Monthly Archives: August 2014

Follow Me @jesus

twitterPentecost 12A Follow Me @jesus

Matthew 16:21-28

August 31, 2014


Since social media has come on the scene,

            every day it seems, I get requests from people to “follow” them.


They ask me to follow their blog,

            or follow them on Twitter.

What ‘following’ means is that I get their blog updates

or their tweets every time they post.


It’s quite easy to follow.

            A couple of clicks, and you’re there!

And once you start following someone,

            they give you suggestions of others you can follow too!

There are days where I start following a dozen of people or places in one sitting!


Following someone on social media comes with perks.

When I follow a person I get their insights or their wisdom or their humor.

When I follow a nonprofit I get pictures about what they’re doing.

When I follow a theater company or a music group, I get discounts.

When I follow a store I get coupons.


When I follow someone on social media, I get things…

Maybe that’s what Peter was expecting. Continue reading


A Labor Day Meditation

workerA Labor Day Meditation

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once pointed out the fact that whether we take time to recognize it or not, all life is interrelated. We depend on each other. In his words, “We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied together into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. . . . Before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half the world.”

As we begin this Labor Day weekend, I share a meditation from The Rev. Sam Candler, dean of the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta. [i]

I live today because someone has labored. I live today because many, many, people have labored. On this Labor Day, I give thanks for them.

I eat today because someone served. Someone cooked. A grocer sold me the food. Or a local farmer at a farmers market sold it to me directly. A distributor supplied food to the grocers. A laborer tilled the soil. Another farmer planted and planned. Years before that, someone else prepared and cared for the very soil.

I wear clothes today that someone else sewed. Someone designed. Someone developed the store. Someone else marketed and advertised and kept the books and answered the telephones. Continue reading

What Would You Do?

salvadoran youthPentecost 11A: What Would You Do?

Exodus 1:8-21

August 24, 2014


Exodus says, “There arose a new king over Egypt who did not know Joseph…”

Now that’s a problem….


It’s a historical problem because Egypt didn’t have kings…

so they couldn’t have a new one!

Egyptian rulers were called ‘pharaoh’, not king.


But of course the Bible is not a history book,

it’s a book of faith.

This verse reflects a faith problem as well.

Continue reading

He’s Finally Free.

foleyI’ve been thinking a lot about faith lately – the deep kind, the sustaining kind, the kind that gets you through something like what happened to James Foley, the New Hampshire reporter who was brutally executed this week.

From all the accounts I’ve read, James found hope and consolation in prayer.  It wasn’t the first time he’d been kidnapped.  In 2011 he and two colleagues were kidnapped and released in Libya.  After that ordeal, in a letter to Marquette University, his alma mater, he spoke of the power and strength that came to him through prayer.  He and a colleague would pray together.  He said, “It felt energizing to speak our weaknesses and hopes together, as if in a conversation with God, rather than silently and alone.” [i]

We have not heard how Foley sustained himself during this second ordeal, but in the aftermath of his death, his parents, John and Diane Foley spoke outside their home in Rochester, NH. It was not a press conference filled with anger or threats of retribution.  Their words were words of sadness, of gratitude, and of an abiding sense of hope:  “Jimmy’s free.  He is finally free!”


I don’t know whether or not John and Diane Foley always had such faith or if theirs is a faith rising out of the suffering they have endured. I don’t know how I would endure such pain myself.

But today I am grateful that James Foley grew up in a family which nurtured his faith in a loving God who was there in the midst of his captivity, with whom he could share his deepest fears and hopes, and who consoles his family now.

Jimmy’s free. He is finally free.


In Christ,

Pastor Jen


Shouting For Healing

welcome fergusonPentecost 10A Shouting For Healing

Matthew 15:21-28

August 17, 2014

“It is not fair to take the children’s food

and throw it to the dogs,” Jesus says.

This is a hard story to hear.

Some suggest that Jesus spoke with a smile on his lips.

Others remind us that the word he used for “dog”

really means “puppy,”

and so when he says that the Canaanite woman

Is a dog, he is saying something more like,

she is rather cute and cuddly….really?

I love my dog…

I find her adorable…

and she was an even more adorable puppy…

But I would still take offense if someone

suggested I was like her!

I don’t think we can soften what Jesus said.

Continue reading

Thinking About John

robin williams

Robin Williams

I’ve been thinking about my cousin John a lot this week.

John committed suicide a few years ago. He was depressed, he had a history of drug use…and he had a wife and a teenage daughter and two sisters and aunts and uncles and cousins.

I am not alone in having a family member who has taken their life and for whom the news of Robin Williams’ death brings back painful memories. Many of us have been touched by suicide in our families and most of us have been touched by depression in ourselves or the people we love.

In the wake of suicide, we can feel guilty (Could I have done something? Was it because of something I did or said?), angry (How could she do this to us? Didn’t he care about us?), frightened (Could I ever get so depressed? Is he in hell?), sad (Why didn’t she see another way? What pain he must have been in!), and a host of other emotions.

At times like these, it’s good to remind each other:

  • It’s not your fault.
  • It’s normal to be angry.
  • We place our hope and our trust in a loving and merciful God.
  • There are places to go and people to talk to for help. If you don’t know where to turn, call 1-800-273-8255.

Out of the depths we cry to you merciful God. Meet our confusion with your peace, our anger with your mercy, and our sorrow with your consolation. Help us be still and know that you are God and that nothing in life or death will separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.   (Prayer from “Prayer Book for the Armed Services,” ©2013, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Augsburg Fortress Press.)

And We Ate Chicken

And We Ate Chicken


It was about a 30 minute van ride from our hotel in Nuevo Concepcion to the village of Chacocoyal. We arrived and the church had already gathered, waiting for us for who knows how long.


They were seated on plastic chairs in the hot sun. As we moved towards the seats near them, they redirected us to another spot where there were chairs under the roof of the porch so we would be in the shade.


After a time of worship together, we moved our chairs into a big circle for introductions. Everyone introduced themselves by name and by the role they had in the church – and everyone had a role.

Continue reading