Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Check out my sermon on Romans 8:18-27 here.
This was delivered two weeks before our new senior minister arrives and excitement as well as anxiety is high. In the sermon I mention that every minute a woman in this world dies of complications with pregnancy or childbirth. You can help make a woman's birth a bit easier by making it more sanitary and giving her the right supplies by donating a Safe Motherhood kit here.
The scripture is below:
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
Friday, June 20, 2014
I saw you.
We were going opposite directions around the track.
You ran, and lapped me multiple times.
Both of us red faced with exertion:
92 degrees even in the shade, just before sunset.
You were so brave: tight tank (doubled up on the sports bra, smart choice) and short shorts.
My clothes were loose and long.
Both of us the same height, build, similar weight.
We saw each other and we knew the struggles of the other.
A year ago I would have judged you as harshly as I judge myself. Not today. Today I am proud of us both.
The last time we passed each other you smiled because you knew, as did I:
We are women. We are strong.
We are with and for each other.
We are beautiful, red-faced, hot, and sweaty.
We are women. We are good enough.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
This year my life is different.
This year I am at work on my birthday. It's summertime, still, which means that as I hand out bus passes to our homeless guests here at the church I'm also handing out cold bottles of water.
This year I am church on my birthday. I'm still writing and reading, but this time I'm writing newsletter articles and doing sermon preparation.
This year I am living my call on my birthday, and that is the best gift I could have asked for.
Nearly 13 years ago, God found me in a circle of my friends from youth group. We were standing on my youth minister's front lawn as she prayed. While she said words of blessing over us I had three thoughts that came to my mind: 1) I could do this!* 2) I want to do this!* and the most important one: 3) I should do this!*
*"this" is defined broadly as ministry; more narrowly defined as being a kick-ass minister of the Word, praying prayers, singing songs, seeking to love the unlovable (which some days includes myself), and helping to build God's Kingdom here on earth.
Nearly 13 years ago, God found me in a circle of my friends being blessed by a powerful and faithful woman. In that moment, God called me to ministry. Since that night, I have stood in many more circles of friends. I have been blessed by many powerful and faithful women (and men). I am humbled by the challenge, companionship, and hilarity my friends give me. I'm inspired by the powerful, faithful, vulnerable women and men who have shared their blessing with me. My cup truly overflows.
On my ordination day, my best friend gave me a ring that says: "I am not afraid. I was born to do this." I later found out that this is a quote attributed to Joan of Arc (who, coincidentally, was called by God through a vision at age 13, just like me). The ring is not a closed circle, but rather like a jump ring. The openness of the ring reminds me to keep my heart similarly open, but the ring itself reminds me of my commitment to God's call, the Church, and my ordination vows. I wear it daily.
This year on my birthday: I am humbled, blessed, loved, unafraid, and living God's dream for my life.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
I cried in my yoga class yesterday. I was twisting and bending in some god-awful pose that hurts-so-good and the tears just started and would not stop. After releasing from that pose, the tears cleared up but my guard was up and I couldn't help but wonder why I had cried. During our final pose, corpse pose, the tears came again. I left feeling shaky, weepy, sad, and confused. I had gone to class seeking a yoga high, and but all I got was a yoga cry. Apparently yoga crying is a thing and not all that unusual, but I'm still feeling kind of weird about it. I was unable to leave it "on the mat" as many yoga enthusiasts say.
When I opened up my facebook newsfeed this morning, this is what I found:
- #yesallwomen is still trending on twitter, giving voice to women everywhere in the fight against misogyny.
- Maya Angelou died today at age 86.
- Cute animals doing cuteness in a cute place. Squee!
- A friend's mother died after a long and difficult journey with cancer.
- Vacation pictures! Gorgeous! (Also, jealous!)
- This blog post. That blog post. All the blog posts.
- A really good sermon!
- Baby pictures! He's sitting up on his own! She has a full head of hair!
- Weird people from high school friend-ing me. No thanks.
- A Buzzfeed list.
- The Onion article.
- Another engagement.
- Multiple women have posted about the loss of their pregnancies.
What an incredible cross-section of the human experience. And it all (even the good stuff) weighs heavy on me today. Even though I'm not writing this from my yoga mat, I feel like crying all over again. My own life, like my newsfeed, seems to hold all the feelings all the time. As I hold all of my "news" items alongside the suffering and anxiety in my congregation, the lives of my friends, and my own life I understand more fully that Jesus' words and promises are for all of us, including me.
How do I lay down this heartbreak, this heavy burden? Was it ever mine to hold? What does it mean to exist in this world and not be weary? I ask because I do not know.
On days like today when I walk through waves of grief, anxiety, fatigue, joy, gratitude, uncertainty...
On days when I just sit in my office and try to find the words to pray...
On days when I contemplate the promises of God alongside the realities of life...
On days when I shake my fist at the sky for the unfairness, the loneliness, the powerlessness of ministry...
Into this day God breathes life and love.
Into this day God walks with me.
Into this day God sees the tears, the shaking fists, the bowed shoulders and God hears the prayers and the sighs too deep for words.
I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves. My yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light.” -Mt. 11:28-30 CEB
Thursday, April 3, 2014
As spring continues to emerge after a cold and difficult winter, I've been listening to Josh Ritter's "Lark" a whole lot.
Or the priestly green answers dressed in labyrinthine
I've had a hard time hearing the heartbeat of a lark, or a lark in my heartbeat.
The chorus of "Lark" makes reference to Philippians 4:7 (the peace of God passes all understanding). The verse preceding states "Rejoice...The Lord is near." As Holy Week approaches, we grow closer to Jesus. He's coming to Jerusalem and the palms are rustling in anticipation.