Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A prayer for Tuesday.

Holy, holy, holy…
Mercy, mercy, mercy…
Grace, grace, grace…
silence in my heart, breath filling my lungs, refreshing my bones and blood,
exhaling, centering, breathing.  Over, and over, and over again until there is peace like a tiny river in my soul, for these moments at least.
Holy, holy, holy One
have mercy. May I be your mercy.
Graceful One,
might I live into your grace today.

Friday, May 1, 2015

There's A Woman in the Pulpit: Christian Clergywomen Share their Hard Days, Holy Moments & the Healing Power of Humor

Sweet Lord,
I am remembering that day,
so, so, so long ago
when I was about 14 or 15 and a total church geek.
Or, actually, could I have been 29 or 20 in college?
What I remember is sitting in my grandmother's kitchen.
That kitchen where I would sit at the table
and watch her make donuts and pyrizhky, those meat-filled buns that were so good until I figured out what all that ground meat was ground FROM.
That kitchen table where she would feed us cheerios for breakfast and fizzies for a treat.
It was at that table that she looked at me and asked,
"You will be a minister someday, maybe?"

That was first of many call-seeds planted in my soul,
and it came from a Ukrainian immigrant with a Seventh Day Adventist background but as far as I could tell she never went to church but she kneeled by her bed every night and said the Lord's Prayer.
During the Great Depression, she kept her family fed and farm afloat from selling the eggs from her chicken coop.   I will take a seed like that any day.

But what I am trying to say, dear God, is that I am blown away by the myriad of seeds of call you fling across the world to call women to ministry. And I am so, so grateful.  Because without my women colleagues, I wouldn't be half the pastor I am today.  I am especially grateful for the RevGals, because I found them in a time of isolation, and over the years, deep connections have formed, dear friendships woven, and a dream team of colleagues advise me daily through the inter webs.

And this book, oh! this book!  Your Spirit is threaded and splashed and hidden and bold throughout the stories and prayers in this book.  They resonate with my experience of ministry, and of You. Thank You for bathing it and blessing it, and may it be a blessing in your kin-dom here, and in all the places you have flung your whispering seeds of "you will be a minister someday, maybe?"--no matter what or how that is interpreted.

Thanks be to you, Sweet Lord, thanks be.

There's A Woman In the Pulpit can be purchased through the publisher, Skylights Path or Amazon where it the #1 New Release in Christian Books, and also at Barnes and Noble.    It is available in softcover or by e-book, but I highly recommend the soft cover (and I NEVER buy real live books anymore, but this is a book you are going to want to turn down the pages, hold, smile and cry over.)

Monday, April 20, 2015


It was Sunday at 6:45 am.
And I stood in a short line at Starbucks to order my venti cold pressed iced coffee-
(whatever, it sounded good.)
As I looked at the guy with the red sox jacket and the bespectacled barista and the woman in her snoopy pajama flannels,
I wanted to just tell them:
How wonderful is this day!
You are beloved just how you are!
And, guess what I get to do this morning?
I get to tell other people they are beloved and empowered
in face of their doubts and misgivings and anger,
they still can be love in the world.
I get to baptize a 12 week year old baby.
I get to tell her she is beloved, and that she has a crowd of people who embrace her...
I get to whisper in her ear,
"You are God's special one, sweet thing, may you always know that"
and then I will get to
anoint her in the Holy Spirit.
How strange and amazing is that?

And, it was.

Friday, February 20, 2015

A Sunday Prayer, on Being Called...

Oh God…
You call us, 
and some of us immediately get it,
because we are smacked up the side of our hearts
with your glory*, 
and the only response is to drop everything
and go with you, 
even though we don’t know or care about the details….
most of us
think You are crazy
although we are are so drawn to your love.

We are the ones who take baby steps, 
fall down, 
get up, 
and toddle again towards your grace
and your invitation
to accompany you.
So we wander,
we wonder,
we walk,
and hope that being by Your side,
we reflect and share your love and hope
with the corners of the world in which we live.

We tentatively drop our nets, 
and serve the people and the world 
which you love so much. 
Oh sweet Lord,
we pray, 
we pray so much for that which you love,
for those whom you love--especially 
the places in our world where people are suffering from war, political violence, from what we don’t know except it’s unspeakable.

We offer our prayers
for those we know 
who suffer from grief, loss, illness…
desolation of heart,
or uncertain futures. 
We pray, for our earthhome, 
who cries out everyday for your justice, and our care. 

Oh God,
You call us. 
We wonder, 
We wander, 
We stumble,
We drop our nets, 
We cling to them, 
We are flooded with your glory, 
and in our disarray,
We want to follow you. 
We have decided,
to follow you. 

                                       *Barbara Brown Taylor phrase

A Prayer for Transfiguration

Holy One,
We come before you,
Many of us feeling like we have climbed just a part of the mountain,
and there is so much more of a climb left to even get to point to dream that we might be dazzled by what is Divine.
Our loads are heavy,
with worry, with regret,
with fatigue, with illness,
with despair for all in the world that is hurting, in danger,  in bondage and more.
We trudge ahead, following you,
stumbling, hoping, praying…
breathing hard, hearts pounding, and yes,
even some of us are nimble and skipping.
Lead us Lord,
to the top of that mountain,
where we might be dazzled by your Light,
lifted by what is Divine,
filled by the sheer delight of what is numinous and ethereal and grounded and real.
We pray this,
for ourselves, for one another, and for the worlds in which we live in.
(also posted at www.revgalblogpals.org)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

November 1, 2014 Meeting Friends...

*I am participating in something called NaBloPoMo November 2014.  It is a challenge to write everyday during the month of November.  Saturday and Sunday are free writes, but Mary Beth over at RevGalBlogPals offered the following prompt:

RevGalBlogPals began around 2004/5 when a group of us somehow found each other on blogs. Today, write about how you met a friend/group of friends. Where? How? How has the relationship changed; how has it stayed the same?

It was my first day of third grade, and at a new school. 
Rickard Elementary.  My teacher was named Mrs. Russell, and to my 8 year old self she was old and not very warm.  Actually, in my mind, she looked like my Grandma Lee who died when I was very young.  So, I was a little scared.

Plus, we had only been living in "town" for about a year.  My mom had finally left my alcoholic father at the end of first grade--up until then, we had lived on our farm year round in Western North Dakota.   We spent second grade in a tiny rental house near the first town school I  had ever gone to.  Imagine, going from a two room school house, where the entire first grade was four children, to town school, where there were three sections of second grade, 25 kids in a class!  Not a great situation for a shy withdrawn 8 year old.  But I made it through, made some friends, and was fine, for the most part. 

But then, my mom remarried.  And with that marriage, we moved to a different neighborhood, and a different school and now there was Mrs. Russell.  And a room full of 8 year olds.  

I went home for lunch that first day, and my step-dad asked me if a certain girl was in my class.  Turned out, her sister was either married/dating my stepbrother (who I barely knew).  I can't remember the exact timing.   Indeed she was in my class, and went I went back to the playground to look for her. 

My memory is that she was playing marbles, but that could be fuzzy.  I know we met on the playground.   And we became fast friends.  Dear friends.  We were in the same class in 3, 4, 5 grade; and during junior high and senior high we continued to hang out. If it hadn't been for her,  I think I would have been so very lost.  I considered her my best friend.  My heart friend. Soul friend.  For years we kept a journal, that we passed back and forth, writing to each other intermittently and mailing it back and forth......we have stayed connected closely and loosely for the past 43 years.  Perhaps more loosely in the past years, but to this day, I know she would have my back if I needed her.    And I am grateful.  

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Summer Weekday, and a Prayer

I haven't written much for the past, oh, five months.
But, I haven't really taken the time...I have been writing in other places--sermons, prayers, Facebook, etc.

Today, though, it is very quiet in the office. I am now the only one here--the office is only open from 9-12, T-W-Th....and I have been taking my time today to do a few things I have wanted to do, but not gotten around to.  Except for the two big things I really need to get to, which is the church website, and vacation bible school.

Well, I did make 8 phone calls on advocating for the passing of a state bill regarding gun violence.  That's good ministry, right?

I find myself thinking back to a year ago.   What a sad internal space I was in, as I was in limbo professionally.  I am so grateful to have moved out of that space, and grateful to be in this interim place of ministry.  It's exactly where I needed to land, and thank God that God knew that.  I don't know if I was too sure, but I am glad that I said "yes!"

I am coming up on 14 years of ordained ministry.  Most of that ministry has been as an associate pastor, with lead pastoring during sabbaticals and medical leaves.   Somehow, I think this is viewed as a blight on my record--but I have to say it's been great to have colleagues.   I imagine my next move being to a solo or lead pastor; but it may not be.  I was thinking that I need to remember that 14 years is a whole lot of rich experience, and that there is pretty much nothing I haven't experienced, and yet everyday is different and new.  

....and so I continue reflecting....on a warm Thursday afternoon.  I met with my clergy community of practice, and what a beautiful, strong, smart group of colleagues.  I don't know how I got so lucky to land in this group, but it is a saving grace, monthly.

I am thinking about Matthew 13 today. About Words.  About parables.
About mustard seeds and leaven, treasures and pearls and fish.

With that, I am going to simmer and go for a walk.

Dear God,
For this moment, this holy ordinary moment,  I give you thanks.
As I yell at the puppy "no, LEAVE IT" and the birds sing outside my window,
As a cat mewls, and traffic swishes by,
I give you thanks.
As I remember sweet conversation with ministers,
and enjoy a salad with herbs from my garden and fresh roasted corn,
I give you thanks.

I pray for all the places in the world that are going to hell in a hand basket.
Child immigrants, war refugees, planes lost, planes gunned down,
Roiling weather,  a Holy land in fear and trembling and terror for all.
God have mercy.
God have mercy.
God have mercy.

Move my heart God,
to be more justice in my life,
to love more fiercely and courageously,
to walk with confidence and humbleness,
into how and who and what You have called me to be and do.

In the spirit of brother Jesus I pray,