God has place this wonderful creation in our hands. As U2 sings, "It's a beautiful day, don't let it slip away." We have this one life to live on this beautiful planet so enjoy these reflections on God, faith, life, and music. "After the flood all of the colors came out. It's a beautiful day."

Thursday, March 31, 2011

70 times 70

Lent with the Lord's Prayer 

Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Matthew 6:12
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" 22 Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. 23 "Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. 26 "The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' 27 The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. 28 "But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded. 29 "His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' 30 "But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32 "Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' 34 In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35 "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart." Matthew 18:21-34
As we journey through the Lord’s Prayer, we ask to be forgiven as we have forgiven others. But how do we do this. When Peter asks Jesus how often we are to forgive Jesus tells him the parable of the unmerciful servant. A servant is brought before the king who he owes a debt to. The master ordered that his whole family be sold to pay the debt. But he asks for time. The master cancels everything. The servant leaves and runs into someone who owes him and does not show the same forgiveness. The master learns of this and it does not go well. No an easy parable to understand. For which is it does God forgives and then punishes. So are we to forgive for fear of punishment or are we to forgive because God’s first inclination is to forgive us. For the parable implies that we are to forgive 70 times 70, we are to forgive into infinity. As a practice this lent how can you show the forgiveness that you have received from the master. Can you let go this lent and let forgiveness pour from you?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Forgive Us Our Debts

Lent with the Lord's Prayer 

Forgive us our debts. Matthew 6:12
Debt is such a huge problem in America.
The average size mortgage in the U.S. is about $200,000
The average credit cards balance is about $10,000
The average college graduate leaves school owing more than $20,000 in student loans.
The average car loan now exceeds $27,000
Collectively we owe $2.5 trillion in consumer debt and another $14 trillion in home loans.

Forgive us our debts. In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus teaches us to pray to God for forgiveness of our debts. In the scripture that Jesus knew and studied he knew that God had talked to Moses about debt. In Leviticus 25, God wants us to establish Sabbath law. This law involves forgiving debt after the sixth year. In the 50th year all debts are to be wiped out. Jesus knew that debt was a problem and would always be a problem. So when we are taught to pray, we pray to be forgiven our debts. God has no hands or feet but us so after praying forgive us our debts, how will we become the answer to our prayers and fix our debt.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Forgiveness is With You

Lent with the Lord's Prayer

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. Matthew 6:12

1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.
2 Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications!
3 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand?
4 But there is forgiveness with you,
so that you may be revered.
5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in God’s word I hope;
6 my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.
7 O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with God is great power to redeem.
8 It is God who will redeem Israel from all its iniquities.
Psalm 130

Forgiveness is with you. Spend time with those words. Forgiveness is with you. Are you feeling lost? Forgiveness is with you. Are you sorry for something you have done? Forgiveness is with you.

God is the one who will look you in the eye. God will see everything you have done. Know all your secrets. And after that moment of knowing, God sees you. Forgiveness is with you. For with the God is the power to redeem.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Forgive Sounds Good

Lent with the Lord's Prayer 

Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Matthew 6:12
Forgive, sounds good
Forget, I'm not sure I could
They say time heals everything
But I'm still waiting
I'm through with doubt
There's nothing left for me to figure out
I've paid a price
And I'll keep paying
I'm not ready to make nice
I'm not ready to back down
I'm still mad as hell and
I don't have time to go round and round and round
It's too late to make it right
I probably wouldn't if I could
'Cause I'm mad as hell
Can't bring myself to do what it is you think I should
I know you said
Can't you just get over it
It turned my whole world around
And I kind of like it
     Dixie Chicks  Not Ready to Make Nice

This is a song that is on my bad day playlist. I had done something to upset the powers that be at a church I was serving. I asked questions about how things are run and thought things should change. But I forgot as the pastor I was just a visitor. The church would be their long after I had left. So my need to fix them conflicted with their need to stay the way they were. It all came to a head with an ambushed confrontation with a group of people who wanted me to do what they thought was right. The night of that meeting I received my first hate text, it wasn’t even from a participant but from a family member. A text that made me feel unsafe. This was a string of a number of such texts. During this time of wondering what God intended for me to do. Was I meant to be a pastor? How in the world could a Christian pastor not want to forget, forgive? I mean one of the basics of the church is to let go and reconcile with those you have wronged. But how to reconcile when your wrongdoing sends someone over the top into behavior that could lead to unemployment. I kind of like to eat and provide the best for my son. I happen during this time to watch “Shut Up and Sing” the documentary about the Dixie Chicks and what happened after Natalie criticized George Bush in London. I could relate. What I had done wasn’t so bad that someone could want bad to happen to me.

Forgive sounds good, forget I don’t think I could.

It took me a while to move into the place of wanting to forgive and be forgiven, because there was so much pain, anger and fear. Sometimes all we can do is wait. Time passes and the emotion fades. As the emotion fades then forgiveness becomes possible. I was able to move from the pain expressed in “I’m not Ready to Make Nice” into the hope and peace that comes when we forgive and are forgiven.

As you pray today, bring to mind the person or situation that causes you pain. As you move toward forgiveness be kind and gentle with yourself. Allow all the words to come, when you feel the resistance to forgiving, know that it is a normal human response. It is not easy to let go and forgive. As you feel yourself holding onto the pain, anger, fear start breathing and on your breath say I forgive you. You may have to say this many times, over many prayers. It takes time to move to the point at which you can say I forgive you and mean it.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saying Grace

Lent with the Lord's Prayer

As we continue to pray the Lord’s Prayer, specifically the line give us the day our daily bread. Think about how you say grace for the food you eat each day. When my son was little we always said grace whenever we sat down together to eat. Well we didn’t say grace unless we were at my parents. We actually sang grace. Can any of you growing up in the seventies still sing the Johnny Appleseed Grace?

Oh, the Lord's been good to me.
And so I thank the Lord
For giving me the things I need:
The sun, the rain and the appleseed;
Oh, the Lord's been good to me.

When my dad's family sang we sang the first line of We Gather Together, being good pilgrim folk.
We gather together
to ask the Lord's blessing;
he chastens and hastens
his will to make known.
The wicked oppressing
now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to his name,
he forgets not his own.

My son being of a younger generation got to also choose from the doxology to "We Will Rock You." You get the beat going with two slaps to either thighs or table and a clap.

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise God, all creatures here below;
Praise God above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise Creator, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Amen, Amen, Amen. Amen, Amen, Amen.

We also sang the superman grace.  With arms pointing up like superman’s

Thank you God, for giving us food.
Thank you God, for giving us friends.
For food that we eat and friends that we meet.
Thank you God da, da, da, dum(then drumming on the table)

My son used to laugh like crazy for I was forever eating my friends and meeting my food.  Singing grace was a time of joy we had before eating. Now that he is a teenager we don’t sing as much. Partly this is because as the pastor you are the designated prayer, even when you are with family. 

Do you still say grace? Do you only say grace when the entire family is gathered? Do you say grace only when you are at home with the kids around the dinner table? Do you ever say grace out in public? If you do how do you feel, when grace is said? Do you hear the words or worry about what people around you will be thinking? Today spend your day saying grace for everything you eat or drink.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Lent with the Lord's Prayer 

During lent one of the practices of the church is fasting. Many people give up something for lent chocolate, coffee, sweets, and meat to remind them that there are in the time of the church year when we are asked to draw closer to God as we head slowly toward the death and resurrection of Jesus. As we study the Lord’s Prayer this lent, praying give us this day our daily bread, we often don't have to worry about food. The practice of fasting allows us the opportunity to think about our daily bread. After Jesus gives us these words of the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus talked to us about fasting.
16 "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (Matthew 6:16-18).
Jesus tells us to fast in a way that the focus is on God. Fasting is about your relationship with God about drawing closer to God. So don’t act like the fast you have chosen is a hardship. Remember that you are doing this for God.

The story of Esther reminds us of this connection to God in fasting. When Esther who is married to the king learns that her people the Jews are to be destroyed because they want to practice their religion which means they are not willing to practice the religion of the King. When the edict is given to destroy the Jews, the people began weeping and fasting. One of the leaders of the Jews whose niece married the king is asked to do something to change this. She struggles first with this decision. As she is preparing to change the king’s mind she asks her people to fast for her.
15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 "Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish." 17 So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther's instructions (Esther 4:15-17).
Fasting for Esther was a time of preparation, a way to draw closer to God when taking an important action. Fasting becomes then a way to help us prepare. We can fast when we are faced with a life decision.

So how do we fast? When you fast you can chose as most in lent do to give up one item. The point being that when you crave that item you pray to God. Or you can choose the early practice of the Christian church to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays. You would stop eating at sundown on the night before and end you fast at sundown the next evening. During this time you can drink clear liquids (water, juice, broth). Then allow this time to draw you closer to God. Allow the hunger pangs and cravings be a reminder in your day to stop and be aware of God’s presence and pray.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Lord's Prayer

Lent with the Lord's Prayer

Take a moment today to rest in the beauty of the Lord's Prayer sung by Andrea Bocelli.  

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts
as we forgive our debtors;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:
for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Breaking Bread

Lent with the Lord's Prayer

Give us this day our daily bread. Matthew 6:11
Give us this day our daily bread, as we pray this we are reminded of how Jesus taught us to give daily food from what we already have.  He taught us to take, bless, break and give.  This story found in all the gospels.  At the end of a long weary day, Jesus seeks rest but the people are hungry for him. 
So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. 35 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. "This is a remote place," they said, "and it's already very late. 36 Send the people away so they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat." 37 But he answered, "You give them something to eat." They said to him, "That would take eight months of a man's wages ! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?" 38 "How many loaves do you have?" he asked. "Go and see." When they found out, they said, "Five--and two fish." 39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.  Mark 6:32-44
In this story Jesus is teaching us how to respond to people who are hungry.  The disciples believe the people should be sent away to find food because they are just coming for teaching, but Jesus pushes the disciples toward a new way of being.  Jesus is teaching that the kingdom we have prayed for and the bread we need to eat are already present on earth and we need to see to the adequate distribution of food.  Jesus took food that was “already there, already present, already available” (John Dominic Crossen, The Greatest Prayer, p. 129).  He teaches the disciples to take what is available, to bless, to give thanks for the bounty, to break it and then give it to the hungry crowds. 
One question for us is there enough food to feed the world.  The answer is that the world produces enough food to feed everyone. World agriculture produces 17 percent more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70 percent population increase. This is enough to provide everyone in the world with at least 2,720 kilocalories (kcal) per person per day (FAO 2002, p.9).  So how do we live into this prayer that we prayer to give us (not me, not my family) but us the whole household of God our daily food.  As a Lenten practice today, keep track of the cost of the food you eat and at the end of the day if you are able set aside a plate for Jesus with the cost of the food and donate it to a local food pantry or hunger program.  

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Lent with the Lord's Prayer

Give us this day our daily bread.  Matthew 6:11
How do you know when you have enough?  When we pray; give us this day our daily bread; for those of us that are not food insecure are we praying for enough?  Are we praying to live a life where we learn the limits?  We are privileged enough to be people who can eat when and where we want.  
So when we pray give us this day our daily bread are we praying to learn about enough? 

In my house there are two different responses to food.  We have the dog and I who will eat anything you put in front of us and will eat until we are full and still have room for desert.  Ziggy especially has never met a food she wouldn’t eat.  My son and the cat are both naturally thin.  They are nibblers.  My son only eats when he is hungry, not because he is bored or feeling…  He knows boundaries and limits to food without thinking about how much weight he will gain or what that bowl of ice cream will do to his hips.  He eats because his body is hungry and stops when he is full.  He 
knows what it means to have enough.

In the Exodus story we learn that the people are hungry and they complain to God wanting food.   
11 The LORD said to Moses, 12 "I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, 'At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.' “13 That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, "What is it?" For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, "It is the bread the LORD has given you to eat. 16 This is what the LORD has commanded: 'Each one is to gather as much as he needs. Take an omer for each person you have in your tent.' “17 The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. 18 And when they measured it by the omer, he who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little. Each one gathered as much as he needed. 19 Then Moses said to them, "No one is to keep any of it until morning." 20 However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell.  So Moses was angry with them. Exodus 16
The Israelites had to learn that they were living with enough.  They had enough of the best to satisfy them.  If they tried to hoard the food or take more than they needed it would rot.  When we pray, give us this day our daily bread, we who are fed are praying to learn enough.  To be satisfied with what we have been given.  To eat what will sustain us in life, the best food that will sustain us and then to stopping when it is enough.  Spend today being conscious of what you eat.  Remembering that God has granted you enough, eating what will nourish your body, eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full.  

Monday, March 21, 2011

Our Daily Bread

Lent with the Lord's Prayer
Give us this day our daily bread (Matthew 6:11). 
As we pray these words from the Lord’s Prayer many of us have never had to worry about being hungry, about where our next meal was coming from. In my own life the only time I was truly hungry was when I was in grad school.  I was living on my own and had enough money to pay the rent and utilities so the only option to go without was food. The hardest call at that point in my life I ever had to make was to call my parents and ask for some money for food. But I wasn’t completely without food. I was just so low on food that my stomach was always hungry. Since then I have only ever been hungry when I have fasted either to raise money for hunger or during lent as a weekly practice to forgo food for a day. I am one of the lucky ones. There are an estimated 925 million people hungry in the world. This is 1 in 7 people. Most of these are not in industrialized nations. In America
  • In 2009, 50.2 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 33 million adults and 17.2 million children
  • In 2009, 14.7 percent of households (17.4 million households) were food insecure.
  • In 2009, 5.7 percent of households (6.8 million households) experienced very low food security.
  • In 2009, households with children reported food insecurity at almost double the rate for those without children, 21.3 percent compared to 11.4 percent.
  • In 2009, households that had higher rates of food insecurity than the national average included households with children (21.3 percent), especially households with children headed by single women (36.6 percent) or single men (27.8 percent), Black non-Hispanic households (24.9 percent) and Hispanic households (26.9 percent).
  • In 2009, 7.8 percent of seniors living alone (884,000 households) were food insecure.
When we prayer, give us this day our daily bread we are praying for all of us, for the part of us that is without bread. Today spend time giving thanks for the blessing of food that you have been given. As you eat today raise into your awareness a prayer for those who struggle to find bread today. Then consider what bread you can give to those for whom finding bread is a struggle.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

May Peace Prevail in Our Time

Lent with the Lord's Prayer

Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10
As the bombs drop on yet another nation,
11 They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying, "Peace, peace," when there is no peace. 12 They acted shamefully, they committed abomination; yet they were not at all ashamed, they did not know how to blush. 15 We look for peace, but find no good, for a time of healing, but there is terror instead. Jeremiah 8
O God, we prayer for peace. May peace prevail in our time and in our lives. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Lord, make me an instrument of your 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;
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.
Prayer of St. Francis

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Centering Prayer, Thy Will Be Done

Lent with the Lord's Prayer

Thy will be done. Matthew 6:10
As you prayer today this prayer, thy will be done. Practice what is called centering prayer. Find a comfortable spot. Sit quietly. Close your eyes. Listen to your breath flow in and out. On your breath say: thy will be done. Allow your attention to rest on this phrase: thy will be done. Quietly rest in this phrase:  thy will be done. Let this phrase turn gently in your mind, thy will be done. As the thoughts of the day intrude: just breathe in: thy will be done. When your attention wanders, gently bring your attention back to your phrase, thy will be done. Let the words, thy will be done, breathe with you breath. Feel their rhythm. Thy will be done. Finally, your mind will stop and you will rest in the silence of God.

You can practice centering prayer while sitting quietly in your room, under your favorite tree, beside the water or you can practice centering prayer while you walking or driving your car.

End your practice by saying the Lord’s Prayer.
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts
as we forgive our debtors;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:
for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Prayer for Japan

Lent with the Lord's Prayer

How do you pray when your heart hurts? When you feel numb to what is going on around you how do you cry out to God? When you watch the news this week, how do you pray to God when parts of the world look so bleak? As you see the pictures and the video that have come out of Japan, your heart just breaks. You cannot comprehend water making houses float away, cars tumbling and floating, and then you see people in trees, on cars, and houses. The loss is overwhelming. Your heart cries out to the people and you cry out to God. Why? Why?

The world has been blown out from under us and this is where we stand.

God are hearts are sad. God be with the people of Japan. Your creation is crying and groaning. Hear our cries. The cries of your people for Japan and the people of the pacific rim, for your oceans and sea life, for your land and its people. Hear our cries.

Then we wait….
1 I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. 2 God drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. 3 God put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. 4 Happy are those who make the Lord their trust, who do not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after false gods. 5 You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you. Were I to proclaim and tell of them, they would be more than can be counted. 6 Sacrifice and offering you do not desire, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required. 7 Then I said, "Here I am; in the scroll of the book it is written of me. 8 I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart." Psalm 40

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Why does Easter's Date Change?

Lent with the Lord's Prayer

When my son was in third grade he wanted to know why Easter is not on the same day every year like Christmas. I think this question started when he heard the other minister’s and me trying to figure out when Passover was this year and whether it was the same day as Maundy Thursday, because one of our friend’s invited us to her Passover Celebration. The year he asked this question Maundy Thursday and Passover were the same. But the question of why Easter is different each year bothered my son. So he asked me and I said it had something to do with the moon. This answer apparently did not satisfy him, for he kept saying it should be like Christmas the same every year. It isn’t as if the day on which Jesus was killed was a day that would change.

This really bothered my son, so when my friend was bringing him home from Logos (weekly Christian Ed with supper on Tuesday) he asked her. He came running into the house and says, “its” (after I figured out what it was). “It’s because of the solar calendar. Christmas follows the Roman calendar which is based on the sun and allows Christmas to be the same every year. But Easter follows the Hebrew calendar which is lunar. So Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon following the Spring Equinox.” He was so happy to know why, to finally have an answer to his Easter dilemma. Easter’s changeable date now made sense. He needed that answer to have his world ordered.

We as people of faith want to have our world ordered. We would love answers that make sense. We like to have a world where a puzzle can be solved or a problem can be resolved. But most answers are not simple and easy. There are nuisances and paradoxes that can create a lot of doubt when we think we need to know how it works. When faced with a mystery of faith, how do you want the answer to come? Do you want an explanation that makes sense that you can feel, taste, know? Or, will you be comfortable living in the paradox, knowing that the answer is never completely known or knowable?

It’s inherent in the very nature of God to be the ultimate mystery. For God is both knowable and unknowable at the same time. Whenever we think we have a handle on who God is or what God does, we run into a question that just doesn’t fit into our nice neat box. When Moses was led to his burning bush moment and was told by God to go free his people from Egypt, Moses was a little concerned about this and asked:
"Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?" 14 God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.' " 15 God also said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers--the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob--has sent me to you.' This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation. Exodus 3:13-15
Everything is so incredibly clear to Moses at this point. Moses has a name that is the ultimate mystery. God is I am or the one who exists, or who will be what will be. Now it is totally clear and transparent to Moses. God is self identified without explaining anything and Moses is left with more of a mystery than he had before.

One of the things we need to learn is how to hold a dynamic tension in the paradox of who is God, because in the tension we find that opposites attract and electricity flows. Which element of the following paradoxes would you eliminate for the sake of clarity, and simplicity: God’s power or human responsibility? Christ’s divinity or Jesus’ humanity? God’s immanence or God’s transcendence? Forgiveness or Judgment? Oneness of God or the onlyness of salvation? Mike Yaconelli in Dangerous Wonder argues that “the church should be full of Christians who seek questions rather than answers, mystery instead of solutions, wonder instead of explanations.” When we are comfortable with the questions, paradoxes, mystery we engage in a lifelong spiritual quest. Questions launch us on a journey where we have a passion to keep learning, unlearning, relearning, co-learning with those we meet who are also asking questions.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

On Earth as it is in Heaven

Lent with the Lord's Prayer

On earth as it is in Heaven.  Matthew 6:10
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills-- where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 God will not let your foot slip-- God who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, God who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD watches over you-- the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all harm-- God will watch over your life;
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121

On earth as it is in Heaven. This last week hasn’t seemed like what we think heaven should be. We want heaven to be a place where everything is perfect, where nothing bad happens, where you eat the best food, listen to the best music, and live with those you love, where there is no work or pain. Yet when we look around this week we see people killed fighting oppressive governments, we see people having rights taken away, we see fires, explosions, earthquakes, tsunamis, nuclear disasters. How can it be on earth as it is in heaven? How do you go from what seems so messed up to what is supposed to be so perfect?

Maybe we are taking the wrong perspective. When we pray on earth as it is in heaven, we are praying for us to be the answer to our pray. When we today call someone in need of love, prepare a meal for a friend, visit someone lost in loneliness- our actions become our prayer. We become the legs, hands and feet for God’s Spirit to work on earth. Pray today with your actions. Touch someone today with the compassion and love of God, with your words and deeds touch the lost, the lonely, and the hurt. Then when you finish your day praying the Lord’s Prayer, you will have experienced what it means to say – on earth as it is in Heaven.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Your Will Be Done

Lent with the Lord's Prayer 

Thy will be done. Matthew 6:10
When I began seminary, my main worry about being a pastor was pastoral care. As an introvert picking up the phone to ask someone if I could come visit was a real effort. So I was scared and also wanting my CPE (Clinical Pastoral Care) unit, hoping that by serving as a student chaplain in the hospital I would be able to work on my introverted nature and learn to improve the first step. When I began, I was confronted with an entire wing of the hospital. The Cancer wing, where many of the patients had received devastating news, some of who died in the weeks, months and year following my rotation. My assignment was to go into each room and offer pastoral care. Well, that first week did not go well. I felt like I was a pest. I would walk into the room and tell them who I was and then grill them with question after question so that there was no silence and then I didn’t even close by offering prayer. I had to learn to get over myself.

My first step was to be comfortable with the silence. I would start with a question about family or pets and that would usually open them up to talk. But I was still uncomfortable with silence and with prayer. But then I read this book on Healing Prayer in which the author argued that the most effective prayer you could say was:  Thy will be done. So instead of fearing that my prayers were inadequate and being unsure that God could or would change outcomes, I began to pray about what we had talked about and ask that God’s will be done. My encounters with patients were getting better but I still needed to work on myself. What I learned was to stop. As I was standing at the door, I would stop and ask God to guide me that God’s will may be done. To this day, I still try to stop at the door or while in the car on the way over and ask that God’s will be done.

As you go through the day, stop before every door or before you pick up the phone and say, “Thy will be done.”

1 Hear my prayer, O Lord; give ear to my supplications in your faithfulness;
answer me in your righteousness.
2 Do not enter into judgment with your servant,
for no one living is righteous before you.
3 For the enemy has pursued me, crushing my life to the ground,
making me sit in darkness like those long dead.
4 Therefore my spirit faints within me;
my heart within me is appalled.
5 I remember the days of old,
I think about all your deeds,
I meditate on the works of your hands.
6 I stretch out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. (Selah)
7 Answer me quickly, O Lord; my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me,
or I shall be like those who go down to the Pit.
8 Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning,
for in you I put my trust.
Teach me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.
9 Save me, O Lord, from my enemies;
I have fled to you for refuge.
10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.
Let your good spirit lead me on a level path.
11 For your name's sake,
O Lord, preserve my life.
In your righteousness bring me out of trouble.
12 In your steadfast love cut off my enemies,
and destroy all my adversaries,
for I am your servant. Psalm 143

Monday, March 14, 2011

Thy Kingdom Come

Lent with the Lord's Prayer

Thy Kingdom come. Matthew 6:10
As we enter into a times of prayer today in which we invite God’s kingdom to come, begin by singing Seek Ye First by Karen Lafferty

Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God
And His righteousness
And all these things shall be added unto you
Allelu Alleluia
Man shall not live by bread alone
But by every word
That proceeds from the mouth of God
Allelu Alleluia

Ask and it shall be given unto you
Seek and ye shall find
Knock and the door shall be opened unto you
Allelu Alleluia

As you pray today think first about those places where we thirst for the kingdom of God.
  • When we are lost, thy kingdom come.
  • When someone is sick, thy kingdom come.
  • When the bereft are grieving, thy kingdom come.
  • When we are frightened, thy kingdom come.
  • When we are lonely, thy kingdom come.
  • When we long for God to be close, to draw near, thy kingdom come.
  • When we cry out for comfort, we pray thy kingdom come.
Then turn your focus to be awakened to those places where the kingdom of God has drawn near and we have just not opened our eyes to see. Watch for the grace, the moments when God’s kingdom has broken through.

End by praying the Maori version of the Lord’s Prayer

Eternal Spirit,
Earth-Maker, Pain-Bearer, Life-Giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven;
May your sacred name echo through the universe,
The way of your justice be followed
by the peoples of the world,
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings,
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom
sustain our hope and come on earth.
With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,
now and forever.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Hallowed Be Thy Name

Lent with the Lord's Prayer

Hallowed be thy name.  Matthew 6:9

1 O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
2 Out of the mouths of babes and infants
you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,
to silence the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
4 what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?
5 Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
and crowned them with glory and honor.
6 You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under their feet,
7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
9 O Lord, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
                                                   Psalm 8

As we think about God’s name, we see the majesty of God’s name and we say Hallowed Be Thy Name. As you pray today, as your breath flows in and out use Hallowed Be Thy Name as a simple prayer. As you go about your day today, punctuate every act and every moment with Hallowed Be Thy Name.
  • As you see a child sleeping on her mother’s chest, hallowed be thy name.
  • As you see the sunset on the lake, hallowed be thy name.
  • As you watch the geese fly north, hallowed be thy name.
  • When you offer a word of kindness, hallowed be thy name.
  • When you walk the dog, hallowed be thy name.
  • When you sit for a moment in silence, hallowed be thy name.
  • When you look into the face of the one you love, hallowed be thy name.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Our Father in Heaven

Lent with the Lord's Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Matthew 6:9
Teresa of Avila wrote that “All the way to heaven is heaven.” When Jesus asks us to pray to the Father of us in heaven, does he see heaven as the place we go after we die or is there something more to what Jesus is saying. What is Jesus trying to tell us about the place where God dwells?
From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." Matthew 4:17
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:10
Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:4
The Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus speaks of is not a place rather it is a state of heart. We are able to enter the Kingdom of Heaven when practice the faith Jesus calls us to, being humble, merciful, the least, like children. The Kingdom of Heaven is what we help to build in the world as we live as Jesus lived. The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed, the tiniest of seeds that when planted in the ground grows into the biggest bush that birds come to nest in. “When we think of Heaven, it need not be dramatic, grandiose or even visible. Rather, prayer invites us to look for what is small, the gentle rising and falling of the breath, a sip of wine and a piece of bread, a prayer uttered quietly without hurry (Wayne Muller, "Learning to Pray.”)

Today take time to think of one small thing that has brought you healing or comfort. Remember the person or place where this comfort happened. As you pray rest your heart and mind on this small act of kindness. As you rest in this smallest blessing the gates to the kingdom of heaven will open wide.
Then end by praying the Lord's Prayer:

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts
as we forgive our debtors;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:
for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Lent with the Lord's Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Matthew 6:9
As you begin to pray today, follow the simple rhythm of your breath as it flows in and out. Allow the rhythm of your breath to calm the rumble of your thoughts. Let the worries flow out of you on your out breath and let the peace of the Holy enter you as you breathe in.

As you begin to pray, begin with the single word our. Let this our flow through you. Imagine who is part of your our. Imagine them in the room with you. Who is your our? Imagine this our circled around you, being surrounded by this company of loved ones.

As you continue to breathe in and out, there is no need to hurry. Speak from your heart, your secret worries; speak our prayer to our God. Pray for those you imagined in your circle asking God for their comfort, healing and care. Pray today for those who are suffering from violence. Pray for those facing earthquakes and tsunami, especially the people of Japan, Hawaii, and the West Coast of the US, pray for those here in Wisconsin and across the country:  for workers, teachers, fire fighters, police officers, and state officials send the peace you are resting in to them speaking the word our.

As you end this time read Psalm 104 …
1 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits— 3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 5 who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. 6 The Lord works vindication and justice for all who are oppressed. 7 He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. 8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. 9 He will not always accuse, nor will he keep his anger forever. 10 He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far he removes our transgressions from us. 13 As a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him. 14 For he knows how we were made; he remembers that we are dust. 15 As for mortals, their days are like grass; they flourish like a flower of the field; 16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. 17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children's children, 18 to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments. 19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. 20 Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, obedient to his spoken word. 21 Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers that do his will. 22 Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul.

Pray the Lord's Prayer in the language of your heart.

Thank you to Wayne Muller for the basis of this meditation from his book Learning to Pray.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

What Name Do You Use for God?

Lent with the Lord's Prayer

When you pray who do you pray to? Is there a comfortable name for God that you always use? Does the name you call upon change when you are in distress? When you are in pain do you talk to God differently? When you are in a good place is the name you call upon different? When Jesus teaches us to pray, he begins Our Father or the literal translation Father of us. We are to call on God not a personal God of our own making but God of all of us. God, who is beyond my personal understanding, is the God of all. Today, think about how you address God. What names do you use? Are they personal or are they names that acknowledge God as the God of us? Today in you prayer name God. Then push yourself to name God differently.

Begin your prayer today by listening to Charlotte Church sing The Lord's Prayer:

Then spend time naming God.

End with reading Psalm 136 that names God and claims God as merciful and compassionate, the God whose steadfast love endures forever in every situation.

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
O give thanks to the God of gods,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
O give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
who alone does great wonders,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
who by understanding made the heavens,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
who spread out the earth on the waters,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
who made the great lights,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
the sun to rule over the day,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
the moon and stars to rule over the night,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
who struck Egypt through their firstborn,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
and brought Israel out from among them,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
who divided the Red Sea in two,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
and made Israel pass through the midst of it,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
but overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
who led his people through the wilderness,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
who struck down great kings,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
and killed famous kings,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
Sihon, king of the Amorites,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
and Og, king of Bashan,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
and gave their land as a heritage,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
a heritage to his servant Israel,
 for his steadfast love endures forever.
It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
and rescued us from our foes,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
who gives food to all flesh,
 for his steadfast love endures forever.
O give thanks to the God of heaven,
 for his steadfast love endures forever.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday, Pray Then in This Way

Lent with the Lord's Prayer

This lent I will be spending my time immersed in the Lord’s Prayer. Words, as Protestants, we say once a week on Sunday unless we happen to use a devotional that has you say the prayer as part of its practice. The Lord’s Prayer is found in three places. In Matthew it comes as part of the Sermon on the Mount with Jesus saying first you don’t want to pray like a hypocrite showing your piety before the world. Instead, pray alone with God as your company. God already knows what you need so you don’t need to overwhelm God with words. Instead, when you pray then pray like this:
'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.' Matthew 6:9-13
The second place the Lord’s Prayer is found is in the Gospel of Luke. Jesus is taking time alone to pray and after he is finished praying the disciples ask Jesus to teach them how to pray.
2 He said to them, "When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial." Luke 11:2-4
The words are slightly different. Luke mentions sin and asks for bread each day instead of today. Matthew asks us to forgive those we owe debt to while Luke wants us to forgive those who are in debt to us. Luke asks us not to be brought to trial, while Matthew asks that we aren’t led into temptation and are delivered from the evil one.

The Third place the Lord’s Prayer is found is in the Didache. The Didache is thought to be one of the early catechisms. This teaching was used to instruct Christians in how to become a Christian and what that means for living your life.
Didache Chap. VIII.
1. Let not your fasts be with the hypocrites, for they fast on the second and fifth day of the week; but ye shall fast on the fourth day, and the preparation day (Friday).
2. Neither pray ye as the hypocrites, but as the Lord commanded in His Gospel, so pray ye: "Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. Give us this day our daily (needful) bread. And forgive us our debt as we also forgive our debtors. And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one (or, from evil). For Thine is the power and the glory for ever."
3. Pray thus thrice a day.
This version is the closest to how we pray. It includes the last line and the Amen which is left out of the other two versions. What I find interesting in this teaching is that we as Christians are asked to pray the Lord’s Prayer three times a day. Think about this as a Lenten practice. What will change in your life as you keep these words before you three times a day? To help you remember to say the Lord’s Prayer make the prayer a part of your grace at meal time. Or pray the prayer in the morning at noon and before bed. Let me know what experiences you have with praying the Lord’s Prayer three times every day.
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts
as we forgive our debtors;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:
for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Jesus Wandered for 40 days.

This ad from the StillSpeaking Campaign of the United Church of Christ always causes me to stop and think about my own journey with God. How long was I in the wilderness searching for the God I had once encountered as a child? I spent my twenties searching for God and the place and people where I could belong, where I was no longer alone on the journey. This ad speaks to that longing to find a place, a people, and a God. In Exodus 3, Moses has been out with the sheep in the wilderness when he comes upon the mountain of God. Then suddenly there is a voice in the flames of a bush.
3 Then Moses said, "I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up." 4 When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am." 5 Then he said, "Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground."

Most of us have been longing for an encounter with God that will change our lives, an encounter that will lead us to radical changes in the way we live and with the people we are a part of.  We long to find a place where God is present and active, where the questions we have can be explored in a community that is also exploring.  This ad suggests that we as the church are a place where you can find help in your wilderness wanderings. 

This month marks the start of Lent; Jesus withdrew into the wilderness for 40 days. We take this time of 40 days before Easter to remind ourselves of this time when Jesus was apart from God.
12 And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. Mark 1:12-13

1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. 3 The tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." 4 But he answered, "It is written, "One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.' " 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 saying to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, "He will command his angels concerning you,' and "On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.' " 7 Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, "Do not put the Lord your God to the test.' " 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; 9 and he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." 10 Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! for it is written, "Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.' " 11 Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him. Matthew 4:1-11
When Jesus went into the desert for 40 days, he was re-enacting the trauma of his people’s slavery in Egypt and their release from captivity. A time when they wandered with and against God, never quite being the people God wanted. God still brought them to the Promised Land where life was supposed to be better. Jesus enters the wilderness to find out where his people went wrong. Why didn’t they achieve the liberation God intended for them? Brian McClaren believes that many people are longing to hear the message of God’s kingdom coming among us. Jesus shared his vision of a new world of compassion, justice, integrity, and peace. This message is the message that people are wanting to hear. It is the good News that they’ve been searching for.

Lent is a time of soul searching, for turning again toward God, and for reviewing your life.  I pray as you enter Lent you draw closer to the one whose Way we follow.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Lent: Expecting Jesus

Once upon a time there was a village in the French countryside, whose people believed in tranquility. If you lived in this village you understood what is expected of you. You knew your place in the scheme of things. In this village if you saw something you weren’t supposed to see, you learned to look the other way. If by chance your hopes have been disappointed, you learned never to ask for more. So through good times and bad, famine and feast the villagers held fast to their traditions…. Until one winter day….. (narrator, Chocolat)
This is how one of my favorite movies, Chocolat, begins. This movie is the story about tradition, acceptance and courage. A woman blows into town on the wind. She arrives as the priest in worship is saying “The season of Lent is upon us. This is of course a time of abstinence … But also hopefully a time of reflection. Above all let this be a time of penitence.” This is a village that seems to have lost hope and a zest for life. You can see a people who have been kept in line with their tradition. We meet a woman whose life has led her to expect and receive the worst that people have to offer, we meet a child whose life is so controlled that he doesn’t have a chance to play, we meet a mayor who is so tightly wound that he tries to control everyone and everything in the village. When Vianne comes into this town, a village full of whites, grays and black, the people begins to see color and experience healing. Vianne opens a chocolate shop during lent. When she meets a person, her first thought is to find the type of chocolate that will satisfy their craving. But while she is giving them chocolate, she is truly trying to figure out what they need to help them be whole. She then begins to set in motion the people and places that will bring them healing.

I wonder if that is what it felt like when Jesus entered the towns of Galilee.
That evening, after the sun was down, they brought sick and evil-afflicted people to him, the whole city lined up at his door! He cured their sick bodies and tormented spirits (Mark 1:32-34).
Jesus came home and, as usual, a crowd gathered - so many making demands on him that there wasn't even time to eat (3:20).

Wherever Jesus went, village or town or country crossroads, they brought their sick to the marketplace and begged him to let them touch the edge of his coat - that's all. And whoever touched him became well (Mark 6:56).
Lent is a time when we often give something up in penitence: chocolate, coffee, fish, thoughtless remarks, exceeding the speed limit, facebook, or cell phones, in order that we may remember Jesus' time of reflection in the wilderness. But what if this Lent, you spent the season getting excited about Jesus coming to town. What if you spent this Lent meeting people and trying to discover who they are and helping them to find the healing they need? What if you started sharing your experience of God with everyone you encountered and started drawing a crowd by speaking of the incredible healing and hope that you have found through the ministry taking place at First Cingregational UCC, Lake Geneva? Can you imagine the excitement that would spread? Can you imagine the people you might touch and heal? These are just three references but if you were to word search crowd in the gospels you would find 106 references. The world was alive and excited by Jesus coming to town. They knew that the darkness of their lives would be changed by his presence. They couldn’t wait to see Jesus, to touch Jesus, to hear Jesus. When you read Mark, it’s as if for the first time they are seeing in color and they want to be changed by it.