Friday, March 30, 2012


Holy Week is upon us.

Realizing that most of our readers are clergy, and that clergy don't necessarily have the opportunity to fully worship when they are responsible for leading (creating, writing, facilitating) worship:

I invite you to share five favorite Holy Week things, five things that are truly worshipful for you. It may be that it's the way they are done in your congregation (or were done in a previous one). It may be your personal preparation for certain services or observances.

Breathe. Be still. Look to the week ahead, and Holy Weeks past, and imagine the worship.

Bonus: a piece of music that "is" Holy Week for you.

1. This year, I will be gluing and grouting pieces of broken pottery into
a cross. On the first Sunday in Lent, each parishioner choose a pottery
shard and used it as a prayer piece during Lent, focusing on where the
they were broken, their lives fragmented, where are their rough edges,
what needs smoothing out, etc. They are to return them this weekend.
So, it is a process of transformation - of all that is broken and
fragmented within us that is transformed by Christ's death and
resurrection. Hoping it will turn well. The mosaic cross will be
displayed on Easter.

2. I will be washing rocks for Easter. Everyone will get a stone symbolizing
the stones in their life that Easter rolls away. So, that too, will be
holy task for me this holy week.

3. Maundy Thursday worship and communion with the stripping of the altar
prepares me for the bleakness and grief of Good Friday.

4. Silence. I am especially tuned into silence on Good Friday and Holy
Saturday. They are quiet days for me as I reflect on the events of both
days and live into the void and unsettledness of Holy Saturday.

5. Baking bread. I bake a traditional Swiss bread for Easter on Holy
Saturday. The dough is punched and beaten (like our Lord was) and
then rests under a warm damp towel in some darkness. After time, it
rises to double its size when I braid it, brush it with egg yolk, let
it rest in coolness and then bake into a beautiful and delicious
bread. So the dough transforms itself into something new and beautiful
and has given of itself for our life. It is holy and quiet act and has
been a tradition in my family for my whole life. It is only in recent
years, that I have reflected on the theological aspect of baking this
braided bread.

BONUS: The hymn - "Ah, Holy Jesus" - is the one that humbles me and touches
me each year during Holy Week.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


So much is blooming, nearly three weeks early. I have a tulip blooming, hyacinths have been blooming, and now the bradford pear trees on the tree lawns are blooming white which contrasts so beautifully with the very green lawns. It is so amazing to see things awakening from winter's slumber. It's been so warm, in the 80's, that I have had to pull out summer things and put on sandals without hose in March!! Everything is coming to life!
After being shell-shocked in a church council meeting that the church is up for funding and has a candidate in mind for redevelopment of the congregation, I was taken aback. This should have been shared with me before the meeting. I took it somewhat in stride.
Then a meeting with a denominational office representative, who shared a process for transformation, which the church can begin now. And the bombshell, that what looked like a done deal may not be quite so done - the funding is less than expected and the church does not have the money to make
up the rest to call the redevelopment person. They were shell-shocked and extremely disappointed.
I was nonplussed. I had begun again my anxiety of being unemployed once more and was counting up the things for which I would no longer be responsible and made the way to trusting once again that God would provide something new for me.
Then on the ride home from that second meeting, I was filled with an idea for how to welcome a sister spanish-speaking congregation who will be
sharing space in the church and thinking of all that I will yet need to do.
I could almost hear God saying, "You weren't happy about ending your short interim (more like supply pastor) early and now you're going on about all that might yet challenge you while you are here a bit longer. Is there any pleasing you?!!!?"
I don't know what all will transpire. I have come to place where it is God's will not mine as to how long I will be at this church. I do what I can one day a week, but it isn't easy. It's hard to pick up the pulse and truly know what is being said and thought when I am just there one day a week and Sat/Sun for services. However, I will stay as long as God needs me to stay and leave when God says it is time. I have learned to enter and leave as graciously as possible.
In the meanwhile, the denominational office seems please at my idea to offer welcome to this sister congregation and I am learning to be content with things whichever way they work out.
Even as I see new life bursting out all around me, I pray for the new life of this congregation and yes, my own. My the gift of new and vibrant life come to you in all its glory and grace.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Jan at RGBP's notes:
All day I have looked repeatedly at RevGals to see where today's Friday Five is. . . . AND only right now, at 2 pm in Texas, do I realize I am the one in charge! I am sorry I am so late and forgetful.

That brings forth all the times I've been late or forgot something. How about you?

When have you been late or a no-show? When have you forgotten something or someone?

1. at church
I've been late to church council meetings from Oct.-Dec. last year, due
to accidents each month on council night on the interstate. When we
switched council night in Jan. there have been no accidents and I've
arrived early!

2. at home
A few times, when my visits lasted longer, or I had details to attend
to that lasted longer than I had anticipated.

3. at work
Not that I can think of, I have been on time to church on the day I
am in the office and for worship.

4. with friends
Normally, I'm on-time if not a wee bit early.

5. ? where else?
Perhaps, the one time I forgot my sermon on a Sunday morning while in
the midst of an unplanned departure from that church and very stressed
out about it. I left the sermon on the kitchen table and once I
arrived at the church, had an elder do the breakfast prayer on Palm
Sunday, while I drove like a crazy person home and back to the church
in time for worship. Thank goodness, traffic was light and there were
no police on that county highway. I did it in record time!!!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Revkarla invites us to talk about women in your life!

1. Name a woman author you very much love to read.
Mary Oliver's poetry and Anne Lamott.

2. Name a woman from the Bible with whom you would like to enjoy a nice long coffee talk.
Perhaps, Deborah - a wise woman, strong, faithful.

3. Name a famous woman from history with whom you would like to have lunch.
I'm thinking, Abigail Adams. She does fascinate me. Also, a strong
woman, tending family and farm, supporting her absent husband, John, in
the momentous time of declaring our independence. She was capable and
brave and very much in love with John.
Another would be my grandma on my Dad's side. She's not famous, but I
would like to know her as an adult and spend some time with her.

4. Name a living famous or infamous woman with whom you would like to go out to dinner.
Leyma Gbowee, the Nobel Peace Prize winner. I find her inspiring,
encouraging, and a woman of faith, character who accomplished much in
working for peace in Liberia.

5. If you could be SuperWoman (o.k., I know you already ARE) what three special powers would you like to have?
Not an easy question. I would like to have power to bring peace, to
heal the wounded, and to shower creation with joy!

Monday, March 05, 2012

During the children's sermon time in worship yesterday, I talked about the season of Lent. Forty days of waiting for...Easter. When one first grader piped up, "Easter changes everything!" Indeed, my child it does. And once again, I was blown away by the wisdom of a child.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Friday Five: Essentials Edition

KathrynZ notes that she lacked the boots she needed to head to an area of snow and how could she be without an essential for her area. List 5 essential things needed in the area you live. Bonus: what you were wearing that made people look twice because it was out of place.

1. Snowthrower/shovel - for those big snows most winters. This year we only
fired up the snowthrower twice.

2. Central airconditioning - for those hot, humid spring, summer and fall

3. Winter coat - preferrably a warm one and hats, scarves and mittens

4. Boots - although I only had to wear my boots once this winter.

5. Yaktraks - to put on your shoes and boots to walk on ice - actually
didn't use them this winter. Did last year! Made it from
my van through the church parking lot to the church entrance.

6. Duvet - wonderful warmth in the winter. Wouldn't live without one!!

BONUS: For our Saturday night worship near Halloween, I wore black slacks,
sweater and mismatched socks - green polka dots on the left and
green stripes on the right. I thought we were going to stay for
the potluck and party when worshippers decided to go out to eat
instead. I was going to be a fool-for-Christ and had my jester's
hat, a wild tie dye T-shirt to change into. I'm sure folks wondered
about my mismatched socks - I had another pair just like them at
home in my sock drawer!!!