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."

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

K what made you change? J

My son and I love movies.  The summer season has started and we went to see Men in Black 3.  One of the reoccurring themes in the movie is J asking K what happened to change him.  The older K is very taciturn.  You often don't know what he is thinking and he seems to be all about getting the job done.

J has to travel through time to save K's life.  In this travel, he meets the young K.  And every once in a while J wonders out loud what happened to K to change him so.  K when hearing this always says I don't know it hasn't happened yet.

I won't spoil the movie for you  by telling you what changed, but it got me wondering about those external circumstances that really change us.  What are the those times and places that caused changes in me because of the circumstances I found myself in.

One of those times was the birth of my son.  I didn't truly understand love until there was this precious child in my life utterly and totally dependent on me whose smile or disappointment could change my day.  It is amazing the things you start worrying about.  It amazing how the smallest thing bring joy and the pain of another can cause your own heart to hurt.  To truly love someone, helps you see the world differently.

Another time of transformation was going through my divorce.  I had lost myself in my marriage.  It seemed as if who I was as a person wasn't liked.  I came from a family that teased and joked with each other and married someone who didn't like to be teased.  So I stopped.  He didn't like my being able to logically win an argument, so I stopped. He didn't like my extended family, so I went by myself.  Life became very serious.  My desire to please people had helped me to lose those parts of myself that I liked.  After we split and I stopped crying, it was like a weight had lifted and I started smiling and laughing a lot more.  But I could relate to K and having lost the ability to have fun.  I had let go of myself in my desire to please another and the very things that caused us to fall in love were the things we learned to want to change in each other.

I think there are times when circumstances force us to change.  There are time that are just tough: the loss of a child, the loss of a job, a war, a death, a life transition.  In those times, how do we let the circumstances help us to change in a way that doesn't cause us to close away parts of ourselves.  The movie doesn't really answer that question.  For when you are caught in the loss you may not even realize you have changed.  And  its when you do realize that you have changed you have to reflect on whether this is for the better or for the worst.  If for the better, allow the change to grow in you.  If for the worse, reflect on what brought you here.  Give it to God.  Give it to God again.  Give it to God continually as you relearn those lost parts of you.  Start by reconnecting with what brought you pleasure as a child.  And when you slip back into the new pattern, Give it to God again and rediscover your bliss.

Share with me your changes, good and bad.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Blessed are the Poor: Beatitudes 2

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
 ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.                 Matthew 5:1-3                           

Then he looked up at his disciples and said: ‘Blessed are you who are poor,    for yours is the kingdom of God.         Luke 6:20                                               

Take a moment and breathe in, saying “Blessed are you”, as your thoughts calm and still.  Let your mind relax and your thoughts still.  “Blessed are you.”

Now let your eyes soak in this image.  See the little one with the feet covered in dust.  See the man, father, grandfather, holding this child in front of a structure with hay all around.  And say, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of God.” 

How do those words feels?  Are they directed at those in the image or at the person seeing?  Do they point toward poverty or to the state of one’s soul?  Does the image jar you from the meaning you thought you had into a different place, a place where the poor are seen through God’s eyes, and blessed. 

Breathe again and hear Jesus say, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.”  Spend a moment there with “yours is the kingdom of heaven.”   Breathe while the words “for theirs is the kingdom of God” float through you.  With God’s eyes where do you experience the kingdom?  Let those images wash in and through you. Stopping where you feel that kingdom presence.

Take another breath and say “blessed.”

Thursday, May 10, 2012


When I was serving my first congregation, an artist started attending our worship service and I asked her after she had been there a while if she would help me to make the worship space more beautiful.  The sanctuary had this absolutely gorgeous wood ceiling, but the walls were white cinderblock with windows that looked like they belonged in a school gym from the 50s.  So I shared that I would like to do a sermon series on the Beatitudes.  I had found these really moving posters from some Catholic Sisters, but I wanted people to be moved by these images and on their own they are plain.  She came and saw the posters and after thinking about it said I have these window screens in my basement left from when I put new windows in.  Why don’t we use them as a frame.  After looking at the frames and posters together she thought we should get some sticks and put them around the pictures.  I think we hiked on the mountain with our dogs and picked up the branches.

We met at the church and laid out the frames and the posters on the tables in the fellowship hall and started playing with which picture looked better on which frame.  Then we went to work using wire to attach the sticks and the posters.    As we working we listened to the Indigo Girls, singing and enjoying the creative spirit of God working through us.  At one point, she thought about weaving the wire in and out of the frame to add more depth to the pictures.  Then we placed these images around the sanctuary on the walls, framing the worship space with these images of what being Blessed looks like. 

These works of art surround me in my office.   Every day when I enter my office  I have that prayer enfolding me.  Blessed.  When I look at them, they always make me pause to remember how God looks at the world and says Blessed.  God looks at the world and says stop and pay attention to those that the world tries to hide away or dismiss. They are blessed…
Blessed are the poor in spirit
Blessed are those who mourn
Blessed are the meek
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
Blessed are the merciful
Blessed are the pure in heart
Blessed are the peacemakers
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake
Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, Matthew 5:1-12