Saturday, June 20, 2009


I will be away from my blog for an indefinite time.

Peace & Shalom, my friends.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Your Heart's Desire

May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble, (and) grant you your heart’s desire and prosper all your plans. Excerpted from Psalm 20

What is your heart’s desire? What are your plans? Are you expecting the Lord to answer you in the day of trouble?

I am not sure people know what their “heart’s desire” is. There is a lot of wishful thinking, of course. Most of us wish we would win the lottery. Some people wish it so much, in fact; they even go to the trouble of actually buying lottery tickets.

I, on the other hand, want to win the lottery, but refuse to buy lottery tickets as I consider that a form of voluntary taxation – and I don’t pay taxes the law doesn’t require me to pay. So I make my wishes known that I want to win the lottery, but I don’t hold my breath thinking it likely to happen in my lifetime.

While wishing can be kind of a fun exercise, and dreaming of what one would do with all that cash pouring down from heaven (or Sacramento) can have kind of an inebriating effect on the psyche, the fact remains that wishful thinking has no legs; has no muscle; and has no substance. It is a vapor that rises up like a fog, obscures your view for a bit, but then dissipates when things get warm.

While God created us with the capacity to dream and to wish, I believe it is God’s primary intention to know in what direction you have pointed your heart. When you draw up your last will and testament, for instance, you make as clear as possible how you want your estate distributed, and to whom. The courts see your desire, not as a vague wish, but as “direction”. The court’s job is to honor your intentions by interpreting your instructions as accurately as possible.

When we pray, we are invited to be clear, not in order to compel God to honor our requests (after all, God is God, and we are not), but rather so we can bring our hearts and minds into conformity with God’s will. The Lord’s prayer, as we pray it, is for God’s will to be done on earth, as it is in heaven. The assumption of the psalmist is that our heart’s desire and our plans would conform to the will of God for us and for our neighbor. To do that, we have to have some idea of what God is like, and of what God desires for us.

Jesus speaks to that in the Gospel of Mark where he says the kingdom of heaven is as if a person scatters seed and mysteriously it sprouts up and produces grain for the harvest (see Mark 4:26ff). The question I need to ask is this: what are you planting for God’s sake? What kind of seed are you scattering? After all, what you plant is what you get.

So many people reap strife in life because that is what they plant. They sow seeds of negativity and discord and wonder why they find themselves reaping disappointment and failure. That’s not to say that disappointments and failures don’t happen to good or pleasant people. Anyone who has been around the block a time or two knows that athletes can have heart attacks, non-smokers can get cancer, and hard workers can lose their jobs.

The point is not that bad things won’t happen to good people, nor is there a guarantee that bad people won’t prosper and enjoy the benefits of their dog-eat-dog lifestyle. We simply have to trust God that justice will out in the end, and know that all people will surely stand before their maker some day and give account for their stewardship. The Bible tells us: “God will not be mocked”.

But for us, we must hear the good news that what we plant, God will raise up. What have you planted? What are you planting? For that matter, what has God planted in you? After all, the kingdom of God is IN you (says Jesus in another place). God has planted goodness and wholeness and healthy seeds in you. With patience, we wait to see what will spring up from out of the earth, and from out of this, our valley.

What God sees is his heart’s desire; his children; and his kingdom. Amen.

Note: Photo Credit embedded in Photo Name

Friday, June 5, 2009

Born From Above

Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born from above, that one is unable to see the kingdom of God. – Jesus

Born Again; Born Afresh; Born from Above; each of these is a good way to read John 3:3. They aren’t exactly synonymous, but each helps us understand what Jesus is saying.

Most of us appreciate it when we get a fresh start – a “do-over.” You know what it’s like. You’re playing a game of checkers or chess, and you discover you just made a bone-headed move. If that wasn’t bad enough, you took your hands off of your piece so that it is now your opponent’s turn. With weepy eyes you turn to the other player and you plead your case: “I made a mistake. May I have a do-over?” The decision to let you make a different move lies with your adversary; it is completely out of your hands. All you can do is wait, and hope for permission.

When the do-over is granted, you feel a sense of great joy and relief, and you make a wiser move. It may only postpone your eventual defeat, and that’s OK; but if it leads to victory, it might seem hollow; after all, it was gained by a suspension of the rules, and not entirely by the cunning and skill with which you played the game. But that’s OK, too. It is the grace which is sweet, not the victory.

It is nice having the option of starting over, especially when things are bad. It is pleasant knowing that no matter how bleak yesterday may have been, at least this is a new day, and perhaps things will be different. With so many people out of work and pounding the pavement looking for jobs, it can be very discouraging to go out day after day high on hope, and to return home night after night with a sense of rejection-ad-nauseum.

Our sense of self-worth is so caught up in our ability to earn our way in life, that when things are bleak, and when we are down and out, we feel broken and sub-human. We feel worthless and hopeless, and we wonder if we will ever see the light of day again.

It is to the broken-hearted that Jesus is speaking when he refers to new birth or to being born from above; and we make a mistake if we think he is talking about something we must do in order to “make this happen.”

Unless your biology is different from mine in some truly significant manner, being born isn’t something for which we can claim any responsibility.

We were conceived and carried by others, and when the time was right, the waters broke and we were delivered into this world. We did not choose our parents; we did not choose our doctors or mid-wives; and we did not even choose to live. Living was in our DNA, and for that we can do no more or less than to give thanks to God.

Our value as human beings, for Jesus, lies not in our ability to do things, but lies in the source of our being. It is God who created us; it is God who redeems us; it is God who sustains us; and it is God who values us beyond compare. “Higher than the angels” is how God sees us, according to the psalmist. We are crowned with glory and honor.

This isn’t a picture of losers and low-lifes. This is a picture of God’s royal children – those to whom God has given birth. This is a very maternal image of God, by the way. Yes, God is our Father, our Abba, but God is also our Mother (Em, in Hebrew). Like Dorothy, we call for Aunty Em when we are in crisis, and it is God who answers and who ultimately brings us home.

So, if you want to see the kingdom of God, you need only look around you, for God is the source of all that exists. God sits “enthroned as King forever; The Lord shall give strength to his people; the Lord shall give his people the blessing of peace” (Psalm 29:10f). If times are tough, don’t worry; be happy (as the song says).

And those for whom times are good: take care of your brothers and sisters in this, our world. After all, this world’s not really ours; it is God’s. Our actions and our attitudes need to reflect the grace of a God who allows us do-overs so that we can make things right. That’s far sweeter than victory; that’s love. Peace.

Note: Photo Credit embedded in Photo Name

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Whistling in the Light

O Lord … you send forth your Spirit, and all life is created; and so you renew the face of the earth … I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will praise my God while I have my being. – Psalm 104:31, 34

I like to whistle as I work. Why? Because I enjoy work; I enjoy labor (as long as it’s not too intensive, laborious, or hot outside); and I enjoy being productive.

When one is happy, it is most natural to sing, whistle, or demonstrate the joy one is feeling through the outward manifestations of song and dance. Joy really isn’t joy until the body is involved. If you don’t believe me, just look at your dog’s tail when she’s about to get a treat, or when she hears the family car pull up into the driveway. Her joy is full and uncontainable, and her tail lets you know it.

My lips are my tail, so to speak. When I’m happy, I whistle. Whistling has the added benefit of letting people know I’m around, and let’s them know where they can find me. On more than one occasion my whistling has saved me from getting a door flung open into my oncoming face – and from inflicting grievous bodily harm on others while rounding a dark, blind corner.

I don’t think anyone else in the family whistles – or at least not that I’ve heard, but that’s OK. Not all are called to whistle. Some hum; others bop and nod to the beat of whatever is on their portable music player; and still others work quietly, letting the peace and tranquility of silence serve notice to the world of their joy and inner harmony. After all, when it comes to happiness, there are no rules – there’s “just right.”

I think God is a whistler. Astronomers and astrophysicists tells us that they can hear the music of the universe – the music of creation – through their huge radio telescopes, and even though I don’t understand the technology they use, I think I understand what they are saying. The music of the spheres bears witness to the glory of our Creator God.

I don’t think there is nearly enough whistling these days – real or figurative. It seems to me that many people take life far too seriously. It is almost as if there is a premium or a bounty paid to those who scowl, grouse, or moan. There must be; why else would we see so many grumps driving down the road?

On the other hand, I’m not sure that the problem is seriousness. Life is a serious business, and keeping a roof over one’s head and food on one’s table can certainly be challenging and trying. It’s nothing to be laughed at or scoffed at; but does it require folks to act so dour and sour all the time?

It seems the question isn’t one of seriousness, but of thankfulness or heart-felt gratitude – or the lack of appreciating what we do, indeed, have. I need to ask my more somber brothers and sisters: When faced with a challenge, would you rather find yourself in the company of those who wring their hands and fret, or with those who eagerly roll up their sleeves and dive into the fray with gusto?

Teddy Roosevelt was one of those people who loved to dive into a problem whole-heartedly. He was convinced it was far better to try mighty things and fail, than to try nothing and succeed. Life is a great and wonderful gift, given to us by God, and it would be a terrible waste of that good gift if we could not approach life with humility and grace, and tackle the challenges before us with a certain élan begotten by love, joy, peace, happiness, and thanksgiving.

If I have a choice – and I think we all do – I prefer to live life a happy fool and perhaps dare great things, rather than to live so carefully and soberly that the only evidence of my having passed this way would be a wan, gray trail of veritable slug slime.

I believe God whistled this, our valley into existence, and we do not honor God by slugging our way through life; rather, I believe we honor God best when we whistle, sing, and dance before him. You and I are His opus; how tweet it is!

From my lips to your ears, O Lord: Halleluia!

Note: Photo Credit embedded in Photo Name

Friday, May 22, 2009

Parting Sorrows

Success is a wonderful thing, but it tends not to be the sort of experience that we learn from. We enjoy it; perhaps we even deserve it. But we don't acquire wisdom from it. – Timothy Noah

The disciples looked up into the sky, shielding their eyes against the bright rays of the mid-day sun. John, whose young eyes were the sharpest, was least able of the lot to see Jesus disappear from view. You see, while his eyesight was keen, his vision was greatly impaired by his tears.

Yes, tears. Barely forty days earlier Jesus had been taken from them, tried by the religious leaders and Roman authorities, flogged, sentenced to death, nailed to a tree, and buried in a tomb not even his own. Two days later (three as some count the days), Jesus had apparently been evicted from the borrowed tomb, for neither he nor his body were to be found there.

What happened next was as big a mystery as any of the good folks at CSI-Jerusalem would ever face, and no ancient sleuth or detective type would ever really figure out what happened to the body of the man they had executed. All they could say for sure is that the body had gone missing. They had at least twelve persons they could suspect of being grave robbers, and yet it seemed highly unlikely that those who fled into the darkness when Jesus was arrested would have had the guts or skills to spirit away a body lying in a tomb, guarded by heavily armed soldiers and police, and further secured by a heavy stone. But gone he was, and the locals were abuzz with rumors too bizarre to be considered seriously.

For forty days Jesus had become a now-you-see-him and now-you-don’t phenomenon. Sometimes you would find him popping up in a locked room; other times you might find him walking with friends along a dusty road, eating fish, breaking bread, and continuing to teach as was his custom; and at yet other times he might fix you breakfast on the beach after helping to turn around what had been a horrible night of coming up empty fishing to netting an unbelievable catch.

But now … now he was gone.

We are told that Jesus “ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father …” We, especially we of a more rational or scientific bent, may have trouble understanding some of the physics behind the ascension, perhaps even to the point of calling it a myth or a metaphor; but what seems clear to me is the depth of sorrow one feels when another – especially one who is loved – is taken from us.

We grieve death; we grieve loss; we grieve those we love and see no more. And yet …

And yet the story we hear, and the story we read, and the story we tell is this: God did not allow his holy one to see corruption (that is, did not allow the body time to decay and feed the worms). “He is not here,” says the angel at the tomb. “He has risen, just as he told you.” He did not descend to the depths to stay, but has gone directly to be with God in heaven.

We do not seek Jesus among those who have died; rather, we seek those who have died among the One who lives – Jesus. Jesus has gone to be with his father. So do those we love and see no more. The body is sown corruptible, but is raised incorruptible.

In the pain of separation we feel like we’re stumbling around in the dark. It doesn’t matter if the darkness and despair are connected to a literal form of death, or in the loss of a job, or the death of a marriage, or in the loss of one’s health, or in the death of one’s dream; it doesn’t matter if the loss has been anticipated, contemplated, planned and prepared for, or if it comes to hit us like a bolt of lightning from out of the blue. Death is devastating, and its horrifying, and it is hell on earth.

But in the ascension, we see in picture-form God’s promise that we’ll not be left in the lurch; we’ll not be abandoned or dismissed with wishes for “better luck next time”. Instead, God who dwelt with us in human form will come to us again in the power of his spirit to embrace us, to strengthen us, and to carry us forward.

The ascension of our Lord tells us, in the end, two things: First, that where Jesus goes we will follow (we have his word on that); and secondly, that Jesus leaves the world in good hands. Those hands have wounds, to be sure. They are, after all, hands that were nailed to the tree, and we have been every bit as wounded in life as Jesus. But if we listen to the Spirit, we will know that we do not have to lash out in pain, but hold on in love. Hold on to God; and hold on to one another.

It will never get any better than that in this, our valley. Peace!

Note: Photo Credit embedded in Photo Name

Friday, May 15, 2009


As long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold him down, so it means you cannot soar as you otherwise might. – Marion Anderson

The other night I was watching TV when Barb came and said, “Keith, come here; there’s something wrong with Sophie!”

Sophie is our cat, and as cats go, she’s actually quite delightful. Unlike many felines, which are often snooty and stand-offish in their demeanor, Sophie enjoys her people. She does not consider herself our superior, but does take a leadership role in the family. She’s not arrogant and demanding, but when she wants something, she lets you know with a gentle nudge.

One of her favorite past-times is playing fetch. She will bring a hair scrunchie and drop it at your feet, waiting patiently for you to shoot it across the room. She loves to go pouncing after scrunchies, chasing them down like vermin and bringing them back in triumph as trophies of the big hunt; then she drops them at your feet, ready to go again.

Sophie is an indoor cat – mostly because we’d rather not deal with ticks and fleas and evidence of her hunting skills which would please her far more than they would please us, I am sure. Being an indoor cat simply means she doesn’t associate with neighborhood puddies as much as she might if we let her run loose. She doesn’t seem to mind. She may not be able to make mad, passionate love, being an indoor sort, but then again she doesn’t come home the victim of a neighborhood brawl, either – which brings us back to our story.

Barb was sure there was something wrong with Sophie, as she (the cat) was sitting in the hallway moaning in a very peculiar manner. I got up to see what was wrong, and found her sitting in the hall staring at our neighbor’s orange long-hair gib*. Somehow, the neighbor’s tommy had gotten into the house (probably through the garage door when Barb came home) and was simply sitting in the hallway, looking at Sophie.

Harley (the neighbor cat) just sat there with a small bemused smile. He seemed quite pleased with himself, and was most unconcerned with my arrival on scene. The crisis came to a resolution and conclusion when I picked up Harley, scratched the underside of his chin, wished him well, and returned him to the great outdoors. Sophie didn’t say “thank you” but did seem somewhat relieved and appreciative of my efforts, and that is as much as any cat owner can ever hope for – even from a scrunchie-chasing phenom like Sophie.

I felt a little bad for Sophie at first, for it seemed like I had deprived her of a golden opportunity to get to know her neighbor better, and yet I know that cats are social isolationists and that what I did was beneficial and possibly prevented a major Maul in the Hall.

But people are different, aren’t we? We’re not well-suited for isolation. We want company; we need other people if our hearts are going to sing in purr-fect harmony. We need people to lift us up; we need people to share our burdens, to help make things right when things go wrong, and to light a lamp when life goes dark.

It is so tragic to see people put down because their language is different, or their skin is different, or their culture is different, or their religion, or their food, or their clothes. Too much of what we say or do isolates us from one another, squashing hopes and dreams of a better life for everyone. How tragic, and how sad: going through life with claws bared so no balloon will ever dare come near to lift you up onto the thermals that promise a view of greater things.

How Cat-astrophic. How Myow-pic.

The truth is that when we put one person down (as Anderson says above), we ourselves are grounded with them; but when we lift a person up – any person – we are free to fly, to soar, and to see one thing most clearly: We need one another in this, our valley. Believing that – wouldn’t that just be the cat’s pajamas?


* gib is a term used to describe a male cat that has been neutered.

Green to Grow

inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic, energetic striving, but it comes into us slowly and quietly and all the time, though we must regularly and every day give it a little chance to start flowing, prime it with a little solitude and idleness. – Brenda Ueland

Have you ever been to Spokane?

Some of you have, but many have not, and that isn’t surprising. Many of you probably didn’t get to the World Exposition that was held there in 1974, and while it is a delightful town, there probably isn’t a lot that would draw you there right now, and that’s OK.

I was thinking about Spokane as I was stuck trailing behind a city bus here the other day. I couldn’t see around it at the time, which isn’t unusual when one considers how much taller and wider they are than the cars, trucks, and motorcycles most of us use. That’s when it dawned on me that our local buses haven’t got one key safety feature I have seen on buses in Spokane.

What is interesting is that one wouldn’t normally think of putting “Spokane” and “cutting edge” into the same sentence, and yet it seems that Spokane may have developed or discovered cutting edge technology when it comes to traffic safety. If it isn’t cutting edge, then it is at least unique, and it isn’t something I’ve seen replicated elsewhere in my travels.

And what is this “cutting edge” innovation? Lights. Spokane’s city buses have an extra set of lights that help make getting stuck behind them less nerve-wracking.

Centered on the back of each bus is a set of three lamps: a green lamp, flanked on either side by yellow (or amber) lamps. When the driver is accelerating, the green lights up; when the driver takes his or her foot off the accelerator, the ambers light up; and when the driver steps on the brakes, the red lights do their usual job.

I really like knowing that when I am following a bus in Spokane (keeping a safe and legal amount of separation, of course) I am not completely blind to what lies ahead. The bus’ lights keep me informed so that I can respond appropriately, even to that which is unseen, for the bus driver’s feet have become my eyes, and I think that makes the streets there just a little bit safer for everyone.

I don’t know if there is any way to hang a set of lights on life that will help us see the road ahead through the eyes of the One we follow. The future is a mystery and always will be to us mere mortals.

On the other hand, if we’re heading the same way as the One we follow, doesn’t it make sense to eliminate the personal transportation device we’re in (sometimes called “ego”) and simply climb on board the bus and enjoy the ride?

In that way, we don’t need to worry about where to hang lights or lamps, nor do we need to fret about what lies ahead. Rather, we can keep our hands, feet, eyes, and ears open and free to be of service in this, our valley. Constructive idleness might even allow us the capacity to be more creative with our time and energy by granting us solitude and idleness enough to prime the pump of godly inspiration.

Spiritual progress only comes when we make time for it in our lives: Green for Go, and Green to Grow. Peace!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Shepherd & Friend

Fine friendship requires duration rather than fitful intensity. – Aristotle

How do you know whether someone is a friend or simply an acquaintance? How can you tell whether a person you first meet will, at some point, become a friend, or just another one of the many contacts you have, but not necessarily one with whom you would share your deeper thoughts, ideas, hopes, dreams, or aspirations?

How can you tell who is a friend – someone trustworthy, dependable, and faithful?

These questions puzzle me, because some people appear to be surrounded by persons they would count as friends, while others struggle to identify one person they would be willing to confide in or trust to “be there” when the going gets tough.

What are the signs of true friendship?

Aristotle would hazard to suggest that it is duration which identifies a friend. By duration, he doesn’t mean longevity, per se, or a time span; rather, he is referring to the durability of a relationship that is able to withstand the trials and tribulations that assail it from time to time.

It is this durable quality that marks a healthy relationship, and which signals the depth and strength of the friendship. Can you tell this person what you really think or feel, or what you have done (for good or ill), and will they stick to you on your journey? If you can, and if they do, then I would suspect you may have found a true friend.

Sometimes I worry that we may use certain words too loosely. Friend is one such word. For many, it is simply a word used to define those we pal around with; but if things get tough, or you find yourself in need or hurting, look around and see who is there with you in your time of need. It is probably safe to say the person by your side is your friend. They are to be embraced.

In a Book of daily meditations I use, the writer says, “A meaningful friendship is a long-term dialogue. If there is a conflict or if we make a mistake … we don’t end the friendship. We simply have the next exchange to resolve the differences. Our dialogue continues over time, and time … builds the bond.”

Consider friendship from a biblical perspective. This Sunday, many of you will read or hear Psalm 23 – the well-known “Lord is my shepherd” psalm.

While we often think of shepherds as being the sheep-boss, the shepherd of biblical days wasn’t so much the boss as the head of a peculiar family. Jesus points out that while hirelings will run away in the face of danger (to save themselves) a true shepherd does what is necessary to protect the sheep and the flock, even to the point of laying down his or her own life. How many bosses do you know who will do that for you?

But Jesus doesn’t just “talk the talk” – he “walks the walk”. He doesn’t bother to talk tough; rather he lay down his life for his sheep. He lay it down for ALL his sheep, too; Not just the good sheep. Not just the white-faced, black-faced, or mixed-face sheep. He tells us clearly that he has “sheep that are not of this fold” (John 10:16), “I must bring them also, and they will hear my voice and listen intently to what I say.”

This is the kind of shepherd and friend I can believe in, trust, and follow. This is the kind of friend typified by the 23rd Psalm, where we are told The Lord is my shepherd. For that reason, we will lack for nothing. Our shepherd is the source of our rest, food, water, and protection.

And notice one more thing: the sheep do not choose the shepherd; it is the shepherd who chooses his sheep. This is a matter of divine grace, and not of personal merit.

The same is true of friends; we do not know whom we will befriend, nor do we know who will befriend us. Ultimately, it is simply a matter of divine grace. If that were not so, we would have to earn our friends and pay dearly to keep them. That would be a fitful and intense circumstance. I couldn’t abide that at all, but I can humbly accept the grace shown by our Lord, and our God.

May God strengthen us to be reliable in all our friendships and help us to share that grace with all we meet along the way in this, our valley. Baa-Amen.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Generosity & God

The generosity of God is expressed in all kinds of physical things … the spiritual is affectionate towards me. – Anonymous

“The devil is more spiritual than God.”

After nearly forty years, I still remember those words spoken by Fr. Dennis J. Bennett (St. Luke’s, Ballard) in Seattle, where I was a parishioner. I was new to the Church and new to the Faith, and Fr. Bennett was explaining something about the importance of “the incarnation” to our faith.

I don’t remember any more about what he had said, but I was often impressed by his insights and with how clearly and memorably he was able to express many of them.

The devil is more spiritual than God; indeed!

I sometimes find myself pondering the many images we have of God: an Old Man sitting upon a Great Throne dispensing wisdom; a Rock of Ages doling out justice and judgment; a Mighty Shepherd dividing sheep and goats; and I find myself wondering if those images don’t do more to estrange us from God than to draw us nearer to his loving embrace.

While those are certainly biblical images, I find myself, at times, needing a different kind of God, or at least a different kind of image. I don’t want to imply for a moment that we have a variety of gods hanging in our closet, ready to be swapped out or exchanged as our needs change – the way we might swap our Sunday morning suit for a set of bib overalls for working in the garden on a Sunday afternoon.

No, God is God, and nothing I say or do will change that – thanks be to God!

But sometimes the face of God I need to see differs from one day to the next. There are some days I certainly need to see God sitting high upon a throne, and knowing that I will stand before God answering for things done and for things left undone; for my charity and for my lack of charity; for my character assets, and for my character defects. Knowing I will face God one day … no, let me change that: I know I stand under God’s judgment daily … and that knowledge keeps me firmly grounded on my knees.

But I am not sure it is God’s desire or intention to keep us solely upon our knees. While I can get a fair amount of praying done when I am on my knees (and weeding), I believe God gave us feet so we can go places, and eyes so we can see those in need of food or shelter, and ears so we can hear the cries of those in sorrow, and hands so we can comfort those in pain, and hearts so that we can be passionate and compassionate in our lives and in our living.

Ultimately, it seems to me, that “the generosity of God is expressed in all kinds of physical things”. I believe in a God with dirty fingernails.

The opening scenes of the Bible depict heaven and earth as a mighty construction site, and while God can be viewed as a General Contractor directing matters in the first chapter, we see him actually playing in the dirt in the second chapter as he brings the human race into being. Considering how thick I can be at times, I wonder if God didn’t use Central Valley clay in constructing our brains!

Be that as it may, the universe in which we live and move and have our being is a physical universe, and the One who inhabits the Universe and all of Eternity fills both with his divine presence. It is no secret, then (or surprise) that the expression of God’s affection is not to be found in wispy spirituality, but in the beauty of creation and in the fellowship of humanity, and in the substance of our lives.

God has dirty fingernails. That means God has been at work in this, our valley. Let’s see if we can’t give him a bit of a hand. And while you’re on your knees, you may as well check for litter as well. I’m sure we’ve all left a trail to mark our passing; and there’s the devil to pay. Fortunately, God brought his checkbook; His generosity knows no bounds.

Images culled from internet, copyright holders or authors unknown.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Are you willing to be sponged out, erased,
made nothing?
Are you willing to be made nothing?
dipped into oblivion?
If not, you will never really change.

– D. H. Lawrence

Why is change so difficult?

When it comes to change, I don’t mind the coins I carry in my pocket, but I’m not so sure I want to deal with change that is truly substantive.

How do we know what kind of change is needed; what kind is good or healthy; and what kind isn’t?

For instance, your child is happy, friendly, and dependable, and then one day you begin to notice he/she is acting differently. Your daughter comes home from playing with her friends and you notice how she is now wearing black nail polish, heavy mascara, and clothing borrowed from what you can only presume to be the local crypt-keeper. She’s listening to her I-pod and you hear some sort of tortuous sound emanating from her ear buds – something akin to the reverberation of a hundred car pile-up on HWY 99 in the fog, combined with the screech of 1000 steel fingernails on chalk-board.

She has changed. Is it for the good? Is it a passing fad or fancy? Is it something to be concerned about? Do you need to put your foot down and demand she change back into the child you want her to be? Is it significantly different from when you were her age and similarly rebelled in independent lockstep with your peers back in “your day”?

It isn’t the change that bothers you, of course, as much as what the change may represent. It could be a matter of your child simply trying to find herself and to carve out a niche she can call her own – one that resonates with her soul. Or it could mean she has fallen headlong into the bowels of Satan, and sold her soul for sex, drugs, and rock and roll. How can you know which it is? How can you know for sure? What do you do with your doubts and fears?

Any major change is scary. We want to protect our children, but we don’t want to smother them. We want them to make mistakes and to learn from them, but not to the point of hurting themselves or others too badly.

One way to deal creatively with these changes is to spend time examining your own life, looking at the decisions and choices you have made over the years, and recognizing how those actions have affected yourself, your family, your friends, your job, your present, and (in all likelihood) your future.

When a person makes a major change in life, it is important to recognize that much of what has gone on before has been erased to some degree, but never as completely as Lawrence may imply is necessary. Just like a computer program or file that has been deleted or uninstalled still resides there on the hard-drive – recoverable with the proper software – so do the values and experiences of life continue to reside in and with us.

The challenge we face in life is not to accept (or reject) the changes taking place all around us, but to take a long view of life and discern what changes we need to make to get us to where we are headed. As people of faith, that would be in the direction our God would have us go – taking us toward faith, hope, charity, justice, mercy, and other cardinal virtues.

Too often we wallow in the realm of what might have been, and by so doing we fail to appreciate what we have in the here and now. Too often we grab hold of what we have in the present, and fail to take the steps we need to take in order to reach a promised land flowing with milk and honey. But life is movement, and life is change, and to stand still is to die. And so while we may not appreciate all of the changes that come our way, we can know that those changes are a sign of life.

With a vivid imagination, we may even come to find that today’s screeching fingernails on chalkboards will become tomorrow’s golden oldies in this, our valley. Of course, I hope to be six feet under by then. But then again, maybe I could change my mind. Either way, let’s keep the change and invest it wisely.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wednesday in Holy Week

Wednesday in Holy Week is the third “lost day” in Holy Week.

I mentioned in previous posts that Monday and Tuesday, and to a lesser degree Wednesday, in Holy Week are days that are seldom referred to or reflected on, primarily because the focus has been (mostly rightly) on the heavy hitters of the week: Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday.

Be that as it may, the whole week is called Holy Week, and it seems appropriate to reflect on the propers for each day as it comes in order that we might better profit from our walk with Jesus from the way of the palms to the way of the cross – and on into Easter. It is important we take our time and not rush. The Lilies will come in due season, but for now, let’s walk slowly with eyes and ears open, and hearts in tune with the harmony of the season.

The Collect for Wednesday in Holy Week

Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his body to be whipped and his face to be spit upon: Give us grace to accept joyfully the sufferings of the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Lessons

Isaiah 50:4-9a
Psalm 70
Hebrews 12:1-3
John 13:21-32

Today, Jesus speaks of betrayal. Looking at his twelve closest associates, his most intimate friends, Jesus says,

“Amen, amen, I say unto thee,
one of you will betray me.”

Every disciple looks around aghast and uncertain; each wonders of whom Jesus could possibly be speaking. Surely it couldn’t be one of them! They love Jesus; they respect Jesus; they listen to Jesus; and they have followed him from the banks of the Jordan, to the shores of Gennesaret, to the Citadel in Jerusalem. Even now they are at his side in the valley of the shadow, in the City of Peace, ready – always ready – to do his bidding, and to live or die for him and for his kingdom.

But are they ready? Are they willing? Are they able?

In mere hours after this night, they will flee into the darkness. Oh sure, they sound tough, there at dinner, as they rattle their sabers and threaten grievous bodily harm to any who might try to challenge their king of kings. But their brave façade dissipates at the first sign of trouble. Brave disciples – they cannot even stay awake while Jesus prays; how do they hope to fight when darkest night descends upon their heady little band and steals away that tiny sliver of resolve they showed around the table as they ate their bread, drank their wine, and thumped their chests?

Before we point our fingers and snarl with contempt at those who slept while Jesus prayed, or who fled when Jesus was arrested, or at the one who dared greet and betray him with a kiss, we need to ask ourselves: would we have fared any better?

Don’t we betray Jesus ever so regularly with betrayals large and small? When we judge others without having all the facts at hand, or turn a blind eye to those in need, don’t we betray Jesus even just a little? When we make decisions regarding our life’s direction, intentionally or unintentionally placing God in the back seat – He who bought and paid for us with his very own blood – aren’t we betraying him with minimizing carelessness?

“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” says St. Paul. The glory of God is full, complete, unabashed humility and mercy in the service of justice.

Jesus’ disciples slept, betrayed, and fled that night. This day we consider seriously the condition of our soul, and our need – our TRUE need – for a redeemer. Our betrayal is real. So is God’s mercy.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tuesday in Holy Week

Tuesday in Holy Week is the second “lost day” in Holy Week.

I mentioned yesterday that Monday and Tuesday, and to a lesser degree Wednesday, in Holy Week are days that are seldom referred to or reflected on, primarily because the focus has been (mostly rightly) on the other heavy hitters of the week: Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday.

Be that as it may, the whole week is called Holy Week, and it seems appropriate to reflect on the propers for each day as it comes in order that we might better profit from our walk with Jesus from the way of the palms to the way of the cross – and on into Easter. It is important we take our time and not rush. The Lilies will come in due season, but for now, let’s walk slowly with eyes and ears open, and hearts in tune with the harmony of the season.

The Collect for Tuesday in Holy Week

O God, by the passion of your blessed Son you made an instrument of shameful death to be for us the means of life: Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Lessons

Isaiah 49:1-7
Psalm 71:1-14
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
John 12:20-36

In the Gospel reading, among those who had gathered in Jerusalem to worship were some Greeks. They came to Philip, one of Jesus’ disciples, and they said they wanted to see Jesus. For what purpose?

Following Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, were they looking to hitch their wagons to a warrior Messiah, a new Judas “The Hammer” Maccabee, or a Jewish Alexander?

Or, as people from the land of thinkers and philosophers, did they simply want to check out this itinerant rabbi and compare him to their own Hellenistic top guns – Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and the like?

Whatever they were hoping to see, I have no doubt they were taken aback by the Great Reversal of Jesus – that the way to the glory of God is not through power and might, but through humble service:

“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi is a marvelous piece upon which to center your life in meditation this day. The version that follows is taken from Wikipedia:

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Monday in Holy Week

Monday in Holy Week is mostly a day lost in Holy Week.

We know what’s coming – especially if you went to Church on Palm Sunday (which is really Passion Sunday these days, but some traditions are SO hard to change).

In the minds of many people, Holy Week consists of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and then Easter – the Grande Finale! In some places you might find Tenebrae (the Office of Shadows) on Wednesday, but many places ignore that noble office as folks find it too quiet, somber, long, and (for many) boring.

It’s too bad, for it is a powerful service of lessons and psalms and dramatic power. But that’s Wednesday, and this is Monday in Holy Week. It is a quiet day, a lost day, an ordinary day for those who are walking the Via Delarosa with Jesus this week.

Why is that? Why do we gloss over this day so often? What screens it from our view?

The day’s Gospel (John 12:1-11) begins with a meal, as do so many of our Jesus stories. Jesus is in Bethany, having supper with Lazarus (whom he had raised from the dead), Martha, and Mary (sisters of Lazarus). Mary anoints Jesus with a fragrant perfume made from pure nard. Mary uses a pound of the stuff, and anoints Jesus’ feet, and wipes them with her hair.

Judas was incensed (no pun intended) at the extravagant waste, and who can blame him? Mary’s act of devotion cost nearly a year’s wages. Think of it; look at what you bring home over the course of ten months, and that’s what it cost her.

Judas had no love for the poor, says John, and isn’t it ironic? In his exasperation Judas says, “Why was this perfume not sold for 300 denarii and the money given to the poor?” In suggesting the money would be better spent being thrown away on the poor, he demonstrates that he has no real love or respect for Jesus, either. In fact, Judas’ life as a disciple is and has always been a sham. He’s in it for what he can get out of it. As John says, “He (Judas) said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used it to steal what was put into it.”

We come to Monday in Holy Week and I suggest it is a good day to reflect on the characters in the Gospel – each of them – and ask how our own lives may be mirrored in this story.

1) How have we (like Lazarus) invited Jesus into our homes, as One who has restored us to life, that we may live and worship Him forever?

2) How have we (like Martha) found ways to simply be of service; asking nothing more in return than the grace of Jesus’ spending time with us?

3) How have we (like Mary) placed ourselves at the feet of Jesus in complete love and devotion, seeking only to elevate Him in honor?

More darkly:

4) How have we (like Judas Iscariot) been shallow in our own discipleship, judging and begrudging the generosity and integrity of others, and placing the desires, thoughts, and manipulations of our own hearts over and above the will of the One we call “Lord”?

5) How have we (like the chief priests) operated out of fear or jealousy, seeking only to destroy that (and those) whom we fear or do not understand? How have we impeded the Gospel by the smallness of our thoughts or actions?

Holy Week reminds us that Jesus did not live and die for us because of our noble and sterling qualities, but because in the frailness of our own humanity, defects of character, and sins, we ALL need a savior; and each is in need of what only God can (and does) provide through Jesus Christ, his Son, our Lord.

The Collect for Monday in Holy Week:

Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Lessons for the Day:

Isaiah 42:1-9
Psalm 36:5-11
Hebrews 9:11-15
John 12:1-11

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Valley of the Shadow

What is obvious to me is that we did not create ourselves … life is something inside of you. You did not create it. Once you understand that, you are in a spiritual realm.
– Virginia Satir

Palm Sunday: I wonder if Jesus ever regretted riding into Jerusalem that day?

I wonder how I would have handled the accolades of the crowds, or the derision of the Jewish and Roman leaders – those “in authority” if it had been me instead of him?

I wonder if Jesus knew he was going to die – knew in that sense of godly omniscience, where a godly prophet knows all, hears all, sees all, and feels all – or if he knew he was going to die the same way any mortal human knows: that when you mess with the powers that be, you’re going to lose, and you’re going to lose big?

I wonder if Jesus knew that the crowds that cheered him with “Hosannas” as he rode into Jerusalem would jeer at him with derision as he stood before Pilate that fateful Friday following?

I wonder if Jesus knew that the palms raised high in the air, waving back and forth – the palms of the people, and the branches of palms from local trees – were little more than an ironic foreshadowing of the day soon coming when his own palms would be nailed fast to the limbs of a locally manufactured tree?

I wonder if Jesus deliberately chose to ride into Jerusalem on the back of a virgin colt, just he had come into the world, the son of a virgin – deliberately choosing, in purity, to face the music with those who hated the tune he was singing?

What tune was Jesus singing?

“My father’s house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves!” - Religious Leaders, do your ears not burn?

“It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter into heaven.” - Wall Street Moguls, do your ears not burn?

“Woe to you: you are like white-washed sepulchers – clean and pretty on the outside, but inside full of dead men’s bones.” - Huddled Masses, do your ears not burn?

Is there anyone NOT standing under judgment?

At first blush, these may not look like the words of one who preaches love and tolerance. These do not look like the words of a man who beckoned children to come sit in his lap; or who asked women to get out of the kitchen so they could spend time with him; or who asked a rag-tag group of fishermen to stop fishing for flounders, and to begin fishing for those who are floundering in life.

But I would beg to differ, because I think these ARE the words of a man who understands ever so clearly how well the people of the world and the children of faith can take all of the good that God has given them and turn good on its head and use it badly and selfishly – even if meaning well in the doing.

Jesus is very much a man aware; aware of the human propensity to do good, and to intend good, and yet producing consequences both unintended and vile.

Do you think the Jewish and Roman leaders were more evil than us - you and me?

That there was corruption I have no doubt, but I am sure it fell within societal norms. That doesn’t make it right, but it would have seemed foolish in the extreme to be a governor, ruler, or judge and not profit from the position – just as it would be most unseemly and weird for a prostitute to not seek payment for services rendered, or a tax collector to not strong-arm his neighbors, or a butcher to weigh meat on scales that weren’t rigged in his favor.

That’s the world Jesus lived in, and lives in today. The leaders simply did what leaders everywhere have always done in order to keep the peace. In their thinking, there is nothing evil to be found in executing a rabble rousing rabbi – any more than there is in lopping off the hand of a common thief - physically or metaphorically.

Is it any different with us today? Would Jesus approve of the hatred and bigotry made so evident in the many letters to the editor we read each day? Would Jesus approve giving billions of dollars to institutions “too big to fail” while men, women, and children of every race and tongue are without adequate food, shelter, or even the most basic medical care so many of us take for granted?

No, Jesus looked with compassion upon the whole human race, with all of its greed, with all of its corruption, and with all of its self-will run riot; and then he cried.

But it is not enough to look and cry. It is not enough to cluck one's tongue in disapproval. It is not enough to wag one's finger in disgust. Symbolic gestures are not enough. Compassion must find its expression in action, and in the flesh, and so he acted.

Jesus looked, and as he rode into Jerusalem that day, he said, “It is God who is too big to fail.” He did not wonder what he would do, or worry about who he would meet, or shy away from the challenges he would face.

He rode into the valley of the shadow of death: evil he did not fear.
He rode into the valley of the shadow: your life and mine to bear.
He rode into the valley of the shadow: in his palms we’re held so dear.
He rode into the valley of the shadow: our path to God to clear.

He rides in the shadow still in this, our valley: Palms stretched out … for all. Once we understand that, we are in a spiritual realm, and this week may yet be holy. Peace!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Lent 4B Snakes on a Plain

On Sunday, March 22, I delivered a sermon based on Numbers 21, the story of the Children of Israel in the wilderness, and how, in the midst of their journey, they came upon hard times, not the least of which included fiery serpents. I used some illustrations in my sermon which cannot be seen very clearly on the YouTube presentation, and so those pictures are included here.

Here are the Youtube videos I had promised to include on this blog for your viewing pleasure - or at least to make them easier to find.

I haven't found the key for embedding the videos here, but you may cut and paste the links to see and view them.

Part 1 Sermon from Lent 5B

Conclusion of Sermon from Lent 5B, delivered at Holy Trinity, Madera, CA

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Snakes & Spring

New Life comes from shedding old skins and pressing through the darkness toward the light. Spring is the season of new beginnings and of growth. – Karen Kaiser Clark

As most of you know, Spring and Lent mean the same thing. Lent, which finds its root in the Old English word “lencten” (where we get the word “lengthen”) refers to the increasing daylight for which Spring is famous. Well, that and for new growth; but that’s the point, isn’t it? The days are getting longer, the flowers and trees are in bloom, and life is being restored.

That’s the way of things eternal in this, our valley. Life is being restored. We turn our eyes up towards the mountains in the east and we see the winter’s snowpack glimmering in the sun. The Sierras are ready to send that snow back into the valley via rivers and creeks; and the farmers and ranchers are preparing to irrigate their farms and ranches so that the rest of us may enjoy the bounteous fruits of their labors.

This image is such a contrast with the story we see in the Bible’s book of Numbers, where the Israelites are wandering through the wilderness, and in the midst of their wandering, they’re beginning to do what children everywhere do when a trip seems to be taking too long. They start whining and complaining about everything.

Why’s it taking sooooo long? Are we there yeeeeeet? I’m hunnnngry. I’m thirrrsty. I’m hottt. I’m tirrred. I wanna go hoooooome!!!

In the middle of the crankification of the wilderness, we find that God has become the quintessential parent. He sees their grumps, and he raises them. The stakes have become quite serious at this point, and the wanderers discover that they have really overplayed their hand. God’s ire is manifested in the form of fiery serpents, and for the children of Israel, the chips are now officially “really down.”

When the chips are down, what do you do?

If you’re smart, you look to see how you got to where you are, and you figure out what you need to do to overcome the adversity that’s got you down, and if you haven’t got what it takes to prevail, you go where you might find the help you need, and you dig down deep, swallow your pride, confess your need, and pray your prayer for relief will be heard.

And that’s exactly what happens. The people who are being snake-bitten have confessed they have been less than grateful for all God has done. God has relieved them from slavery, delivered them from their oppressors, fed them with miraculous bread (manna) and meat (quail), and slaked their thirst with an abundant supply of water; and their response has been to question Moses’ leadership and God’s intentions.

They come to realize they’ve not had a very good attitude, and they realize their only hope for survival is to make their confession before God, and to place their hope entirely in God’s hands – and more than that, to trust in God’s abundant mercy.

God, of course, had mercy on them. Moses crafted a bronze serpent, mounted it on a pole, and those who gazed upon the bronze serpent found relief and healing for their bodies. That, by the way, is how the image of snakes twined upon a staff came to be a primary symbol for medical practitioners.

God’s desire, of course, is not (and never has been) the death of sinners or the punishment of wrong-doing, but to bless people that people may be a blessing to one another. What stands in the way of God’s desire, though, are the actions and attitudes we bring with us wherever we go. That is because we so often forget who we are and who’s we are: children of God.

Jesus reminds us of God’s desire when he applies the story of Moses and the snakes to his own life and ministry in the Gospel of John. “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,” he says, “that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”

Our job is quite simple, really. We’re to stop acting like snakes. We’re not to snap unthinkingly at those who come to within striking distance. We are not to be venomous in our dealings and attitudes. Rather, we are to look up to the Creator of the universe and give thanks. We are to gaze upon the One who lived and died for us, the One lifted high upon the cross for us and our salvation, and we are to give thanks.

In hindsight, I suspect we would discover that it is often we who have been the fiery serpents. It is time to shed our skins, lift up our eyes, look, live, and give thanks to God.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Victory by the Inch

Victory is won not in miles but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later win a little more. – Louis L’Amour

Reading this line by Louis L’Amour, I am reminded of General Patton’s standing order that his troops were always to gain ground and never to retreat. As Patton (played by George C. Scott in the movie) said, “I don’t like to pay for the same real estate twice”.

I wonder if that isn’t how God sees your life and mine in the larger scheme of things. “The strife is o’er, the battle done, the victory of life is won; the song of triumph has begun …” (Victory, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina). If you know this song, adapted and arranged by W.H. Monk (no relation to the television detective), you know I left out a key word – one which will not normally be heard in Lent, and which won’t make its return until Easter. Be that as it may, the plain fact of the matter is that the war is over, and there is no need to pay more for what God has already won. That is good news, indeed.

However, before one breaks into too much singing, dancing, and celebrating, one must understand that there are still “mopping up operations” going on, and those operations include us. We aren’t the people God wants us to be yet – not by a long shot.

We are still lazy (some of us); we are still egotistical (some of us); we are still envious of others (some of us); we are still gluttonous and lustful (some of us); we are still calling the shots with insufficient input from God (some of us); and we are still unwilling to place our lives before God to make of us what he knows we can be. In other words, many of us are reluctant to let God be God. We want to stay in control. We want to stay in control of our feelings, our emotions, our lives, and our wills.

I could go on and on, but you get the point – we’re frail, fragile, and finite human beings. We are, to borrow a phrase from Winston Churchill, “humble little (people) with much to be humble about”.

Some may look at their lives and despair of all the work that needs to be done, or where even to begin to make any headway towards holiness. I know I shouldn’t even have to buy clothes, being covered as I am with fluorescent orange construction cones, and wrapped like a mummy with yellow caution tape. Still, I guess that maybe the key to our faith is the idea that God looks to us for progress, not perfection. Perfection is in God’s job description and not in ours. That, too, is good news.

One of the things I like best about the concept of “progress, not perfection” is that it eliminates the futility of striving for the unattainable, or the frustration of the unobtainable. God didn’t give us the Ten Commandments so he could have the joy of laying down the Law when we messed up. Rather, Law was given as a sign of just how much he loves and cares for us.

When our children are young, we teach them to look both ways before crossing the street, don’t we? We teach them to buckle up when they get into the car, and we teach them to not take drugs, smoke, or drink (even if we may not be so pure in those areas ourselves). Our goal isn’t to be hypocritical, but to share some of what we have learned: that life is better when you pay attention, exercise caution, and minimize the toxins you put into your system. We learned many of these lessons the hard way, didn’t we?

So it is with God’s laws. Many of us will be reviewing some of those laws this Sunday when we go to Church and recite the Ten Commandments as part of our liturgy, or hear them in the reading of the first lesson. We need to remember that they are commandments, not suggestions, but their value isn’t in pointing out how far short we have fallen, but to see where God is leading us.

He has given us life and freedom, for which we give God eternal thanks as he transforms our lives and our characters. We are called to honor those who brought us here (remembering we didn’t get here on our own); we are to bring life to others, not destruction; we are to be faithful, honest, and true; and we are to be content with what we have, for all we are and all we have is ultimately from God.

Knowing that should keep us humble as we inch our way forward in this, our valley. Let’s worry less about the Miles, and put more joy into our Smiles. Peace.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

In the Beginning

I have never before operated a blog, so I hope you will be patient with me as I learn the processes by which these things work.

It was suggested that blogging might be an effective way in which to share my thoughts with the world at large - you one or two faithful readers who may dare count yourselves as "the world at large" for the sake of my poor, fragile ego.

For those who may find this site by accident or even, dare I dream it, on purpose, it is my hope and ambition to examine the propers for each approaching Sunday (Using the Revised Common Lectionary as adopted by The Episcopal Church) and ponder how those lessons might apply to us in our daily living.

I may, from time to time, try my hand at discussing other matters as they occur.

I am truly glad you have found this humble little blog of mine, and I hope you will check back every so often.


Fr. Keith