of Jesus and the cross-that God will continue to love us, forgive us, restore us and encourage us to try again. Unconditionally and forever.

That relationship of love all started on another day in a church that you don’t remember- your baptism. The day God began the perfect loving relationship and lifelong journey with you. Where each day, God’s grace gives us forgiveness and new life. In fact it’s not a stretch to believe that every day we wake up jumping that broom into God’s promise and opportunity for the day.
Think of it, every day a chance to say thanks for what has given glory to God, and forgiveness for the rest.

You’ve now entered the journey together surrounded and embraced by the gift of this love, and these loved ones and the love of God in Christ. It’s beautiful and powerful and worth celebrating indeed! May these things grace your love and journey from this day forth and forevermore.



Monday, October 28, 2013

Though Life be Wrenched Away

It was inevitable really. In spite of all of my training, there are the ones that get to you. Lately there has been so much to celebrate with new life and new faces and ministry popping with vitality. Yesterday was one of those standing on the top of the world days where everything just seemed to be right. The baby being baptized did not cry, she was adorable. The young boy being baptized was beaming. The people who have not been in worship for awhile seemed to be there. And there were lots of visitors too. The organ soared and we sang those great favorites with tears in the eyes of elders and new music that brought delight. And it was almost like people hated to let go of it all.
But as I moved to the back of the church in the last hymn ( A Mighty Fortress, of course), there sitting in the corner crying was one of my parishioners. One of my new parishioners. Who had jumped in whole hog with Wednesday nights. And was so excited. A couple months ago she was not feeling well, and after a lot of tests, I had been with her on the day they told her a diagnosis. Because she had no one else.
But then things were moving forward with treatment options and she had a positive surge of energy and hope. But then, yesterday came. And she shared that her most recent results were not good, in fact they were very frightening. And there are four sites. And it all seems more than tenuous. And she is bereft and terrified, as the congregation is still singing its heart out. We hug for a long time but she needs to go, and as I turn to be ready for the post worship throng I realize we are in that last stanza and I cannot sing it. I lost my voice at "though life be wrenched away..."
And as I have thought about why that is, there is of course my affinity for this person, and the sadness of where the journey has brought her. But there is also a part of me that grieves the fact that so many of my people just can't catch a break. And that those great words of "the kingdom's ours forever" seem at times so elusive. And if I am being honest there is even that little part of me that says- if they all keep dying, how long will this live? It's selfish, I know.
And in truth, I have no idea where the road will go in my own life, in ministry, but I do believe God is in it and that joy and sorrow dance together.
And then I found myself thinking that I sure needed everything that happened before that moment- when it all really did feel real.
Because of everywhere we will go next- and the fact I will wrestle with boundaries- how much to do for someone who has no one. Knowing that another person wants to come and tell me about their funeral this week because they are unwell. And that I have not one but many parishioners in their 90's, but I also minister with many who are much younger but for whom disability, cancer and poverty coalesce. And I mourn their losses. As I try to be present with the person who thought God would cure them, or strength would return, or time would not be cruel.
And while I try to approach everyone with equanimity, there are some who just burrow in deeper. And I know God will give what I need for this journey but I also know that to not speak of my own sorrow would only increase it. So here are the words of Barlow Girl, using words in part found on a wall at Auschwitz

How long will my prayers seem unanswered?
Is there still faith in me to reach the end?
I'm feeling doubt I'm losing faith
But giving up would cost me everything
So I'll stand in the pain and the silence
And I'll speak to the dark night

I believe in the sun even when it's not shining
I believe in love even when I don't feel it
And I believe in God even when He is silent
And I, I believe

Though I can't see my stories ending
That doesn't mean the dark night has no end
It's only here that I find faith
And learn to trust the one who writes my days
So I'll stand in the pain and the silence
And I'll speak to the dark night I believe in the sun even when it's not shining
I believe in love even when I don't feel it
And I believe in God even when He is silent

No dark can consume Light
No death greater than this life
We are not forgotten
Hope is found when we say
Even when He is silent

I believe in the sun even when it's not shining
I believe in love even when I don't feel it
And I believe in God even when He is silent
And I believe.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

It's like Play Doh- got you thinking? Reformation Sunday

Just as we sat down for the sermon, I saw two girls sitting in the back behind the glass doors. Girls from the Doves Nest. I invited them to come in, and offhandedly I said, “Come on in, you don’t have to do a thing.” Which really is kind of the point. Nothing is required of us to experience God’s grace. But that is hard to imagine.

When she was little, our daughter Alex was painting an egg in art class, laboring to get it just right, putting colors exactly where they needed to be to complete the vision she had in mind. But paint can drip unexpectedly and just as she was almost done, it happened. Some-thing dripped in the wrong place. In her mind it was life and death-all was lost. It was failure beyond fixing. Heartbroken, she smashed the egg.
That can be how we think of God. We hear in scripture of God, heartbroken, and imagine unforgiving, punishing. Instead of freeing, forgiving, renewing.

That’s what people were debating about 600 years ago when the church was teaching people they could be lost as far as God was concerned. Failure beyond fixing. Whether people would go to heaven or to hell when they died mattered because disease would wipe out entire towns and people didn’t expect to live long. Whether you could be right with God mattered. People thought they had to earn salvation, buying prayers and doing so many things- trying to keep themselves out of hell.
Along came Martin Luther who said it’s time to reform, or
re-shape our thinking.
Because the Bible does tell us we will all sin and fail, but we are all justified-put in a right relationship-with God. We are as Jesus says, “Freed.” But this doesn’t happen by our laboring to be perfect. It’s possible only by God’s promise fulfilled in the gift of grace for us in the cross of Christ. God doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Salvation isn’t made possible by what we do or how well we do it. It is ours because God’s grace reaches out-forgiving, reshaping and restoring.

So instead working on a perfect masterpiece, our relationship is more like playing with Play-Doh.

With Play Doh I can make anything, one shape, then another. I can add more. If I make mistakes, it can simply be restored  back to how it started. PlayDoh is forgiving that way. And lots of things are possible. That’s how God’s love is for us.
That's grace. Today we’re celebrating this history, but what about our lives today?  Well, people still hand me flyers warning me I'm going to hell, and maybe some people are worried about that, but I think we’re even more worried about what shape our church is taking, and keeping our identity.
And then I wonder if we like continual love, forgiveness and reshaping for ourselves, but lose sight of it sometimes as the church.

Life or death might be about other challenging things we’re sure cannot be.
Yet, across history God enters into these very places in our lives of faith. That is our strength to rely upon. Even in changing times that is the constant. That too is like Play Doh. No matter how many ways I try to use it, there is something that stays the same-it’s always Play Doh.
In the church, there may be many ways ministry is expressed, and people added but something stays the same. That constant isn’t our desire for “the way we’ve always done it.” It’s the love and grace and power of the cross through which God claims and redeems us all.
Today our music I hope is one way to see this diversity and strength of faith. Our opening song was Scandinavian, "built on a rock the church will stand” and we’ll end with a classic German song Luther wrote. “A Mighty Fortress is our God.” A song some of us know by heart that brings tears to our eyes. Both songs will talk about the strength of the church but there was a time Germans and Scandinavians worshipped separately.

We’ll also sing two newer songs. One from Tanzania, where the African church is growing rapidly, a song reminding us to listen because God is calling. A word for us today. During communion liturgy we’ll sing music by a Latino artist "Santo Santo Santo Santo es nuestro Dios"- Holy Holy is our God. About God’s liberation today.
Signs of God continually re-forming and re-shaping across time. No matter what language or culture or tradition, the vision is still the same. God’s church in every age strengthened and loved and being reshaped. New life and power always centered in the cross.

Sometimes that truth is scary- we want things fixed. In sin, we end up focusing on our efforts as the key. But the constant truth is our loving God meets us when we end up trapped and frees us again. And again. Today we remember again that freeing constant truth-God’s grace, the gift of faith and strength of the word that starts in our baptism-where that cross is made on our foreheads.
Baptism also is not a single moment fixed in time, but a journey for the rest of our lives. Today we celebrate as Victoria and Eddie enter and as Heather, Sean and Megan continue in this life, our life together as God’s people. Through them and us God will continue to work, bringing new life and reshaping. It’s worth celebrating! Let’s celebrate together that we’re freed, forgiven and renewed by this creative, redeeming and powerful love and continue the journey into God’s vision together.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

There Was the One

Here at Table Church every week we are experiencing the gospel in a living tableau as we remember Jesus telling the little children to come, and we challenge ourselves to mean it. And we remember what it means to honor our elders and challenge ourselves to realize that they should go to the food line first, and it will mean others wait, but they can be fed too, and there is a plate for all. And we sit close in the shape of the cross and recognize that we jostle each other a little, but we also serve each other with the body of Christ and the blood of Christ, for you as our hands, young and old, cradle what we share as we turn and face our neighbor amidst the timeless truths.
The most important thing I celebrate is how we are becoming in all its diversity and even chaos, the beauty of incarnational living centered in the good news of the cross of Christ.
Last night there were many things happening but just as I was about to lead us into the sharing of communion., there were folks at the door peering in. A man and woman and then two little girls, tentatively lurking, not sure. And I stopped to encourage them to come in, and sit and join us. We waited for a moment and without my saying much, people got up and made sure they had seats, at an added table, and cups for communion and worship sheets to follow as I reminded our now slightly larger group, on the night he was handed over, Jesus shared a meal with his friends. He blessed the bread and the wine and said, "Do this and know that I am with you."
The power of those words and our gathering spills over into our shared meal, and our time in community as we listened to a visitor tell us of ministry in Canada where pilots carry people to villages and share the good news, where one year the Bible camp was called FLY-Forever Loving YOU as an expression of God with us.
Earlier with our Bible Club kids we talked about this Sunday's gospel, the story of the ten lepers healed and the one who returns to thank Jesus and to praise what has happened. And we took time to write our prayers of thanks and our prayers for healing. The kids are so incredibly open and risk it all believing that we have a space where they can talk candidly. For this I give thanks and am in awe at the trust. As we believe that healing is real and learned that Jesus had already healed the men, even though not all stopped to say thanks, and maybe not all would go on to live faithfully. Because it is out of that love God has for us. Healing and blessing are signs of God's love for us.
At Table Church in so many ways it is evident that we are touched by who God in Christ is for us, and with us-you simply cannot be here and remain ignored! And I celebrate the beauty of our diversity and our challenges and our willingness to risk being authentic.
Being mainly introverted this takes much. The place too far is that we are not comfortable sharing our prayers out loud. But many will accept the invitation to later post them on the prayer wall. Or bring them to me. Last night, after some time in prayer where no one spoke thanks or prayers for healing out loud but it was evident that much was being lifted by the light of our candles in prayer, and in the inviting call of our music, we concluded to be sent forth.
And then came the one- the woman who had appeared at the door late. Wanted to hand me her prayer of thanks- Thank you that I finally have a home.
Just like the leper now healed. Who now had a home. Not only a physical home, but in Jesus.
For the woman, until this week she had been homeless. Now they had a home. And she wanted me to know how grateful to God she was for a roof over her head, just a couple blocks from the church.
Even more important, she had walked into the place where Jesus was moving us, and recognized a change. A liberation, a relief, and hope. And as I was speaking to her, one of our folks was coming to tell her about our afterschool ministry, and someone else wondered if she wanted food to take home, and one of our kids was telling me she is friends with the daughters, and yet another person said she had a lead for a job.It was exactly what had happened in the gospel- healing and thanks and restoration.
Community. Incarnational. Good news in the flesh. Experiencing the "with-ness" of Christ.
And I looked around again as they all were leaving- the gathered dispersing, the ones who know just how vital hospitality is, how much we need Jesus and each other. If we think about us, and if we remember that we have all been healed and restored, when we allow ourselves to embrace that part of us, the blessings God brings are beyond our imaginings. And every week I am profoundly moved to be in such a place where good news takes root in us and with us. Again.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Mustard Seed Faith

At the end of a really full week- parishioners in crisis, interviewing an organist, afterschool ministry, Bible Club, Table Church, a wedding, blessing of animals and funeral! I am most grateful for David Lose’s postings this week that helped significantly with my sermon! Without which I wonder what I would have said! Here ‘tis:

This past week ( thanks to David Lose) I got a chance to see a video about some folks in Detroit who noticed the city wasn’t able to mow the parks in their area due to financial crisis. And you know we’ve all heard the headlines out of Detroit, about whole areas being basically abandoned because the city cannot take care of them. And as we listen to the lament in Habakkuk today, I am sure as much as we lament things here in Reading, those people in Detroit have some pretty big laments too! But as David writes, "instead of complaining, or shaking their heads, or writing an editorial, or just getting depressed…instead of all those perfectly understandable things, some people just did something about it." Moved by the Spirit, in what I think is faithfulness.

They are called the Detroit Mower Gang started after some city parks were closed and left uncared for. They just started mowing all those weeds and grass. And one guy tells us after mowing under a swing set, and before you can even finish when you turn around, there is a kid or a group of kids swinging. Those kids have been waiting.

Waiting for someone to make it possible for them to play again. The Mower Gang says what they do is not about beautification. It’s about restoring play places. There are a lot of kids in Detroit whose play places are taken away- the Mower Gang is bringing them back. And you know they’ve discovered that when they are doing this together- it doesn’t even feel like work- they are having a good time and it’s transforming. It didn’t start with a big initiative and a lot of social research. It was a guy who looked around and saw something. And an ordinary thing has become huge in many lives.


Just as true for our part of the kingdom. I know a neighborhood woman who doesn’t have enough as it is, but she feeds others, so much so that people know she does this and give her food to share. Someone else picks up the parking lot trash, twice a week and sees it as his ministry. He hasn’t worked up the nerve to sit here yet, but he has a ministry. Another beautifies a small park almost singlehandedly, just playing in the dirt. Still others call and check on those  homebound, or send cards offering a lifeline to the lonely. And a couple folks faithfully pray that prayer list I encourage you to take home- each day. Simple things, Every day faith that might look like just a tiny seed.

This past week we learned a kid’s song on Wednesday night that captures what I want to share with you about everyday faith. Faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains, move mountains. Faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains by the power of God. Today, the disciples just don’t get it --

"they think faith is something they can quantify and they just want more of it. In fairness, earlier Jesus had not only warned them about making others stumble but also instructed them that they must forgive those who wrong them … again and again and other challenges. No wonder they ask for more faith -- they wonder who in the world can live up to Jesus’ expectations.

And maybe it’s like that for some of us: Overwhelmed by the demands  placed on us as “good Christians,” not sure we’re up to the task, and wondering what we signed on for. Maybe feeling like being a disciple is too much for us. But faith doesn’t have to be heroic. Faith, as Jesus describes it, is just doing your job, not because of any sense of reward but simply because it needs doing. Doing what needs to be done right in front of you. This, Jesus says, the disciples can already do. When we feel daunted by discipleship, we need to hear that sometimes faith can be pretty ordinary. Even that faith could uproot and move a mulberry tree – Jesus says it really doesn’t take all that much faith to be faithful."

But God’s power in these things will be more colossal than we may know!

"At the same time, some of us who may feel absolutely nothing like the disciples. It’s not that we’re overwhelmed by the tasks of Christian discipleship, actually we don’t even think about it. Going to church and perhaps generally being a good person is pretty much what it means to be a Christian. Perhaps it never occurs then that the rest of our lives are about living as disciples. Being a good friend, or working at jobs to keep food on the table, or paying your taxes," praying for our leaders and voting, or any of the other ordinary stuff we do every day are also, as Martin Luther tells us, about our Christian faith.

"Even the simplest things done in faith can have a huge impact:

•Imagine, for a moment, if you were to take stock of all the good you did in the past week in your roles as employers and employees, students, parents, citizens, volunteers and more. It would add up very quickly into a mountain.

•Imagine what the previous week would have been like if all those things hadn’t gotten done. If we subtracted them from the planet over the last week the world would be a grimmer today.

•Then imagine what the world would look like next week if you, realizing even our ordinary acts are being used by God to care for God’s world, and we felt empowered to do even more?"

 What if your mustard seed grew?

"Even what seems ordinary matters much to God.  God gives us faith and wants us to exercise it! Faith, isn’t an idea, it’s a muscle. And the more we use that muscle, the stronger it gets. And Jesus tells his disciples -- then and now -- we’ve got all that we need to be faithful, and that being faithful, is about recognizing all the God-given opportunities just to show up and do what needs to be done:

•doing our work
•caring for those in need
•protecting the vulnerable
•reaching out to the lonely
•befriending the friendless
•keeping the world going
•contributing to the common good.

All the ordinary stuff we do all the time, taken together and blessed by God, can be pretty extraordinary.

But faith is not only a muscle, it’s also an adventure. It’s putting one foot in front of the other and walking toward a future we do see yet but trust God is fashioning. It’s heading out the door each day looking for opportunities to be God’s partner and co-worker in the world. It’s imagining that the various challenges put in front of us are actually opportunities that invite us to grow as disciples and witness to God’s presence and goodness in the world.

This is everyday faith, the ordinary, extraordinary faith that we’re invited to practice day in and day out. It’s not heroic, but it is essential."

 Here’s the adventure-
Take a moment and close your bulletin and take a look at the picture. –there we are- all those mustard seeds. Together. Now imagine all of those seeds growing as Jesus says. Moving mountains in the here and now!

What’s to stop that from being so?



 For the vimeo of the Mower Gang, visit David's blog at:

Saturday, October 5, 2013

After the wedding is over the marriage starts

In a few moments, or at least in the next 15 minutes the wedding will be over. All the planning a blur. And the most official part of what happened here will be- not the photographs but this piece of paper- your marriage license. I will sign it and that's it. And really we could have just gotten together in my office and done that.
But of course there are your loved ones who wanted to be here for this, and perhaps even more the party after. But in the end today could just be about a piece of paper and fancy party. But as one of my colleagues often says, this piece of paper is not a marriage.  In fact, everything we are doing today is not a marriage. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great day. It is wonderful to be in this place, with all these people, witnessing your vows to one another. This place where grandparents said their vows,  it is good to be here.  But as good as it is to be here, don’t get confused: this is a wedding, not a marriage.
What makes a marriage is what comes next.
What makes a marriage is what you do tomorrow, and the next day, and the following weeks and months and years. While in Genesis two were brought together, by God,  in order for that to "take" so to speak, it will take more. And it has to do with what the apostle Paul is talking about  in that reading about love. Lots of people want it read at weddings because it gives us these lofty thoughts about love. But it reminds me that there is a difference between flying high above something and seeing it up close. Love in theory versus the daily journey.
When Paul talks about love, it sounds a bit lofty.  Almost perfection. But here's the thing. He’s talking not to a couple at a wedding with a gleam in their eyes, but to  a church that is anything but perfect.  Those Corinthians could argue!  About food, about the church service, the seating. It would make wedding planning seem trivial.

Paul's can't imagine how they got so far from the start, he writes this-  Love described in idealistic terms.
If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

It sounds beautiful. But here's the thing. You may have already discovered this but still worth repeating. Love is hard; love is complicated and messy; sometimes love is almost impossible.
Paul gives us a high flying view so that when we get back on the ground we remember not just what love is, but what love is supposed to be.

So that when things get tough we don't wonder just how complicated it would be to walk away rather than stay together.
 But the other thing to notice is it really is about more than you two.
It's about everyone here promising to be a part of reminding ourselves
just how wonderful this day is because God has made it happen and to commit ourselves to remembering no matter what the days bring.
because the truth is that for all the things you see in your jobs, and crazy schedules and caring for your families, there will be THOSE days. 
So how about one practical thing? I share this- on her golden wedding anniversary, a woman revealed the secret of her long and happy marriage. "On my wedding day, I decided to choose ten of my husband's faults which, for the sake of our marriage, I would overlook," she explained. She was asked her to name some of the faults. "To tell the truth," she replied, "I never did get around to listing them. But whenever my husband did something that made me hopping mad, I would say to myself, 'Lucky for him that's one of the ten.'"

So often our world as we continue to see is about saying we will work together but what we mean is- we want our own way. The strengths you have developed as a couple that have brought you this far-remember them. The family and friends who are here love you. Cherish them. God has given you this love and these people. And God has given you-God. Find people who can walk with you, who will pray and worship and forgive and seek guidance with you. That is God's love. And that is the best gift of all.
May God bless you with this gift each and every day in all that is to come as your marriage and your love continue to grow.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Lost and Found Angels

After my sermon,

she came to see me to tell me-

All my angels have been sold or lost- beautiful angels.

I had so many.

There was the Abuse, but I have stayed sober.

But there is the addiction and the shame.

But today I realized that no one can take away the real angels

No one can take away those angels that sit on each shoulder

But I forget and the devil gets me-
I hear voices, sometimes and the doubts…

I get scared

I wish there was something that would help me remember.

She clutched and stroked a new cross necklace.

She had found it lying on the ground, lost.

And I remembered a man we would say had great faith,

Writhing on the ground, with those demons and doubts
Clutching onto a cross
I am yours, save me! I am yours save me!

another story of lost and found.

 We held onto that cross and said it together.

And we prayed for help to find again-

 that God is with us, in Jesus and in those angels

In us.

You are not alone. Not lost lying on the ground unclaimed.
You are

And she asked as she often does, for me to anoint her
With that cross that will cling to her.

And that slight but persistent fragrance in the air that lingers and remains

That somehow seems far greater

 than the smoke of dashed dreams and regrets
 of lost and stolen things

Speak to us of hope and protection,
love and healing
 no one can take away.