Monthly Archives: May 2015

Let’s Dance!

dancing-crosses-prophetic-art-paintingTrinity B: Let’s Dance!

May 31, 2015

I don’t know if they still do analogies on the SAT’s…

but for me they were the most difficult part of that test.

You may recall that the analogy section went something like this…

Kitten is to cat

as puppy is to _____

…right: dog.

Analogies aren’t meant to test whether you know the meaning of the words,

but whether or not you understand the relationship between words.

The relationship between a cat and a kitten

is that a cat is a grown kitten,

so the answer would be dog –  a grown puppy.

Trinity too isn’t about meaning – it’s about relationship….

It’s about the relationship of one God

in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

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A Special Prayer Book

photoA Special Prayer Book

On the eve of Memorial Day, my brother and I were among the thousands sitting on the west lawn of the Capitol, listening to the music and stories at the National Memorial Day concert.

There was a special emphasis this year on disabled American veterans. A number of disabled vets were in the audience as we watched videos of some of their stories and saw the new memorial with its eternal flame not far from the Capitol.

It was a powerful experience.

Sometimes I find it difficult to know how best to support members of the armed services and their families. (If you have ideas, please let me know!)

One resource I’ve been looking at recently is the “Prayer Book for the Armed Services.” An ELCA Lutheran resource, it was developed with the review and contributions of military chaplains and other service members.

It includes prayers for unique situations: absence from a partner during deployment; issues related to critical incidents, promotions, and discipline; and prayers for physical, emotional, and spiritual healing and strength.

Not only a book of prayers, the pocket-sized paperback book has psalms, as well as familiar hymns and songs.

I have ordered 20 of these (to start) to give away. If you or someone you know could use such a prayer book, please let me know. They are meant to be shared.

Thank you for your service.

In Christ,

Pastor Jen

Living As Dreamers

Divine sunset

Divine sunset

Pentecost – Living As Dreamers

May 24, 2015

Romans 8:22-27

Acts 2:1-21

One of the phrases that my father (a realist)

used to say all the time to my siblings and I was:

“You’re living in a dream world!”

“You’re living in a dream world!”

Well my friends,

it’s Pentecost Sunday…and it’s a day in which all of us

become dreamers.

Here’s how Acts tells it…

Jesus’ followers have been told to stay in Jerusalem

until they are filled with the Holy Spirit.

I suppose at some point they must have wondered…

What does it feel like to be filled with the Holy Spirit?

Will we even know when it happens?

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A Sermon For The Thoughtful Christian

fluid

Ascension Day: A Sermon For The Thoughtful Christian

Acts 1:1-11

May 17, 2015

Every week that we gather here in this place,

some of you almost didn’t come.

The lawn needs mowing;

you could use more sleep;

the Sugar Shack has donuts with bacon calling your name;

and increasingly in our world,

after all, you’re not so sure what you believe anymore.

I’m glad that you’re here.

And truly, I believe and hope your being here will  make a difference in your week.

If the new Pew Research study on religious life in America is correct,

in just 7 years,

there has been a dramatic drop in the number of people in the United States

who say they are Christian –

7 percentage points.

And there is an even more dramatic rise

in the number of people who say they are agnostic or atheist,

or simply not religious at all.

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The Courage Wall

photo 1 (1)

Last week Del Ray resident Nancy Belmont erected a large blackboard on Mt. Vernon Avenue, kitty-corner from St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub. In large block letters, the top of the blackboard says, “I Wish I Had the Courage To…” and there’s a bucket of chalk for passersby to finish the sentence.

This morning I spent some time reading the sentiments of strangers. Some were humorous; others were poignant and intimate. I could imagine myself writing many of them.photo 2 (1)

They said things like, “I wish I had the courage to”:

  • start my own business
  • tell my son he’s adopted
  • be myself
  • speak up
  • hike the Appalachian Trail
  • retire
  • ask a girl out
  • decorate in color
  • learn Spanish
  • take the time I need to heal
  • move to Paris

I read with some wondering.  I wondered why we have such fears… and what the list would look like if the wall was erected elsewhere – on the streets of Baltimore or Detroit, for example.

I read with a sense of discovery: my own fears are not all that unique. As human beings, we share similar anxieties.

And I read with hope. My hope is that we find communities of trust in which to share our fears. The church can be one such place – if we have the courage to open ourselves to others.

In Christ,

Pastor Jen

4 Things About Saul

Easter 6 – 4 Things About Saul

Acts 9:1-20

May 10, 2015

Saul is a young man – probably only in his 20’s

that day when he heads to Damascus.

He is what we might call a “rising star” among the Jewish leadership.

Not content to just go after the followers of Jesus who are around Jerusalem,

Saul asks for special permission

to go beyond Jerusalem and travel north to Damascus

and arrest those who have fled there.

Damascus is about 135 miles away.

Saul doesn’t have to go to Damascus.

No one orders him to go to Damascus.

Saul volunteers for the job.

Saul is so driven to “succeed” that he takes off for Damascus

just for the opportunity to arrest more followers of Jesus.

Saul has a plan; he has vision…

he sees himself as a future leader in the synagogue.

If he plays his cards right, he could be even a member of the Sanhedrin!

Drive isn’t necessarily a bad thing of course.

When someone is driven toward a goal,

we often say that they’re highly- motivated or a go-getter – good things!

Yet we also know people who are so driven, so singularly-focused, so competitive

that somehow they lose their integrity.

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Waiting For Monday

Monday Calendar Clipart

Monday Calendar Clipart

Waiting For Monday

Mother’s Day is coming up this weekend. Hopefully lots of mothers will be showered with thank you cards and breakfast in bed and homemade gifts! It is a day of celebration!

And yet for many, it is also a day of pain.

What do you write in a card to the mother who hurt you? How do you celebrate when your beloved mother has died or can’t remember who you are? What do you say when a store clerk wishes you a “Happy Mother’s Day” and you’ve never given birth? When a restaurant worker offers flowers to mothers on Sunday, do you take one anyway – or do you point out to that stranger that you’d love to be a mother but you have been dealing with infertility or had a miscarriage or a stillbirth?

This Mother’s Day I give thanks for mothers, including my own. But there is also a very special place in my heart for those who are looking forward to Monday. You are not alone.

In Christ,

Pastor Jen